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Title: An Adventure

Author: C. A. E. Moberly

Eleanor F. Jourdain

Release date: March 13, 2021 [eBook #64809]

Language: English

Credits: Richard Tonsing and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)


Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.




It is a great venture to speak openly of a personal experience, and we only do so for the following reasons. First, we prefer that our story, which is known in part to some, should be wholly known as told by ourselves. Secondly, we have collected so much evidence on the subject, that it is possible now to consider it as a whole. Thirdly, conditions are changing at Versailles, and in a short time facts which were unknown, and circumstances which were unusual, may soon become commonplaces, and will lose their force as evidence that some curious psychological conditions must have been present, either in ourselves, or in the place.

It is not our business to explain or to understand—nor do we pretend to understand—what happened to put us into communication with so many true facts, which, nine viyears ago, no one could have told us of in their entirety. But, in order that others may be able to judge fairly of all the circumstances, we have tried to record exactly what happened as simply and fully as possible.



The ladies whose Adventure is described in these pages have for various reasons preferred not to disclose their real names, but the signatures appended to the Preface are the only fictitious words in the book. The Publishers guarantee that the Authors have put down what happened to them as faithfully and accurately as was in their power.



I. Three Visits to the Petit Trianon 1
II. Results of Research 41
III. Answers to Questions 100
IV. A Rêverie 121


Miss Morison’s Account of the First Visit to the Petit Trianon

August, 1901

After some days of sight-seeing in Paris, to which we were almost strangers, on an August afternoon, 1901, Miss Lamont and I went to Versailles. We had very hazy ideas as to where it was or what there was to be seen. Both of us thought it might prove to be a dull expedition. We went by train, and walked through the rooms and galleries of the Palace with interest, though we constantly regretted our inability through ignorance to feel properly the charm of the place. My knowledge of French history was limited to the very little I had learnt in the schoolroom, historical novels, 2and the first volume of Justin M’Carthy’s French Revolution. Over thirty years before my brother had written a prize poem on Marie Antoinette, for whom at the time I had felt much enthusiasm. But the German occupation was chiefly in our minds, and Miss Lamont and I thought and spoke of it several times.

We sat down in the Salle des Glaces, where a very sweet air was blowing in at the open windows over the flower-beds below, and finding that there was time to spare, I suggested our going to the Petit Trianon. My sole knowledge of it was from a magazine article read as a girl, from which I received a general impression that it was a farmhouse where the Queen had amused herself.

Looking in Baedeker’s map we saw the sort of direction and that there were two Trianons, and set off. By not asking the way we went an unnecessarily long way round,—by the great flights of steps from the fountains and down the central avenue as far as the head of the long pond. The weather had been very hot all the week, but on this day the sky was a little overcast and the sun shaded. There was a lively wind blowing, the woods were looking 3their best, and we both felt particularly vigorous. It was a most enjoyable walk.

After reaching the beginning of the long water we struck away to the right down a woodland glade until we came obliquely to the other water close to the building, which we rightly concluded to be the Grand Trianon. We passed it on our left hand, and came up a broad green drive perfectly deserted. If we had followed it we should have come immediately to the Petit Trianon, but not knowing its position, we crossed the drive and went up a lane in front of us. I was surprised that Miss Lamont did not ask the way from a woman who was shaking a white cloth out of the window of a building at the corner of the lane, but followed, supposing that she knew where she was going to. Talking about England and mutual acquaintances there, we went up the lane, and then made a sharp turn to the right past some buildings. We looked in at an open doorway and saw the end of a carved staircase, but as no one was about we did not like to go in. There were three paths in front of us, and as we saw two men a little ahead on the centre one, we followed it, and 4asked them the way. Afterwards we spoke of them as gardeners, because we remembered a wheelbarrow of some kind close by and the look of a pointed spade, but they were really very dignified officials, dressed in long greyish-green coats with small three-cornered hats. They directed us straight on.

We walked briskly forward, talking as before, but from the moment we left the lane an extraordinary depression had come over me, which, in spite of every effort to shake off, steadily deepened. There seemed to be absolutely no reason for it; I was not at all tired, and was becoming more interested in my surroundings. I was anxious that my companion should not discover the sudden gloom upon my spirits, which became quite overpowering on reaching the point where the path ended, being crossed by another, right and left.

In front of us was a wood, within which, and overshadowed by trees, was a light garden kiosk, circular, and like a small bandstand, by which a man was sitting. There was no green sward, but the ground was covered with rough grass and dead leaves as in a wood. The place was so shut in that we could not see 5beyond it. Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees behind the building seemed to have become flat and lifeless, like a wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees. It was all intensely still.

The man sitting close to the kiosk (who had on a cloak and a large shady hat) turned his head and looked at us. That was the culmination of my peculiar sensations, and I felt a moment of genuine alarm. The man’s face was most repulsive,—its expression odious. His complexion was very dark and rough. I said to Miss Lamont, “Which is our way?” but thought “nothing will induce me to go to the left.” It was a great relief at that moment to hear someone running up to us in breathless haste. Connecting the sound with the gardeners, I turned and ascertained that there was no one on the paths, either to the side or behind; but at almost the same moment I suddenly perceived another man quite close to us, behind and rather to the left hand, who had, apparently, just come either over or through the rock (or whatever it was) that 6shut out the view at the junction of the paths. The suddenness of his appearance was something of a shock.

The second man was distinctly a gentleman; he was tall, with large dark eyes, and had crisp, curling black hair under the same large sombrero hat. He was handsome, and the effect of the hair was to make him look like an old picture. His face was glowing red as through great exertion,—as though he had come a long way. At first I thought he was sunburnt, but a second look satisfied me that the colour was from heat, not sunburning. He had on a dark cloak wrapped across him like a scarf, one end flying out in his prodigious hurry. He looked greatly excited as he called out to us, “Mesdames, Mesdames,” or (“Madame” pronounced more as the other), “il ne faut (pronounced fout) pas passer par là.” He then waved his arm, and said with great animation, “par ici ... cherchez la maison.[1]

I was so surprised at his eagerness that I looked up at him again, and to this he responded with a little backward movement and 7a most peculiar smile. Though I could not follow all he said, it was clear that he was determined that we should go to the right and not to the left. As this fell in with my own wish, I went instantly towards a little bridge on the right, and turning my head to join Miss Lamont in thanking him, found, to my surprise, that he was not there, but the running began again and from the sound it was close beside us.

Silently we passed over the small rustic bridge which crossed a tiny ravine. So close to us when on the bridge that we could have touched it with our right hands, a thread-like cascade fell from a height down a green pretty bank, where ferns grew between stones. Where the little trickle of water went to I did not see, but it gave me the impression that we were near other water, though I saw none.

Beyond the little bridge our pathway led under trees; it skirted a narrow meadow of long grass, bounded on the further side by trees, and very much overshadowed by trees growing in it. This gave the whole place a sombre look suggestive of dampness, and 8shut out the view of the house until we were close to it. The house was a square, solidly-built small country house;—quite different from what I expected. The long windows looking north into the English garden (where we were) were shuttered. There was a terrace round the north and west sides of the house, and on the rough grass which grew quite up to the terrace and with her back to it, a lady was sitting, holding out a paper as though to look at it at arm’s length. I supposed her to be sketching, and to have brought her own camp-stool. It seemed as though she must be making a study of trees, for they grew close in front of her, and there seemed to be nothing else to sketch. She saw us, and when we passed close by on her left hand, she turned and looked full at us. It was not a young face, and (though rather pretty) it did not attract me. She had on a shady white hat perched on a good deal of fair hair that fluffed round her forehead. Her light summer dress was arranged on her shoulders in handkerchief fashion, and there was a little line of either green or gold near the edge of the handkerchief, 9which showed me that it was over, not tucked into, her bodice, which was cut low. Her dress was long-waisted, with a good deal of fullness in the skirt, which seemed to be short. I thought she was a tourist, but that her dress was old-fashioned and rather unusual (though people were wearing fichu bodices that summer). I looked straight at her; but some indescribable feeling made me turn away annoyed at her being there.

We went up the steps on to the terrace, my impression being that they led up direct from the English garden; but I was beginning to feel as though we were walking in a dream,—the stillness and oppressiveness were so unnatural. Again I saw the lady, this time from behind, and noticed that her fichu was pale green. It was rather a relief to me that Miss Lamont did not propose to ask her whether we could enter the house from that side.

We crossed the terrace to the south-west corner and looked over into the cour d’honneur; and then turned back, and seeing that one of the long windows overlooking the French garden was unshuttered, we were going towards 10it when we were interrupted. The terrace was prolonged at right angles in front of what seemed to be a second house. The door of it suddenly opened, and a young man stepped out on to the terrace, banging the door behind him. He had the jaunty manner of a footman, but no livery, and called to us, saying that the way into the house was by the cour d’honneur, and offered to show us the way round. He looked inquisitively amused as he walked by us down the French garden till we came to an entrance into the front drive. We came out sufficiently near the first lane we had been in to make me wonder why the garden officials had not directed us back instead of telling us to go forward.

When we were in the front entrance hall we were kept waiting for the arrival of a merry French wedding party. They walked arm in arm in a long procession round the rooms, and we were at the back,—too far off from the guide to hear much of his story. We were very much interested, and felt quite lively again. Coming out of the cour d’honneur we took a little carriage which was standing there, and drove back to the Hotel des Réservoirs in 11Versailles, where we had tea[2]; but we were neither of us inclined to talk, and did not mention any of the events of the afternoon. After tea we walked back to the station, looking on the way for the Tennis Court.

On the way back to Paris the setting sun at last burst out from under the clouds, bathing the distant Versailles woods in glowing light,—Valerien standing out in front a mass of deep purple. Again and again the thought returned,—Was Marie Antoinette really much at Trianon, and did she see it for the last time long before the fatal drive to Paris accompanied by the mob?

For a whole week we never alluded to that afternoon, nor did I think about it until I began writing a descriptive letter of our expeditions of the week before. As the scenes came back one by one, the same sensation of dreamy unnatural oppression came over me so strongly that I stopped writing, and said to Miss Lamont, “Do you think that the Petit Trianon is haunted?” Her answer was prompt, 12“Yes, I do.” I asked her where she felt it, and she said, “In the garden where we met the two men, but not only there.” She then described her feeling of depression and anxiety which began at the same point as it did with me, and how she tried not to let me know it. Talking it over we fully realised, for the first time, the theatrical appearance of the man who spoke to us, the inappropriateness of the wrapped cloak on a warm summer afternoon, the unaccountableness of his coming and going, the excited running which seemed to begin and end close to us, and yet always out of sight, and the extreme earnestness with which he desired us to go one way and not another. I said that the thought had crossed my mind that the two men were going to fight a duel, and that they were waiting until we were gone. Miss Lamont owned to having disliked the thought of passing the man of the kiosk.

We did not speak again of the incident during my stay in Paris, though we visited the Conciergerie prisons, and the tombs of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette at Saint Denis, where all was clear and fresh and natural.

13Three months later Miss Lamont came to stay with me, and on Sunday, November 10th, 1901, we returned to the subject, and I said, “If we had known that a lady was sitting so near us sketching it would have made all the difference, for we should have asked the way.” She replied that she had seen no lady. I reminded her of the person sitting under the terrace; but Miss Lamont declared that there was no one there. I exclaimed that it was impossible that she should not have seen the individual; for we were walking side by side and went straight up to her, passed her and looked down upon her from the terrace. It was inconceivable to us both that she should not have seen the lady, but the fact was clear that Miss Lamont had not done so, though we had both been rather on the lookout for someone who would reassure us as to whether we were trespassing or not.

Finding that we had a new element of mystery, and doubting how far we had seen any of the same things, we resolved to write down independent accounts of our expedition to Trianon, read up its history, and make every enquiry about the place. Miss Lamont 14returned to her school the same evening, and two days later I received from her a very interesting letter, giving the result of her first enquiries.

E. M.
November, 1901.

Miss Lamont’s Account of her First Visit to the Petit Trianon in 1901

August, 1901

In the summer of 1900 I stayed in Paris for the first time, and in the course of that summer took a flat and furnished it, intending to place a French lady there in charge of my elder schoolgirls. Paris was quite new to me, and beyond seeing the picture galleries and one or two churches I made no expeditions except to shops, for the Exhibition of 1900 was going on, and all my free time was spent in seeing it with my French friends. The next summer, however, 1901, when, after several months at my school in England, I came back to Paris, it was to take the first opportunity possible of having a visitor to stay there: and I asked Miss Morison to come with me.

Miss Morison suggested our seeing the historic part of Paris in something like chronological order, and I looked forward to seeing it 16practically for the first time with her. We decided to go to Versailles one day, though rather reluctantly, as we felt it was diverging from our plan to go there too soon. I did not know what to expect, as my ignorance of the place and its significance was extreme. So we looked up general directions in Baedeker, and trusted to finding our way at the time.

After spending some time in the Palace, we went down by the terrace and struck to the right to find the Petit Trianon. We walked for some distance down a wooded alley, and then came upon the buildings of the Grand Trianon, before which we did not delay. We went on in the direction of the Petit Trianon, but just before reaching what we knew afterwards to be the main entrance I saw a gate leading to a path cut deep below the level of the ground above, and as the way was open and had the look of an entrance that was used, I said: “Shall we try this path? it must lead to the house,” and we followed it. To our right we saw some farm-buildings looking empty and deserted; implements (among others a plough) were lying about; we looked in, but saw no one. The impression was saddening, 17but it was not until we reached the crest of the rising ground where there was a garden that I began to feel as if we had lost our way, and as if something were wrong. There were two men there in official dress (greenish in colour), with something in their hands; it might have been a staff. A wheelbarrow and some other gardening tools were near them. They told us, in answer to my enquiry, to go straight on. I remember repeating my question, because they answered in a seemingly casual and mechanical way, but only got the same answer in the same manner. As we were standing there I saw to the right of us a detached solidly-built cottage, with stone steps at the door. A woman and a girl were standing at the doorway, and I particularly noticed their unusual dress; both wore white kerchiefs tucked into the bodice, and the girl’s dress, though she looked 13 or 14 only, was down to her ankles. The woman was passing a jug to the girl, who wore a close white cap.[3]

18Following the directions of the two men we walked on: but the path pointed out to us seemed to lead away from where we imagined the Petit Trianon to be; and there was a feeling of depression and loneliness about the place. I began to feel as if I were walking in my sleep; the heavy dreaminess was oppressive. At last we came upon a path crossing ours, and saw in front of us a building consisting of some columns roofed in, and set back in the trees. Seated on the steps was a man with a heavy black cloak round his shoulders, and wearing a slouch hat. At that moment the eerie feeling which had begun in the garden culminated in a definite impression of something uncanny and fear-inspiring. The man slowly turned his face, which was marked by smallpox: his complexion was very dark. The expression was very evil and yet unseeing, and though I did not feel that he was looking particularly at us, I felt a repugnance to going past him. But I did not wish to show the feeling, which I thought was meaningless, and we talked about the 19best way to turn, and decided to go to the right.

Suddenly we heard a man running behind us: he shouted, “Mesdames, mesdames,” and when I turned he said in an accent that seemed to me unusual that our way lay in another direction. “Il ne faut (pronounced fout) pas passer par là.” He then made a gesture, adding “par ici ... cherchez la maison.” Though we were surprised to be addressed, we were glad of the direction, and I thanked him. The man ran off with a curious smile on his face: the running ceased as abruptly as it had begun, not far from where we stood. I remember that the man was young-looking, with a florid complexion and rather long dark hair. I do not remember the dress, except that the material was dark and heavy, and that the man wore buckled shoes.

We walked on, crossing a small bridge that went across a green bank, high on our right hand and shelving down below as to a very small overshadowed pool of water glimmering some way off. A tiny stream descended from above us, so small as to seem to lose itself before reaching the little pool. We then followed a narrow path till almost immediately we 20came upon the English garden front of the Petit Trianon. The place was deserted; but as we approached the terrace I remember drawing my skirt away with a feeling as though someone were near and I had to make room, and then wondering why I did it. While we were on the terrace a boy came out of the door of a second building which opened on it, and I still have the sound in my ears of his slamming it behind him. He directed us to go round to the other entrance, and seeing us hesitate, with the peculiar smile of suppressed mockery, offered to show us the way. We passed through the French garden, part of which was walled in by trees. The feeling of dreariness was very strong there, and continued till we actually reached the front entrance to the Petit Trianon and looked round the room in the wake of a French wedding party. Afterwards we drove back to the Rue des Réservoirs.

The impression returned to me at intervals during the week that followed, but I did not speak of it until Miss Morison asked me if I thought the Petit Trianon was haunted, and I said Yes. Then, too, the inconsistency of the dress and behaviour of the man with an August 21afternoon at Versailles struck me. We had only this one conversation about the two men. Nothing else passed between us in Paris.

It was not till three months later, when I was staying with her, that Miss Morison casually mentioned the lady, and almost refused to believe that I had not seen her. How that happened was quite inexplicable to me, for I believed myself to be looking about on all sides, and it was not so much that I did not remember her as that I could have said no one was there. But as she said it I remembered my impression at the moment of there being more people than I could see, though I did not tell her this.

The same evening, November 10th, 1901, I returned to my school near London. Curiously enough, the next morning I had to give one of a set of lessons on the French Revolution for the Higher Certificate, and it struck me for the first time with great interest that the 10th of August had a special significance in French history, and that we had been at Trianon on the anniversary of the day.

That evening when I was preparing to write down my experiences, a French friend whose 22home was in Paris came into my room, and I asked her, just on the chance, if she knew any story about the haunting of the Petit Trianon. (I had not mentioned our story to her before, nor indeed to anyone.) She said directly that she remembered hearing from friends at Versailles that on a certain day in August Marie Antoinette is regularly seen sitting outside the garden front at the Petit Trianon, with a light flapping hat and a pink dress. More than this, that the place, especially the farm, the garden, and the path by the water, are peopled with those who used to be with her there; in fact that all the occupations and amusements reproduce themselves there for a day and a night. I then told her our story, and when I quoted the words that the man spoke to us, and imitated as well as I could his accent, she immediately said that it was the Austrian pronunciation of French. I had privately thought that he spoke old[4] French. Immediately afterwards I wrote and told this to Miss Morison.

F. L.
November, 1901.

23On receiving Miss Lamont’s letter I turned to my diary to see on what Saturday in August it was that we had visited Versailles, and looked up the history to find out to what event she alluded. On August 10th, 1792, the Tuileries was sacked. The royal family escaped in the early morning to the Hall of the Assembly, where they were penned up for many hours hearing themselves deposed, and within sound of the massacre of their servants and of the Swiss guards at the Tuileries. From the Hall the King and Queen were taken to the Temple.

We wondered whether we had inadvertently entered within an act of the Queen’s memory when alive, and whether this explained our curious sensation of being completely shut in and oppressed. What more likely, we thought, than that during those hours in the Hall of the Assembly, or in the Conciergerie, she had gone back in such vivid memory to other Augusts spent at Trianon that some impress of 24it was imparted to the place? Some pictures which were shown to me proved that the outdoor dress of the gentlemen at Court had been a large hat and cloak, and that the ladies wore long-waisted bodices, with full gathered short skirts, fichus, and hats.

I told the story to my brother, and we heartily agreed that, as a rule, such stories made no impression at all upon us, because we always believed that, if only the persons involved would take the trouble to investigate them thoroughly and honestly for themselves, they could be quite naturally explained. We agreed that such a story as ours had very little value without more proof of reality than it had, but that as there were one or two interesting points in it, it would be best to sift the matter quietly, lest others should make more of them than they deserved. He suggested lightly and in fun that perhaps we had seen the Queen as she thought of herself, and that it would be interesting to know whether the dress described was the one she had on at the time of her rêverie, or whether it was one she recollected having worn at an earlier date. My brother also enquired whether we were quite sure that 25the last man we had seen (who came out of the side building), as well as the wedding party, were all real persons. I assured him with great amusement that we had not the smallest doubt as to the reality of them all.

As Miss Lamont was going to Paris for the Christmas holidays, I wrote and asked her to take any opportunity she might have to see the place again, and to make a plan of the paths and the buildings; for the guide books spoke of the Temple de l’Amour and the Belvédère, and I thought one of them might prove to be our kiosk.

E. M.

Miss Lamont’s Account of her Second Visit to the Petit Trianon

January, 1902

On January 2nd, 1902, I went for the second time to Versailles. It was a cold and wet day, but I was anxious not to be deterred by that, as it was likely to be my only possible day that winter. This time I drove straight to the Petit Trianon, passing the Grand Trianon. Here I could see the path up which we had walked in August. I went, however, to the regular entrance, thinking I would go at once to the Temple de l’Amour, even if I had time to go no further. To the right of the cour d’honneur was a door in the wall; it led to the Hameau de la Reine and to the gardens. I took this path and came to the Temple de l’Amour, which was not the building we had passed in the summer. There was, so far, none of the eerie feeling we had experienced in August. But, on crossing a bridge to go to the Hameau, 27the old feeling returned in full force; it was as if I had crossed a line and was suddenly in a circle of influence. To the left I saw a tract of park-like ground, the trees bare and very scanty. I noticed a cart being filled with sticks by two labourers, and thought I could go to them for directions if I lost my way. The men wore tunics and capes with pointed hoods of bright colours, a sort of terra-cotta red and deep blue.[5] I turned aside for an instant—not more—to look at the Hameau, and when I looked back men and cart were completely out of sight, and this surprised me, as I could see a long way in every direction. And though I had seen the men in the act of loading the cart with sticks, I could not see any trace of them on the ground either at the time or afterwards. I did not, however, dwell upon any part of the incident, but went on to the Hameau. The houses were all built near a sheet of water, and the old oppressive feeling of the last year was noticeable, especially under the balcony of the Maison de la Reine, and near a window in what I afterwards found to be the Laiterie. 28I really felt a great reluctance to go near the window or look in, and when I did so I found it shuttered inside.

Coming away from the Hameau I at last reached a building, which I knew from my plan to be the smaller Orangerie; then, meaning to go to the Belvédère, I turned back by mistake into the park and found myself in a wood, so thick that though I had turned towards the Hameau I could not see it. Before I entered I looked across an open space towards a belt of trees to the left of the Hameau some way off, and noticed a man, cloaked like those we had seen before, slip swiftly through the line of trees. The smoothness of his movement attracted my attention.

I was puzzling my way among the maze of paths in the wood when I heard a rustling behind me which made me wonder why people in silk dresses came out on such a wet day; and I said to myself, “just like French people.” I turned sharply round to see who they were, but saw no one, and then, all in a moment, I had the same feeling as by the terrace in the summer, only in a much greater degree; it was as though I were closed in by a group of people 29who already filled the path, coming from behind and passing me. At one moment there seemed really no room for me. I heard some women’s voices talking French, and caught the words “Monsieur et Madame” said close to my ear. The crowd got scarce and drifted away, and then faint music as of a band, not far off, was audible. It was playing very light music with a good deal of repetition in it. Both voices and music were diminished in tone, as in a phonograph, unnaturally. The pitch of the band was lower than usual. The sounds were intermittent, and once more I felt the swish of a dress close by me.

I looked at the map which I had with me, but whenever I settled which path to take I felt impelled to go by another. After turning backwards and forwards many times I at last found myself back at the Orangerie, and was overtaken by a gardener.[6] I asked him where I should find the Queen’s grotto, that had been 30mentioned in De Nolhac’s book which I had procured while in Paris. He told me to follow the path I was on, and, in answer to a question, said that I must pass the Belvédère, adding that it was quite impossible to find one’s way about the park unless one had been brought up in the place, and so used to it that “personne ne pourrait vous tromper.” The expression specially impressed me because of the experience I had just had in the wood. He pointed out the way and left me. The path led past the Belvédère, which I took for granted was the building we had seen in August, for coming upon it from behind, all the water was hidden from me. I made my way from there to the French garden without noticing the paths I took.

On my return to Versailles I made careful enquiries as to whether the band had been playing there that day, but was told that though it was the usual day of the week, it had not played because it had played the day before, being New Year’s Day.

I told my French friends of my walk, and they said that there was a tradition of Marie Antoinette having been seen making butter within the 31Laiterie, and for that reason it was shuttered. A second tradition they mentioned interested me very much. It was that on October 5th, 1789—which was the last day on which Marie Antoinette went to Trianon—she was sitting there in her grotto, and saw a page running towards her, bringing the letter from the minister at the palace to say that the mob from Paris would be at the gates in an hour’s time. The story went on that she impulsively proposed walking straight back to the palace by the short cut through the trees. He would not allow it: but begged her to go to the “maison” to wait whilst he fetched the carriage by which she was generally conveyed back through the park, and that he ran off to order it.

F. L.
January, 1902.


During the next two years very little occurred to throw light on the story. The person living in Versailles to whom we had been directed as having related the tradition of the Queen’s being at Trianon on October 5th, 1789, was unable to remember anything at all about it. The photographs of the Belvédère made it clear that it was not identical with the kiosk. On the many occasions on which Miss Lamont went to the Trianon she could never again find the places,—not even the wood in which she had been. She assured me that the place was entirely different; the distances were much less than we had imagined; and the ground was so bare that the house and the Hameau were in full view of one another; and that there was nothing unnatural about the trees.

Miss Lamont brought back from Paris La Reine Marie Antoinette, by M. de Nolhac, and Le Petit Trianon, by Desjardins. We 33noted that M. de Nolhac related the traditional story of the Queen’s visit, and that the Comte de Vaudreuil, who betrayed the Queen by inviting her to the fatal acting of the “Barbier de Séville” in her own theatre at Trianon, was a Creole and marked by smallpox (pages 61, 212). Turning over the pages of Desjardins I found Wertmüller’s portrait of the Queen, and exclaimed that it was the first of all the pictures I had seen which at all brought back the face of the lady. Some weeks later I found this passage: “Ce tableau fut assez mal accueilli des critiques contemporains qui le trouvèrent froid, sans majesté, sans grace. Pour la posterité, au contraire, il a le plus grand mérite; celui de la ressemblance. Au dire de Madame Campan, il n’existe de bon portrait de la reine que cette toile de Wertmüller et celle que Madame Lebrun peignit en 1787” (page 282).

In January, 1904, Miss Lamont went to the Comédie Française to see the “Barbier de Séville,” and noticed that the Alguazils standing round were dressed exactly like our garden officials, but had red stockings added. This was interesting, as the Comédie Française 34is the descendant of the Royal Private Theatre, and the old royal liveries worn by the subordinate actors (who were, in earlier times, the royal servants) are carefully reproduced at it. Also, she reported, that Almaviva was dressed in a dark cloak and a large Spanish hat, which was said to be the outdoor dress of French gentlemen of the period.

E. M.

35On Monday, July 4th, 1904, Miss Lamont and I went to the Trianon, this being my second visit. We were accompanied by Mademoiselle ——, who had not heard our story. On the Saturday of the same week (July 9th) we went again unaccompanied.

Both days were brilliant and hot. On both occasions the dust, glare, trams, and comers and goers, were entirely different from the quietness and solitude of our visit in 1901. We went up the lane as at the first time and turned to the right on reaching the building, which we had now learnt to call the logement des corps de gardes. From this point everything was changed. The old wall facing us had gates, but they were closed, and the one through which we had seen the drive passing through a grove of trees seemed to have been closed for a very long time. We came directly to the gardener’s house, which was quite different in appearance from the cottage described by Miss Lamont in 1901, 36in front of which she saw the woman and the girl. Beyond the gardener’s house was a parterre with flower-beds, and a smooth lawn of many years’ careful tendance. It did not seem to be the place where we had met the garden officials.

We spent a long time looking for the old paths. Not only was there no trace of them, but the distances were contracted, and all was on a smaller scale than I recollected. The kiosk was gone; so was the ravine and the little cascade which had fallen from a height above our heads, and the little bridge over the ravine was, of course, gone too. The large bridge with the rocher over it, crossing one side of the lake at the foot of the Belvédère, had no resemblance to it. The trees were quite natural, and seemed to have been a good deal cleared out, making that part of the garden much less wooded and picturesque.

The English garden in front of the house was not shaded by many trees; and we could see the house and the hameau from almost every point. Instead of a much shaded rough meadow continuing up to the wall of the terrace, there is now a broad 37gravel sweep beneath it, and the trees on the grass are gone. Exactly where the lady was sitting we found a large spreading bush of, apparently, many years’ growth. We did not recognise the present staircase, which leads up to the north-west end of the terrace, nor the extension of wall round which one has now to go in order to reach the staircase. We thought that we went up to the terrace from some point nearer to the house from the English garden. The present exit from the French garden to the avenue was not so near the house as we expected, nor was it so broad as we remembered it.

To add to the impossibility of recalling our first visit, in every corner we came across groups of noisy merry people walking or sitting in the shade. Garden seats placed everywhere, and stalls for fruit and lemonade took away from any idea of desolation. The common-place, unhistorical atmosphere was totally inconsistent with the air of silent mystery by which we had been so much oppressed. Though for several years Miss Lamont had assured me of the change, I had not expected such complete disillusionment.

38One thing struck me greatly—people went wherever they liked, and no one would think of interfering to show the way, or to prevent anyone from going in any direction. We searched the place at our pleasure.

We went to the Hameau, following the path taken by Miss Lamont on January 2, 1902. We tried to find the thick wood in which she had lost her way, but there was nothing like it, and such paths as there are now are perfectly visible from one another, even in summer. We asked a gardener sweeping one of the paths whether that part of the grounds had ever been a thick wood. He said he believed that it had been, but could give us no date beyond the fact that it was before his time—more than twenty years ago.

On our return to Versailles, we went into a bookseller’s shop and asked if he had any maps or views of the Petit Trianon as it had been in old days. He showed us a picture (which he would not part with) of the Jeu de Bague. We saw at once that the central building had some likeness to the kiosk, but the surrounding part was not like, and its position was unsuitable for our 39purpose. We enquired about the green uniforms of the garden officials, and he emphatically denied their existence. He said that “green was one of the colours of the royal liveries,” and when we answered that three years before persons in long green coats had directed us in the grounds, he spoke of it as “impossible, unless (he added) they were masqueraders.” One of the gardiens of the Palace also told us that “green was a royal livery and that now only the President had the right to use it on certain occasions.”

We asked how long the gardens had been thrown open to the public and people allowed to wander everywhere, and were told that “it had been so for years,” and this evidently implied a great many years.

The result of this visit was to make us take a graver view of the two first visits, and we resolved to look into the matter as carefully as we could, and to be entirely silent about the change of scenery until we had explained it somewhat to ourselves. After some years, and in spite of various false leads, we have been able to put together some very interesting facts. The 40details of the search are recorded in a book which, to us, goes by the name of the Green Book. It contains the original papers written in 1901, the history of the gradual accumulation of information, correspondence with one another and also with others on the subject, the accounts written by one or two friends who have helped us at different times, also pictures, maps, and lists of books consulted, and the account of curious incidents which took place during the search.

E. M.
F. L.


The Plough

The first incident in our expedition to Trianon in 1901 was that, after passing the logement des corps de gardes, a small hand plough was seen by Miss Lamont lying on the ground not far from some wide open gates in an old wall opposite to us, through which we could see the stems of a grove of trees, and a drive leading through it.

In 1905 Miss Lamont was told by a gardener that no plough was kept at Trianon; there was no need of one, as the government only required the lawns, walks, water, trees, and flowers, to be kept up.

In 1908 another gardener told us both that ploughs have entirely altered in character since 42the Revolution, and it was not likely that the old type would be seen anywhere in France now.

It would seem that no plough was used ordinarily at Trianon even in old days, for amongst a list of tools bought for the gardeners from 1780–1789, there is no mention of a plough.[7]

We learned, in 1905, from Desjardins’ book, that throughout the reign of Louis XVI. an old plough used in his predecessor’s reign had been preserved at the Petit Trianon and sold with the king’s other properties during the Revolution.[8]

A picture of this identical plough, procured in 1907, showed that it had handles like the one seen in 1901, but the cutting part was hidden in the ground and could not be compared.[9]

In the old map of 1783 there is ploughed land where later the Hameau was built and the sheet of water placed: but there is none in the later maps, nor any now to be seen in the grounds.


The Guards

The second event was our meeting with two dignified, thoughtful-looking officials, dressed in long green coats and three-cornered hats, holding something in their hands which Miss Lamont wrote of in 1901 as possibly being staves. In response to our enquiry for the Petit Trianon they coldly directed us forward.

There are no officials so dressed at Trianon now. At present they wear black, with tricolour rosettes in their hats; in summer they have white trousers.

In 1904 we were told by fully-informed persons at Versailles that it was “impossible” that we should have seen such uniforms, “unless they were worn by masqueraders,” for green was a royal livery, and no one wore it now at Trianon.

Supposing them to have been masqueraders, the dress may have been that of gardes de la porte. The ceremonial overdress of the gardes de la porte, as was that of part of the gardes du corps (gardes de la Manche), was green, with gold and silver embroidery and red stockings: 45they carried halberds.[10] But the officers had galon instead of embroidery, and no red stockings: they carried an ebony cane with an ivory ball.[11]

The livery of the Comte d’Artois, who was colonel-général of the gardes Suisses was green; and those of the gardes du corps and Suisses who were in his service had green uniforms.[12]

There is evidence of a much quieter dress without even galon, called the “petite livrée,” which was probably green, as it was worn by the Suisses, piqueurs, gardes de la porte, and the garçons jardiniers.[13] The traditional dress of those royal servants who filled the minor parts in the Royal Theatre at Versailles is still to be seen at the acting of the Barbier de Séville in the Comédie Française, which is the descendant of the Royal Theatre. This dress (except for the added red stockings) is the same as the one we saw in 1901.

In 1908 we learned that the porte du jardinier at the Petit Trianon was always guarded 46‘dans le temps,’ and that on October 5th, 1789, the guards were two of the three Bersy brothers who, with Bréval, were generally on duty whenever the Queen was in residence at Trianon. From their writing and spelling they were evidently well educated.[14] In 1910 we found that they had the title of garçons jardiniers de la Chambre, and they are said to have been stationed in “la pepinière proche la maison.” The most ancient pepinière was close to the gardener’s house.

Cottage, Woman, and Girl

Whilst speaking to the two men, Miss Lamont observed on her right hand a solidly-built cottage with stone steps, on which a woman in old-fashioned dress was standing, handing something to a girl of about 13 or 14, who wore a white cap and skirts nearly reaching to her ankles.

In 1904, Miss Lamont saw a picture resembling this cottage in its general appearance in the Album de Trianon at the Bibliothèque nationale. In 1908, she and a friend discovered 47such a cottage (more than one) within the gates which were not far from the place where she had seen the plough. These cottages were not in the right position for our experience in 1901, but the type was the same.

In 1907 we discovered from the map of 1783 that there was a building, not now in existence, placed against the wall (outside) of the gardener’s yard between the ruelle and the porte du jardinier; if our original route lay through this yard to the English garden, this building would be exactly in the right place for Miss Lamont’s cottage.

In September, 1910, we saw from marks on this wall that a building might have stood here; for the cornice of the wall is broken into, and there seems to be a perpendicular line from it to the ground visible through the plaster. A photograph shows this.

If the girl seen should be the “Marion” of Madame Julie Lavergne’s story (first read in 1906), she would have been 14 years old in 1789, and her mother was then alive. Her father’s house would have been near the reservoir and not within the locked gates of any enclosure, for she let herself out at night by 48an open window.[15] All this would suit the position of the building in the map.

The Kiosk

On our entrance into the English garden in 1901, we found our path crossed by another, beyond which, in front of us but rather to the left hand, stood a small circular building having pillars and a low surrounding wall. It was on rough uneven ground, and was overshadowed by trees.

Repeated searches during seven years by ourselves and others have failed to discover this building.

In September, 1908, Miss Lamont found in the archives a paper (without signature or date) giving the estimate for a “ruine” having seven Ionic columns, walls, and a dome roof. (A “ruine” seems only to mean a copy of an older building.) If the walls of this building were low it would correspond in appearance with our recollection of the kiosk. This “ruine” is said to have formed a “naissance de la rivière,” suggesting its position above the small 49lake which fed the principal river.[16] A piece of old water pipe is still to be seen on the north-western side of the small lake.

If this “ruine” and two others of those alluded to in the archives were one and the same, there is additional reason for placing the columned building in this part of the garden. I. In 1788 it is stated that rocks were placed at intervals on a path leading from “la ruine” to the “2ième source du ravin” beyond the wooden bridge.[17] Desjardins considers one of the “sources” to have been close to the theatre which was at our right hand; this might have been the second spring.[18] II. Mique states that in 1780 he placed a small architectural “ruine” above the grotto. A note in the archives, dated 1777, speaks of the “porte d’entrée au bout du grotte.”[19] If, as we believe, we had just passed out of the gardener’s yard by this “porte d’entrée” we should have been close to the earliest placed grotto.

In 1909 two old maps were procured from Paris; in one, dated 1840(?), there is something which may indicate a small round building 50placed on the rocher behind the Belvédère. The other map was reproduced from an old one of 1705, but added to until a railway appears in it. In this map below the name “pavillon de musique” (the Belvédère) is the name “Le Kiosque.” It does not seem likely that a second name for the Belvédère should be given, and it may therefore refer to something else which does not appear in this map. Therefore the mere chance name which from the first moment we gave to our building was justified by there having been something called by that name exactly in that part of the garden.

In 1910 we looked out this name in the best etymological French dictionary and found that it was admitted to the French Academy in 1762, as “pavillon ouvert de tous côtés”: and defined by Thévenot (contemporary) as “kioch ou divan qui est maintenu de huit grosses colonnes.”

The Man by the Kiosk

On our first visit a dark-complexioned man, marked by smallpox, was sitting close to the kiosk; he wore a large dark cloak and a slouch hat.

51Though we were assured in 1908 by a very good authority, that no gentleman now living at Versailles would wear a large cloak either in winter or summer, there might be nothing surprising in what we saw if the kiosk could be found. But considering that it is gone, it is historically interesting that we discovered in 1904 that there is one man in the story of Trianon who exactly suits the description.

Most of the intimate accounts of the period say that the Comte de Vaudreuil was a Creole and marked by smallpox.[20] He was at one time one of the Queen’s innermost circle of friends, but acted an enemy’s part in persuading her to gain the King’s permission for the acting of the politically dangerous play of Le Mariage de Figaro. The King had long refused to allow it, saying that it would cause the Bastille to be taken. The earlier version of the same play, Le Barbier de Séville,[21] was last acted at 52Trianon (August 19th, 1785), just at the beginning of the diamond necklace episode, when Vaudreuil took the part of Almaviva and was dressed for it in a large dark cloak and Spanish hat.

In 1908 we found out from Madame Éloffe’s Journal (the Queen’s modiste) that in 1789 the broad-brimmed hat had entirely displaced the three-cornered hat, and was generally fashionable; also that swords were no longer generally worn.[22]

Vaudreuil left the court of France amongst the first party of émigrés after the taking of the Bastille, July, 1789.

The Running Man

Though we were surprised when the second man, also dressed in a large cloak and hat, ran up to us and with extreme earnestness directed us to go to the right rather than to the left, yet we merely thought his manner very French; and as he said in the course of a rather long unintelligible sentence “cherchez la maison,” we imagined that he understood that we were looking for the house, and followed his direction. We noticed that he stood in front of a rock and seemed to come “either over, round, or through it.”


54The following year (1902), we learned that there was a tradition that on October 5th, 1789, a messenger was sent to Trianon to warn the Queen of the approach of the mob from Paris: that she wished to walk back to the Palace by the most direct route, but the messenger begged her to wait at the house whilst he fetched the carriage, as it was safer to drive back as usual by the broad roads of the park.

A local tradition affirming this has been embodied by Madame Julie Lavergne in a volume entitled (unfortunately for historical purposes) Légendes de Trianon. This particular scene in the story, called “La Dernière Rose,” interested us greatly, for it seemed to come from an eye-witness and recalled many of the points of our vision. The Queen, it is said, had been walking with and talking to Marion (the daughter of an under-gardener) before going to her favourite grotto. After remaining there some time, and on growing alarmed at her own sad thoughts, the Queen called to 55Marion and was surprised to see, instead of the girl, a “garçon de la Chambre” suddenly appear, trembling in all his limbs. After reading the letter brought to her from the Minister at the Palace, the Queen desired him to order the carriage and to let Madame de Tourzel know. The messenger bowed (as our man had done), and once out of sight, ran off at full speed. The Queen followed him to the house.[23]

Enquiries through the publisher, in 1907, as to Madame Lavergne’s sources of information, elicited the fact that her informant as to every detail of that scene had been Marion herself. This Marion, the Légendes tell us, afterwards married M. Charpentier, an under-gardener, known in 1789 by the name of “Jean de l’Eau,” on account of his bringing water daily from Ville d’Avray for the Queen’s table. He afterwards became jardinier en chef, being appointed in 1805 by Napoleon in succession to Antoine Richard.[24]

The name “Charpantier” appears in 1786 amongst the “ouvriers terrassiers,” who clear 56up sticks and leaves, plant flowers, and rake.[25]

In 1783, “Mariamne” received wages for picking up leaves in the Trianon grounds;[26] this is quite possible, as children are said to have been used for that work, and the absence of surname suggests that she was the daughter of one of the gardeners.

The marriage certificate of Alexandre Charpentier, in 1823, gives his father’s name as Louis Toussaint Charpentier, and his mother’s name as Marie Anne Lemaignan. The marriage certificate of these persons (from which we should have learnt their age) is said to have been destroyed.[27]

In the wages book the names of two “Lemonguin” (elder and younger) appear; also “Magny,” but not, so far as has been discovered, Lemaignan.[28] If this Marie Anne Charpentier was 21 years old at her son’s birth (November, 1796), she would have been eight years old in 1783, and 14 in 1789. This would suit 57the “Mariamne” of the Archives, Madame Lavergne’s story, and the girl seen by Miss Lamont.

Two more points show the faithfulness of “Marion’s” account of that scene. Madame Lavergne (quoting her) says that “pale rays of autumn sunshine lighted up the faded flowers.” It must, therefore, have been fairly fine; and in the wages book it appears that on October 5th, 1789, all the gardeners were at work in the grounds, and it is stated that on wet days they worked under cover, sometimes clearing out the passages of the house.[29] Secondly, she says that the Queen sat at the entrance of her grotto, where fallen leaves choked the course of the “ruisseau.” From entries of payment it appears that the streams were cleared of dead leaves on October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1789, but not on the 4th or 5th, or ever again.[30] It is exactly a point which Marion would have noticed.

Madame Lavergne lived at Versailles from 1838 till her marriage in 1844, at which time Marion would have been 69; and as we believe that Alexandre Charpentier was head gardener 58at the Petit Trianon for over fifty years, his mother would have been easily accessible to Madame Lavergne during her repeated visits to Trianon, even after her marriage. Her father, M. Georges Ozanneaux, was a personal friend of Louis Philippe, and was constantly about in the royal palaces.[31]

It is necessary to speak of the grotto; for Madame Campan says that the Queen “était assise dans sa grotte ... lorsqu’elle reçut un mot d’écrit ... qui la suppliait de rentrer à Versailles.[32] Madame Lavergne says “Marion se dirigea vers le parterre des rosiers, et la Reine alla s’asseoir à l’entrée de sa grotte favorite, auprès de la petite source. Les feuilles jaunies tombées des arbres couvraient la terre et obstruaient le cours du ruisseau.... Le murmure de la petite cascade qui arrose l’intérieur de la grotte, retentissait seul dans le bosquet.... Effrayée d’être seule, elle appela Marion; mais, au lieu de la jeune fille, un garçon de la Chambre ... parut, une lettre à la main.[33] The Queen cannot, therefore, 59have been many steps away from the grotto, at one end or the other, when the messenger came to her.

In 1908 we asked to be shown this grotto, and we were taken to one on the further side of the Belvédère, near the hill called l’Escargot, which was formed in 1781. We felt sure that this could not have been either of the two grottos spoken of in the archives.

In 1777 the end of one grotto is mentioned as being near the porte d’entrée, “à la cloison de la porte d’entrée du jardin au bout du grotte trois pottereaux et deux traverses.”[34]

In 1777 there was a “projet d’un pont et chutte en rocher, avec parapet.” This was probably a bridge (the Vergelay bridge?) over the principal river where it issued from the larger lake. The river was made at this time.[35]

In June, 1780, a new “petite rivière” was planned to receive the water drained from the “ravin de la grotte,” and to conduct it into the larger lake. For this purpose a new grotto was made of a “forme ovale, ornée en glaçon,” through which the “petite rivière” was to run. A “ravin du petit pont” was also planned.[36]

60In August, 1780, masses of rock were procured, and the “petite rivière” was begun, and also a hill was thrown up “pour couvrir la grotte.[37]

In September, 1780, “Bourdin a passé la journée ... à poser le deuxième pont venant du coté de la grotte.[38] This second bridge was probably the present Rocher bridge, being the second placed over the lakes. Neither of these two bridges would be the “pont de bois,”[39] and “la conduitte en bois,”[40] two descriptions of, and identical with, the one alluded to in the words “ravin du petit pont,” which was said to have been erected on high ground “au dessus du Rocher du Ravin.”[41]

In December, 1780, the work was finished: “Conduitte de l’exécution de la grotte, petite rivière, et chutte d’eau retombante dans le grand lac, autre petits ravins dans la montagne près du grand lac à la fin de la petite rivière de la grotte.[42]

61In 1781 a “montagne” was made “en face du jardin français—en face de la comédie.[43]

In March and April, 1781, a hill called “l’Escargot” was piled up[44]—beyond the Belvédère—and, presumably, a third and very small grotto was made. The creation of the Escargot hill would have made the “ravin” on the north side of the Belvédère, which is still visible, and leads to the greater lake.

There are several reasons why we think that the Queen’s grotto (the second made) was on the theatre side of the Belvédère.

1. D’Hezecques’ description of it in 1789 shows that, though a “ruisseau” passed through it, persons could go freely out at both ends;[45] whereas when water was passing down through the upper entrance of the “escargot” grotto, no one could have used it at the same time: there is only room for the water.

2. He speaks of the “prairie” being visible from “une crevasse, qui s’ouvrait à la tête du lit”; this would have been possible from a grotto on the theatre side, but not on the other, as the “escargot” hill would have been in the way.


633. D’Hezecques describes a staircase which “conduisait au sommet de la roche,” enabling persons to leave hurriedly. There is something like an ancient rock staircase attached to the back of the large rock, giving the name to the Rocher bridge.

4. He says that the grotto was very dark on first entering, and L’Espinasse’s picture of the Belvédère in 1783 shows the opening to a cavern on its southern side close to the Rocher bridge,[46] which could be truly described as “venant du coté de la grotte.” Could the rock out of which the cavernous mouth was cut have been lifted over the long bridge at some later time? for in L’Espinasse’s picture there is no such rock over the bridge as there is now, and the cavern has disappeared.

5. The map of 1783 represents (according to Desjardins) “le projet de Mique complètement exécuté.” In it the figure (5) (indicating the grotto) occurs both at the “escargot” and also on the theatre side of the Belvédère.

In September, 1910, Miss Lamont was asked whether she had seen a map of the place recently placed in the front hall of the Petit 64Trianon, and she said No. On going there she found the map, which had not been there at any of her former visits, and saw that the grottos were put, as far as she could judge, just where we had long ago, through elaborate personal research, decided must be their real position. She could only make this out by standing on the table amongst the books and photographs, the map being hung too high to be easily seen.

Several further points of interest have emerged in connection with the running man.

1. In April, 1908, we learned that our being directed at all in the grounds was unusual, for since September, 1870, they have been thrown open until dark. The difficulty now experienced is to find a guide.

2. He spoke of the “maison.” In 1907 we found out that the Queen was in the habit of calling the Petit Trianon “ma maison de Trianon,” to distinguish it from the Palace and the Chateau.[47] Louis XVI. had presented it to Marie Antoinette on his accession.

653. The Queen is reported by Marion to have addressed the messenger as “Breton.”[48] This was not an uncommon name about the court and old Versailles. The court almanack for 1783 shows that then the Queen had a Page “de l’Écurie,” called “De Bretagne.” (The Pages de la Chambre sometimes became “de l’Écurie” before receiving a commission or some other office.[49]) He is not mentioned in the almanack of 1789, but (as we know from other instances) it does not follow necessarily that he had no office in the household. Madame Éloffe (the Queen’s modiste) mentions a Mademoiselle Breton amongst the Queen’s women, who does not appear in the almanack.[50]

If “De Bretagne” was 16 years old in 1783, he would have been 22 in 1789,—just in the fresh young vigour suitable to our running man.

The name “Breton” may have referred to his nationality only, for in November, 1907, we discovered that the accent in which the man spoke to us resembled the Breton accent, 66in which the consonants are strengthened and the diphthongs broadened.

In the autumn of 1909 we read the Baron de Frénilly’s Souvenirs, in which it is stated that wigs were universally worn by gentlemen in French society up till 1787. After that date powdered hair became the general usage; the first person (M. de Valence) who ventured to appear with unpowdered hair did so, apparently, in 1788, after which it became a mark of extreme fashion.[51]

The same was the case with buckled shoes. Gold, silver, stones, and rosettes had been required for a gentleman’s dress ornaments; but after the commercial treaty with England in 1786, steel was used for everything. Buckled shoes are expressly mentioned as being very fashionable in 1789, and there was, at that time, a rage for steel ornaments.[52]

Bridge over Little Cascade

Following the man’s direction, we turned to the right and walked over a small rustic bridge which crossed a tiny waterfall coming from 67above us, on our right hand, and flowing in front of a little rocky cliff with ferns growing in the crevices. The water seemed to have formed a steep narrow little ravine, which shelved away below us to a little glimmering pool.

Neither bridge, nor cascade, nor ravine can be found, or anything suggesting them. In 1905 the person in charge at the house assured Miss Lamont that there never had been more than one cascade, meaning the rush of water under the Rocher bridge. The Rocher bridge is certainly not the one we crossed, which was high above the level of the lakes.

In 1907 we bought Souvenirs d’un Page by the Comte D’Hezecques. He says: “En face du chateau, une pelouse ... se terminait par une roche ombragée de pins, de thuyas, de mélèzes, et surmontée d’un pont rustique, comme on en rencontre dans les montagnes de la Suisse et les précipices du Valais. Cette perspective agreste et sauvage rendait plus douce celle ... de la troisième façade du chateau.”[53]

He also speaks of water passing through the moss-lined grotto, which, according to our idea, 68must have been below us, but close by on our right hand.[54] Madame Lavergne writes of the “petite cascade” and of the sound of it in the grotto.[55]

In April, 1908, extracts from Mique’s accounts and plans for the Trianon grounds were procured from the archives, giving the history of the grottos. “Juin 4, 1780, fait un model en terre du ravin du petit pont.”[56] “1788, Pièce au dessus du Rocher du Ravin et ... passage des voitures sur le pont de bois ... Pièce à droite en face du Rocher du Ravin.”[57] “Au long du chemin de l’emplacement de la Ruine sur la conduitte en bois à la deuxième source du Ravin.”[58] The first source was probably close to the “Ruine” (our kiosk?). The second “source” might coincide with Desjardins’ “source,” which he places a few steps from the poulaillers,[59] and was probably meant to feed the “petite rivière,” which passed through the Queen’s grotto, carrying off the water from the stagnant pool between the grottos to the larger lake.[60] That would exactly agree with the 69position of our little cascade, small bridge, and glimmering pool.

In April, 1908, an old MS. map was found amongst such archive papers as relate to the grottos, showing a small bridge in the right position relatively to the lakes, the Rocher bridge, and the place where we believe the Queen’s grotto to have been.

Isolated Rock

In 1908 we found a mass of rocks standing in the dry bed of the small lake. On one rock covered with ivy were two full-grown pine trees. It seems unlikely that the trees should have originally been in the small circular basin of water.

D’Hezecques says that thuya and pine trees were planted high up over the grotto to give it the appearance of a Swiss mountain.[61] The grotto was destroyed about 1792, and it is possible that some of the rocks covering it were displaced and allowed to slip into the lake below, and that the present pine trees may have been seedlings at the time, for we are 70told that the life of a pine tree is from 100 to 200 years old.

In 1908 we noticed that at one side of this ivy-covered rock were peculiar projections; one of these was broken off short, but the other was intact. We thought they might once have formed supports for a small bridge.

Rocks are said to have been placed in 1788 at the “montagne des Pins à gauche et en montant au Rocher.” “Montagne des Pins à droite en montant au Rocher.[62]

In January, 1791, trees were torn up from the montagnes.

In February, March, April, 1792, every few days occurs the entry: “Journée à arracher les Thuja sur les montagnes.”[63]

According to the old picture by L’Espinasse (1783), there was nothing over the low long bridge between the two lakes, but there was by the side of it, just where the grotto would have ended, a cavern in a rock.[64] This is no longer there; but possibly the face of rock with the cavern-like opening may have been lifted over the bridge, and account for the very peculiar 71rock which is at present above the bridge, causing it to be called the Rocher bridge. A rough rock staircase which has no meaning is attached to this rock behind. D’Hezecques speaks of a staircase as having been within the grotto leading up to its entrance on the high ground on the montagnes—has it been moved to the lower end of the grotto?

There is now no isolated rock standing up as we saw it behind the running man;—only mounds covered with shrubs and trees. But in the archives there is a note saying that in 1788 rocks were placed in various parts, and one is especially mentioned, “pièce donnant au bord du lac de l’ancien côté des rochers ... au long du chemin de l’emplacement de la Ruine sur la conduitte en bois à la deuxième source du Ravin.”[65] This would have been the path we were on in 1901.


It is easy to suppose that between the years 1901–4 trees were cleared away from the rough ground on the north side of the house, which in 721901 had given it the look of an orchard. So much was this the case that the lady sitting under the north terrace was thought to be making a study of tree stems; for she was looking into trees, and she held a large paper in her hand, and, as we passed, held it out at arm’s length.

At present there are trees on each side of the pelouse, and one growing near the site of the old Jeu de Bague, but none growing in front of the house, and it all looks drier, brighter, and less confined than in 1901.

We have found two interesting mentions of this pelouse.

Before the new theatre was built in 1779, the old comédie stood on it for three years. When the comédie was moved it gave place to a “pelouse parsemée d’arbres.”[66]

The Lady

Nothing unusual marked the lady sitting on a low seat on the grass immediately under the north terrace. I remember recognising that 73her light-coloured skirt, white fichu, and straw hat were in the present fashion, but they struck me as rather dowdy in the general effect. She was so near us that I looked full at her, and she bent slightly forward to do the same.

I never doubted that we had both seen her, and three months after was astonished to hear that Miss Lamont had not done so. That sounds simple to others, to ourselves it is inexplicable. Miss Lamont had seen the plough, the cottage, the woman, and the girl, which I had not; but she is generally more observant than I, and there were other things to look at. At this moment there was nothing to see on the right, and merely a shady, damp-looking meadow on the left, and the lady was sitting in front of the house we had come to see, and were both eagerly studying. The lady was visible some way off; we walked side by side straight up to her, leaving her slightly on the left hand as we passed up the steps to the terrace, from whence I saw her again from behind, and noticed that her fichu had become a pale green.

The fact that she had not been seen at a moment when we were both a little exercised by our meeting with the men,—one looking so 74unpleasant, and the other so unaccountably and infectiously excited,—made a deep impression.

The legend that we heard the following winter of the Queen having been occasionally seen sitting in front of the house in the English garden, is of course incapable of proof; but three things were to us full of interest.

I. In 1902 I saw Wertmüller’s picture of the Queen, which alone of all the many portraits shown me in any way brought back the face I had seen; for the face was more square and the nose shorter. A few weeks later we read that Madame Campan considered it almost the only picture of her that was really like, though other people thought that it did not do her justice.

II. In April, 1908, we learned that there was only one time during the Queen’s tenure of the Petit Trianon when she could have seen strangers in her gardens, from which, in earlier days, the Court was entirely excluded, and to which even the King only came by invitation. For four months, after May, 1789, when the Court was carried off to Paris, the public streamed in as it liked. So many came to see the place that had been too much talked about, 75that the King and Queen had gone that summer to Marly for a little rest and quiet. That was the time when D’Hezecques, with one of the deputies, walked round and saw the grotto and the little bridge. At the time the Trianon officials must have learnt to treat strangers with cold politeness, but probably resenting the necessity. This exactly accounts for the manner of the guards at the porte du jardinier; they made no difficulty, and told us that we should find the house by going that way, but in quite an unusual manner for Frenchmen. It was mechanical and disengaged.

III. In the summer of 1908 we read the Journal of Madame Éloffe (the Queen’s modiste). She says that during the year 1789 the Queen was extremely economical, and had very few dresses made. Madame Éloffe repaired several light, washing, short skirts, and made, in July and September, two green silk bodices, besides many large white fichus. This agrees exactly with the dress seen in 1901. The skirt was not of a fresh white, but was light coloured,—slightly yellowish. The white fichu in front seemed to have an edge of green or gold, just as it would 76have appeared if the white muslin, or gauze, was over green. The colour would have shown more clearly at the back, but in front, where the white folds accumulated, the green would have been less prominent. The straight edge in front and the frill behind had often puzzled me, but in Madame Éloffe’s illustrations of the fashions at that time there are instances of the same thing. There is in the book a coloured picture of the green silk bodice, with all the measurements to enable her to fit the Queen perfectly.[67]

Jeu de Bague

As we approached the terrace at the north-west corner of the house, we had some barrier on our right hand entirely blocking the view, so that we could see nothing but the meadow on our left hand, and the house with its terrace in front.

At present the pathway which curves towards the house, and is very likely the old one, has a large bare space on the right hand with one beautiful old tree growing on the edge of it; 77and from some way off one can easily see across it to the chapel beyond the French garden. A long piece of wall extends westward from the terrace, round which one has to go into the French garden in order to find the staircase; whilst the whole length of wall, including part of the north terrace, is hidden by a large old spreading bush, completely covering the place where the lady sat.

Originally, we could not see the steps whilst on the path, but after we had passed the barrier on our right hand we found them at once without going round any wall.

The map of 1783 shows us that the Jeu de Bague (put up in 1776) once stood on what is now bare space. It was a circular building surrounded by a wooden gallery, masked by trees. This would have completely shut out the view, and the path was probably curved on its account.

In 1907, we learnt that the Queen had a passage made under the terrace from the house to the Jeu de Bague; and in 1908 we discovered the old walled-up doorway leading into the English garden behind the bush. The ground seems to have been a good deal raised 78since it was used. Four feet to the right of this door, just at the point where the top of the present staircase is reached, is a change of masonry, the rest of the wall being plastered over.

In 1910 we found that this extension of the wall was composed of rubble. Perhaps it had been added to the stone terrace in the time of Louis Philippe. If the present staircase is old, we could have reached it easily from the English garden in the absence of the wall, but if it is not old, and it is not indicated in Mique’s map, there may have been something quite different—even steps turned northward towards the English garden.

In 1910 we also learned that the bush had been planted when the Duchesse d’Orleans occupied the house.


The Chapel Man

Whilst we were standing at the south-west end of the terrace above the French garden, the door of a building at right angles to the house suddenly opened, and a young man came out and slammed the door behind him. He came to us very quickly along a level. His manner was jaunty and imperious, and he told us that the only way to the house was by the cour d’honneur. It was difficult to hear what he said. We thought at once that we were trespassing and looked for some way down from the terrace, upon which he constituted himself our guide, and with an inquisitive, amused expression, went with us a little way down the French garden, and showed us out into the avenue by a broad road.

There is much to say about this incident.

I. The man evidently did not mean us to stand on the terrace so near to the house, and forced us to move away. He was the second person that afternoon who had excitedly insisted on our going one way rather than another; but now we know that since 1870 the gardens and terraces have been made public until dark, and people walk about freely. No one has ever stopped us since, nor can we hear of anyone else who has been guided as we were.

II. In 1905 we found that the building out of which the man came was the old chapel, which is in a ruinous condition.

In 1906, Miss Lamont had leave to go into the 81chapel, which she had to enter from the avenue, there being no entrance from the garden. When inside she saw that the door out of which he had come was one leading into the royal gallery. The gallery now stands isolated high up on the north wall of the chapel. Formerly, from inside, it was reached by a door on a landing at the top of a staircase. This staircase is completely broken down, and the floor of the landing is gone, so that there is now no access to the gallery. The terrace door of the gallery is bolted, barred, and cobwebbed over from age and disuse. The guide said that the door had not been opened in the memory of any man there: not since it was used by the Court.

In April, 1907, Miss Lamont went again to the chapel, this time with two companions. Their guide then told them that the doors had not been opened to his knowledge for fifteen years, and the great door not since it was used by the court of Louis XVI. “Moi, je suis ici depuis quinze ans, et je sais que les portes ont été condamnées bien avant cela.” He added that having the sole charge of the keys, no one could have opened the doors without his knowledge, and smiled at the idea as he looked at the blocked-up old doors.

82 1783
83 1904

84In August, 1907, two other friends went to the chapel and entirely confirmed all that had been said about its ruined condition and the impossibility of the great door having been opened in 1901. Their guide told them that the big door had been Marie Antoinette’s private entrance. The gallery was still standing and had two chairs on it of gilt and old red velvet; but when they asked whether it was possible to enter it, the guide laughed and pointed to the staircase. There was no other entrance, he said, and the stairs had been in that condition for the last ten years. They thought from the look of the stairs that they had probably been so for much longer.

In September, 1910, a fifth friend went to the chapel and bore witness to the impossibility of the doors having been used in 1901, and was told that the staircase had finally broken down fifteen years before.

III. From Desjardins’ book we learned that the Queen’s concierge had been Bonnefoy du Plan. He had rooms between the chapel and the cour d’honneur and kept his stores in a loft 85over the chapel, reached by the now broken-down old staircase. The window of this attic still looks over the French garden, and from it, in old days, he would have seen anyone approaching the house from that side. The name of the suisse (the porter) in charge of the porte du perron de la chapelle in 1789 was Lagrange. His rooms were immediately behind the chapel, looking into the avenue.[68] He could easily have been sent through the chapel to interview strangers on the terrace.

IV. We did not lose sight of the man when he came to us. As it is now he must have gone quite out of sight, down one flight of steps outside the chapel door, and (after passing under a high wall) have reached the terrace (where we were standing) by a second set of steps. The present wall of the chapel courtyard is so high as to hide half the door, and a large chestnut tree in the courtyard hides it from the part of the terrace on which we were,—even in winter.

In April, 1907, we discovered that a continuous ground-floor passage from the kitchens once passed the chapel door to the house. 86This set us wondering as to whether there had ever been a pathway above it. The same year we were told that the chapel courtyard round which the passage had gone had been enlarged.

In August, 1907, two friends reported to us and photographed a mark on the outside of the courtyard wall, showing where it might at some time have been raised.

In March, 1908, another mark on the chapel was discovered, revealing that there had once been an inner wall to the courtyard, which might have been removed when the courtyard was enlarged. We also found out that the levels were so different that the passage would have been partly underground on the side of the French garden, but in the rez de chaussée in the courtyard and where it flanked the cour d’honneur. We noticed from the photographs that the bastion at the south-west corner of the house in the cour d’honneur looked older than the top part of the wall adjoining it above the chapel courtyard.

In September, 1910, permission was given to enter this courtyard; when within, it was definitely explained that above the kitchen 87passage there had been a covered way, by which the Queen could enter the chapel from the house in wet weather. The top of this covered way had been “de plain pied,” joining the bit of terrace outside the chapel door to the terrace by the house. This would have been the level way along which our man came to us.

The marks of the passage and covered way (forming the intervening piece of terrace) were perfectly clear both on the inside of the present wall and on the ground in the courtyard. The present balustrade adjoining the bastion was probably placed when the old covered way was destroyed and the outside wall was raised. It was also noticed that the round windows in the bastion lighted the lower kitchen passage; but that those facing the French garden, being on a higher level, lighted the covered way.

The guide stated that the tree in the centre of the chapel courtyard had certainly been planted after the days of the monarchy.

V. The road from the garden to the avenue (through which the man ushered us) was not far from the chapel, and was broad enough to 88admit a coach. The present one is narrower and further to the west.

In 1907, we read a note by M. de Nolhac in Les Consignes de Marie Antoinette in which he says that the old porte de la ménagerie which must have led from the avenue to the French garden is now lost, but that it must have been “tout auprès des bâtiments de la Conciergerie et des cuisines.[69] We thought that perhaps it was the one we went by, and on looking at Mique’s map of 1783 found a broad road dividing the kitchen court into two parts. At present solid continuous buildings on the two sides of the kitchen court show no sign of an entrance, though in two places the roofs have a difference of level.

In April, 1909, a Frenchman, who sold prints and seemed to be a specialist in maps, said that Mique’s map was the only authoritative one.

In September, 1910, we learned from the first authority that Mique’s map was “exact”: that the road found in it had certainly existed, and its position relatively to the pond in the French garden was explained. A search for some sign of it was at once made, and successfully. 89On the garden side, not at all far from the chapel, the jamb of an old opening still projects from the building, covered with ivy; and the stones on the ground are laid, for a space of about twelve paces, the other way from the stones on either side, evidently to make a carriage road. A large rectangular stone was lying on the ground which might either have been a step, or part of the second jamb. On the avenue side marks of an opening of some sort can be traced through the plaster with which Louis Philippe finished the buildings after restoring and also altering them. The opening would have included two present windows not far from the porte de la bouche, as the signs of it are visible on both sides of the opening, and the space between is from twelve to twenty paces.

Within the kitchen court the buildings have been so altered and plastered over that no traces of change could be found.

All the points corresponded with the recollection of the roadway through which we had passed in 1901.


Two Labourers with Cart and Horse

On her second visit, January 2nd, 1902, Miss Lamont saw, in the field near the Hameau, two labourers, in brown tunics and bright-coloured short capes, loading a cart with sticks. The capes hardly came below their shoulders and had hoods: one was bright blue and the other red.

In May, 1904, a search was made in the archives with the result that it was clear that carts and horses for the purpose of tidying the grounds were hired by the day in old times, and not kept in the farm for constant use. In January, 1789, two men, instead of the usual one (“plus un homme”), were hired “pour ramasser les loques des chenilles et les brûler.[70]

In 1906 we discovered that the tunic and short cape were worn by the bourgeoisie in the fourteenth century.

In April, 1908, we had proof that the artisans were wearing them in the eighteenth century, and that some of the working men at Trianon in 1776 had “hardes de couleur.[71]

91The entry in the wages book showed that up to 1783, from time to time “une voiture à cheval, et un conducteur,” were hired for picking up branches and sticks in the parks: but on October 4th, 1789, a cart with two horses (almost certainly requiring two men) was hired for three days for the purpose.[72]

In August, 1908, a former gardener, who had been at Trianon long enough to remember both the Charpentiers, father and son, laughed at the idea of such a dress being worn now at Trianon, as it belonged to the “ancien régime.” He assured us that carts of the present day in France had scarcely altered at all in type, and that the two now in use at Trianon (which we found in a shed at the ferme) were of the old pattern.

The Wood

Miss Lamont then went from the Hameau towards the small Orangerie. Whilst on the ascending path she saw, on looking back, a man passing in front of, or in, a distant plantation on his way to the Hameau. He 92was dressed in the cloak and hat we had seen the previous summer.

She then descended to the low ground in front of the Belvédère and crossed one of the bridges over the principal river (not the Rocher bridge, but possibly the Vergelay bridge). After going forward a little she turned, meaning to go back to the Hameau, and recrossed either the same bridge, or the next one which is very near the Vergelay. She immediately found herself in a wood of very tall trees, with such high, thick undergrowth that (even though it was winter) she could not see through it. Well-kept paths opened at intervals right and left at different angles, and they gave the impression of being so arranged as to lead round and round. She had the feeling of being in the midst of crowds passing and repassing her, and heard voices and sounds of dresses. On looking back she found the view as completely blocked as it was in front and to the sides. After vainly pursuing the confusing paths for some time, she found herself close to the hill leading to the Orangerie.

In 1904 and in 1908 we tried to find this 93wood, without results. There are open plantations, but they have no undergrowths concealing paths from one another, even in summer. Several people have gone independently to look for the wood, but have not found it.

In 1905 Miss Lamont was told by the chief authority that in this direction trees had been thinned and not replaced.

The entries in the archives indicate that there must have been woods near by in which paths were cut for the Queen; it is also likely that the older woods, such as Les Onze Arpents, are not referred to; for when these plantations were made thousands of lower shrubs were bought to be placed under the trees, which were paid for by the King.[73] In the gardeners’ wages book, the gathering up and occasional burnings of undergrowths in a wood (apparently in this part of the garden) are alluded to.[74]

In Mique’s map (1783) the wood with its diverging paths can be plainly seen. It is approached by the two bridges over the river, and stretches towards the hill on which the Orangerie stands.


The Music

Whilst in the wood Miss Lamont heard sounds of a band of violins drifting past her from the direction of the house. The sounds were very soft and intermittent, and were lower in pitch than bands of to-day. She could afterwards write down from memory about twelve bars, but without all the inner harmonies.

She ascertained immediately afterwards that no band had been playing out of doors that afternoon at Versailles. It was a cold, wet winter’s afternoon.

In March, 1907, the twelve bars were shown to a musical expert, who said (without having heard the story) that the bars could hardly belong to one another, but that the idiom dated from about 1780. He found a grammatical mistake in one bar. After hearing the story, he said that bands in the eighteenth century were lower in pitch than they are now. He suggested the name of Sacchini.

In March, 1908, Miss Lamont and a friend 95were told in Versailles that no bands had been allowed to play in the park in winter until 1907. They also ascertained that no music played at Versailles, or in the park, could have been heard at Trianon.

In the same month they searched through a great deal of unpublished music in the Conservatoire de Musique at Paris, and discovered that the twelve bars represented the chief motives of the light opera of the eighteenth century, excluding Rameau and his school, and that, as far as they could discover, nothing like them occurred in the opera of 1815 onward. They were found in Sacchini, Philidor, Monsigny, Grétry, and Pergolesi. Grammatical mistakes were found in Monsigny and Grétry.


“Dardanus.” General likeness.

Œdipe à Colone.” Number 6. Two bars intact in the key answering to that heard in 1902, allowing for the rise of a semi-tone, which had taken place since the eighteenth century. This was proved by later editions of operatic 96music, in which the songs were dropped a semi-tone to retain the original key.

Philidor in a collection of single airs (Rigaudons, 1767)—the cadence.

Le Maréchal Ferrand”: repetition of single notes, the first bar of the melody, and many other hints of likeness.

Duni. 1765. The same general characteristics, but no exact resemblance.


Le Roi et le Fermier.” Written for performance at the opening of the new theatre at the Petit Trianon, August 1, 1780, when the Queen first acted herself. Up to 1908 it had not been republished. In it the figure of the first of the twelve bars was found.

Le Déserteur.” No published edition was found after 1830. In one published before that date the last three bars of the music were found, and the melody of the first bars was assigned to the second violins, 97and very freely, in inversions and variations, in other places. The character of the accompaniment was reminding.

Thirds and sixths constantly occur in Monsigny’s music.

Grétry. The same phrases were used and the ascending passage was found. Also, hidden consecutive fifths.


Largo and Andante in D.” Similar phrases were used.

The Tall Gardener

Miss Lamont then went along the upper path, and when between the Escargot hill and the Belvédère, she met a very tall gardener of apparently great strength, with long muscular arms. She thought that with his long hair and grizzled, untidy beard and general appearance, he had the look of an Englishman rather than a Frenchman.

He was dressed in a rough knitted jersey, and a small dark blue round cap was set at the back of his head. She enquired where 98she should find the Queen’s grotto, and he walked a little way beside her to show her the way.

Miss Lamont expected to have to turn back to the present grotto, and when she remarked that they were going past the Belvédère, he replied firmly that they must go past the Belvédère, and said that it was necessary to have been born and bred in the place to know the way so that “personne ne pourrait vous tromper.

It appears that from 1870 onwards the gardeners at Trianon have been selected from the technical schools, and that it is now a matter of competition, no one being appointed simply because he was born and bred there. We do not know whether this is the case with the under-gardeners; nor whether the tall gardener was a chief official or not.

In August, 1908, we were told by a former gardener that their dress now is the same as the traditional dress of the ancien régime, viz., a rough knitted jersey with a small casquette on the head.

In the old weekly wages book there appears, for several years, the name “l’Anglais”—probably 99a nickname.[75] He must not be confused with John Egleton, who remained at Trianon only a few months, and whose wages were settled on his departure by a bill which is still in existence, but is not in the wages book.[76]

We owe our researches as to the position of the Queen’s grotto almost entirely to the tall gardener’s decided directions and guidance to the part of the English garden between the Belvédère and the montagnes close to the theatre.

E. M.
F. L.
September, 1910.


1. One of us has to own to having powers of second sight, etc., deliberately undeveloped, and there are psychical gifts in her family. She comes of a Huguenot stock. The other is one of a large and cheerful party, being the seventh daughter and of a seventh son; her mother and grandmother were entirely Scotch, and both possessed powers of premonition accompanied by vision. Her family has always been sensitive to ghost stories in general, but mercilessly critical of particular ones of a certain type.

2. Both of us have inherited a horror of all forms of occultism. We lose no opportunity of preaching against them as unwholesome and 101misleading; because they mostly deal with conditions of physical excitement, and study of the abnormal and diseased, including problems of disintegrated personality which present such close analogy to those of insanity. We have the deepest distrust in, and distaste for, stories of abnormal appearances and conditions. We find narratives of revenants unconvincing, and studiously avoid (as utterly lowering) all spiritualistic methods of communication with the dead. We have never had the curiosity, or the desire, to help in the investigations of psychical phenomena.

3. We belong to no new schools of thought: we are the daughters of English clergymen, and heartily hold and teach the faith of our fathers.

4. We are quite certain that neither of us exerted any conscious influence over the other; for though we saw much in common, yet each had independent vision. We should think it wrong either to exercise, or to submit to, influence of that nature. We are independent people and accustomed to stand on our own feet.

5. Our condition at the time was one of 102perfect health and enjoyment of a holiday in the midst of very hard work.

6. We were entirely ignorant of the history and traditions of the place, and continued our conversation about other things after every interruption. We did not even know that we were in the grounds of the Petit Trianon until we saw the house.

7. At the time Miss Lamont thought that there was something unusual about the place and was puzzled; the same idea returned to her occasionally during the following week. Miss Morison put her feeling of oppression down to some physical fatigue in herself, and so said nothing; for we did not know one another very well at that time, were in the relation of hostess and guest, and neither of us thought of enlarging on uncomfortable sensations. After some days, when Miss Morison was writing an account of the expedition, she thought it over with care, and realised that her sensations had not been caused by fatigue, but had produced fatigue. She became convinced that the oppression had been due to some unusual cause in the place itself, and instantly turned to Miss Lamont and said so. Miss Lamont agreed. 103We then discussed the man by the kiosk and the running man, but said that there was much besides which had caused dreamy depression. Miss Morison returned to her letter and wrote down: “We both think that the Petit Trianon is haunted.”

When we met next (three months later) we talked it over again, and finding that Miss Lamont had not seen the lady, and that Miss Morison had not seen the plough, cottage, woman, or girl, we resolved to write separate accounts of our visit in order to find the discrepancies, but with no idea of making exhaustive histories. These papers are still in existence. Miss Lamont, in her story, used the words “uncanny” and “eerie” to describe her feelings, but they did not mean that she had the least idea at the time that any of the people encountered were unreal or ghostly; this was still more true of the scenery.

8. During the next three years, Miss Lamont repeatedly took parties of girls over the Trianon, and she reported that the place was changed; but Miss Morison could not believe it, and even made maps to remind her what their old route had been. After Miss Morison had paid a 104second visit to Trianon in July, 1904, and had found out for herself that the place was entirely changed, it was resolved to undertake a personal research into the matter, and to say no more until we had discovered for ourselves whether our vivid recollections of the people and the place tallied with any ancient reality or not.

Up to that time we had told the story freely, with the result that we have constantly traced it inaccurately reported in histories, sometimes purporting to have come from other sources, and even in newspapers and small periodicals. After research had begun to yield interesting results, we were obliged to be silent, finding that publicity prevented our getting at evidence.

We are very busy people, and have refused to let the incident take a prominent place in our time, interests, or fancy, though from the first we agreed to lose no given opportunity of elucidation. The evidence has, therefore, come slowly; but the manner in which it has come has often been a source of surprise. If a helpful person came in our way, we showed the whole thing: if we were casually asked if certain 105reports were true, we confirmed them (when we could), but said nothing further. We were anxious to wait until we had exhausted every possible means of satisfying ourselves as to the exact amount of interest attaching to the story; and it was several years before we had to believe that we had seen the place as it had been a hundred years before, and as it had not been, in several important particulars, since 1835. The research had been undertaken with the idea of disproving the suggestion that anything unusual had happened, for we were resolved not to deceive ourselves or anyone else, if personal industry could prevent it.

9. In the course of the last four or five years, Miss Lamont has searched for evidence bearing on the story (either by word or picture) in the Archives nationales, in the library, museum, Mairie, and Archives departmentales at Versailles: also in the libraries Nationale, Hôtel de Ville, and in the Musée Carnavalet, and in the Conservatoire de Musique at Paris. She has poked about in French book and print shops, and must have seen a large number of the originals of the published plans, illustrations, and accounts of the place. We 106believe that there is not likely to be any striking documentary evidence other than we have dealt with.

10. The historical interest of the story seems to depend on the truth of the tradition that the Queen went to Trianon on October 5th, 1789. We can find no negative evidence of this, but extremely little which is both affirmative and trustworthy. Madame Campan’s short statement remains the basis of other people’s longer and more detailed narratives. General La Fayette’s full account of the day was burned by his wife during the Terror. Count Fersen’s memoirs were also partly destroyed. The Abbé Bossuet had Madame de Tourzel’s careful history of that day burned; but in the published memoirs she says that she was in residence that day at Versailles, as Gouvernante des enfants de France; she does not mention having gone to Trianon, as implied by Marion’s story, but it is still possible. Most French historians now adopt Madame Campan’s statement, but (in the words of one of them) “with some doubts.” It is worth mentioning that many later historians insert the fact (though it is not recorded by Madame 107Campan) that “the Queen was accompanied by a single valet.” Is this a tradition?

11. We do not believe in anniversaries in the usual sense. We have tested both our days (August 10th and January 2nd), going, as far as possible, under the same circumstances, without any result at the Petit Trianon. Yet it is possible that if we entered into an act of memory, it may well have been first made on the terrible 10th of August, 1792, though the memory itself was occupied (in the central place) with the events of October 5th, 1789. The dress of the messenger was more suitable for October than August. At the same time Vaudreuil left France the previous summer and cannot have sat in the Trianon woods after the taking of the Bastille, July 14th, 1789.

There is an incoherence about both the large and small incidents which seems to require combination within a single mind, and the only mind to which they could all have been present would have been that of the Queen. Our theory of 1901, that we had entered within the working of the Queen’s memory when she was still alive, is now enlarged. We think that the two first visits to Trianon (August 10810th, 1901, and January 2nd, 1902) were part of one and the same experience; that quite mechanically we must have seen it as it appeared to her more than a hundred years ago, and have heard sounds familiar, and even something of words spoken, to her then.

Having been for two most trying years confined to Paris, and (excepting for a visit to St. Cloud) through two hot summers, and being in the midst of the tumultuous horrors of the great tenth of August, she may, as the day wore on, and she grew more used to her miserable position in the Hall of the Assembly—where she sat for eighteen hours—have fancied (in memory) the grounds at Trianon more spacious than they really were; and have seen the trees, as one sees trees in recollection, like a picture without life, depth, or movement. In rêverie her mind may have wandered from the familiar sight of the two Bersys at the gate, to the little vision of two men gathering up garden rubbish into a cart (which we know happened on October 5th, 1789, as well as one day during the last winter she spent at Versailles), and which—without any reason—had remained in her mind. She may have thought 109of the place as it was during that year of the meeting of the States-General when the grounds were, for the first time, thrown completely open to the public, and intruding strangers could be seen there. Or she may have gone back to the earlier years and the pleasant afternoons when the band played on the pelouse in front of the house, and to the excitement of acting in the little theatre with her special friends, perhaps letting herself realise the unkindness of the pressure put upon her by Vaudreuil to have the acting of the Mariage de Figaro authorised.

How naturally the thought of him would have formed one picture in her mind with the memory of the last scene, when she was hurriedly summoned from Trianon, never to return! For she may very likely have supposed all that she was suffering to have been more exclusively the result of her own former mistakes than could have been just, and have been going over them in her mind.

On our return to Paris on the day of the original visit to Trianon, when undoubtedly her image was uppermost in our thoughts, and the recollection of her terrible end was hardly to 110be endured, the recurring consolation to Miss Morison was, “She has forgiven it all now, and knows the true meaning of the French Revolution on both its good and bad sides, and also the exact proportion of her own part in it.” But the act of memory which had so strangely and mechanically clung to the place, with which we had, perhaps, been associated in the grounds, was incoherent and pictorial. It was oppressive to us because it represented a more limited view of those times than after a hundred years we have learnt to take of them, and was far more limited than any thought the Queen can have about them now.

12. Our answer to the suggestion that we were in a state of suspended consciousness is that our conversation and sense of the quiet continuity of things remained unbroken, and, in spite of oppression, believed ourselves to be particularly wide awake and on the alert. When we were first asked whether the man from the side building was real or not, we laughed at the idea of any unreality; all was so quietly natural that we are still uncertain whether the tall gardener belonged to another century or not. It has 111taken us nine years to work out all the details which bear witness to the strangeness of what we saw and did, and to justify us in our present conviction, that from the moment of our leaving the lane until we emerged into the avenue we were on enchanted ground.

13. The theory of coincidences would have to be considerably strained to cover more than twenty points quickly succeeding one another.

14. In the municipal records kept in the Library at Versailles there is a list of fêtes in the grounds. Miss Lamont has examined it carefully. There had been one for which people had been dressed in Louis XVI. costume in June, 1901, but there is a note to say that it had been confined to the Hameau. There was none in August, 1901. We know that since 1901 there have been fêtes in the grounds with scenes in character, so that other people may have come across them; an examination of the records as to dates would probably reveal such possibilities.

In the same catalogue notices are made of photographs taken of historical groups at fêtes; there had been some in connection with the June fête, and “Otto” was mentioned by name. 112On enquiry Otto wrote that he had not taken “l’ensemble de la fête, c’était des groupes de jeunes filles, et des dames séparément.” “Dufayel” took pains to look the matter up, and Miss Lamont and one of his employées went all through his lists and books of specimen photographs, and found that he had not taken any photographs at Trianon between 1900 and 1906. He recommended enquiries at Pierre Petit’s, as Petit would have Lafayette’s as well as other photographers’ pictures. No photographs of the scenes we wanted were to be heard of there, and Pierre Petit wrote afterwards that his only photographs at Trianon had been taken in 1900 for the Exhibition.

It has been suggested to us that our story can be explained by people posing for a cinematograph in order to register the scene of the messenger running to the Queen, whilst something further has been said of a girl sweeping up leaves as forming part of the group. Naturally, from the first, we had thought of some such explanation, but had rejected it as insufficient. We did not see the man running; we only heard him; then he suddenly appeared, 113standing close to us, and addressed us personally, earnestly, and with excitement. As a scene it would have been nothing; we saw no Queen, and no girl sweeping up leaves. He remained by us until we turned away from him. The cinematograph theory does not explain how it was that he came over and stood with his back against rocks of considerable size piled on one another, when rocks have not been there for nearly a hundred years, though we find that they had been placed in that part of the garden in 1788. Nor does it explain how it was that both before and during the man’s coming we were both gazing at a kiosk which is not now in existence, though both rocks and kiosk we found out years after to have made part of the original scenery in 1789. Not a word is hinted about the little bridge over the ravine, and the little cascade close by, all being essentials both to our, and, we believe, to the original story. We suspect the explanation to be simply that we had not talked about them at first, not knowing their significance till later, and so they have not got into any widely-spread story. We know from the archives that the streams were not cleared 114from leaves after October 4th, 1789, and that “Mariamne” is only mentioned as having been paid for work in the grounds in 1783, as one of several children so occupied.

If masqueraders were posing as guards at the porte du jardinier, the cinematograph idea does not explain the reappearance of the old cottage close by, in its former position as placed in Mique’s map of 1783. If the part of the Queen was being acted, what of the orchard of trees we saw her looking into, not now in existence; also, what is the account of the barrier at our right hand screening off the present view and exactly answering to the old enclosure of the Jeu de Bague?

The cinematograph does not explain the man who opened the great door of the chapel, easily banging it behind him as he came out; for in 1907 the people living in the place believed that it had not been opened since the days of Louis XVI., and the keeper of the key knew that even the door of the landing had not been opened for fifteen years. How was the wall lowered, which now largely hides the great door from the terrace, and makes it necessary to go down one flight of steps and up another, 115whereas we saw the man coming along a level, in full view, from the moment of his opening the door until he reached us standing on the terrace outside the window of the antichambre?[77]

A cinematograph would not explain the reappearance of the old wood in all its denseness; nor the rapid disappearance of the cart and horse in an open field; nor the music, which, six years later, was found to be a piecing together of eighteenth century operas.

No amount of masqueraders explains to us the ease with which we dismissed from sight and hearing the usual August crowds in the middle of a fine afternoon, and the impossibility of harmonising our recollections of the scenery with anything but the old maps and records. Certainly none of the persons we met were being photographed at the moment, or we must have seen it; and had scenery been erected for the purpose, we must have observed such large artificial arrangements; there would probably have been sightseers; and, presumably, the fact 116of anything so considerable would have been in the catalogue.

Even should it be proved that a cinematograph had been taken that very day, it would not be a possible explanation to us. The groups we saw were small and isolated from one another. There was the deepest silence everywhere, and no sunshine; whilst the light was the worst possible for a picture, for the sky was overcast. And though whilst we stood there an indefinable air of strangeness dropped over everything, including the tall forest trees, it was not of a kind that could be accounted for by fictitious scenery. The people moved and spoke as usual, but their words were extraordinarily difficult to catch.

In September, 1910, the question of such representation was settled by an enquiry of the authorities. No leave to take cinematographs had been granted in August, 1901. The fête had been on June 27th, and the photographs of it had been taken sufficiently near the time to be published in the July number of Versailles Illustré. Not one of the pictures in this number is in the least like what, we saw either in the matter of subjects, costumes, or places. The 117inaccuracy is so great, that in an article in the same magazine the scene of the messenger coming to the Queen is transferred from the grotto to the Hameau, though the sole authority for the tradition places it at the grotto.

15. During the last five or six years much research into topographical and archæological details has been made by the newly-formed “Société des amis de Versailles,” probably from the same archives examined by Miss Lamont, so that many points of likeness to what we saw may soon reappear. Old music with old-fashioned instruments is now frequently introduced at summer fêtes at Trianon. Even the water arrangements in our part of the garden seem likely to be altered, and the little cascade may yet be seen again. At the beginning of 1910 Miss Lamont saw engineers searching for the first and second sources, and in the following autumn she found iron grids placed on the ground near the positions we had allotted for them; but nothing had been altered up to September, 1910. We are most curious to know whether the restorations will be exactly according to our recollections of the scenery or not.

16. Stories retailing just so much of our own 118as we had first talked about are constantly being repeated to us; some with the little additions we can recognise as our own early surmises; generally with the omission of points we did not know to be interesting until later; and often with all the muddles arising from the attempt to shorten a long story, with a few unauthorised additions and explanations thrown in. These stories are told to us as being the property of persons we have never heard of. We have constantly enquired on what authority they rest, and, if there is any at all, we have not infrequently been able to discover the track they have followed from us back to us again.

17. We do not think that deception explains it. If we were deceived in one, two, or three points, could we have been in all? For out of them we have been able to reconstruct the story of Trianon in many tiny details, the truth of which we have had to discover for ourselves.

18. We are constantly asked why we, of all people, should have had such an adventure? We are equally puzzled; and have come to think that it may not be so unusual as it seems. We can imagine that people, even if they suspected anything unusual (which they might 119easily not do), may have thought it best not to follow it up. The peculiarity in our case may simply have been that two persons were equally able to consider the circumstances, and did do so: that we found there was available evidence, and that we had the opportunity for obtaining it.

19. Certain unusual conditions were present.

(1) Two people in broad daylight, good health, and normal conditions, were equally able to bear witness to the facts, yet not in the manner of thought transference between each other, for they did not see alike in every point.

(2) Some of the facts were so small that no historical knowledge, however dim, could have suggested them.

(3) They concerned such well known historical personages that much documentary proof as to the reality of the incidents is accessible; yet, in some particulars, they are of such a nature as to be incapable of reproduction by any tricks of scenic effects; and some of the evidence found in the archives had, to all appearance, not been disturbed since its collection by the National Assembly until Miss Lamont in 1904 undid the old fastenings that had stuck together 120through age and disuse: for instance—much of the evidence about the gardeners taken from the wages book.

E. M.
F. L.
September, 1910.


A Possible Historical Clue

To find the causes of the universal movement, which for convenience we call the French Revolution, one should be a trained historian, philosopher, and theologian, and be able to pass in review and justly estimate the aspirations for political consolidation, greater individual responsibility, and the revolt against Papal tyranny over consciences, as they had been working in all European countries for many centuries. To find the causes for the particular form which this universal development took in France, it would be necessary to weigh the moral, social, and political (including the fiscal) tendencies of earlier generations. This would be manifestly impossible in a paper dealing with the revolution in France as it may have 122appeared to a single mind, on one special day, at a time of great mental excitement. There can be no doubt that Marie Antoinette was the innocent victim of a world-wide upheaval in the moments when men were first consciously developing it, and we can well believe that to herself the reasons for such reversals of older thoughts seemed inscrutable; whilst she would have vainly sought, in reflecting over her own mistakes, for grounds sufficient to justify the enormous misfortunes which overwhelmed her personally.

The tenth of August, 1792, was a marked day in the history of the French Revolution. The tide of French democratic reaction against the ever-increasing selfishness of privilege, and the inability of the rulers to sympathise with the growing desire for greater freedom and less personal government, had been gathering force with constantly increasing momentum; and on this day Louis XVI. virtually relinquished all independence as Head of the State by surrendering himself, for the sake of the safety of his family and to save France from the crime of massacring its King, into the doubtful care of the Legislative Assembly.

123That Assembly grew out of the States-General which had been convened by the King, May 5th, 1789, at one of the critical moments when the dissatisfaction of the nation with its financial conditions produced keen anxiety to the Court; and it had (on another epoch-making day of that unrestful period) refused, on June 23rd, 1789, to be dissolved by mandate of the King. From that moment the National Assembly had become the centre of the reforming party in France. Louis XVI., as King, did not seem to stand in the way of the wishes of the nation as expressed by the Assembly. He appeared to be willing to forego more of his prerogatives than was compatible with the existence of monarchy as understood in France; but, it was believed, the Queen was of a different opinion and desirous of upholding the ancient monarchical idea as a practical force, which at that time, in spite of the King’s amiability and absence of policy, could not be otherwise than hostile to the still vague, but unbounded, aspirations of the democratic party. “Madame Veto” had that influence over the King due to a strong personality and her position as a much loved 124wife; upon her, therefore, fell the wrath of the nation. It was instinctively recognised that as a wife and mother she had every reason to desire the continuance of things as they were, and the people quickly interpreted every act of vacillation on the King’s part to the Queen’s active enmity to the rising forces of democracy.

It was on August 10th, 1792, that the Legislative Assembly was made to realise another function belonging to it beyond that of fighting the prerogatives of the King and of the aristocracy. In such a restless age, and in such a country as France, it was impossible to suppose that the outspoken longings of philosophers, poets, and statesmen for freedom, should not stir up the hope of freedom from all authority and restraint whatever in the lowest stratum of society. The lengths to which the mob in Paris could go had, during the last three years, shown itself on isolated occasions, but with increasing frequency and savagery. Both mob and Assembly were animated by the same desire, viz. to make monarchy in France absolutely helpless to withstand their will. The Assembly was trying to bring it about with some appearance of constitutional decency, 125without apparently perceiving that unless the King was allowed to banish himself, a discrowned monarch without any raison d’être whatever in the country inevitably meant his ultimate, and perhaps speedy, disappearance by death. The mob saw its policy more clearly, and was ready to get rid of him and the Queen by instant murder.

Thus, on the morning of August 10th, the Legislative Assembly had the double part to play of continuing its assault on privilege whilst protecting the royal family from destruction.

When, at some moment between 7 and 9 a.m., Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette entered the Manège in which the Council met, there was, at first, some attempt at restrained courtesy showing itself in the grave assurance of protection in reply to the King’s request, and also in half an hour’s doubt as to where he should sit down. But the Assembly was entirely aware of its victory in this act of unconditional surrender on the part of the King, and would allow no royal guards of any description to enter. There was a short alarm lest it should have to defend itself against the cannon of the insurgents, the sound of firing approaching 126nearer to the building than the nerves of some of the deputies could sustain with calmness.[78] But the mob had not yet realised that it had the upper hand, and was content to believe that the protected King was the imprisoned King, and only continued to howl ferocious threats outside the grilles.

If the Assembly did not immediately see its way to the definite imprisonment of the Sovereign, neither did it choose that the royal party should sit on its own benches, so it ordained that they should be placed in the logographie—the reporter’s room—a sort of den not far from the President’s chair, open to the Manège and within sight and hearing of all that passed, but without dignity or decent comfort.[79] Here, without apparently any opportunity for resting or meals, the King, Queen, Princess Elizabeth, Madame Royale, and the Dauphin remained, until (at least) 10 p.m.[80] A few faithful attendants, such as the Princesse de Lamballe, Madame de Tourzel, the Prince de Poix, and the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, 127were with them, and at first other royalists were allowed to bring them news and to pass in and out, but this was stopped in the course of the day.

From Dufour’s account it would seem that no one was busying themselves to supply their wants until he undertook to do so the next day.[81] A draught of water brought to them in their cells at night to quench their raging thirst is all that he speaks of. If the story of the King eagerly devouring food in public is true (and it is impossible to believe that the children had nothing), yet it is doubtful whether the Queen, who had had no rest the night before, had any food during the day.

What a tumult of disgust, fears, indignation, and overwhelming regrets must have occupied the Queen’s mind! It was difficult enough to maintain an outwardly calm, queenly demeanour; her thoughts must have been confused, half formed, reflecting the agitation of despair and anxiety. She knew only too well that she was looked upon as the political enemy of the crowd for reasons that were not altogether untrue. She had had a policy inconsistent 128with republicanism and, though worsted in it, the events of the last three years probably justified it in her own mind.

She inherited a belief in a strong rule, beneficent as her own kindly nature required, but one that could fight its battles and make full use of such opportunities as hereditary kingship possessed. Again and again she had felt that the King’s action was worse than nothing. Marie Antoinette would have sternly punished the crime of killing the King’s officials;[82] she would have upheld the sovereign office as long as there were those who prized it. The country could never have reached the present point of rebellion if the taking of the Bastille, for instance, had not been condoned and the murders and outrages connected with it had not been allowed to pass without adequate punishment. Why were the troops dismissed so soon after, and the nobles allowed to emigrate? It may have been right for the monarch to urge upon some of them the danger in which they stood 129by remaining, but where was their courage and loyalty in leaving the country?[83]

The sensation of loneliness was terrible. Where were the illustrious families and statesmen who had not left France, who, had the Queen only known it, were to go during the next year in one long procession to the scaffold? They were, she knew, paralysed by the King’s inaction and weakness. Surely they would have rallied had he called upon them with decision to defend their rights and had placed himself at their head, even though many of those princely families who had surrounded her during the first years of her reign had been alienated and in opposition to herself before the disaffection became general. Where were the faithful Swiss guards who only that morning had escorted them in safety to the Manège, and would have fought bravely and perhaps been the rallying point for all who were not declared democrats? Alas, alas, the sounds of screams and fiendish massacre were in her ears at the moment; cannon, musketry, 130and cold-blooded carnage were then and there destroying the last stronghold! The tiny loge, only 10 feet square, so painfully hot and full of comers and goers, seemed to the despairing Queen empty of all who should have been there to represent the monarchical principle. The presence of the Prince de Poix and the Duc de la Rochefoucauld and a few others, who were endangering their lives by being with them, only emphasised the forlornness of the royal condition.

Looking from her dismal corner in the loge at the King, who sat with impassive mien facing the assembly, what waves of painful emotion must have swept across her brain! The King could not see things from her point of view, but he had loved and spoilt her. He had been faithful to her, as no French monarch for many generations had been loyal to his wife. He was devoted to her and to their children; had paid her debts again and again;[84] 131had ennobled and enriched her friends; his patience and magnanimity were saintly; but how often had she raged against his theory that the King’s duty was to set an example of lofty forbearance and forgiveness of every injury even when done to him as representing the law, justice, and power of the whole French peoples. She had instinctively felt that had she been in the King’s place she would have found her way through the past crises without either descending from her throne or doing wrong to the most Christian charity. She knew that she was kind-hearted, and had always loved to be the benefactress of others: yes, she too could forgive royally when forgiveness was due from her in her own person, but not when it required injustice to others.

But Marie Antoinette was too clear-sighted to impute all the blame of this downfall to the King’s mistakes. No doubt his feeble idea had been to behave as though the democrats only were the nation, forgetting the contrary view of those who had either banished themselves or who were perforce silent unless he 132could lead the way. To obey every behest of the Legislative Assembly and of the mob showed a lamentable lack of wisdom, but even such a poor policy had brought him an undoubted though fleeting popularity. He had appeared to take the side of the opponents of monarchy; he had divested himself of prerogatives; had sworn to a Constitution beyond his power to carry out, and had submitted to the indignity of placing the red bonnet on his head; but had she not helped to make all this short-sighted weakness even more unavailing than it need have been? What was the use of humbling the aristocracy along with himself, and of acting against his own convictions, if at the same time he consented to plans for escaping, and was known to be so far untrustworthy to his own professions that at every crisis he listened to her incessant urgings to the more spirited policy, by which he could instantly rally the royal forces?

Bitterly she knew that she had never prevailed to overcome his fatal belief that the King was never to shed the blood of a Frenchman, even if he were a disturber of the public peace; but she had ever to bear the blame of 133every mistake. She thought of that terrible message sent only two hours ago at the bidding of the Assembly that their guards were not to defend themselves, but to disarm.[85] Only this morning there were 600 Swiss and 200 gentlemen, and even companies of the national guard whom they could trust, but whispered reports had reached even the loge that their noble supporters had died unsoldierly and cold-blooded deaths. There was no longer any nucleus in the country of loyalty to the consecrated ruler.

There was nothing now to prevent the passing of the formal decree by which she heard the King finally deprived of the crown and of every vestige of authority. Though Louis XVI. appeared unheeding and expressionless, could she bear this indignity, this wrong to her son? Could they not escape from this wicked durance? But she had consented to this surrender to their enemies in the hope of saving her son’s life. It had been the only chance. As long as they were in some shelter from the howling savages outside who were screaming for their blood, the life 134of her son was secure. She had long accustomed herself to the thought of being assassinated, but there was no fear of a judicial murder; no government of France would sink to such a point of wickedness and unwisdom in the face of a united Europe.[86] They would be condemned to more years of miserable bondage, but they would be together; friends would rally; circumstances would clear themselves. The Queen had it in her still to do and dare everything if there were any hope of surmounting the present crisis.

If she might only act! But no, the Queen’s heart sank again as the numbing sense of helplessness came over her, remembering that she would not be allowed to act. It was always the King who had the last word. She might plan, but he, with all his love and confidence in her, invariably thwarted every attempt requiring some spirit of defiance. He had ruined the Varennes scheme by letting himself be recognised at critical moments. Why did he review the guards that morning, and make it 135unavailing by omitting to speak words of courage and confidence? Why did he seek the protection of his enemies rather than fire on the mob, which an hour later fled away at the volleys fired by the Swiss?[87] No, there was no hope of contending against the difficulties imposed on their party by the inertia of the King. And now things had gone so far, perhaps he had no choice but to advise obedience when the Assembly decreed that the few friends outside their household who had pressed into the loge should no longer hold communication with them, but should retire. More than once during those sad hours they had to see faithful servants bleeding and with torn clothes judged at the bar of the Assembly for having defended them.[88] The handkerchief that was handed to the Queen in the place of her own, which was soaked with tears, in order that she might wipe the drops of sweat off the brow of the young Dauphin, was tinged with blood.[89]

136Exhausted by horror and disappointment, what strength remained to the Queen must have spent itself in thoughts for her little son, who with touching obedience was trying to be “bien sage avec ces vilains hommes.[90] If she was personally helpless to save his crown, surely the Kings of Europe would see to it. Again hope revived at the thought of a successful war already beginning. The false moves of the last years perhaps only meant at the worst, that though she and the King had to die at the hands of an enraged but defeated France, the boy would escape. With victorious armies surrounding Paris, there would be those within who would then be roused to get the lad into the protection of friends. Surely God would help him then!

But what if everything should fail? Fatality had overtaken every reasonable hope since this terrible revolution had begun. There were forces of mysterious and terrific magnitude, which seemed to her to be bearing away everything that had been stable hitherto. Her ignorance of what constituted these forces increased their terror for her. 137During the two hours when the deputies separately repeated the words of the oath to maintain liberty, equality, or die, the Queen in utter weariness tried to penetrate the mystery of that fatality which seemed to overtake royalty in France, and herself in particular. Perhaps for a moment she realised that had she seriously studied history some light might have come as to the meaning of this crushing movement. The volumes of Hume’s History of England, which in early days had been carelessly listened to, conveyed little to her inattentive mind.[91] She did not know even the history of France intelligently enough to be able to guess whether the enveloping force owed its strength to anything which could have been foreseen. Was there anyone who could have foreseen this trend of events, when it was only last year that the Constitution had been applauded to the skies as the consummation of political wisdom?[92]

Was the penury of the country and the starving condition of the poor at the bottom of 138this earthquake? But why visit them upon the Court? People must know that she and the King were most kindly and anxious and troubled for all. They had reduced every possible expense in their household. Had she not nine years ago refused the diamond necklace on account of its expense? She had not gambled in old days more than others; neither had she enriched her friends more than sovereigns were in the habit of doing. The Pompadours and Dubarrys had rolled in wealth. What was the cost of Trianon compared to the millions of money spent in building the Palace at Versailles?[93] It was unjust to make her and her children bear the punishment of the sins of former generations.

Were such writers as Voltaire and Rousseau responsible in any degree for the gathering forces that were crashing all law and order as they had been hitherto understood? The Queen knew something of their views, but their 139invectives against kings as tyrants seemed unjust and exaggerated, and had repelled her. To her mind, her mother, husband, and brothers were not selfish oppressors; they meant to be useful to their subjects, and would have been unwise to have rejected the wisdom of former times embodied in traditions and old customs. Moreover, any truths uttered by Voltaire were vitiated to the Queen by his declared hostility to religion as she knew it. Such overwhelming forces as were destroying France could not be the outcome of such feeble views; there must be stronger reasons than such writings could account for.

But here there was some tangle of ideas which could not be unravelled. The Queen’s mind was not one to dwell on abstractions; it was wholly untrained and incapable of thinking out points of philosophical or religious argument. She could not disentangle the various points of view which distracted her mind.

As the long hours went on, her sorrows which admitted of no comfort: the strange impassiveness of the king: the sight of her weeping companions: the efforts of the children not to 140give trouble: and the physical suffering entailed on all alike, boxed up in this stifling hole on a hot August afternoon, filled her with maddening oppression. Whilst the cold and insolent words of the hostile Assembly, the unspeakable insults incessantly hurled at her by the cruel voices outside, the noise, the heat, the smells, the want of room, added to the effects of sleepless nights and absence of nourishment, must have filled her with an uncontrollable longing to get away. As the afternoon wore on with no hope of relief, black, helpless despair closed in on the mind of the tired Queen. She must have felt that, if she was not to go mad, it was necessary to extricate herself from her present surroundings by at least a semi-unconsciousness of them. Her brain was on fire. Could she not force her imagination to take some rest? Even in happy times some natural impatience in the Queen’s nature made it imperative to her to run away and be alone sometimes. It was at the Petit Trianon that she had found relief from tiresome restrictions, importunities of etiquette, and obsequious crowds. There at least she could have her own way and her love of simple 141pleasures and country freedom had been satisfied. If only she could fly to that beloved spot away from this horrible smell of blood, what happiness it would be to her jaded spirits! Only to think of it afforded her a dim pleasure overcoming the inevitable bitterness of the recollection.

Yes; it was the Petit Trianon which of all places in France she loved best. The bare memory of its trees and grass and cool shadows brought a little refreshment. It was there that she had always found a reprieve from the stately formalities of Versailles and that she had been able to unqueen herself and be on an equality with her friends. But was there no pang as she realised with fresh point that the King had just been deposed, and that she, by the voice of the only authority at present recognised in the country, was no longer Queen of France? That favourite pastime of pretending to be no queen in the privacy of Trianon had been a dangerous game! Marie Antoinette had not attempted to be on an equality with the old haute noblesse whose absence at this moment was so deplorable. Such familiarity would have lowered them in 142their own eyes; for their rank and consideration rested on their service to the sovereigns, and only by etiquettes rigorously kept could the princes and old nobility find their own raison d’être. With keen pain the truth flashed upon her that a thoughtless Queen had done her best to undermine Cardinal Richelieu’s policy in bringing the great feudal princes to squabble in small rivalries about positions at Court rather than leave them to combine into factions and fight each other in wars dangerous to the State. Etiquettes had been laughed at, and the nobles superseded in her favour by persons without claim to the titles and fortunes lavished upon them. But was it possible that such small considerations had really alienated the most powerful class in France? The Queen had only to recollect the restrained indignation of the Comtesse de Noailles: those dismal years when no one attended her balls at Versailles[94]: the immense offence given to the distinguished families of Soubise, Condé, Rohan, Guemenée, and all who were connected with them, by her furious and undignified anger with Cardinal Rohan[95]: besides the 143murmurs of all who considered themselves wronged by their exclusion from her friendship at Trianon to realise bitterly what had alienated the aristocracy from her, beyond, apparently, hope of recall.

Too worn and sad to pursue such painful thoughts, it was a relief to let the vision of her favourite home float before her mind’s eye and to remember the loyalty of her Trianon servants, such as Antoine Richard, jardinier en chef, who had succeeded to the post so long held by his father Claude Richard.[96] How loyally they had carried out her wishes, and, under the direction of her architect Mique,[97] had altered their much loved nursery gardens into a fashionable “jardin anglais”! It had been delightful planning that garden and altering the arrangements and decorations of the house and grounds with her own rare good taste, until 144scarcely any part was left bringing to mind the sojourn there of Madame de Pompadour, but the house itself,[98] and the little ménagerie with its vacherie, bergerie, and poulaillers,[99] or of Madame du Barry, but the formal French garden,[100] the chapel,[101] with the kitchens beyond.

In the stuffy dirty loge the royal family had resigned itself to a melancholy silence, the Dauphin was sleeping across her knee, and the Queen surrendered herself to a trance-like condition in which she saw again with extreme vividness and longing the place of former enjoyment. She was again free, opening all the gates with her own passe-partout, and wandering into all the corners of the grounds.[102] The beautiful trees planted by the two Richards in rich variety were, she recollected, in full summer foliage, and she would fain have felt some breath of the cool evening air, which she knew well must be blowing at that moment, though not for her. Or she was again in the 145mazy wood beyond the Vergelay bridge following in thought the sound of the light operatic music, so often played on bright afternoons, which drifted past her as she made her way along the wood paths. Well-known bars of Monsigny’s music mingled with reminiscences of Sacchini’s and Grétry’s operas. Was it not on an August day, twelve years ago, that she first acted herself in the charming little newly-built theatre?[103] It was in a play of Sedaine (Le Roi et le Fermier) for which Monsigny had written music, especially for the Trianon; and with pain it was remembered that the plot of the play was the favourite one at Trianon, viz. the superiority of the farmer’s condition over that of the King. Vaudreuil had acted the part of the farmer lover to her Jenny. The Queen’s thoughts flew to another, and the last, acting,[104] so immediately followed by the frightful episode of the diamond necklace when outrage first touched her and personal popularity was finally lost.[105] Under pressure from the Comte de Vaudreuil she had 146prevailed with the King, against his better judgment, to allow the Mariage de Figaro to be acted in Paris.[106] In the following year, the older version of the same play had been performed at Trianon;[107] she had acted Rosina, the Comte d’Artois had taken the part of Figaro, and Vaudreuil that of Almaviva. Four years later the King’s prophecy had come true, and the destruction of the Bastille had been the signal for Vaudreuil’s hurried flight from the country.[108]

Well she remembered that false friend,[109] whom she had willingly received into her most intimate circle, though latterly he had often wearied her with his violent temper and importunities for more lucrative posts.[110]

There was one day in that last summer at Trianon, shortly before Vaudreuil’s final departure in July, which stood out, every detail being 147imprinted on her memory. She had wandered up the lane past the logement des corps de gardes, and had noticed on the ground near the lodge gates the old plough,—a reminiscence of Louis XVI.’s boyhood.[111] Coming towards the porte du jardinier, she had seen Rodolphe and Fidel Bersy[112] in the long green coats of the petite livrée of the gardes.[113] They were directing some strangers. These guards were special friends of hers. Had she not paid all expenses out of her own purse when Rodolphe’s children had been ill with smallpox?[114] Whilst passing them she had noticed Marie Anne Lemaignan[115] 148standing near her mother[116] on the steps of their cottage outside the enclosure.[117] The Queen calculated that the girl, who had then been fourteen years old,[118] must now be a young woman of seventeen, and with her promise of beauty[119] would soon marry: probably, she thought, to young Charpentier,[120] who was 149already, she knew, attached to the girl. The Queen’s intimacy with her servants at Trianon had been a never-failing happiness, and she thought with infinite tenderness of the troubles their loyal sympathy for her must be causing them now.

Passing through the gardeners’ enclosure and the porte d’entrée she had come into the English garden. Advancing a few steps, she had suddenly caught sight of Vaudreuil sitting by the small circular “ruine,”[121] dressed, she remembered, in the slouch hat and large cloak which had become fashionable since he had 150acted in such as Almaviva.[122] He turned and looked at her, but did not rise or make the smallest gesture of recognition. It was by her own orders that at Trianon her ladies and gentlemen did not rise or put away their occupations when the Queen entered a room; but she had lately become sensitive, and on this occasion she had felt his rudeness.[123] After all, she was the Queen; he was there as her honoured guest, where the highest in the land desired to be, and ordinary good manners required him to do more than sit still and look at her without seeming to notice her. The Queen remembered her sensation of displeasure. 151And now her extraordinarily excited memory which was enabling her to see Trianon again down to the smallest details of the scenery, also revealed to her her short-sighted folly in undermining the first principles of that mutual courtesy which constitutes best Court life, at a time when France was on the verge of an immense political whirlpool.

Yes; it was on that very same spot that the messenger came to her, a few months later, to announce the crowd of disaffected women from Paris en route for Versailles. She could never forget that October morning, for from that time her life had entirely altered in character and the Queen had endured a weary round of perpetual and open insult. Throughout the preceding summer the grounds at the Petit Trianon, which had formerly been so jealously guarded even from the Court, had been thrown open to the public,[124] and in order to take the chance of walking there in any privacy the Queen had lately been in the habit of driving over during the morning. That fifth of October had been fairly fine during the early hours, and she remembered having seen the gardeners at 152work in the different parts of the gardens;[125] and on her way from the Temple de l’Amour to the Hameau, she had passed the prairie, and had seen two labourers in their picturesque brown tunics and coloured chaperons rouges[126] filling a hired cart with sticks.[127]

Crossing the Vergelay bridge she had approached the cavernous mouth of her favourite grotto,[128] over which ivy fell in graceful wreaths.[129] For the first time in her experience 153she had noticed that the little stream issuing from the grotto had not been cleared, but was choked with dead autumn leaves.[130] This unusual and forlorn sight had remained in her mind. Here she had sat for a time looking at the place now deserted by all who had formerly been with her there, and, as was inevitable at that time of political anxiety, became engrossed in mournful anticipations of further troubles.[131] They had pressed more than she could bear, and feeling a sudden desire to speak to someone she had entered the moss-lined grotto.[132] 154Passing the point on her left hand where the little cascade entered from above,[133] she climbed the rock staircase[134] leading to the upper opening[135] near the porte d’entrée. Coming out upon 155the elevated rocks, she called to Marie Anne Lemaignan, whose father’s cottage was not far off. Fancying that she heard the girl running to her, the Queen had turned and was surprised to see, instead of the girl, a garçon de la Chambre, who, in a state of great agitation, handed her a letter from M. de Saint Priest, a minister at the Palace.[136] Her memory recalled the look of that man, also in the fashionable Spanish hat and cloak, flying over one of the upright rocks placed near the path by her orders.[137] He had been so anxious that she should wait at the house whilst he fetched the carriage that she relinquished her first thought of hurrying back by the woods, and she turned instead to go to the little bridge which crossed the tiny waterfall. How fond she was of that little rustic bridge, which she had had placed high up on rocks, hiding the Theatre and 156surrounded by thujas and pine trees![138] It had been one of the most charming of her inventions, and in fancy the Queen again saw every step of the way, and the trickling stream pouring over the rocks at her right hand, amidst ferns and moss, on its way into the grotto below the bridge.

Sitting under the north terrace near the door leading from the house to the Jeu de Bague, she had re-opened and re-read the minister’s letter whilst waiting for the carriage. Womanlike, the Queen remembered that the dress she had been wearing that morning was one of the light skirts repaired during that summer, the green silk bodice made in July, a large white fichu, and a straw hat.[139]

At that moment two of the many strangers 157who now came in as they liked passed her by and even went up on to the terrace behind her by the staircase at her left hand.[140] The Queen knew that her concierge (Bonnefoy Du Plan)[141] was informed that she was there, and would certainly, on seeing them from his attic window over the chapel, send someone to ask them to go further from the house. It might not have been wise, but her old servants had done all they dared to protect her privacy. She had before now, when wandering about alone, heard the coldness and unconcern with which the Bersy brothers had directed strangers in the grounds. Just as she had expected, a moment later, the Queen had heard the slam of the chapel door[142] and had thought that Lagrange[143] would probably conduct them into the avenue by the passage of the porte de la ménagerie, 158that being the nearest way out of the gardens.[144]

The carriage was ready, and the moment had come for rallying her force to act the part of a true queen in whatever circumstances were before her. The vivid dream was over, and in proportion as her retrospect was concerned with more important matters, the details stood out less clearly in her mind.

There was no refreshment in going over the events of the rest of that day; though some of them came back to her in rapid succession. The hurried return of the King from hunting at Meudon; the councils; the variations of policy; the presence of a rough and alarming-looking crowd on the Place d’Armes; the free fights; the deputation of women escorted by Mounier on the part of the Assembly: then the final ordering of the carriages too late for escape; the heavy depressing rain from 4 p.m. 159onwards which at last helped to clear away the crowd; the arrival at midnight of Lafayette and his national guard. All had been confusing and miserable. But agitating as the 5th had been, there was no comparison between it and the tension of October 6th.

The Queen remembered that she had only gone to bed that morning at 2 a.m. in order that her ladies might have some rest, but for herself there was none. Both on October 6th, 1789, and now on August 10th, 1792, outside disturbances had begun at 5 a.m. amidst the glories of a perfect summer dawn. But on the former occasion it had been first realised in one of her own suite of rooms. She had heard the sounds of actual fighting close to her bedroom, and the hasty shout of the guards, “Sauvez la Reine!” informed her of their deadly peril. The escape to the King’s room and the gathering of the family together was quickly effected; but the comfort of the reunion had been followed by terrible hours when Lafayette had done his utmost to quell the fury of the mob. There had been amongst it a company of, as it seemed, veritable fiends, come from no one knew where, whose faces 160were terrible to look at.[145] It was they who enacted the horrid scene of beheading the two murdered guards (Varicourt and Deshuttes) under the royal windows in the Cour de Marbre; and until they marched off to Paris carrying with them the two decapitated heads on spikes, it was impossible to come to any terms with the mob. But after their departure, by Lafayette’s wish (which at that time amounted to command), first the King and then the Queen had ventured on to the balcony, and had been greeted with some warmth.

And now, three years later, they had not the 161protecting influence of Lafayette to depend on, nor even the doubtful friendship of Mirabeau. The mob had gained the upper hand, and seemed to be altogether composed of wild beasts thirsting for blood. Who would save them from the horrible crowd pressing against the grille? It had not been without relief that Marie Antoinette had just heard the decree passed to keep them in the building where they were for the night. But what afterwards? Clearly they were not to go back to the Tuileries. The mention of the Luxembourg palace was interesting; still more so, the arguments of the opposition that it contained dangerous subterranean passages and opportunities for escape. The Queen’s brain was eagerly at work again, and intensely conscious of the present.

But Madame Royale and the Dauphin had borne all they could, and at 7 p.m. Madame de Tourzel was allowed to see the accommodation being prepared for the party in the cells of the ancient couvent des Feuillants. It was not till 10 p.m. that they were escorted thither by representatives of the Assembly; but for the 162elders it was neither to rest nor to sleep, for they were still within sound of the fierce mob outside as well as of the distant hum of the all-powerful Assembly about to decree their final destiny.

Three more weary days and nights spent in much the same manner were forced upon the unhappy family before they were conducted to the Temple, and into what proved to be for the majority of them the valley of the shadow of death.

E. M.
November, 1908.

1. The man said a great deal more which we could not catch.

2. I remember that on account of the wind I put on my coat.

3. The woman was standing on the steps, bending slightly forward, holding a jug in her hand. The girl was looking up at her from below with her hands raised, but nothing in them. She might have been just going to take the jug or have just given it up. Her light-brown hair escaped from under her cap. I remember that both seemed to pause for an instant, as in a tableau vivant; but we passed on, and I did not see the end.

4. By old I mean old or unusual forms, perhaps surviving in provincial French.

5. One man wore red, the other blue; the colours were not mixed.

6. I thought this gardener did not look like a Frenchman; he had more the air of an Englishman. He had hair on his face, a grizzled beard, was large and loosely made. His height was very uncommon, and he seemed to be of immense strength. His arms were long and very muscular. I noticed that even through the sleeves of his jersey.

7. Archives Nationales OI, 1878.

8. Desjardins, p. 15; Rocheterie’s Histoire de Marie Antoinette, pp. 289, 290, vol. i.

9. In the Bibliothèque Nationale.

10. Picture of a Garde de la Porte du Roi Louis XV., dite de la Manche, d’après une gravure de Chevilet. R. Jacquemin.

11. Souvenirs d’un Page, le comte D’Hezecques, pp. 130–134. (He says that their underdress was blue.)

12. Ibid., p. 137.

13. Arch. Nat. OI, 1883.

14. Arch. Nat. OI, 1878 and 1880.

15. Légendes de Trianon, Madame Julie Lavergne, pp. 89, 96.

16. Arch. Nat. OI, 1878.

17. Ibid. OI, 1882.

18. Desjardins, p. 90.

19. Arch. Nat. OI, 1875.

20. La Reine Marie Antoinette, De Nolhac, pp. 61, 212.

21. Le Barbier de Séville, by Beaumarchais, was first played in 1775; it was rewritten and made politically scandalous as Le Mariage de Figaro in 1781. This version was played in Vaudreuil’s private theatre at Gennevilliers and at the Odéon, 1783, and for the first time in Paris, by permission, April 27th, 1784.

22. Modes et Usages, De Reiset, p. 479, vol. i.

23. Légendes de Trianon, p. 75.

24. La Belle Jardinière, Lavergne, pp. 91, 97.

25. Arch. Nat. OI, 1878.

26. Arch. Nat. OI, 1877.

27. Letter enclosing marriage certificate (copy from the Archives Municipales, Versailles).

28. Arch. Nat. OI, 1876, 1877.

29. Ib. OI, 1879.

30. Ib. OI, 1879.

31. La vie de Madame Lavergne.

32. Quoted in Les Palais de Trianon, M. de Lescure, p. 148.

33. Légendes de Trianon, Madame Julie Lavergne, p. 75.

34. Arch. Nat. OI, 1875.

35. Ib.

36. Ib.

37. Arch. Nat. OI, 1875.

38. Ib.

39. Ib. OI, 1882. (There was also a “pont de bois à la porte verte” on the east side of the house, Arch. Nat. OI, 1881 and 1882.)

40. Ib.

41. Ib. (Souvenirs d’un Page, D’Hezecques, p. 242).

42. Ib. 1877.

43. Ib.

44. Ib.

45. Souvenirs d’un Page, p. 244.

46. Desjardins, picture, p. 196.

47. Desjardins, pp. 103, 73.

48. Légendes de Trianon, p. 75.

49. Souvenirs d’un Page, pp. 112, 118.

50. Modes et Usages, De Reiset, vol. i. p. 445.

51. Souvenirs du Baron de Frénilly, p. 80.

52. Ib. p. 80.

53. Souvenirs d’un Page, p. 242.

54. Souvenirs d’un Page, p. 243.

55. La Dernière Rose, p. 75.

56. Arch. Nat. OI, 1875.

57. Ib. OI, 1882.

58. Ib. OI, 1882.

59. Le Petit Trianon, p. 90.

60. Arch. Nat. OI, 1875.

61. Souvenirs d’un Page, p. 242.

62. Arch. Nat. OI, 1882.

63. Ib. OI, 1879.

64. Desjardins, p. 196.

65. Arch. Nat. OI, 1882.

66. Desjardins, pp. 107, 120; Arch. Nat. O1, 1875, 1877; Terrade, Le Théâtre de la Reine, p. 23.

67. Modes et Usages, De Reiset, vol. i. pp. 479, 404, 423, 365, 369.

68. Desjardins’, Le Petit Trianon, pp. 188, 189.

69. Page 7.

70. Arch. Nat. OI, 1879.

71. Ibid. OI, 1877.

72. Ibid. OI, 1879.

73. Arch. Nat. O1, 1876.

74. Ibid. O1, 1877.

75. Arch. Nat. OI, 1877.

76. Ib. OI, 1880.

77. We heard in 1910 that this was the window out of which Marie Antoinette used to pass when she went into the garden.

78. Marie Antoinette, Lenotre, p. 3.

79. Mémoires de Madame de Tourzel, p. 216.

80. Rocheterie says 18 hours; Dufour, 13 hours.

81. Marie Antoinette, Lenotre, p. 13.


De Launay; governor of the Bastille, Flescelles; prévôt des marchands, July 14, 1789.
Foulon; ministre, Berthier; intendant de l’Ile de France, July 4, 1789.

83. Comte d’Artois, Les Condés, Les Polignacs, Baron de Breteuil, le marechal de Broglie, le prince de Lambesc, le comte de Vaudreuil, ministres Bareuton, Villedeuil, Vauguyon, l’abbé de Vermond.

84. In 1783 the Queen’s wardrobe cost 199,000 livres; in 1784 it cost 217,000 livres; in 1785 it cost 252,000. One dress only worn once cost 6000 livres, not counting the material. La Reine Marie Antoinette, De Nolhac, pp. 36, 63.

In 1777 the Queen’s personal debts amounted to 487,000 livres, which the King paid out of his own purse. All this was changed after the birth of her first child, and the Queen, from that time, cut down every possible expense.

85. Mémoires de Madame de Tourzel, p. 220.

86. Even in the Conciergerie the Queen seems to have disbelieved in the likelihood of a formal condemnation to death. Marie Antoinette, Lenotre, pp. 247, 270.

87. Histoire de Marie Antoinette, La Rocheterie, p. 435.

88. Vicomte de Maillé, sent to L’Abbaye prison, murdered in the September massacres. M. de la Porte, intendant de la liste civile, also imprisoned and murdered in September. Mémoires de M. de Tourzel, p. 226.

89. La Rocheterie, p. 438.

90. La Rocheterie, p. 438.

91. La Reine Marie Antoinette, De Nolhac, p. 184.

92. Almanack Historique de la Revolution Française pour l’année, 1792, par M. J. P. Rabaut (contemporain).

93. The exterior masonry of the Palace cost 1,350,000 livres, apart from all the magnificent interiors, the grounds, and the outside buildings. La Grande Écurie cost 844,784 livres (Versailles, Peraté, p. 14). Expenses at Trianon under Louis XV., 340,000 livres; under Louis XVI., 1,649,529 livres (Desjardins, pp. 2, 407).

94. 1777–1779.

95. 1786.

96. Claude Richard was appointed jardinier en chef at Trianon in 1750. He was the intimate friend of Linnæus, who called him “the cleverest gardener in Europe.” He was the son of François Richard who followed James II. from Windsor to St. Germains. The son, Antoine Richard, became jardinier-botaniste-adjoint at Trianon, 1765, jardinier en chef, 1784–1805, and died 1807.

97. Guillotined 1794.

98. Built 1762.

99. Le Petit Trianon, Desjardins, p. 27.

100. 1759–1761.

101. Built 1773 for Madame du Barry.

102. “Avoir netoyer le passe-partout que la Reine avait perdue avoir gravée de nom de la Reine dessus qui ouvrait les portes du Chateau et jardin de Trianon.” Locksmith’s account, 1785 (Archives Nat. O1, 1882).

103. August 1st, 1780.

104. August 19th, 1785.

105. Cardinal Rohan had been arrested four days before, on August 15th, 1785.

106. Beaumarchais’ play of Le Mariage de Figaro had been rewritten with political intention from the old play of Le Barbier de Séville in 1783.

107. Twice played at Trianon, September 13th, 1784, and August 19th, 1785.

108. July 14th, 1789.

109. La Reine Marie Antoinette, De Nolhac, pages 161–212, 223, 224.

110. Le Petit Trianon, Desjardins, pages 180, 178, 342.

111. Histoire de Marie Antoinette, Rocheterie, pages 289, 290. Vol. i.

112. The brothers Bersy with Bréval were generally selected for guarding the porte du jardinier whenever the Queen was at Trianon, Arch. Nat. OI, 1880. They had the title of garçons jardiniers de la Chambre, OI, 1878.

113. Probably green, as it was worn by the Suisses, piqueurs, gardes des portes, garçons jardiniers, and such royal servants as filled the minor parts at the royal theatre at Versailles, Arch. Nat. OI, 1883. The traditional dress is still to be seen at the Comédie Française, which is the descendant of the old Royal Theatre. The Comte d’Artois was captain of the guards (including the gardes des portes) in 1789, and his livery was green.

114. In 1785, Arch. Nat. OI, 1883.

115. The names “Lemonguin” and “Magny” are to be found in the old lists of under-gardeners at Trianon, Arch. Nat. OI, 1876, 1877. “Mariamne” is mentioned among the children paid for picking up dead leaves in the grounds, 1783, Arch. Nat. O1, 1877.

116. Marion’s mother died shortly before 1793, Légendes de Trianon, Lavergne.

117. In Mique’s map of 1783 there is a building outside the wall between the ruelle and the porte de jardinier.

118. If Marianne was 21 at her son’s birth in 1796 she would have been 8 in 1783, and 14 in 1789.

119. In 1793 “Marion” (daughter of an under-gardener) was chosen by the Versailles Republican Club to personate the local Goddess of Reason. Horrified at the prospect, the night before the installation on the altar of the Versailles Notre Dame, she so completely disfigured her face with scratches from a thorn branch that she never completely lost the marks (Légendes de Trianon, Mdme Julie Lavergne, pp. 91–97).

120. In 1786 “Charpentier” is mentioned as an ouvrier terrassier, having to clear up sticks and leaves, plant flowers, and rake (Arch. Nat. O1, 1878).

Charpentier seems to have been the “Jean de l’eau,” so called from his daily duty of fetching water from Ville d’Avray for the Queen’s table. He even tried to get it to her when she was in the Conciergerie, August, 1792. He was afterwards wounded at Marengo and became a captain, and in 1805 was appointed by Napoleon jardinier en chef at the Petit Trianon, and married Marion (Légendes de Trianon, p. 97).

The marriage certificate of Alexandre Charpentier, in 1823 (at that time chef d’atelier aux Pepinières Royales de Trianon, and, later, for many years jardinier en chef at Trianon), shows that he was the son of Louis Toussaint Charpentier, pensionnaire, and Marie Anne Lemaignan (Mairie de Versailles).

121. “Dec. 5, 1780. Commencé par ordre de M. Mique le model de la partie de la grotte ... du coté des montagnes ... là dessus une petite ruine d’architecture, l’avoir penté, planté, et gazonné.

“Detail estimatif d’une ruine formant la naissance d’une rivière, savoir—Fouille de terre—maçonnerie ... le massif et le rigolle des fondations ... pierre dure ... colonnes avec les murs au derrière ... 7 colonnes ... 7 chapiteaux ... partie de la voute ... le parement des murs ... le fossite pour l’architecture ... Recapitulation ... 7 chapiteaux Ioniques, antique ... 5 membres ... 5 rosaces ... 9358 livres” (Arch. Nat. OI, 1878).

The Temple de l’Amour is more than once called a “ruine,” which did not seem to mean more than the reproduction of an older building. One “ruine” mentioned had six Corinthian pillars, and was near the “onze arpents.”

122. “Le chapeau ronds a larges bords, que l’on appelait à la jockey, remplaçait déjà le chapeau à trois cornes nommé à l’Androsmane.” On avait quitté le rabat, la bourse, les manchettes et l’épée (Modes et Usages, De Reiset, vol. i. p. 469).

123. “J’ai beaucoup vu le comte de Vaudreuil à Londres, sans avoir jamais découvert la distinction dont ses contemporains lui out fait honneur. Il avait été le coryphée de cette école d’exaggération qui régnait avant la Revolution, se passionnant pour toutes les petites choses, et restant froide devant les grandes ... Il ... gardait ses grands airs pour le salon de Madame de Polignac; et son ingratitude pour la Reine, dont je l’ai entender parler avec la dernière inconvenance” (Memoirs de la Comtesse de Boigne, p. 144).

124. Le Petit Trianon, Desjardins, p. 345.

125. The wages book shows that all the gardeners were at work out of doors on Oct. 5th, 1789, whereas on wet days they worked under cover, sometimes clearing out the passages of the house, Arch. Nat. O1, 1879.

126. This was the dress of the bourgeoisie in the 14th century. See illustration of 14th century play Pathelin. Artisans wore it in the 17th century. See Les Foires des Rues de Paris. Musée Carnavalet. It was probably worn by field labourers up to the Revolution.

127. There is no mention of a cart and horse as part of the regular expenses at the Ferme, but from time to time “une voiture à un cheval, et un conducteur” were hired for picking up sticks in the Park. Jan., 1789, there is an entry for paying “plus un homme” for that purpose; and on Oct. 4th, 1789, we read of the hiring of “trois journées de voiture et deux chevaux” (almost necessarily requiring two men) (O1, 1843).

128. See old picture by L’Espinasse, 1783. In Mique’s map (1783) two grottos are indicated, one close to the rocher bridge, on the left of it coming from the Hameau, and one near the Escargot hill, still to be seen to-day.

129. May 28th, 1781.... Out attachés le lierre de la grotte (O1, 1875).

130. The streams were cleared of dead leaves on Oct. 1, 2, 3, but not on the 4th or 5th or after that date (O1, 1877).

131. Memoirs of Marie Antoinette, by Madame Campan, p. 201. Légendes de Trianon, by Madame Julie Lavergne, p. 75.

132. In the time of Marie Antoinette there were at least three grottos at Trianon, of which only one remains intact, and that possibly the last created; it may have been formed along with the Escargot hill, raised in 1781 (Arch. Nat. O1, 1877).

The oldest grotto is mentioned in 1777 as ending at the porte d’entrée (O1, 1875). Issuing from the side of this first grotto was a “naissance de rivière,” which fed (perhaps by pipes) the small circular lake, whose waters passed under the Rocher bridge, through the great lake to the stream which meandered through the grounds. A small “ruine” having seven columns, a dome roof, and walls, stood above the spring “formant la naissance de la rivière” (O1, 1878, Desjardins, p. 90).

Such waters as drained naturally through the first grotto seem to have collected in a little pool at the lower end. In June, 1780, a new “petite rivière,” intended to carry these stagnant waters away direct to the great lake, was made; a grotto of “oval form” was dug round it, and a montagne raised to cover it in (O1, 1875). This second grotto was probably the one described by D’Hezecques: it must have turned at an angle from the first grotto and ended near the Rocher bridge, the tiny ruisseau passing through and beyond it into the great lake (O1, 1875).

133. A small ravine between the first and second grottos may have been spanned by the “pont rustique” of D’Hezecques, passing over the miniature waterfall issuing from “la 2ième source du Ravin” (nearer the Theatre than the first spring) (O1, 1882). This would have given the name “ravin du petit pont” (O1, 1875). The waterfall probably fell into the little pool, whose waters were carried by a “ruisseau” through the second (the Queen’s) grotto to the great lake. A rough sketch in the Arch. Nat. shows a small bridge in this position.

The cavern-like mouth at the lower end of the Queen’s grotto, close to the Rocher bridge, is shown in L’Espinasse’s picture of 1783. It is to be observed that in this picture no large rock (such as there is now) was over the long bridge which stood upon low rocks between the two lakes. The picture suggests that the rock opening of the grotto has been lifted away from its original place to its present position over the long Rocher bridge.

134. D’Hezecques describes the grotto as dark on first entering, lined with moss, and as having a staircase within it leading to the summit of the rocks. This staircase may be identical with the rock staircase now attached by modern masonry to the back of the great rock over the bridge, without any apparent reason.

135. A view of the prairie (also a condition of the Queen’s grotto described by D’Hezecques) is obtainable from the high ground in this part of the English garden.

136. Légendes de Trianon, Madame Julie Lavergne, p. 76.

137. (Rocks placed) “Pièce donnant au bord du lac de l’ancien jardin cote des rochers ... au long du chemin de l’emplacement de la Ruine sur la conduitte en bois à la 2ième Source du Ravin” (OI, 1882).

In 1788 “Pièce au dessus du Rocher du Ravin et ... passage des voiture sur le pont de bois.... Pièce à droite en face du Rocher du Ravin.

138. “En face du chateau ... une pelouse ... se terminait par une roche ombragée de pins, de thujas, de mélèzes, et surmontait d’un pont rustique, comme on en rencontre dans les montagnes de la Suisse et les précipices du Valais ...” (Souvenirs d’un Page, p. 242).

(Rocks placed), “1788 ... sur les montagnes des Pins à gauche et en montant au Rocher.... Montagne des Pins à droite en montante au Rocher” (Arch. Nat. O1, 1882). In 1791, every few days during January, February, March of that year, trees were torn up from the montagnes. In April, 1792, “Journée à arracher les Thujas sur les montagnes” (O1, 1879).

139. Livre-Journal de Madame Éloffe, pp. 404, 423, 365, 369.

140. After May, 1789, the grounds were thrown open (Desjardins, p. 345).

141. Le Petit Trianon, Desjardins, pp. 188, 189.

142. The great door of the chapel, which led into the royal gallery, opened upon a terrace then joined to the western terrace of the house.

143. The name of the Suisse (in 1789) in charge of the porte du perron de la Chapelle was Lagrange. His rooms were behind the chapel (Desjardins, p. 189).

144. According to M. de Nolhac (see note to Consignes de Marie Antoinette, p. 7) the porte de la ménagerie should be placed near the buildings of the kitchens and conciergerie. In Mique’s map (1783) a broad passage led through these buildings from the French garden to the avenue.

145. “Parmi eux se trouvoient des hommes de figure étrange, ce qui sembloient y avoir été appelés; car le peuple de Paris a sa physionomie, et ceux qui le connoissent savent bien distinguer les étrangers qui s’y confondent. Ces bandes farouches avoient précédé la garde nationale, dont il faut bien la distinguer; elles causèrent tout le désordre du lendemain.... Au dehors, les brigands s’étoient emparés de deux gardes du corps; ils leur coupèrent la tête, malgré les efforts de ceux des gardes nationaux qui arrivoient.... Enfin cette bande de scélérats reprit la route de Paris, emportant en signe de victoire les deux têtes des gardes des corps. Avec eux disparut toute l’horreur des scènes sanglantes du matin. Alors le caractère national se montra dans toute sa candeur. Les soldats parisiens et les gardes du roi s’embrassent.”—Almanach Historique de la Revolution Française, M. J. P. Rabaut, pp. 151–153.

This was written in 1791, and Rabaut was guillotined later “comme Girondin.”


  1. P. 131, changed “No double his feeble idea” to “No doubt his feeble idea”.
  2. Archives Nationales OI and Archives Nationales O1 are used interchangeably. Did not alter.
  3. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  4. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.