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 but what about the rest? 
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Post but what about the rest?
There are other things about Marie and Fersen.

We also have the little warren of rooms found in Versailles (found hidden inside the area known to belong to Marie) that researches checked against Fersens letters for details. Inside one little room was the Swedish stove.

Also her riding habits that coincided with his. So they would always meet.

There are famous 'Josephine' letters to discuss.
(all this comes from Frasers' book)

edited to add - I did not mean to start a new thread.

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Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:16 pm
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Hi, Melly, yes, we have covered all of these topics already. There is a thread devoted to the "Josphine" letters. Fersen knew five women named Josephine, according to Nesta Webster. The warren of rooms that allegedly served as a "love nest" is a myth and never existed. As for the stove, so he would have the daughter of the Caesars arranging such menial matters for him, and shovelling coal into his stove? There is no proof that any stove was ever ordered.

Louis XVI would never have permitted his wife to live with and have babies with another man. As for the queen herself, author Jean Chalon, among other scholars, writes how it would have been impossible for the queen to conduct a lengthy laiason, since she went frequently to confession and her confessor would have ordered her to send the lover away.

Antonia Fraser's bio is not one of the best. She relies on the sensational over the factual.

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Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:19 pm
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Therese,
Thank you for taking the time to give answers of substance. And also for being so patience with my starting 'new' conversation over what may be an 'old' topic to many. (Worked over too many times for patience.) It seems the Ferson threads are scattered, nicht whar?

Here is my problem I have 5 books sitting right here with me. (the ones I listed on another post).

Whatever I have written since I joined MAO I have gleaned from these books....one by one things from these books or the authors have been (for lack of a better term) poo-pooed here. Anything to do with Fersen.

Anyway my question is how do you, (any of you reading this), determine which book/author to believe? Which author is the truth?

Before I pull all of my hair out. :cry:

The tiny rooms inside the rooms were suppose to have been substantiated by some investigation against floor plans and Ferson letters? (If they existed would prove nothing but that she had private rooms to retire to not that she slept with anyone)

The Josephine letters are suppose to start and stop to coincide with Fersen's visits to court. The point being there would be no point to write to someone he was seeing each day.

Supposedly arranging her horse rides to the same day he rode...that she only showed interest in the America issues when Fersen was there.

Common sense alone stands to reason that it would have been very difficult for Marie to have had a torrid affair, much less romping in fields of flowers etc with the Count impossible.

Remember I voted I did not know if they had an affair (because I do not think it can be known 100%) (what is meant by 'affair' anyway? Sex everytime they met? A one time thing?)

I really do not think she ever 'had sex' with the Count because common sense against what little I know about the court, the dress, the people around her say it would be too hard to arrange. But still, I cannot assign my desires for her heart to be a certain way because I 'want' it so. I am one who really needs proof either way.

But it is not difficult for me to think she cared for him, as 'a woman cares for a man'. This has nothing to do with 'sex'.

I am sorry if I am too blunt. I am trying to not be.

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Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:24 pm
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Wow, what a great post, Melly, and your bluntness is delightful. Yes, discussions of Fersen tend to erupt spontaneously all over this board and it is difficult sometimes to track them all down.

Now that I am lookng, I think the discussion about the Josephine letters was one of the threads accidentally deleted awhile ago. I can't seem to find it. Some of our members know all the ins and outs of why the Fersen affair did not happen better than I do, especially Pimprenelle who I am sure will respond to this post (when she gets back from Paris), and Chou-Charles (when he turns on his computer.) Nesta Webster in her two volume study about Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette has some compelling discussions as to why there is no proof that Marie-Antoinette was even in love with Fersen, which totally convinced me after reading it.

I think that the only explanation I can give, from my own point of view, as to why I came to believe that the Count was a good friend and not a romantic love interest, was that those authors who did not believe the romance took place on ANY level had not only done the most thorough research, but also seemed the most sensible and scholarly, not looking for the sensational but just trying to be objective. Also, based on my own study of the memoirs and letters concerning Marie-Antoinette, the affair did not seem to fit in with what was going on overall in her life. During the 1780's, when some authors allege she was having her wild romance with Fersen, was when she had finally found contentment with her husband; she was having one pregnancy after another, and was totally absorbed in her children and the Polignacs. Other authors claim the romance was consummated by a one time fling at the Tuileries in Feb 1792, but that would have been impossible since it is a fact that the guards did not give the queen any privacy but came into her room every two hours to make sure she was in her bed. It would have been difficult for her to have had intimacy with her own husband, much less with Count Fersen (who according to his own testimony went right from visiting with the king and queen to stay with his mistress that night. If he had slept with Marie-Antoinette, she obviously did not satisfy him for he had to run to Eleonore's arms.)

As for her being in love with Fersen, there are few extant letters, and NONE in the queen's hand to Fersen that prove such a love. The letters that he allegedly copied from her cypher were a diplomatic correspondence meant for the King of Sweden, the ally of Louis XVI, and the scraps that people use as proof that she loved him are in the same florid, gushy style that she used for everyone. She always kissed everyone with all her heart and loved them with all her soul - she wrote in a similar style to all of her friends and family. It is not that I want or don't want her to have had an affair; it is just that I cannot find the solid proof.

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Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:22 pm
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Thanks to you both for your informative posts, Melly and Therese!


Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:59 pm
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You are welcome, Arietta. I am realizing that much of the stuff we had already written about this subject has been accidentally deleted. No problem, we can write it all again....

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Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:03 pm
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[quote="Therese"]
I am glad I am not crazy, I kept using the search feature for Josephine and found my posts and Bonaparte's wife..lol

I am looking into finding Nesta Webster's books now. I have to deal with a tiny town library and everything really interesting is always found in other libraries, so they have to be requested, held or reserved. Hopefully I will get them in the next few months.

I think you have made your case very well, I am guessing I will eventually end up falling somewhere along those lines myself.

Had I only known what I would be doing 53 years into my life I would have studied French...LOL)

quote]

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Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:47 pm
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Some of the older books can be found on Amazon.com. I just bought an old book of letters for $2 or $3. I know that Webster's works are available from Amazon.

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Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:25 pm
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Actually, the problem is that those people who think that Fersen was Antoinette's lover could show no evidence of it at all. They want so much to find those evidences that, finally, they jump to conclusions. On this account, Loomis' "Fatal Friendship" is very interesting, for, even if the author is "a believer", he analyses every purpoted evidence that have been given. For instance, his reading of Fersen's letters is very different than Söderjhelm's one...

Very cute stories have been spread all over centuries about the queen and her tragic lover. They actually may be as irrelevant as this scene of Antoinette singing Dido's air before Fersen, both in tears... It is less romantic when knowing that this opera was not even written by then !

Witnesses are very important. Even Bauman ("Marie-Antoinette et Axel Fersen") agrees that Saint-Priest, the greatest writer of this rose love story, is not a reliable source. Mme de Fitz-James was in love with Fersen... Besenval was angry because Marie-Antoinette had refused him...

And isn't it interesting to see that those who were really close to Antoinette say nothing about Fersen? Not a single word under Mme Campan's quill. No more in those so precise reports Mercy wrote to Marie-Therese, where Guines, Lauzun, Artois are however mentioned. Why not Fersen ?

Because there was nothing to say, probably !

Now, this Josephine stuff... Fersen knew at least two Josephines. When is he supposed to write to the queen of France ?

This stove story I would put among those purpoted evidences people want so hard to find. Fersen wrote to a lady that he wants a stove. We don't have his letter, but the entry in his record book still exists. Well... Antoinette is reported to have asked for a stove for keeping warm one of her cabinets. So what ? Such works were very common in Versailles !

One problem is that her order we never found back... The other point is more psychological. Would this count Fersen give order to the Queen of France, and tell her : "have a stove made !" ? I deeply doubt it...

Honestly, the more I read about this Fersen story, the less I find it credible.

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Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:33 pm
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When you're studying history, particularly about high profile events and people, finding out what's fact and fiction can be difficult if it's been re-emphasized over the years.


Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:49 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
Actually, the problem is that those people who think that Fersen was Antoinette's lover could show no evidence of it at all. They want so much to find those evidences that, finally, they jump to conclusions. ...


Yes, this is very much the case, but in either direction. If one wants to beleive someone was other than they were, and is faced with anything contrary they tend to ignore it.

Quote:
They actually may be as irrelevant as this scene of Antoinette singing Dido's air before Fersen, both in tears... It is less romantic when knowing that this opera was not even written by then !


This was not relevant to me as I believed it was true until I was straighten out here.

Quote:
Not a single word under Mme Campan's quill. No more in those so precise reports Mercy wrote to Marie-Therese, where Guines, Lauzun, Artois are however mentioned. Why not Fersen ?


This is when my nature as a human being steps into my thinking....I would not disclose intimacies about my closets friends to anyone, I do not write about their indiscretions in my diaries....IOW if one of my closet friends should one day find themselves 'famous' then history would know nothing from me. Did Mme Camapna write about the day to day or did she also spread lies about (for example) Artois.? The tabloids of the day were full of garbage about Marie and Artois. But her friends would not be doing that.


Quote:
Now, this Josephine stuff... Fersen knew at least two Josephines. When is he supposed to write to the queen of France ?


As for the Josephines, the only thing I keep finding his he supposedly wrote to this Josephine (MA) when he was away from Court and stopped writing to her when he returned.

Quote:
This stove story I would put among those purported evidences people want so hard to find. Fersen wrote to a lady that he wants a stove. We don't have his letter, but the entry in his record book still exists. Well... Antoinette is reported to have asked for a stove for keeping warm one of her cabinets. ..... The other point is more psychological. Would this count Fersen give order to the Queen of France, and tell her : "have a stove made !" ? I deeply doubt it...


There is a "Swedish" stove, (very pointely it is a 'swedish' stove), in these infamous rooms in Versailles. The stove is there is it not? I do not think Ferson "ordered" Marie Antoinette to do anything. Period. But if she got this stove for him then it was a gift. He wanted a stove, and she being the thoughtful, would maybe have thought (swedish stove) would be a nicer gift than just a common one? I doubt seriously that MA took orders to get a stove but as woman she would have seen this a gift to her friend? Again there is nothing in this stove story that make me see "affair" written on it.

(Thank you very much for taking the time to help me through this, and I love your Name...)

[/quote]

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Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:33 pm
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melly wrote:
Pimprenelle wrote:
Actually, the problem is that those people who think that Fersen was Antoinette's lover could show no evidence of it at all. They want so much to find those evidences that, finally, they jump to conclusions. ...


Yes, this is very much the case, but in either direction. If one wants to beleive someone was other than they were, and is faced with anything contrary they tend to ignore it.

Quote:
They actually may be as irrelevant as this scene of Antoinette singing Dido's air before Fersen, both in tears... It is less romantic when knowing that this opera was not even written by then !


This was not relevant to me as I believed it was true until I was straighten out here.

Quote:
Not a single word under Mme Campan's quill. No more in those so precise reports Mercy wrote to Marie-Therese, where Guines, Lauzun, Artois are however mentioned. Why not Fersen ?


This is when my nature as a human being steps into my thinking....I would not disclose intimacies about my closets friends to anyone, I do not write about their indiscretions in my diaries....IOW if one of my closet friends should one day find themselves 'famous' then history would know nothing from me. Did Mme Camapna write about the day to day or did she also spread lies about (for example) Artois.? The tabloids of the day were full of garbage about Marie and Artois. But her friends would not be doing that.


Quote:
Now, this Josephine stuff... Fersen knew at least two Josephines. When is he supposed to write to the queen of France ?


As for the Josephines, the only thing I keep finding his he supposedly wrote to this Josephine (MA) when he was away from Court and stopped writing to her when he returned.

Quote:
This stove story I would put among those purported evidences people want so hard to find. Fersen wrote to a lady that he wants a stove. We don't have his letter, but the entry in his record book still exists. Well... Antoinette is reported to have asked for a stove for keeping warm one of her cabinets. ..... The other point is more psychological. Would this count Fersen give order to the Queen of France, and tell her : "have a stove made !" ? I deeply doubt it...


There is a "Swedish" stove, (very pointely it is a 'swedish' stove), in these infamous rooms in Versailles. The stove is there is it not? I do not think Ferson "ordered" Marie Antoinette to do anything. Period. But if she got this stove for him then it was a gift. He wanted a stove, and she being the thoughtful, would maybe have thought (swedish stove) would be a nicer gift than just a common one? I doubt seriously that MA took orders to get a stove but as woman she would have seen this a gift to her friend? Again there is nothing in this stove story that make me see "affair" written on it.

(Thank you very much for taking the time to help me through this, and I love your Name...)

[/quote]

I think the burden of proof lies with those who are trying to prove the affair. The plain outward facts of the case is that the queen was a faithful, devoted, loving wife and mother. There is nothing in her own writings to her family and closest confidantes that would make us think that she had any feelings for Fersen other than those of friendship. The strongest emotions she shows in her letters and in the memoirs of those who were closest to her concern her husband, children and friends like Gabrielle.

Madame de Campan was more of a femme de chambre than a close friend. She wrote her memoirs many years after the queen's death and revealed all kinds of intimate details about her and everyone else in the French royal family. Even more revealing is that none of the queen's enemies at the time spread rumors about her and Fersen. It was a story which developed later in Napoeon's time.

The Josephines in question (Webster says he knew five) were all in Paris. So of course when he returned there from Sweden or America the letters would have stopped.

I agree with you about the stove being an innocuous gift but some writers say the stove was the one used in the mysterious love nest - the one no one has ever been able to find.

Those who are trying to prove the liaison must stretch facts much more than those who do not accept it. However, the legend has become accepted as a fact, so that now historians must work just as hard to prove the obvious - the queen had no lover, not even a platonic one.

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Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:13 pm
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[/quote]I think the burden of proof lies with those who are trying to prove the affair.[/quote]

This I disagree with, Regardless of what one believes about the Queen it their "burden" to prove they are correct.

Quote:
The Josephine's in question (Webster says he knew five) were all in Paris. So of course when he returned there from Sweden or America the letters would have stopped.


The Josephine's are something I am going to have to do much more reading (as best I can) on. As there seems to be a great deal made of the work researching all these letters they did have.

Quote:
Those who are trying to prove the liaison must stretch facts much more than those who do not accept it.


Again I have to disagree with this, It easy to make things fit and ignore what we don't like in many things not just on the matter of Marie and the Count, but in any walk of life. It is hard to let go of firmly held beliefs.

The reality is he was in her life closely, all the way until her death. Did she not send him (days before she was to die) an impression from her seal "Tutto a te mi guida" (All things lead me to you) with the instruction to tell him 'this device has never been more true"....there was a bond between them.

I just don't want anyone to think because I am speaking as I do I think she had an affair, because I do not.

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Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:02 pm
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Obviously, the fact that I am on this board is proof that I am willing to offer what proof I can. Ultimately, there is not enough proof of a romantic attachment.

Melly, let us know what you decide on after studying the subject of the Josephines.....

Yes, I agree that it is hard for people to let go of firmly held beliefs especially when it comes to the Fersen legend. As for myself, I would almost hope that she had a deep and secret love. But I have never read any historical analysis which is convincing enough.

So she gave the Count a ring with an inscription - how many similar tokens did she give to other friends and retainers who had helped the royal family? Many. It was only her duty. Such a token does not signify a romantic bond.

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Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:35 am
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Therese,
Well said.
I closed with what I did because I feel it may seem odd, as I am on one hand saying I do not believe she had any affair. And here I am handing out what is in these books. I still feel there may have been a deeper relationship which does not make her a cheating wife or a bad person.

You have to admit you (many here) have the upper hand with extensive research and years of reading, the ability to read French - where I have read maybe 2 books as a teenager, and only recently developed great interest in Marie Antoinette. I have always been wrapped up in the Tutors and MaryQof Scots.

This ring I speak of seems of interest, if the facts are correct, it was a ring Ferson actually gave her and she had with her to the end. I am sorry but I guess I am only a sentimental old fool here, but a woman does not keep a token and worry about getting it sent back (with a message like that) to a no body when she is preparing to die.

I will get back with my findings on the Josp. (it may take a while but I am nothing if not faithful. lol)

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Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:01 am
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