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 A Very Interesting Story 
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Post A Very Interesting Story
[quote][quote][quote]After returning to France in 1814, after twenty years of exile, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte, the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, was contacted by the Sisters of Charity at the Hôpital des Incurables in Paris. One of their patients was Madame Simon, widow of the infamous Simon the cobbler who had brutalized the little Louis XVII in the Temple prison. Widow Simon claimed that the boy king had been smuggled out of the Temple in a basket of laundry, and that he had not died in 1795, but had been replaced by another boy who died in his place. The princess did not know what to make of such a wild story. In December of 1814 she went incognito to the hospital with two friends to personally interview the cobbler's widow. The following is a rendition of the confrontation from the novel Madame Royale:

**********************************************************************************
....A frail old woman sat alone by the stove. She was in a wheelchair, a white linen cap on her head, a shawl around her shoulders and a blanket across her legs. She was tatting in the fading December light streaming through the window.

"Mère Simon, some people are here to see you, " said Sister Lucie. She withdrew without curtsying, as Thérèse had asked her. Lifting her veil, Thérèse approached the cobbler's widow. Her eyes met the steel grey ones in the withered face. It was a hard visage, as hard as she had ever remembered it to be, but not evil. She stared keenly at Thérèse for several seconds before looking down again at her tatting.

"Sit down, Madame," said Widow Simon, gesturing to a chair. Thérèse sat down; Pauline and Mathieu remained standing by the door. "You have heard, I suppose, that I was once the governess of the Dauphin. People talk of nothing but the Dauphin nowadays. Everyone wants to know about him; I tell them everything I can recall."

"Yes, Madame Simon," said Thérèse, trying to soften her grating voice. "I would like to hear about the Dauphin. They say he was a handsome child."

"Handsome!" exclaimed Mère Simon. "Ah, mon Dieu, he was like an angel with his golden curls and thick eyelashes! Both of my little Bourbons were beautiful children. Yes, his sister was a lovely girl, too." She furtively glanced at Thérèse. "A proud lass, but lovely. Oh, la la, but my Charles was a naughty rascal."

"You took care of him, did you not?"

"Indeed, yes, Madame." The old woman stopped tatting and closed her eyes. "I made certain he ate all the food on his plate. I swept his chamber everyday and mended his clothes. I changed his bed linen often. Those tales about lice-- well, not while I, Jeanne Simon, resided at the Temple. My Charles loved me and I loved him. He wanted to come with us when we left."

"Your husband," asked Thérèse, hesitantly, "did he love Charles?"

Madame Simon's eyebrows arched defiantly."I do not care what stories you may have heard, but Simon did not hit Charles all that often. Why, he only hit him when he was drunk, and then he would hit me, too, for that matter. And Charles was a rascal-- all those princely airs and graces, those fine manners and book-learning, why, it just made Simon as mad as can be. He had to beat it all out of him, and knock some sense into his head. He would have done the same to a boy of our own. But he never hit him with an iron poker, knocking him half-dead. That's an evil lie. And he never broke his toys, or killed his pet birds. Not Simon. As for the guards--well, that's another story altogether. They would wake the little fellow up every few hours a night, when they let him sleep at all, to make certain he was still there. 'Capet, are you awake? Show yourself, you whelp!' they would call. It angered me, I must say. Simon did no such thing. He even bought Charles a dog, which was given to the boy's sister after he left."

"Yes," said Thérèse, remembering little Coco. "So I have heard. But tell me, did you take the Dauphin away with you?"

"We did, indeed. Simon smuggled him out in a hamper of dirty linen. Hiding the likes of Monsieur Charles was no easy task, let me tell you. Then Simon took him to some place called Vitry. Afterwards, Simon was killed. I did not see the Dauphin again for many years."

Thérèse suppressed a small gasp. "You saw him, Madame? When?"

The old woman's eyes brightened and her face glowed. "My Charles came to see me in 1802. He stood right here in this room."

Thérèse felt her pulses pounding, as she hid her emotion. "From the tower of the Temple until 1802 is a long time," she said lightly. "How were you able to recognize him?"

"By the scar on his upper lip, where the rabbit scratched him." The hard mouth softened into a sly smile. "Madame, I recognize you quite well, notwithstanding your disguise, although I have not seen you for very much longer....You are Madame Marie-Thérèse!"

Thérèse stood up and almost bolted from the room....

~ from Madame Royale by Elena Maria Vidal, Chapter 14, "The Hospital," copyright 2000 by E. M. Vidal

Posted by elena maria vidal at 9:20 PM


Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:22 am
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
I just love Elena Maria Vidal's novels.

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Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:05 am
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
Yes, it's very interesting...I knew there was such a story going on about the Dauphin, that he had been saved and taken away from prison. Well, it sounds like other similar stories about the last descendant of a royal family secretly surviving...
But was Marie Therese's visit to the hospital real?
Anyway, I think I'll read the novel if I find it...it sounds really interesting and well written!

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Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:24 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
You know, I cannot find any EM Vidal novels for sale on a British site. Has anyone here had any better luck?

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Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:35 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
Madame Amelia wrote:
You know, I cannot find any EM Vidal novels for sale on a British site. Has anyone here had any better luck?


Here is her blog and from there you can find her novels. http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/

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Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:38 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
I will have to purchase Ms. Vidal's books soon, I have spoken to her before and she is a very nice lady.

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Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:48 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
Rosalie wrote:
Yes, it's very interesting...I knew there was such a story going on about the Dauphin, that he had been saved and taken away from prison. Well, it sounds like other similar stories about the last descendant of a royal family secretly surviving...
But was Marie Therese's visit to the hospital real?
Anyway, I think I'll read the novel if I find it...it sounds really interesting and well written!


Yes, Marie-Therese actually did visit the hospital to interview Madame Simon in Dec. 1814. She visited incognito, but was recognized by the cobbler's widow. The conversation in Vidal's novel is based upon actual accounts, as recorded by Joseph Turquan. At the time, the Dauphin's fate was talked about everywhere, and rumors were flying.

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Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:22 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
Does anyone know when the heart belonging to a child of an Hapsburg princess was found?


Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:18 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
fasinating!

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Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:04 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
this one...
sorry if it is very sad.


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Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:23 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
didnt it take them till like 1991 for them to find it? it was ridiculous

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Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:38 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
versailles wrote:
didnt it take them till like 1991 for them to find it? it was ridiculous

Non, they tried to give it to Provence or D'Artois...
so it was found within the time of death til the 1830's?


Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:53 am
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
Comte de Provence wrote:

Does anyone know when the heart belonging to a child of an Hapsburg princess was found?

Your question is well worded...some people think that this heart could well be that of the first dauphin, Louis Joseph Xavier.

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Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:54 am
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
Thank you Baron.
I have never heard where the first Dauphin was buried, do you know any information.


Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:08 pm
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Post Re: A Very Interesting Story
The whole thing turns my stomach. What happened to the Dauphin at the hands of the filthy revolutionaries was unforgiveable and beyond contempt. Didn't they do DNA testing or something to ascertain if, in fact, the heart was his? I doubt that anyone would have dug up his younger brother in order to perpetrate a hoax unless it was a cover for the Dauphin's escape. I find the idea appealing, but preposterous, especially since a heart was a heart was a heart at that time. Considering everything else that happened during the 'revolution', I cannot see the Dauphin surviving the envious hatred of those disgusting people. Anastasia had a better chance of survival and yet, I am equally sure that she was brutally murdered by her own country's evil 'revolutionaries'. One might as well tell me that Elvis was seen sipping a Coke and eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich yesterday at a cafe on the Champs Elysees or that Hitler managed to escape to Palm Beach and spent the remainder of his years playing tennis and working on his tan. The innocent child perished in that latrine of a cell at the hands of those vile and venomous vermin. Sad, but true, I am afraid.

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Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:14 am
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