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 Discussion: Saint, sinner or a normal human being 
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Paul and Pierrette Girault de Coursac, who studied archives very deeply, even noticed that Marie Antoinette must have been rather stingy, for she had a lot of money in banks that she could use for preparing the escape to Montmedy.

So what ?

The only thing we can be sure of is that revolutionary propaganda exaggerated Marie Antoinette's extravagancies a lot ! It was indispensable to their politics...

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Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:54 am
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Madme de Pompadour spent more money in one year than Marie-Antoinette spent in her whole life. Josephine was wildly extravagant with the people's money but no one cared because she was French and they liked her.

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Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:06 pm
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I cannot add anything to the already said by Pimprenelle, only that I simply don´t think the Queen, looking at her in the context of her times and POSITION, did spent that much on clothes or anything. She was the QUEEN of FRANCE, quite the non plus ultra in fashion and elegance and what not!

Neither was she extravagant as compared with the rest of the royal family. Let´s see, just for one example that Madame Elisabeth bought more than 30 pairs of silk shoes in the last two months of her life. Yes, already imprisoned in the Temple and in the midst of the revolution. And this is only an example...


Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:13 pm
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Yes, they say that Madame Elisabeth may actually have spent more on clothes, especially shoes, than Antoinette did. Antoinette had her old shoes resoled.

The main extravagance of the queen was her gambling in her late teens, which she stopped when Louis asked her to. But then, she had been trained from childhood by her parents, the Holy Roman Emperor and Empress, to gamble for very high stakes, because they did not want her to lose all her money. And the court at Vienna played for much higher stakes than the French court.

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Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:23 pm
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BTW, if Madame Elisabeth ordered all of those slippers in the Temple, it was probably because of the dampness and mold, which quickly destroyed everything.....

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Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:59 pm
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Dear Pim , I don't remember the right passage, I think that the king's request was refered to the house or trees, but I can't be so sure. :)


Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:27 pm
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If this concerns little Trianon, we could quote the queen herself. Questioned during her trial about this, she replied that expenses could have been more than they first thought, and she was willing to show how it really happened about little Trianon.

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Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:26 pm
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Therese wrote:
Josephine was was French and they liked her.

Well she was originally from Martinique but she was a well-known figure prior to her marriage to Napoleon.


Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:44 pm
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Pim wrote:

"She also had the soul of an artist, which matters to me."

That is so true and is so important. When we go through this fascinating, time consuming, passionate Marie Antoinette journey, as so many of us on this forum are doing, we realize that more and more of that which we come across opens doors to new experiences, new inspirations, new emotions. MA is some respects is just the vital catalyst to the discovery of a whole period (celle des lumières, the period of light as the French refer to it) which seems so much more emotionally fulfilling than the immediacy and soullessness of contemporary society. We discover beautiful painting, amazing philosophical writers, beautiful music (Mozart, Grétry, Glück etc), sublime architecture, wonderful fashion, and all of this created by a society in some respects living on the edge, a society of no return, inspired to great things by its own inherent transient nature. When you look at decoration, one sees for example that most of that which MA touched or influenced is sublime, even to our modern eyes, her boudoir at Fontainebleau, her re-decorating of Trianon, her eye for detail and her ability to spot the very best furniture makers, upholsterers, designers, painters, porcelaine. The list is endless. This is so incredibly ignored by most people. MA was a great and passionate patron of the creative arts. She was passionate about them from start to finish, basically she had taste.

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:30 pm
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Yes, you're right baron de batz, Marie-Antoinette was a very rare person. I wouldn't call her a saint, because I don't see things in the christian way. But for me, she wasn't a banal person at all. She's unique. And that's explain why she still fascinate people, most 200 years after her death.

What I like the most in her could be her purity, the purity of her soul. The have a soul so beautiful and so pure that anyone who begin to know really her can't help but love her.

If I had to describe her in one word, it would be like John William Crocker did : "One of the purest among the humains being".

That's why that's so revolting that her enemies had forged such a image of her. :evil:


Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:24 am
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Here are the words which the Irish politician and author John Wilson Croker (1780-1857) wrote in his Essays on the French Revolution:

"We have followed the history of Marie Antoinette with the greatest diligence and scrupulosity. We have lived in those times. We have talked with some of her friends and some of her enemies; we have read, certainly not all, but hundreds of the libels written against her; and we have, in short, examined her life with-- if we may be allowed to say so of ourselves-- something of the accuracy of contemporaries, the diligence of inquirers, and the impartiality of historians, all combined; and we feel it our duty to declare, in as a solemn a manner as literature admits of, our well-matured opinion that every reproach against the morals of the queen was a gross calumny-- that she was, as we have said, one of the purest of human beings." (Croker's Essays, p 562)

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Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:55 pm
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Therese, and to add to that specific point, I don't think gambling is a big sin in the court atmosphere - everyone did it, including people considered virtuous. for me, Marie Antoinette does not seem special the way she does to you all. but like everyone else, I think the categories "saint" and "sinner" don't work for a real person dealing with real life.


Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:19 am
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doritmi wrote:
Therese, and to add to that specific point, I don't think gambling is a big sin in the court atmosphere - everyone did it, including people considered virtuous. for me, Marie Antoinette does not seem special the way she does to you all. but like everyone else, I think the categories "saint" and "sinner" don't work for a real person dealing with real life.


I agree about the gambling, dorit; it was part of the culture of the court. Although at one point MA was inordinately attached to it, which may have made it a venial sin for her, but that is between her and God. She had that three day gambling party after all. At any rate, she got over it.

I think we have a false view of saints as people who walked on a cloud with no problems. All the canonized saints I have ever read about were very real people dealing with real problems in real life situations, such as Saint Margaret Queen of Scotland, Elisabeth of Hungary, Duchess of Thuringia, Saint Hermenegild, and Blessed Charles of Austria, the last emperor, who had to deal with the disasters of WWI and die in exile leaving 11 children behind.

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Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:32 am
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Quote:
I agree about the gambling, dorit; it was part of the culture of the court. Although at one point MA was inordinately attached to it, which may have made it a venial sin for her, but that is between her and God. She had that three day gambling party after all. At any rate, she got over it.

Do you think Marie Antoinette's gambling had anything to do with money, dear Therese ? In my view, there are two options : first, she gambled for the whole court did, and they did in Vienna too, after all. It was a court habit.

Second, Marie Antoinette may have gambled for she loved strong impressions. In my opinion, she gambled like she rode... dangerously... for she loved flirting with danger...

In this view, she could have been a real gambler, and she would be quite strong while getting over it.

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Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:26 am
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Pimprenelle wrote:
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I agree about the gambling, dorit; it was part of the culture of the court. Although at one point MA was inordinately attached to it, which may have made it a venial sin for her, but that is between her and God. She had that three day gambling party after all. At any rate, she got over it.


Second, Marie Antoinette may have gambled for she loved strong impressions. In my opinion, she gambled like she rode... dangerously... for she loved flirting with danger...

In this view, she could have been a real gambler, and she would be quite strong while getting over it.


That is it exactly, Pim, she loved the thrill of it. It was not about the money. And, indeed, the fact that she got over it shows her strength of character....

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Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:03 pm
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