Friday, 9 November 2012

The Green Knight and Sir Gawain

He built the prison of Versailles, and established the strict regime that governed its inmates. Yes! The Prison of Versailles! In the curtailment formalities of that gilded cage, I was the least free cosmos in France, and poor Marie Antoinette was the least free woman. I spring this advice to the future Kings of France, who will reign after this madness passes: spare Versailles, and re-establish the tribunal in the Louvre, or in whatever suit of clothes in Paris. I ne'er liked Paris. exclusively had I been living in Paris while I ruled, I think that I ability shed had more of a sense of the mood of the people, and might have been more adequate to judge rightly how to deal with it. I would say, too, that the organisation of the Court should be reduced to the most modest level of simmpleness consistent with the dignity of the Cr receive. My long- spacious-grandfather, Henri IV, first of my line, lived in simplicity, and was no little a King for it--indeed, his c lagness to his people made him a greater King. He restored France, after the wars of religion; I have lost it. I must note a pass on benefit to simplicity; it would greatly reduce expenses, which were one great source of these troubles.

Now I must speak of myself, and my own conduct, and first of all of my marriage and my unhappy Queen. I was never the sort of Frenchman that foreigners imagine all Frenchmen to b

Perhaps the gravest of all my errors, in retrospect, was allowing France to be drawn into the American war. It was an understandable error, I think. The war was popular, for France had been humiliated in the vii Years' War, in the time of my grandfather, Louis XV, when we lost Canada and much else. What seemed more meet than that British insolence should be corrected by the outlet of America? And for the most part, the American war went well. Britain did indeed lose America, and until near the end of the war we even held our own at sea, which I fear we shall never do again.

Haslip, Joan. Marie Antoinette. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988.
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I did not even manage our attempt at flight of steps properly; surely Marie Antoinette, our children, and myself, should have fled in one fleet coach, with only a servant or two if any; had we done so, we would have made a faster and little conspicuous passage, and might not have been intercepted at Varennes. But even in flight I was still the captive of Versailles, and let myself be accompanied by an over-large entourage.

The Americans made what might have seemed unattainable abstract ideals of popular government and republican institutions appear to be entirely practical. They won their war against Britain--albeit with the great assistance, I must modestly assert, of France--and instead of falling to quarrelling among themselves, they succeeded in putting their radical new institutions into effect. In the past some years, finding that their original scheme of government did not work, they form a Convention and established a new system of republican institutions, under which M. Washington is now President, as they style him. And this second American Revolution, if I may so style it, was carried out without a single drop of blood being shed, at the very time that France was falling into its present convulsions.

e: at ease with women and master of the arts of love. I never had a mistress, and for the first
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