It was on a May morning in the year 1770 that the child-bride of the Dauphin of France arrived at Versailles - the graceful, winsome, golden-haired Marie Antoinette, daughter of Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria. The future Queen of France was then not fifteen years of age, and her affianced husband was but a few months older.

A letter in her own hand, dated at Versailles on the 24th of May, 1770, describes the incidents of her ceremonious journey from Austria, and her reception by Louis XV and his heir. Other letters to her family give us glimpses of the wedding in the chapel of Versailles, of the fetes, the balls at the palace, the function of distributing bread and wine to the people, the hunts in nearby forests, the dances, musicales and informal assemblages of the royal family in the intimate apartments of the chateau.

"Our life here is perpetual movement," wrote the Dauphine to her sister; and to her mother she sent this quaint epistle a few weeks after her arrival in France: "You wish to know how I spend my time habitually. I will say, therefore, that I rise at ten o'clock or nine, or half-past nine, and after dressing I say my prayers; then I breakfast, after which I go to my aunts' (Madame Adelaide, Victoire and Sophie), where I usually meet the King. At eleven I go to have my hair dressed. At noon the Chambre is called, and any one of sufficient rank may come in. I put on my rouge and wash my hands before everybody; then the gentlemen go out; the ladies stay, and I dress before them. At twelve is mass; when the King is at Versailles I go to mass with him and my husband and my aunts. After mass we dine together before everybody, but it is over by half-past one, as we both eat quickly. (Marie Antoinette always found the custom of eating in public most distasteful.) I then go to Monsieur the Dauphin; if he is busy I return to my own apartments, where I read, I write, or I work, for I am embroidering a vest for the King, which does not get on quickly, but I trust that, with God's help, it will be finished in a few years! At three I go to my aunts', where the King usually comes at that time. At four the Abbe (her literary mentor) comes to me; at five the master for the harpsichord, or the singing-master, till six. At half-past six I generally go to my aunts' when I do not go out. You must know that my husband almost always comes with me to my aunts'. At seven, card-playing till nine. When the weather is fine I go out; then the card-playing takes place in my aunts' apartments instead of mine. At nine, supper; when the King is absent my aunts come to take supper with us; if the King is there, we go to them after supper, and we wait for the King, who comes usually at a quarter before eleven; but I lie on a large sofa and sleep till his arrival; when he is not expected we go to bed at eleven. Such is my day.

"I entreat you, my very dear mother, to, forgive me if my letter is too long. I ask pardon also for the blotted letter, but I have had to write two days running at my toilet, having no other time at my disposal."

In the winter the Court made merry with sleighing, skating and dancing parties, and formal affairs in honor of foreign princes. "There is too much etiquette here to live the family life," lamented the child to her mother. "Altogether, the Court at Versailles is a little dull, the formalities are so fatiguing. But I am happy, for Monsieur the Dauphin is very polite to me and always attentive." In another letter she recounted the triumph attending the first presentation of the opera Iphigenie, by Gluck. "The Dauphin applauded everything and Gluck showed himself very well pleased. . . . He has written me some pieces that I sing to the harpsichord."

Several times a week, the awkward, bashful boy who was to become Louis XVI of France pleased his light-hearted wife by taking dancing lessons with her. Hours were spent with him in the park at Versailles, skipping about, laughing, playing pranks like the little girl she was. Sometimes there were charades, and plays by amateurs and professionals behind the "closed doors" of their own rooms.

In 1774, four years after the marriage of Marie Antoinette to the Dauphin, Louis XV was taken ill of smallpox during a sojourn at the Little Trianon, and was removed to Versailles. Within a fortnight he was dead, and a scandalous reign was ended. "The rush of the courtiers, with a noise like thunder, as they hastened to pay homage to the new sovereign," says a narrator of the Queen's story, "was the first announcement of the great event to the young heir and his wife." The new King had not yet reached his twentieth year. "God help and protect us!" they both cried on their knees. "We are too young to reign!"

As Queen of France, Marie Antoinette occupied a series of superbly appointed rooms in the left wing of the palace. Beyond a dark passageway were her husband's apartments. Her bed-chamber was the scene of the formal toilet, a ceremony always irksome to the youthful sovereign. In this sumptuous room, where queens had borne kings-to-be, and had closed their eyes forever upon a melancholy existence, she gave birth to four children. The royal bed was raised on steps and surrounded by a gilt balustrade; nearby was a gorgeously fitted dressing-table. There were also armchairs, we are told, with down cushions, "tables for writing, and two chests of drawers of elaborate workmanship. The curtains and hangings were of rich but plain blue silk. The stools for those that had the privilege of being seated in the royal presence, with a sofa for the Queen's use, were placed against the walls, according to the formal custom of the time. The canopy of the bed was adorned with Cupids playing with garlands and holding gilt lilies, the royal flower."

Other rooms prepared for the Queen faced an inner court, and here with music, small talk and embroidery she spent contented moments, remote from the demands of her high estate.

Usually the mistress of Versailles was wakened at eight o'clock by a lady of the bedchamber, whose first duty it was to proffer a ponderous volume containing samples of the dresses that were in the royal wardrobe. Marie Antoinette marked with pins, taken from an embroidered cushion, the costumes she wished to put on for the various events of the day - the brocaded and hooped Court dress for the morning mass, the negligee to be worn during leisure hours in her own living rooms, and the gown to be donned for evening festivities. These vital matters determined, the Queen proceeded with her bath and her breakfast of chocolate and rolls. She was accustomed then to return to bed, and, with her tapestry-work in hand, receive various persons attached to her service. Physicians, reader, secretary, came to ask her wishes and do her bidding. At noon followed the "rising," and the stately progress of the Queen and her attendants through the Salon of Peace to the dazzling Hall of Mirrors, where the King awaited her on his way to chapel. Often at this hour there were admitted to the Grand Gallery of Mirrors respectful groups of commoners, who gathered to watch the passing of the gracious Marie Antoinette beside the husband whose uncouth gait and features were ever in forbidding contrast to her own comely bearing.

Amid all the follies and splendors of life at Versailles appeared the sturdy American figure of Dr. Benjamin Franklin. In the year 1767 he was presented at Court on the occasion of his first visit to Paris.

"You see," said he, in a letter to Miss Stevenson, daughter of his landlady in London, "I speak of the Queen as if I had seen her; and so I have, for you must know I have been at Court. We went to Versailles last Sunday, and had the honor of being presented to the King, Louis XV. In the evening we were at the Grand Convert, where the family sup in public. The table was half a hollow square, the service of gold. . . . An officer of the Court brought us up through the crowd of spectators, and placed Sir John (Pringle) so as to stand between the Queen and Madame Victoire. The King talked a good deal to Sir John, and did me, too, the honor of taking some notice of me.

"Versailles has had infinite sums laid out in building it and supplying it with water. Some say the expenses exceeded eighty millions sterling ($400,000,000). The range of buildings is immense; the garden-front most magnificent, all of hewn stone; the number of statues, figures, urns, etc., in marble and bronze of exquisite workmanship, is beyond conception. But the water-works are out of repair, and so is a great part of the front next the town, looking, with its shabby, half-brick walls, and broken windows, not much better than the houses in Durham Yard. There is, in short, both at Versailles and Paris, a prodigious mixture of magnificence and negligence with every kind of elegance except that of cleanliness, and what we call tidiness."

Franklin next appeared at the Court of Versailles upon the momentous occasion of the ratification of the alliance signed in 1778 by France and America. Dressed in a black velvet suit with ruffles of snowy white, white silk stockings and silver buckles, the emissary of the United States appeared in a gorgeous coach at the portals of Versailles. It is related that the chamberlain hesitated a moment to admit him, for he was without the wig and sword Court etiquette demanded, "but it was only for a moment; and all the Court were captivated at the democratic effrontery of his conduct." Franklin and the four envoys that accompanied him were conducted to the dressing-room of Louis XVI, who, without ceremony, assured them of his friendship for the new-born country they represented. In the evening the Americans were invited to watch the play of the royal family at the gaming-table, and Dr. Franklin, so Madame Campan relates, "was honored by the particular notice of the Queen, who courteously desired him to stand near to her, and as often as the game did not require her immediate attention, she took occasion to speak to him in very obliging terms."

The New York Journal, under date of July 6, 1778, recounted another picturesque detail of this presentation of the American envoys at Versailles. When they entered the inner part of the palace, so the dispatch ran, "they were received by les Cents Suisses (Swiss Guards), the major of which announced, 'Les Ambassadeurs des treize provinces unies,' i.e., The Ambassadors from the Thirteen United Provinces."

During the Revolution in America the newspapers made much of Marie Antoinette's liking for Benjamin Franklin. Among others, the New Hampshire Gazette printed this story, which went the rounds of the States. "Franklin being lately in the gardens of Versailles, showing the Queen some electrical experiment, she asked him in a fit of raillery if he did not dread the fate of Prometheus, who was so severely served for stealing fire from Heaven. 'Yes, please your Majesty' (replied old Franklin, with infinite gallantry), 'if I did not behold a pair of eyes pass unpunished which have stolen infinitely more fire from Jove than I ever did, though they do more mischief in a week than I have done in all my experiments.'"

On January 20, 1783, at the office of the Count de Vergennes at Versailles, in the presence of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, the representatives of England, France and Spain affixed their signatures to the preliminary documents declaring war at an end between America and England. A little over seven months later, on September 3, 1783, at the Hotel de York in Paris, the final treaty between Great Britain and the United States was signed. Later on the same day, the definitive treaty between England and France was concluded at Versailles. When Franklin was about to take leave of France and return to Philadelphia, Louis XVI presented to him the royal portrait, framed by 408 diamonds, the value of which was estimated at $10,000.

No less than his predecessor had the new Monarch of Versailles and his gay, ease-loving, oft-times imprudent young wife disregarded the traditions and dignity of the Sun King's palace. If Louis XV demolished the Staircase of the Ambassadors and mutilated the grands appartements, Marie Antoinette imitated his desecrations in the royal dwelling by commanding any change that pleased her fancy, by reducing rooms of state to mere private chambers, and shutting herself off from the irritating claims of Court life. Many of the trees in the park died that had been set out at the proud command of Louis XIV. The gardens became neglected and desolate. The famous Labyrinth of Aesop's fountains disappeared.

A grove planted on the place formerly beautified by the Grotto of Thetis (or Tethys) gave sanctuary to the impious scheming of that Madame de Lamotte, whose intrigue and evil ambition brought upon the Queen in 1785 the scandal of the Diamond Necklace, with the subsequent dramatic arrest of Cardinal de Rohan in the fateful Hall of Mirrors, and the humiliating trial of Marie Antoinette.

Bored by incessant publicity, finding no pleasure in the formal promenades of the palace park, the Queen pleaded for "a house of her own," where she could find recreation after her own tastes, unobserved by the curious and the critical. Louis XV had built near the Grand Trianon a small villa for Madame de Pompadour. On the modest estate were several small outbuildings, to which were added a pavilion for open-air pastimes and a "French garden." It was Gabriel, architect of the Opera House, that drew the plans for the little chateau, begun in 1762. But Madame de Pompadour died before the villa of her fancy was completed. Dubarry succeeded her as chatelaine, and richly embellished the interior of the delectable retreat.

When Marie Antoinette desired to possess a maison de plaisance of which she should be sole mistress, the King, always eager to satisfy her whims, bade her accept for her own use both the Grand and the Petit Trianon. Said he, graciously, "These charming houses have always been the repair of favorites of the reigning king - consequently they should now be yours." The Queen was much pleased with the gift and with her husband's gallantry. She responded, laughingly, that she would accept the Little Trianon on condition that he would not come there except when invited!

During the tenancy of Marie Antoinette, some of the rooms of the Petit Trianon were altered according to the elaborate style that received the name of Louis XVI. Sculptures, wood-work, gilded chimneys, staircases, were fashioned by the hands of master artists. No sooner was she possessor of her new domain than the Queen desired a garden after the pastoral English style that was then coming in favor. A lake, a stream with ornamental bridges, clusters of trees, supplanted the symmetrical design of a botanical garden that had been much admired. A gallant attached to the Court wrote an Elegie in praise of the Petit Trianon, its flowers, tulip trees and fragrant walks. At one end of the lake a hamlet was created, with a picture-mill and a dairy, fitted with marble tables and cream jugs of rare porcelain. There was also a farm where the Queen pastured a splendid herd of Swiss cattle. Among these bucolic surroundings the King of France, forgetful of his people and their growing anguish, played shepherd to his shepherdess Queen. In the Temple of Love they basked on summer days among rosy vines, while the music of Court players wafted through the trees from a nearby pavilion. Every Sunday during the summer season there was a ball in the park, where any one might dance whose clothes and behavior were respectable. The Queen, sensing the need to propitiate a disgruntled populace, shared in the afternoon's revelries, petted the children that flocked about her knees, chatted with their nurses and parents. Often, Marie Antoinette resided for weeks at a time at her favorite dwelling, fishing in the lake, tending her herd, picking berries in her garden patch. The King and the princes came every day for supper, and were received by a Queen dressed in white with a fichu of net - sometimes in a "rumpled gown of cotton." A score of favorites composed the Court of the Little Trianon. All others were excluded. Heavy silks and towering head-dresses were forgotten in the simple life of the Petit Trianon. Tiresome etiquette was banished, together with thoughts of international matters of portent and impending calamity. Occasionally, comedies were given, or groves and canal were illuminated in honor of a visitor of high degree - the Emperor Joseph of Austria (brother of the Queen), the King of Sweden, ambassadors, princes, archduchesses.

Surrounded by the persons and the objects she most loved - free to go and come unattended by a train of attendants - those were the least unhappy days in the life of Marie Antoinette at Versailles.

At the Little Trianon, Madame Vigee Lebrun made, in 1787, the painting of Marie Antoinette with her children, which the Queen's intimates counted the truest likeness among all her portraits. Two years later, on the fifth day of October, the Queen was at Trianon when news came of the approach of the mob of starving, angry women that stormed the road from Paris, swept across the Place d'Armes, and surged about the doors of the despised palace. On that day, Marie Antoinette left her "little house," never to see it again.

For many months the clouds had been gathering on the horizon of the Bourbon King, whose extravagance and weak will were matched by the childish indiscretions of his Austrian consort.

In November, 1787, the Notables assembled at Versailles in the grand hall of the palace guards. In May, 1789, the Salon of Hercules witnessed the presentation of the twelve hundred deputies elected by the people in all parts of France to the States-General. The Assembly, "the true era of the birth of the French people," opened on May fifth in the immense Salle des Menus, on the Paris Avenue, outside the gates of the palace. During the thirty days that the deputies sat inactive under the oratory of the King, of Necker, Mirabeau and Robespierre, work ceased throughout the kingdom. "He who had but his hands, his daily labor, to supply the day, went to look for work, found none, begged, got nothing, robbed. Starving gangs over-ran the country; wherever they found any resistance, they became furious, killed, and burned. Horror spread far and near; communications ceased, and famine went on increasing." At last the Assembly was founded, but the nation remained in tumult, the King vacillating, the Queen in retirement, mourning the death of the little Dauphin. On June twentieth, the people's representatives gathered, in spite of the King, in the bare tennis-court, without the walls of the chateau, and made oath as citizens of France never to adjourn until they had given their country a constitution. On the same day Marie Antoinette inscribed a letter from Versailles whose import was in piteous contrast to the prattling epistles of her girlhood. "The Chambre Nationale is declared," she wrote. "They are deliberating, but I am in despair to see nothing come of their deliberations; every one is greatly alarmed. The nobility may be wiped out forever. But the kingdom will be calm; if not, one cannot estimate the evils by which we shall be menaced. . . . Not far away civil war exists, and, besides, bread is lacking. God give us courage!" Three days later the King read to the deputies an arbitrary declaration that had been composed by interested advisers. He commanded the assembly to disperse, and met a calm and silent resistance. Workmen entered to demolish the amphitheater, but laid down their tools on the declaration of Mirabeau that "whoever laid hands on a deputy was a traitor, infamous and worthy of death." At last the King, wearied and confused, commanded, "Let them alone."

The parterres, the courts, even the salons of the palace swarmed with ruffians that had marched out from Paris to menace Versailles. By June 25th there was open revolt in the capital. "A stormy, heavy, gloomy time, like a feverish, painful dream," prefaced the furious deeds of the 14th of July. Every day witnessed some new outbreak. July was a month of insurrections and murders. The Bastille was assailed by rioters. News came to the King that the ancient fortress had fallen. "Sire," announced the Duke of Orleans to the sleepy Monarch in his bedchamber, "it is a Revolution!"

Lafayette, back from the war across the sea, became the unwilling leader of the National Guard. On the evening of the first of October occurred the fatal banquet of the King's guard, held, not in the Orangery or in some other informal hall, but in the palace theater, where no fete had been given since the visit of the Emperor Joseph II of Austria. A French writer describes the scene. "The doors open. Behold the King and the Queen! The King has been prevailed on to visit them on his return from the chase. The Queen walks round to every table, looking beautiful, and adorned with the child she bears in her arms.

"So beautiful and yet so unfortunate! As she was departing with the King, the band played the affecting air: 'O Richard, O my King, abandoned by the whole world!' Every heart melted at that appeal. Several tore off their cockades, and took that of the Queen, the black Austrian cockade, devoting themselves to her service. . . .

"On the 3rd of October, another dinner; they grow more daring, their tongues are untied, and the counter-revolution showed itself boldly. In the long gallery, and in the apartments, the ladies no longer allow the tricolor cockade to circulate. With their handkerchiefs and ribands they make white cockades, and tie them themselves."

Stories of royalist revels and open insults to the cockade of the Revolutionists still further inflamed starving Paris. On the fifth of October there were thousands of inhabitants that had tasted no food for thirty hours. And then the ravenous women of Paris arose - mothers, shop-girls, courtesans - and, gathering recruits as they swept through the restless city streets, they rolled like an angry flood out the eleven-mile road to Versailles. The King was hunting at Meudon; a courier was sent for him. The Queen Consort was in her retreat at Trianon. The messenger found her, sad and contemplative, seated in her grotto. Hastily she was brought back to the palace. Later, she and the King would have fled the anger of the crowd whose shouts of "Bread! Bread!" echoed across the Marble Court to the windows of the royal apartments. But their decision, put off from moment to moment, came too late. The gates were closed. They were prisoners within the walls of Versailles.

"It was a rainy night," relates a French historian of the Revolution. "The crowd took shelter where they could; some burst open the gates of the great stables, where the regiment of Flanders was stationed, and mixed pell-mell with the soldiers. Others, about four thousand in number, had remained in the Assembly. The men were quiet enough, but the women were impatient at that state of inaction; they talked, shouted, and made an uproar.

"The King's heart was beginning to fail him; he perceived that the Queen was in peril. However agonizing it was to his conscience to consecrate the legislative work of philosophy, at ten o'clock in the evening he signed the Declaration of Rights.

"Mounier was at last able to depart. He hastened to resume his place as president before the arrival of that vast army from Paris, whose projects were not yet known. He reentered the hall; but there was no longer any Assembly; it had broken up; the crowd, ever growing more clamorous and exacting, had demanded that the prices of bread and meat should be lowered. Mounier found in his place, in the president's chair, a tall, fine, well-behaved woman, holding the bell in her hand, who left the chair with reluctance. He gave orders that they were to try to collect the deputies again; meanwhile, he announced to the people that the King had just accepted the constitutional article. The women, crowding about him, then entreated him to give them copies of them; others said: 'But, Monsieur President, will this be very advantageous? Will this give bread to the poor people of Paris?' Others exclaimed: 'We are very hungry. We have eaten nothing to-day.' Mounier ordered bread to be fetched from the bakers. Provisions then came in on all sides. They all began eating in the hall with much clamour."

At midnight Lafayette arrived at the head of twenty thousand men of the National Guard. To the amazement of the soldiers and onlookers, he dared to pass unattended through the palace doors to the Bull's Eye. "He appeared very calm," says Madame de Stael, Necker's observant daughter. "Nobody ever saw him otherwise." When he had reported his arrival to the King, Lafayette stationed guards about the palace, and, worn with hours of marching in the rain and mud, so far forgot his duty to his Sovereign and his command that he retired to his house in the town of Versailles to seek sleep. In the masses of people outside the gates were thieves and men of violence. "What a delightful prospect was opened for pillage in the wonderful palace of Versailles, where the riches of France had been amassed for more than a century!" exclaims the commentator, Michelet. Here follows a dramatic account of what followed, based on the story of Madame de Stael, who witnessed many of the bloody scenes in person. "At five in the morning, before daylight, a large crowd was already prowling about the gates, armed with pikes, spits, and scythes. About six o'clock, this crowd, composed of Parisians and people of Versailles, scale or force the gates, and advance into the courts with fear and hesitation. The first who was killed, if we believe the Royalists, died from a fall, having slipped in the Marble Court. According to another and a more likely version, he was shot dead by the body-guard.

"Some took to the left, toward the Queen's apartment, others to the right, toward the chapel stairs, nearer the King's apartment. On the left, a Parisian running unarmed, among the foremost, met one of the body guard, who stabbed him with a knife. The guardsman was killed. On the right, the foremost was a militia-man of the guard of Versailles, a diminutive locksmith, with sunken eyes, almost bald, and his hands chapped by the heat of the forge. This man and another, without answering the guard, who had come down a few steps and was speaking to him on the stairs, strove to pull him down by his belt, and hand him over to the crowd rushing behind. The guards pulled him towards them; but two of them were killed. They all fled along the Grand Gallery, as far as the Oeil-de-boeuf (Bull's Eye), between the apartments of the King and the Queen. Other guards were already there.

"The most furious attack had been made in the direction of the Queen's apartment. The sister of her femme de chambre, Madame de Campan, having half opened the door, saw a guardsman covered with blood, trying to stop the furious rabble. She quickly bolted that door and the next, put a petticoat on the Queen, and tried to lead her to the King. An awful moment! The door was bolted on the other side! They knock again and again. The King was not within; he had gone round by another passage to reach the Queen. At that moment a pistol was fired, and then a gun close to them. 'My friends, my dear friends,' cried the Queen, bursting into tears, 'save me and my children!' At length the door was opened, and she rushed into the King's apartment.

"The crowd was knocking louder and louder to enter the Oeil-de-boeuf. The guards barricaded the place, piling up benches, stools, and other pieces of furniture; the lower panel was burst in. They expected nothing but death; but suddenly the uproar ceased, and a kind clear voice exclaimed: 'Open!' As they did not obey, the same voice repeated: 'Come, open to us, body-guard; we have not forgotten that you men saved us French Guards at Fontenoy.'

"It was indeed the French Guards, now become National Guards, with the brave and generous Hoche, then a simple sergeant-major - it was the people, who had come to save the nobility. They opened, threw themselves into one another's arms, and wept.

"At that moment, the King, believing the passage forced, and mistaking his saviors for his assassins, opened his door himself, by an impulse of courageous humanity, saying to those without: 'Do not hurt my guards.'

"The danger was past, and the crowd dispersed; the thieves alone were unwilling to be inactive. Wholly engaged in their own business, they were pillaging and moving away the furniture. The grenadiers turned that rabble out of the castle.

"Lafayette, awakened but too late, then arrived on horseback. He saw one of the body-guards whom they had taken and dragged near the body of one of those killed by the guards, in order to kill him by way of retaliation. 'I have given my word to the King,' cried Lafayette, 'to save his men. Cause my word to be respected.'

"He then entered the castle. Madame Adelaide, the King's aunt, went up to him and embraced him: 'It is you,' cried she, 'who have saved us.' He ran to the King's cabinet. Who would believe that etiquette still subsisted? A grand officer stopped him for a moment, and then allowed him to pass: 'Sir,' said he seriously, 'the King grants you les grandes entrees.'

"The King showed himself at the balcony, and was welcomed with the unanimous shout of 'God save the King.' 'Vive le Roi!'

"At that moment several voices raised a formidable shout: 'The Queen!' The people wanted to see her in the balcony. She hesitated: 'What!' said she, 'all alone?' 'Madame, be not afraid,' said Lafayette. She went, but not alone, holding an admirable safeguard - in one hand her daughter, in the other her son. The Court of Marble was terrible, in awful commotion, like the sea in its fury; the National Guards, lining every side, could not answer for the center; there were fire-arms, and men blind with rage. Lafayette's conduct was admirable; for that trembling woman, he risked his popularity, his destiny, his very life; he appeared with her on the balcony, and kissed her hand.

"The crowd felt all that; the emotion was unanimous. They saw there the woman and the mother, nothing more. 'Oh! how beautiful she is! What! is that the Queen? How she fondles her children!'"

The King, overcome by dread, was forced to agree to the demand of the people that he go to Paris. In leaving his palace, he realized that he was finally surrendering all his claims to royalty. About noon on the sixth day of October, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, under the protection of the Marquis de Lafayette, turned their faces forever from Versailles. Little they knew that they were even then traveling the long road to the guillotine. A rabble of men and women surrounded them, some on foot, some in carts and carriages. "All were very merry and amiable in their own fashion, except a few jokes addressed to the Queen."

Such was the end of royal Versailles. Who can contest its tragic grandeur? In these halls, these gardens, these secluded villas the supreme destiny of the Bourbon monarchy was achieved. They witnessed the apogee, the decline, and the ruin of the dynasty.