Assignment #2, Margot’s account of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
March 15th, 1785
The weather is getting nicer every day… Don’t you miss playing in the garden with me? As you must have heard from Mother, we are all doing fine here at home. Angelique and Francoise-Julie will be starting their dancing lessons some time next week, and Mother’s dizziness has gotten better lately.
By the way, I have some exciting news to tell you! I have been invited to play a role in the new opera the Queen is putting together. I’ve heard some terrible things about the Queen, but they are all lies – especially that horrid rumour about the diamonds. I think she is a wonderfully artistic and high-minded person (okay, so she may not be deserving of the same kind of praises for her intellect), so delicate and gracious… she does not sing or play an instrument as well as some other women at Court, but her confidence and natural grace make everything she does seem splendid somehow. Oh, how did I get the role in the opera? Well, it’s, I heard, originated from the Mozart opera Le nozze di Figaro, and there is one important character whose voice just matches mine exactly – according to the Queen her royal self! All those Italian lessons are paying off now! Anyhow – I still haven’t told you how I got noticed by the Queen. Well, it was quite serendipitous really. I happened to be singing at a banquet at Emma’s last Wednesday evening, and even though they had invited the Queen they were not expecting her very self to appear because she is simply so busy with engagements, as we all know -but then halfway through the dinner, there were loud noises outside and the Queen hastily walks into the mansion…even without a single trumpeter declaring her royal entrance! She was dressed quite simple too – it turned out that she was going to visit a well-known card reader who will not leave the street where she lives, so the Queen herself was coming down to get a reading from her; but this street the card reader lives on, is in the middle of the dirty streets of the city and while her carriage was driving across the peasants recognized her, and started throwing mud and dirty things at it. What an outrage! The Queen was pale as a lily, frightened and very upset. Everyone at the party did not know how to act or what to say, before the Queen covered with cold sweat and very much embarrassed herself. So I started singing again, just to make the atmosphere go back to normal. I sung a series of my favourite Italian songs, those cheerful ones to lighten the spirit. And, incredibly, people started chattering away again, smiling and ushering the Queen to the top of the table. That was amazing! When the second song ended everyone applauded so enthusiastically, I have never been praised so much in my entire life… but the most amazing and overwhelming of all was, the Queen was smiling at me so dearly, such gracefulness emanating from her beautiful small face, her eyes brimming with tears. She came over to me and held my hand, and paid me thanks with such sincere words – then she told me that she had never heard such a beautiful voice. Now I didn’t know what to say! I must have been blushing like a little tomato, because she laughed playfully at me and said I looked even prettier with those blushing cheeks! So, that’s how I came to play a part in the Queen’s opera. I am absolutely enraptured by the Queen and her charms!
It is certainly great to be recognized by her, as when I went to a party last night at Versailles, the Queen smiled at me again, in front of everyone, and at her sign the King himself waved at me. I hear he does not appreciate the arts as much as the Queen does, but I think highly of him still, from what I heard about his interests in modern inventions. I would love to get to know about the King more!
But most of all, I wish you could come and hear me sing. I can’t wait for the first rehearsal! Write me again and let me know about your progresses- you are so lucky to be able to study so much!