A Celebration of Women Writers

"Appendixes." translated by Katherine Prescott Wormeley.
From: The Ruin of a Princess. translated by Katherine Prescott Wormeley. New York: The Lamb Publishing Company, 1912. pp. 311-324.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 311] 



IN 1792 the Commune of Versailles took possession of Madame Élisabeth's much loved Montreuil, which was thenceforth called the "Maison d'Élisabeth Capet." Seals were placed upon it until inventories were made and the property in it sold by the agents of the National Domain. After that it was let to various persons, and used for various purposes until finally it fell into a state of dilapidation and was sold, on the 6th of May, 1802, as a National domain by the Commune of Versailles to Citizen Jean-Michel-Maximilien Villers, living in Paris, rue de l'Université, No. 269, for the sum of 75,900 francs.

Some of Madame Élisabeth's servants remained on the place for a time to take care of it for their new masters. But her faithful Jacques Bosson and his wife, who had charge of the cows and dairy, being obnoxious to the revolutionaries on account of their nationality (Swiss), were thrown into prison, where, being foreigners and friendless, they languished for some years. Among the archives of Versailles is a pathetic letter to the municipality dated March 7, 1793, from one of Madame Élisabeth's servants asking for food for her dogs; he says they are three large dogs, and he no longer has the means to feed them. The cows were sold, the hens died for want of care, the garden was torn up and devastated, the fruit stolen.

Some of the inventories of the property (made by order of the Department of National Domain in October, 1792) are very interesting, especially those of the garden and grounds, and of the library. There were 487 plants in the greenhouses, of 145 different species. Of these 35 were orange-trees, and 15 pomegranates. Many of the plants, the Latin names of which are given, are choice varieties of their kind even at the present day. [Page 312] 

In the nursery grounds were 14 kinds of young trees and shrubs; 1413 in all; of which 300 were Scotch pines, 250 ash-leaved maples, 150 Arbres de Sainte Lucie [?] spireas, dogwoods, syringas, lilacs, cherries, etc.

The library contained 2075 volumes; a remarkable collection for that period, with a wide outlook in history, memoirs, biography, and essays on the political condition of France. Of history, there were 406 volumes, among them Hume's England, Robertson's Scotland, Gibbon's Roman Empire, histories of all the countries of Europe, of Constantinople, Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Arabia, Siam, etc. Of memoirs and biography, 203 volumes. These were chiefly French, beginning with Villehardouin and coming down to Mme. de Staal-Delaunay and the Letters of Mme. de Pompadour. There were many classics, chiefly translated; the Bible in 31 volumes; all the great poems (among them "Le Paradis Perdu") and the chief French dramatists; also 42 volumes of Fairy tales; the Arabian Nights, Robinson Crusoe, and a small, a very small sprinkling of novels. But most interesting of all are the books she bought in the last year of her living life, before the tomb of the Temple closed upon her. Among them were:–

Reflections on the Revolution in France by Mr. Burke, 1791.
Speeches and Letters of Mr. Burke, 1790, 1791.
The Constitution of England.
Rights and Duties of a Citizen.
Political Situation of France, and its present Relations with all the Powers of Europe, 1789.
The Evil and its Remedy; Memorial on the Militia of the Army, 1789.
The True Patriot.
The King's Household: what it was, what it is, and what it should be, 1789.
Principles opposed to the System of M. Necker, by M. de Favras, 1790.
Present situation of France, 1791.
The Naviget antyciras, or System without Principles, 1791.
The reign of Louis XVI. placed before the Eyes of Europe, 1791. [Page 313] 
Impulse of the Heart and Mind, or Justice rendered to the Queen, 1791.
Plan for a Free and Happy Constitution, 1790.

Among a mass of papers preserved in the archives of Versailles, sad and sorrowful reading as they are, there is one amusing little record of Madame Élisabeth's extravagance in a detail of dress. It is a bill of her shoemaker, named Bourbon, rue Neuve des Augustins, Paris, for shoes supplied to her nearly every other day from April 6, 1792, to June 30, a short three months; never more than two pairs at a time were sent, and the dates are given. There were 27 sendings and 32 pairs of silk shoes [taffetat]: 16 pairs of black, 5 pairs of gray, 3 of blue, 2 of russet, 2 of puce, and one each of carmelite and green–all of silk. It is true that Madame Élisabeth mentions having walked for three or four hours in the garden, and speaks of "the shocking mud," crotte indigne, so perhaps it is no wonder that silk shoes lasted only two days.


First Examination of Madame Élisabeth by Fouquier-Tinville, May 9, 1794. From the Official Record.

THIS day, twentieth floréal, year two of the Republic, before Antoine-Quentin Fouquier . . . we have asked the name, age, profession, place of birth, and residence of Élisabeth Marie Capet sister of Louis Capet, age thirty, born at Versailles.

Q. Did you conspire with the late tyrant against the safety and liberty of the French people?

A. I am ignorant to whom you give that title; but I have never desired anything but the happiness of the French people.

Q. Have you maintained correspondence with the internal and external enemies of the Republic, especially with the brothers of Capet and yourself? and have you furnished them help in money?

A. I have known none but those who loved France. I have [Page 314]  never furnished help to my brothers; and since the month of August, 1792, I have received no news of them, nor have I sent them any.

Q. Did you not send them diamonds?

A. No.

Q. I call your attention to the fact that your answer is not correct as to the diamonds, inasmuch as it is notorious that you sent your diamonds to be sold in Holland and other foreign countries, and that you sent their proceeds, by your agents, to your brothers, to help them in maintaining their rebellion against the French people.

A. I deny the charge, because it is false.

Q. I call you to notice that in the trial which took place in November, 1792, relatively to the theft of diamonds made from the ci-devant crown property, it was established and proved that a portion of the diamonds with which you formerly adorned yourself came from there, and it was also proved that the price for which they were sold was sent to your brothers by your orders; that is why I summon you to explain yourself categorically on those facts.

A. I am ignorant of the thefts of which you speak. I was at that period in the Temple, and I persist in my previous denial.

Q. Did you not have knowledge that the journey determined upon by your brother, Louis Capet, and Antoinette, to Saint-Cloud on April 18, 1791, was imagined only to seize the occasion to leave France?

A. I had no knowledge of that journey further than that my brother wished for change of air, not feeling well.

Q. Was it not at your solicitation and that of Antoinette, your sister-in-law, that Capet fled from Paris on the night of the 20th of June, 1791?

A. I learned during the day of June 20 that we should start that night, and I conformed in that matter to the orders of my brother.

Q. The motive of that journey was it not to leave France and unite yourselves with the émigrés, and the enemies of the French people? [Page 315] 

A. Never did my brother, or I, have any intention of quitting our country.

Q. I observe to you that that answer does not seem correct, for Bouillé had given orders for several bodies of troops to be at a point agreed upon to protect your escape, and enable you, your brother, and others to leave French territory.

A. My brother was on his way to Montmédy, and I never knew him to have any other intentions.

Q. Have you knowledge of the secret conferences held in the apartments of Antoinette, ci-devant queen, with those who called themselves the Austrian committee?

A. I have perfect knowledge that none such were ever held.

Q. I call you to observe that it is, nevertheless, notorious that they were held between midnight and three in the morning, and those who attended them passed through what was then called the Gallery of Pictures.

A. I have no knowledge of it.

Q. What did you do on the night of the 9th and 10th of August, 1792?

A. I remained in my brother's room; we did not go to bed that night.

Q. I call your attention to the fact that, having each your separate apartments, it seems strange that you should collect in that of your brother; no doubt that meeting had a motive, which I call upon you to explain.

A. I had no other motive than to be always near my brother when there was disturbance in Paris.

Q. That night did you not go, with Antoinette, into a hall where the Swiss Guard were making cartridges, and especially were you not there between nine and ten o'clock that night?

A. I was not there, and I have no knowledge of that hall.

Q. I request you to observe that your answer is not correct; it has been proved at several trials, that Antoinette and you went several times in the night to the Swiss Guards, that you made them drink, and urged them to continue the making of cartridges several of which Antoinette bit off herself.

A. That never happened; I have no knowledge of it.

Q. I represent to you that the facts are too notorious for you [Page 316]  not to remember them, and not to know the motive which assembled troops of all kinds at the Tuileries that night. That is why I again summon you to declare if you still persist in your denials, and in forgetting the motives for this assembling of troops.

A. I persist in my denials, and I add that I know no motives for that assemblage. I know only, as I have already said, that the constituted bodies charged with the safety of Paris, came to warn my brother that there was an uprising in the faubourgs, and on that the National Guard assembled for his safety, as the Constitution prescribed.

Q. At the time of the escape of the 20th of June, 1791, was it not you who brought out the children?

A. No; I came out alone.

Reading being made to her of the present interrogatories, she persisted in her replies, and signed with us and the clerk.

[Page 317] 


Extract from the Deliberations of the Commissioners of the Commune on the Service of the Temple.

December 22, 1792, Year I. of the Republic.

AT six in the evening the Council assembled to deliberate on the two subjects here following:–

1st. Louis Capet appears to be inconvenienced by the length of his beard; he has spoken of it several times. They proposed to shave him. He manifested repugnance, and showed a desire to shave himself.

The Council thought yesterday that it might give him the hope that his request would be acceded to to-day; but this morning it was discovered that Louis Capet's razors are no longer in the Temple. On that, occasion was taken to discuss the matter again; it has been amply argued and the result is a unanimous resolution to submit the matter to the Council-general of the Commune, which, in case it judges proper to permit Louis Capet to shave himself, will direct that there be given to him one, or two, razors, of which he will make use before the eyes of four commissioners, to whom the said razors shall be immediately returned, and who will register the fact that the return has been made to them.

2nd. The wife, sister, and daughter of Louis Capet have asked that scissors be lent to them to cut their nails.

The Council having deliberated thereon has likewise voted unanimously that this request shall also be submitted to the Council-general of the Commune, which is hereby asked, in case it gives its consent, to fix the method to be employed in the matter.

It is decreed that the present deliberation shall be sent to the Council-general of the Commune this day, and early enough for [Page 318]  the answer to reach the Council of the Commune in the Temple before night.

And the following do sign the registers.

                  MAUBERT, DEFRASSE, JON,


Signs agreed upon to make known to the Princesses the Progress of the various Armies, etc.; and sundry Communications from Madame Élisabeth to M. Turgy.

[THE Queen and Madame Élisabeth arranged a system of signs with Turgy, the faithful waiter who brought up their meals. These with several written communications from Madame Élisabeth, conveyed to him in a variety of ways, Turgy took to Vienna in 1796, and gave into the hands of Madame Marie-Thérèse de France. The following (in the French) was copied from those originals].

The English put to sea: right thumb on right eye; if they land near Nantes, put it on right ear; if near Calais, left ear.

If the Austrians fight on Belgian frontier, forefinger of right hand on right eye. If they enter France, on right ear. If on the Mayence side, same with middle finger.

Savoyards, fourth finger, same signs. Spaniards, fifth [little] finger, same signs.

Be careful to hold the fingers to the place more or less time according to importance of the losses.

When they are within 15 leagues of Paris keep the same order for the fingers, but lay them on the mouth. 1 [Page 319] 

If the Powers speak about us, lay fingers on the hair, using the right hand.

If the Assembly pays attention to them, the same, using the left.

If it adjourns [s'en allait ], the whole hand over the head.

If the rassemblements [collections of émigrés ] advance here, and gain advantages, the finger of right hand on the nose for one advantage, and the whole hand when they are within fifteen leagues of Paris.

Use the left hand only for the advantages of the French.

In answer to all questions use the right hand only, not the left. [Here three lines are undecipherable]. Is there a truce, raise your collar. Are they asking for us on the frontier, hand in coat pocket. Are they negotiating, in waistcoat. Paris, are they provisioning it, hand on chin. Has General la Marseille gone, on forehead. Are the Spaniards trying to join the Nantes people, rub the eyebrow.

Is it thought we shall still be here in August? After supper go to Fidel (Toulan); ask him if he has news of Produse. If he has good news, napkin under right arm; if none at all, under left. Tell him that we fear his denunciation may bring him into trouble. Ask him whenever he has news of Produse to tell you, and then sign it to us.

Can you not, if anything new happens, write it to us with lemon-juice on the paper they use to stopper the water-bottle, or put over the cream? or perhaps you could put it in a ball, which you could throw down in the room when you are there alone. Get possession of the paper on the bottles whenever I blow my nose as I leave my room. The days when you use that means, lean against the wall as I pass you.

If it is thought we shall still he here in August hold the napkin in your hand. We hope you will not be harassed again.

Do not fear to use the left hand for bad news of the armies; we prefer to know all. If the Swiss declare war the sign is a finger on the chin. If the Nantes people reach Orléans two fingers on the chin.

What are they crying under our windows? . . . (several [Page 320]  words illegible) received his pardon yesterday . . . Has he an idea that we are informed? and will he not redouble in attentions to prevent it? Whatever wrong the poor man has done it can only inspire pity, all the more because his repentance followed immediately upon his fault. God has punished him very severely. We pity him.

Is it true that fear has seized the Parisians, especially young men? My sister may soon ask for almond-milk . . . Has the Commune been changed? Is Tison's wife as crazy as they say she is? Do they mean to send any one to us in her place? Is she well taken care of?

Consider carefully the disadvantages of T's (Toulan's) demand, and do not let your zeal lead you to do anything to your injury; if you yield, let it be only after you are urged, and promised the greatest secrecy. Are you not expressly forbidden to speak to him? Consider all that. Try to find out if they are not trying to throw the disturbances on my companion [the queen] and take her property (Louis XVII.) more than two leagues away from her. It was Fidel (Toulan) who gave us the newspaper I mentioned. The manner in which you serve us is our consolation. Ask Mme. de S. (Sérent) for answer on Miranda.

We saw a newspaper yesterday which spoke of Saumur and Angers as if the R were still mistress; what does that mean? Is Marat really dead? has it made an excitement?

Tell Fidel how touched we are by his last note; we do not need his assurances to rely wholly and always upon him; his signals are good, We only want Aux armes, citoyens! in case they intend to reunite us. But we hope that such precautions will not be necessary. Is your fate decided? answer this question. If it is necessary that we should get your note quickly, lean towards us and lower your napkin. Tison sometimes hinders our taking it at once. But we will watch for it; do not be uneasy. This is only to be when you have something urgent to say to us.

Who is the municipal whom they suspect of being in correspondence with us? Is it by writing, or merely by giving news? Who said it? Have they no suspicion of you? Take care. [Page 321]  You must give this, Tuesday, to the person to whom you went Saturday; it is the woman. Give her something to bring out the ink. Send no answer until Tuesday, so as not to multiply packages.

Give Fidel this note from us, and say to him that because my sister has told you that she sees the little boy go up the staircase, through the window of the cabinet, this is not to keep him from sending us news of him. Why do they beat the drums every morning at six o'clock? Answer this. If you can without compromising Mme. de Sérent [one of Madame Élisabeth's ladies], or yourself, tell her, that I beg her not to remain in Paris for me. The proposal at the Cordeliers against the nobles worries me for her. If anything happens at the Federation do not fail to let us know. What foundation is there for all the victories they have been crying for the last three days? If you have need of almond milk, hold your napkin low when I . . .

What has become of the English fleet? and of my brothers? Have we a fleet at sea? What do you mean when you say that all goes well? Is it hope of a quick end, of a change in the public mind? or are things really going well? Are these executions of persons whom we know? We hear them cried in the street. How is Mme. de Sérent, and my abbé [Edgeworth de Firmont]? Constant [M. Huë]? does he know by chance any news of Mme. de Bombelles, who is living near St-Gall in Switzerland? What has become of all the persons at Saint-Cyr? Tell me if you have been able to read all this; and cover the water-bottle with good paper that we can use.

As for Mme. de Sérent, as soon as the law about the émigrés is wholly finished let her know, and continue to give me news of her.

This is for Fidel. What you tell me about that person [the queen] gives me great pleasure. Is it the gendarme, or the woman, who sleeps in her room? Could she hear through the latter anything more than news of those she loves? If you cannot be useful to her there, put yourself in some place whence you [Page 322]  will not be forced to move; but let me know where, in case we have need of you. I do not consider what concerns me, but if you cannot be useful to that person come and join me in case you are needed.

I cannot yet believe that you are going away. Try to let me know what is decided; whether you remain and Tison's wife returns. Could you throw a paper into the basket, or put it in a loaf of bread? Tell me if it is through Mme. de Sérent that you hear news of a being who, like me, knows how to appreciate faithful men [the Abbé Edgeworth de Firmont]. It is with deep regret that I see you taken from me; the last and only one that remains to me.

I am much distressed; save yourself for the days when we may be happier, and able to give you some reward. Carry with you the consolation of having been useful to kind and unhappy masters. Advise Fidel not to risk too much for our signals. If chance lets you see Mme. Mallemain [one of Mme. Élisabeth's waiting-women] give her news of me and tell her I think of her.

Adieu, honest man [Turgy] and faithful subject.

My little girl [Madame Royal] insists that you made her a sign yesterday morning; relieve me of anxiety if you still can. I have found nothing. If you put it under the bucket it must have flowed away with the water and will certainly never be found. If there is any news for us, let me know it if you still can.

Have you read my second bit of paper, in which I spoke of Mme. Mallemain? Tell Constant [Huë] that I am convinced of his sentiments; I thank him for the news he gives me, and I am much grieved at what has happened to him.

Adieu, honest man and faithful subject! I hope that the God to whom you are faithful will support you, and console you in what you have to suffer. [Page 323] 


Louis XVI.'s Seal and Ring.

[CLÉRY did not continue in the service of the dauphin, as the king requested. He was compelled to give up the above-named articles to the Council of the Commune, and they remained in the council-room of the Tower until they were mysteriously stolen. This was done (as will be seen by the Narrative of Marie-Thérèse de France) at the instigation of the queen, who was passionately desirous of rescuing these memorials of her husband for her son. Eventually, after the queen's death, Turgy took the seal to Monsieur, and the ring to the Comte d'Artois, as will be seen by the following Note to Cléry's Journal.]

Having started from Vienna on my way to England, I passed through Blankemburg with the intention of doing homage to the king [Louis XVIII.] and presenting to him my manuscript. When His Majesty reached this part of my Journal, he searched in his secretary and showing me with emotion a seal, he said to me: "Cléry, do you recognize it?" "Ah! Sire, it is the very one." "If you doubt it," said the king, "read this note." I read it trembling, and I asked the king's permission to print the precious document. The following is a copy from the original:–

"Having one faithful being on whom we can rely, I profit by him to send to my brother and friend, this deposit which can be intrusted to no hands but his. The bearer will tell you by what miracle we have been able to obtain these precious pledges. I reserve to myself to tell you some day the name of him who has been so useful to us. The impossibility, up to this time, of giving you any news of us, and the excess of our sorrows, makes us feel even more keenly our cruel separation. May it not be much [Page 324]  longer! I embrace you meantime as I love you and you know that that is with all my heart.

"M. A. [Marie Antoinette]."

"I am charged for my brother and myself to embrace you with all our hearts.

"M. T. [Marie-Thérèse.] Louis."

"I enjoy in advance the pleasure you will feel in receiving this pledge of friendship and confidence. To be reunited with you, and to see you happy is all that I desire; you know if I love you; I kiss you with all my heart.

"E. M. [Élisabeth Marie]."

The ring was sent with a packet of the king's [Louis XVI.] hair to Monseigneur le Comte d'Artois. Here is the note that accompanied it:–

"Having at last found means to confide to our brother one of the two sole pledges that remain to us of the being whom we all mourn and cherish, I thought you would be very glad to have something that came from him; keep it as a sign of the tenderest friendship with which I embrace you with all my heart.

"M. A."

"What happiness for me, my dear friend, my brother, to be able after so long a space of time to speak to you of my feelings. What I have suffered for you! A time will come, I hope, when I can embrace you, and tell you that never will you find a friend truer and more tender than I; you do not doubt it, I hope.

"E. M."

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


[Page 318]

1 Remembering all that Count Fersen tells of the delays and the callous indifference of the Powers, each pretending to wait for the others, it is piteous to think of these women watching daily for signs of a deliverer who never came, but left them coldly to their one deliverer, Death.–TR.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom