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Destruction Of Maria Antoinette's Cell

Destruction Of Maria Antoinette's Cell image
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The public mind everywhere has been so oceupieü with the excitement oousequent upon the Franco Prussian war, that but littlo attention bas been given tu an incident wbich in quieter times would challenge the interest of all aoquuinted with the French revolution. Tho prison of Marie Antoinette, which has so long been a sort of Mecca for those who deplorcd her sad fate is no more. Reccntly great clianges and improvemenls have been cffected in the old prison of the Conciergerie at Paris, and the cell in which ehe was confincd until lier execution, as well lis those which wero ocnupicd by Madame Itoland, St. Just, Dantonand ttobespierro, havo been demolished and tho wholo site converted into a large and airy hall. Many who read this wil! remomber tlie dark, daiup room where,the "Widow Capet," asshe was then caned, passed thoso awful 70 daya which preceded her exeouticn. Total want of privacy during this period was added to her olher miseries. Her bed consisted of a rotten mattress laid upon the floor and covered with a filthy quilt, only concealcd from the sight of her keepers by a screen placed it. And from behind it plie could hear night and day the continual opening and closing of cell doors, sinco tho outer door of the room in which she was thus lodged, in such disgusting company, was ever open. And she was forced to listed to tho howlinga, and cuwings, and the obscene songs of tho worst crimináis, and the horrible jargon of tho low women and the taunts and loud oaths of drunken gendarmes, only a few stops from lier, and in tho same room I la that room, on the 16th of October, 1793, af tor roturning from tho l'alaü de Justice, wbere sha had so courageously listened to her own dcath warrant, shn wrote to her sistor-in-law, Madame Elizaboth, thut sad, eweet letter - full of uobleness that seems almost miraculous utider the circumstances - which has becotne historiciü. Certainly notlrng moro Christlike has ever been wiitten thno that passage in which sho adjures her son nüver to haibor thoughts of vengea.nce againt tho murderers of liis parcuta. Thm letter, which b engravcd under her monument in the Chapel Expiutone, and whioh has been read ibero by tbousands of eyes that eould hardly sce for taars, was not made public for 20 years after her death. It was kept profoundly gocret by Robespierre, lest the perueal ft of it should heigliten the pity which wn lelt for lier fate, and increase the aversión inspired by her executioners. WheD, in 1816, Frunce carne under the ] .-bon rulo, tliis cell was made a chapel, where a few candles were always dimly barning lts walls wcro huhg wilh three some what mediocre paintings by Pajón and Drulliug, one of which reprenented her praying in her oell the eveoiug before her execution. The other two also dopicted 8cenc3 from her prison life. Aud Louis XVIII. himseif oomposed the Latín nseription engraven opon a tablet of black marble set into the wall of iho room, and whioh talig tbe story of ler wronys.


Old News
Michigan Argus