Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Courtney told me to make Lanie run until she stopped and turned toward me ready to cooperate. She ran straight to the stallion (don't they all?) who was standing at the fence line, then all around the ring. After she calmed down, I picked up the lead rope and as quickly as I could do so without letting her think she'd won, walked her back up the lane to her pasture.
The experience was actually pretty fun, but it took me awhile to feel that way. Driving home, I was tempted to cry from general frustration about my day until I reminded myself, as I do when I'm upset, that I'm from hardy stock and that I'm sure as hell not going to be a baby after my dad went through what he did as a POW for eight years. That never fails to pull me up short, so I called Dad to thank him for the toughness running through my veins. He reminded me that I'd had a complete blood transfusion as a newborn. Thanks, Dad. Micah assured me that genetics are set well before blood is present and that your genes don't change when you get a transfusion. She was probably just babying me because her stupid horse kicked me.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Center: Petit Trianon bath tub
Bottom: One of several varieties of toilet
2.) Princesse de Lamballe's bedchamber door - How else is it possible to make a curved door unless you carve it from a block of wood?
3.) Madame Elizabeth, Louis XVI's sister, needlepointed the cover on this chair.
4.) Hallway in the private quarters of the Petit Trianon
5.) Loved the window, which was on an interior wall of one of the rooms that was used as a hotel room and opened onto a hallway. The wallpaper isn't original.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Maybe this was drawn during the period that the Revolutionary authorities and even the populace had access to the Trianon during the early stages of the conflict. Or maybe the tour guides sketched it out, quickly, a month before our tour, because their tour had gotten stale and they wanted to spice it up.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Madame Campan's memoirs go on to say "While doing justice to the virtues of the Comtesse de Noailles, those sincerely attached to the Queen have always considered it as one of her earliest misfortunes not to have found, in the person of her adviser, a woman indulgent, enlightened, and administering good advice with that amiability which disposes young persons to follow it. The Comtesse de Noailles had nothing agreeable in her appearance; her demeanor was stiff and her mien severe…. The Dauphiness was perpetually tormented by the remonstrances of the Comtesse de Noailles…" Marie Antoinette, in her lighthearted, irreverent way, nicknamed her Mistress of the Household, Madame L'Etiquette.
It takes me off topic, but I have to mention that the Comtesse became, at the least, innocuously demented towards the end of her life. After being one of those Court members that spread rumors and held grudges against the Queen, thus paving the way for the Revolution, the Comtesse eventually became a victim to the reality she'd helped create. Someday I'll relate the memoirs of an abbé who accompanied the Comtesse and her relatives to the scaffold.
Madame Campan and Princesse de Lamballe, two women who knew the Queen well, both mention in their memoirs that Marie Antoinette wasn't comfortable playing the Royal role when in the company of other Royals. This simple room, with its view of the rolling gardens, must've been a refuge where Marie Antoinette could be herself among friends.
The Princesse, when relating anecdotes about Emperor Joseph II's, Marie Antoinette's oldest brother, visit to Versailles, wrote, "Both always endeavored to encourage persons of every class to speak their minds freely, with this difference, that Her Majesty in so doing never forgot her dignity nor her rank at Court. Sometimes, however, I have seen her, though so perfect in her deportment with inferiors, much intimidated and sometimes embarrassed in the presence of the Princes and Princesses, her equals, who for the first time visited Versailles: indeed, so much so as to give them a very incorrect idea of her capacity. It was by no means an easy matter to cause Her Majesty to unfold her real sentiments or character on a first acquaintance."
See, now, I totally get that. Maybe I feel such empathy for Marie Antoinette because, in everything I've read, I feel that I'd respond the same way or feel the same way she did.
So, on to Madame Campan's memoir, describing a visit from the Grand Duke of Russia and his wife, (traveling under pseudonyms,) where she says, "When the Comte and Comtesse du Nord were presented, the Queen was exceedingly nervous. She withdrew into her closet before she went into the room where she was to dine with the illustrious travelers, and asked for a glass of water, confessing "she had just experienced how much more difficult it was to play the part of a queen in the presence of other sovereigns, or of princes born to become so, than before courtiers.""
Which brings us to the question of, if it was difficult for Marie Antoinette to conquer her insecurities, how must it have been for Louis XVI, who was famously awkward and introverted? That poor man! It's fascinating to watch him develop, as he grew older and wiser, from a sort of bumbling lout to a wise self-aware man fully sure of who he was and what he stood for. For what he stood. Man, I hate dangling prepositions.
In a somewhat extreme example of the preposterous reaches of etiquette, Princesse Lamballe also relates the following, "… it will be readily conceived, how great a shock this lady (Countess de Noailles) must have sustained on being informed one morning, that the Dauphiness had actually risen in the night, and her ladyship not by to witness a ceremony from which most ladies would had felt no little pleasure in being spared, but which, on this occasion, admitted of no delay. Notwithstanding the Dauphiness excused herself by the assurance of the urgency allowing no time to call the Countess, she nearly fainted at having not been present at that, which sometimes others faint at, if too near. This unaccustomed watchfulness so annoyed Marie Antoinette, that she ordered an immense bottle of hartshorn to be placed upon her toilet." In other words, Countess de Noailles was upset at the fact that Marie Antoinette got up during the night and used the restroom without the Countess being notified so she could accompany her. Such are the lengths that members of the Court clung to the privileges of their rank. I'll leave it to the reader to look up hartshorn, if inclined.
To set the stage and provide perspective, a short description is in order… The princesse was reportedly so sensitive that she fainted at the least provocation, so much so that something I read recently suggested that she may have had epilepsy. When Marie Antoinette gave birth to one of her children, the Lamballe, witnessing the event, collapsed in a faint and had to be carried from the room. Sensitive she may have been, but when the chips were down, she was made of iron. She, alone, of Marie Antoinette's friends, stayed at her side and, because she refused to denounce the King and Queen, died a most horrible death. There's more to tell, but later.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Elissa is on a farm and posted some pictures (http://thetravelingpear.com) one of which had an old stove in it. Made me think of mine.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
When I returned a few days later to find Liberty in the same place, still pacing and whinnying, my own apparently crazy, latent, unresolved attachment issues hit me and I cried and cried watching it. It was so pitiful and, to make matters worse, the horses in Liberty's new pasture wouldn't let her eat. My food issues are much less latent than the separation variety. I couldn't stand to see her in distress over Lanie, then see her get chased away from her food. At least I knew how to fix that problem. I bought a couple bags of grain and went to the barn every day after work to feed her and shoo the other horses away. I'd call her name and she'd come trotting, then cantering, across the pasture. Made me happy.
Even though we sold Liberty to Courtney in 2009, she, eternally generous, let's us pretend we still own her and encourages Micah to ride her whenever she's home. On this occasion, we took Liberty out of the pasture she shared with Sophie and she was whinnying for her. Of course, she wouldn't do it for the camera, even though I cruelly tried to provoke her into it. But, she's such a beautiful girl, she's going on the blog.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The two top photographs are of a section of the same fortification in another part of town. Elissa and Matt took me there. It looks like any other wall next to a school playground. Kids probably bounce basketballs off of it.
The third and fourth photographs in the above set are remains of the same Philippe-Auguste project; a fortress that was the original Louvre and is located under the current Louvre. It was discovered during excavations in the 1980's.
I realize this is more than anyone will want to know nor bother to read, but sometimes I simply can't stop writing.