Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bleached by Sorrow

At some point in 1791, the date of which, in order not to get side-tracked by researching, I won't specify, the Princess de Lamballe left Paris.  She and Marie Antoinette continued to correspond.  Marie Antoinette sent the Lamballe this ring made with her (MA's) own hair.  Marie Antoinette sent the ring and a letter in which she writes "The King, Elizabeth (Louis XVI's younger sister), and all of us, are anxious for your return.  But, it would grieve us sorely for you to come back to such scenes as you have already witnessed…"  She also says that the change in her hair color is a result of being "Bleached by Sorrow" due to her tribulations.   She signed, "Ever, ever, and forever, Your affectionate, Marie Antoinette"

I took this picture of the ring in Musée Carnavalet - my favorite museum in the whole world.  Nothing else compares. 

Loyalty and love won out over fear of scenes.  As the Princess related in her memoir, "On receipt of these much esteemed epistles, I returned, as my duty directed, to the best of Queens, and most sincere of friends.  My arrival at Paris, though much wished for, was totally unexpected.  At our first meeting, the Queen was so agitated that she was utterly at a loss to explain the satisfaction that she felt in beholding me once more near her royal person.  Seeing the ring on my finger, which she had done me the honor of sending me, she pointed to her hair, once so beautiful, but now, like that of an old woman, not only gray, but deprived of all its softness, quite stiff and dried up."  

"Madame Elizabeth, the King, and the rest of our little circle, lavished on me the most endearing caresses.  The dear dauphin said to me, 'You will not go away again, I hope, Princess?  Oh, mamma has cried so hard since you left us.'  I had wept enough before, but this dear little angel brought tears into the eyes of us all."

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