Sunday, June 8, 2014


Continuing with the horse theme, let's think about the horse drawn sleighs of the Eighteenth Century - the tinkling laughter of the ladies, rhythmic hoof beats and foggy horse breath, crunching of snow under the rails of the sleigh,  dancing plumes and jingling bells.  The sky gets dark, dark, dark at night without electric lights, making the moon and stars spectacularly brilliant.  The Princesse de Lamballe's friendship with Marie Antoinette began, in earnest, during a cold Versailles winter when the sleighs that Louis XVI's father had used in his youth were pulled out of the stable and a favorite childhood pleasure of the Dauphine's was revived.  I like to think of a description published of the Princesse who "made her appearance in them wrapped in fur, with all the brilliancy and freshness of the age of twenty... peeping from under sable and ermine."  I hope gliding along the snow helped her get over the fact that her young husband had recently died of a venereal disease.  If there was a picnic basket stocked with champagne and chocolate, all the better.

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