Part 3.4 is the fourth of five parts of Chapter 3.
A Childhood at Versailles consists of the first 5 chapters of the memoirs of Mme de Boigne (1781-1866), née Adèle d’Osmond, who was a French salon hostess and writer. She was born in the Château de Versailles and lived at the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette until her family fled to England during the Revolution. Later in her long life, she married a rich soldier of fortune 30 years her senior, hosted a brilliant salon in Paris, and became an intimate of the last French queen, Marie-Amélie, consort of King Louis Philippe (r. 1830-1848). Childless herself, Mme de Boigne addressed her memoirs to her grandnephew. The memoirs were not published until 1907, under the title Récits d’une tante, or An Aunt’s Tales. They’ve never been published in English, as far as I know, so I’ve decided to translate the first 5 chapters, the ones that take place mainly at Versailles, and post them here on this blog for interested readers to enjoy for free.
The chapters are quite lengthy, so I’ve broken each one into several parts. In Part 3.4, the author recalls the confusion, missteps, and dangers of the events of October, 1789.
A Childhood at Versailles, Chapter 3, Part 4 (3.4)
One day, I was out playing at the home of the little de Guiches, and I was fetched away much earlier than usual. Instead of the servant ordinarily charged with carrying me home, I found my father’s trusted valet. I had an English nursemaid who spoke French badly; she was given a note from my mother. While she was reading it, I returned to my little companions’ room, and already everything was upside down, there was weeping, and packing had got started. I was bundled into a fur-lined coat and the valet took me up in his arms. Then, rather than taking me to my parents,’ he settled me with my nursemaid at the home of an old English master, who lived in a small fourth-floor room in a distant part of town.
The following night I was fetched away to the countryside, where I remained for several days without news from anyone. I was already old enough to suffer a great deal from this exile. It was around the time of the troubles of the month of June and the time of the departure of the Comte d’Artois, his children, and the Polignac family. On my return, I found that the eldest of the little de Guiches was gone and his sister hidden at the home of her maid’s parents. The motive of all this anxiety for us children had been the rumour put about that the people, as a handful of miscreants was then called, were on their way to come and take the nobles’ children away and make hostages of them.
A great fright engendered by this separation remained with me, and when the events of 6 October occurred, my thoughts were occupied by the fear of being sent away from our house.