The Life and Death of Louis XVI

By Saul K. Padover | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
"I have escaped from that town of Paris"

THE ACTORS in the curious drama, on that night of June 20, were all dressed for their parts as was provided in the passport issued to Madame de Korff, her daughters Amélie and Aglaé, the governess Madame Rochet, the nursemaid Rosalie, and the valet Durand.

Madame Tourzel, the governess of the royal children, dressed up as the Baroness de Korff. The twelve-year-old Madame Royale and her little brother the dauphin were put in girlish frocks to make them look like Amélie and Aglaé. Madame Elizabeth, the king's sister, wore a simple morning dress and a white cap, as befitted the plain bonne Rosalie. Marie Antoinette, in a severe black cloak, looked the dignified governess Madame Rochet. Louis XVI, in his heavy gray overcoat and round hat, resembled the burly valet Durand.

The palace was dark, the corridors deserted. Walking on tiptoe, hearts racing, the royal family assembled in the apartment of Madame Royale. Marie Antoinette woke the six-year- old dauphin and dressed him in girl's clothes. The child was sleepy; he could not understand what all these mysterious doings were about. "I asked him," his sister recalled years later, "what he thought we were going to do; he told me that we were going to play a comedy, because we were all disguised." The child spoke truer than he knew.

Madame de Tourzel led the children out of the Tuileries

-220-

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