The Life and Death of Louis XVI

By Saul K. Padover | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
"The Assembly nailed him to the throne"

THE KING, was a prisoner in the Tuileries, there was now no doubt about it. The fiction of royal liberty, so persistently kept up before the flight, was no longer maintained. Guards surrounded the Tuileries, and guards stood in all the royal antechambers. The doors of the king's apartments were always open and watched. Only when Louis put on his shirt and the queen her chemise were the doors shut for a moment. Four officers of the National Guard always accompanied Marie Antoinette, whose apartments were on the ground floor, when she went to visit her son upstairs; two men remained outside, and two watched her in the room while she talked to the boy. No one could enter or leave the Tuileries without a pass from Lafayette or Bailly. King and queen never left the palace.

Nevertheless Louis and Marie Antoinette managed to build up a line of communication with the outside world. This was done ingeniously by means of whispered phrases, disguised messengers, cryptic signs, and ciphered slips of paper. The king and the queen now gave themselves wholeheartedly to the counter-revolution, staking their, future solely on foreign aid. Louis felt no loyalty whatever to a government that was his jailer. His one stipulation in coöperating with the émigrés and the foreign powers against the revolution was that no French blood be shed, for he did not re

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