Countess de Boigne left us a masterpiece of sarcasm — her memoirs on the reign of Louis-Philippe. Today I would like to offer my readers a sample of her writing on the inauguration of Chateau Versailles as a Museum to All the Glories of France.
“At four o’clock the gallery flung its doors open and the fourteen hundred hungry guests were invited to the banquet; the twelve-course meal was served on the tables lined up the length of the Crystal Gallery, where the royal dinner table distinguished itself only by its position in the middle. We were invited to go there, that is asked to follow the Queen; yet some of us, who had to compete with the crowd, discovered upon arrival all places taken.
The King was seated under the painting whose title read in huge golden letters, The King Governs By Himself. And since we were in the midst of the debates on the subject of the king’s reign without any real governing, this was supposed to promote a discussion. The King seemed to be expecting that, but nobody even noticed.”