Examples of The Charity of Marie Antoinette and The Dauphin

January 7, 2021

L’hôpital Goüin, part of Maison Philanthropique, founded in 1780 by Louis XVI, which helped the aged, blind, orphans and widows. Via Elena Maria Vidal

More often, he accompanied his mother in her round of charity. When the queen visited the hospitals or the poor, she took her son with her, and was careful that he himself distributed the alms which she left in the garrets. Sometimes they went to the Gobelins; and the president of the district coming on one occasion to compliment her, she said, “Monsieur, you have many destitute; but the moments which we spend in relieving them are very precious to us.” Sometimes she went to the free Maternity Society which she had founded, where she had authorized the Sisters to distribute sixteen hundred livres for food and fuel every month, and twelve hundred for blankets and clothing, without counting the baby outfits which were given to three hundred mothers. At other times she went to the School of Design, also founded by her, to which she sent one day twelve hundred livres saved with great effort, that the rewards might not be diminished nor the dear scholars suffer through her own distress. Again, she placed in the house of Mademoiselle O’Kennedy four daughters of disabled soldiers, ― orphans, for whom, she said, “I made the endowment.”

The kindness of Marie Antoinette.

But that which most strongly attracted the dauphin, as if by a mysterious presentiment, was the Foundling Hospital. Marie Antoinette took him there often; and the gratitude of these poor children expressed itself in acclamations, which was most agreeable to him; they shouted often, “Vive le roi!” and not unfrequently, “Vive la reine!” The young prince always left the hospital with reluctance, and all his little savings were devoted to the relief of these little unfortunates.

Louis XVI with the Dauphin. départemental de l'Isère One day his father came upon him as he was putting some écus into a pretty little box which had been given him by his aunt, Madame Elisabeth. “What, Charles,” he exclaimed with a look of displeasure, “you hoard your money like a miser?” The child blushed, but recovering immediately, replied, “Yes, father, I am miserly; but it is for the foundlings. Ah, if you could see them! They are truly pitiable!” The king bent over his son, and embracing him with an effusion of joy which he seldom experienced now, said to him, “In that case, my child I will help you fill your little box.”

The Life of Marie Antoinette, Volume 2, by Maxime de La Rocheterie; Translated from the French by Cora Hamilton Bell; New York, Dodd Mead and Company 1893. Pg. 68-69.

Via Elena Maria Vidal

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 759


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