Earlier this week I posted a piece about Marie Antoinette's Flaws. I explained she could be thoughtless, selfish, childish, and spontaneous. Today, I would like to share a story about one of her spontaneous acts that was thoughtful and selfless.
On a warm autumn day in 1773, Marie Antoinette and a few members of her coterie settled themselves upon the velvet squabs of a gilded carriage, excited to be taking part in a royal stag hunt. The women neatly arranged the folds of their voluminous gowns, the royal hounds bayed, the horses pranced and nickered, and then, they were off!
The careless, carefree royal party thundered on, anxious to catch their prey. Along the way, one of the riders accidentally ran over a wine grower who been toiling in a field. The unfortunate, unsuspecting man was seriously wounded.
Few in the royal party showed much concern for the peasant, but Marie Antoinette was deeply moved. The dauphine ordered the postilion to stop the carriage, then she leaped out and tended to the wounded man. Later, she would provide financial support for the man's family until he was well enough to work again.
Marie Antoinette's act of compassion was immortalized in a pencil and ink drawing by Jean-Michel Moreau the Younger. The print, titled Act of Kindness by the Dauphine, October 16, 1773, now hangs in a museum in Vienna.