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Monday, October 8, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 705 - 708

705. How did these terrible matches come about, it was just that photography had not been invented yet, and so the introduction of the future husbands was done with portraits painted by hacks, accompanied with love letters written according to strict court formulas. So it was that these young future queens were fed romantic nonsense constructed by court matchmaking professionals.

706. It often happened that a young girl of ten would fall in love with an imaginary prince, a person existing only in her imagination and nowhere in the real world. She would be in love with a fictional construction based on idealized oil paintings of young men in military uniforms covered with sashes and decorations. Looking at these pictures they would read love letters actually written by old men who were court scribes well versed in the love sonnets of Shakespeare.

707. Then would come the day of reckoning when the princess would be delivered to the actual reality, a cadaverous young man with flesh like tapioca pudding, a person raised in a hot house who had never had a real experience in his life and whose cheeks made one think of raw clams.

708. Marie Antoinette at that time was being considered as the match for the French Dauphin, the future King Louis the Sixteenth; she had to have her portrait painted and it had to look really good, this was a big problem for the court painters employed by the Empress and, like with the music tutors, had led to some terrible scenes and arguments. For over a year pictures had been painted of her and none had been satisfactory. 

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