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Marie Antoinette was tall, well-formed, with perfectly shaped arms, hands and feet, a brilliant complexion, bluish-grey eyes, delicate though not regular features, a charming expression and a most imposing air, which very much intimidated Mme. Le Brun during the first sitting. But the kindness and gentleness with which the Queen talked to the young artist soon set her at ease, and when the portrait, which was to be presented to the Emperor Joseph II., was finished, she was desired to make two copies of it; one to be sent to the Empress Catherine of Russia, the other to be placed in the royal apartments, either at Versailles or Fontainebleau. After these she painted several portraits of the Queen, one of which, in a straw hat, was, when exhibited in the Salon, 1786, declared by one of those malicious slanders then becoming frequent, to be the Queen en chemise.
Happy the people, says Montesquieu, whose annals are blank in history books. The annals of the nations are mainly composed of wars, tumult, and woe. For ten years Prussia enjoyed peace. During this happy period, when the days and the years glided by in tranquillity, there is little left for the historian to record. Frederick engaged vigorously in repairing the ruins left by the war. The burned Silesian villages were rebuilt; debts were paid; agriculture and commerce encouraged; the laws revised and reformed. A decree was issued that all lawsuits should be brought to a decision within a year after their beginning.
Capital letter A
ONE of the Royal palaces was La Muette, and it was on one of the journeys there that the Queen took it into her head to see the sun rise. It appeared a harmless fancy enough, and she suggested it to the King.
The Duchess sat by the fire in her armchair, surrounded by her books, her work, and her gold snuff-box; the children sat round her, also reading, working, or talking of anything that interested them.