Alone in the Prison

Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Matt, 25: 39-40

As I have said in an earlier post I work in a prison as a case manager. The men in my charge are confined to a well lighted cell 24 hours a day 5 days a week and 23 hours the other 2. It is a hard way to live. These men, placed themselves there by infractions. They all are aware of why they are in their cells.

Not so with the eldest daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette who witnessed the removal of her family one by one. Once removed from her she never saw them again. Elena-Maria Vidal captures something of the fear, lonliness, and prayerful solitude in which Madame Royale spent her time in the temple prison in her historical novel Trianon.

...Until the 9th of May nothing extraordinary happened. On that day, at the moment we were going to bed, the outside bolts of the doors were drawn, and a knocking was heard. My aunt begged of them to wait till she had put on her gown; but you answered that they could not wait, and knocked so violently, that they were near bursting open the door. When she was dressed, she opened the door, and they immediately said to her, "Citizen, come down." — "And my niece?" — "We shall take care of her afterwards." She embraced me; and, in order to calm my agitation, promised to return. "No, citizen," said they, "you shall not return:— take your bonnet, and come along." They overwhelmed her with the grossest abuse. She bore it all patiently, and embraced me again, exhorting me to have confidence in Heaven, to follow the principles of religion in which I had been educated, and never to forget the last commands of my father and mother. She then left me....more...

Dieu le Roy!

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