Madame de Polignac and the Politics of Calumny

Elena-Maria Vidal has added to her series on calumny which surrounded La Reine-Martyre, that done against Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchesse de Polignac. This link will take you there.

"...The closest confidante of Queen Marie-Antoinette was Madame de Polignac. Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchesse de Polignac, also referred to as "Yolande," is usually portrayed in books and films as Marie-Antoinette's "bad girl" friend, responsible for leading the young queen of France into a wild, decadent lifestyle. Often depicted as a greedy, spendthrift slut, Gabrielle preferred simplicity, was a devoted mother and loyal friend of both Louis and Antoinette. Part of the rehabilitation of Marie-Antoinette's reputation is a careful look at her relationship with Gabrielle..."

Other articles on Calumny and Marie-Antoinette:

Count Fersen:

Marie-Antoinette: A reputation in shreds

"Let Them Eat Cake"

A republican myth, the Death of Barra, 1793

Joseph Bara repudely a member of the republican French Army and hailed as a hero by the revolution was killed this date in 1793 in action against the Royal and Catholic Army in the Vendee. Supposedly he was trapped by Royalist Forces who demanded his surrender by yelling "Vive le Roi “, he instead chose to die and in his last breath yell "Vive la République". He was 13 years old. He was alleged to have been in the 8eme Regt d'Hussards(Light Cavalry) Whose uniform would have looked simalar to this.

Touted by Robespierre in the convention paper, as a 13 year old hero, his death was used as propaganda, and his remains were placed in the Panthéon.

This propaganda by Robespierre is undoubtedly false, and used to bolster flagging morale in the convention when the members were getting nervous about the insurrection in the Vendée. What is more likely it was a youth who was killed on the Royalist side who refused to cry "Vive la République" and was killed for voicing "Vive le Roi “, or “Dieu Sauve le Roi”, and that the story was seized upon by Robespierre to further the republican cause. The convention and the person of Robespierre frequently lied when it would suit the ”cause”. The death of a child
would not have mattered a wit to Robespierre, as the suffering of the children of the Vendee, or of the Lost King Louis XVII.

His image was painted by Jacques-Louis David. It shows an effeminate youth in the pangs of death.

A link to a more republican view is found here. It is in French and English.

Vive le Roi!
Sieur de Brantigny


Enya - Watermark

A peaceful and lovely tune to fall asleep by.

The Real Santa Claus

St. Nicholas

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need. more

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Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan

History is a lovely thing, especially after the book that you read or the film that you watch has a thread of the actual lives concerned. Today I present the real D'Artagnan, somewhat different than the one portrayed in the movies yet similar as well.

D'Artagnan was born in Lupiac. His father was the son of a newly ennobled merchant, Arnaud de Batz, who purchased the castle of Castelmore. Charles de Batz went to Paris in the 1630s, using the name of his mother, daughter of an illustrious family, Françoise de Montesquiou d'Artagnan. D'Artagnan found a way to enter into the Musketeers in 1632, perhaps thanks to the influence of his family's friend, Monsieur de Tréville (Jean-Armand du Peyrer, Count of Troisvilles). While in the Musketeers, d'Artagnan sought the protection of the influential Cardinal Mazarin, France's principal minister since 1643. In 1646, the Musketeers company was dissolved, but d'Artagnan continued to serve his protector Mazarin.

D'Artagnan had a career in espionage for Cardinal Mazarin, in the years after the first Fronde. Due to d'Artagnan's faithful service during this period, Louis XIV entrusted him with many secret and delicate situations that required complete discretion. He followed Mazarin during his exile in 1651 in the face of the hostility of the aristocracy. In 1652 d'Artagnan was promoted to lieutenant in the Gardes Françaises, then to captain in 1655. In 1658, he became a second lieutenant in the newly reformed Musketeers. This was a promotion, as the Musketeers were far more prestigious than the Gardes-Françaises.

D'Artagnan was famous for his connection with the arrest of Nicolas Fouquet. Fouquet was Louis XIV's finance commissioner and aspired to take the place of Mazarin as the King's advisor. Fouquet was also a lover of grand architecture and employed the greatest architects and artisans in the building of his Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte. He celebrated the completion with a most extravagant feast, in which every guest was given a horse. The king however felt upstaged by the grandeur of the home and event and, suspecting that such magnificence could only be explained through Fouquet pilfering the royal treasury, immediately had d'Artagnan arrest Fouquet. D'Artagnan guarded him for four years until Fouquet was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1667, d'Artagnan was promoted to captain-lieutenant of the Musketeers, effectively the commander as the nominal captain was the King. As befitting his rank and position, he could be identified by his striking burgundy, white and black livery - the colours of the commanding officer of the Musketeers. Another of d'Artagnan's assignments was the governorship of Lille, which was won in battle by France in 1667. D'Artagnan was an unpopular governor, and longed to return to battle. He found his chance when Louis XIV went to war with the Dutch Republic in the Franco-Dutch War. After being recalled to service, d'Artagnan was subsequently killed in battle on June 25, 1673 when a musket ball tore into his throat at the Siege of Maastricht.

Now the reason this Novel and its successors is this is the period in French history when my family, in the person of one Etienne De Nevers, Sieur de Brantigny,(hence my Nom-de-Plume)left France for New France about 1645 and went to Ville Ste. Marie, now known as Montreal. I have always been fascinated by this period and what France looked like when my ancestor Etienne lived there.

In my humble opinion the 3 Musketeers film I like the best was made in 1973 starring Oliver Reed, Michael York and Raquel Welch. Two Sequels were made, and although there was some ribauldry done and A bit of irreverence to the Church I have enjoyed watching it over and over.

All for one! One for all.
Vive la Roi! Vive la Reine!
de Brantigny


Franz Josef and The Emperor Waltz

Today selection is the Emperor Waltz, and some photographs of His Imperial Majesty.