Monday, December 26, 2005

Off with their heads!

William Rees-Mogg has dug up a fascinating pamphlet from the earliest days of The Times, reporting the execution of Marie Antoinette:

Reading it, one is struck, as were contemporary observers, by the calm and dignified manner in which Marie Antoinette defended herself at her trial, knowing her situation to be hopeless. Her husband, Louis XVI, had already been executed after a similar trial. As John Walter writes in his preface: “She astonished those who assumed to themselves the office of Judges by her presence of mind; she exposed the contradictions of the evidence and the artful interrogations of her prosecutors with great ingenuity and clearness; she replied with firmness and dignity, and heard her sentence without emotion.”

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