Friday, April 4, 2014

'All depends on the right beginning for the day...'

Although Marie Antoinette was not extensively prepared for her life as the dauphine of France--the fast-track tutoring she received in French, history, etc., was more like an 18th century cram session than a proper education-- Maria Theresa did not neglect to write her daughter 'rules to be read every month,' which contained advice and instruction intended to help Marie Antoinette adjust to her new role. Part of this advice included instruction on how Marie Antoinette should begin her day, immediately after waking:
'... When you wake up, you will immediately upon arising go through your morning prayers on your knees and read some religious text, even if it is only for six or seven minutes, without concerning yourself about anything else or speaking to anyone. All depends on the right beginning for the day and the intention with which you begin it, for it may change even indifferent actions into good, praiseworthy ones.' [translation: Olivier Bernier, Secrets of Marie Antoinette]
It does not seem that Marie Antoinette followed this advice too strictly--she writes in a later letter, also dated 1770, that she says her morning prayers after she has been dressed.

1 comment:

  1. Maria Theresa's religious fervor is kind of amusing, at least I think :p
    In a book about Maria Carolina, they show a letter which her mother send her when she was fifteen:

    "I hear [...] that you say your prayers very carelessly,
    without reverence, without attention, and, still
    more, without fervour. Do not be surprised if,
    after such a beginning of the day, nothing goes
    well. Even if representations are made to you
    they only cause rough words and ill-temper. "