National Geographic : 1917 Nov
© Griffith &Griffith LAKE AND FARM OF MARIE ANTOINETTE: PALACE OF PETIT TRIANON, VERSAILLES, FRANCE In the nine or ten rustic cottages which dot the shores of this beautiful little artificial body of water the care-free Marie Antoinette and her irresponsible retinue played at leading "the simple life," which came into fashion with the publication of Rousseau's "The Village Soothsayer." on the highly polished ballroom floor, but I forgive him when he winks at me in the wickedest possible manner. WHERE BEAUTY BRINGS A TEAR After we've seen what seems like miles of beautiful old rooms, and furniture, and rugs, and tapestries, we tip our guide in true soldier style. Then we sally forth into the fresh, sweet-swelling openness of the gardens. We all heave a huge sigh to leave behind the close, hot air of in doors. We breathe deeply for very joy of living and being away from "Fritzie," in whom we all admit there's "a mighty good kick yet." We saunter slowly to the top of the superb marble stairs, where we just natu rally stop. Somehow I can never stand on this particular spot with my soldier friends without feeling a great lump in my throat. Sometimes a boy will almost whisper, "Beautiful," or "Bonza," if he is an Australian, which means everything that is good; but mostly they say nothing. Sometimes I see a kid surreptitiously take off his cap, and once I saw a tear; itwasintheeyeofamanwhohadbeen an artist at home; now he is assistant camp cook. Now we descend the great white steps. thirty-two pairs of army boots clang clanging and one pair of high heels al ways in the lead. Once more I gather them all about me, the "Infant" closest of all, and we feast our eyes upon the beauties of the fountain of Latona. I tell them what it means. Every fairy tale begins in the same old way; so here goes: "Once upon a time, when the goddess whom you see at the top of the fountain was wandering in a little village, she was very thirsty. She came upon a lot of women and children and begged them for a drink. But they refused and laughed at her. So she called upon Jove, and he, with one wave of his hand turned them all into turtles and frogs, just as you see them here." And all around me I hear, "What a charming tale," and "Nonsense," and "It 'ud take a lot o' this to kill me."