|Mytens or Meytens, Martin II. Archduchess Marie Antoinette Habsburg-Lotharingen , 1767-68, oil on canvas.|
This is an account from the Comte de Mercy on a rather off day for the young dauphine, Marie Antoinette. One day in 1770 the court was just relocating for the season to Versailles (previously at Choisy). Because the hunting grounds were so rich at Choisy, the king decided to go on one last hunt. Still a very new member of the royal family, the young Marie Antoinette accompanied her new aunts (Louis XV's daughters) as they all followed the king on the hunt.
The group of ladies only got so far, when it was decided they needed to turn around. The hunt was venturing too far out to follow. In the carriage, Mesdames grew concerned that the terrain was too soft for the coach to remain stable and decided they needed to exit the coach at once. Marie Antoinette tried to persuade them to pause and remain seated, but it was an unsuccessful attempt.
Older and more influential than she was, Antoinette followed her new aunts out of the coach into the soft, swampy ground. They took the lead but she fell behind when her foot started to slip out of her shoe! The mud was so thick it had literally swallowed her shoe leaving her to hop along in her stocking on the cold wet ground.
When she returned to Choisy she was frozen and wet from the weather. To make matters worse, as she attempted to dry off near the fire, her garment caught a flame! Needless to say she was thrilled when they all headed back to the comfort of Versailles. Her excitement faded quickly upon arrival however, when she found her rooms unprepared and no fires burning. She was so chilled from the earlier events that she developed a cold and sore throat which she dealt with for the following three days. It was a terrible way to bring in the new year!