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The way we were: seeing in the New Year

Extracts from memoirs and diaries

By Ian Irvine   January 2014

Harold Acton at his Florentine villa, La Pietra

Madame Campan, lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette, recalls New Year’s Eve 1783, during a severe winter, in her memoir of the Queen:

“Wishing to give her children yet another lesson of beneficence, she desired me on the New Year’s Eve to get from Paris, as in other years, all the fashionable playthings, and have them spread out in her closet. Then taking her children by the hand, she showed them all the dolls and mechanical toys which were ranged there,…

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