Little Old Heart

(Originally sent out on June 8th, 2004 – I have all these old mails I’ve sent out over the years and I’m reluctant simply to back date them all. This one is almost exactly a year old, so here’s a curtain call.)

Quick news flash- ’cause I’m off to bed.

News from Europe:

They buried the heart of Louis 17th today. That was the son of Marie Antoinette and Louis the 16th. Some stories always suggested that the boy escaped the ‘terror’ of the revolution and grew up in the US or Canada or somewhere.

One story was that he died in prison at the age of ten. This is the one that seems to be true. His body was thrown into a mass grave, but his doctor was loyal to the royal house and so cut out the boy’s heart and preserved it.

That was in 1795.

This little heart, mummified with time, ended up suspended in a glass egg-shaped shrine and was kept as a relic in a church. Thanks to DNA testing with surviving members of the French Royal Family it was possible to determine that the heart did come from the royal line, confirming as far as they can the identity.

So today there was a state funeral, thousands turned out for the service and he was interred in a church that holds the remains of some 50 other royal persons. Ironically that church is in the communist portion of Paris and next to a communist graveyard and also next to where the guy who wrote the revolutionary manifesto is interred…basically the boy’s heart goes right next to one of those most responsible for his early death.

What was most strange was that the heart was suspended in this glass container, just from the top, so as these solemn clergy filed past carrying this glass ‘egg’, you could see this little grey thing swinging wildly inside like a bird trying to escape.

They put the ‘egg’ in a regular sized coffin that had a special cabinet built inside and drove it through town in a hearse.

It looked like a pig’s ear dog treat.


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