Tall tales and Marie Antoinette’s furniture (Found French #2)

by tiresomemoi

Marie Antoinette’s necessaireMarie Antoinette’s necessaire



A month ago I vowed to “keep track of every encounter I have with the French language as well as references to France and the French people.” I did take note of these daily* run-ins but while my finds were interesting to me they did not make for particularly interesting posting material, until today. This afternoon, I came across a slender article in my local paper, The Boothbay Register, that began:


It stands upon an Edgecomb hill,

Clothed with an air of old romance.

The house that once, long ago,

Was decked to greet the Queen of France.**


This little article was not just a passing reference to France but a link between my two very disparate lives. I’m too tired to come up with something clever but let’s just say tree covered Maine and cosmopolitan Paree are not often mentioned in the same sentence so a whole article is pretty darn nifty. At least to me.


The article was about an old house not far from where I sit that once belonged to a man, Stephen Clough, who may (or may not) have been involved in a plot to rescue the imprisoned Marie Antoinette. According to legend some of the doomed queen’s furniture sailed across the Atlantic aboard Captain Clough’s ship Sally and ended up in Maine (and other places). The good captain was indeed twiddling his thumbs in Le Harve in 1792 and did return to Maine with a load of French furniture and “fancy goods” but whether any of his cargo ever belonged to the Queen of France is less clear. You can read the full article here.


And here, tall tales from the current owner of the house on the hill.


And here, something a bit more truthy.


Next time: Marie Antoinette, brioche, and well-mannered Cyclopes.


*Yes, daily. In the last 25 days only two days were French/France-less and on most days I had multiple encounters with the French language and/or references to France or the French.


**The poem is by Charlotte Beath Brown. I don’t know the title of the poem or anything about Ms. Beath brown except that she was from, or lived in, Boothbay, ME and published a book called, The Old Brick House And Other Stories in 1936.