"Marie Antoinette, he said, was kind and bountiful to individuals, and nothing like her caricatures. Yet, as de Feydeau puts it, 'her subjects were creatures of fiction to her.' One had to distinguish between the woman and the Queen, he concluded, as 'every monarchy was, by nature, tyrannical.' This was his paraphrase of Saint-Just’s famous dictum: 'No one reigns innocently.' But what was true of the Queen was also true of her alchemist. He recognized the humanity of Marie Antoinette but categorically despised a whole class."