A famous book about an extraordinary
encounter of two scholarly English women, the Principal and Vice-principal of
St. Hugh's College at Oxford, while walking in the Petit Trianon Gardens at
Versailles in 1901 France. They suddenly found themselves in a scene from 1789
in the same location and encountered many characters, one who may have been
Marie-Antoinette. What sets this account above other similar tales is the
impeccable character of the two ladies, the vivid independent accounts and
intricate descriptions given by each, and the painstaking research and
documentation over many years undertaken by them. Their attention to every
detail and discoveries of facts supporting their account, some not known until
years after the event, make this a most absorbing story, which is extensively
The first edition was published in
1911 and at least one other edition published some years later. Reproduced here
is approximately one half of the later edition. Of note is the fact that the
first edition was published with the authors using pseudonyms, due to the
extraordinary nature of the account and their sensitive positions. Their real
names were used in the later edition.
After first hearing of this story I
contacted a bookfinders and bought the book, which was even at that point long
out of print. A couple of years later I actually had the opportunity to visit
France and the Petit Trianon Gardens at Versailles one August 10th. I consider
myself lucky that I saw nothing unusual--as I was by myself.
I've since seen the story on TV and
even today it remains an intriguing account--
I have put half the book on the Web
for fellow adventurers. This includes a Preface by Edith Olivier, a Note by J.
W. Dunne, Author's Preface, and Chapter I, relating the trips back in time
during three visits to the Petit Trianon. Not included here is Chapter II,
detailing point by point the results of their research in the years following
the incidents, Chapter III, the Appendix, relating additional facts acquired
after the original research, and maps contrasting the differences in the details
of the grounds both in the authors' "present" and in 1789. Hopefully, I can put the rest on the web soon.