There's something sinister and ironic about listening to Nick Cave crooning "Death Is Not The End" while reading about the latest development in the iconography now known, simply, as Marie Antoinette. Luscious pearls she had once entrusted in the good faith of an English guardian have resurfaced and will be on auction this week in London by Christie's. I'm currently reading Antonia Fraser's treatment, a valiant attempt to sieve through the litany of hagiography and re-read the woman who bore the brunt for her seeming frivolity. The appearance of this necklace, a rather tawdry concoction posted fifty years after their initial entrusting during the waning days of Marie Antoinette's life, makes me wonder further about those pearls and how they were held, admired, and dropped, one by one, into a small, nondescript velvet sack before being traded hurriedly between two palms. Indeed, what must have run through the mind of this Antoine, the one whom all praised for her impeccable carriage even as she was led, like cattle to the slaughterhouse, to her end?