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Memoirs And Historical Chronicles Of The Courts Of Europe by Various

Part 3 out of 6

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to be left there, and sensible that he should be well treated
by L'Archant, called out to him, as he was leaving the room, in
his droll manner:

"What, papa, are you going without me? Don't you think I am as
great a rogue as that Simier?"

"Ah, son," replied L'Archant, "I would much rather have lost my
arm than have met with you!"

Bussi, being a man devoid of all fear, observed that it was a
sign that things went well with him; then, turning to Simier, who
stood trembling with fear, he jeered him upon his pusillanimity.
L'Archant removed them both, and set a guard over them; and, in
the next place, proceeded to arrest M. de la Chastre, whom he
took to the Bastille.

Meanwhile M. de l'Oste was appointed to the command of the guard
which was set over my brother. This was a good sort of old man,
who had been appointed governor to the King my husband, and loved
me as if I had been his own child. Sensible of the injustice done
to my brother and me, and lamenting the bad counsel by which
the King was guided, and being, moreover, willing to serve us,
he resolved to deliver my brother from arrest. In order to make
his intention known to us he ordered the Scottish archers to
wait on the stairs without, keeping only two whom he could trust
in the room. Then taking me aside, he said:

"There is not a good Frenchman living who does not bleed at his
heart to see what we see. I have served the King your father, and
I am ready to lay down my life to serve his children. I expect
to have the guard of the Prince your brother, wherever he shall
chance to be confined; and, depend upon it, at the hazard of my
life, I will restore him to his liberty. But," added he, "that
no suspicions may arise that such is my design, it will be proper
that we be not seen together in conversation; however, you may
rely upon my word."

This afforded me great consolation; and, assuming a degree of
courage hereupon, I observed to my brother that we ought not to
remain there without knowing for what reason we were detained,
as if we were in the Inquisition; and that to treat us in such
a manner was to consider us as persons of no account. I then
begged M. de l'Oste to entreat the King, in our name, if the
Queen our mother was not permitted to come to us, to send some
one to acquaint us with the crime for which we were kept in

M. de Combaut, who was at the head of the young counsellors, was
accordingly sent to us; and he, with a great deal of gravity,
informed us that he came from the King to inquire what it was
we wished to communicate to his Majesty. We answered that we
wished to speak to some one near the King's person, in order to
our being informed what we were kept in confinement for, as we
were unable to assign any reason for it ourselves. He answered,
with great solemnity, that we ought not to ask of God or the
King reasons for what they did; as all their actions emanated
from wisdom and justice. We replied that we were not persons to
be treated like those shut up in the Inquisition, who are left
to guess at the cause of their being there.

We could obtain from him, after all we said, no other satisfaction
than his promise to interest himself in our behalf, and to do
us all the service in his power. At this my brother broke out
into a fit of laughter; but I confess I was too much alarmed
to treat his message with such indifference, and could scarcely
refrain from talking to this messenger as he deserved.

Whilst he was making his report to the King, the Queen my mother
kept her chamber, being under great concern, as may well be supposed,
to witness such proceedings. She plainly foresaw, in her prudence,
that these excesses would end fatally, should the mildness of
my brother's disposition, and his regard for the welfare of the
State, be once wearied out with submitting to such repeated acts
of injustice. She therefore sent for the senior members of the
Council, the chancellor, princes, nobles, and marshals of France,
who all were greatly scandalised at the bad counsel which had
been given to the King, and told the Queen my mother that she
ought to remonstrate with the King upon the injustice of his
proceedings. They observed that what had been done could not now
be recalled, but matters might yet be set upon a right footing.
The Queen my mother hereupon went to the King, followed by these
counsellors, and represented to him the ill consequences which
might proceed from the steps he had taken.

The King's eyes were by this time opened, and he saw that he
had been ill advised. He therefore begged the Queen my mother
to set things to rights, and to prevail on my brother to forget
all that had happened, and to bear no resentment against these
young men, but to make up the breach betwixt Bussi and Quelus.

Things being thus set to rights again, the guard which had been
placed over my brother was dismissed, and the Queen my mother,
coming to his apartment, told him he ought to return thanks to
God for his deliverance, for that there had been a moment when
even she herself despaired of saving his life; that since he
must now have discovered that the King's temper of mind was such
that he took the alarm at the very imagination of danger, and
that, when once he was resolved upon a measure, no advice that
she or any other could give would prevent him from putting it
into execution, she would recommend it to him to submit himself
to the King's pleasure in everything, in order to prevent the
like in future; and, for the present, to take the earliest
opportunity of seeing the King, and to appear as if he thought
no more about the past.

We replied that we were both of us sensible of God's great mercy
in delivering us from the injustice of our enemies, and that,
next to God, our greatest obligation was to her; but that my
brother's rank did not admit of his being put in confinement
without cause, and released from it again without the formality
of an acknowledgment. Upon this, the Queen observed that it was
not in the power even of God himself to undo what had been done;
that what could be effected to save his honour, and give him
satisfaction for the irregularity of the arrest, should have
place. My brother, therefore, she observed, ought to strive to
mollify the King by addressing him with expressions of regard to
his person and attachment to his service; and, in the meantime,
use his influence over Bussi to reconcile him to Quelus, and
to end all disputes betwixt them. She then declared that the
principal motive for putting my brother and his servants under
arrest was to prevent the combat for which old Bussi, the brave
father of a brave son, had solicited the King's leave, wherein
he proposed to be his son's second, whilst the father of Quelus
was to be his. These four had agreed in this way to determine
the matter in dispute, and give the Court no further disturbance.

My brother now engaged himself to the Queen that, as Bussi would
see he could not be permitted to decide his quarrel by combat,
he should, in order to deliver himself from his arrest, do as
she had commanded.

The Queen my mother, going down to the King, prevailed with him
to restore my brother to liberty with every honour. In order to
which the King came to her apartment, followed by the princes,
noblemen, and other members of the Council, and sent for us by M.
de Villequier. As we went along we found all the rooms crowded
with people, who, with tears in their eyes, blessed God for our
deliverance. Coming into the apartments of the Queen my mother,
we found the King attended as I before related. The King desired
my brother not to take anything ill that had been done, as the
motive for it was his concern for the good of his kingdom, and
not any bad intention towards himself. My brother replied that he
had, as he ought, devoted his life to his service, and, therefore,
was governed by his pleasure; but that he most humbly begged him
to consider that his fidelity and attachment did not merit the
return he had met with; that, notwithstanding, he should impute it
entirely to his own ill-fortune, and should be perfectly satisfied
if the King acknowledged his innocence. Hereupon the King said
that he entertained not the least doubt of his innocence, and
only desired him to believe he held the same place in his esteem
he ever had. The Queen my mother then, taking both of them by
the hand, made them embrace each other.

Afterwards the King commanded Bussi to be brought forth, to make
a reconciliation betwixt him and Quelus, giving orders, at the
same time, for the release of Simier and M. de la Chastre. Bussi
coming into the room with his usual grace, the King told him he
must be reconciled with Quelus, and forbade him to say a word
more concerning their quarrel. He then commanded them to embrace.
"Sire," said Bussi, "if it is your pleasure that we kiss and are
friends again, I am ready to obey your command;" then, putting
himself in the attitude of Pantaloon, he went up to Quelus and
gave him a hug, which set all present in a titter, notwithstanding
they had been seriously affected by the scene which had passed
just before.

Many persons of discretion thought what had been done was too
slight a reparation for the injuries my brother had received.
When all was over, the King and the Queen my mother, coming up to
me, said it would be incumbent on me to use my utmost endeavours
to prevent my brother from calling to mind anything past which
should make him swerve from the duty and affection he owed the
King. I replied that my brother was so prudent, and so strongly
attached to the King's service, that he needed no admonition
on that head from me or anyone else; and that, with respect to
myself, I had never given him any other advice than to conform
himself to the King's pleasure and the duty he owed him.


It was now three o'clock in the afternoon, and no one present
had yet dined. The Queen my mother was desirous that we should
eat together, and, after dinner, she ordered my brother and me
to change our dress (as the clothes we had on were suitable only
to our late melancholy situation) and come to the King's supper
and ball. We complied with her orders as far as a change of dress,
but our countenances still retained the impressions of grief
and resentment which we inwardly felt.

I must inform you that when the tragi-comedy I have given you
an account of was over, the Queen my mother turned round to the
Chevalier de Seurre, whom she recommended to my brother to sleep
in his bedchamber, and in whose conversation she sometimes took
delight because he was a man of some humour, but rather inclined
to be cynical.

"Well," said she, "M. de Seurre, what do you think of all this?"

"Madame, I think there is too much of it for earnest, and not
enough for jest."

Then addressing himself to me, he said, but not loud enough for
the Queen to hear him: "I do not believe all is over yet; I am
very much mistaken if this young man" (meaning my brother) "rests
satisfied with this."

This day having passed in the manner before related, the wound
being only skinned over and far from healed, the young men about
the King's person set themselves to operate in order to break
it out afresh.

These persons, judging of my brother by themselves, and not having
sufficient experience to know the power of duty over the minds of
personages of exalted rank and high birth, persuaded the King,
still connecting his case with their own, that it was impossible
my brother should ever forgive the affront he had received, and
not seek to avenge himself with the first opportunity. The King,
forgetting the ill-judged steps these young men had so lately
induced him to take, hereupon receives this new impression, and
gives orders to the officers of the guard to keep strict watch
at the gates that his brother go not out, and that his people
be made to leave the Louvre every evening, except such of them
as usually slept in his bedchamber or wardrobe.

My brother, seeing himself thus exposed to the caprices of these
headstrong young fellows, who led the King according to their
own fancies, and fearing something worse might happen than what
he had yet experienced, at the end of three days, during which
time he laboured under apprehensions of this kind, came to a
determination to leave the Court, and never more return to it,
but retire to his principality and make preparations with all
haste for his expedition to Flanders.

He communicated his design to me, and I approved of it, as I
considered he had no other view in it than providing for his
own safety, and that neither the King nor his government were
likely to sustain any injury by it.

When we consulted upon the means of its accomplishment, we could
find no other than his descending from my window, which was on the
second story and opened to the ditch, for the gates were so closely
watched that it was impossible to pass them, the face of everyone
going out of the Louvre being curiously examined. He begged of
me, therefore, to procure for him a rope of sufficient strength
and long enough for the purpose. This I set about immediately,
for, having the sacking of a bed that wanted mending, I sent
it out of the palace by a lad whom I could trust, with orders
to bring it back repaired, and to wrap up the proper length of
rope inside.

When all was prepared, one evening, at supper time, I went to
the Queen my mother, who supped alone in her own apartment, it
being fast-day and the King eating no supper. My brother, who
on most occasions was patient and discreet, spurred on by the
indignities he had received, and anxious to extricate himself
from danger and regain his liberty, came to me as I was rising
from table, and whispered to me to make haste and come to him
in my own apartment. M. de Matignon, at that time a marshal,
a sly, cunning Norman, and one who had no love for my brother,
whether he had some knowledge of his design from some one who
could not keep a secret, or only guessed at it, observed to the
Queen my mother as she left the room (which I overheard, being
near her, and circumspectly watching every word and motion, as
may well be imagined, situated as I was betwixt fear and hope,
and involved in perplexity) that my brother had undoubtedly an
intention of withdrawing himself, and would not be there the
next day; adding that he was assured of it, and she might take
her measures accordingly.

I observed that she was much disconcerted by this observation,
and I had my fears lest we should be discovered. When we came
into her closet, she drew me aside and asked if I heard what
Matignon had said.

I replied: "I did not hear it, Madame, but I observe that it has
given you uneasiness."

"Yes," said she, "a great deal of uneasiness, for you know I have
pledged myself to the King that your brother shall not depart
hence, and Matignon has declared that he knows very well he will
not be here to-morrow."

I now found myself under a great embarrassment; I was in danger
either of proving unfaithful to my brother, and thereby bringing
his life into jeopardy, or of being obliged to declare that to
be truth which I knew to be false, and this I would have died
rather than be guilty of.

In this extremity, if I had not been aided by God, my countenance,
without speaking, would plainly have discovered what I wished
to conceal. But God, who assists those who mean well, and whose
divine goodness was discoverable in my brother's escape, enabled
me to compose my looks and suggested to me such a reply as gave
her to understand no more than I wished her to know, and cleared
my conscience from making any declaration contrary to the truth.
I answered her in these words:

"You cannot, Madame, but be sensible that M. de Matignon is not
one of my brother's friends, and that he is, besides, a busy,
meddling kind of man, who is sorry to find a reconciliation has
taken place with us; and, as to my brother, I will answer for
him with my life in case he goes hence, of which, if he had any
design, I should, as I am well assured, not be ignorant, he never
having yet concealed anything he meant to do from me."

All this was said by me with the assurance that, after my brother's
escape, they would not dare to do me any injury; and in case of
the worst, and when we should be discovered, I had much rather
pledge my life than hazard my soul by a false declaration, and
endanger my brother's life. Without scrutinising the import of
my speech, she replied: "Remember what you now say,--you will
be bound for him on the penalty of your life."

I smiled and answered that such was my intention. Then, wishing
her a good night, I retired to my own bedchamber, where, undressing
myself in haste and getting into bed, in order to dismiss the
ladies and maids of honour, and there then remaining only my
chamber-women, my brother came in, accompanied by Simier and
Cange. Rising from my bed, we made the cord fast, and having
looked out at the window to discover if anyone was in the ditch,
with the assistance of three of my women, who slept in my room,
and the lad who had brought in the rope, we let down my brother,
who laughed and joked upon the occasion without the least
apprehension, notwithstanding the height was considerable. We
next lowered Simier into the ditch, who was in such a fright
that he had scarcely strength to hold the rope fast; and lastly
descended my brother's _valet de chambre_, Cange.

Through God's providence my brother got off undiscovered, and
going to Ste. Genevieve, he found Bussi waiting there for him.
By consent of the abbot, a hole had been made in the city wall,
through which they passed, and horses being provided and in waiting,
they mounted, and reached Angers without the least accident.

Whilst we were lowering down Cange, who, as I mentioned before,
was the last, we observed a man rising out of the ditch, who ran
towards the lodge adjoining to the tennis-court, in the direct
way leading to the guard-house. I had no apprehensions on my
own account, all my fears being absorbed by those I entertained
for my brother; and now I was almost dead with alarm, supposing
this might be a spy placed there by M. de Matignon, and that
my brother would be taken. Whilst I was in this cruel state of
anxiety, which can be judged of only by those who have experienced
a similar situation, my women took a precaution for my safety
and their own, which did not suggest itself to me. This was to
burn the rope, that it might not appear to our conviction in
case the man in question had been placed there to watch us. This
rope occasioned so great a flame in burning, that it set fire to
the chimney, which, being seen from without, alarmed the guard,
who ran to us, knocking violently at the door, calling for it
to be opened.

I now concluded that my brother was stopped, and that we were
both undone. However, as, by the blessing of God and through
his divine mercy alone, I have, amidst every danger with which I
have been repeatedly surrounded, constantly preserved a presence
of mind which directed what was best to be done, and observing
that the rope was not more than half consumed, I told my women
to go to the door, and speaking softly, as if I was asleep, to
ask the men what they wanted. They did so, and the archers replied
that the chimney was on fire, and they came to extinguish it. My
women answered it was of no consequence, and they could put it out
themselves, begging them not to awake me. This alarm thus passed
off quietly, and they went away; but, in two hours afterward, M.
de Cosse came for me to go to the King and the Queen my mother,
to give an account of my brother's escape, of which they had
received intelligence by the Abbot of Ste. Genevieve.

It seems it had been concerted betwixt my brother and the abbot,
in order to prevent the latter from falling under disgrace, that,
when my brother might be supposed to have reached a sufficient
distance, the abbot should go to Court, and say that he had been
put into confinement whilst the hole was being made, and that
he came to inform the King as soon as he had released himself.

I was in bed, for it was yet night; and rising hastily, I put
on my night-clothes. One of my women was indiscreet enough to
hold me round the waist, and exclaim aloud, shedding a flood of
tears, that she should never see me more. M. de Cosse, pushing
her away, said to me: "If I were not a person thoroughly devoted
to your service, this woman has said enough to bring you into
trouble. But," continued he, "fear nothing. God be praised, by
this time the Prince your brother is out of danger."

These words were very necessary, in the present state of my mind,
to fortify it against the reproaches and threats I had reason
to expect from the King. I found him sitting at the foot of the
Queen my mother's bed, in such a violent rage that I am inclined
to believe I should have felt the effects of it, had he not been
restrained by the absence of my brother and my mother's presence.
They both told me that I had assured them my brother would not
leave the Court, and that I pledged myself for his stay. I replied
that it was true that he had deceived me, as he had them; however,
I was ready still to pledge my life that his departure would
not operate to the prejudice of the King's service, and that it
would appear he was only gone to his own principality to give
orders and forward his expedition to Flanders.

The King appeared to be somewhat mollified by this declaration,
and now gave me permission to return to my own apartments. Soon
afterwards he received letters from my brother, containing assurances
of his attachment, in the terms I had before expressed. This
caused a cessation of complaints, but by no means removed the
King's dissatisfaction, who made a show of affording assistance
to his expedition, but was secretly using every means to frustrate
and defeat it.


I now renewed my application for leave to go to the King my husband,
which I continued to press on every opportunity. The King, perceiving
that he could not refuse my leave any longer, was willing I should
depart satisfied. He had this further view in complying with my
wishes, that by this means he should withdraw me from my attachment
to my brother. He therefore strove to oblige me in every way he
could think of, and, to fulfil the promise made by the Queen
my mother at the Peace of Sens, he gave me an assignment of my
portion in territory, with the power of nomination to all vacant
benefices and all offices; and, over and above the customary
pension to the daughters of France, he gave another out of his
privy purse.

He daily paid me a visit in my apartment, in which he took occasion
to represent to me how useful his friendship would be to me; whereas
that of my brother could be only injurious,--with arguments of
the like kind.

However, all he could say was insufficient to prevail on me to
swerve from the fidelity I had vowed to observe to my brother.
The King was able to draw from me no other declaration than this:
that it ever was, and should be, my earnest wish to see my brother
firmly established in his gracious favour, which he had never
appeared to me to have forfeited; that I was well assured he
would exert himself to the utmost to regain it by every act of
duty and meritorious service; that, with respect to myself, I
thought I was so much obliged to him for the great honour he
did me by repeated acts of generosity, that he might be assured,
when I was with the King my husband I should consider myself
bound in duty to obey all such commands as he should be pleased
to give me; and that it would be my whole study to maintain the
King my husband in a submission to his pleasure.

My brother was now on the point of leaving Alencon to go to Flanders;
the Queen my mother was desirous to see him before his departure.
I begged the King to permit me to take the opportunity of
accompanying her to take leave of my brother, which he granted;
but, as it seemed, with great unwillingness. When we returned
from Alencon, I solicited the King to permit me to take leave of
himself, as I had everything prepared for my journey. The Queen
my mother being desirous to go to Gascony, where her presence was
necessary for the King's service, was unwilling that I should
depart without her. When we left Paris, the King accompanied us
on the way as far as his palace of Dolinville. There we stayed
with him a few days, and there we took our leave, and in a little
time reached Guienne, which belonging to, and being under the
government of the King my husband, I was everywhere received as
Queen. My husband gave the Queen my mother a meeting at Reolle,
which was held by the Huguenots as a cautionary town; and the
country not being sufficiently quieted, she was permitted to
go no further.

It was the intention of the Queen my mother to make but a short
stay; but so many accidents arose from disputes betwixt the Huguenots
and Catholics, that she was under the necessity of stopping there
eighteen months. As this was very much against her inclination,
she was sometimes inclined to think there was a design to keep
her, in order to have the company of her maids of honour. For my
husband had been greatly smitten with Dayelle, and M. de Thurene
was in love with La Vergne. However, I received every mark of
honour and attention from the King that I could expect or desire.
He related to me, as soon as we met, the artifices which had
been put in practice whilst he remained at Court to create a
misunderstanding betwixt him and me; all this, he said, he knew
was with a design to cause a rupture betwixt my brother and him,
and thereby ruin us all three, as there was an exceeding great
jealousy entertained of the friendship which existed betwixt

We remained in the disagreeable situation I have before described
all the time the Queen my mother stayed in Gascony; but, as soon
as she could reestablish peace, she, by desire of the King my
husband, removed the King's lieutenant, the Marquis de Villars,
putting in his place the Marechal de Biron. She then departed
for Languedoc, and we conducted her to Castelnaudary; where,
taking our leave, we returned to Pau, in Bearn; in which place,
the Catholic religion not being tolerated, I was only allowed
to have mass celebrated in a chapel of about three or four feet
in length, and so narrow that it could scarcely hold seven or
eight persons. During the celebration of mass, the bridge of
the castle was drawn up to prevent the Catholics of the town
and country from coming to assist at it; who having been, for
some years, deprived of the benefit of following their own mode
of worship, would have gladly been present. Actuated by so holy
and laudable a desire, some of the inhabitants of Pau, on
Whit-sunday, found means to get into the castle before the bridge
was drawn up, and were present at the celebration of mass, not
being discovered until it was nearly over. At length the Huguenots
espied them, and ran to acquaint Le Pin, secretary to the King
my husband, who was greatly in his favour, and who conducted
the whole business relating to the new religion. Upon receiving
this intelligence, Le Pin ordered the guard to arrest these poor
people, who were severely beaten in my presence, and afterwards
locked up in prison, whence they were not released without paying
a considerable fine.

This indignity gave me great offence, as I never expected anything
of the kind. Accordingly, I complained of it to the King my husband,
begging him to give orders for the release of these poor Catholics,
who did not deserve to be punished for coming to my chapel to hear
mass, a celebration of which they had been so long deprived of
the benefit. Le Pin, with the greatest disrespect to his master,
took upon him to reply, without waiting to hear what the King had
to say. He told me that I ought not to trouble the King my husband
about such matters; that what had been done was very right and
proper; that those people had justly merited the treatment they
met with, and all I could say would go for nothing, for it must
be so; and that I ought to rest satisfied with being permitted
to have mass said to me and my servants. This insolent speech
from a person of his inferior condition incensed me greatly,
and I entreated the King my husband, if I had the least share in
his good graces, to do me justice, and avenge the insult offered
me by this low man.

The King my husband, perceiving that I was offended, as I had
reason to be, with this gross indignity, ordered Le Pin to quit
our presence immediately; and, expressing his concern at his
secretary's behaviour, who, he said, was overzealous in the cause
of religion, he promised that he would make an example of him.
As to the Catholic prisoners, he said he would advise with his
parliament what ought to be done for my satisfaction.

Having said this, he went to his closet, where he found Le Pin,
who, by dint of persuasion, made him change his resolution; insomuch
that, fearing I should insist upon his dismissing his secretary,
he avoided meeting me. At last, finding that I was firmly resolved
to leave him, unless he dismissed Le Pin, he took advice of some
persons, who, having themselves a dislike to the secretary,
represented that he ought not to give me cause of displeasure
for the sake of a man of his small importance,--especially one
who, like him, had given me just reason to be offended; that,
when it became known to the King my brother and the Queen my
mother, they would certainly take it ill that he had not only
not resented it, but, on the contrary, still kept him near his

This counsel prevailed with him, and he at length discarded his
secretary. The King, however, continued to behave to me with
great coolness, being influenced, as he afterwards confessed,
by the counsel of M. de Pibrac, who acted the part of a double
dealer, telling me that I ought not to pardon an affront offered
by such a mean fellow, but insist upon his being dismissed; whilst
he persuaded the King my husband that there was no reason for
parting with a man so useful to him, for such a trivial cause.
This was done by M. de Pibrac, thinking I might be induced, from
such mortifications, to return to France, where he enjoyed the
offices of president and King's counsellor.

I now met with a fresh cause for disquietude in my present situation,
for, Dayelle being gone, the King my husband placed his affections
on Rebours. She was an artful young person, and had no regard
for me; accordingly, she did me all the ill offices in her power
with him. In the midst of these trials, I put my trust in God,
and he, moved with pity by my tears, gave permission for our
leaving Pau, that "little Geneva;" and, fortunately for me, Rebours
was taken ill and stayed behind. The King my husband no sooner
lost sight of her than he forgot her; he now turned his eyes
and attention towards Fosseuse. She was much handsomer than the
other, and was at that time young, and really a very amiable

Pursuing the road to Montauban, we stopped at a little town called
Eause, where, in the night, the King my husband was attacked
with a high fever, accompanied with most violent pains in his
head. This fever lasted for seventeen days, during which time he
had no rest night or day, but was continually removed from one
bed to another. I nursed him the whole time, never stirring from
his bedside, and never putting off my clothes. He took notice of
my extraordinary tenderness, and spoke of it to several persons,
and particularly to my cousin M----, who, acting the part of
an affectionate relation, restored me to his favour, insomuch
that I never stood so highly in it before. This happiness I had
the good fortune to enjoy during the four or five years that
I remained with him in Gascony.

Our residence, for the most part of the time I have mentioned,
was at Nerac, where our Court was so brilliant that we had no
cause to regret our absence from the Court of France. We had
with us the Princesse de Navarre, my husband's sister, since
married to the Duc de Bar; there were besides a number of ladies
belonging to myself. The King my husband was attended by a numerous
body of lords and gentlemen, all as gallant persons as I have
seen in any Court; and we had only to lament that they were
Huguenots. This difference of religion, however, caused no dispute
among us; the King my husband and the Princess his sister heard
a sermon, whilst I and my servants heard mass. I had a chapel in
the park for the purpose, and, as soon as the service of both
religions was over, we joined company in a beautiful garden,
ornamented with long walks shaded with laurel and cypress trees.
Sometimes we took a walk in the park on the banks of the river,
bordered by an avenue of trees three thousand yards in length.
The rest of the day was passed in innocent amusements; and in
the afternoon, or at night, we commonly had a ball.

The King was very assiduous with Fosseuse, who, being dependent on
me, kept herself within the strict bounds of honour and virtue. Had
she always done so, she had not brought upon herself a misfortune
which has proved of such fatal consequence to myself as well as
to her.

But our happiness was too great to be of long continuance, and
fresh troubles broke out betwixt the King my husband and the
Catholics, and gave rise to a new war. The King my husband and
the Marechal de Biron, who was the King's lieutenant in Guienne,
had a difference, which was aggravated by the Huguenots. This
breach became in a short time so wide that all my efforts to
close it were useless. They made their separate complaints to
the King. The King my husband insisted on the removal of the
Marechal de Biron, and the Marshal charged the King my husband,
and the rest of those who were of the pretended reformed religion,
with designs contrary to peace. I saw, with great concern, that
affairs were likely soon to come to an open rupture; and I had
no power to prevent it.

The Marshal advised the King to come to Guienne himself, saying
that in his presence matters might be settled. The Huguenots,
hearing of this proposal, supposed the King would take possession
of their towns, and, thereupon, came to a resolution to take
up arms. This was what I feared; I was become a sharer in the
King my husband's fortune, and was now to be in opposition to
the King my brother and the religion I had been bred up in. I
gave my opinion upon this war to the King my husband and his
Council, and strove to dissuade them from engaging in it. I
represented to them the hazards of carrying on a war when they
were to be opposed against so able a general as the Marechal de
Biron, who would not spare them, as other generals had done,
he being their private enemy. I begged them to consider that, if
the King brought his whole force against them, with intention
to exterminate their religion, it would not be in their power
to oppose or prevent it. But they were so headstrong, and so
blinded with the hope of succeeding in the surprise of certain
towns in Languedoc and Gascony, that, though the King did me the
honour, upon all occasions, to listen to my advice, as did most
of the Huguenots, yet I could not prevail on them to follow it
in the present situation of affairs, until it was too late, and
after they had found, to their cost, that my counsel was good.
The torrent was now burst forth, and there was no possibility of
stopping its course until it had spent its utmost strength.

Before that period arrived, foreseeing the consequences, I had
often written to the King and the Queen my mother, to offer something
to the King my husband by way of accommodating matters. But they
were bent against it, and seemed to be pleased that matters had
taken such a turn, being assured by Marechal de Biron that he
had it in his power to crush the Huguenots whenever he pleased.
In this crisis my advice was not attended to, the dissensions
increased, and recourse was had to arms.

The Huguenots had reckoned upon a force more considerable than
they were able to collect together, and the King my husband found
himself outnumbered by Marechal de Biron. In consequence, those of
the pretended reformed religion failed in all their plans, except
their attack upon Cahors, which they took with petards, after
having lost a great number of men,--M. de Vezins, who commanded in
the town, disputing their entrance for two or three days, from
street to street, and even from house to house. The King my husband
displayed great valour and conduct upon the occasion, and showed
himself to be a gallant and brave general. Though the Huguenots
succeeded in this attempt, their loss was so great that they
gained nothing from it. Marechal de Biron kept the field, and
took every place that declared for the Huguenots, putting all
that opposed him to the sword.

From the commencement of this war, the King my husband doing
me the honour to love me, and commanding me not to leave him, I
had resolved to share his fortune, not without extreme regret,
in observing that this war was of such a nature that I could not,
in conscience, wish success to either side; for if the Huguenots
got the upper hand, the religion which I cherished as much as
my life was lost, and if the Catholics prevailed, the King my
husband was undone. But, being thus attached to my husband, by
the duty I owed him, and obliged by the attentions he was pleased
to show me, I could only acquaint the King and the Queen my mother
with the situation to which I was reduced, occasioned by my advice
to them not having been attended to. I, therefore, prayed them,
if they could not extinguish the flames of war in the midst of
which I was placed, at least to give orders to Marechal de Biron
to consider the town I resided in, and three leagues round it,
as neutral ground, and that I would get the King my husband to
do the same. This the King granted me for Nerac, provided my
husband was not there; but if he should enter it, the neutrality
was to cease, and so to remain as long as he continued there. This
convention was observed, on both sides, with all the exactness I
could desire. However, the King my husband was not to be prevented
from often visiting Nerac, which was the residence of his sister
and me. He was fond of the society of ladies, and, moreover, was
at that time greatly enamoured with Fosseuse, who held the place
in his affections which Rebours had lately occupied. Fosseuse did
me no ill offices, so that the King my husband and I continued to
live on very good terms, especially as he perceived me unwilling
to oppose his inclinations.

Led by such inducements, he came to Nerac, once, with a body
of troops, and stayed three days, not being able to leave the
agreeable company he found there. Marechal de Biron, who wished
for nothing so much as such an opportunity, was apprised of it,
and, under pretence of joining M. de Cornusson, the seneschal of
Toulouse, who was expected with a reinforcement for his army,
he began his march; but, instead of pursuing the road, according
to the orders he had issued, he suddenly ordered his troops to
file off towards Nerac, and, before nine in the morning, his
whole force was drawn up within sight of the town, and within
cannonshot of it.

The King my husband had received intelligence, the evening before,
of the expected arrival of M. de Cornusson, and was desirous of
preventing the junction, for which purpose he resolved to attack
him and the Marshal separately. As he had been lately joined
by M. de La Rochefoucauld, with a corps of cavalry consisting
of eight hundred men, formed from the nobility of Saintonge,
he found himself sufficiently strong to undertake such a plan.
He, therefore, set out before break of day to make his attack
as they crossed the river. But his intelligence did not prove
to be correct, for De Cornusson passed it the evening before.
My husband, being thus disappointed in his design, returned to
Nerac, and entered at one gate just as Marechal de Biron drew
up his troops before the other. There fell so heavy a rain at
that moment that the musketry was of no use. The King my husband,
however, threw a body of his troops into a vineyard to stop the
Marshal's progress, not being able to do more on account of the
unfavourableness of the weather.

In the meantime, the Marshal continued with his troops drawn up
in order of battle, permitting only two or three of his men to
advance, who challenged a like number to break lances in honour
of their mistresses. The rest of the army kept their ground, to
mask their artillery, which, being ready to play, they opened
to the right and left, and fired seven or eight shots upon the
town, one of which struck the palace. The Marshal, having done
this, marched off, despatching a trumpeter to me with his excuse.
He acquainted me that, had I been alone, he would on no account
have fired on the town; but the terms of neutrality for the town,
agreed upon by the King, were, as I well knew, in case the King
my husband should not be found in it, and, if otherwise, they
were void. Besides which, his orders were to attack the King
my husband wherever he should find him.

I must acknowledge on every other occasion the Marshal showed me
the greatest respect, and appeared to be much my friend. During
the war my letters have frequently fallen into his hands, when
he as constantly forwarded them to me unopened. And whenever my
people have happened to be taken prisoners by his army, they
were always well treated as soon as they mentioned to whom they

I answered his message by the trumpeter, saying that I well knew
what he had done was strictly agreeable to the convention made
and the orders he had received, but that a gallant officer like
him would know how to do his duty without giving his friends
cause of offence; that he might have permitted me the enjoyment
of the King my husband's company in Nerac for three days, adding,
that he could not attack him, in my presence, without attacking
me; and concluding that, certainly, I was greatly offended by
his conduct, and would take the first opportunity of making my
complaint to the King my brother.


The war lasted some time longer, but with disadvantage to the
Huguenots. The King my husband at length became desirous to make
a peace. I wrote on the subject to the King and the Queen my
mother; but so elated were they both with Marechal de Biron's
success that they would not agree to any terms.

About the time this war broke out, Cambray, which had been delivered
up to my brother by M. d'Ainsi, according to his engagement with
me, as I have before related, was besieged by the forces of Spain.
My brother received the news of this siege at his castle of
Plessis-les-Tours, whither he had retired after his return from
Flanders, where, by the assistance of the Comte de Lalain, he
had been invested with the government of Mons, Valenciennes,
and their dependencies.

My brother, being anxious to relieve Cambray, set about raising
an army with all the expedition possible; but, finding it could
not be accomplished very speedily, he sent forward a reinforcement
under the command of M. de Balagny, to succour the place until
he arrived himself with a sufficient force to raise the siege.
Whilst he was in the midst of these preparations this Huguenot
war broke out, and the men he had raised left him to incorporate
themselves with the King's army, which had reached Gascony.

My brother was now without hope of raising the siege, and to lose
Cambray would be attended with the loss of the other countries
he had just obtained. Besides, what he should regret more, such
losses would reduce to great straits M. de Balagny and the gallant
troops so nobly defending the place.

His grief on this occasion was poignant, and, as his excellent
judgment furnished him with expedients under all his difficulties,
he resolved to endeavour to bring about a peace. Accordingly he
despatched a gentleman to the King with his advice to accede to
terms, offering to undertake the treaty himself. His design in
offering himself as negotiator was to prevent the treaty being
drawn out to too great a length, as might be the case if confided
to others. It was necessary that he should speedily relieve Cambray,
for M. de Balagny, who had thrown himself into the city as I have
before mentioned, had written to him that he should be able to
defend the place for six months; but, if he received no succours
within that time, his provisions would be all expended, and he
should be obliged to give way to the clamours of the inhabitants,
and surrender the town.

By God's favour, the King was induced to listen to my brother's
proposal of undertaking a negotiation for a peace. The King hoped
thereby to disappoint him in his expectations in Flanders, which
he never had approved. Accordingly he sent word back to my brother
that he should accept his proffer of negotiating a peace, and
would send him for his coadjutors, M. de Villeroy and M. de
Bellievre. The commission my brother was charged with succeeded,
and, after a stay of seven months in Gascony, he settled a peace
and left us, his thoughts being employed during the whole time
on the means of relieving Cambray, which the satisfaction he
found in being with us could not altogether abate.

The peace my brother made, as I have just mentioned, was so
judiciously framed that it gave equal satisfaction to the King
and the Catholics, and to the King my husband and the Huguenots,
and obtained him the affections of both parties. He likewise
acquired from it the assistance of that able general, Marechal
de Biron, who undertook the command of the army destined to raise
the siege of Cambray. The King my husband was equally gratified
in the Marshal's removal from Gascony and having Marechal de
Matignon in his place.

Before my brother set off he was desirous to bring about a
reconciliation betwixt the King my husband and Marechal de Biron,
provided the latter should make his apologies to me for his conduct
at Nerac. My brother had desired me to treat him with all disdain,
but I used this hasty advice with discretion, considering that
my brother might one day or other repent having given it, as
he had everything to hope, in his present situation, from the
bravery of this officer.

My brother returned to France accompanied by Marechal de Biron.
By his negotiation of a peace he had acquired to himself great
credit with both parties, and secured a powerful force for the
purpose of raising the siege of Cambray. But honours and success
are followed by envy. The King beheld this accession of glory to
his brother with great dissatisfaction. He had been for seven
months, while my brother and I were together in Gascony, brooding
over his malice, and produced the strangest invention that can
be imagined. He pretended to believe (what the King my husband
can easily prove to be false) that I instigated him to go to
war that I might procure for my brother the credit of making
peace. This is not at all probable when it is considered the
prejudice my brother's affairs in Flanders sustained by the war.
But envy and malice are self-deceivers, and pretend to discover
what no one else can perceive. On this frail foundation the King
raised an altar of hatred, on which he swore never to cease till
he had accomplished my brother's ruin and mine. He had never
forgiven me for the attachment I had discovered for my brother's
interest during the time he was in Poland and since.

Fortune chose to favour the King's animosity; for, during the
seven months that my brother stayed in Gascony, he conceived
a passion for Fosseuse, who was become the doting piece of the
King my husband, as I have already mentioned, since he had quitted
Rebours. This new passion in my brother had induced the King my
husband to treat me with coldness, supposing that I countenanced my
brother's addresses. I no sooner discovered this than I remonstrated
with my brother, as I knew he would make every sacrifice for
my repose. I begged him to give over his pursuit, and not to
speak to her again. I succeeded this way to defeat the malice
of my ill-fortune; but there was still behind another secret
ambush, and that of a more fatal nature; for Fosseuse, who was
passionately fond of the King my husband, but had hitherto granted
no favours inconsistent with prudence and modesty, piqued by his
jealousy of my brother, gave herself up suddenly to his will, and
unfortunately became pregnant. She no sooner made this discovery,
than she altered her conduct towards me entirely from what it
was before. She now shunned my presence as much as she had been
accustomed to seek it, and whereas before she strove to do me
every good office with the King my husband, she now endeavoured
to make all the mischief she was able betwixt us. For his part,
he avoided me; he grew cold and indifferent, and since Fosseuse
ceased to conduct herself with discretion, the happy moments that
we experienced during the four or five years we were together
in Gascony were no more.

Peace being restored, and my brother departed for France, as
I have already related, the King my husband and I returned to
Nerac. We were no sooner there than Fosseuse persuaded the King
my husband to make a journey to the waters of Aigues-Caudes,
in Bearn, perhaps with a design to rid herself of her burden
there. I begged the King my husband to excuse my accompanying
him, as, since the affront that I had received at Pau, I had
made a vow never to set foot in Bearn until the Catholic religion
was reestablished there. He pressed me much to go with him, and
grew angry at my persisting to refuse his request. He told me
that his _little girl_ (for so he affected to call Fosseuse)
was desirous to go there on account of a colic, which she felt
frequent returns of. I answered that I had no objection to his
taking her with him. He then said that she could not go unless
I went; that it would occasion scandal, which might as well be
avoided. He continued to press me to accompany him, but at length
I prevailed with him to consent to go without me, and to take
her with him, and, with her, two of her companions, Rebours and
Ville-Savin, together with the governess. They set out accordingly,
and I waited their return at Baviere.

I had every day news from Rebours, informing me how matters went.
This Rebours I have mentioned before to have been the object of my
husband's passion, but she was now cast off, and, consequently, was
no friend to Fosseuse, who had gained that place in his affection
she had before held. She, therefore, strove all she could to
circumvent her; and, indeed, she was fully qualified for such
a purpose, as she was a cunning, deceitful young person. She
gave me to understand that Fosseuse laboured to do me every ill
office in her power; that she spoke of me with the greatest
disrespect on all occasions, and expressed her expectations of
marrying the King herself, in case she should be delivered of
a son, when I was to be divorced. She had said, further, that
when the King my husband returned to Baviere, he had resolved
to go to Pau, and that I should go with him, whether I would
or not.

This intelligence was far from being agreeable to me, and I knew
not what to think of it. I trusted in the goodness of God, and
I had a reliance on the generosity of the King my husband; yet
I passed the time I waited for his return but uncomfortably,
and often thought I shed more tears than they drank water. The
Catholic nobility of the neighbourhood of Baviere used their utmost
endeavours to divert my chagrin, for the month or five weeks that
the King my husband and Fosseuse stayed at Aigues-Caudes.

On his return, a certain nobleman acquainted the King my husband
with the concern I was under lest he should go to Pau, whereupon
he did not press me on the subject, but only said he should have
been glad if I had consented to go with him. Perceiving, by my
tears and the expressions I made use of, that I should prefer
even death to such a journey, he altered his intentions and we
returned to Nerac.

The pregnancy of Fosseuse was now no longer a secret. The whole
Court talked of it, and not only the Court, but all the country. I
was willing to prevent the scandal from spreading, and accordingly
resolved to talk to her on the subject. With this resolution,
I took her into my closet, and spoke to her thus: "Though you
have for some time estranged yourself from me, and, as it has
been reported to me, striven to do me many ill offices with the
King my husband, yet the regard I once had for you, and the esteem
which I still entertain for those honourable persons to whose
family you belong, do not admit of my neglecting to afford you
all the assistance in my power in your present unhappy situation.
I beg you, therefore, not to conceal the truth, it being both
for your interest and mine, under whose protection you are, to
declare it. Tell me the truth, and I will act towards you as
a mother. You know that a contagious disorder has broken out
in the place, and, under pretence of avoiding it, I will go to
Mas-d'Agenois, which is a house belonging to the King my husband,
in a very retired situation. I will take you with me, and such
other persons as you shall name. Whilst we are there, the King
will take the diversion of hunting in some other part of the
country, and I shall not stir thence before your delivery. By
this means we shall put a stop to the scandalous reports which
are now current, and which concern you more than myself."

So far from showing any contrition, or returning thanks for my
kindness, she replied, with the utmost arrogance, that she would
prove all those to be liars who had reported such things of her;
that, for my part, I had ceased for a long time to show her any
marks of regard, and she saw that I was determined upon her ruin.
These words she delivered in as loud a tone as mine had been
mildly expressed; and, leaving me abruptly, she flew in a rage
to the King my husband, to relate to him what I had said to her.
He was very angry upon the occasion, and declared he would make
them all liars who had laid such things to her charge. From that
moment until the hour of her delivery, which was a few months
after, he never spoke to me.

She found the pains of labour come upon her about daybreak, whilst
she was in bed in the chamber where the maids of honour slept.
She sent for my physician, and begged him to go and acquaint
the King my husband that she was taken ill. We slept in separate
beds in the same chamber, and had done so for some time.

The physician delivered the message as he was directed, which
greatly embarrassed my husband. What to do he did not know. On
the one hand, he was fearful of a discovery; on the other, he
foresaw that, without proper assistance, there was danger of
losing one he so much loved. In this dilemma, he resolved to
apply to me, confess all, and implore my aid and advice, well
knowing that, notwithstanding what had passed, I should be ready
to do him a pleasure. Having come to this resolution, he withdrew
my curtains, and spoke to me thus: "My dear, I have concealed a
matter from you which I now confess. I beg you to forgive me,
and to think no more about what I have said to you on the subject.
Will you oblige me so far as to rise and go to Fosseuse, who is
taken very ill? I am well assured that, in her present situation,
you will forget everything and resent nothing. You know how dearly
I love her, and I hope you will comply with my request." I answered
that I had too great a respect for him to be offended at anything
he should do, and that I would go to her immediately, and do as
much for her as if she were a child of my own. I advised him,
in the meantime, to go out and hunt, by which means he would
draw away all his people, and prevent tattling.

I removed Fosseuse, with all convenient haste, from the chamber
in which the maids of honours were, to one in a more retired part
of the palace, got a physician and some women about her, and saw
that she wanted for nothing that was proper in her situation. It
pleased God that she should bring forth a daughter, since dead.
As soon as she was delivered I ordered her to be taken back to
the chamber from which she had been brought. Notwithstanding
these precautions, it was not possible to prevent the story from
circulating through the palace. When the King my husband returned
from hunting he paid her a visit, according to custom. She begged
that I might come and see her, as was usual with me when anyone of
my maids of honour was taken ill. By this means she expected to
put a stop to stories to her prejudice. The King my husband came
from her into my bedchamber, and found me in bed, as I was fatigued
and required rest, after having been called up so early. He begged
me to get up and pay her a visit. I told him I went according to
his desire before, when she stood in need of assistance, but
now she wanted no help; that to visit her at this time would
be only exposing her more, and cause myself to be pointed at
by all the world. He seemed to be greatly displeased at what I
said, which vexed me the more as I thought I did not deserve such
treatment after what I had done at his request in the morning;
she likewise contributed all in her power to aggravate matters
betwixt him and me.

In the meantime, the King my brother, always well informed of
what is passing in the families of the nobility of his kingdom,
was not ignorant of the transactions of our Court. He was
particularly curious to learn everything that happened with us,
and knew every minute circumstance that I have now related. Thinking
this a favourable occasion to wreak his vengeance on me for having
been the means of my brother acquiring so much reputation by the
peace he had brought about, he made use of the accident that
happened in our Court to withdraw me from the King my husband,
and thereby reduce me to the state of misery he wished to plunge
me in. To this purpose he prevailed on the Queen my mother to
write to me, and express her anxious desire to see me after an
absence of five or six years. She added that a journey of this
sort to Court would be serviceable to the affairs of the King
my husband as well as my own; that the King my brother himself
was desirous of seeing me, and that if I wanted money for the
journey he would send it me. The King wrote to the same purpose,
and despatched Manique, the steward of his household, with
instructions to use every persuasion with me to undertake the
journey. The length of time I had been absent in Gascony, and
the unkind usage I received on account of Fosseuse, contributed
to induce me to listen to the proposal made me.

The King and the Queen both wrote to me. I received three letters,
in quick succession; and, that I might have no pretence for staying,
I had the sum of fifteen hundred crowns paid me to defray the
expenses of my journey. The Queen my mother wrote that she would
give me the meeting in Saintonge, and that, if the King my husband
would accompany me so far, she would treat with him there, and
give him every satisfaction with respect to the King. But the
King and she were desirous to have him at their Court, as he
had been before with my brother; and the Marechal de Matignon
had pressed the matter with the King, that he might have no one
to interfere with him in Gascony. I had had too long experience
of what was to be expected at their Court to hope much from all
the fine promises that were made to me. I had resolved, however,
to avail myself of the opportunity of an absence of a few months,
thinking it might prove the means of setting matters to rights.
Besides which, I thought that, as I should take Fosseuse with
me, it was possible that the King's passion for her might cool
when she was no longer in his sight, or he might attach himself
to some other that was less inclined to do me mischief.

It was with some difficulty that the King my husband would consent
to a removal, so unwilling was he to leave his Fosseuse. He paid
more attention to me, in hopes that I should refuse to set out
on this journey to France; but, as I had given my word in my
letters to the King and the Queen my mother that I would go,
and as I had even received money for the purpose, I could not
do otherwise.

And herein my ill-fortune prevailed over the reluctance I had
to leave the King my husband, after the instances of renewed
love and regard which he had begun to show me.



"Madame de Pompadour was not merely a grisette, as her enemies
attempted to say, and as Voltaire repeated in one of his malicious
days. She was the prettiest woman in Paris, spirituelle, elegant,
adorned with a thousand gifts and a thousand talents, but with a
sort of sentiment which had not the grandeur of an aristocratic
ambition. She loved the king for himself, as the finest man in the
kingdom, as the person who appeared to her the most admirable.
She loved him sincerely, with a degree of sentimentalism, if
not with a profound passion. Her ideal had been on arriving at
the court to fascinate him, to keep him amused by a thousand
diversions suggested by art or intellect, to make him happy and
contented in a circle of ever-changing enchantments and pleasures.
A Watteau-like country, plays, comedies, pastorals in the shade,
a continual embarking for Cytherea, that would have been the
setting she preferred. But once she had set foot on the shifting
soil of the court, she could only realize her ideal imperfectly.
Naturally obliging and good-hearted, she had to face enmity open
and concealed, and to take the offensive to avoid her downfall.
Necessity drove her into politics, and to become a minister of
state. Madame de Pompadour can be considered as the last king's
mistress, deserving of the name. The race of the royal mistresses
can then be said, if not ended, to have been at least greatly
broken. And Madame de Pompadour remains in our eyes the last
in our history, and the most brilliant."



It is one of the oldest of truisms that truth is stranger than
fiction. The present volume is but another striking example in
point. The legend of King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid palls
before the historic story of a certain Jeanne Poisson, an obscure
French girl who won a king's favor and wielded his sceptre for
twenty years. We do not hear anything further from the Beggar
Maid, after she became queen; but the famous Pompadour became
the most powerful figure of her day in all France, not excepting
the king himself.

These veritable _Memoirs_ of her reign are ascribed to her attendant,
Madame du Hausset, a woman of good family and, above all, of
good memory, who has here given us a faithful account of her
remarkable subject. Her opportunities for exact knowledge may
be gathered from her mistress's own words: "The king and I trust
you so completely that we look upon you as we might a cat or a
dog, and talk ahead with as much freedom as though you were not
there." And the critic, Sainte-Beuve, adds: "When the destiny of
a nation is in a woman's bedroom, the best place for the historian
is in the ante-chamber. Madame du Hausset seemed created for
this role of a Suetonius by her position and her character....
A good woman, furthermore, incapable of lying, and remaining
on the whole quite respectable."

After the death of Madame de Pompadour, the journal of this
waiting-woman fell into the hands of M. de Marigny, brother of
the favorite, with whom it remained in manuscript form for some
years. It was finally published, in 1802, ostensibly as "Drawn
from the Portfolio of the Marechale D---- by Soulavie"; but the
French editors, MM. Vitrac and Galopin, assert that Soulavie
only lent his name to the work. They also call attention to the
fact that a _History of Madame de Pompadour_, by Mlle. Fouque,
was published in London, as early as 1759. But no such general
history, or biography, could possibly have the intimate value of
a document written at the closest range of its subject. "These
_Memoirs_," say the French editors, "give a faithful portrait of
Madame de Pompadour.... They are clearly hostile, as are nearly
all documents preserved about her; for it was one of the evil
fortunes of Madame de Pompadour to be made known to us chiefly
through her enemies, D'Argenson, the Duc de Luynes, and Richelieu."

The above opinion sums up neatly the consensus of historical
opinion concerning this famous woman. She has, indeed, been in
the hands of her enemies, ever since the day of her death, in
1764. But this fact is not surprising. The mistress of a weak
monarch, she made use of her large influence over him to further
her own ends and appoint her own ministers to power. She was, in
fact, "the King." Michelet, the historian, asserts in so many words
that she "reigned twenty years," and he admits that "although of
mean birth, she had some patriotic ideas." However, leaving the
question of her political career aside, for the moment, the reader
will be interested to make the acquaintance of this remarkable
woman, herself. Who was she? What was the secret of her long
continued hold upon the King? Louis XV. was a notoriously fickle
monarch, whose many amours have become a part of history. But none
exercised the influence over him--and over all France, through
him--as did this person of "mean birth." Even her enemies have
had to admit her wonderful executive ability, in addition to
her womanly charms. These _Memoirs_, though rambling and without
strict sequence, answer our many questions interestingly. They
have been written, very evidently, by an inmate of the household.
They give, in addition, much of the secret history of the Court at
this important period, and point out, to the discerning reader,
a few of the chief causes which were to make possible the French
Revolution, at the century's close.

Madame de Pompadour's elevation to power was the result neither
of chance nor of romance. It was brought about by a carefully
laid plan, on the part of her parents and certain scheming
politicians, to make use of a beautiful girl to advance their
own interests. Jeanne Poisson was born in 1722, and at an early
age gave evidence of such unusual qualities, that her mother and
her guardian, M. Le Normant de Tournehem (who also is believed
to be her father), devoted their energies to making her worthy
of a place at court. She had a fine natural talent for music,
drawing, and engraving--some excellent examples of her work in
the latter field still being preserved--and she united with these
a rare physical beauty. M. Leroy, Keeper of the Park of Versailles,
thus describes her at the time of her meeting with the King: "She
was taller than the average, graceful, supple, and elegant. Her
features comported well with her stature, a perfect oval face,
framed by beautiful hair of a light shade, large eyes marked
by eyebrows of the same hue, a perfect nose, a charming mouth,
teeth of exceptional beauty displayed in a delicious smile, the
rarest of complexions," etc., etc. He continues his superlative
adjectives, indicating that the King was not the only susceptible
person in the Park, finally adding: "The features of the Marquise
were lighted by the play of infinite variety, but never could
one perceive any discordance. All was harmony and grace." Truly,
a worthy portrait of a famous beauty!

At the age of nineteen, Mlle. Poisson gave her hand to a kinsman
of her guardian, M. Le Normant d'Etoiles. The marriage seems
to have been the result of a sincere passion on his part, but
was looked upon merely as a matter of convenience by everybody
else; for not long thereafter we find her luring the King with
her "delicious smile," while he was hunting in the forest of
Senart; and in 1745 she was formally installed at Court, under
the title of the Marquise de Pompadour. This story, unadorned,
may sound paltry, even commercial, but we should not fall into
the error of judging it by twentieth century standards. The morals
of the French Court, never austere, were especially lax in the
reign of Louis XV., and _galanteries_ were the fashion, rather
than the exception; while for the post of King's favorite there
was a continual rivalry among high-born dames.

Once in this coveted position, the Marquise devoted her energies
to two things, and these she kept ever before her,--the pleasing
of her royal master, and the furthering of her party's interests.
How well she succeeded, this book shows. She entertained and
amused the King by elaborate pageants, in the various chateaux
which she built, or remodelled. Bellevue, Choisy, the Hermitage
at Versailles, Menars, La Celle, Montretout,--these are among
the monuments of her lavish career, and in these palaces she
accumulated costly art objects, such as the Saxe porcelains, the
Boulle marbles, and the sumptuous hangings and fittings which
have later been known as "Pompadour." Herself an artist and
connoisseur, she "set the pace" during a period of unbridled
luxury. She was patroness of the famous Sevres ware. She drew
around her such painters and litterateurs as Bouchardon, Carle
Van Loo, Marmontel, Bernis, Crebillon, and Duclos. To her Voltaire
dedicated his _Tancrede_.

This was her brilliant side; but upon the deplorable side must
be reckoned her extravagance and her meddling in statecraft.
Ambitious for power, she surrounded the doting monarch with her
"creatures"--Rouille, Saint Florentin, Puisieux, Machault. With the
exception of the Duc de Choiseul, her appointees were notoriously
weak--and this at a time when the War of the Austrian Succession
and the Seven Years' War called for strong government. Won over
by the cajoleries of Maria Theresa, who called her "cousin," she
induced the King to accept the Austrian Alliance; and again,
in 1758, despite Bernis and other ministers, she prevailed upon
him to maintain it throughout the disastrous war which was only
ended by the Treaty of Paris. In addition to this, she became
embroiled with the Church party, being especially bitter against
the Jesuits. It is no wonder, therefore, that she left her memory
in the hands of her enemies. It is no wonder that the seeds of
her folly and extravagance, as well as those of her successor, Du
Barry, resulted in the bloody harvest of the Revolution. "Apres
nous le deluge!" ("After us the deluge") was her sinister motto, now
famous in history, and it carried with it the weight of prophecy.

To the end she remained, exteriorally, in full power. In 1752
the Marquise was made Duchesse de Pompadour; and four years later
"Dame d'Honneur" to the Queen, a title of charmingly unconscious
irony! The day of her demise (1764) was stormy, and the King is
said to have been genuinely grieved over the loss, remarking:
"Madame la Marquise has ill weather for her journey."

But to the last she herself was charming, debonnaire, masterful.
She had smiled her way into power, and she smiled even in the
face of death. "She felt it a duty to maintain to the end the
pose of elegance which she had established for herself," say
her French critics. "For the last time she applied the touch
of rouge to her cheeks, by which she had hidden, for several
years, the slow ravages of decay; set her lips in a final smile;
and with the air of a coquette uttered to the priest, who extended
to her the last rites of religion, this laughing quip (mot
d'elegance): "Attendez-moi, monsieur le cure, nous partirons
ensemble" ("Wait a moment, monsieur, and we will set forth





An early friend of mine, who married well at Paris, and who has
the reputation of being a very clever woman, has often asked
me to write down what daily passed under my notice; to please
her, I made little notes, of three or four lines each, to recall
to my memory the most singular or interesting facts; as, for
instance--_attempt to assassinate the King; he orders Madame
de Pompadour to leave the Court; M. de Machault's ingratitude_,
etc. I always promised my friend that I would, some time or other,
reduce all these materials into the form of a regular narrative.
She mentioned the "Recollections of Madame de Caylus," which were,
however, not then printed; and pressed me so much to produce a
similar work, that I have taken advantage of a few leisure moments
to write this, which I intend to give her, in order that she may
arrange it and correct the style. I was for a long time about
the person of Madame de Pompadour, and my birth procured for me
respectful treatment from herself, and from some distinguished
persons who conceived a regard for me. I soon became the intimate
friend of Doctor Quesnay, who frequently came to pass two or
three hours with me.

His house was frequented by people of all parties, but the number
was small, and restricted to those who were on terms of greatest
intimacy with him. All subjects were handled with the utmost
freedom; and it is infinitely to his honour and theirs that nothing
was ever repeated.

The Countess D---- also visited me. She was a frank and lively
woman, and much liked by Madame de Pompadour. The Baschi family
paid me great attention. M. de Marigny had received some little
services from me, in the course of the frequent quarrels between
him and his sister, and he had a great friendship for me. The
King was in the constant habit of seeing me; and an accident,
which I shall have occasion to relate, rendered him very familiar
with me. He talked without any constraint when I was in the room.
During Madame de Pompadour's illness I scarcely ever left her
chamber, and passed the night there. Sometimes, though rarely,
I accompanied her in her carriage with Doctor Quesnay, to whom
she scarcely spoke a word, though he was a man of great talents.
When I was alone with her, she talked of many affairs which nearly
concerned her, and she once said to me, "The King and I have such
implicit confidence in you, that we look upon you as a cat, or
a dog, and go on talking as if you were not there." There was a
little nook, adjoining her chamber, which has since been altered,
where she knew I usually sat when I was alone, and where I heard
everything that was said in the room, unless it was spoken in a
low voice. But when the King wanted to speak to her in private,
or in the presence of any of his Ministers, he went with her into
a closet, by the side of the chamber, whither she also retired
when she had secret business with the Ministers, or with other
important persons; as, for instance, the Lieutenant of Police,
the Postmaster-General, etc. All these circumstances brought to
my knowledge a great many things which probity will neither allow
me to tell or to record. I generally wrote without order of time,
so that a fact may be related before others which preceded it.
Madame de Pompadour had a great friendship for three Ministers;
the first was M. de Machault, to whom she was indebted for the
regulation of her income, and the payment of her debts. She gave
him the seals, and he retained the first place in her regard till
the attempt to assassinate the King. Many people said that his
conduct on that occasion was not attributable to bad intentions;
that he thought it his duty to obey the King without making himself
in any way a party to the affair, and that his cold manners gave
him the appearance of an indifference which he did not feel.
Madame de Pompadour regarded him in the light of a faithless
friend; and, perhaps, there was some justice on both sides. But
for the Abbe de Bernis, M. de Machault might, probably, have
retained his place.

The second Minister, whom Madame de Pompadour liked, was the
Abbe de Bernis. She was soon disgusted with him when she saw
the absurdity of his conduct. He gave a singular specimen of
this on the very day of his dismissal. He had invited a great
many people of distinction to a splendid entertainment, which was
to have taken place on the very day when he received his order
of banishment, and had written in the notes of invitation--_M. Le
Comte de Lusace will be there_. This Count was the brother of
the Dauphine, and this mention of him was deservedly thought
impertinent. The King said, wittily enough, "_Lambert and Moliere
will be there_." She scarcely ever spoke of the Cardinal de Bernis
after his dismissal from the Court.

He was extremely ridiculous, but he was a good sort of man. Madame,
the Infanta, died a little time before, and, by the way, of such a
complication of putrid and malignant diseases, that the Capuchins
who bore the body, and the men who committed it to the grave,
were overcome by the effluvia. Her papers appeared no less impure
in the eyes of the King. He discovered that the Abbe de Bernis
had been intriguing with her, and that they had deceived him,
and had obtained the Cardinal's hat by making use of his name.
The King was so indignant that he was very near refusing him the
_barrette_. He did grant it--but just as he would have thrown
a bone to a dog. The Abbe had always the air of a protege when
he was in the company of Madame de Pompadour. She had known him
in positive distress. The Duc de Choiseul was very differently
situated; his birth, his air, his manners, gave him claims to
consideration, and he far exceeded every other man in the art
of ingratiating himself with Madame de Pompadour. She looked
upon him as one of the most illustrious nobles of the Court,
as the most able Minister, and the most agreeable man. M. de
Choiseul had a sister and a wife, whom he had introduced to her,
and who sedulously cultivated her favourable sentiments towards
him. From the time he was Minister, she saw only with his eyes;
he had the talent of amusing her, and his manners to women,
generally, were extremely agreeable.

Two persons--the Lieutenant of Police and the
Postmaster-General--were very much in Madame de Pompadour's
confidence; the latter, however, became less necessary to her
from the time that the King communicated to M. de Choiseul the
secret of the post-office, that is to say, the system of opening
letters and extracting matter from them: this had never been
imparted to M. d'Argenson, in spite of the high favour he enjoyed.
I have heard that M. de Choiseul abused the confidence reposed in
him, and related to his friends the ludicrous stories, and the
love affairs contained in the letters which were broken open.
The plan they pursued, as I have heard, was very simple. Six
or seven clerks of the post-office picked out the letters they
were ordered to break open, and took the impression of the seals
with a ball of quicksilver. Then they put each letter, with the
seal downwards, over a glass of hot water, which melted the wax
without injuring the paper. It was then opened, the desired matter
extracted, and it was sealed again, by means of the impression. This
is the account of the matter I have heard. The Postmaster-General
carried the extracts to the King on Sundays. He was seen coming
and going on this noble errand as openly as the Ministers. Doctor
Quesnay often, in my presence, flew in such a rage about that
_infamous_ Minister, as he called him, that he foamed at the
mouth. "I would as soon dine with the hangman as with the
Postmaster-General," said the Doctor. It must be acknowledged
that this was astonishing language to be uttered in the apartments
of the King's mistress; yet it went on for twenty years without
being talked of. "It was probity speaking with earnestness,"
said M. de Marigny, "and not a mere burst of spite or malignity."

The Duc de Gontaut was the brother-in-law and friend of M. de
Choiseul, and was assiduous in his attendance on Madame de Pompadour.
The sister of M. de Choiseul, Madame de Grammont, and his wife
were equally constant in their attentions. This will sufficiently
account for the ascendency of M. de Choiseul, whom nobody would
have ventured to attack. Chance, however, discovered to me a
secret correspondence of the King, with a man in a very obscure
station. This man, who had a place in the Farmers General, of
from two to three hundred a year, was related to one of the young
ladies of the Parc-aux-cerfs, by whom he was recommended to the
King. He was also connected in some way with M. de Broglie, in
whom the King placed great confidence. Wearied with finding that
this correspondence procured him no advancement, he took the
resolution of writing to me, and requesting an interview, which
I granted, after acquainting Madame de Pompadour with the
circumstance. After a great deal of preamble and of flattery,
he said to me, "Can you give me your word of hour, and that of
Madame de Pompadour, that no mention whatever of what I am going
to tell you will be made to the King?" "I think I can assure you
that, if you require such a promise from Madame de Pompadour,
and if it can produce no ill consequence to the King's service,
she will give it you." He gave me his word that what he requested
would have no bad effect; upon which I listened to what he had to
say. He shewed me several memorials, containing accusations of
M. de Choiseul, and revealed some curious circumstances relative
to the secret functions of the Comte de Broglie. These, however,
led rather to conjectures than to certainty, as to the nature
of the services he rendered to the King. Lastly, he shewed me
several letters in the King's handwriting. "I request," said he,
"that the Marquise de Pompadour will procure for me the place
of Receiver-General of Finances; I will give her information
of whatever I send the King; I will write according to her
instructions, and I will send her his answers." As I did not
choose to take liberties with the King's papers, I only undertook
to deliver the memorials. Madame de Pompadour having given me
her word according to the conditions on which I had received
the communication, I revealed to her everything I had heard.
She sent the memorials to M. de Choiseul, who thought them very
maliciously and very cleverly written. Madame de Pompadour and
he had a long conference as to the reply that was to be given
to the person by whom those disclosures were made. What I was
commissioned to say was this: that the place of Receiver-General
was at present too important, and would occasion too much surprise
and speculation; that it would not do to go beyond a place worth
fifteen thousand to twenty thousand francs a year; that they
had no desire to pry into the King's secrets; and that his
correspondence ought not to be communicated to anyone; that this
did not apply to papers like those of which I was the bearer,
which might fall into his hands; that he would confer an obligation
by communicating them, in order that blows aimed in the dark,
and directed by malignity and imposture, might be parried. The
answer was respectful and proper, in what related to the King;
it was, however, calculated to counteract the schemes of the
Comte de Broglie, by making M. de Choiseul acquainted with his
attacks, and with the nature of the weapons he employed. It was
from the Count that he received statements relating to the war
and to the navy; but he had no communication with him concerning
foreign affairs, which the Count, as it was said, transacted
immediately with the King. The Duc de Choiseul got the man who
spoke to me recommended to the Controller-General, without his
appearing in the business; he had the place which was agreed
upon, and the hope of a still better, and he entrusted to me
the King's correspondence, which I told him I should not mention
to Madame de Pompadour, according to her injunctions. He sent
several memorials to M. de Choiseul, containing accusations of
him, addressed to the King. This timely information enabled him
to refute them triumphantly.

The King was very fond of having little private correspondences,
very often unknown to Madame de Pompadour: she knew, however,
of the existence of some, for he passed part of his mornings in
writing to his family, to the King of Spain, to Cardinal Tencin,
to the Abbe de Broglie, and also to some obscure persons. "It
is, doubtless, from such people as these," said she to me, one
day, "that the King learns expressions which perfectly surprise
me. For instance, he said to me yesterday, when he saw a man
pass with an old coat on, '_il y a la un habit bien examine._'
He once said to me, when he meant to express that a thing was
probable, '_il y a gros_'; I am told this is a saying of the common
people, meaning, _il y a gros a parier_." I took the liberty to
say, "But is it not more likely from his young ladies at the
Parc, that he learns these elegant expressions?" She laughed,
and said, "You are right; _il y a gros_." The King, however,
used these expressions designedly, and with a laugh.

The King knew a great many anecdotes, and there were people enough
who furnished him with such as were likely to mortify the self-love
of others. One day, at Choisy, he went into a room where some
people were employed about embroidered furniture, to see how
they were going on; and looking out of the window, he saw at
the end of a long avenue two men in the Choisy uniform. "Who
are those two noblemen?" said he. Madame de Pompadour took up
her glass, and said, "They are the Duc d'Aumont, and ----." "Ah!"
said the King; "the Duc d'Aumont's grandfather would be greatly
astonished if he could see his grandson arm in arm with the grandson
of his _valet de Chambre_, L----, in a dress which may be called
a patent of nobility!" He went on to tell Madame de Pompadour a
long history, to prove the truth of what he said. The King went
out to accompany her into the garden; and, soon after, Quesnay
and M. de Marigny came in. I spoke with contempt of some one who
was very fond of money. At this the Doctor laughed, and said,
"I had a curious dream last night: I was in the country of the
ancient Germans; I had a large house, stacks of corn, herds of
cattle, a great number of horses, and huge barrels of ale; but I
suffered dreadfully from rheumatism, and knew not how to manage to
go to a fountain, at fifty leagues' distance, the waters of which
would cure me. I was to go among a strange people. An enchanter
appeared before me, and said to me, 'I pity your distress; here,
I will give you a little packet of the powder of _prelinpinpin_;
whoever receives a little of this from you will lodge you, feed
you, and pay you all sorts of civilities.' I took the powder,
and thanked him." "Ah!" said I, "how I should like to have some
powder of _prelinpinpin!_ I wish I had a chest full." "Well,"
said the Doctor, "that powder is _money_, for which you have so
great a contempt. Tell me who, of all the men who come hither,
receives the greatest attentions?" "I do not know," said I. "Why,"
said he, "it is M. de Monmartel, who comes four or five times a
year." "Why does he enjoy so much consideration?" "Because his
coffers are full of the powder of _prelinpinpin_. Everything in
existence," said he, taking a handful of louis from his pocket,
"is contained in these little pieces of metal, which will convey
you commodiously from one end of the world to the other. All men
obey those who possess this powder, and eagerly tender them their
services. To despise money, is to despise happiness, liberty, in
short, enjoyments of every kind." A _cordon bleu_ passed under
the window. "That nobleman," said I, "is much more delighted with
his _cordon bleu_ than he would be with ten thousand of your
pieces of metal." "When I ask the King for a pension," replied
Quesnay, "I say to him, 'Give me the means of having a better
dinner, a warmer coat, a carriage to shelter me from the weather,
and to transport me from place to place without fatigue.' But
the man who asks him for that fine blue ribbon would say, if
he had the courage and the honesty to speak as he feels, 'I am
vain, and it will give me great satisfaction to see people look
at me, as I pass, with an eye of stupid admiration, and make
way for me; I wish, when I enter a room, to produce an effect,
and to excite the attention of those who may, perhaps, laugh
at me when I am gone; I wish to be called _Monseigneur_ by the
multitude.' Is not all this mere empty air? In scarcely any country
will this ribbon be of the slightest use to him; it will give him
no power. My pieces of metal will give me the power of assisting
the unfortunate everywhere. Long live the omnipotent powder of
_prelinpinpin!_" At these last words, we heard a burst of laughter
from the adjoining room, which was only separated by a door from
the one we were in. The door opened, and in came the King, Madame
de Pompadour, and M. de Gontaut. "Long live the powder of
_prelinpinpin!_" said the King. "Doctor, can you get me any of
it?" It happened that, when the King returned from his walk, he
was struck with a fancy to listen to our conversation. Madame
de Pompadour was extremely kind to the Doctor, and the King went
out laughing, and talking with great admiration of the powder.
I went away, and so did the Doctor. I immediately sat down to
commit this conversation to writing. I was afterwards told that M.
Quesnay was very learned in certain matters relating to finance,
and that he was a great _economiste_. But I do not know very
well what that means. What I do know for certain is, that he
was very clever, very gay and witty, and a very able physician.

[Illustration: Madame de Pompadour learns of the likelihood of
her success in meeting her admirer, the King. _From the painting
by Casanova y Estorach._]

The illness of the little Duke of Burgundy, whose intelligence
was much talked of, for a long time occupied the attention of the
Court. Great endeavours were made to find out the cause of his
malady, and ill-nature went so far as to assert that his nurse,
who had an excellent situation at Versailles, had communicated to
him a nasty disease. The King shewed Madame de Pompadour the
information he had procured from the province she came from, as
to her conduct. A silly Bishop thought proper to say she had
been very licentious in her youth. The poor nurse was told of
this, and begged that he might be made to explain himself. The
Bishop replied, that she had been at several balls in the town in
which she lived, and that she had gone with her neck uncovered.
The poor man actually thought this the height of licentiousness.
The King, who had been at first uneasy, when he came to this,
called out, "_What a fool!_" After having long been a source of
anxiety to the Court, the Duke died. Nothing produces a stronger
impression upon Princes, than the spectacle of their equals dying.
Everybody is occupied about them while ill--but as soon as they
are dead, nobody mentions them. The King frequently talked about
death--and about funerals, and places of burial. Nobody could
be of a more melancholy temperament. Madame de Pompadour once
told me that he experienced a painful sensation whenever he was
forced to laugh, and that he had often begged her to break off
a droll story. He smiled, and that was all. In general, he had
the most gloomy ideas concerning almost all events. When there
was a new Minister, he used to say, "_He displays his wares like
all the rest, and promises the finest things in the world, not
one of which will be fulfilled. He does not know this country--he
will see._" When new projects for reinforcing the navy were laid
before him, he said, "This is the twentieth time I have heard
this talked of--France never will have a navy, I think." This
I heard from M. de Marigny.

I never saw Madame de Pompadour so rejoiced as at the taking
of Mahon. The King was very glad, too, but he had no belief in
the merit of his courtiers--he looked upon their success as the
effect of chance. Marechal Saxe was, as I have been told, the
only man who inspired him with great esteem. But he had scarcely
ever seen him in his closet, or playing the courtier.

M. d'Argenson picked a quarrel with M. de Richelieu, after his
victory, about his return to Paris. This was intended to prevent
his coming to enjoy his triumph. He tried to throw the thing
upon Madame de Pompadour, who was enthusiastic about him, and
called him by no other name than the "_Minorcan_." The Chevalier
de Montaign was the favourite of the Dauphin, and much beloved
by him for his great devotion. He fell ill, and underwent an
operation called _l'empieme_, which is performed by making an
incision between the ribs, in order to let out the pus; it had,
to all appearance, a favourable result, but the patient grew
worse, and could not breathe. His medical attendants could not
conceive what occasioned this accident and retarded his cure.
He died almost in the arms of the Dauphin, who went every day to
see him. The singularity of his disease determined the surgeons
to open the body, and they found, in his chest, part of the leaden
syringe with which decoctions had, as was usual, been injected into
the part in a state of suppuration. The surgeon, who committed
this act of negligence, took care not to boast of his feat, and
his patient was the victim. This incident was much talked of
by the King, who related it, I believe, not less than thirty
times, according to his custom; but what occasioned still more
conversation about the Chevalier de Montaign, was a box, found
by his bed's side, containing haircloths, and shirts, and whips,
stained with blood. This circumstance was spoken of one evening
at supper, at Madame de Pompadour's, and not one of the guests
seemed at all tempted to imitate the Chevalier. Eight or ten
days afterwards, the following tale was sent to the King, to
Madame de Pompadour, to the Baschi, and to the Duc d'Ayen. At
first nobody could understand to what it referred: at last, the
Duc d'Ayen exclaimed. "How stupid we are; this is a joke on the
austerities of the Chevalier de Montaign!" This appeared clear
enough--so much the more so, as the copies were sent to the Dauphin,
the Dauphine, the Abbe de St. Cyr, and to the Duc de V----. The
latter had the character of a pretender to devotion, and, in
his copy, there was this addition, "_You would not be such a
fool, my dear Duke, as to be a faquir--confess that you would
be very glad to be one of those good monks who lead such a jolly
life._" The Duc de Richelieu was suspected of having employed
one of his wits to write the story. The King was scandalised at
it, and ordered the Lieutenant of Police to endeavour to find
out the author, but either he could not succeed or he would not
betray him.

_Japanese Tale._

At a distance of three leagues from the capital of Japan, there
is a temple celebrated for the concourse of persons, of both
sexes, and of all ranks, who crowd thither to worship an idol
believed to work miracles. Three hundred men consecrated to the
service of religion, and who can give proofs of ancient and
illustrious descent, serve this temple, and present to the idol
the offerings which are brought from all the provinces of the
empire. They inhabit a vast and magnificent edifice, belonging
to the temple, and surrounded with gardens where art has combined
with nature to produce enchantment. I obtained permission to
see the temple, and to walk in the gardens. A monk advanced in
years, but still full of vigour and vivacity, accompanied me. I
saw several others, of different ages, who were walking there.
But what surprised me was to see a great many of them amusing
themselves by various agreeable and sportive games with young
girls elegantly dressed, listening to their songs, and joining in
their dances. The monk, who accompanied me, listened with great
civility and kindness to the questions I put to him concerning
his order. The following is the sum of his answers to my numerous
interrogations. The God Faraki, whom we worship, is so called
from a word which signifies the _fabricator_. He made all that
we behold--the earth, the stars, the sun, etc. He has endowed
men with senses, which are so many sources of pleasure, and we
think the only way of shewing our gratitude is to use them. This
opinion will, doubtless, appear to you much more rational than
that of the faquirs of India, who pass their lives in thwarting
nature, and who inflict upon themselves the most melancholy
privations and the most severe sufferings.

As soon as the sun rises, we repair to the mountain you see before
us, at the foot of which flows a stream of the most limpid water,
which meanders in graceful windings through that meadow--enamelled
with the loveliest flowers. We gather the most fragrant of them,
which we carry and lay upon the altar, together with various
fruits, which we receive from the bounty of Faraki. We then sing
his praises, and execute dances expressive of our thankfulness,
and of all the enjoyments we owe to this beneficent deity. The
highest of these is that which love produces, and we testify
our ardent gratitude by the manner in which we avail ourselves
of this inestimable gift of Faraki. Having left the temple, we
go into several shady thickets, where we take a light repast;
after which, each of us employs himself in some unoppressive
labour. Some embroider, others apply themselves to painting,
others cultivate flowers or fruits, others turn little implements
for our use. Many of these little works are sold to the people,
who purchase them with eagerness. The money arising from this
sale forms a considerable part of our revenue. Our morning is
thus devoted to the worship of God and to the exercise of the
sense of Sight, which begins with the first rays of the sun.
The sense of Taste is gratified by our dinner, and we add to it
the pleasure of Smell. The most delicious viands are spread for
us in apartments strewed with flowers. The table is adorned with
them, and the most exquisite wines are handed to us in crystal
goblets. When we have glorified God, by the agreeable use of the
palate, and the olfactory nerve, we enjoy a delightful sleep
of two hours, in bowers of orange trees, roses, and myrtles.
Having acquired a fresh store of strength and spirits, we return
to our occupations, that we may thus mingle labour with pleasure,
which would lose its zest by long continuance. After our work,
we return to the temple, to thank God, and to offer him incense.
From thence we go to the most delightful part of the garden,
where we find three hundred young girls, some of whom form lively
dances with the younger of our monks; the others execute serious
dances, which require neither strength nor agility, and which
only keep time to the sound of musical instruments.

We talk and laugh with our companions, who are dressed in a light
gauze, and whose tresses are adorned with flowers; we press them
to partake of exquisite sherbets, differently prepared. The hour
of supper being arrived, we repair to rooms illuminated with the
lustre of a thousand tapers fragrant with amber. The supper-room is
surrounded by three vast galleries, in which are placed musicians,
whose various instruments fill the mind with the most pleasurable
and the softest emotions. The young girls are seated at table
with us, and, towards the conclusion of the repast, they sing
songs, which are hymns in honour of the God who has endowed us
with senses which shed such a charm over existence, and which
promise us new pleasure from every fresh exercise of them. After
the repast is ended, we return to the dance, and, when the hour
of repose arrives, we draw from a kind of lottery, in which every
one is sure of a prize that is a sumptuously decorated sleeping
room for the night. These rooms are allotted to each by chance
to avoid jealousy, since some rooms are handsomer than others.
Thus ends the day and gives place to a night of exquisite repose
in which we enjoy well-earned sleep, that most divine of earthly

We admire the wisdom and the goodness of Faraki, who has implanted
an unconscious mutual attraction between the sexes that constantly
draws them towards each other. It is this mutual love, these
invisible ties, that make the world brighter, cheerier, happier.
It has been truly said that those who selfishly cut themselves
away from these ties, those that lead narrow, lonely, morbid lives,
lose most of life's joys. What should we say to the favourite of
a King from whom he had received a beautiful house, and fine
estates, and who chose to spoil the house, to let it fall in
ruins, to abandon the cultivation of the land, and let it become
sterile, and covered with thorns? Such is the conduct of the
faquirs of India, who condemn themselves to the most melancholy
privations, and to the most severe sufferings. Is not this insulting
Faraki? Is it not saying to him, I despise your gifts? Is it not
misrepresenting him and saying, You are malevolent and cruel,
and I know that I can no otherwise please you than by offering
you the spectacle of my miseries? "I am told," added he, "that
you have, in your country, faquirs not less insane, not less
cruel to themselves." I thought, with some reason, that he meant
the fathers of La Trappe. The recital of the matter afforded me
much matter for reflection, and I admired how strange are the
systems to which perverted reason gives birth.

The Duc de V---- was a nobleman of high rank and great wealth.
He said to the King one evening at supper, "Your Majesty does
me the favour to treat me with great kindness: I should be
inconsolable if I had the misfortune to fall under your displeasure.
If such a calamity were to befall me, I should endeavour to divert
my grief by improving some beautiful estates of mine in such
and such a province;" and he thereupon gave a description of
three or four fine seats. About a month after, talking of the
disgrace of a Minister, he said, "I hope your Majesty will not
withdraw your favour from me; but if I had the misfortune to
lose it, I should be more to be pitied than anybody, for I have
no asylum in which to hide my head." All those present, who had
heard the description of the beautiful country houses, looked at
each other and laughed. The King said to Madame de Pompadour,
who sat next to him at table, "_People are very right in saying
that a liar ought to have a good memory._"

An event, which made me tremble, as well as Madame, procured me
the familiarity of the King. In the middle of the night, Madame
came into my chamber, _en chemise_, and in a state of distraction.
"Here! Here!" said she, "the King is dying." My alarm may be
easily imagined. I put on a petticoat, and found the King in her
bed, panting. What was to be done?--it was an indigestion. We
threw water upon him, and he came to himself. I made him swallow
some Hoffman's drops, and he said to me, "Do not make any noise,
but go to Quesnay; say that your mistress is ill; and tell the
Doctor's servants to say nothing about it." Quesnay, who lodged
close by, came immediately, and was much astonished to see the
King in that state. He felt his pulse, and said, "The crisis is
over; but, if the King were sixty years old, this might have
been serious." He went to seek some drug, and, on his return, set
about inundating the King with perfumed water. I forget the name
of the medicine he made him take, but the effect was wonderful.
I believe it was the _drops of General Lamotte_. I called up
one of the girls of the wardrobe to make tea, as if for myself.
The King took three cups, put on his _robe de chambre_ and his
stockings, and went to his own room, leaning upon the Doctor.
What a sight it was to see us all three half naked! Madame put
on a robe as soon as possible, and I did the same, and the King
changed his clothes behind the curtains, which were very decently
closed. He afterwards spoke of this short attack, and expressed
his sense of the attentions shown him. An hour after, I felt the
greatest possible terror in thinking that the King might have
died in our hands. Happily, he quickly recovered himself, and
none of the domestics perceived what had taken place. I merely
told the girl of the wardrobe to put everything to rights, and
she thought it was Madame who had been indisposed. The King,
the next morning, gave secretly to Quesnay a little note for
Madame, in which he said, _Ma chere amie must have had a great
fright, but let her reassure herself--I am now well, which the
Doctor will certify to you._ From that moment the King became
accustomed to me, and, touched by the interest I had shown for
him, he often gave me one of his peculiarly gracious glances,
and made me little presents, and, on every New Year's Day, sent
me porcelain to the amount of twenty louis d'or. He told Madame
that he looked upon me in the apartment as a picture or statue, and
never put any constraint upon himself on account of my presence.
Doctor Quesnay received a pension of a thousand crowns for his
attention and silence, and the promise of a place for his son. The
King gave me an order upon the Treasury for four thousand francs,
and Madame had presented to her a very handsome chiming-clock
and the King's portrait in a snuffbox.

The King was habitually melancholy, and liked everything which
recalled the idea of death, in spite of the strongest fears of
it. Of this, the following is an instance: Madame de Pompadour
was on her way to Crecy, when one of the King's grooms made a sign
to her coachman to stop, and told him that the King's carriage had
broken down, and that, knowing her to be at no great distance,
His Majesty had sent him forward to beg her to wait for him. He
soon overtook us, and seated himself in Madame de Pompadour's
carriage, in which were, I think, Madame de Chateau-Renaud, and
Madame de Mirepoix. The lords in attendance placed themselves in
some other carriages. I was behind, in a chaise, with Gourbillon,
Madame de Pompadour's _valet de chambre_. We were surprised in a
short time by the King stopping his carriage. Those which followed,
of course stopped also. The King called a groom, and said to
him, "You see that little eminence; there are crosses; it must
certainly be a burying-ground; go and see whether there are any
graves newly dug." The groom galloped up to it, returned, and
said to the King, "There are three quite freshly made." Madame
de Pompadour, as she told me, turned away her head with horror;
and the little Marechale gaily said, "_This is indeed enough to
make one's mouth water._" Madame de Pompadour spoke of it when
I was undressing her in the evening. "What a strange pleasure,"
said she, "to endeavour to fill one's mind with images which one
ought to endeavour to banish, especially when one is surrounded
by so many sources of happiness! But that is the King's way; he
loves to talk about death. He said, some days ago, to M. de
Fontanieu, who was seized with a bleeding at the nose, at the
levee, 'Take care of yourself; at your age it is a forerunner
of apoplexy.' The poor man went home frightened, and absolutely

I never saw the King so agitated as during the illness of the
Dauphin. The physicians came incessantly to the apartments of
Madame de Pompadour, where the King interrogated them. There
was one from Paris, a very odd man, called Pousse, who once said
to him, "You are a good papa; I like you for that. But you know
we are all your children, and share your distress. Take courage,
however; your son will recover." Everybody's eyes were upon the
Duc d'Orleans, who knew not how to look. He would have become
heir to the crown, the Queen being past the age to have children.
Madame de ---- said to me, one day, when I was expressing my
surprise at the King's grief, "It would annoy him beyond measure
to have a Prince of the blood heir apparent. He does not like
them, and looks upon their relationship to him as so remote,
that he would feel humiliated by it." And, in fact, when his
son recovered, he said, "The King of Spain would have had a fine
chance." It was thought that he was right in this, and that it
would have been agreeable to justice; but that, if the Duc d'Orleans
had been supported by a party, he might have supported his
pretensions to the crown. It was, doubtless, to remove this
impression that he gave a magnificent fete at St. Cloud on the
occasion of the Dauphin's recovery. Madame de Pompadour said to
Madame de Brancas, speaking of this fete, "He wishes to make
us forget the _chateau en Espagne_ he has been dreaming of; in
_Spain_, however, they build them of solider materials." The
people did not shew so much joy at the Dauphin's recovery. They
looked upon him as a devotee, who did nothing but sing psalms.
They loved the Duc d'Orleans, who lived in the capital, and had
acquired the name of the _King of Paris_. These sentiments were
not just; the Dauphin only sang psalms when imitating the tones
of one of the choristers of the chapel. The people afterwards
acknowledged their error, and did justice to his virtues. The Duc
d'Orleans paid the most assiduous court to Madame de Pompadour:
the Duchess, on the contrary, detested her. It is possible that
words were put into the Duchess's mouth which she never uttered;
but she, certainly, often said most cutting things. The King would
have sent her into exile, had he listened only to his resentment;
but he feared the eclat of such a proceeding, and he knew that
she would only be the more malicious. The Duc d'Orleans was, just
then, extremely jealous of the Comte de Melfort; and the Lieutenant
of Police told the King he had strong reasons for believing that
the Duke would stick at nothing to rid himself of this gallant,
and that he thought it his duty to give the Count notice, that he
ought to be upon his guard. The King said, "He would not dare to
attempt any such violence as you seem to apprehend; but there is
a better way: let him try to surprise them, and he will find me
very well inclined to have his cursed wife shut up; but if he
got rid of this lover, she would have another to-morrow. Nay,
she has others at this moment; for instance, the Chevalier de
Colbert, and the Comte de l'Aigle." Madame de Pompadour, however,
told me these two last affairs were not certain.

An adventure happened about the same time, which the Lieutenant
of Police reported to the King. The Duchesse d'Orleans had amused
herself one evening, about eight o'clock, with ogling a handsome
young Dutchman, whom she took a fancy to, from a window of the
Palais Royal. The young man, taking her for a woman of the town,
wanted to make short work, at which she was very much shocked.
She called a Swiss, and made herself known. The stranger was
arrested; but he defended himself by affirming that she had talked
very loosely to him. He was dismissed, and the Duc d'Orleans
gave his wife a severe reprimand.

The King (who hated her so much that he spoke of her without
the slightest restraint) one day said to Madame de Pompadour,
in my presence, "Her mother knew what she was, for, before her
marriage, she never suffered her to say more than yes and no.
Do you know her joke on the nomination of Moras? She sent to
congratulate him upon it: two minutes after, she called back
the messenger she had sent, and said, before everybody present,
'Before you speak to him, ask the Swiss if he still has the place.'"
Madame de Pompadour was not vindictive, and, in spite of the
malicious speeches of the Duchesse d'Orleans, she tried to excuse
her conduct. "Almost all women," she said, "have lovers; she
has not all that are imputed to her: but her free manners, and
her conversation, which is beyond all bounds, have brought her
into general disrepute."

My companion came into my room the other day, quite delighted.
She had been with M. de Chenevieres, first Clerk in the War-office,
and a constant correspondent of Voltaire, whom she looks upon
as a god. She was, by the bye, put into a great rage one day,
lately, by a print-seller in the street, who was crying, "Here
is Voltaire, the famous Prussian; here you see him, with a great
bear-skin cap, to keep him from the cold! Here is the famous
Prussian, for six sous!" "What a profanation!" said she. To return
to my story: M. de Chenevieres had shewn her some letters from
Voltaire, and M. Marmontel had read an _Epistle to his Library_.

M. Quesnay came in for a moment; she told him all this: and, as
he did not appear to take any great interest in it, she asked
him if he did not admire great poets. "Oh, yes; just as I admire
great bilboquet players," said he, in that tone of his, which
rendered everything he said diverting. "I have written some verses,
however," said he, "and I will repeat them to you; they are upon
a certain M. Rodot, an Intendant of the Marine, who was very
fond of abusing medicine and medical men. I made these verses
to revenge AEsculapius and Hippocrates.

Antoine se medicina
En decriant ta medicine,
Et de ses propres mains mina

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