Part 20 out of 62
women. "Ah, Monseigneur," replied the Bishop of Gap, "if you knew what
you talk of, you would not be astonished. I lived the first forty years
of my life without experiencing it; I don't know what induced me to
venture on it, but, having done so, it is impossible to refrain. Only
try it for once, Monseigneur, and you will perceive the truth of what I
[This Bishop, whose name was Herve, had lived in prudence and
regularity up to the age of fifty, when he began, on a sudden, to
lead a very debauched life. They compelled him to give up his
Bishopric, which he did on condition of being allowed to stay at
Paris as much as he chose. He continued to live in perpetual
pleasure, but towards the close of his career he repented of his
sins and engaged with the Capuchin missionaries.]
This Bishop is now living in the village of Boulogne, near Paris: he is a
little priest, very ugly, with a large head and fiery red face.
Our late King said, "I am, I confess, somewhat piqued to see that,
with all the authority belonging to my station in this country, I have
exclaimed so long against high head-dresses, while no one had the
complaisance to lower them for me in the slightest degree. But now, when
a mere strange English wench arrives with a little low head-dress, all
the Princesses think fit to go at once from one extremity to another."
A Frenchman who had taken refuge in Holland informed me by letter of what
was passing with respect to the Prince of Orange. Thinking that I should
do the King a service by communicating to him these news, I hastened to
him, and he thanked me for them. In the evening, however, he said to me,
smiling, "My Ministers will have it that you have been misinformed, and
that your correspondent has not written you one word of truth."
I replied, "Time will show which is better informed, your Majesty's
Ministers or my correspondent. For my own part, Sire, my intention at
least was good."
Some time afterwards, when the report of the approaching accession of
William to the throne of England became public, M. de Torcy came to me to
beg I would acquaint him with my news. I replied, "I receive none now;
you told the King that what I formerly had was false, and upon this I
desired my correspondents to send me no more, for I do not love to spread
false reports." He laughed, as he always did, and said, "Your news have
turned out to be quite correct." I replied, "A great and able Minister
ought surely to have news more correct than I can obtain; and I have been
angry with myself for having formerly acquainted the King with the
reports which had reached me. I ought to have recollected that his
clever Ministers are acquainted with everything." The King therefore
said to me, "You are making game of my Ministers."--"Sire," I replied, "I
am only giving them back their own."
M. de Louvois was the only person who was well served by his spies;
indeed, he never spared his money. All the Frenchmen who went into
Germany or Holland as dancing or fencing-masters, esquires, etc., were
paid by him to give him information of whatever passed in the several
Courts. After his death this system was discontinued, and thus it is
that the present Ministers are so ignorant of the affairs of other
Lauzun says the drollest things, and takes the most amusing, roundabout
way of intimating whatever he does not care to say openly. For example,
when he wished the King to understand that the Count de Marsan, brother
of M. Legrand, had attached himself to M. Chamillard, the then Minister,
he took the following means: "Sire," said he, with an air of the utmost
simplicity, as if he had not the least notion of malice, "I wished to
change my wigmaker, and employ the one who is now the most in fashion;
but I could not find him, for M. de Marsan has kept him shut up in his
room for several days past, making wigs for his household, and for M. de
The adventures of Prince Emmanuel of Portugal are a perfect romance.
His brother, the King, was desirous, it is said, at first, to have made
a priest and a Bishop of him; to this, however, he had an insuperable
objection, for he was in love. The King sent for him, and asked him if
it was true that he had really resolved not to enter the Church. On the
Prince's replying in the affirmative, the King, his brother, struck him.
The Prince said, "You are my King and my brother, and therefore I cannot
revenge myself as I ought upon you; but you have put an insult upon me
which I cannot endure, and you shall never again see me in the whole
course of your life." He is said to have set out on that very night.
His brother wrote to him, commanding his return from Paris to Holland; as
he made no reply to this command, his Governor and the Ambassador had no
doubt that it was his intention to obey it. In the course of last week
he expressed a desire to see Versailles and Marly. The Ambassador made
preparations for this excursion, and together with his wife accompanied
the Prince, whose Governor and one of his gentlemen were of the party.
Upon their return from Versailles, when they reached the courtyard, the
Prince called out to stop, and asked if there were any chaises ready:
"Yes, Monseigneur," replied a voice, "there are four."--"That will be
sufficient," replied the Prince. Then addressing the Ambassador, he
expressed his warmest thanks for the friendly attention he had shown him,
and assured him that he desired nothing so much as an opportunity to
testify his gratitude. "I am now going to set out," he added, "for
Vienna; the Emperor is my cousin; I have no doubt he will receive me,
and I shall learn in his army to become a soldier in the campaign against
the Turks." He then thanked the Governor for the pains he had bestowed
upon his education; and promised that, if any good fortune should befall
him, his Governor should share it with him. He also said something
complimentary to his gentleman. He then alighted, called for the
post-chaises, and took his seat in one of them; his favourite, a young
man of little experience, but, as it is said, of considerable talent,
placed himself in another, and his two valets de chambre into the third
and fourth. That nothing may be wanting to the romantic turn of his
adventures, it is said, besides, that Madame de Riveira was the object of
his affection in Portugal before she was married; that he even wished to
make her his wife, but that his brother would not permit it. A short
time before his departure, the husband, who is a very jealous man, found
him at his wife's feet; and this hastened the Prince's departure.
Henri IV. had been one day told of the infidelity of one of his
mistresses. Believing that the King had no intention of visiting her,
she made an assignation with the Duc de Bellegarde in her own apartment.
The King, having caused the time of his rival's coming to be watched,
when he was informed of his being there, went to his mistress's room.
He found her in bed, and she complained of a violent headache. The King
said he was very hungry, and wanted some supper; she replied that she had
not thought about supper, and believed she had only a couple of
partridges. Henri IV. desired they should be served up, and said he
would eat them with her. The supper which she had prepared for
Bellegarde, and which consisted of much more than two partridges, was
then served up; the King, taking up a small loaf, split it open, and,
sticking a whole partridge into it, threw it under the bed. "Sire,"
cried the lady, terrified to death, "what are you doing?"--"Madame,"
replied the merry monarch, "everybody must live." He then took his
departure, content with having frightened the lovers.
I have again seen M. La Mothe le Vayer; who, with all his sense, dresses
himself like a madman. He wears furred boots, and a cap which he never
takes off, lined with the same material, a large band, and a black velvet
We have had few Queens in France who have been really happy. Marie de
Medicis died in exile. The mother of the King and of the late Monsieur
was unhappy as long as her husband was alive. Our Queen Marie-Therese
said upon her death-bed, "that from the time of her becoming Queen she
had not had a day of real happiness."
Lauzun sometimes affects the simpleton that he may say disagreeable
things with impunity, for he is very malicious. In order to hint to
Marechal de Tesse that he did wrong in being so familiar with the common
people, he called out to him one night in the Salon at Marly, "Marshal,
pray give me a pinch of snuff; but let it be good--that, for example,
which I saw you taking this morning with Daigremont the chairman."
In the time of Henri IV. an Elector-Palatine came to France; the King's
household was sent to meet him. All his expenses were paid, as well as
those of his suite; and when he arrived at the Court he entered between
the Dauphin and Monsieur and dined with the King. I learned these
particulars from the late Monsieur. The King, under the pretence of
going to the chase, went about a league from Paris, and, meeting the
Elector, conducted him in his carriage. At Paris he was always attended
by the King's servants. This treatment is somewhat different from that
which, in my time, was bestowed upon Maximilian Maria, the Elector of
Bavaria. This Elector often enraged me with the foolish things that he
did. For example, he went to play and to dine with M. d'Antin, and never
evinced the least desire to dine with his own nephews. A sovereign,
whether he be Elector or not, might with propriety dine either at the
Dauphin's table or mine; and, if the Elector had chosen, he might have
come to us; but he was contented to dine with M. d'Antin or M. de Torcy,
and some ladies of the King's suite. I am angry to this day when I think
of it. The King used often to laugh at my anger on this subject; and,
whenever the Elector committed some new absurdity, he used to call to me
in the cabinet and ask me, "Well, Madame, what have you to say to that?"
I would reply, "All that the Elector does is alike ridiculous." This
made the King laugh heartily. The Elector had a Marshal, the Count
d'Arco, the brother of that person who had married in so singular a
manner the Prince's mistress, Popel, which marriage had been contracted
solely upon his promise never to be alone with his wife. The Marshal,
who was as honest as his brother was accommodating, was terribly annoyed
at his master's conduct; he came at first to me to impart to me his
chagrin whenever the Elector committed some folly; and when he behaved
better he used also to tell me of it. I rather think he must have been
forbidden to visit me, for latterly I never saw him. None of the
Elector's suite have visited me, and I presume they have been prevented.
This Prince's amorous intrigues have been by no means agreeable to the
King. The Elector was so fond of grisettes that, when the King was
giving names to each of the roads through the wood, he was exceedingly
anxious that one of them should be called L'Allee des Grisettes; but the
King would not consent to it. The Elector has perpetuated his race in
the villages; and two country girls have been pointed out to me who were
pregnant by him at his departure.
His marriage with a Polish Princess is a striking proof that a man cannot
avoid his fate. This was not a suitable match for him, and was managed
almost without his knowledge, as I have been told. His Councillors,
having been bought over, patched up the affair; and when the Elector only
caused it to be submitted for their deliberation, it was already decided
This Elector's brother must have been made a Bishop of Cologne and
Munster without the production of proof of his nobility being demanded;
for it is well known that the King Sobieski was a Polish nobleman, who
married the daughter of Darquin, Captain of our late Monsieur's Swiss
Guards. Great suspicions are entertained respecting the children of the
Bavaria family, that is, the Elector and his brothers, who are thought to
have been the progeny of an Italian doctor named Simoni. It was said at
Court that the doctor had only given the Elector and his wife a strong
cordial, the effect of which had been to increase their family; but they
are all most suspiciously like the doctor.
I have heard it said that in England the people used to take my late
uncle, Rupert, for a sorcerer, and his large black dog for the Devil;
for this reason, when he joined the army and attacked the enemy, whole
regiments fled before him.
A knight of the Palatinate, who had served many years in India, told me
at Court in that country the first Minister and the keeper of the seals
hated each other mortally. The latter having one day occasion for the
seals, found they had been taken from the casket in which they were
usually kept. He was of course greatly terrified, for his head depended
upon their production. He went to one of his friends, and consulted with
him what he should do. His friend asked him if he had any enemies at
Court. "Yes," replied the keeper of the seals, "the chief Minister is my
mortal foe."--"So much the better," replied his friend; "go and set fire
to your house directly; take out of it nothing but the casket in which
the seals were kept, and take it directly to the chief Minister, telling
him you know no one with whom you can more safely deposit it; then go
home again and save whatever you can. When the fire shall be
extinguished, you must go to the King, and request him to order the chief
Minister to restore you the seals; and you must be sure to open the
casket before the Prince. If the seals are there, all will be explained;
if the Minister has not restored them, you must accuse him at once of
having stolen them; and thus you will be sure to ruin your enemy and
recover your seals." The keeper of the seals followed his friend's
advice exactly, and the seals were found again in the casket.
As soon as a royal child, which they call here un Enfant de France, is
born, and has been swaddled, they put on him a grand cordon; but they do
not create him a knight of the order until he has communicated; the
ceremony is then performed in the ordinary manner.
The ladies of chancellors here have the privilege of the tabouret when
they come to the toilette; but in the afternoon they are obliged to
stand. This practice began in the days of Marie de Medicis, when a
chancellor's wife happened to be in great favour. As she had a lame foot
and could not stand up, the Queen, who would have her come to visit her
every morning, allowed her to sit down. From this time the custom of
these ladies sitting in the morning has been continued.
In the reign of Henri IV. the King's illegitimate children took
precedence of the Princes of the House of Lorraine. On the day after the
King's death, the Duc de Verneuil was about to go before the Duc de
Guise, when the latter, taking him by the arm, said, "That might have
been yesterday, but to-day matters are altered."
Two young Duchesses, not being able to see their lovers, invented the
following stratagem to accomplish their wishes. These two sisters had
been educated in a convent some leagues distant from Paris. A nun of
their acquaintance happening to die there, they pretended to be much
afflicted at it, and requested permission to perform the last duties to
her, and to be present at her funeral. They were believed to be sincere,
and the permission they asked was readily granted them. In the funeral
procession it was perceived that, besides the two ladies, there were two
other persons whom no one knew. Upon being asked who they were, they
replied they were poor priests in need of protection; and that, having
learnt two Duchesses were to be present at the funeral, they had come to
the convent for the purpose of imploring their good offices. When they
were presented to them, the young ladies said they would interrogate them
after the service in their chambers. The young priests waited upon them
at the time appointed, and stayed there until the evening. The Abbess,
who began to think their audience was too long, sent to beg the priests
would retire. One of them seemed very melancholy, but the other laughed
as if he would burst his sides. This was the Duc de Richelieu; the other
was the Chevalier de Guemene, the younger son of the Duke of that name.
The gentlemen themselves divulged the adventure.
The King's illegitimate children, fearing that they should be treated in
the same way as the Princes of the blood, have for some months past been
engaged in drawing a strong party of the nobility to their side, and have
presented a very unjust petition against the Dukes and Peers. My son has
refused to receive this petition, and has interdicted them from holding
assemblies, the object of which he knows would tend to revolt. They
have, nevertheless, continued them at the instigations of the Duc du
Maine and his wife, and have even carried their insolence so far as to
address a memorial to my son and another to the Parliament, in which they
assert that it is within the province of the nobility alone to decide
between the Princes of the blood and the legitimated Princes. Thirty of
them have signed this memorial, of whom my son has had six arrested;
three of them have been sent to the Bastille, and the other three to
Vincennes; they are MM. de Chatillon, de Rieux, de Beaufremont, de
Polignac, de Clermont, and d'O. The last was the Governor of the Comte
de Toulouse, and remains with him. Clermont's wife is one of the
Duchesse de Berri's ladies. She is not the most discreet person in the
world, and has been long in the habit of saying to any one who would
listen to her, "Whatever may come of it, my husband and I are willing to
risk our lives for the Comte de Toulouse." It is therefore evident that
all this proceeds from the bastards. But I must expose still further the
ingratitude of these people. Chatillon is a poor gentleman, whose father
held a small employment under M. Gaston, one of those offices which
confer the privilege of the entree to the antechambers, and the holders
of which do not sit in the carriage with their masters. The two
descendants, as they call themselves, of the house of Chatillon, insist
that this Chatillon, who married an attorney's daughter, is descended
from the illegitimate branches of that family. His son was a subaltern
in the Body Guard. In the summer time, when the young officers went to
bathe, they used to take young Chatillon with them to guard their
clothes, and for this office they gave him a crown for his supper.
Monsieur having taken this poor person into his service, gave him a
cordon bleu, and furnished him with money to commence a suit which he
subsequently gained against the House of Chatillon, and they were
compelled to recognize him. He then made him a Captain in the Guards;
gave him a considerable pension, which my son continued, and permitted
him also to have apartments in the Palais Royal. In these very
apartments did this ungrateful man hold those secret meetings, the end of
which was proposed to be my son's ruin. Rieux's grandfather had
neglected to uphold the honour to which he was entitled, of being called
the King's cousin. My son restored him to this honour, gave his brother
a place in the gendarmerie, and rendered him many other services.
Chatillon tried particularly to excite the nobility against my son; and
this is the recompense for all his kindness. My son's wife is gay and
content, in the hope that all will go well with her brothers.
That old Maintenon has continued pretty tranquil until the termination of
the process relating to the legitimation of the bastards. No one has
heard her utter a single expression on the subject. This makes me
believe that she has some project in her head, but I cannot tell what it
A monk, who was journeying a few days ago to Luzarche, met upon the road
a stranger, who fell into conversation with him. He was an agreeable
companion, and related various adventures very pleasantly. Having
learned from the monk that he was charged with the rents of the convent,
to which some estates in the neighbourhood of Luzarche belonged, the
stranger told him that he belonged to that place, whither he was
returning after a long journey; and then observing to the monk that the
road they were pursuing was roundabout, he pointed out to him a nearer
one through the forest. When they had reached the thickest part of the
wood, the stranger alighted, and, seizing the bridle of the monk's horse,
demanded his money. The monk replied that he thought he was travelling
with an honest man, and that he was astonished at so singular a demand.
The stranger replied that he had no time for trifling, and that the monk
must either give up his money or his life. The monk replied, "I never
carry money about me; but if you will let me alight and go to my servant,
who carries my money, I will bring you 1,000 francs."
The robber suffered the monk to alight, who went to his servant, and,
taking from him the 1,000 francs which were in a purse, he at the same
time furnished himself with a loaded pistol which he concealed in his
sleeve. When he returned to the thief, he threw down the purse, and, as
the robber stooped to pick it up, the monk fired and shot him dead; then,
remounting his horse, he hastened to apply to the police, and related his
adventure. A patrole was sent back with him to the wood, and, upon
searching the robber, there were found in his pockets six whistles of
different sizes; they blew the largest of the number, upon which ten
other armed robbers soon afterwards appeared; they defended themselves,
but eventually two of them were killed and the others taken.
The Chevalier Schaub, who was employed in State affairs by Stanhope, the
English Minister, brought with him a secretary, to whom the Prince of
Wales had entrusted sixty guineas, to be paid to a M. d'Isten, who had
made a purchase of some lace to that amount for the Princess of Wales;
the brother of M. d'Isten, then living in London, had also given the same
secretary 200 guineas, to be delivered to his brother at Paris. When the
secretary arrived he enquired at the Ambassador's where M. d'Isten lived,
and, having procured his address, he went to the house and asked for the
German gentleman. A person appeared, who said, "I am he." The secretary
suspecting nothing, gave him the Prince of Wales' letter and the sixty
guineas. The fictitious d'Isten, perceiving that the secretary had a
gold watch, and a purse containing fifty other guineas, detained him to
supper; but no sooner had the secretary drank some wine than he was
seized with an invincible desire to go to sleep. "My good friend," said
his host, "your journey has fatigued you; you had better undress and lie
down on my bed for a short time." The secretary, who could not keep his
eyes open, consented; and no sooner had he lain down than he was asleep.
Some time after, his servant came to look for him, and awoke him; the
bottles were still standing before the bed, but the poor secretary's
pockets were emptied, and the sharper who had personated M. d'Isten had
disappeared with their valuable contents.
The Princesse Maubuisson was astonishingly pleasant and amiable. I was
always delighted to visit her, and never felt myself tired in her
society. I soon found myself in much greater favour than any other of
her nieces, because I could converse with her about almost everybody she
had known in the whole course of her life, which the others could not.
She used frequently to talk German with me, which she knew very well; and
she told me all her adventures. I asked her how she could accustom
herself to the monastic life. She laughed and said, "I never speak to
the nuns but to give orders." She had a deaf nun with her in her own
chamber, that she might not feel any desire to speak. She told me that
she had always been fond of a country life, and that she still could
fancy herself a country girl. "But," I asked her, "how do you like
getting up and going to church in the middle of the night?" She replied
that she did as the painters do, who increase the splendour of their
light by the introduction of deep shadows. She had in general the
faculty of giving to all things a turn which deprived them of their
I have often heard M. Bernstorff spoken of by a person who was formerly
very agreeable to him; I mean the Duchess of Mecklenbourg, the Duc de
Luxembourg's sister. She praised his talents very highly, and assured me
that it was she who gave him to the Duke George William.
The wife of the Marechal de Villars is running after the Comte de
Toulouse. My son is also in her good graces, and is not a whit more
discreet. Marechal de Villars came one day to see me; and, as he
pretends to understand medals, he asked to see mine. Baudelot, who is a
very honest and clever man, and in whose keeping they are, was desired to
show them; he is not the most cautious man in the world, and is very
little acquainted with what is going on at Court. He had written a
dissertation upon one of my medals, in which he proved, against the
opinion of other learned men, that the horned head which it displayed was
that of Pan and not of Jupiter Ammon. Honest Baudelot, to display his
erudition, said to the Marshal, "Ah, Monseigneur, this is one of the
finest medals that Madame possesses: it is the triumph of Cornificius; he
has, you see, all sorts of horns. He was like you, sir, a great general;
he wears the horns of Juno and Faunus. Cornificius was, as you probably
well know, sir, a very able general." Here I interrupted him. "Let us
pass on," I said, "to the other medal; if you stop in this manner at
each, you will not have time to show the whole."
But he, full of his subject, returned to it. "Ah, Madame," he went on,
"this is worthy of more attention than perhaps any other; Cornificius is,
indeed, one of the most rare medals in the world. Look at it, Madame;
I beg you to observe it narrowly; here, you see, is Juno crowned, and she
is also crowning this great general." All that I could say to him was
not sufficient to prevent Baudelot talking to the Marshal of horns.
"Monseigneur," he said, "is well versed in all these matters, and I want
him to see that I am right in insisting that these horns are those of
Faunus, not those of Jupiter Ammon."
All the people who were in the chamber, with difficulty refrained from
bursting into a loud laugh. If the plan had been laid for the purpose,
it could not have succeeded better. When the Marshal had gone, I, too,
indulged myself by joining in the laugh. It was with great difficulty
that I could make Baudelot understand he had done wrong.
The same Baudelot, one day at a masked ball, had been saying a great many
civil things to the Dowager Madame, who was there masked, and whom,
therefore, he did not know. When he came and saw that it was Madame, he
was terrified with affright: the Princess laughed beyond measure at it.
Our Princes here have no particular costume. When they go to the
Parliament they wear only a cloak, which, in my opinion, has a very
vulgar appearance; and the more so, as they wear the 'collet' without a
cravat. Those of the Royal Family have no privileges above the other
Dukes, excepting in their seats and the right of crossing over the
carpet, which is allowed to none but them. The President, when he
addresses them, is uncovered, but keeps his hat on when he speaks to
everybody else. This is the cause of those great disputes which the
Princes of the blood have had with the bastards, as may be seen by their
memorial. The Presidents of the Parliament wear flame-coloured robes
trimmed with ermine at the neck and sleeves.
The Comtesse de Soissons, Angelique Cunegonde, the daughter of Francois-
Henri de Luxembourg, has, it must be confessed, a considerable share of
virtue and of wit; but she has also her faults, like the rest of the
world. It may be said of her that she is truly a poor Princess. Her
husband, Louis-Henri, Chevalier de Soissons, was very ugly, having a very
long hooked nose, and eyes extremely close to it. He was as yellow as
saffron; his mouth was extremely small for a man, and full of bad teeth
of a most villanous odour; his legs were ugly and clumsy; his knees and
feet turned inwards, which made him look when he was walking like a
parrot; and his manner of making a bow was bad. He was rather short than
otherwise; but he had fine hair and a large quantity of it. He was
rather good-looking when a child. I have seen portraits of him painted
at that period. If the Comtesse de Soissons' son had resembled his
mother, he would have been very well, for her features are good, and
nothing could be better than her, eyes, her mouth, and the turn of her
face; only her nose was too large and thick, and her skin was not fine
Whoever is like the Prince Eugene in person cannot be called a handsome
man; he is shorter than his elder brother, but, with the exception of
Prince Eugene, all the rest of them are good for nothing. The youngest,
Prince Philippe, was a great madman, and died of the small-pox at Paris.
He was of a very fair complexion, had an ungraceful manner, and always
looked distracted. He had a nose like a hawk, a large mouth, thick lips,
and hollow cheeks; in all respects I thought he was like his elder
brother. The third brother, who was called the Chevalier de Savoie, died
in consequence of a fall from his horse. The Prince Eugene was a younger
brother: he had two sisters, who were equally ugly; one of them is dead,
and the other is still living (1717) in a convent in Savoy. The elder
was of a monstrous shape, but a mere dwarf. She led a very irregular
life. She afterwards ran away with a rogue, the Abbe de la Bourlie, whom
she obliged to marry her at Geneva; they used to beat each other. She is
Prince Eugene was not in his younger days so ugly as he has become since;
but he never was good-looking, nor had he any nobility in his manner.
His eyes were pretty good, but his nose, and two large teeth which he
displayed whenever he opened his mouth, completely spoilt his face. He
was besides always very filthy, and his coarse hair was never dressed.
This Prince is little addicted to women, and, during the whole time that
he has been here, I never heard one mentioned who has pleased him, or
whom he has distinguished or visited more than another.
His mother took no care of him; she brought him up like a scullion, and
liked better to stake her money at play than to expend it upon her
youngest son. This is the ordinary practice of women in this country.
They will not yet believe that the Persian Ambassador was an impostor;
[This embassy was always equivocal, and even something more. From
all that can be understood of it, it would seem that a Minister of
one of the Persian provinces, a sort of Intendant de Languedoc, as
we might say, had commissioned this pretended Ambassador to manage
for him some commercial affairs with certain merchants, and that for
his own amusement the agent chose to represent the Persian
Ambassador. It is said, too, that Pontchartrain, under whose
department this affair fell, would not expose the trick, that the
King might be amused, and that he might recommend himself to His
Majesty's favour by making him believe that the Sophy had sent him
an Ambassador.--Notes to Dangeau's Journal.]
it is quite certain that he was a clumsy fellow, although he had some
sense. There was an air of magnificence about the way in which he gave
audience. He prevailed upon a married woman, who was pregnant by him,
to abjure Christianity. It is true she was not a very respectable
person, being the illegitimate daughter of my son's chief almoner, the
Abbe de Grancey, who always kept a little seraglio. In order to carry
her away with him, the Ambassador had her fastened up in a box filled
with holes, and then begged that no person might be allowed to touch it,
being, as he said, filled with the sacred books written by Mahomet
himself, which would be polluted by the contact of Christians. Upon this
pretence the permission was given, and by these means the woman was
carried off. I cannot believe the story which is told of this Ambassador
having had 10,000 louis d'or given him.
I had the misfortune to displease the Margrave John Frederic of Anspach.
He brought me a letter from my brother and his wife, both of whom begged
I would assist him with my advice. I therefore thought that by
counselling him as I should have counselled my own brother I should be
rendering him the best service. When he arrived he was in deep mourning
for his first wife, who had then not been dead three months. I asked him
what he proposed to do in France? He replied "that he was on his way to
England, but that before his departure he should wish to pay his respects
to the King." I asked him if he had anything to solicit from the King or
to arrange with him. He replied "he had not."--"Then," I said, "I would
advise you, if you will permit me, to send the principal person of your
suite to the King to make your compliments, to inform him that you are
going to England, and that you would not have failed to wait upon him,
but that, being in mourning for your wife, your respect for him prevented
your appearing before him in so melancholy a garb"--"But," he rejoined,
"I am very fond of dancing, and I wish to go to the ball; now I cannot go
thither until I have first visited the King."--"For God's sake," I said,
"do not go to the ball; it is not the custom here. You will be laughed
at, and the more particularly so because the Marechal de Grammont, who
presented you to the King some years ago, said that you could find
nothing to praise in the whole of France, with the exception of a little
goldfinch in the King's cabinet which whistled airs. I recommend you not
to go to see the King, nor to be present at the ball." He was angry, and
said "he saw very well that I discountenanced German Princes, and did not
wish them to be presented to the King." I replied "that the advice I had
given him sprang from the best intentions, and was such as I would have
given to my own brother." He went away quite angry to Marechal
Schomberg's, where he complained of my behaviour to him. The Marshal
asked him what I had said, which he repeated word for word. The Marshal
told him that I had advised him well, and that he was himself of my
opinion. Nevertheless, the Margrave persisted on being presented to the
King, whither he prevailed upon the Marshal to accompany him, and went
the next day to the ball. He was extremely well dressed in half-
mourning, with white lace over the black, fine blue ribands, black and
white laces, and rheingraves, which look well upon persons of a good
figure; in short, he was magnificently dressed, but improperly, for a
widower in the first stage of his mourning. He would have seated himself
within the King's circle, where none but the members of the Royal Family
and the King's grandchildren are allowed to sit; the Princes of the blood
even are not allowed to do so, and therefore foreign Princes can of
course have no right. The Margrave then began to repent not having
believed me, and early the next morning he set off.
Prince Ragotzky is under great obligations to his wife, who saved his
life and delivered him from prison. Some person was repeating things to
her disadvantage, but he interrupted them by saying, "She saved my head
from the axe, and this prevents my having any right to reprove too
strictly whatever she may choose to do; for this reason I shall not thank
any person who speaks to me upon the subject."
[Louis XIV. gave to the Prince Ragotsky, who in France took the
title of Comte de Saaross, 200,000 crowns upon the Maison de Ville,
and a pension of 2,000 crowns per month besides.]
Beatrice Eleanora, the Queen of James II., was always upon such good
terms with Maintenon that it is impossible to believe our late King was
ever fond of her. I have seen a book, entitled "L'ancien Ward protecteur
du nouveau," in 12mo, in which is related a gallantry between the Queen
and the Pere la Chaise. The confessor was then eighty years of age, and
not unlike an ass; his ears were very long, his mouth very wide, his head
very large, and his body very long. It was an ill-chosen joke. This
libel was even less credible than what was stated about the King himself.
The Monks of Saint Mihiel possess the original manuscripts of the Memoirs
of Cardinal Retz. They have had them printed and are selling them at
Nancy; but in this copy there are many omissions. A lady at Paris,
Madame Caumartin, has a copy in which there is not a word deficient; but
she obstinately refused to lend it that the others may be made complete.
When an Ambassador would make his entry at Paris he has himself announced
some days before by the officers whose duty it is to introduce
Ambassadors, in order that the usual compliments may be paid him. To
royal Ambassadors a chevalier d'honneur is sent, to those from Venice or
Holland the first equerry, and when he is absent or unwell the chief
Maitre d'Hotel, who is also sent to the Ambassador from Malta.
The English ladies are said to be much given to running away with their
lovers. I knew a Count von Konigsmark, whom a young English lady
followed in the dress of a page. He had her with him at Chambord, and,
as there was no room for her in the castle, he lodged her under a tent
which he had put up in the forest. When we were at the chase one day he
told me this adventure. As I had a great curiosity to see her, I rode
towards the tent, and never in my life did I see anything prettier than
this girl in the habit of a page. She had large and beautiful eyes, a
charming little nose, and an elegant mouth and teeth. She smiled when
she saw me, for she suspected that the Count had told me the whole story.
Her hair was a beautiful chestnut colour, and hung about her neck in
large curls. After their departure from Chambord, while they were at an
inn upon their way to Italy, the innkeeper's wife ran to the Count,
crying, "Sir, make haste upstairs, for your page is lying-in." She was
delivered of a girl, and the mother and child were soon afterwards placed
in a convent near Paris. While the Count lived he took great care of
her, but he died in the Morea, and his pretended page did not long
survive him; she displayed great piety in the hour of death. A friend of
the Count's, and a nephew of Madame de Montespan, took care of the child,
and after his death the King gave the little creature a pension. I
believe she is still (1717) in the convent.
The Abbe Perrault founded an annual funeral oration for the Prince de
Conde in the Jesuits' Church, where his heart is deposited. I shall not
upon this occasion call to mind his victories, his courage in war, or his
timidity at Court; these are things well known throughout France.
A gentleman of my acquaintance at Paris heard a learned Abbe, who was in
the confidence of Descartes, say that the philosopher used often to laugh
at his own system, and said, "I have cut them out some work: we shall see
who will be fools enough to undertake it."
That old Beauvais, the Queen-mother's first femme de chambre, was
acquainted with the secret of her marriage, and this obliged the Queen to
put up with whatever the confidante chose to do. From this circumstance
has arisen that custom which gives femmes de chambre so much authority in
our apartments. The Queen-mother, the widow of Louis XIII., not
contented with loving Cardinal Mazarin, went the absurd length of
marrying him. He was not a priest, and therefore was not prevented by
his orders from contracting matrimony. He soon, however, got very tired
of the poor Queen, and treated her dreadfully ill, which is the ordinary
result in such marriages. But it is the vice of the times to contract
clandestine marriages. The Queen-mother of England, the widow of Charles
II., made such an one in marrying her chevalier d'honneur, who behaved
very ill to her; while the poor Queen was in want of food and fuel, he
had a good fire in his apartment, and was giving great dinners. He
called himself Lord Germain, Earl of St. Albans; he never addressed a
kind expression to the Queen. As to the Queen-mother's marriage, all the
circumstances relating to it are now well enough known. The secret
passage by which he went nightly to the Palais Royal may still be seen;
when she used to visit him, he was in the habit of saying, "what does
this woman want with me?" He was in love with a lady of the Queen's
suite, whom I knew very well: she had apartments in the Palais Royal, and
was called Madame de Bregie. As she was very pretty, she excited a good
deal of passion; but she was a very honest lady, who served the Queen
with great fidelity, and was the cause of the Cardinal's living upon
better terms with the Queen than before. She had very good sense.
Monsieur loved her for her fidelity to the Queen his mother. She has
been dead now four-and-twenty years (1717).
The Princesse de Deux Ponts has recently furnished another instance of
the misfortune which usually attends the secret marriages of ladies of
high birth. She married her equerry, was very ill-treated by him, and
led a very miserable life; but she deserved all she met with and I
foresaw it. She was with me at the Opera once, and insisted at all
events that her equerry should sit behind her. "For God's sake," I said
to her, "be quiet, and give yourself no trouble about this Gerstorf; you
do not know the manners of this country; when folks perceive you are so
anxious about that man, they will think you are in love with him." I did
not know then how near this was to the truth. She replied, "Do people,
then, in this country take no care of their servants?"--"Oh, yes,"
I said, "they request some of their friends to carry them to the Opera,
but they do not go with them."
M. Pentenrieder is a perfect gentleman, extremely well-bred, totally
divested of the vile Austrian manners, and speaks good German instead of
the jargon of Austria. While he was staying here, the Fair of Saint-
Germain commenced; a giant, who came to Paris for the purpose of
exhibiting himself, having accidentally met M. Pentenrieder, said as soon
as he saw him, "It's all over with me: I shall not go into the fair; for
who will give money to see me while this man shows himself for nothing?"
and he really went away. M. Pentenrieder pleased everybody. Count
Zinzendorf, who succeeded him, did not resemble him at all, but was a
perfect Austrian in his manners and his language.
I have heard that it was from the excitement of insulted honour that
Ravaillac was induced to murder Henri IV.; for that the King had seduced
his sister, and had abandoned her during her pregnancy: the brother then
swore he would be avenged on the King. Some persons even accuse the Duc
d'Epernon, who was seated in the coach in such a manner that he might
have warded off the blow, but he is said to have drawn back and given the
assassin an opportunity to strike.
When I first came to France I found in it such an assemblage of talent as
occurs but in few ages. There was Lulli in music; Beauchamp in ballets;
Corneille and Racine in tragedy; Moliere in comedy; La Chamelle and La
Beauval, actresses; and Baron, Lafleur, Toriliere, and Guerin, actors.
Each of these persons was excellent in his way. La Ducloa and La Raisin
were also very good; the charms of the latter had even penetrated the
thick heart of our Dauphin, who loved her very tenderly: her husband was
excellent in comic parts. There was also a very good harlequin, and as
good a scaramouch. Among the best performers at the Opera were Clediere,
Pomereuil, Godenarche, Dumenil, La Rochechouard, Maury, La Saint
Christophe, La Brigogne, La Beaucreux. All that we see and hear now do
not equal them.
That which pleased me most in Beauvernois' life is the answer he made to
the Prince of Vaudemont. When he was fleeing, and had arrived at
Brussels, he gave himself out for a Prince of Lorraine. M. de Vaudemont
sent for him, and, upon seeing him, said,--"I know all the Princes of
Lorraine, but I do not know you."--"I assure you, sir," replied
Beauvernois, "that I am as much a Prince of Lorraine as you are."
I like that Mercy who tricked his master, the Duc de Lorraine. When he
reached Nancy he requested the Duke to recruit three regiments, which he
said should be his own. The Duke did recruit them, fully persuaded they
were to be his; but when the companies were filled, Mercy begged the
Emperor to give them to him, and he actually obtained them; so that the
Duke had not the appointment of a single officer.
The poor Duchess of Mecklenbourg, the wife of Christian Louis, was a very
good woman when one was thoroughly acquainted with her. She told me the
whole history of her intrigue with Bernstorff. She regulated her
household very well, and had always two carriages. She did not affect
the splendour of a sovereign; but she kept up her rank better than the
other Duchesses, and I liked her the better for this. The husband,
Christian Louis of Mecklenbourg, was a notable fool. He one day demanded
an audience of the King, under the pretence of having something of
importance to say to him. Louis XIV. was then more than forty years old.
When the Duke found himself in the King's presence, he said to him,
"Sire, you seem to me to have grown." The King laughed, and said,
"Monsieur, I am past the age of growing."--"Sire," rejoined the Duke,
"do you know everybody says I am very much like you, and quite as good-
looking as you are?"--"That is very probable," said the King, still
laughing. The audience was then finished, and the Duke went away. This
fool could never engage his brother-in-law's favour, for M. de Luxembourg
had no regard for him.
When the Queen had the government of the country, all the females of the
Court, even to the very servants, became intriguers. They say it was the
most ridiculous thing in the world to see the eagerness with which women
meddled with the Queen-mother's regency. At the commencement she knew
nothing at all. She made a present to her first femme de chambre of five
large farms, upon which the whole Court subsisted. When she went to the
Council to propose the affair, everybody laughed, and she was asked how
she proposed to live. She was quite astonished when the thing was
explained to her, for she thought she had only given away five ordinary
farms. This anecdote is very true and was related to me by the old
Chancellor Le Tellier, who was present at the Council. She is said often
to have laughed as she confessed her ignorance. Many other things of a
similar nature happened during the regency.
There is a Bishop of a noble family, tolerably young but very ugly, who
was at first so devout that he thought of entering La Trappe; he wore his
hair combed down straight, and dared not look a woman in the face.
Having learned that in the city where he held his see there was a frail
fair one, whose gallantries had become notorious, he felt a great desire
to convert her and to make her come to the confessional. She was, it is
said, a very pretty woman, and had, moreover, a great deal of wit.
No sooner had the Bishop began to visit than he began to pay attention to
his hair: first he powdered it, and then he had it dressed. At length he
swallowed the bait so completely, that he neither quitted the fair siren
by night nor by day. His clergy ventured to exhort him to put an end to
this scandal, but he replied that, if they did not cease their
remonstrances, he would find means of making them. At length he even
rode through the city in his carriage with his fair penitent.
The people became so enraged at this that they pelted him with stones.
His relations repaired to his diocese for the purpose of exhorting him in
their turn, but he would only receive his mother, and would not even
follow her advice. His relations then applied to the Regent to summon
the lady to Paris. She came, but her lover followed and recovered her;
at length she was torn from him by a lettre-de-cachet, and taken from his
arms to a house of correction. The Bishop is in a great rage, and
declares that he will never forgive his family for the affront which has
been put upon him (1718).
The Queen-mother is said to have eaten four times a day in a frightful
manner, and this practice is supposed to have brought on that cancer in
the breast, which she sought to conceal by strong Spanish perfumes, and
of which she died.
Those female branches of the French Royal Family, who are called Enfants
de France, all bear the title of Madame. For this reason it is that in
the brevets they are called Madame la Duchesse de Berri; Madame la
Duchesse d'Orleans; but in conversation they are called the Duchesse de
Berri, the Duchesse d'Orleans; or, rather, one should say, Madame de
Berri will have it so with respect to herself. The title of Duchesse
d'Orleans belongs to Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, as granddaughter.
Such is the custom prevalent here. The brother and the sister-in-law of
the King are called simply Monsieur and Madame, and these titles are also
contained in my brevets; but I suffer myself to be called commonly Madame
la Duchesse d'Orleans. Madame de Berri will be called Madame la Duchess
de Berri, because, being only an Enfant de France of the third descent,
she has need of that title to set off her relationship. There is nothing
to be said for this: if there were any unmarried daughters of the late
King, each would be called Madame, with the addition of their baptismal
It seems that Queen Mary of England was something of a coquette in
Holland. Comte d'Avaux, the French Ambassador, told me himself that he
had had a secret interview with her at the apartments of one of the
Queen's Maids of Honour, Madame Treslane. The Prince of Orange, becoming
acquainted with the affair, dismissed the young lady, but invented some
other pretext that the real cause might not be known.
Three footmen had a quarrel together; two of them refused to admit the
third to their table, saying, "as he and his master only serve a
president's wife, he cannot presume to compare himself with us, who serve
Princesses and Duchesses." The rejected footman called another fellow to
his aid, and a violent squabble ensued. The commissaire was called: he
found that they served three brothers, the sons of a rich merchant at
Rouen; two of them had bought companies in the French Guards; one of the
two had an intrigue with the wife of Duc d'Abret, and the other with the
Duchesse de Luxembourg, while the third was only engaged with the wife of
a president. The two former were called Colande and Maigremont; and, as
at the same time the Duc d'Abret, the son of the Duc de Bouillon, was in
love with the lady of the President Savari.
The Envoy from Holstein, M. Dumont, was very much attached to Madame de
La Rochefoucauld, one of Madame de Berri's 'dames du palais'. She was
very pretty, but gifted with no other than personal charms. Some one was
joking her on this subject, and insinuated that she had treated her lover
very favourably. "Oh! no," she replied, "that is impossible, I assure
you, entirely impossible." When she was urged to say what constituted
the impossibility, she replied, "If I tell, you will immediately agree
with me that it is quite impossible." Being pressed still further, she
said, with a very serious air, "Because he is a Protestant!"
When the marriage of Monsieur was declared, he said to Saint-Remi, "Did
you know that I was married to the Princesse de Lorraine?"--
"No, Monsieur," replied the latter; "I knew very well that you lived with
her, but I did not think you would have married her."
Queen Marie de Medicis, the wife of Henri IV., was one day walking at the
Tuileries with her son, the Dauphin, when the King's mistress came into
the garden, having also her son with her. The mistress said very,
insolently, to the Queen, "There are our two Dauphins walking together,
but mine is a fairer one than yours" The Queen gave her a smart box on
the ear, and said at the same time, "Let this impertinent woman be taken
away." The mistress ran instantly to Henri IV. to complain, but the
King, having heard her story, said, "This is your own fault; why did you
not speak to the Queen with the respect which you owe to her?"
Madame de Fiennes, who in her youth had been about the Queen-mother, used
always to say to the late Monsieur, "The Queen, your mother, was a very
silly woman; rest her soul!" My aunt, the Abbess of Maubuisson, told me
that she saw at the Queen's a man who was called "the repairer of the
Queen's face;" that Princess, as well as all the ladies of the Court,
wore great quantities of paint.
On account of the great services which the House of Arpajon in France had
rendered to the Order of Malta, a privilege was formerly granted that the
second son of that family, should at his birth become a Knight of the
Order without the necessity of any proof or any inquiry as to his mother.
The Czar Peter I. is not mad; he has sense enough, and if he had not
unfortunately been so brutally educated he would have made a good prince.
The way in which he behaved to his Czarowitz (Alexis) is horrible. He
gave his word that he would do him no injury, and afterwards poisoned him
by means of the Sacrament. This is so impious and abominable that I can
never forgive him for it (1719).
The last Duc d'Ossuna had, it is said, a very beautiful, but at the same
time a passionate and jealous wife. Having learnt that her husband had
chosen a very fine stuff for the dress of his mistress, an actress, she
went to the merchant and procured it of him. He, thinking it was
intended for her, made no scruple of delivering it to her. After it was
made up she put it on, and, showing it to her husband, said, "Do not you
think it is very beautiful?" The husband, angry at the trick, replied,
"Yes, the stuff is very beautiful, but it is put to an unworthy use."
"That is what everybody says of me," retorted the Duchess.
At Fontainebleau in the Queen's cabinet may be seen the portrait of La
Belle Terronniere, who was so much beloved by Francois I., and who was
the unwitting cause of his death.
I have often walked at night in the gallery at Fontainebleau where the
King's ghost is said to appear, but the good Francois I. never did me
the honour to show himself. Perhaps it was because he thought my prayers
were not efficacious enough to draw him from purgatory, and in this I
think he was quite right.
King James II. died with great firmness and resolution, and without any
bigotry; that is to say, very differently from the manner in which he had
lived. I saw and spoke to him four-and-twenty hours before his death.
"I hope," I said, "soon to hear of your Majesty's getting better." He
smiled and said, "If I should die, shall I not have lived long enough?"
I hardly know how to rejoice at the accession of our Prince George to the
Throne of England, for I have no confidence in the English people. I
remember still too well the fine speeches which were made here not long
ago by Lord Peterborough. I would rather that our Elector was Emperor of
Germany, and I wish that the King who is here (James II.) was again in
possession of England, because the kingdom belongs to him. I fear that
the inconstancy of the English will in the end produce some scheme which
may be injurious to us. Perhaps there was never in any nation a King who
had been crowned with more eclat, or tumultuous joy than James II.; and
yet the same nation since persecuted him in the most pitiless manner, and
has so tormented his innocent son that he can scarcely find an asylum
after all his heavy misfortunes.
[The Duchesse D'Orleans was, by the mother's side, granddaughter of
James I, which explains the interest she took in the fate of the
If the English were to be trusted I should say that it is fortunate the
Parliaments are in favour of George; but the more one reads the history
of English Revolutions, the more one is compelled to remark the eternal
hatred which the people of that nation have had towards their Kings, as
well as their fickleness (1714).
Have I not reason to fear on George's account since he has been made King
of England, and knowing as I do the desire he had to be King of another
country? I know the accursed English too well to trust them. May God
protect their Majesties the Princes, and all the family, but I confess I
fear for them greatly (1715).
The poor Princess of Wales
[Wilhelmina-Dorothea-Charlotte, daughter of John Frederick, Margrave
of Anspach, born in 1682, married to the Prince of Wales in 1706.
The particulars of the quarrel between George I. and his son, the
Prince of Wales, will be found in Cose's "Memoirs of Sir Robert
has caused me great uneasiness since her letter of the 3rd (15th) of
February (1718). She has implored the King's pardon as one implores the
pardon of God, but without success. I know nothing about it, but dread
lest the Prince should partake his mother's disgrace. I think, however,
since the King has declared the Prince to be his son, he should treat him
as such, and not act so haughtily against the Princess, who has never
offended him, but has always treated him with the respect due to a
father. Nothing good can result from the present state of affairs; and
the King had better put an end to a quarrel which gives occasion to a
thousand impertinences, and revives awkward stories which were better
The King of England has returned to London in good health (1719). The
Prince of Wales causes me great anxiety. He thought he should do well to
send one of his gentlemen to his father, to assure him in most submissive
terms of the joy he felt at his happy return. The King not only would
not receive the letter, but he sent back the gentleman with a very harsh
rebuke, revoking at the same time the permission, which before his
journey he had given to the Prince of Wales, to see his daughter, whom
the Prince loves very tenderly; this really seems too severe. It may be
said that the King is rather descended from the race of the Czar than
from that of Brunswick and the Palatinate. Such conduct can do him no
M. d'Entremont, the last Ambassador from Sicily, was upon the point of
departing, and had already had his farewell audience, when some
circumstance happened which compelled him to stay some time longer.
He found himself without a lodging, for his hotel had been already let.
A lady seeing the embarrassment in which Madame d'Entremont was thus
placed, said to her, "Madame, I have pleasure in offering you my house,
my own room, and my own bed." The Ambassador's lady not knowing what to
do, accepted the offer with great readiness. She went to the lady's
house, and as she is old and in ill health, she went to bed immediately.
Towards midnight she heard a noise like that of some person opening a
secret door. In fact, a door in the wall by the bedside was opened.
Some one entered, and began to undress. The lady called out, "Who is
there?" A voice replied, "It is I; be quiet." "Who are you?" asked the
lady. "What is the matter with you?" was the reply. "You were not wont
to be so particular. I am undressing, and shall come to bed directly."
At these words the lady cried out, "Thieves!" with all her might, and the
unknown person dressed himself quickly, and withdrew.
When the Electoral Prince of Saxony came hither, he addressed a pretty
compliment to the King, which we all thought was his own, and we
therefore conceived a very favourable notion of his parts. He did not,
however, keep up that good opinion, and probably the compliment was made
for him by the Elector-Palatine. The King desired the Duchesse de Berri
to show him about Marly. He walked with her for an hour without ever
offering her his arm or saying one word to her. While they were
ascending a small hill, the Palatine, his Governor, nodded to him; and as
the Prince did not understand what he meant, he was at length obliged to
say to him, "Offer your arm to the Duchesse de Berri." The Prince
obeyed, but without saying a word. When they reached the summit, "Here,"
said the Duchesse de Berri, "is a nice place for blindman's buff." Then,
for the first time, he opened his mouth, and said, "Oh, yes; I am very
willing to play." Madame de Berri was too much fatigued to play; but the
Prince continued amusing himself the whole day without offering the least
civility to the Duchess, who had taken such pains for him. This will
serve to show how puerile the Prince is.
We have had here several good repartees of Duke Bernard von Weimar.
One day a young Frenchman asked him, "How happened it that you lost the
battle?"--"I will tell you, sir," replied the Duke, coolly; "I thought I
should win it, and so I lost it. But," he said, turning himself slowly
round, "who is the fool that asked me this question?"
Father Joseph was in great favour with Cardinal Richelieu, and was
consulted by him on all occasions. One day, when the Cardinal had
summoned Duke Bernard to the Council, Father Joseph, running his finger
over a map, said, "Monsieur, you must first take this city; then that,
and then that." The Duke Bernard listened to him for some time, and at
length said, "But, Monsieur Joseph, you cannot take cities with your
finger." This story always made the King laugh heartily.
M. de Brancas was very deeply in love with the lady whom he married. On
his wedding-day he went to take a bath, and was afterwards going to bed
at the bath-house. "Why are you going to bed here, sir?" said his valet
de chambre; "do you not mean to go to your wife?"--"I had quite
forgotten," he replied. He was the Queen-mother's chevalier d'honneur.
One day, while she was at church, Brancas forgot that the Queen was
kneeling before him, for as her back was very round, her head could
hardly be seen when she hung it down. He took her for a prie-dieu, and
knelt down upon her, putting his elbows upon her shoulders. The Queen
was of course not a little surprised to find her chevalier d'honneur upon
her back, and all the bystanders were ready to die with laughing.
Dr. Chirac was once called to see a lady, and, while he was in her
bedchamber, he heard that the price of stock had considerably decreased.
As he happened to be a large holder of the Mississippi Bonds, he was
alarmed at the news; and being seated near the patient, whose pulse he
was feeling, he said with a deep sigh, "Ah, good God! they keep sinking,
sinking, sinking!" The poor sick lady hearing this, uttered a loud
shriek; the people ran to her immediately. "Ah," said she, "I shall die;
M. de Chirac has just said three times, as he felt my pulse, 'They keep
sinking!'" The Doctor recovered himself soon, and said, "You dream; your
pulse is very healthy, and you are very well. I was thinking of the
Mississippi stocks, upon which I lose my money, because their price
sinks." This explanation satisfied the sick lady.
The Duc de Sully was subject to frequent fits of abstraction. One day,
having dressed himself to go to church, he forgot nothing but his
breeches. This was in the winter; when he entered the church, he said,
"Mon Dieu, it is very cold to-day." The persons present said, "Not
colder than usual!"--"Then I am in a fever," he said. Some one suggested
that he had perhaps not dressed himself so warmly as usual, and, opening
his coat, the cause of his being cold was very apparent.
Our late King told me the following anecdote of Queen Christina of
Sweden: That Princess, instead of putting on a nightcap, wrapped her head
up in a napkin. One night she could not sleep, and ordered the musicians
to be brought into her bedroom; where, drawing the bed-curtains, she
could not be seen by the musicians, but could hear them at her ease. At
length, enchanted at a piece which they had just played, she abruptly
thrust her head beyond the curtains, and cried out, "Mort diable! but
they sing delightfully!" At this grotesque sight, the Italians, and
particularly the castrati, who are not the bravest men in the world, were
so frightened that they were obliged to stop short.
In the great gallery at Fontainebleau may still be seen the blood of the
man whom she caused to be assassinated; it was to prevent his disclosing
some secrets of which he was in possession that she deprived him of life.
He had, in fact, begun to chatter through jealousy of another person who
had gained the Queen's favour. Christina was very vindictive, and given
up to all kinds of debauchery.
Duke Frederick Augustus of Brunswick was delighted with Christina; he
said that he had never in his life met a woman who had so much wit, and
whose conversation was so truly diverting; he added that it was
impossible to be dull with her for a moment. I observed to him that the
Queen in her conversation frequently indulged in very filthy discussions.
"That is true," replied he, "but she conceals such things in so artful a
manner as to take from them all their disgusting features." She never
could be agreeable to women, for she despised them altogether.
Saint Francois de Sales, who founded the order of the Sisters of Saint
Mary, had in his youth been extremely intimate with the Marechal de
Villeroi, the father of the present Marshal. The old gentleman could
therefore never bring himself to call his old friend a saint. When any
one spoke in his presence of Saint Francois de Sales, he used to say, "I
was delighted when I saw M. de Sales become a saint; he used to delight
in talking indecently, and always cheated at play; but in every other
respect he was one of the best gentlemen in the world, and perhaps one of
the most foolish."
M. de Cosnac, Archbishop of Aix, was at a very advanced age when he
learnt that Saint Francois de Sales had been canonized. "What!"
cried he, "M. de Geneve, my old friend? I am delighted at his good
fortune; he was a gallant man, an amiable man, and an honest man,
too, although he would sometimes cheat at piquet, at which we have
often played together."--"But, sir," said some one present, "is it
possible that a saint could be a sharper at play?"--"No," replied
the Archbishop, "he said, as a reason for it, that he gave all his
winnings to the poor." [Loisirs d'un homme d'etat, et Dictionnaire
Historique, tom. vii. Paris, 1810.]
While Frederick Charles de Wurtemberg, the administrateur of that duchy,
was staying at Paris, the Princesse Marianne de Wurtemberg, Duke Ulric's
daughter, was there also with her mother. Expecting then to marry her
[The learned Journal of Gottengin for the year 1789, No. 30,
observes there must be some mistake here, because in 1689, when this
circumstance is supposed to have occurred, the administrateur had
been married seven years, and had children at Stuttgard.]
she had herself painted as Andromeda and her cousin as Perseus as the
latter wore no helmet, everybody could of course recognize him. But when
he went away without having married her, she had a casque painted, which
concealed the face, and said she would not have another face inserted
until she should be married. She was then about nineteen years old.
Her mother said once at Court, "My daughter has not come with me to-day
because she is gone to confess; but, poor child, what can she have to say
to her confessor, except that she has dropped some stitches in her work."
Madame de Fiennes, who was present, whispered, "The placid old fool!
as if a stout, healthy girl of nineteen had no other sins to confess
than having dropped some stitches."
A village pastor was examining his parishioners in their catechism. The
first question in the Heidelberg catechism is this: "What is thy only
consolation in life and in death?" A young girl, to whom the pastor put
this question, laughed, and would not answer. The priest insisted.
"Well, then," said she at length, "if I must tell you, it is the young
shoemaker who lives in the Rue Agneaux."
The late Madame de Nemours had charitably brought up a poor child.
When the child was about nine years old, she said to her benefactress,
"Madame, no one can be more grateful for your charity than I am, and I
cannot acknowledge it better than by telling everybody I am your
daughter; but do not be alarmed, I will not say that I am your lawful
child, only your illegitimate daughter."
The Memoirs of Queen Margaret of Navarre are merely a romance compared
with those of Mdlle. de La Force. The authoress's own life was a
romance. Being extremely poor, although of an ancient and honourable
family, she accepted the office of demoiselle d'honneur to the Duchesse
de Guise. Here the Marquis de Nesle, father of the present Marquis
(1720), became enamoured of her, after having received from her a small
bag to wear about his neck, as a remedy against the vapours. He would
have married her, but his relations opposed this intention on the score
of Mdlle. de La Force's poverty, and because she had improperly quitted
the Duchesse de Guise. The Great Conde, the Marquis de Nesle's nearest
relation, took him to Chattillon that he might forget his love for Mdlle.
de La Force; all the Marquis's relations were there assembled for the
purpose of declaring to him that they would never consent to his marriage
with Mdlle. de La Force; and he on his part told them that he would never
while he lived marry any other person. In a moment of despair, he rushed
out to the garden and would have thrown himself into the canal, but that
the strings, with which Mdlle. de La Force had tied the bag about his
neck, broke, and the bag fell at his feet. His thoughts appeared to
undergo a sudden change, and Mdlle. de La Force seemed to him to be as
ugly as she really is. He went instantly to the Prince and his other
relations who were there, and told them what had just happened. They
searched about in the garden for the bag and the strings, and, opening
it, they found it to contain two toads' feet holding a heart wrapped up
in a bat's wing, and round the whole a paper inscribed with
unintelligible cyphers. The Marquis was seized with horror at the sight.
He told me this story with his own mouth. Mdlle. de La Force after this
fell in love with Baron, but as he was not bewitched, the intrigue did
not last long: he used to give a very amusing account of the declaration
she made to him. Then a M. Briou, the son of a Councillor of that name,
became attached to her; his relations, who would by no means have
consented to such a marriage, shut the young man up. La Force, who has
a very fertile wit, engaged an itinerant musician who led about dancing
bears in the street, and intimated to her lover that, if he would express
a wish to see the bears dance in the courtyard of his, own house, she
would come to him disguised in a bear's skin. She procured a bear's skin
to be made so as to fit her, and went to M. Briou's house with the bears;
the young man, under the pretence of playing with this bear, had an
opportunity of conversing with her and of laying their future plans.
He then promised his father that he would submit to his will, and thus
having regained his liberty he immediately married Mdlle. de La Force,
and went with her to Versailles, where the King gave them apartments,
and where Madame de Briou was every day with the Dauphine of Bavaria,
who admired her wit and was delighted with her society. M. de Briou was
not then five-and-twenty years of age, a very good-looking and well-bred
young man. His father, however, procured a dissolution of the marriage
by the Parliament, and made him marry another person. Madame de Briou
thus became once more Mdlle. de La Force, and found herself without
husband and money. I cannot tell how it was that the King and her
parents, both of whom had consented to the marriage, did not oppose its
dissolution. To gain a subsistence she set about composing romances, and
as she was often staying with the Princesse de Conti, she dedicated to
her that of Queen Margaret.
We have had four Dukes who have bought coffee, stuffs, and even candles
for the purpose of selling them again at a profit. It was the Duke de La
Force who bought the candles. One evening, very recently, as he was
going out of the Opera, the staircase was filled with young men, one of
whom cried out, as he passed, "His purse!"--"No," said another, "there
can be no money in it; he would not risk it; it must be candles that he
has bought to sell again." They then sang the air of the fourth act of
[The Duke, together with certain other persons, made considerable
purchases of spice, porcelain, and other merchandizes, for the
purpose of realizing the hope of Law's Banks. As he was not held in
estimation either by the public or by the Parliament, the Duke was
accused of monopoly; and by a decree of the Parliament, in concert
with the Peers, he was enjoined "to use more circumspection for the
future, and to conduct himself irreproachably, in a manner as should
be consistent with his birth and his dignity as a Peer of France."]
The Queen Catherine (de Medicis) was a very wicked woman. Her uncle, the
Pope, had good reason for saying that he had made a bad present to
France. It is said that she poisoned her youngest son because he had
discovered her in a common brothel whither she had gone privately. Who
can wonder that such a woman should drink out of a cup covered with
designs from Aretino. The Pope had an object in sending her to France.
Her son was the Duc d'Alencon; and as they both remained incog. the world
did not know that they were mother and son, which occasioned frequent
The young Count Horn, who has just been executed here (1720), was
descended from a well-known Flemish family; he was distinguished at first
for the amiable qualities of his head and for his wit. At college he was
a model for good conduct, application, and purity of morals; but the
intimacy which he formed with some libertine young men during his stay at
the Academy of Paris entirely changed him. He contracted an insatiable
desire for play, and even his own father said to him, "You will die by
the hands of the executioner." Being destitute of money, the young Count
took up the trade of a pickpocket, which he carried on in the pit of the
theatres, and by which he made considerable gains in silver-hilted swords
and watches. At length, having lost a sum of five-and-twenty thousand
crowns at the fair of Saint-Germain, he was led to commit that crime
which he has just expiated on the scaffold. For the purpose of
discharging the debt he had contracted, he sent for a banker's clerk to
bring him certain bank bills, which he proposed to purchase. Having
connected himself with two other villains, he attacked the clerk as soon
as he arrived, and stabbed him with poniards which he had bought three
days before on the Pont Neuf. Hoping to conceal the share which he had
taken in this crime, he went immediately after its perpetration to the
Commissaire du Quartier, and told him, with a cool and determined air,
that he had been obliged, in his own defence, to kill the clerk, who had
attacked him and put him in danger of his life. The Commissaire looking
at him steadfastly, said, "You are covered with blood, but you are not
even wounded; I must retain you in custody until I can examine this
affair more minutely." At this moment the accomplice entered the room.
"Here, sir," said the Count to the Commissaire, "is one who can bear
testimony that the account I have given you of this business is perfectly
true." The accomplice was quite terrified at hearing this; he thought
that Count Horn had confessed his crime, and that there could be no
advantage in continuing to deny it; he therefore confessed all that had
taken place, and thus the murder was revealed. The Count was not more
than two-and-twenty years of age, and one of the handsomest men in Paris.
Some of the first persons in France solicited in his favour, but the Duke
Regent thought it necessary to make an example of him on account of the
prevalent excess of crime. Horn was publicly broken on the wheel with
his second accomplice; the other died just before: they were both
gentlemen and of noble families. When they arrived at the place of
punishment, they begged the people to implore the pardon of Heaven upon
their sins. The spectators were affected to tears, but they nevertheless
agreed in the just severity of their punishment. The people said aloud
after the execution, "Our Regent has done justice."
One lady was blaming another, her intimate friend, for loving a very
ugly man. The latter said, "Did he ever speak to you tenderly or
passionately?"--"No," replied the former. "Then you cannot judge," said
her friend, "whether I ought to love him or not."
Madame de Nemours used to say, "I have observed one thing in this
country, 'Honour grows again as well as hair.'"
An officer, a gentleman of talent, whose name was Hautmont, wrote the
following verses upon Cardinal Mazarin, for which he was locked up in the
Bastille for eighteen months:
Creusons tous le tombeau
A qui nous persecute;
A ce Jules nouveauu
Cherchons un nouveau Brute.
Que le jour serait beau,
Si nous voyions sa chute!
The Queen-mother could not endure Boisrobert on account of his impiety;
she did not like him to visit her sons, the King and Monsieur, in their
youth, but they were very fond of him because he used to amuse them.
When he was at the point of death, the Queen-mother sent some priests to
convert him and to prepare him for confession. Boisrobert appeared
inclined to confess. "Yes, mon Dieu," said he, devoutly joining his
hands, "I sincerely implore Thy pardon, and confess that I am a great
sinner, but thou knowest that the Abbe de Villargeau is a much greater
sinner than I am."
Cardinal Mazarin sent him once to compliment the English Ambassador on
his arrival. When he reached the hotel, an Englishman said to him,
"Milord, il est pret; my ladi, il n'est pas pret, friselire ses chevaux,
prendre patience." The late King used to relate stories of this same
Boisrobert in a very whimsical manner.
The life which folks lead at Paris becomes daily more scandalous; I
really tremble for the city every time it thunders. Three ladies of
quality have just committed a monstrous imprudence. They have been
running after the Turkish Ambassador; they made his son drunk and kept
him with them three days; if they go on in this way even the Capuchins
will not be safe from them. The Turks must needs have a very becoming
notion of the conduct of ladies of quality in a Christian country. The
young Turk is said to have told Madame de Polignac, who was one of the
three ladies, "Madame, your reputation has reached Constantinople, and I
see that report has only done you justice." The Ambassador, it is said,
is very much enraged with his son, and has enjoined him to keep his
adventure profoundly a secret, because he would risk the top of his head
on his return to Constantinople if it were known that he had associated
with Christian women. It is to be feared that the young man will get
safely out of France. Madame de Polignac has fleeced all the young men
of quality here. I do not know how her relations and those of her
husband choose to suffer her to lead so libertine a life. But all shame
is extinct in France, and everything is turned topsy-turvy.
It is very unfortunate that noblemen like the Elector-Palatine John
William should suffer themselves to be governed by the priesthood;
nothing but evil can result from it. He would do much better if he would
follow the advice of able statesmen, and throw his priest into the
Necker. I would advise him to do so, and I think I should advise him
I cannot conceive why the Duke Maximilian (brother of George I. of
[Prince Maximilian of Hanover, the second brother of George I., had,
after the death of his brother, Frederick Augustus, certain rights
over the Bishopric of Osnaburgh; love and his monks caused him to
embrace the catholic faith.]
changed his religion, for he had very little faith in general; none of
his relations solicited him to do so, and he was induced by no personal
I have heard a story of this Prince, which does him little honour. I
have been told that he complained to the Emperor of his mother, who bred
him tenderly, but who had not sent him eight thousand crowns which he had
asked her for. This is abominable, and he can hope for happiness neither
in this nor in the next world; I can never forgive him for it. The first
idea of this must have originated with Father Wolff, who has also excited
him against Prince Edward Augustus.--[Maximilian contested the Bishopric
of Osnaburgh with his younger brother.]--What angers me most with this
cursed monk is, that he will not suffer Duke Maximilian to have a single
nobleman about him; he will only allow him to be approached by beggars
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
But all shame is extinct in France
Exclaimed so long against high head-dresses
Honour grows again as well as hair
I thought I should win it, and so I lost it
If I should die, shall I not have lived long enough?
Only your illegitimate daughter
Original manuscripts of the Memoirs of Cardinal Retz
She never could be agreeable to women
Since becoming Queen she had not had a day of real happiness
Stout, healthy girl of nineteen had no other sins to confess
Subject to frequent fits of abstraction
Throw his priest into the Necker
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS FOR THE ENTIRE MEMOIRS OF LOUIS XIV. AND REGENCY:
A pious Capuchin explained her dream to her
Always has a fictitious malady in reserve
Art of satisfying people even while he reproved their requests
Asked the King a hundred questions, which is not the fashion
Bad company spoils good manners
Because the Queen has only the rinsings of the glass
But all shame is extinct in France
Duc de Grammont, then Ambassador, played the Confessor
Duplicity passes for wit, and frankness is looked upon as folly
Even doubt whether he believes in the existence of a God
Exclaimed so long against high head-dresses
Follies and superstitions as the rosaries and other things
Formerly the custom to swear horridly on all occasions
Frequent and excessive bathing have undermined her health
Great filthiness in the interior of their houses
Great things originated from the most insignificant trifles
He had good natural wit, but was extremely ignorant
He always slept in the Queen's bed
He was a good sort of man, notwithstanding his weaknesses
Her teeth were very ugly, being black and broken (Queen)
Honour grows again as well as hair
I thought I should win it, and so I lost it
I never take medicine but on urgent occasions
I wished the husband not to be informed of it
I have seldom been at a loss for something to laugh at
I am unquestionably very ugly
I had a mind, he said, to commit one sin, but not two
I formed a religion of my own
If I should die, shall I not have lived long enough?
It is an unfortunate thing for a man not to know himself
It was not permitted to argue with him
Jewels and decoration attract attention (to the ugly)
Like will to like
Louis XIV. scarcely knew how to read and write
Made his mistresses treat her with all becoming respect
My husband proposed separate beds
No man more ignorant of religion than the King was
Nobility becoming poor could not afford to buy the high offices
Not lawful to investigate in matters of religion
Only your illegitimate daughter
Original manuscripts of the Memoirs of Cardinal Retz
Provided they are talked of, they are satisfied
Robes battantes for the purpose of concealing her pregnancy
Seeing myself look as ugly as I really am (in a mirror)
She never could be agreeable to women
Since becoming Queen she had not had a day of real happiness
So great a fear of hell had been instilled into the King
Soon tired of war, and wishing to return home (Louis XIV)
Stout, healthy girl of nineteen had no other sins to confess
Subject to frequent fits of abstraction
That what he called love was mere debauchery
The old woman (Madame Maintenon)
Throw his priest into the Necker
To tell the truth, I was never very fond of having children
To die is the least event of my life (Maintenon)
You never look in a mirror when you pass it
You are a King; you weep, and yet I go
MEMOIRS OF LOUIS XIV AND HIS COURT AND OF THE REGENCY
BY THE DUKE OF SAINT-SIMON
CONTENTS OF THE 15 VOLUMES
Birth and Family.--Early Life.--Desire to join the Army.--Enter the
Musketeers.--The Campaign Commences.--Camp of Gevries.--Siege of Namur.
--Dreadful Weather.--Gentlemen Carrying Corn.--Sufferings during the
Siege.--The Monks of Marlaigne.--Rival Couriers.--Naval Battle.--
Playing with Fire-arms.--A Prediction Verified.
The King's Natural Children.--Proposed Marriage of the Duc de Chartres.--
Influence of Dubois.--The Duke and the King.--An Apartment.--Announcement
of the Marriage.--Anger of Madame.--Household of the Duchess.--Villars
and Rochefort.--Friend of King's Mistresses.--The Marriage Ceremony.--
Toilette of the Duchess.--Son of Montbron.--Marriage of M. du Maine.--
Duchess of Hanover.--Duc de Choiseul.--La Grande Mademoiselle.
Death of My Father.--Anecdotes of Louis XIII.--The Cardinal de
Richelieu.--The Duc de Bellegarde.--Madame de Hautefort.--My Father's
Enemy.--His Services and Reward.--A Duel against Law.--An Answer to a
Libel.--M. de la Rochefoucauld.--My Father's Gratitude to Louis XIII.
Position of the Prince of Orange.--Strange Conduct of the King.--Surprise
and Indignation.--Battle of Neerwinden.--My Return to Paris.--Death of La
Vauguyon.--Symptoms of Madness.--Vauguyon at the Bastille.--Projects of
Marriage.--M. de Beauvilliers.--A Negotiation for a Wife.--My Failure.--
Visit to La Trappe.
M. de Luxemhourg's Claim of Precedence.--Origin of the Claim.--Duc de
Piney.--Character of Harlay.--Progress of the Trial.--Luxembourg and
Richelieu.--Double-dealing of Harlay.--The Duc de Gesvres.--Return to the
Seat of War.--Divers Operations.--Origin of These Memoirs.
Quarrels of the Princesses.--Mademoiselle Choin.--A Disgraceful Affair.--
M. de Noyon.--Comic Scene at the Academie.--Anger and Forgiveness of
M. de Noyon.--M. de Noailles in Disgrace.--How He Gets into Favour Again.
--M. de Vendome in Command.--Character of M. de Luxembourg.-- The Trial
for Precedence Again.--An Insolent Lawyer.--Extraordinary Decree.
Harlay and the Dutch.--Death of the Princess of Orange.--Count
Koenigsmarck.--A New Proposal of Marriage.--My Marriage.--That of M. de
Lauzun.--Its Result.--La Fontaine and Mignard.--Illness of the Marechal
de Lorges.--Operations on the Rhine.--Village of Seckenheim.--An Episode
of War.--Cowardice of M. du Maine.--Despair of the King, Who Takes a
Knave in the Act.--Bon Mot of M. d'Elboeuf.
The Abbe de Fenelon.--The Jansenists and St. Sulpice.--Alliance with
Madame Guyon.--Preceptor of the Royal Children.--Acquaintance with Madame
de Maintenon.--Appointment to Cambrai.--Disclosure of Madame Guyon's
Doctrines.--Her Disgrace.--Bossuet and Fenelon.--Two Rival Books.--
Disgrace of Fenelon.
Death of Archbishop Harlay.--Scene at Conflans.--"The Good Langres."--
A Scene at Marly.--Princesses Smoke Pipes!--Fortunes of Cavoye.--
Mademoiselle de Coetlogon.--Madame de Guise.--Madame de Miramion.--Madame
de Sevigne.--Father Seraphin.--An Angry Bishop.--Death of La Bruyere.--
Burglary by a Duke.--Proposed Marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne.--The
Duchesse de Lude.--A Dangerous Lady.--Madame d'O.--Arrival of the
Duchesse de Bourgogne.
My Return to Fontainebleau.--A Calumny at Court.--Portrait of M. de La
Trappe.--A False Painter.--Fast Living at the "Desert."--Comte
d'Auvergne.--Perfidy of Harlay.--M. de Monaco.--Madame Panache.--The
Italian Actor and the "False Prude".
A Scientific Retreat.--The Peace of Ryswick.--Prince of Conti King of
Poland.--His Voyage and Reception.--King of England Acknowledged.--Duc de
Conde in Burgundy.--Strange Death of Santeuil.--Duties of the Prince of
Darmstadt in Spain.--Madame de Maintenon's Brother.--Extravagant Dresses.
Marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne.--The Bedding of the Princesse.--Grand
Balls.--A Scandalous Bird.
An Odd Marriage.--Black Daughter of the King.--Travels of Peter the
Great.--Magnificent English Ambassador.--The Prince of Parma.--
A Dissolute Abbe.--Orondat.--Dispute about Mourning.--M. de Cambrai's
Book Condemned by M. de La Trappe.--Anecdote of the Head of Madame de
Montbazon.--Condemnation of Fenelon by the Pope.--His Submission.
Charnace.--An Odd Ejectment.--A Squabble at Cards.--Birth of My Son.--
The Camp at Compiegne.--Splendour of Marechal Boufflers.--Pique of the
Ambassadors.--Tesse's Grey Hat.--A Sham Siege.--A Singular Scene.--
The King and Madame de Maintenon.--An Astonished Officer.--
Breaking-up of the Camp.
Gervaise Monk of La Trappe.----His Disgusting Profligacy.--The Author of
the Lord's Prayer.--A Struggle for Precedence.--Madame de Saint-Simon.--
The End of the Quarrel.--Death of the Chevalier de Coislin.--A Ludicrous
Incident.--Death of Racine.--The King and the Poet.--King Pays Debts of
Courtiers.--Impudence of M. de Vendome.--A Mysterious Murder.--
The Farrier of Salon.--Apparition of a Queen.--The Farrier Comes to
Versailles.--Revelations to the Queen.--Supposed Explanation.--
New Distinctions to the Bastards.--New Statue of the King.--
Disappointment of Harlay.--Honesty of Chamillart.--The Comtesse de
Fiesque.--Daughter of Jacquier.--Impudence of Saumery.--Amusing Scene.--
Reform at Court.--Cardinal Delfini.--Pride of M. de Monaco.--Early Life
of Madame de Maintenon.--Madame de Navailles.--Balls at Marly.--An Odd
Mask.--Great Dancing--Fortunes of Langlee.--His Coarseness.--The Abbe de
Soubise.--Intrigues for His Promotion.--Disgrace and Obstinacy of
Cardinal de Bouillon.
A Marriage Bargain.--Mademoiselle de Mailly.--James II.--Begging
Champagne.--A Duel.--Death of Le Notre.--His Character.--History of
Vassor.--Comtesse de Verrue and Her Romance with M. de Savoie.--A Race of
Dwarfs.--An Indecorous Incident.--Death of M. de La Trappe.
Settlement of the Spanish Succession.--King William III.--New Party in
Spain.--Their Attack on the Queen.--Perplexity of the King.--His Will.--
Scene at the Palace.--News Sent to France.--Council at Madame de
Maintenon's.--The King's Decision.--A Public Declaration.--Treatment of
the New King.--His Departure for Spain.--Reflections.--Philip V. Arrives
in Spain.--The Queen Dowager Banished.
Marriage of Phillip V.--The Queen's Journey.--Rival Dishes.--
A Delicate Quarrel.--The King's journey to Italy.--The Intrigues against
Catinat.--Vaudemont s Success.--Appointment of Villeroy.--The First
Campaign.--A Snuffbox.--Prince Eugene's Plan.--Attack and Defence of
Cremona.--Villeroy Made Prisoner.--Appointment of M. de Vendome.
Discontent and Death of Barbezieux.--His Character.--Elevation of
Chamillart.--Strange Reasons of His Success.--Death of Rose.--Anecdotes.
--An Invasion of Foxes.--M. le Prince.--A Horse upon Roses.--Marriage of
His Daughter: His Manners and Appearance
Monseigneur's Indigestion.--The King Disturbed.--The Ladies of the
Halle.--Quarrel of the King and His Brother.--Mutual Reproaches.--
Monsieur's Confessors.--A New Scene of Wrangling.--Monsieur at Table.--
He Is Seized with Apoplexy.--The News Carried to Marly.--How Received by
the King.--Death of Monsieur.--Various Forms of Grief.--The Duc de
The Dead Soon Forgotten.--Feelings of Madame de Maintenon.--And of the
Duc de Chartres.--Of the Courtiers.--Madame's Mode of Life.--Character of
Monsieur.--Anecdote of M. le Prince.--Strange Interview of Madame de
Maintenon with Madame.--Mourning at Court.--Death of Henriette
d'Angleterre.--A Poisoning Scene.--The King and the Accomplice.
Scandalous Adventure of the Abbesse de la Joye.--Anecdote of Madame de
Saint-Herem.--Death of James II. and Recognition of His Son.--Alliance
against France.--Scene at St. Maur.--Balls and Plays.--The "Electra" of
Longepierre--Romantic Adventures of the Abbe de Vatterville.
Changes in the Army.--I Leave the Service.--Annoyance of the King.--The
Medallic History of the Reign.--Louis XIII.--Death of William III.--
Accession of Queen Anne.--The Alliance Continued.--Anecdotes of Catinat.
--Madame de Maintenon and the King.
Anecdote of Canaples.--Death of the Duc de Coislin.--Anecdotes of His
Unbearable Politeness.--Eccentric Character.--President de Novion.--
Death of M. de Lorges.--Death of the Duchesse de Gesvres.
The Prince d'Harcourt.--His Character and That of His Wife.--Odd Court
Lady.--She Cheats at Play.--Scene at Fontainebleau.--Crackers at Marly.--
Snowballing a Princess.--Strange Manners of Madame d'Harcourt.--
Rebellion among Her Servants.--A Vigorous Chambermaid.
Madame des Ursins.--Her Marriage and Character.--The Queen of Spain.--
Ambition of Madame de Maintenon.--Coronation of Philip V.--A Cardinal
Made Colonel.--Favourites of Madame des Ursins.--Her Complete Triumph.--
A Mistake.--A Despatch Violated.--Madame des Ursins in Disgrace.
Appointment of the Duke of Berwick.--Deception Practised by Orry.--Anger
of Louis XIV.--Dismissal of Madame des Ursins.--Her Intrigues to Return.
--Annoyance of the King and Queen of Spain.--Intrigues at Versailles.--
Triumphant Return of Madame des Ursins to Court.--Baseness of the
Courtiers.--Her Return to Spain Resolved On.
An Honest Courtier.--Robbery of Courtin and Fieubet.--An Important
Affair.--My Interview with the King.--His Jealousy of His Authority.--
Madame La Queue, the King's Daughter.--Battle of Blenheim or Hochstedt.--
Our Defeat.--Effect of the News on the King.--Public Grief and Public
Rejoicing.--Death of My Friend Montfort.
Naval Battle of Malaga.--Danger of Gibraltar.--Duke of Mantua in Search
of a Wife.--Duchesse de Lesdiguieres.--Strange Intrigues.--Mademoiselle
d'Elboeuf Carries off the Prize.--A Curious Marriage.--Its Result.--
History of a Conversion to Catholicism.--Attempted Assassination. --
Fascination of the Duchesse de Bourgogne.--Fortunes of Nangis.--He Is
Loved by the Duchesse and Her Dame d'Atours.--Discretion of the Court.--
Maulevrier.--His Courtship of the Duchess.--Singular Trick.--Its Strange
Success.--Mad Conduct of Maulevrier--He Is Sent to Spain.--His Adventures
There.--His Return and Tragical Catastrophe.
Death of M. de Duras.--Selfishness of the King.--Anecdote of Puysieux.--
Character of Pontchartrain.--Why He Ruined the French Fleet.--Madame des
Ursins at Last Resolves to Return to Spain.--Favours Heaped upon Her.--
M. de Lauzun at the Army.--His bon mot.--Conduct of M. de Vendome.--
Disgrace and Character of the Grand Prieur.
A Hunting Adventure.--Story and Catastrophe of Fargues.--Death and
Character of Ninon de l'Enclos.--Odd Adventure of Courtenvaux.--Spies at
Court.--New Enlistment.--Wretched State of the Country.--Balls at Marly.
Arrival of Vendome at Court.--Character of That Disgusting Personage.--
Rise of Cardinal Alberoni.--Vendome's Reception at Marly.--His Unheard-of
Triumph.--His High Flight.--Returns to Italy.--Battle of Calcinato.--
Condition of the Army.--Pique of the Marechal de Villeroy.--Battle of
Abandonment of the Siege of Barcelona.--Affairs of Italy.--
La Feuillade.--Disastrous Rivalries.--Conduct of M. d'Orleans.--The Siege
of Turin.--Battle.--Victory of Prince Eugene.--Insubordination in the
Army.--Retreat.--M. d'Orleans Returns to Court.--Disgrace of La Feuillade
Measures of Economy.--Financial Embarrassments.--The King and
Chamillart.--Tax on Baptisms and Marriages.--Vauban's Patriotism.--
Its Punishment.--My Action with M. de Brissac.--I Appeal to the King.--
The Result.--I Gain My Action.
My Appointment as Ambassador to Rome.--How It Fell Through.--Anecdotes of
the Bishop of Orleans.--A Droll Song.--A Saint in Spite of Himself.--
Fashionable Crimes.--A Forged Genealogy.--Abduction of Beringhen.--
The 'Parvulos' of Meudon and Mademoiselle Choin.
Death and Last Days of Madame de Montespan.--Selfishness of the King.--
Death and Character of Madame de Nemours.--Neufchatel and Prussia.--
Campaign of Villars.--Naval Successes.--Inundations of the Loire.--Siege
of Toulon.--A Quarrel about News.--Quixotic Despatches of Tesse.
Precedence at the Communion Table.--The King Offended with Madame de
Torcy.--The King's Religion.--Atheists and Jansenists.--Project against
Scotland.--Preparations.--Failure.--The Chevalier de St. George.--His
Return to Court.
Death and Character of Brissac.--Brissac and the Court Ladies.--The
Duchesse de Bourgogne.--Scene at the Carp Basin.--King's Selfishness.--
The King Cuts Samuel Bernard's Purse.--A Vain Capitalist.--Story of Leon
and Florence the Actress.--His Loves with Mademoiselle de Roquelaure.--
Run--away Marriage.--Anger of Madame de Roquelaure.--A Furious Mother.--
Opinions of the Court.--A Mistake.--Interference of the King.--
Fate of the Couple .
The Duc d'Orleans in Spain.--Offends Madame des Ursins and Madame de
Maintenon.--Laziness of M. de Vendome in Flanders.--Battle of Oudenarde.
--Defeat and Disasters.--Difference of M. de Vendome and the Duc de
Conflicting Reports.--Attacks on the Duc de Bourgogne.--The Duchesse de
Bourgogne Acts against Vendome.--Weakness of the Duke.--Cunning of
Vendome.--The Siege of Lille.--Anxiety for a Battle.--Its Delay.--Conduct
of the King and Monseigneur.--A Picture of Royal Family Feeling.--Conduct
of the Marechal de Boufflers.
Equivocal Position of the Duc de Bourgogne.--His Weak Conduct.--
Concealment of a Battle from the King.--Return of the Duc de Bourgogne to
Court.--Incidents of His Reception.--Monseigneur.--Reception of the Duc
de Berry.--Behaviour of the Duc de Bourgogne.--Anecdotes of Gamaches.--
Return of Vendome to Court.--His Star Begins to Wane.--Contrast of
Boufflers and Vendome.--Chamillart's Project for Retaking Lille.--How It
Was Defeated by Madame de Maintenon.
Tremendous Cold in France.--Winters of 1708-1709--Financiers and the
Famine.--Interference of the Parliaments of Paris and Dijon.--Dreadful
Oppression.--Misery of the People.--New Taxes.--Forced Labour.--General
Ruin.--Increased Misfortunes.--Threatened Regicide.--Procession of Saint
Genevieve.--Offerings of Plate to the King.--Discontent of the People.--
A Bread Riot, How Appeased.
M. de Vendome out of Favour.--Death and Character of the Prince de
Conti.--Fall of Vendome.--Pursegur's Interview with the King.--Madame de
Bourgogne against Vendome.--Her Decided Conduct.--Vendome Excluded from
Marly.--He Clings to Meudon.--From Which He is also Expelled.--His Final
Disgrace and Abandonment.--Triumph of Madame de Maintenon.
Death of Pere La Chaise.--His Infirmities in Old Age.--Partiality of the
King.--Character of Pere La Chaise.--The Jesuits.--Choice of a New
Confessor.--Fagon's Opinion.--Destruction of Port Royal.--Jansenists and
Molinists.--Pascal.--Violent Oppression of the Inhabitants of Port Royal.
Death of D'Avaux.--A Quarrel about a Window.--Louvois and the King.--
Anecdote of Boisseuil.--Madame de Maintenon and M. de Beauvilliers.--
Harcourt Proposed for the Council.--His Disappointment.--Death of M. le
Prince.--His Character.--Treatment of His Wife.--His Love Adventures.--
His Madness.--A Confessor Brought.--Nobody Regrets Him.
Progress of the War.--Simplicity of Chamillart.--The Imperialists and the
Pope.--Spanish Affairs.--Duc d'Orleans and Madame des Ursins.--Arrest of
Flotte in Spain.--Discovery of the Intrigues of the Duc d'Orleans.--Cabal
against Him.--His Disgrace and Its Consequences.
Danger of Chamillart.--Witticism of D'Harcourt.--Faults of Chamillart.--
Court Intrigues against Him.--Behaviour of the Courtiers.--Influence of
Madame de Maintenon.--Dignified Fall of Chamillart.--He is Succeeded by
Voysin.--First Experience of the New Minister.--The Campaign in
Flanders.--Battle of Malplaquet.
Disgrace of the Duc d'Orleans.--I Endeavor to Separate Him from Madame
d'Argenton.--Extraordinary Reports.--My Various Colloquies with Him.--The
Separation.--Conduct of Madame d'Argenton.--Death and Character of M. le
Duc.--The After-suppers of the King.
Proposed Marriage of Mademoiselle.--My Intrigues to Bring It About.--The
Duchesse de Bourgogne and Other Allies.--The Attack Begun.--Progress of
the Intrigue.--Economy at Marly.--The Marriage Agreed Upon.--Scene at
Saint-Cloud.--Horrible Reports.--The Marriage.--Madame de Saint-Simon.--
Strange Character of the Duchesse de Berry
Birth of Louis XV.--The Marechale de la Meilleraye.--Saint-Ruth's
Cudgel.--The Cardinal de Bouillon's Desertion from France.--Anecdotes of
Imprudence of Villars.--The Danger of Truthfulness.--Military Mistakes.--
The Fortunes of Berwick.--The Son of James.--Berwick's Report on the
Army.--Imprudent Saying of Villars.--"The Good Little Fellow" in a
Scrape.--What Happens to Him.
Duchesse de Berry Drunk.--Operations in Spain.--Vendome Demanded by
Spain.--His Affront by the Duchesse de Bourgogne.--His Arrival.--
Staremberg and Stanhope.--The Flag of Spain Leaves Madrid.--Entry of the
Archduke.--Enthusiasm of the Spaniards--The King Returns.--Strategy, of
Staremberg.--Affair of Brighuega.--Battle of Villavciosa.--Its
Consequences to Vendome and to Spain.
State of the Country.--New Taxes.--The King's Conscience Troubled.--
Decision of the Sorbonne.--Debate in the Council.--Effect of the Royal
Tithe.--Tax on Agioteurs.--Merriment at Court.--Death of a Son of
Marechal Boufflers.--The Jesuits.
My Interview with Du Mont.--A Mysterious Communication. --Anger of
Monseigneur against Me.--Household of the Duchesse de Berry.--Monseigneur
Taken Ill of the Smallpox.--Effect of the News.--The King Goes to
Meudon.--The Danger Diminishes.--Madame de Maintenon at Meudon.--The
Court at Versailles.--Hopes and Fears.--The Danger Returns.--Death of
Monseigneur.--Conduct of the King.
A Rumour Reaches Versailles.--Aspect of the Court.--Various Forms of
Grief.--The Duc d'Orleans.--The News Confirmed at Versailles.--Behaviour
of the Courtiers.--The Duc and Duchesse de Berry.--The Duc and Duchesse
de Bourgogne.--Madame.--A Swiss Asleep.--Picture of a Court.--The Heir-
Apparent's Night.--The King Returns to Marly.--Character of Monseigneur.
--Effect of His Death.
State of the Court at Death of Monseigneur.--Conduct of the Dauphin and
the Dauphine.--The Duchesse de Berry.--My Interview with the Dauphin.--
He is Reconciled with M. d'Orleans.
Warnings to the Dauphin and the Dauphine.--The Dauphine Sickens and
Dies.--Illness of the Dauphin.--His Death.--Character and Manners of the
Dauphine.--And of the Dauphin.
Certainty of Poison.--The Supposed Criminal.--Excitement of the People
against M. d'Orleans.--The Cabal.--My Danger and Escape.--The Dauphin's