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The Historic Court Memoirs of France, complete

Part 22 out of 62

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precedence over seventeen dukes, myself among the number; to step, in
fact, from the eighteenth rank, that he held amongst the peers, to the
second. The following are the names and the order in precedence of the
dukes he wished to supersede:

The Duc d'Elboeuf; the Duc de Montbazon; the Duc de Ventadour; the Duc de
Vendome; the Duc de la Tremoille; the Duc de Sully; the Duc de Chevreuse,
the son (minor) of the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres-Gondi; the Duc de
Brissac; Charles d'Albert, called d'Ailly; the Duc de Richelieu; the Duc
de Saint-Simon; the Duc de la Rochefoucauld; the Duc de la Force; the Duc
de Valentinois; the Duc de Rohan; the Duc de Bouillon.

To explain this pretension of M. de Luxembourg, I must give some details
respecting him and the family whose name he bore. He was the only son of
M. de Bouteville, and had married a descendant of Francois de Luxembourg,
Duke of Piney, created Peer of France in 1581. It was a peerage which,
in default of male successors, went to the female, but this descendant
was not heir to it. She was the child of a second marriage, and by a
first marriage her mother had given birth to a son and a daughter, who
were the inheritors of the peerage, both of whom were still living. The
son was, however, an idiot, had been declared incapable of attending to
his affairs, and was shut up in Saint Lazare, at Paris. The daughter had
taken the veil, and was mistress of the novices at the Abbaye-aux-Bois.
The peerage had thus, it might almost be said, become extinct, for it was
vested in an idiot, who could not marry (to prevent him doing so, he had
been made a deacon, and he was bound in consequence to remain single),
and in a nun, who was equally bound by her vows to the same state of

When M. de Bouteville, for that was his only title then, married, he took
the arms and the name of Luxembourg. He did more. By powerful
influence--notably that of his patron the Prince de Conde--he released
the idiot deacon from his asylum, and the nun from her convent, and
induced them both to surrender to him their possessions and their titles.
This done, he commenced proceedings at once in order to obtain legal
recognition of his right to the dignities he had thus got possession of.
He claimed to be acknowledged Duc de Piney, with all the privileges
attached to that title as a creation of 1581. Foremost among these
privileges was that of taking precedence of all dukes whose title did not
go back so far as that year. Before any decision was given either for or
against this claim, he was made Duc de Piney by new letters patent,
dating from 1662, with a clause which left his pretensions to the title
of 1581 by no means affected by this new creation. M. de Luxembourg,
however, seemed satisfied with what he had obtained, and was apparently
disposed to pursue his claim no further. He was received as Duke and
Peer in the Parliament, took his seat in the last rank after all the
other peers, and allowed his suit to drop. Since then he had tried
successfully to gain it by stealth, but for several years nothing more
had been heard of it. Now, however, he recommenced it, and with every
intention, as we soon found, to stop at no intrigue or baseness in order
to carry his point.

Nearly everybody was in his favour. The Court, though not the King, was
almost entirely for him; and the town, dazzled by the splendour of his
exploits, was devoted to him. The young men regarded him as the
protector of their debauches; for, notwithstanding his age, his conduct
was as free as theirs. He had captivated the troops and the general

In the Parliament he had a staunch supporter in Harlay, the Chief
President, who led that great body at his will, and whose devotion he had
acquired to such a degree, that he believed that to undertake and succeed
were only the same things, and that this grand affair would scarcely cost
him a winter to carry.

Let me say something more of this Harlay.

Descended from two celebrated magistrates, Achille d'Harlay and
Christopher De Thou, Harlay imitated their gravity, but carried it to a
cynical extent, affected their disinterestedness and modesty, but
dishonoured the first by his conduct, and the second by a refined pride
which he endeavoured without success to conceal. He piqued himself,
above all things, upon his probity and justice, but the mask soon fell.
Between Peter and Paul he maintained the strictest fairness, but as soon
as he perceived interest or favour to be acquired, he sold himself. This
trial will show him stripped of all disguise. He was learned in the law;
in letters he was second to no one; he was well acquainted with history,
and knew how, above all, to govern his company with an authority which
suffered no reply, and which no other chief president had ever attained.

A pharisaical austerity rendered him redoubtable by the license he
assumed in his public reprimands, whether to plaintiffs, or defendants,
advocates or magistrates; so that there was not a single person who did
not tremble to have to do with him. Besides this, sustained in all by
the Court (of which he was the slave, and the very humble servant of
those who were really in favour), a subtle courtier, a singularly crafty
politician, he used all those talents solely to further his ambition, his
desire of domination and his thirst of the reputation of a great man.
He was without real honour, secretly of corrupt manners, with only
outside probity, without humanity even; in one word, a perfect hypocrite;
without faith, without law, without a God, and without a soul; a cruel
husband, a barbarous father, a tyrannical brother, a friend of himself
alone, wicked by nature--taking pleasure in insulting, outraging, and
overwhelming others, and never in his life having lost an occasion to do
so. His wit was great, but was always subservient to his wickedness.
He was small, vigorous, and thin, with a lozenge-shaped face, a long
aquiline nose--fine, speaking, keen eyes, that usually looked furtively
at you, but which, if fixed on a client or a magistrate, were fit to make
him sink into the earth. He wore narrow robes, an almost ecclesiastical
collar and wristband to match, a brown wig mimed with white, thickly
furnished but short, and with a great cap over it. He affected a bending
attitude, and walked so, with a false air, more humble than modest, and
always shaved along the walls, to make people make way for him with
greater noise; and at Versailles worked his way on by a series of
respectful and, as it were, shame-faced bows to the right and left. He
held to the King and to Madame de Maintenon by knowing their weak side;
and it was he who, being consulted upon the unheard-of legitimation of
children without naming the mother, had sanctioned that illegality in
favour of the King.

Such was the man whose influence was given entirely to our opponent.

To assist M. de Luxembourg's case as much as possible, the celebrated
Racine, so known by his plays, and by the order he had received at that
time to write the history of the King, was employed to polish and
ornament his pleas. Nothing was left undone by M. de Luxembourg in order
to gain this cause.

I cannot give all the details of the case, the statements made on both
sides, and the defences; they would occupy entire volumes. We maintained
that M. de Luxembourg was in no way entitled to the precedence he
claimed, and we had both law and justice on our side. To give
instructions to our counsel, and to follow the progress of the case,
we met once a week, seven or eight of us at least, those best disposed
to give our time to the matter. Among the most punctual was M. de la
Rochefoucauld. I had been solicited from the commencement to take part
in the proceedings, and I complied most willingly, apologising for so
doing to M. de Luxembourg, who replied with all the politeness and
gallantry possible, that I could not do less than follow an example my
father had set me.

The trial having commenced, we soon saw how badly disposed the Chief
President was towards us. He obstructed us in every way, and acted
against all rules. There seemed no other means of defeating his evident
intention of judging against us than by gaining time, first of all; and
to do this we determined to get the case adjourned, There were, however,
only two days at our disposal, and that was not enough in order to comply
with the forms required for such a step. We were all in the greatest
embarrassment, when it fortunately came into the head of one of our
lawyers to remind us of a privilege we possessed, by which, without much
difficulty, we could obtain what we required. I was the only one who
could, at that moment, make use of this privilege. I hastened home, at
once, to obtain the necessary papers, deposited them with the procureur
of M. de Luxembourg, and the adjournment was obtained. The rage of M. de
Luxembourg was without bounds. When we met he would not salute me, and
in consequence I discontinued to salute him; by which he lost more than
I, in his position and at his age, and furnished in the rooms and the
galleries of Versailles a sufficiently ridiculous spectacle. In addition
to this he quarrelled openly with M. de Richelieu, and made a bitter
attack upon him in one of his pleas. But M. de Richelieu, meeting him
soon after in the Salle des Gardes at Versailles, told him to his face
that he should soon have a reply; and said that he feared him neither on
horseback nor on foot--neither him nor his crew--neither in town nor at
the Court, nor even in the army, nor in any place in the world; and
without allowing time for a reply he turned on his heel. In the end, M.
de Luxembourg found himself so closely pressed that he was glad to
apologise to M. de Richelieu.

After a time our cause, sent back again to the Parliament, was argued
there with the same vigour, the same partiality, and the same injustice
as before: seeing this, we felt that the only course left open to us was
to get the case sent before the Assembly of all the Chambers, where the
judges, from their number, could not be corrupted by M. de Luxembourg,
and where the authority of Harlay was feeble, while over the Grand
Chambre, in which the case was at present, it was absolute. The
difficulty was to obtain an assembly of all the Chambers, for the power
of summoning them was vested solely in Harlay. However, we determined to
try and gain his consent. M. de Chaulnes undertook to go upon this
delicate errand, and acquitted himself well of his mission. He pointed
out to Harlay that everybody was convinced of his leaning towards M. de
Luxembourg, and that the only way to efface the conviction that had gone
abroad was to comply with our request; in fine, he used so many
arguments, and with such address, that Harlay, confused and thrown off
his guard, and repenting of the manner in which he had acted towards us
as being likely to injure his interests, gave a positive assurance to M.
de Chaulnes that what we asked should be granted.

We had scarcely finished congratulating ourselves upon this unhoped-for
success, when we found that we had to do with a man whose word was a very
sorry support to rest upon. M. de Luxembourg, affrighted at the promise
Harlay had given, made him resolve to break it. Suspecting this, M. de
Chaulnes paid another visit to the Chief President, who admitted, with
much confusion, that he had changed his views, and that it was impossible
to carry out what he had agreed to. After this we felt that to treat any
longer with a man so perfidious would be time lost; and we determined,
therefore, to put it out of his power to judge the case at all.

According to the received maxim, whoever is at law with the son cannot be
judged by the father. Harlay had a son who was Advocate-General. We
resolved that one among us should bring an action against him.

After trying in vain to induce the Duc de Rohan, who was the only one of
our number who could readily have done it, to commence a suit against
Harlay's sort, we began to despair of arriving at our aim. Fortunately
for us, the vexation of Harlay became so great at this time, in
consequence of the disdain with which we treated him, and which we openly
published, that he extricated us himself from our difficulty. We had
only to supplicate the Duc de Gesvres in the cause (he said to some of
our people), and we should obtain what we wanted; for the Duc de Gesvres
vas his relative. We took him at his word. The, Duc de Gesvres received
in two days a summons on our part. Harlay, annoyed with himself for the
advice he had given, relented of it: but it was too late; he was declared
unable to judge the cause, and the case itself was postponed until the
next year.

Meanwhile, let me mention a circumstance which should have found a place
before, and then state what occurred in the interval which followed until
the trial recommenced.

It was while our proceedings were making some little stir that fresh
favours were heaped upon the King's illegitimate sons, at the instance of
the King himself, and with the connivance of Harlay, who, for the part he
took in the affair, was promised the chancellorship when it should become
vacant. The rank of these illegitimate sons was placed just below that
of the princes, of the blood, and just above that of the peers even of
the oldest creation. This gave us all exceeding annoyance: it was the
greatest injury the peerage could have received, and became its leprosy
and sore. All the peers who could, kept themselves aloof from the
parliament, when M. du Maine, M. de Vendome, and the Comte de Toulouse,
for whom this arrangement was specially made, were received there.

There were several marriages at the Court this winter and many very fine
balls, at which latter I danced. By the spring, preparations were ready
for fresh campaigns. My regiment (I had bought one at the close of the
last season) was ordered to join the army of M. de Luxembourg; but, as I
had no desire to be under him, I wrote to the King, begging to be
exchanged. In a short time, to the great vexation, as I know, of M. de
Luxembourg, my request was granted. The Chevalier de Sully went to
Flanders in my place, and I to Germany in his. I went first to Soissons
to see my regiment, and in consequence of the recommendation of the King,
was more severe with it than I should otherwise have been. I set out
afterwards for Strasbourg, where I was surprised with the magnificence of
the town, and with the number, beauty, and grandeur of its
fortifications. As from my youth I knew and spoke German perfectly, I
sought out one of my early German acquaintances, who gave me much
pleasure. I stopped six days at Strasbourg and then went by the Rhine to
Philipsburg. On the next day after arriving there, I joined the cavalry,
which was encamped at Obersheim.

After several movements--in which we passed and repassed the Rhine--but
which led to no effective result, we encamped for forty days at Gaw-
Boecklheim, one of the best and most beautiful positions in the world,
and where we had charming weather, although a little disposed to cold.
It was in the leisure of that long camp that I commenced these memoirs,
incited by the pleasure I took in reading those of Marshal Bassompierre,
which invited me thus to write what I should see in my own time.

During this season M. de Noailles took Palamos, Girone, and the fortress
of Castel-Follit in Catalonia. This last was taken by the daring of a
soldier, who led on a small number of his comrades, and carried the place
by assault. Nothing was done in Italy; and in Flanders M. de Luxembourg
came to no engagement with the Prince of Orange.


After our long rest at the camp of Gaw-Boecklheim we again put ourselves
in movement, but without doing much against the enemy, and on the 16th of
October I received permission to return to Paris. Upon my arrival there
I learnt that many things had occurred since I left. During that time
some adventures had happened to the Princesses, as the three illegitimate
daughters of the King were called for distinction sake. Monsieur wished
that the Duchesse de Chartres should always call the others "sister," but
that the others should never address her except as "Madame." The
Princesse de Conti submitted to this; but the other (Madame la Duchesse,
being the produce of the same love) set herself to call the Duchesse de
Chartres "mignonne." But nothing was less a mignonne than her face and
her figure; and Monsieur, feeling the ridicule, complained to the King.
The King prohibited very severely this familiarity.

While at Trianon these Princesses took it into their heads to walk out
at night and divert themselves with crackers. Either from malice or
imprudence they let off some one night under the windows of Monsieur,
rousing him thereby out of his sleep. He was so displeased, that he
complained to the King, who made him many excuses (scolding the
Princesses), but had great trouble to appease him. His anger lasted a
long time, and the Duchesse de Chartres felt it. I do not know if the
other two were very sorry. Madame la Duchesse was accused of writing
some songs upon the Duchesse de Chartres.

The Princesse de Conti had another adventure, which made considerable
noise, and which had great results. She had taken into her favour
Clermont, ensign of the gensdarmes and of the Guard. He had pretended to
be enamoured of her, and had not been repelled, for she soon became in
love with him. Clermont had attached himself to the service of M. de
Luxembourg, and was the merest creature in his hands. At the instigation
of M. de Luxembourg, he turned away his regards from the Princesse de
Conti, and fixed them upon one of her maids of honour--Mademoiselle
Choin, a great, ugly, brown, thick-set girl, upon whom Monseigneur had
lately bestowed his affection. Monseigneur made no secret of this, nor
did she. Such being the case, it occurred to M. de Luxembourg (who knew
he was no favourite with the King, and who built all his hopes of the
future upon Monseigneur) that Clermont, by marrying La Choin, might thus
secure the favour of Monseigneur, whose entire confidence she possessed.
Clermont was easily persuaded that this would be for him a royal road to
fortune, and he accordingly entered willingly into the scheme, which had
just begun to move, when the campaign commenced, and everybody went away
to join the armies.

The King, who partly saw this intrigue, soon made himself entirely master
of it, by intercepting the letters which passed between the various
parties. He read there the project of Clermont and La Choin to marry,
and thus govern Monseigneur; he saw how M. de Luxembourg was the soul of
this scheme, and the marvels to himself he expected from it. The letters
Clermont had received from the Princesse de Conti he now sent to
Mademoiselle la Choin, and always spoke to her of Monseigneur as their
"fat friend." With this correspondence in his hands, the King one day
sent for the Princesse de Conti, said in a severe tone that he knew of
her weakness for Clermont; and, to prove to her how badly she had placed
her affection, showed her her own letters to Clermont, and letters in
which he had spoken most contemptuously of her to La Choin. Then, as a
cruel punishment, he made her read aloud to him the whole of those
letters. At this she almost died, and threw herself, bathed in tears, at
the feet of the King, scarcely able to articulate. Then came sobs,
entreaty, despair, and rage, and cries for justice and revenge. This was
soon obtained. Mademoiselle la Choin was driven away the next day; and
M. de Luxembourg had orders to strip Clermont of his office, and send him
to the most distant part of the kingdom. The terror of M. de Luxembourg
and the Prince de Conti at this discovery may be imagined. Songs
increased the notoriety of this strange adventure between the Princess
and her confidant.

M. de Noyon had furnished on my return another subject for the song-
writers, and felt it the more sensibly because everybody was diverted at
his expense, M. de Noyon was extremely vain, and afforded thereby much
amusement to the King. A Chair was vacant at the Academic Francaise.
The King wished it to be given to M. de Noyon, and expressed himself to
that effect to Dangeau, who was a member. As may be believed, the
prelate was elected without difficulty. His Majesty testified to the
Prince de Conde, and to the most distinguished persons of the Court, that
he should be glad to see them at the reception. Thus M. de Noyon was the
first member of the Academia chosen by the King, and the first at whose
reception he had taken the trouble to invite his courtiers to attend.

The Abbe de Caumartin was at that time Director of the Academie. He knew
the vanity of M. de Noyon, and determined to divert the public at his
expense. He had many friends in power, and judged that his pleasantry
would be overlooked, and even approved. He composed, therefore, a
confused and bombastic discourse in the style of M. de Noyon, full of
pompous phrases, turning the prelate into ridicule, while they seemed to
praise him. After finishing this work, he was afraid lest it should be
thought out of all measure, and, to reassure himself, carried it to M. de
Noyon himself, as a scholar might to his master, in order to see whether
it fully met with his approval. M. de Noyon, so far from suspecting
anything, was charmed by the discourse, and simply made a few corrections
in the style. The Abbe de Caumartin rejoiced at the success of the snare
he had laid, and felt quite bold enough to deliver his harangue.

The day came. The Academie was crowded. The King and the Court were
there, all expecting to be diverted. M. de Noyon, saluting everybody
with a satisfaction he did riot dissimulate, made his speech with his
usual confidence, and in his usual style. The Abbe replied with a modest
air, and with a gravity and slowness that gave great effect to his
ridiculous discourse. The surprise and pleasure were general, and each
person strove to intoxicate M. de Noyon more and more, making him believe
that the speech of the Abbe was relished solely because it had so
worthily praised him. The prelate was delighted with the Abbe and the
public, and conceived not the slightest mistrust.

The noise which this occurrence made may be imagined, and the praises M.
de Noyon gave himself in relating everywhere what he had said, and what
had been replied to him. M. de Paris, to whose house he went, thus
triumphing, did not like him, and endeavoured to open his eyes to the
humiliation he had received. For some time M. de Noyon would not be
convinced of the truth; it was not until he had consulted with Pere la
Chaise that he believed it. The excess of rage and vexation succeeded
then to the excess of rapture he had felt. In this state he returned to
his house, and went the next day to Versailles. There he made the most
bitter complaints to the King, of the Abbe de Caumartin, by whose means
he had become the sport and laughing-stock of all the world.

The King, who had learned what had passed, was himself displeased. He
ordered Pontchartrain (who was related to Caumartin) to rebuke the Abbe,
and to send him a lettre de cachet, in order that he might go and ripen
his brain in his Abbey of Busay, in Brittany, and better learn there how
to speak and write. Pontchartrain executed the first part of his
commission, but not the second. He pointed out to the King that the
speech of the Abbe de Caumartin had been revised and corrected by M. de
Noyon, and that, therefore, this latter had only himself to blame in the
matter. He declared, too, that the Abbe was very sorry for what he had
done, and was most willing to beg pardon of M. de Noyon. The lettre de
cachet thus fell to the ground, but not the anger of the prelate. He was
so outraged that he would not see the Abbe, retired into his diocese to
hide his shame, and remained there a long time.

Upon his return to Paris, however, being taken ill, before consenting to
receive the sacraments, he sent for the Abbe, embraced him, pardoned him,
and gave him a diamond ring, that he drew from his finger, and that he
begged him to keep in memory of him. Nay, more, when he was cured, he
used all his influence to reinstate the Abbe in the esteem of the King.
But the King could never forgive what had taken place, and M. de Noyon,
by this grand action, gained only the favour of God and the honour of the

I must finish the account of the war of this year with a strange
incident. M. de Noailles, who had been so successful in Catalonia, was
on very bad terms with Barbezieux, secretary of state for the war
department. Both were in good favour with the King; both high in power,
both spoiled. The successes in Catalonia had annoyed Barbezieux. They
smoothed the way for the siege of Barcelona, and that place once taken,
the very heart of Spain would have been exposed, and M. de Noailles would
have gained fresh honours and glory. M. de Noailles felt this so
completely that he had pressed upon the King the siege of Barcelona; and
when the fitting time came for undertaking it, sent a messenger to him
with full information of the forces and supplies he required. Fearing
that if he wrote out this information it might fall into the hands of
Barbezieux, and never reach the King, he simply gave his messenger
instructions by word of mouth, and charged him to deliver them so. But
the very means he had taken to ensure success brought about failure.
Barbezieux, informed by his spies of the departure of the messenger,
waylaid him, bribed him, and induced him to act with the blackest
perfidy, by telling the King quite a different story to that he was
charged with. In this way, the project for the siege of Barcelona was
entirely broken, at the moment for its execution, and with the most
reasonable hopes of success; and upon M. de Noailles rested all the
blame. What a thunderbolt this was for him may easily be imagined. But
the trick had been so well played, that he could not clear himself with
the King; and all through this winter he remained out of favour.

At last he thought of a means by which he might regain his position. He
saw the inclination of the King for his illegitimate children; and
determined to make a sacrifice in favour of one of them; rightly judging
that this would be a sure means to step back into the confidence he had
been so craftily driven from. His scheme, which he caused to be placed
before the King, was to go into Catalonia at the commencement of the next
campaign, to make a semblance of falling ill immediately upon arriving,
to send to Versailles a request that he might be recalled, and at the
same time a suggestion that M. de Vendome (who would then be near Nice,
under Marechal Catinat) should succeed him. In order that no time might
be lost, nor the army left without a general, he proposed to carry with
him the letters patent; appointing M. de Vendome, and to send them to him
at the same time that he sent to be recalled.

It is impossible to express the relief and satisfaction with which this
proposition was received. The King was delighted with it, as with
everything tending to advance his illegitimate children and to put a
slight upon the Princes of the blood. He could not openly have made this
promotion without embroiling himself with the latter; but coming as it
would from M. de Noailles, he had nothing to fear. M. de Vendome, once
general of an army, could no longer serve in any other quality; and would
act as a stepping-stone for M. du Maine.

From this moment M. de Noailles returned more than ever into the good
graces of the King. Everything happened as it had been arranged. But
the secret was betrayed in the execution. Surprise was felt that at the
same moment M. de Noailles sent a request to be recalled, he also sent,
and without waiting for a reply, to call M. de Vendame to the command.
What completely raised the veil were the letters patent that he sent
immediately after to M. de Vendome, and that it was known he could not
have received from the King in the time that had elapsed. M. de Noailles
returned from Catalonia, and was received as his address merited. He
feigned being lame with rheumatism, and played the part for a long time,
but forgot himself occasionally, and made his company smile. He fixed
himself at the Court, and gained there much more favour than he could
have gained by the war; to the great vexation of Barbezieux.

M. de Luxembourg very strangely married his daughter at this time to the
Chevalier de Soissons (an illegitimate son of the Comte de Soissons),
brought out from the greatest obscurity by the Comtesse de Nemours, and
adopted by her to spite her family: M. de Luxembourg did not long survive
this fine marriage. At sixty-seven years of age he believed himself
twenty-five, and lived accordingly. The want of genuine intrigues, from
which his age and his face excluded him, he supplied by money-power; and
his intimacy, and that of his son, with the Prince de Conti and
Albergotti was kept up almost entirely by the community of their habits,
and the secret parties of pleasure they concocted together. All the
burden of marches, of orders of subsistence, fell upon a subordinate.
Nothing could be more exact than the coup d'oeil of M. de Luxembourg--
nobody could be more brilliant, more sagacious, more penetrating than he
before the enemy or in battle, and this, too, with an audacity, an ease,
and at the same time a coolness, which allowed him to see all and foresee
all under the hottest fire, and in the most imminent danger: It was at
such times that he was great. For the rest he was idleness itself. He
rarely walked unless absolutely obliged, spent his time in gaming, or in
conversation With his familiars; and had every evening a supper with a
chosen few (nearly always the same); and if near a town, the other sex
were always agreeably mingled with them. When thus occupied, he was
inaccessible to everybody, and if anything pressing happened, it was his
subordinate who attended to it. Such was at the army the life of this
great general, and such it was at Paris, except that the Court and the
great world occupied his days, and his pleasures the evenings. At last,
age, temperament, and constitution betrayed him. He fell ill at
Versailles. Given over by Fagon, the King's physician, Coretti, an
Italian, who had secrets of his own, undertook his cure, and relieved
him, but only for a short time. His door during this illness was
besieged by all the Court. The King sent to inquire after him, but it
was more for appearance' sake than from sympathy, for I have already
remarked that the King did not like him. The brilliancy of his
campaigns, and the difficulty of replacing him, caused all the
disquietude. Becoming worse, M. de Luxembourg received the sacraments,
showed some religion and firmness, and died on the morning of the 4th of
January, 1695, the fifth day of his illness, much regretted by many
people, but personally esteemed by none, and loved by very few.

Not one of the Dukes M. de Luxembourg had attacked went to see him during
his illness. I neither went nor sent, although at Versailles; and I must
admit that I felt my deliverance from such an enemy.

Here, perhaps, I may as well relate the result of the trial in which we
were engaged, and which, after the death of M. de Luxembourg, was
continued by his son. It was not judged until the following year.
I have shown that by our implicating the Duc de Gesvres, the Chief
President had been declared incapable of trying the case. The rage he
conceived against us cannot be expressed, and, great actor that he was,
he could not hide it. All his endeavour afterwards was to do what he
could against us; the rest of the mask fell, and the deformity of the
judge appeared in the man, stripped of all disguise.

We immediately signified to M. de Luxembourg that he must choose between
the letters patent of 1581 and those of 1662. If he abandoned the first
the case fell through; in repudiating the last he renounced the certainty
of being duke and peer after us; and ran the risk of being reduced to an
inferior title previously granted to him. The position was a delicate
one; he was affrighted; but after much consultation he resolved to run
all risks and maintain his pretensions. It thus simply became a question
of his right to the title of Duc de Piney, with the privilege attached to
it as a creation of 1581.

In the spring of 1696 the case was at last brought on, before the
Assembly of all the Chambers. Myself and the other Dukes seated
ourselves in court to hear the proceedings. The trial commenced.
All the facts and particulars of the cause were brought forward.
Our advocates spoke, and then few doubted but that we should gain the
victory. M. de Luxembourg's advocate, Dumont, was next heard. He was
very audacious, and spoke so insolently of us, saying, in Scripture
phraseology, that we honoured the King with our lips, whilst our hearts
were far from him, that I could not contain myself. I was seated between
the Duc de la Rochefoucauld and the Duc d'Estrees. I stood up, crying
out against the imposture of this knave, and calling for justice on him.
M. de la Rochefoucauld pulled me back, made me keep silent, and I plunged
down into my seat more from anger against him than against the advocate.
My movement excited a murmur. We might on the instant have had justice
against Dumont, but the opportunity had passed for us to ask for it, and
the President de Maisons made a slight excuse for him. We complained,
however, afterwards to the King, who expressed his surprise that Dumont
had not been stopped in the midst of his speech.

The summing up was made by D'Aguesseau, who acquitted himself of the task
with much eloquence and impartiality. His speech lasted two days. This
being over, the court was cleared, and the judges were left alone to
deliberate upon their verdict. Some time after we were called in to hear
that verdict given. It was in favour of M. de Luxembourg in so far as
the title dating from 1662 was concerned; but the consideration of his
claim to the title of 1581 was adjourned indefinitely, so that he
remained exactly in the same position as his father.

It was with difficulty we could believe in a decree so unjust and so
novel, and which decided a question that was not under dispute. I was
outraged, but I endeavoured to contain myself. I spoke to M. de la
Rochefoucauld; I tried to make him listen to me, and to agree that we
should complain to the King, but I spoke to a man furious, incapable of
understanding anything or of doing anything. Returning to my own house,
I wrote a letter to the King, in which I complained of the opinion of the
judges. I also pointed out, that when everybody had been ordered to
retire from the council chamber, Harlay and his secretary had been
allowed to remain. On these and other grounds I begged the King to grant
a new trial.

I carried this letter to the Duc de la Tremoille, but I could not get him
to look at it. I returned home more vexed if possible than when I left.
The King, nevertheless, was exceedingly dissatisfied with the judgment.
He explained himself to that effect at his dinner, and in a manner but
little advantageous to the Parliament, and prepared himself to receive
the complaints he expected would be laid before him. But the obstinacy
of M. de la Rochefoucauld, which turned into vexation against himself,
rendered it impossible for us to take any steps in the matter, and so
overwhelmed me with displeasure, that I retired to La Trappe during
Passion Week in order to recover myself.

At my return I learned that the King had spoken of this judgment to the
Chief President, and that that magistrate had blamed it, saying the cause
was indubitably ours, and that he had always thought so! If he thought
so, why oppose us so long? and if he did not think so, what a
prevaricator was he to reply with this flattery, so as to be in accord
with the King? The judges themselves were ashamed of their verdict, and
excused themselves for it on the ground of their compassion for the state
in which M. de Luxembourg would have been placed had he lost the title of
1662, and upon its being impossible that he should gain the one of 1581,
of which they had left him the chimera. M. de Luxembourg was accordingly
received at the Parliament on the 4th of the following May, with the rank
of 1662. He came and visited all of us, but we would have no intercourse
with him or with his judges. To the Advocate-General, D'Aguesseau, we
carried our thanks.


Thus ended this long and important case; and now let me go back again to
the events of the previous year.

Towards the end of the summer and the commencement of the winter of 1695,
negotiations for peace were set on foot by the King. Harlay, son-in-law
of our enemy, was sent to Maestricht to sound the Dutch. But in
proportion as they saw peace desired were they less inclined to listen to
terms. They had even the impudence to insinuate to Harlay, whose
paleness and thinness were extraordinary, that they took him for a sample
of the reduced state of France! He, without getting angry, replied
pleasantly, that if they would give him the time to send for his wife,
they would, perhaps, conceive another opinion of the position of the
realm. In effect, she was extremely fat, and of a very high colour. He
was rather roughly dismissed, and hastened to regain our frontier.

Two events followed each other very closely this winter. The first was
the death of the Princess of Orange, in London, at the end of January.
The King of England prayed our King to allow the Court to wear no
mourning, and it was even prohibited to M. de Bouillon and M. de Duras,
who were both related to the Prince of Orange. The order was obeyed, and
no word was said; but this sort of vengeance was thought petty. Hopes
were held out of a change in England, but they vanished immediately, and
the Prince of Orange appeared more accredited there and stronger than
ever. The Princess was much regretted, and the Prince of Orange, who
loved her and gave her his entire confidence, and even most marked
respect, was for some days ill with grief.

The other event was strange. The Duke of Hanover, who, in consequence of
the Revolution, was destined to the throne of England after the Prince
and Princess of Orange and the Princess of Denmark, had married his
cousin-german, a daughter of the Duke of Zell. She was beautiful, and he
lived happily with her for some time. The Count of Koenigsmarck, young
and very well made, came to the Court, and gave him some umbrage. The
Duke of Hanover became jealous; he watched his wife and the Count, and at
length believed himself fully assured of what he would have wished to
remain ignorant of all his life. Fury seized him: he had the Count
arrested and thrown into a hot oven. Immediately afterwards he sent his
wife to her father, who shut her up in one of his castles, where she was
strictly guarded by the people of the Duke of Hanover. An assembly of
the Consistory was held in order to break off his marriage. It was
decided, very singularly, that the marriage was annulled so far as the
Duke was concerned, and that he could marry another woman; but that it
remained binding on the Duchess, and that she could not marry. The
children she had had during her marriage were declared legitimate. The
Duke of Hanover did not remain persuaded as to this last article.

The King, entirely occupied with the aggrandisement of his natural
children, had heaped upon the Comte de Toulouse every possible favour.
He now (in order to evade a promise he had made to his brother, that the
first vacant government should be given to the Duc de Chartres) forced M.
de Chaulnes to give up the government of Brittany, which he had long
held, and conferred it upon the Comte de Toulouse, giving to the friend
and heir of the former the successorship to the government of Guyenne, by
way of recompense.

M. de Chaulnes was old and fat, but much loved by the people of Brittany.
He was overwhelmed by this determination of the King, and his wife, who
had long been accustomed to play the little Queen, still more so; yet
there was nothing for them but to obey. They did obey, but it was with a
sorrow and chagrin they could not hide.

The appointment was announced one morning at the rising of the King.
Monsieur, who awoke later, heard of it at the drawing of his curtains,
and was extremely piqued. The Comte de Toulouse came shortly afterwards,
and announced it himself. Monsieur interrupted him, and before everybody
assembled there said, "The King has given you a good present; but I know
not if what he has done is good policy." Monsieur went shortly
afterwards to the King, and reproached him for giving, under cover of a
trick, the government of Brittany to the Comte de Toulouse, having
promised it to the Duc de Chartres. The King heard him in silence: he
knew well how to appease him. Some money for play and to embellish Saint
Cloud, soon effaced Monsieur's chagrin.

All this winter my mother was solely occupied in finding a good match for
me. Some attempt was made to marry me to Mademoiselle de Royan. It
would have been a noble and rich marriage; but I was alone, Mademoiselle
de Royan was an orphan, and I wished a father-in-law and a family upon
whom I could lean. During the preceding year there had been some talk of
the eldest daughter of Marechal de Lorges for me. The affair had fallen
through, almost as soon as suggested, and now, on both sides, there was a
desire to recommence negotiations. The probity, integrity, the freedom
of Marechal de Lorges pleased me infinitely, and everything tended to
give me an extreme desire for this marriage. Madame de Lorges by her
virtue and good sense was all I could wish for as the mother of my future
wife. Mademoiselle de Lorges was a blonde, with a complexion and figure
perfect, a very amiable face, an extremely noble and modest deportment,
and with I know not what of majesty derived from her air of virtue, and
of natural gentleness. The Marechal had five other daughters, but I
liked this one best without comparison, and hoped to find with her that
happiness which she since has given me. As she has become my wife, I
will abstain here from saying more about her, unless it be that she has
exceeded all that was promised of her, and all that I myself had hoped.

My marriage being agreed upon and arranged the Marechal de Lorges spoke
of it to the King, who had the goodness to reply to him that he could not
do better, and to speak of me very obligingly. The marriage accordingly
took place at the Hotel de Lorges, on the 8th of April, 1695, which I
have always regarded, and with good reason, as the happiest day of my
life. My mother treated me like the best mother in the world. On the
Thursday before Quasimodo the contract was signed; a grand repast
followed; at midnight the cure of Saint Roch said mass, and married us in
the chapel of the house. On the eve, my mother had sent forty thousand
livres' worth of precious stones to Mademoiselle de Lorges, and I six
hundred Louis in a corbeille filled with all the knick-knacks that are
given on these occasions.

We slept in the grand apartment of the Hotel des Lorges. On the morrow,
after dinner, my wife went to bed, and received a crowd of visitors, who
came to pay their respects and to gratify their curiosity. The next
evening we went to Versailles, and were received by Madame de Maintenon
and the King. On arriving at the supper-table, the King said to the new
Duchess:--"Madame, will you be pleased to seat yourself?"

His napkin being unfolded, he saw all the duchesses and princesses still
standing; and rising in his chair, he said to Madame de Saint-Simon--
"Madame, I have already begged you to be seated;" and all immediately
seated themselves. On the morrow, Madame de Saint-Simon received all the
Court in her bed in the apartment of the Duchesse d'Arpajon, as being
more handy, being on the ground floor. Our festivities finished by a
supper that I gave to the former friends of my father, whose acquaintance
I had always cultivated with great care.

Almost immediately after my marriage the second daughter of the Marechal
de Lorges followed in the footsteps of her sister. She was fifteen years
of age, and at the reception of Madame de Saint-Simon had attracted the
admiration of M. de Lauzun, who was then sixty-three. Since his return
to the Court he had been reinstated in the dignity he had previously
held. He flattered himself that by marrying the daughter of a General he
should re-open a path to himself for command in the army. Full of this
idea he spoke to M. de Lorges, who was by no means inclined towards the
marriage. M. de Lauzun offered, however, to marry without dowry; and M.
de Lorges, moved by this consideration, assented to his wish. The affair
concluded, M. de Lorges spoke of it to the King. "You are bold," said
his Majesty, "to take Lauzun into your family. I hope you may not repent
of it."

The contract was soon after signed. M. de Lorges gave no dowry with his
daughter, but she was to inherit something upon the death of M. Fremont.
We carried this contract to the King, who smiled and bantered M. de
Lauzun. M. de Lauzun replied, that he was only too happy, since it was
the first time since his return that he had seen the King smile at him.
The marriage took place without delay: there were only seven or eight
persons present at the ceremony. M. de Lauzun would undress himself
alone with his valet de chambre, and did not enter the apartment of his
wife until after everybody had left it, and she was in bed with the
curtains closed, and nobody to meet him on his passage. His wife
received company in bed, as mine had done. Nobody was able to understand
this marriage; and all foresaw that a rupture would speedily be brought
about by the well-known temper of M. de Lauzun. In effect, this is what
soon happened. The Marechal de Lorges, remaining still in weak health,
was deemed by the King unable to take the field again, and his army given
over to the command of another General. M. de Lauzun thus saw all his
hopes of advancement at an end, and, discontented that the Marechal had
done nothing for him, broke off all connection with the family, took away
Madame de Lauzun from her mother (to the great grief of the latter; who
doted upon this daughter), and established her in a house of his own
adjoining the Assumption, in the Faubourg Saint-Honore. There she had to
endure her husband's continual caprices, but little removed in their
manifestation from madness. Everybody cast blame upon him, and strongly
pitied her and her father and mother; but nobody was surprised.

A few days after the marriage of M. de Lauzun, as the King was being
wheeled in his easy chair in the gardens at Versailles, he asked me for
many minute particulars concerning the family of the Marechal de Lorges.
He then set himself to joke with me upon the marriage of M. de Lauzun--
and upon mine. He said to me, in spite of that gravity which never
quitted him, that he had learnt from the Marechal I had well acquitted
myself, but that he believed the Marechal had still better news.

The loss of two illustrious men about this time, made more noise than
that of two of our grand ladies. The first of these men was La Fontaine,
so well known by his "Fables" and stories, and who, nevertheless, was so
heavy in conversation. The other was Mignard--so illustrious by his
pencil: he had an only daughter--perfectly beautiful: she is repeated in
several of those magnificent historical pictures which adorn the grand
gallery of Versailles and its two salons, and which have had no slight
share in irritating all Europe against the King, and in leaguing it still
more against his person than his realm.

At the usual time the armies were got ready for active service, and
everybody set out to join them. That of the Rhine, in which I was, was
commanded by the Marechal de Lorges. No sooner had we crossed the river
and come upon the enemy, than the Marechal fell ill. Although we were in
want of forage and were badly encamped, nobody complained--nobody wished
to move. Never did an army show so much interest in the life of its
chief, or so much love for him. M. de Lorges was, in truth, at the last
extremity, and the doctors that had been sent for from Strasbourg gave
him up entirely. I took upon myself to administer to him some "English
Drops." One hundred and thirty were given him in three doses: the effect
was astonishing; an eruption burst out upon the Marechal's body, and
saved his life. His illness was not, however, at an end; and the army,
although suffering considerably, would not hear of moving until he was
quite ready to move also. There was no extremity it would not undergo
rather than endanger the life of its chief.

Prince Louis of Baden offered by trumpets all sorts of assistance--
doctors and remedies, and gave his word that if the army removed from its
General, he and those who remained with him should be provided with
forage and provisions--should be unmolested and allowed to rejoin the
main body in perfect safety, or go whithersoever they pleased. He was
thanked, as he merited, for those very kind offers, which we did not
wish, however, to profit by.

Little by little the health of the General was reestablished, and the
army demonstrated its joy by bonfire's all over the camp, and by salvos,
which it was impossible to prevent. Never was seen testimony of love so
universal or so flattering. The King was much concerned at the illness
of the Marechal; all the Court was infinitely touched by it. M. de
Lorges was not less loved by it than by the troops. When able to support
the fatigues of the journey, he was removed in a coach to Philipsburg,
where he was joined by the Marechal, who had come there to meet him. The
next day he went to Landau, and I, who formed one of his numerous and
distinguished escort, accompanied him there, and then returned to the
army, which was placed under the command of the Marechal de Joyeuse.

We found it at about three leagues from Ketsch, its right at Roth, and
its left at Waldsdorff. We learned that the Marechal de Joyeuse had lost
a good occasion of fighting the enemy; but as I was not in camp at the
time, I will say no more of the matter. Our position was not good:
Schwartz was on our left, and the Prince of Baden on our right, hemming
us in, as it were, between them. We had no forage, whilst they had
abundance of everything, and were able to procure all they wanted. There
was a contest who should decamp the last. All our communications were
cut off with Philipsburg, so that we could not repass the Rhine under the
protection of that place. To get out of our position, it was necessary
to defile before our enemies into the plain of Hockenun, and this was a
delicate operation. The most annoying circumstance was, that M. de
Joyeuse would communicate with nobody, and was so ill-tempered that none
dared to speak to him. At last he determined upon his plans, and I was
of the detachment by which they were to be carried out. We were sent to
Manheim to see if out of the ruins of that place (burned in 1688 by M. de
Louvois) sufficient, materials could be found to construct bridges, by
which we might cross the Rhine there. We found that the bridges could be
made, and returned to announce this to M. de Joyeuse. Accordingly, on
the 20th of July, the army put itself in movement. The march was made in
the utmost confusion. Everything was in disorder; the infantry and
cavalry were huddled together pell-mell; no commands could be acted upon,
and indeed the whole army was so disorganised that it could have been
easily beaten by a handful of men. In effect, the enemy at last tried to
take advantage of our confusion, by sending a few troops to harass us.
But it was too late; we had sufficiently rallied to be able to turn upon
them, and they narrowly escaped falling into our hands. We encamped that
night in the plain on the banks of the Necker--our rear at Manheim, and
our left at Seckenheim, while waiting for the remainder of the army,
still very distant. Indeed, so great had been the confusion, that the
first troops arrived at one o'clock at night, and the last late in the
morning of the next day.

I thought that our headquarters were to be in this village of Seckenheim,
and, in company with several officers took possession of a large house
and prepared to pass the night there. While we were resting from the
fatigues of the day we heard a great noise, and soon after a frightful
uproar. It was caused by a body of our men, who, searching for water,
had discovered this village, and after having quenched their thirst had,
under the cover of thick darkness, set themselves to pillage, to violate,
to massacre, and to commit all the horrors inspired by the most unbridled
licence: La Bretesche, a lieutenant-general, declared to me that he had
never seen anything like it, although he had several times been at
pillages and sackings. He was very grateful that he had not yielded to
my advice, and taken off his wooden leg to be more at ease; for in a
short time we ourselves were invaded, and had some trouble to defend
ourselves. As we bore the livery of M. de Lorges, we were respected,
but those who bore that of M. de Joyeuse were in some cases severely
maltreated. We passed the rest of the night as well as we could in this
unhappy place, which was not abandoned by our soldiers until long after
there was nothing more to find. At daylight we went to the camp.

We found the army beginning to move: it had passed the night as well as
it could without order, the troops constantly arriving, and the last
comers simply joining themselves on to the rest. Our camp was soon,
however, properly formed, and on the 24th July, the bridges being ready,
all the army crossed the Rhine, without any attempt being made by the
enemy to follow us. On the day after, the Marechal de Joyeuse permitted
me to go to Landau, where I remained with the Marechal and the Marechale
de Lorges until the General was again able to place himself at the head
of his army.

Nothing of importance was done by our other armies; but in Flanders an
interesting adventure occurred. The Prince of Orange, after playing a
fine game of chess with our army, suddenly invested Namur with a large
force, leaving the rest of his troops under the command of M. de
Vaudemont. The Marechal de Villeroy, who had the command of our army in
Flanders, at once pressed upon M. de Vaudemont, who, being much the
weaker of the two, tried hard to escape. Both felt that everything was
in their hands: Vaudemont, that upon his safety depended the success of
the siege of Namur; and Villeroy, that to his victory was attached the
fate of the Low Countries, and very likely a glorious peace, with all the
personal results of such an event. He took his measures so well that on
the evening of the 13th of July it was impossible for M. de Vaudemont to
escape falling into his hands on the 14th, and he wrote thus to the King.
At daybreak on the 14th M. de Villeroy sent word to M. du Maine to
commence the action. Impatient that his orders were not obeyed, he sent
again five or six times. M. du Maine wished in the first instance to
reconnoitre, then to confess himself, and delayed in effect so long that
M. de Vaudemont was able to commence his retreat. The general officers
cried out at this. One of them came to M. du Maine and reminded him of
the repeated orders of the Marechal de Villeroy, represented the
importance of victory, and the ease with which it could be obtained: with
tears in his eyes he begged M. du Maine to commence the attack. It was
all in vain; M. du Maine stammered, and could not be prevailed upon to
charge, and so allowed M. de Vaudemont's army to escape, when by a single
movement it might have been entirely defeated.

All our army was in despair, and officers and soldiers made no scruple of
expressing their anger and contempt. M. de Villeroy, more outraged than
anybody else, was yet too good a courtier to excuse himself at the
expense of M. du Maine. He simply wrote to the King, that he had been
deceived in those hopes of success which appeared certain the day before,
entered into no further details, and resigned himself to all that might
happen. The King, who had counted the hours until news of a great and
decisive victory should reach him, was very much surprised when this
letter came: he saw at once that something strange had happened of which
no intelligence had been sent: he searched the gazettes of Holland; in
one he read of a great action said to have been fought, and in which M.
du Maine had been grievously wounded; in the next the news of the action
was contradicted, and M. du Maine was declared to have received no wounds
at all. In order to learn what had really taken place, the King sent for
Lavienne, a man he was in the habit of consulting when he wanted to learn
things no one else dared to tell him.

This Lavienne had been a bath-keeper much in vogue in Paris, and had
become bath-keeper to the King at the time of his amours. He had pleased
by his drugs, which had frequently put the King in a state to enjoy
himself more, and this road had led Lavienne to become one of the four
chief valets de chambre. He was a very honest man, but coarse, rough,
and free-spoken; it was this last quality which made him useful in the
manner I have before mentioned. From Lavienne the King, but not without
difficulty, learned the truth: it threw him into despair. The other
illegitimate children were favourites with him, but it was upon M. du
Maine that all his hopes were placed. They now fell to the ground, and
the grief of the King was insupportable: he felt deeply for that dear son
whose troops had become the laughing stock of the army; he felt the
railleries that, as the gazettes showed him, foreigners were heaping upon
his forces; and his vexation was inconceivable.

This Prince, so equal in his manners, so thoroughly master of his
lightest movements, even upon the gravest occasions, succumbed under this
event. On rising from the table at Marly he saw a servant who, while
taking away the dessert, helped himself to a biscuit, which he put in his
pocket. On the instant, the King forgets his dignity, and cane in hand
runs to this valet (who little suspected what was in store for him),
strikes him; abuses him, and breaks the cane upon his body! The truth
is, 'twas only a reed, and snapped easily. However, the stump in his
hand, he walked away like a man quite beside himself, continuing to abuse
this valet, and entered Madame de Maintenon's room, where he remained
nearly an hour. Upon coming out he met Father la Chaise. "My father,"
said the King to him, in a very loud voice, "I have beaten a knave and
broken my cane over his shoulders, but I do not think I have offended
God." Everybody around trembled at this public confession, and the poor
priest muttered a semblance of approval between his teeth, to avoid
irritating the King more. The noise that the affair made and the terror
it inspired may be imagined; for nobody could divine for some time the
cause; and everybody easily understood that that which had appeared could
not be the real one. To finish with this matter, once for all, let us
add here the saying of M. d'Elboeuf. Courtier though he was, the upward
flight of the illegitimate children weighed upon his heart. As the
campaign was at its close and the Princes were about to depart, he begged
M. du Maine before everybody to say where he expected to serve during the
next campaign, because wherever it might be he should like to be there

After being pressed to say why, he replied that "with him one's life was
safe." This pointed remark made much noise. M. du Maine lowered his
eyes, and did not reply one word. As for the Marechal de Villeroy he
grew more and more in favour with the King and with Madame de Maintenon.
The bitter fruit of M. du Maine's act was the taking of Namur, which
capitulated on August 4th (1695). The Marechal de Villeroy in turn
bombarded Brussels, which was sorely maltreated. The Marechal de
Boufflers, who had defended Namur, was made Duke, and those who had
served under him were variously rewarded. This gave occasion for the
Prince of Orange to say, that the King recompensed more liberally the
loss of a place than he could the conquest of one. The army retired into
winter-quarters at the end of October, and the Generals went to Paris.

As for me, I remained six weeks at Landau with M. and Madame de Lorges.
At the end of that time, the Marechal, having regained his health,
returned to the army, where he was welcomed with the utmost joy: he soon
after had an attack of apoplexy, and, by not attending to his malady in
time, became seriously ill again. When a little recovered, he and Madame
de Lorges set out for Vichy, and I went to Paris.


Before speaking of what happened at Court after my return, it will be
necessary to record what had occurred there during the campaign.

M. de Brias, Archbishop of Cambrai, had died, and the King had given that
valuable preferment to the Abbe de Fenelon, preceptor of the children of
France. Fenelon was a man of quality, without fortune, whom the
consciousness of wit--of the insinuating and captivating kind--united
with much ability, gracefulness of intellect, and learning, inspired with
ambition. He had been long going about from door to door, knocking for
admission, but without success. Piqued against the Jesuits, to whom he
had addressed himself at first, as holding all favours in their hands,
and discouraged because unable to succeed in that quarter, he turned next
to the Jansenists, to console himself by the reputation he hoped he
should derive from them, for the loss of those gifts of fortune which
hitherto had despised him.

He remained a considerable time undergoing the process of initiation, and
succeeded at last in being of the private parties that some of the
important Jansenists then held once or twice a week at the house of the
Duchesse de Brancas. I know not if he appeared too clever for them, or
if he hoped elsewhere for better things than he could get among people
who had only sores to share; but little by little his intimacy with them
cooled; and by dint of turning around Saint Sulpice, he succeeded in
forming another connection there, upon which he built greater
expectations. This society of priests was beginning to distinguish
itself, and from a seminary of a Paris parish to extend abroad.
Ignorance, the minuteness of their practices, the absence of all patrons
and of members at all distinguished in any way, inspired them with a
blind obedience to Rome and to all its maxims; with a great aversion for
everything that passed for Jansenism, and made them so dependent upon the
bishops that they began to be considered an acquisition in many dioceses.
They appeared a middle party, very useful to the prelates; who equally
feared the Court, on account of suspicions of doctrine, and the Jesuits
for as soon as the latter had insinuated themselves into the good graces
of the prelates, they imposed their yoke upon them, or ruined them
hopelessly;--thus the Sulpicians grew apace. None amongst them could
compare in any way with the Abbe de Fenelon; so that he was able easily
to play first fiddle, and to make for himself protectors who were
interested in advancing him, in order that they might be protected in

His piety, which was all things to all men, and his doctrine that he
formed upon theirs (abjuring, as it were, in whispers, the impurities he
might have contracted amongst those he had abandoned)--the charms, the
graces, the sweetness, the insinuation of his mind, rendered him a dear
friend to this new congregation, and procured for him what he had long
sought, people upon whom he could lean, and who could and would serve.
Whilst waiting opportunities, he carefully courted these people, without
thinking, however, of positively joining them, his views being more
ambitious; so that he ever sought to make new acquaintances and friends.
His was a coquettish mind, which from people the most influential down to
the workman and the lackey sought appreciation and was determined to
please; and his talents for this work perfectly seconded his desires.

At this time, and while still obscure, he heard speak of Madame Guyon,
who has since made so much noise in the world, and who is too well known
to need that I should dwell upon her here. He saw her. There was an
interchange of pleasure between their minds. Their sublimes amalgamated.
I know not if they understood each other very clearly in that system, and
that new tongue which they hatched subsequently, but they persuaded
themselves they did, and friendship grew up between them. Although more
known than he, Madame Guyon was nevertheless not much known, and their
intimacy was not perceived, because nobody thought of them; Saint Sulpice
even was ignorant of what was going on.

The Duc de Beauvilliers became Governor of the children of France almost
in spite of himself, without having thought of it. He had to choose a
preceptor for Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne. He addressed himself to
Saint Sulpice, where for a long time he had confessed, for he liked and
protected it. He had heard speak of Fenelon with eulogy: the Sulpicians
vaunted his piety, his intelligence, his knowledge, his talents; at last
they proposed him for preceptor. The Duc de Beauvilliers saw him, was
charmed with him, and appointed him to the office.

As soon as installed, Fenelon saw of what importance it would be to gain
the entire favour of the Duc de Beauvilliers, and of his brother-in-law
the Duc de Chevreuse, both very intimate friends, and both in the highest
confidence of the King and Madame de Maintenon. This was his first care,
and he succeeded beyond his hopes, becoming the master of their hearts
and minds, and the director of their consciences.

Madame de Maintenon dined regularly once a week at the house of one or
other of the two Dukes, fifth of a little party, composed of the two
sisters and the two husbands,--with a bell upon the table, in order to
dispense with servants in waiting, and to be able to talk without
restraint. Fenelon was at last admitted to this sanctuary, at foot of
which all the Court was prostrated. He was almost as successful with
Madame de Maintenon as he had been with the two Dukes. His spirituality
enchanted her: the Court soon perceived the giant strides of the
fortunate Abbe, and eagerly courted him. But, desiring to be free and
entirely devoted to his great object, he kept himself aloof from their
flatteries--made for himself a shield with his modesty and his duties of
preceptor--and thus rendered himself still more dear to the persons he
had captivated, and that he had so much interest in retaining in that

Among these cares he forgot not his dear Madame Guyon; he had already
vaunted her to the two Dukes and to Madame de Maintenon. He had even
introduced her to them, but as though with difficulty and for a few
moments, as a woman all in God, whose humility and whose love of
contemplation and solitude kept her within the strictest limits, and
whose fear, above all, was that she should become known. The tone of her
mind pleased Madame de Maintenon extremely; her reserve, mixed with
delicate flatteries, won upon her. Madame de Maintenon wished to hear
her talk upon matters of piety; with difficulty she consented to speak.
She seemed to surrender herself to the charms and to the virtue of Madame
de Maintenon, and Madame de Maintenon fell into the nets so skilfully
prepared for her.

Such was the situation of Fenelon when he became Archbishop of Cambrai;
increasing the admiration in which he was held by taking no step to gain
that great benefice. He had taken care not to seek to procure himself
Cambrai; the least spark of ambition would have destroyed all his
edifice; and, moreover, it was not Cambrai that he coveted.

Little by little he appropriated to himself some distinguished sheep of
the small flock Madame Guyon had gathered together. He only conducted
them, however, under the direction of that prophetess, and, everything
passed with a secrecy and mystery that gave additional relish to the
manna distributed.

Cambrai was a thunderbolt for this little flock. It was the
archbishopric of Paris they wished. Cambrai they looked upon with
disdain as a country diocese, the residence in which (impossible to avoid
from time to time) would deprive them of their pastor. Their grief was
then profound at what the rest of the world took for a piece of amazing
luck, and the Countess of Guiche was so affected as to be unable to hide
her tears. The new prelate had not neglected such of his brethren as
made the most figure; they, in turn, considered it a distinction to
command his regard. Saint Cyr, that spot so valuable and so
inaccessible, was the place chosen for his consecration; and M. de Meaux,
dictator then of the episcopacy and or doctrine, consecrated him. The
children of France were among the spectators, and Madame de Maintenon was
present with her little court of familiars. No others were invited; the
doors were closed to those who sought to pay their court.

The new Archbishop of Cambrai, gratified with his influence over Madame
de Maintenon and with the advantages it had brought him, felt that unless
he became completely master of her, the hopes he still entertained could
not be satisfied. But there was a rival in his way--Godet, Bishop of
Chartres, who was much in the confidence of Madame de Maintenon, and had
long discourses with her at Saint Cyr. As he was, however, of a very ill
figure, had but little support at Court, and appeared exceedingly simple,
M. de Cambrai believed he could easily overthrow him. To do this, he
determined to make use of Madame Guyon, whose new spirituality had
already been so highly relished by Madame de Maintenon. He persuaded
this latter to allow Madame Guyon to enter Saint Cyr, where they could
discourse together much more at their ease than at the Hotel de Chevreuse
or Beauvilliers. Madame Guyon went accordingly to Saint Cyr two or three
times. Soon after, Madame de Maintenon, who relished her more and more,
made her sleep there, and their meetings grew longer. Madame Guyon
admitted that she sought persons proper to become her disciples, and in a
short time she formed a little flock, whose maxims and language appeared
very strange to all the rest of the house, and, above all, to M. de
Chartres. That prelate was not so simple as M. de Cambrai imagined.
Profound theologian and scholar, pious, disinterested, and of rare
probity, he could be, if necessary, a most skilful courtier; but he
rarely exerted this power, for the favour of Madame de Maintenon sufficed
him of itself. As soon as he got scent of this strange doctrine, he
caused two ladies, upon whom he could count, to be admitted to Saint Cyr,
as if to become disciples of Madame Guyon. He gave them full
instructions, and they played their parts to perfection. In the first
place they appeared to be ravished, and by degrees enchanted, with the
new doctrine. Madame Guyon, pleased with this fresh conquest, took the
ladies into her most intimate confidence in order to gain them entirely.
They communicated everything to M. de Chartres, who quietly looked on,
allowed things to take their course, and, when he believed the right
moment had arrived, disclosed all he had learnt to Madame de Maintenon.
She was strangely surprised when she saw the extraordinary drift of the
new doctrine. Troubled and uncertain, she consulted with M. de Cambrai,
who, not suspecting she had been so well instructed, became, when he
discovered it, embarrassed, and thus augmented her suspicions.

Suddenly Madame Guyon was driven away from Saint Cyr, and prohibited from
spreading her doctrine elsewhere. But the admiring disciples she had
made still gathered round her in secret, and this becoming known, she was
ordered to leave Paris. She feigned obedience, but in effect went no
further than the Faubourg Saint Antoine, where, with great secrecy, she
continued to receive her flock. But being again detected, she was sent,
without further parley, to the Bastille, well treated there, but allowed
to see nobody, not even to write. Before being arrested, however, she
had been put into the hands of M. de Meaux, who used all his endeavours
to change her sentiments. Tired at last of his sermons, she feigned
conviction, signed a recantation of her opinions, and was set at liberty.
Yet, directly after, she held her secret assemblies in the Faubourg Saint
Antoine, and it was in consequence of this abuse of freedom that she was
arrested. These adventures bring me far into the year 1696, and the
sequel extends into the following year. Let us finish this history at
once, and return afterwards to what happened meanwhile.

Monsieur de Cambrai, stunned but not overpowered by the reverse he had
sustained, and by his loss of favour with Madame de Maintenon, stood firm
in his stirrups. After Madame Guyon's abuse of her liberty, and the
conferences of Issy, he bethought himself of confessing to M. de Meaux,
by which celebrated trick he hoped to close that prelate's mouth. These
circumstances induced M. de Meaux to take pen in hand, in order to expose
to the public the full account of his affair, and of Madame Guyon's
doctrine; and he did so in a work under the title of 'Instruction sur les
Etats d'Oyaison'.

While the book was yet unpublished, M. de Cambrai was shown a copy. He
saw at once the necessity of writing another to ward off the effect of
such a blow. He must have had a great deal of matter already prepared,
otherwise the diligence he used would be incredible. Before M. de
Meaux's book was ready, M. de Cambrai's, entitled 'Maximes des Saints',
was published and distributed. M. de Chevreuse, who corrected the
proofs, installed himself at the printer's, so as to see every sheet as
soon as printed.

This book, written in the strangest manner, did M. de Cambrai little
service. If people were offended to find it supported upon no authority,
they were much more so with its confused and embarrassed style, its
precision so restrained and so decided, its barbarous terms which seemed
as though taken from a foreign tongue, above all, its high-flown and far-
fetched thoughts, which took one's breath away, as in the too subtle air
of the middle region. Nobody, except the theologians, understood it, and
even they not without reading it three or four times. Connoisseurs found
in it a pure Quietism, which, although wrapped up in fine language, was
clearly visible. I do not give my own judgment of things so much beyond
me, but repeat what was said everywhere. Nothing else was talked about,
even by the ladies; and a propos of this, the saying of Madame de Sevigne
was revived: "Make religion a little more palpable; it evaporates by dint
of being over-refined."

Not a word was heard in praise of the book; everybody was opposed to it,
and it was the means of making Madame de Maintenon more unfavourable to
M. de Cambrai than ever. He sent the King a copy, without informing her.
This completed her annoyance against him. M. de Cambrai, finding his
book so ill-received by the Court and by the prelates, determined to try
and support it on the authority of Rome, a step quite opposed to our
manners. In the mean time, M. de Meaux's book appeared in two volumes
octavo, well written, clear, modest, and supported upon the authority of
the Scriptures. It was received with avidity, and absolutely devoured.
There was not a person at the Court who did not take a pleasure in
reading it, so that for a long time it was the common subject of
conversation of the Court and of the town.

These two books, so opposed in doctrine and in style, made such a stir on
every side that the King interposed, and forced M. de Cambrai to submit
his work to an examination by a council of prelates, whom he named.
M. de Cambrai asked permission to go to Rome to defend his cause in
person, but this the King refused. He sent his book, therefore, to the
Pope, and had the annoyance to receive a dry, cold reply, and to see
M. de Meaux's book triumph. His good fortune was in effect at an end.
He remained at Court some little time, but the King was soon irritated
against him, sent him off post-haste to Paris, and from there to his
diocese, whence he has never returned. He left behind him a letter for
one of his friends, M. de Chevreuse it was generally believed, which
immediately after became public. It appeared like the manifesto of a man
who disgorges his bile and restrains himself no more, because he has
nothing more to hope. The letter, bold and bitter in style, was besides
so full of ability and artifice, that it was extremely pleasant to read,
without finding approvers; so true it is that a wise and disdainful
silence is difficult to keep under reverses.


Aptitude did not come up to my desire
Believed that to undertake and succeed were only the same things
Exceeded all that was promised of her, and all that I had hoped
He had pleased (the King) by his drugs
King was being wheeled in his easy chair in the gardens
Less easily forget the injuries we inflict than those received
Make religion a little more palpable
Manifesto of a man who disgorges his bile
Mightily tired of masters and books
More facility I have as King to gratify myself
My wife went to bed, and received a crowd of visitors
People who had only sores to share
Persuaded themselves they understood each other
Received all the Court in her bed
Saw peace desired were they less inclined to listen to terms
Spark of ambition would have destroyed all his edifice
The safest place on the Continent
Wise and disdainful silence is difficult to keep under reverses
With him one's life was safe





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.--
Extraordinary Theft.


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.--
Attempted Murder.


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.


To return now to the date from which I started. On the 6th of August,
1695, Harlay, Arch-bishop of Paris, died of epilepsy at Conflans. He was
a prelate of profound knowledge and ability, very amiable, and of most
gallant manners. For some time past he had lost favour with the King and
with Madame de Maintenon, for opposing the declaration of her marriage--
of which marriage he had been one of the three witnesses. The clergy,
who perceived his fall, and to whom envy is not unfamiliar, took pleasure
in revenging themselves upon M. de Paris, for the domination, although
gentle and kindly, he had exercised. Unaccustomed to this decay of his
power, all the graces of his mind and body withered. He could find no
resource but to shut himself up with his dear friend the Duchesse de
Lesdiguieres, whom he saw every day of his life, either at her own house
or at Conflans, where he had laid out a delicious garden, kept so
strictly clean, that as the two walked, gardeners followed at a distance,
and effaced their footprints with rakes. The vapours seized the
Archbishop, and turned themselves into slight attacks of epilepsy. He
felt this, but prohibited his servants to send for help, when they should
see him attacked; and he was only too well obeyed. The Duchesse de
Lesdiguieres never slept at Conflans, but she went there every afternoon,
and was always alone with him. On the 6th of August, he passed the
morning, as usual, until dinner-time; his steward came there to him, and
found him in his cabinet, fallen back upon a sofa; he was dead. The
celebrated Jesuit-Father Gaillard preached his funeral sermon, and
carefully eluded pointing the moral of the event. The King and Madame de
Maintenon were much relieved by the loss of M. de Paris. Various places
he had held were at once distributed. His archbishopric and his
nomination to the cardinalship required more discussion. The King learnt
the news of the death of M. de Paris on the 6th. On the 8th, in going as
usual to his cabinet, he went straight up to the Bishop of Orleans, led
him to the Cardinals de Bouillon and de Fursternberg, and said to them:-
"Gentlemen, I think you will thank me for giving you an associate like M.
d'Orleans, to whom I give my nomination to the cardinalship." At this
word the Bishop, who little expected such a scene, fell at the King's
feet and embraced his knees. He was a man whose face spoke at once of
the virtue and benignity he possessed. In youth he was so pious, that
young and old were afraid to say afoul word in his presence. Although
very rich, he appropriated scarcely any of his wealth to himself, but
gave it away for good works. The modesty and the simplicity with which
M. d'Orleans sustained his nomination, increased the universal esteem in
which he was held.

The archbishopric of Paris was given to a brother of the Duc de Noailles-
the Bishop of Chalons-sur-Marne--M. de Noailles thus reaping the fruit of
his wise sacrifice to M. de Vendome, before related. M. de Chalons was
of singular goodness and modesty. He did not wish for this preferment,
and seeing from far the prospect of its being given to him, hastened to
declare himself against the Jesuits, in the expectation that Pere la
Chaise, who was of them, and who was always consulted upon these
occasions, might oppose him. But it happened, perhaps for the first
time, that Madame de Maintenon, who felt restrained by the Jesuits, did
not consult Pere la Chaise, and the preferment was made without his
knowledge, and without that of M. de Chalons. The affront was a violent
one, and the Jesuits never forgave the new Archbishop: he was, however,
so little anxious for the office, that it was only after repeated orders
he could be made to accept it.

The Bishop of Langres also died about this time. He was a true
gentleman, much liked, and called "the good Langres." There was nothing
bad about him, except his manners; he was not made for a bishop--gambled
very much, and staked high. M. de Vendome and others won largely at
billiards of him, two or three times. He said no word, but, on returning
to Langres, did nothing but practise billiards in secret for six months.
When next in Paris, he was again asked to play, and his adversaries, who
thought him as unskilful as before, expected an easy victory but, to
their astonishment, he gained almost every game, won back much more than
he had lost, and then laughed in the faces of his companions.

I paid about this time, my first journey to Marly, and a singular scene
happened there. The King at dinner, setting aside his usual gravity,
laughed and joked very much with Madame la Duchesse, eating olives with
her in sport, and thereby causing her to drink more than usual--which he
also pretended to do. Upon rising from the table the King, seeing the
Princesse de Conti look extremely serious, said, dryly, that her gravity
did not accommodate itself to their drunkenness. The Princess, piqued,
allowed the King to pass without saying anything; and then, turning to
Madame de Chatillon, said, in the midst of the noise, whilst everybody
was washing his mouth, "that she would rather be grave than be a wine-
sack" (alluding to some bouts a little prolonged that her sister had
recently had).

The saying was heard by the Duchesse de Chartres, who replied, loud
enough to be heard, in her slow and trembling voice, that she preferred
to be a "winesack" rather than a "rag-sack" (sac d guenilles) by which
she alluded to the Clermont and La Choin adventure I have related before.

This remark was so cruel that it met with no reply; it spread through
Marly, and thence to Paris; and Madame la Duchesse, who had the art of
writing witty songs, made one upon this theme. The Princesse de Conti
was in despair, for she had not the same weapon at her disposal.
Monsieur tried to reconcile them gave them a dinner at Meudon--but they
returned from it as they went.

The end of the year was stormy at Marly. One evening, after the King had
gone to bed, and while Monseigneur was playing in the saloon, the
Duchesse de Chartres and Madame la Duchesse (who were bound together by
their mutual aversion to the Princesse de Conti) sat down to a supper in
the chamber of the first-named. Monseigneur, upon retiring late to his
own room, found them smoking with pipes, which they had sent for from the
Swiss Guards! Knowing what would happen if the smell were discovered, he
made them leave off, but the smoke had betrayed them. The King next day
severely scolded them, at which the Princesse de Conti triumphed.
Nevertheless, these broils multiplied, and the King at last grew so weary
of them that one evening he called the Princesses before him, and
threatened that if they did not improve he would banish them all from the
Court. The measure had its effect; calm and decorum returned, and
supplied the place of friendship.

There were many marriages this winter, and amongst them one very strange
--a marriage of love, between a brother of Feuquiere's, who had never
done much, and the daughter of the celebrated Mignard, first painter of
his time. This daughter was still so beautiful, that Bloin, chief valet
of the King, had kept her for some time, with the knowledge of every one,
and used his influence to make the King sign the marriage-contract.

There are in all Courts persons who, without wit and without
distinguished birth, without patrons, or service rendered, pierce into
the intimacy of the most brilliant, and succeed at last, I know not how,
in forcing the world to look upon them as somebody. Such a person was
Cavoye. Rising from nothing, he became Grand Marechal des Logis in the
royal household: he arrived at that office by a perfect romance. He was
one of the best made men in France, and was much in favour with the
ladies. He first appeared at the Court at a time when much duelling was
taking place, in spite of the edicts. Cavoye, brave and skilful,
acquired so much reputation m this particular, that the name of "Brave
Cavoye" has stuck to him ever since. An ugly but very good creature,
Mademoiselle de Coetlogon, one of the Queen's waiting-women, fill in love
with him, even to madness. She made all the advances; but Cavoye treated
her so cruelly, nay, sometimes so brutally, that (wonderful to say)
everybody pitied her, and the King at last interfered, and commanded him
to be more humane. Cavoye went to the army; the poor Coetlogon was in
tears until his return. In the winter, for being second in a duel, he
was sent to the Bastille. Then the grief of Coetlogon knew no bounds:
she threw aside all ornaments, and clad herself as meanly as possible;
she begged the King to grant Cavoye his liberty, and, upon the King's
refusing, quarrelled with him violently, and when in return he laughed at
her, became so furious, that she would have used her nails, had he not
been too wise to expose himself to them. Then she refused to attend to
her duties, would not serve the King, saying, that he did not deserve it,
and grew so yellow and ill, that at last she was allowed to visit her
lover at the Bastille. When he was liberated, her joy was extreme, she
decked herself out anon, but it was with difficulty that she consented to
be reconciled to the King.

Cavoye had many times been promised an appointment, but had never
received one such as he wished. The office of Grand Marechal des Logis
had just become vacant: the King offered it to Cavoye, but on condition
that he should marry Mademoiselle Coetlogon. Cavoye sniffed a little
longer, but was obliged to submit to this condition at last. They were
married, and she has still the same admiration for him, and it is
sometimes fine fun to see the caresses she gives him before all the
world, and the constrained gravity with which he receives them. The
history of Cavoye would fill a volume, but this I have selected suffices
for its singularity, which assuredly is without example.

About this time the King of England thought matters were ripe for an
attempt to reinstate himself upon the throne. The Duke of Berwick had
been secretly into England, where he narrowly escaped being arrested,
and upon his report these hopes were built. Great preparations were
made, but they came to nothing, as was always the case with the projects
of this unhappy prince.

Madame de Guise died at this time. Her father was the brother of Louis
XIII., and she, humpbacked and deformed to excess, had married the last
Duc de Guise, rather than not marry at all. During all their lives, she
compelled him to pay her all the deference due to her rank. At table he
stood while she unfolded her napkin and seated herself, and did not sit
until she told him to do so, and then at the end of the table. This form
was observed every day of their lives. She was equally severe in such
matters of etiquette with all the rest of the world. She would keep her
diocesan, the Bishop of Seez, standing for entire hours, while she was
seated in her arm-chair and never once offered him a seat even in the
corner. She was in other things an entirely good and sensible woman.
Not until after her death was it discovered that she had been afflicted
for a long time with a cancer, which appeared as though about to burst.
God spared her this pain.

We lost, in the month of March, Madame de Miramion, aged sixty-six. She
was a bourgeoise, married, and in the same year became a widow very rich,
young, and beautiful. Bussy Rabutin, so known by his 'Histoire Amoureuse
des Gaules', and by the profound disgrace it drew upon him, and still
more by the vanity of his mind and the baseness of his heart, wished
absolutely to marry her, and actually carried her off to a chateau. Upon
arriving at the place, she pronounced before everybody assembled there a
vow of chastity, and then dared Bussy to do his worst. He, strangely
discomfited by this action, at once set her at liberty, and tried to
accommodate the affair. From that moment she devoted herself entirely,
to works of piety, and was much esteemed by the King. She was the first
woman of her condition who wrote above her door, "Hotel de Nesmond."
Everybody cried out, and was scandalised, but the writing remained, and
became the example and the father of those of all kinds which little by
little have inundated Paris.

Madame de Sevigne, so amiable and of such excellent company, died some
time after at Grignan, at the house of her daughter, her idol, but who
merited little to be so. I was very intimate with the young Marquis de
Grignan, her grandson. This woman, by her natural graces, the sweetness
of her wit, communicated these qualities to those who had them not; she
was besides extremely good, and knew thoroughly many things without ever
wishing to appear as though she knew anything.

Father Seraphin preached during Lent this year at the Court. His
sermons, in which he often repeated twice running the same phrase, were
much in vogue. It was from him that came the saying, "Without God there
is no wit." The King was much pleased with him, and reproached M. de
Vendome and M. de la Rochefoucauld because they never went to hear his
sermons. M. de Vendome replied off-hand, that he did not care to go to
hear a man who said whatever he pleased without allowing anybody to reply
to him, and made the King smile by this sally. But M. de la
Rochefoucauld treated the matter in another manner he said that he could
not induce himself to go like the merest hanger-on about the Court, and
beg a seat of the officer who distributed them, and then betake himself
early to church in order to have a good one, and wait about in order to
put himself where it might please that officer to place him. Whereupon
the King immediately gave him a fourth seat behind him, by the side of
the Grand Chamberlain, so that everywhere he is thus placed.
M. d'Orleans had been in the habit of seating himself there (although his
right place was on the prie-Dieu), and little by little had accustomed
himself to consider it as his proper place. When he found himself driven
away, he made a great ado, and, not daring to complain to the King,
quarrelled with M. de la Rochefoucauld, who, until then, had been one of
his particular friends. The affair soon made a great stir; the friends
of both parties mixed themselves up in it. The King tried in vain to
make M. d'Orleans listen to reason; the prelate was inflexible, and when
he found he could gain nothing by clamour and complaint, he retired in
high dudgeon into his diocese: he remained there some time, and upon his
return resumed his complaints with more determination than ever; he fell
at the feet of the King, protesting that he would rather die than see his
office degraded. M. de la Rochefoucauld entreated the King to be allowed
to surrender the seat in favour of M. d'Orleans. But the King would not
change his decision; he said that if the matter were to be decided
between M. d'Orleans and a lackey, he would give the seat to the lackey
rather than to M. d'Orleans. Upon this the prelate returned to his
diocese, which he would have been wiser never to have quitted in order to
obtain a place which did not belong to him.

As the King really esteemed M. d'Orleans, he determined to appease his
anger; and to put an end to this dispute he gave therefore the bishopric
of Metz to the nephew of M. d'Orleans; and by this means a reconciliation
was established. M. d'Orleans and M. de la Rochefoucauld joined hands
again, and the King looked on delighted.

The public lost soon after a man illustrious by his genius, by his style,
and by his knowledge of men, I mean La Bruyere, who died of apoplexy at
Versailles, after having surpassed Theophrastus in his own manner, and
after painting, in the new characters, the men of our days in a manner
inimitable. He was besides a very honest man, of excellent breeding,
simple, very disinterested, and without anything of the pedant. I had
sufficiently known him to regret his death, and the works that might have
been hoped from him.

The command of the armies was distributed in the same manner as before,
with the exception that M. de Choiseul had the army of the Rhine in place
of M. de Lorges. Every one set out to take the field. The Duc de la
Feuillade in passing by Metz, to join the army in Germany, called upon
his uncle, who was very rich and in his second childhood. La Feuillade
thought fit to make sure of his uncle's money beforehand, demanded the
key of the cabinet and of the coffers, broke them open upon being refused
by the servants, and took away thirty thousand crowns in gold, and many
jewels, leaving untouched the silver. The King, who for a long time had
been much discontented with La Feuillade for his debauches and his
negligence, spoke very strongly and very openly upon this strange
forestalling of inheritance. It was only with great difficulty he could
be persuaded not to strip La Feuillade of his rank.

Our campaign was undistinguished by any striking event. From June to
September of this year (1696), we did little but subsist and observe,
after which we recrossed the Rhine at Philipsburg, where our rear guard
was slightly inconvenienced by the enemy. In Italy there was more
movement. The King sought to bring about peace by dividing the forces of
his enemies, and secretly entered into a treaty with Savoy. The
conditions were, that every place belonging to Savoy which had been taken
by our troops should be restored, and that a marriage should take place
between Monseigneur the Duc de Bourgogne and the daughter of the Duke of
Savoy, when she became twelve years of age. In the mean time she was to
be sent to the Court of France, and preparations were at once made there
to provide her with a suitable establishment.

The King was ill with an anthrax in the throat. The eyes of all Europe
were turned towards him, for his malady was not without danger;
nevertheless in his bed he affected to attend to affairs as usual; and he
arranged there with Madame de Maintenon, who scarcely ever quitted his
side, the household of the Savoy Princess. The persons selected for the
offices in that household were either entirely devoted to Madame de
Maintenon, or possessed of so little wit that she had nothing to fear
from them. A selection which excited much envy and great surprise was
that of the Duchesse de Lude to be lady of honour. The day before she
was appointed, Monsieur had mentioned her name in sport to the King.
"Yes," said the King, "she would be the best woman in the world to teach
the Princess to put rouge and patches on her cheek;" and then, being
more devout than usual, he said other things as bitter and marking strong
aversion on his part to the Duchess. In fact, she was no favourite of
his nor of Madame de Maintenon; and this was so well understood that the
surprise of Monsieur and of everybody else was great, upon finding, the
day after this discourse, that she had been appointed to the place.

The cause of this was soon learnt. The Duchesse de Lude coveted much to
be made lady of honour to the Princess, but knew she had but little
chance, so many others more in favour than herself being in the field.
Madame de Maintenon had an old servant named Nanon, who had been with her
from the time of her early days of misery, and who had such influence
with her, that this servant was made much of by everybody at Court, even
by the ministers and the daughters of the King. The Duchesse de Lude had
also an old servant who was on good terms with the other. The affair
therefore was not difficult. The Duchesse de Lude sent twenty thousand
crowns to Nanon, and on the very evening of the day on which the King had
spoken to Monsieur, she had the place. Thus it is! A Nanon sells the
most important and the most brilliant offices, and a Duchess of high
birth is silly enough to buy herself into servitude!

This appointment excited much envy. The Marechal de Rochefort, who had
expected to be named, made a great ado. Madame de Maintenon, who
despised her, was piqued, and said that she should have had it but for
the conduct of her daughter. This was a mere artifice; but the daughter
was, in truth, no sample of purity. She had acted in such a manner with
Blansac that he was sent for from the army to marry her, and on the very
night of their wedding she gave birth to a daughter. She was full of
wit, vivacity, intrigue, and sweetness; yet most wicked, false, and
artificial, and all this with a simplicity of manner, that imposed even
upon those who knew her best. More than gallant while her face lasted,
she afterwards was easier of access, and at last ruined herself for the
meanest valets. Yet, notwithstanding her vices, she was the prettiest
flower of the Court bunch, and had her chamber always full of the best
company: she was also much sought after by the three daughters of the
King. Driven away from the Court, she was after much supplication
recalled, and pleased the King so much that Madame de Maintenon, in fear
of her, sent her away again. But to go back again to the household of
the Princess of Savoy.

Dangeau was made chevalier d'honneur. He owed his success to his good
looks, to the court he paid to the King's mistresses, to his skilfulness
at play, and to a lucky stroke of fortune. The King had oftentimes been
importuned to give him a lodging, and one day, joking with him upon his
fancy of versifying; proposed to him some very hard rhymes, and promised
him a lodging if he filled them up upon the spot. Dangeau accepted,
thought but for a moment, performed the task, and thus gained his
lodging. He was an old friend of Madame de Maintenon, and it was to her
he was indebted for his post of chevalier d'honneur in the new household.

Madame d'O was appointed lady of the palace. Her father, named
Guilleragues, a gluttonous Gascon, had been one of the intimate friends
of Madame Scarron, who, as Madame de Maintenon, did not forget her old
acquaintance, but procured him the embassy to Constantinople. Dying
there, he left an only daughter, who, on the voyage home to France,
gained the heart of Villers, lieutenant of the vessel, and became his
wife in Asia-Minor, near the ruins of Troy. Villers claimed to be of the
house of d'O; hence the name his wife bore.

Established at the Court, the newly-married couple quickly worked
themselves into the favour of Madame de Maintenon, both being very clever
in intrigue. M. d'O was made governor of the Comte de Toulouse, and soon
gained his entire confidence. Madame d'O, too, infinitely pleased the,
young Count, just then entering upon manhood, by her gallantry, her wit,
and the facilities she allowed him. Both, in consequence, grew in great
esteem with the King. Had they been attendants upon Princes of the
blood, he would assuredly have slighted them. But he always showed great
indulgence to those who served his illegitimate children. Hence the
appointment of Madame d'O to be lady of the palace.

The household of the Princess of Savoy being completed, the members of it
were sent to the Pont Beauvosin to meet their young mistress. She
arrived early on the 16th of October, slept at the Pont Beauvosin that
night, and on the morrow parted with her Italian attendants without
shedding a single tear. On the 4th of November she arrived at Montargis,
and was received by the King, Monseigneur, and Monsieur. The King handed
her down from her coach, and conducted her to the apartment he had
prepared for her. Her respectful and flattering manners pleased him
highly. Her cajoleries, too, soon bewitched Madame de Maintenon, whom
she never addressed except as "Aunt;" whom she treated with a respect,
and yet with a freedom, that ravished everybody. She became the doll of
Madame de Maintenon and the King, pleased them infinitely by her
insinuating spirit, and took greater liberties with them than the
children of the King had ever dared to attempt.


Meanwhile our campaign upon the Rhine proceeded, and the enemy, having
had all their grand projects of victory defeated by the firmness and the
capacity of the Marechal de Choiseul, retired into winter-quarters, and
we prepared to do the same. The month of October was almost over when
Madame de Saint-Simon lost M. Fremont, father of the Marechal de Lorges.
She had happily given birth to a daughter on the 8th of September. I was
desirous accordingly to go to Paris, and having obtained permission from
the Marechal de Choiseul, who had treated me throughout the campaign with
much politeness and attention, I set out. Upon arriving at Paris I found
the Court at Fontainebleau. I had arrived from the army a little before
the rest, and did not wish that the King should know it without seeing
me, lest he might think I had returned in secret. I hastened at once
therefore to Fontainebleau, where the King received me with his usual
goodness,-saying, nevertheless, that I had returned a little too early,
but that it was of no consequence.

I had not long left his presence when I learned a report that made my
face burn again. It was affirmed that when the King remarked upon my
arriving a little early, I had replied that I preferred arriving at once
to see him, as my sole mistress, than to remain some days in Paris, as
did the other young men with their mistresses. I went at once to the
King, who had a numerous company around him; and I openly denied what had
been reported, offering a reward for the discovery of the knave who had
thus calumniated me, in order that I might give him a sound thrashing.
All day I sought to discover the scoundrel. My speech to the King and my
choler were the topic of the day, and I was blamed for having spoken so
loudly and in such terms. But of two evils I had chosen the least,--a
reprimand from the King, or a few days in the Bastille; and I had avoided
the greatest, which was to allow myself to be believed an infamous
libeller of our young men, in order to basely and miserably curry favour
at the Court. The course I took succeeded. The King said nothing of the
matter, and I went upon a little journey I wished particularly to take,
for reasons I will now relate.

I had, as I have already mentioned, conceived a strong attachment and
admiration for M. de La Trappe. I wished to secure a portrait of him,
but such was his modesty and humility that I feared to ask him to allow
himself to be painted. I went therefore to Rigault, then the first
portrait-painter in Europe. In consideration of a sum of a thousand
crowns, and all his expenses paid, he agreed to accompany me to La
Trappe, and to make a portrait of him from memory. The whole affair was
to be kept a profound secret, and only one copy of the picture was to be
made, and that for the artist himself.

My plan being fully arranged, I and Rigault set out. As soon as we
arrived at our journey's end, I sought M. de La Trappe, and begged to be
allowed to introduce to him a friend of mine, an officer, who much wished
to see him: I added, that my friend was a stammerer, and that therefore
he would be importuned merely with looks and not words. M. de La Trappe
smiled with goodness, thought the officer curious about little, and
consented to see him. The interview took place. Rigault excusing
himself on the ground of his infirmity, did little during three-quarters
of an hour but keep his eyes upon M. de La Trappe, and at the end went
into a room where materials were already provided for him, and covered
his canvas with the images and the ideas he had filled himself with.
On the morrow the same thing was repeated, although M. de La Trappe,
thinking that a man whom he knew not, and who could take no part in
conversation, had sufficiently seen him, agreed to the interview only out
of complaisance to me. Another sitting was needed in order to finish the
work; but it was with great difficulty M. de La Trappe could be persuaded
to consent to it. When the third and last interview was at an end, M. de
La Trappe testified to me his surprise at having been so much and so long
looked at by a species of mute. I made the best excuses I could, and
hastened to turn the conversation.

The portrait was at length finished, and was a most perfect likeness of
my venerable friend. Rigault admitted to me that he had worked so hard
to produce it from memory, that for several months afterwards he had been
unable to do anything to his other portraits. Notwithstanding the
thousand crowns I had paid him, he broke the engagement he had made by
showing the portrait before giving it up to me. Then, solicited for
copies, he made several, gaining thereby, according to his own admission,
more than twenty-five thousand francs, and thus gave publicity to the

I was very much annoyed at this, and with the noise it made in the world;
and I wrote to M. de La Trappe, relating the deception I had practised
upon him, and sued for pardon. He was pained to excess, hurt, and
afflicted; nevertheless he showed no anger. He wrote in return to me,
and said, I was not ignorant that a Roman Emperor had said, "I love
treason but not traitors;" but that, as for himself, he felt on the
contrary that he loved the traitor but could only hate his treason.
I made presents of three copies of the picture to the monastery of La
Trappe. On the back of the original I described the circumstance under
which the portrait had been taken, in order to show that M. de La Trappe
had not consented to it, and I pointed out that for some years he had
been unable to use his right hand, to acknowledge thus the error which
had been made in representing him as writing.

The King, about this time, set on foot negotiations for peace in Holland,
sending there two plenipotentiaries, Courtin and Harlay, and
acknowledging one of his agents, Caillieres, who had been for some little
time secretly in that country.

The year finished with the disgrace of Madame de Saint Geran. She was on
the best of terms with the Princesses, and as much a lover of good cheer
as Madame de Chartres and Madame la Duchesse. This latter had in the
park of Versailles a little house that she called the "Desert." There
she had received very doubtful company, giving such gay repasts that the
King, informed of her doings, was angry, and forbade her to continue
these parties or to receive certain guests. Madame de Saint Geran was
then in the first year of her mourning, so that the King did not think it
necessary to include her among the interdicted; but he intimated that he
did not approve of her. In spite of this, Madame la Duchesse invited her
to an early supper at the Desert a short time after, and the meal was
prolonged so far into the night, and with so much gaiety, that it came to
the ears of the King. He was in great anger, and learning that Madame de
Saint Geran had been of the party, sentenced her to be banished twenty
leagues from the Court. Like a clever woman, she retired into a convent
at Rouen, saying that as she had been unfortunate enough to displease the
King, a convent was the only place for her; and this was much approved.

At the commencement of the next year (1697) the eldest son of the Comte
d'Auvergne completed his dishonour by a duel he fought with the Chevalier
de Caylus, on account of a tavern broil, and a dispute about some
wenches. Caylus, who had fought well, fled from the kingdom; the other,
who had used his sword like a poltroon, and had run away dismayed into
the streets, was disinherited by his father, sent out of the country, and
returned no more. He was in every respect a wretch, who, on account of
his disgraceful adventures, was forced to allow himself to be
disinherited and to take the cross of Malta; he was hanged in effigy at
the Greve, to the great regret of his family, not on account of the
sentence, but because, in spite of every entreaty, he had been proceeded
against like the most obscure gentleman. The exile of Caylus afterwards
made his fortune.

We had another instance, about this time, of the perfidy of Harlay. He
had been entrusted with a valuable deposit by Ruvigny, a Huguenot
officer, who, quitting France, had entered the service of the Prince of
Orange, and who was, with the exception of Marshal Schomberg, the only
Huguenot to whom the King offered the permission of remaining at Court
with full liberty to practise his religion in secret. This, Ruvigny,
like Marshal Schomberg, refused. He was, nevertheless, allowed to retain
the property he possessed in France; but after his death his son, not
showing himself at all grateful for this favour, the King at last
confiscated the property, and publicly testified his anger. This was the
moment that Harlay seized to tell the King of the deposit he had. As a
recompense the King gave it to him as confiscated, and this hypocrite of
justice, of virtue, of disinterestedness, and of rigorism was not ashamed
to appropriate it to himself, and to close his ears and his eyes to the
noise this perfidy excited.

M. de Monaco, who had obtained for himself the title of foreign prince by
the marriage of his son with the Duchesse de Valentinois, daughter of M.
le Grand, and who enjoyed, as it were, the sovereignty of a rock--beyond
whose narrow limits anybody might spit, so to speak, whilst standing in
the middle--soon found, and his son still more so, that they had bought
the title very dearly. The Duchess was charming, gallant, and was
spoiled by the homage of the Court, in a house open night and day, and to
which her beauty attracted all that was young and brilliant. Her
husband, with much intelligence, was diffident; his face and figure had
acquired for him the name of Goliath; he suffered for a long time the
haughtiness and the disdain of his wife and her family. At last he and
his father grew tired and took away Madame de Valentinois to Monaco. She
grieved, and her parents also, as though she had been carried off to the
Indies. After two years of absence and repentance, she promised marvels,
and was allowed to return to Paris. I know not who counselled her, but,
without changing her conduct, she thought only how to prevent a return to
Monaco; and to insure herself against this, she accused her father-in-law
of having made vile proposals to her, and of attempting to take her by
force. This charge made a most scandalous uproar, but was believed by
nobody. M. de Monaco was no longer young; he was a very honest man, and
had always passed for such; besides, he was almost blind in both eyes,
and had a huge pointed belly, which absolutely excited fear, it jutted
out so far!

After some time, as Madame de Valentinois still continued to swim in the
pleasures of the Court under the shelter of her family, her husband
redemanded her; and though he was laughed at at first, she was at last
given up to him.

A marriage took place at this time between the son of Pontchartrain and
the daughter of the Comte de Roye. The Comte de Roye was a Huguenot,
and, at the revocation of the edict of Nantes, had taken refuge, with his
wife, in Denmark, where he had been made grand marshal and commander of
all the troops. One day, as the Comte de Roye was dining with his wife
and daughter at the King's table, the Comtesse de Roye asked her daughter
if she did not think the Queen of Denmark and Madame Panache resembled
each other like two drops of water? Although she spoke in French and in
a low tone, the Queen both heard and understood her, and inquired at once
who was Madame Panache. The Countess in her surprise replied, that she
was a very amiable woman at the French Court. The Queen, who had noticed
the surprise of the Countess, was not satisfied with this reply. She
wrote to the Danish minister at Paris, desiring to be informed of every
particular respecting Madame Panache, her face, her age, her condition,
and upon what footing she was at the French Court. The minister, all
astonished that the Queen should have heard of Madame Panache, wrote word
that she was a little and very old creature, with lips and eyes so
disfigured that they were painful to look upon; a species of beggar who
had obtained a footing at Court from being half-witted, who was now at
the supper of the King, now at the dinner of Monseigneur, or at other
places, where everybody amused themselves by tormenting her: She in turn
abused the company at these parties, in order to cause diversion, but
sometimes rated them very seriously and with strong words, which
delighted still more those princes and princesses, who emptied into her
pockets meat and ragouts, the sauces of which ran all down her
petticoats: at these parties some gave her a pistole or a crown, and
others a filip or a smack in the face, which put her in a fury, because
with her bleared eyes not being able to see the end of her nose, she
could not tell who had struck her;--she was, in a word, the pastime of
the Court!

Upon learning this, the Queen of Denmark was so piqued, that she could no
longer suffer the Comtesse de Roye near her; she complained to the King:
he was much offended that foreigners, whom he had loaded with favour,
should so repay him. The Comte de Roye was unable to stand up against
the storm, and withdrew to England, where he died a few years after.

The King at this time drove away the company of Italian actors, and would
not permit another in its place. So long as the Italians had simply
allowed their stage to overflow with filth or impiety they only caused
laughter; but they set about playing a piece called "The False Prude," in
which Madame de Maintenon was easily recognised. Everybody ran to see
the piece; but after three or four representations, given consecutively
on account of the gain it brought, the Italians received orders to close
their theatre and to quit the realm in a month. This affair made a great
noise; and if the comedians lost an establishment by their boldness and
folly, they who drove them away gained nothing--such was the licence with
which this ridiculous event was spoken of!


The disposition of the armies was the same this year as last, except that
the Princes did not serve. Towards the end of May I joined the army of
the Rhine, under the Marechal de Choiseul, as before. We made some
skilful manoeuvres, but did little in the way of fighting. For sixteen
days we encamped at Nieder-buhl, where we obtained a good supply of
forage. At the end of that time the Marechal de Choiseul determined to
change his position. Our army was so placed, that the enemy could see
almost all of it quite distinctly; yet, nevertheless, we succeeded in
decamping so quickly, that we disappeared from under their very eyes in
open daylight, and in a moment as it were. Such of the Imperial Generals
as were out riding ran from all parts to the banks of the Murg, to see
our retreat, but it was so promptly executed that there was no time for
them, to attempt to hinder us. When the Prince of Baden was told of our
departure he could not credit it. He had seen us so lately, quietly
resting in our position, that it seemed impossible to him we had left it
in such a short space of time. When his own eyes assured him of the
fact, he was filled with such astonishment and admiration, that he asked
those around him if they had ever seen such a retreat, adding, that he
could not have believed, until then, that an army so numerous and so
considerable should have been able to disappear thus in an instant.
This honourable and bold retreat was attended by a sad accident. One of
our officers, named Blansac, while leading a column of infantry through
the wood, was overtaken by night. A small party of his men heard some
cavalry near them. The cavalry belonged to the enemy, and had lost their
way. Instead of replying when challenged, they said to each other in
German, "Let us run for it." Nothing more was wanting to draw upon them
a discharge from the small body of our men, by whom they had been heard.
To this they replied with their pistols. Immediately, and without
orders, the whole column of infantry fired in that direction, and, before
Blansac could inquire the cause, fired again. Fortunately he was not
wounded; but five unhappy captains were killed, and some subalterns

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