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The Historic Court Memoirs of France, complete

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found her dry, laconic, cold. You racked your brains to discover the
cause of this change. Mere loss of time!--Flightiness was the sole
reason of it.

Devoutness was her strong point; by that she governed and held her place.
She found a King who believed himself an apostle, because he had all his
life persecuted Jansenism, or what was presented to him as such. This
indicated to her with what grain she could sow the field most profitably.

The profound ignorance in which the King had been educated and kept all
his life, rendered him from the first an easy prey to the Jesuits. He
became even more so with years, when he grew devout, for he was devout
with the grossest ignorance. Religion became his weak point. In this
state it was easy to persuade him that a decisive and tremendous blow
struck against the Protestants would give his name more grandeur than any
of his ancestors had acquired, besides strengthening his power and
increasing his authority. Madame de Maintenon was one of those who did
most to make him believe this.

The revocation of the edict of Nantes, without the slightest pretext or
necessity, and the various proscriptions that followed it, were the
fruits of a frightful plot, in which the new spouse was one of the chief
conspirators, and which depopulated a quarter of the realm, ruined its
commerce, weakened it in every direction, gave it up for a long time to
the public and avowed pillage of the dragoons, authorised torments and
punishments by which so many innocent people of both sexes were killed by
thousands; ruined a numerous class; tore in pieces a world of families;
armed relatives against relatives, so as to seize their property and
leave them to die of hunger; banished our manufactures to foreign lands,
made those lands flourish and overflow at the expense of France, and
enabled them to build new cities; gave to the world the spectacle of a
prodigious population proscribed, stripped, fugitive, wandering, without
crime, and seeking shelter far from its country; sent to the galleys,
nobles, rich old men, people much esteemed for their piety, learning, and
virtue, people well off, weak, delicate, and solely on account of
religion; in fact, to heap up the measure of horror, filled all the realm
with perjury and sacrilege, in the midst of the echoed cries of these
unfortunate victims of error, while so many others sacrificed their
conscience to their wealth and their repose, and purchased both by
simulated abjuration, from which without pause they were dragged to adore
what they did not believe in, and to receive the divine body of the Saint
of Saints whilst remaining persuaded that they were only eating bread
which they ought to abhor! Such was the general abomination born of
flattery and cruelty. From torture to abjuration, and from that to the
communion, there was often only twenty-four hours' distance; and
executioners were the conductors of the converts and their witnesses.
Those who in the end appeared to have been reconciled, more at leisure
did not fail by their flight, or their behaviour, to contradict their
pretended conversion.

The King received from all sides news and details of these persecutions
and of these conversions. It was by thousands that those who had abjured
and taken the communion were counted; ten thousand in one place; six
thousand in another--all at once and instantly. The King congratulated
himself on his power and his piety. He believed himself to have renewed
the days of the preaching of the Apostles, and attributed to himself all
the honour. The bishops wrote panegyrics of him, the Jesuits made the
pulpit resound with his praises. All France was filled with horror and
confusion; and yet there never was so much triumph and joy--never such
profusion of laudations! The monarch doubted not of the sincerity of
this crowd of conversions; the converters took good care to persuade him
of it and to beatify him beforehand. He swallowed their poison in long.
draughts. He had never yet believed himself so great in the eyes of man,
or so advanced in the eyes of God, in the reparation of his sins and of
the scandals of his life. He heard nothing but eulogies, while the good
and true Catholics and the true bishops, groaned in spirit to see the
orthodox act towards error and heretics as heretical tyrants and heathens
had acted against the truth, the confessors, and the martyrs. They could
not, above all, endure this immensity of perjury and sacrilege. They
bitterly lamented the durable and irremediable odium that detestable
measure cast upon the true religion, whilst our neighbours, exulting to
see us thus weaken and destroy ourselves, profited by our madness, and
built designs upon the hatred we should draw upon ourselves from all the
Protestant powers.

But to these spearing truths, the King was inaccessible. Even the
conduct of Rome in this matter, could not open his eyes. That Court
which formerly had not been ashamed to extol the Saint-Bartholomew, to
thank God for it by public processions, to employ the greatest masters to
paint this execrable action in the Vatican; Rome, I say, would not give
the slightest approbation to this onslaught on the Huguenots.

The magnificent establishment of Saint-Cyr, followed closely upon the
revocation of the edict of Nantes. Madame de Montespan had founded at
Paris an establishment for the instruction of young girls in all sorts of
fine and ornamental work. Emulation gave Madame de Maintenon higher and
vaster views which, whilst gratifying the poor nobility, would cause her
to be regarded as protectress in whom all the nobility would feel
interested. She hoped to smooth the way for a declaration of her
marriage, by rendering herself illustrious by a monument with which she
could amuse both the King and herself, and which might serve her as a
retreat if she had the misfortune to lose him, as in fact it happened.

This declaration of her marriage was always her most ardent desire. She
wished above all things to be proclaimed Queen; and never lost sight of
the idea. Once she was near indeed upon seeing it gratified. The King
had actually given her his word, that she should be declared; and the
ceremony was forthwith about to take place. But it was postponed, and
for ever, by the representations of Louvois to the King. To this
interference that minister owed his fall, and under circumstances so
surprising and so strange, that I cannot do better, I think, than
introduce an account of them here, by way of episode. They are all the
more interesting because they show what an unlimited power Madame de
Maintenon exercised by subterranean means, and with what patient
perseverance she undermined her enemies when once she had resolved to
destroy them.

Lauvois had gained the confidence of the King to such an extent, that he
was, as I have said, one of the two witnesses of the frightful marriage
of his Majesty with Madame de Maintenon. He had the courage to show he
was worthy of this confidence, by representing to the King the ignominy
of declaring that marriage, and drew from him his word, that never in his
life would he do so.

Several years afterwards, Louvois, who took care to be well informed of
all that passed in the palace, found out that Madame de Maintenon had
been again scheming in order to be declared Queen; that the King had had
the weakness to promise she should be, and that the declaration was about
to be made. He put some papers in his hand, and at once went straight to
the King, who was in a very private room. Seeing Louvois at an
unexpected hour, he asked him what brought him there. "Something
pressing and important," replied Louvois, with a sad manner that
astonished the King, and induced him to command the valets present to
quit the room. They went away in fact, but left the door open, so that
they could hear all, and see all, too, by the glass. This was the great
danger of the cabinets.

The valets being gone, Louvois did not dissimulate from the King his
mission. The monarch was often false, but incapable of rising above his
own falsehood. Surprised at being discovered, he tried to shuffle out of
the matter, and pressed by his minister, began to move so as to gain the
other cabinet where the valets were, and thus deliver himself from this
hobble. But Louvois, who perceived what he was about, threw himself on
his knees and stopped him, drew from his side a little sword he wore,
presented the handle to the King, and prayed him to kill him on the spot,
if he would persist in declaring his marriage, in breaking his word, and
covering himself in the eyes of Europe with infamy. The King stamped,
fumed, told Louvois to let him go. But Louvois squeezed him tighter by
the legs for fear he should escape; represented to him the shame of what
he had decided on doing; in a word, succeeded so well, that he drew for
the second time from the King, a promise that the marriage should never
be declared.

Madame de Maintenon meanwhile expected every moment to be proclaimed
Queen. At the end of some days disturbed by the silence of the King,
she ventured to touch upon the subject. The embarrassment she caused the
King much troubled her. He softened the affair as much as he could, but
finished by begging her to think no more of being declared, and never to
speak of it to him again! After the first shock that the loss of her
hopes caused her, she sought to find out to whom she was beholden for it.
She soon learned the truth; and it is not surprising that she swore to
obtain Louvois's disgrace, and never ceased to work at it until
successful. She waited her opportunity, and undermined her enemy at
leisure, availing herself of every occasion to make him odious to the

Time passed. At length it happened that Louvois, not content with the
terrible executions in the Palatinate, which he had counselled, wished to
burn Treves. He proposed it to the King. A dispute arose between them,
but the King would not or could not be persuaded. It may be imagined
that Madame de Maintenon did not do much to convince him.

Some days afterwards Louvois, who had the fault of obstinacy, came as
usual to work with the King in Madame de Maintenon's rooms. At the end
of the sitting he said, that he felt convinced that it was scrupulousness
alone which had hindered the King from consenting to so necessary an act
as the burning, of Treves, and that he had, therefore, taken the
responsibility on himself by sending a courier with orders to set fire to
the place at once.

The King was immediately, and contrary to his nature, so transported with
anger that he seized the tongs, and was about to make a run at Louvois,
when Madame de Maintenon placed herself between them, crying, "Oh, Sire,
what are you going to do?" and took the tongs from his hands.

Louvois, meanwhile, gained the door. The King cried after him to recall
him, and said, with flashing eyes: "Despatch a courier instantly with a
counter order, and let him arrive in time; for, know this: if a single
house is burned your head shall answer for it." Louvois, more dead than
alive, hastened away at once.

Of course, he had sent off no courier. He said he had, believing that by
this trick the King, though he might be angry, would be led to give way.
He had reckoned wrongly, however, as we have seen.

From this time forward Louvois became day by day more distasteful to the
King. In the winter of 1690, he proposed that, in order to save expense,
the ladies should not accompany the King to the siege of Mons. Madame de
Maintenon, we may be sure, did not grow more kindly disposed towards him
after this. But as it is always the last drop of water that makes the
glass overflow, so a trifle that happened at this siege, completed the
disgrace of Louvois.

The King, who plumed himself upon knowing better than anybody the
minutest military details, walking one day about the camp, found an
ordinary cavalry guard ill-posted, and placed it differently. Later the
same day he again visited by chance the spot, and found the guard
replaced as at first. He was surprised and shocked. He asked the
captain who had done this, and was told it was Louvois.

"But," replied the King, "did you not tell him 'twas I who had placed

"Yes, Sire," replied the captain. The King piqued, turned towards his
suite, and said: "That's Louvois's trade, is it not? He thinks himself a
great captain, and that he knows everything," and forthwith he replaced
the guard as he had put it in the morning. It was, indeed, foolishness
and insolence on the part of Louvois, and the King had spoken truly of
him. The King was so wounded that he could not pardon him. After
Louvois's death, he related this incident to Pomponne, still annoyed at
it, as I knew by means of the Abbe de Pomponne.

After the return from Mons the dislike of the King for Louvois augmented
to such an extent, that this minister, who was so presumptuous, and who
thought himself so necessary, began to tremble. The Marechale de
Rochefort having gone with her daughter, Madame de Blansac, to dine with
him at Meudon, he took them out for a ride in a little 'calache', which
he himself drove. They heard him repeatedly say to himself, musing
profoundly, "Will he? Will he be made to? No--and yet--no, he will not

During this monologue Louvois was so absorbed that he was within an ace
of driving them all into the water, and would have done so, had they not
seized the reins, and cried out that he was going to drown them. At
their cries and movement, Louvois awoke as from a deep sleep, drew up,
and turned, saying that, indeed, he was musing, and not thinking of the

I was at Versailles at that time, and happened to call upon Louvois about
some business of my father's.

The same day I met him after dinner as he was going to work with the
King. About four o'clock in the afternoon I learned that he had been
taken rather unwell at Madame de Maintenon's, that the King had forced
him to go home, that he had done so on foot, that some trifling remedy
was administered to him there, and that during the operation of it he

The surprise of all the Court may be imagined. Although I was little
more than fifteen years of age, I wished to see the countenance of the
King after the occurrence of an event of this kind. I went and waited
for him, and followed him during all his promenade. He appeared to me
with his accustomed majesty, but had a nimble manner, as though he felt
more free than usual. I remarked that, instead of going to see his
fountains, and diversifying his walk as usual, he did nothing but walk up
and down by the balustrade of the orangery, whence he could see, in
returning towards the chateau, the lodging in which Louvois had just
died, and towards which he unceasingly looked.

The name of Louvois was never afterwards pronounced; not a word was said
upon this death so surprising, and so sudden, until the arrival of an
officer, sent by the King of England from Saint-Germain, who came to the
King upon this terrace, and paid him a compliment of condolence upon the
loss he had received.

"Monsieur," replied the King, in a tone and with a manner more than easy,
"give my compliments and my thanks to the King and Queen of England, and
say to them in my name, that my affairs and theirs will go on none the
worse for what has happened."

The officer made a bow and retired, astonishment painted upon his face,
and expressed in all his bearing. I anxiously observed all this, and
also remarked, that all the principal people around the King looked at
each other, but said no word. The fact was, as I afterwards learned,
that Louvois, when he died, was so deeply in disgrace, that the very next
day he was to have been arrested and sent to the Bastille! The King told
Chamillart so, and Chamillart related it to me. This explains, I fancy,
the joy of the King at the death of his minister; for it saved him from
executing the plan he had resolved on.

The suddenness of the disease and death of Louvois caused much talk,
especially when, on the opening of the body, it was discovered that he
had been poisoned. A servant was arrested on the charge; but before the
trial took place he was liberated, at the express command of the King,
and the whole affair was hushed up. Five or six months afterwards Seron,
private physician of Louvois, barricaded himself in his apartment at
Versailles, and uttered dreadful cries. People came but he refused to
open; and as the door could not be forced, he went on shrieking all day,
without succour, spiritual or temporal, saying at last that he had got
what he deserved for what he had done to his master; that he was a wretch
unworthy of help; and so he died despairing, in eight or ten hours,
without having spoken of any ones or uttered a single name!


It must not be imagined that in order to maintain her position Madame de
Maintenon had need of no address. Her reign, on the contrary, was only
one continual intrigue; and that of the King a perpetual dupery.

Her mornings, which she commenced very early, were occupied with obscure
audiences for charitable or spiritual affairs. Pretty often, at eight
o'clock in the morning, or earlier, she went to some minister; the
ministers of war, above all those of finance, were those with whom she
had most business.

Ordinarily as soon as she rose, she went to Saint-Cyr, dined in her
apartment there alone, or with some favourite of the house, gave as few
audiences as possible, ruled over the arrangements of the establishment,
meddled with the affairs of convents, read and replied to letters,
directed the affairs of the house, received information and letters from
her spies, and returned to Versailles just as the King was ready to enter
her rooms. When older and more infirm, she would lie down in bed on
arriving between seven and eight o'clock in the morning at Saint-Cyr, or
take some remedy.

Towards nine o'clock in the evening two waiting-women came to undress
her. Immediately afterwards, her maitre d'hotel, or a valet de chambre
brought her her supper--soup, or something light. As soon as she had
finished her meal, her women put her to bed, and all this in the presence
of the King and his minister, who did not cease working or speak lower.
This done, ten o'clock had arrived; the curtains of Madame de Maintenon
were drawn, and the King went to supper, after saying good night to her.

When with the King in her own room, they each occupied an armchair, with
a table between them, at either side of the fireplace, hers towards the
bed, the King's with the back to the wall, where was the door of the
ante-chamber; two stools were before the table, one for the minister who
came to work, the other for his papers.

During the work Madame de Maintenon read or worked at tapestry. She
heard all that passed between the King and his minister, for they spoke
out loud. Rarely did she say anything, or, if so, it was of no moment.
The King often asked her opinion; then she replied with great discretion.
Never did she appear to lay stress on anything, still less to interest
herself for anybody, but she had an understanding with the minister, who
did not dare to oppose her in private, still less to trip in her
presence. When some favour or some post was to be granted, the matter
was arranged between them beforehand; and this it was that sometimes
delayed her, without the King or anybody knowing the cause.

She would send word to the minister that she wished to speak to him. He
did not dare to bring anything forward until he had received her orders;
until the revolving mechanism of each day had given them the leisure to
confer together. That done, the minister proposed and showed a list. If
by chance the King stopped at the name Madame de Maintenon wished, the
minister stopped too, and went no further. If the King stopped at some
other, the minister proposed that he should look at those which were also
fitting, allowed the King leisure to make his observations, and profited
by them, to exclude the people who were not wanted. Rarely did he
propose expressly the name to which he wished to come, but always
suggested several that he tried to balance against each other, so as to
embarrass the King in his choice. Then the King asked his opinion, and
the minister, after touching upon other names, fixed upon the one he had

The King nearly always hesitated, and asked Madame de Maintenon what she
thought. She smiled, shammed incapacity, said a word upon some other
name, then returned, if she had not fixed herself there at first, to that
which the minister had proposed; so that three-fourths of the favours and
opportunities which passed through the hands of the ministers in her
rooms--and three-fourths even of the remaining fourth-were disposed of by
her. Sometimes when she had nobody for whom she cared, it was the
minister, with her consent and her help, who decided, without the King
having the least suspicion. He thought he disposed of everything by
himself; whilst, in fact, he disposed only of the smallest part, and
always then by chance, except on the rare occasions when he specially
wished to favour some one.

As for state matters, if Madame de Maintenon wished to make them succeed,
fail, or turn in some particular fashion (which happened much less often
than where favours and appointments were in the wind), the same
intelligence and the same intrigue were carried on between herself and
the minister. By these particulars it will be seen that this clever
woman did nearly all she wished, but not when or how she wished.

There was another scheme if the King stood out; it was to avoid decision
by confusing and spinning out the matter in hand, or by substituting
another as though arising, opportunely out of it, and by which it was
turned aside, or by proposing that some explanations should be obtained.
The first ideas of the King were thus weakened, and the charge was
afterwards returned to, with the same address, oftentimes with success.

It is this which made the ministers so necessary to Madame de Maintenon,
and her so necessary to them: She rendered them, in fact, continual
services by means of the King, in return for the services they rendered
her. The mutual concerns, therefore, between her and them were infinite;
the King, all the while, not having the slightest suspicion of what was
going on!

The power of Madame de Maintenon was, as may be imagined, immense. She
had everybody in her hands, from the highest and most favoured minister
to the meanest subject of the realm. Many people have been ruined by
her, without having been able to discover the author of their ruin,
search as they might. All attempts to find a remedy were equally

Yet the King was constantly on his guard, not only against Madame de
Maintenon, but against his ministers also. Many a time it happened that
when sufficient care had not been taken, and he perceived that a minister
or a general wished to favour a relative or protege of Madame de
Maintenon, he firmly opposed the appointment on that account alone, and
the remarks he uttered thereupon made Madame de Maintenon very timid and
very measured when she wished openly to ask a favour.

Le Tellier, long before he was made Chancellor, well knew the mood of the
King. One of his friends asked him for some place that he much desired.
Le Tellier replied that he would do what he could. The friend did not
like this reply, and frankly said that it was not such as he expected
from a man with such authority. "You do not know the ground," replied Le
Tellier; "of twenty matters that we bring before the King, we are sure he
will pass nineteen according to our wishes; we are equally certain that
the twentieth will be decided against them. But which of the twenty will
be decided contrary to our desire we never know, although it may be the
one we have most at heart. The King reserves to himself this caprice, to
make us feel that he is the master, and that he governs; and if, by
chance, something is presented upon which he is obstinate, and which is
sufficiently important for us to be obstinate about also, either on
account of the thing itself, or for the desire we have that it should
succeed as we wish, we very often get a dressing; but, in truth, the
dressing over, and the affair fallen through, the King, content with
having showed that we can do nothing, and pained by having vexed us,
becomes afterwards supple and flexible, so that then is the time at which
we can do all we wish."

This is, in truth, how the King conducted himself with his ministers,
always completely governed by them, even by the youngest and most
mediocre, even by the least accredited and the least respected--yet
always on his guard against being governed, and always persuaded that he
succeeded fully in avoiding it.

He adopted the same conduct towards Madame de Maintenon, whom at times he
scolded terribly, and applauded himself for so doing. Sometimes she
threw herself on her knees before him, and for several days was really
upon thorns. When she had appointed Fagon physician of the King in place
of Daquin, whom she dismissed, she had a doctor upon whom she could
certainly rely, and she played the sick woman accordingly, after those
scenes with the King, and in this manner turned them to her own

It was not that this artifice had any power in constraining the King, or
that a real illness would have had any. He was a man solely personal,
and who counted others only as they stood in relation to himself. His
hard-heartedness, therefore, was extreme. At the time when he was most
inclined towards his mistresses, whatever indisposition they might labour
under, even the most opposed to travelling and to appearing in full court
dress, could not save them from either. When enceinte, or ill, or just
risen from child birth, they must needs be squeezed into full dress, go
to Flanders or further, dance; sit up, attend fetes, eat, be merry and
good company; go from place to place; appear neither to fear, nor to be
inconvenienced by heat, cold, wind, or dust; and all this precisely to
the hour and day, without a minute's grace.

His daughters he treated in the same manner. It has been seen, in its
place, that he had no more consideration for Madame la Duchesse de Berry,
nor even for Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne--whatever Fagon, Madame de
Maintenon, and others might do or say. Yet he loved Madame la Duchesse
de Bourgogne as tenderly as he was capable of loving anybody: but both
she and Madame la Duchesse de Berry had miscarriages, which relieved him,
he said, though they then had no children.

When he travelled, his coach was always full of women; his mistresses,
afterwards his bastards, his daughters-in-law, sometimes Madame, and
other ladies when there was room. In the coach, during his journeys,
there were always all sorts of things to eat, as meat, pastry, fruit.
A quarter of a league was not passed over before the King asked if
somebody would not eat. He never ate anything between meals himself,
not even fruit; but he amused himself by seeing others do so, aye,
and to bursting. You were obliged to be hungry, merry, and to eat with
appetite, otherwise he was displeased, and even showed it. And yet after
this, if you supped with him at table the same day, you were compelled to
eat with as good a countenance as though you had tasted nothing since the
previous night. He was as inconsiderate in other and more delicate
matters; and ladies, in his long drives and stations, had often occasion
to curse him. The Duchesse de Chevreuse once rode all the, way from
Versailles to Fontainebleau in such extremity, that several times she was
well-nigh losing consciousness.

The King, who was fond of air, liked all the windows to be lowered;
he would have been much displeased had any lady drawn a curtain for
protection against sun, wind, or cold. No inconvenience or incommodity
was allowed to be even perceived; and the King always went very quickly,
most frequently with relays. To faint was a fault past hope of pardon.

Madame de Maintenon, who feared the air and many other inconveniences,
could gain no privilege over the others. All she obtained, under
pretence of modesty and other reasons, was permission to journey apart;
but whatever condition she might be in, she was obliged to follow the
King, and be ready to receive him in her rooms by the time he was ready
to enter them. She made many journeys to Marly in a state such as would
have saved a servant from movement. She made one to Fontainebleau when
it seemed not unlikely that she would die on the road! In whatever
condition she might be, the King went to her at his ordinary hour and did
what he had projected; though several times she was in bed, profusely
sweating away a fever. The King, who as I have said, was fond of air,
and feared warm rooms, was astonished upon arriving to find everything
close shut, and ordered the windows to be opened; would not spare them an
inch; and up to ten o'clock, when he went to supper, kept them open,
utterly regardless of the cool night air, although he knew well what a
state she was in. If there was to be music, fever or headache availed
not; a hundred wax candles flashed all the same in her eyes. The King,
in fact, always followed his own inclination, without ever asking whether
she was inconvenienced.

The tranquillity and pious resignation of the King during the last days
of his illness, was a matter of some surprise to many people, as, indeed,
it deserved to be. By way of explanation, the doctors said that the
malady he died of, while it deadens and destroys all bodily pain, calms
and annihilates all heart pangs and agitation of the mind.

They who were in the sick-chamber, during the last days of his illness,
gave another reason.

The Jesuits constantly admit the laity, even married, into their company.
This fact is certain. There is no doubt that Des Noyers, Secretary of
State under Louis XIII., was of this number, or that many others have
been so too. These licentiates make the same vow as the Jesuits, as far
as their condition admits: that is, unrestricted obedience to the
General, and to the superiors of the company. They are obliged to supply
the place of the vows of poverty and chastity, by promising to give all
the service and all the protection in their power to the Company, above
all, to be entirely submissive to the superiors and to their confessor.
They are obliged to perform, with exactitude, such light exercises of
piety as their confessor may think adapted to the circumstances of their
lives, and that he simplifies as much as he likes. It answers the
purpose of the Company to ensure to itself those hidden auxiliaries whom
it lets off cheaply. But nothing must pass through their minds, nothing
must come to their knowledge that they do not reveal to their confessor;
and that which is not a secret of the conscience, to the superiors, if
the confessor thinks fit. In everything, too, they must obey without
comment, the superior and the confessors.

It has been pretended that Pere Tellier had inspired the King, long
before his death, with the desire to be admitted, on this footing, into
the Company; that he had vaunted to him the privileges and plenary
indulgences attached to it; that he had persuaded him that whatever
crimes had been committed, and whatever difficulty there might be in
making amends for them, this secret profession washed out all, and
infallibly assured salvation, provided that the vows were faithfully
kept; that the General of the Company was admitted into the secret with
the consent of the King; that the King pronounced the vows before Pere
Tellier; that in the last days of his life they were heard, the one
fortifying, the other resposing upon these promises; that, at last,
the King received from Pere Tellier the final benediction of the Company,
as one of its members; that Pere Tellier made the King offer up prayers,
partly heard, of a kind to leave no doubt of the matter; and that he had
given him the robe, or the almost imperceptible sign, as it were, a sort
of scapulary, which was found upon him. To conclude, the majority of
those who approached the King in his last moments attributed his
penitence to the artifices and persuasions of the Jesuits, who, for
temporal interests, deceive sinners even up to the edge of the tomb, and
conduct them to it in profound peace by a path strewn with flowers.

However it is but fair to say, that Marechal, who was very trustful,
assured me he had never perceived anything which justified this idea, and
that he was persuaded there was not the least truth in it; and I think,
that although he was not always in the chamber or near the bed, and
although Pere Tellier might mistrust and try to deceive him, still if the
King had been made a Jesuit as stated, Marechal must have had sore
knowledge or some suspicion of the circumstance.


Depopulated a quarter of the realm
He liked nobody to be in any way superior to him
He was born bored; he was so accustomed to live out of himself
He was scarcely taught how to read or write
It is a sign that I have touched the sore point
Pope not been ashamed to extol the Saint-Bartholomew
Revocation of the edict of Nantes
Seeing him eat olives with a fork!
Touched, but like a man who does not wish to seem so
Unreasonable love of admiration, was his ruin
Who counted others only as they stood in relation to himself





External Life of Louis XIV.--At the Army.--Etiquette of the King's
Table.--Court Manners and Customs.--The Rising of the King.--Morning
Occupations.--Secret Amours.--Going to Mass.--Councils.--Thursdays.--
Fridays.--Ceremony of the King's Dinner.--The King's Brother.--After
Dinner.--The Drive.--Walks at Marly and Elsewhere.--Stag--hunting.--Play-
tables.--Lotteries.--Visits to Madame de Maintenon.--Supper.--The King
Retires to Rest.--Medicine Days.--Kings Religious Observances.--Fervency
in Lent.--At Mass.--Costume.--Politeness of the King for the Court of
Saint-Germain.--Feelings of the Court at His Death.--Relief of Madame de
Maintenon.--Of the Duchesse d'Orleans.--Of the Court Generally.--Joy of
Paris and the Whole of France.--Decency of Foreigners.--Burial of the


Surprise of M. d'Orleans at the King's Death.--My Interview with Him.--
Dispute about Hats.--M. du Maine at the Parliament.--His Reception.--
My Protest.--The King's Will.--Its Contents and Reception.--Speech of the
Duc d'Orleans.--Its Effect.--His Speech on the Codicil.--Violent
Discussion.--Curious Scene.--Interruption for Dinner.--Return to the
Parliament.--Abrogation of the Codicil.--New Scheme of Government.--
The Regent Visits Madame de Maintenon.--The Establishment of Saint-Cyr.--
The Regent's Liberality to Madame de Maintenon.


The Young King's Cold.--'Lettres des Cachet' Revived.--A Melancholy
Story.--A Loan from Crosat.--Retrenchments.--Unpaid Ambassadors.--Council
of the Regency.--Influence of Lord Stair.--The Pretender.--His Departure
from Bar.--Colonel Douglas.--The Pursuit.--Adventure at Nonancourt.--Its
Upshot.--Madame l'Hospital.--Ingratitude of the Pretender.


Behaviour of the Duchesse de Berry.--Her Arrogance Checked by Public
Opinion.--Walls up the Luxembourg Garden.--La Muette.--Her Strange Amour
with Rion.--Extraordinary Details.--The Duchess at the Carmelites.--
Weakness of the Regent.--His Daily Round of Life.--His Suppers.--
How He Squandered His Time.--His Impenetrability.--Scandal of His Life.--
Public Balls at the Opera.


First Appearance of Law.--His Banking Project Supported by the Regent.--
Discussed by the Regent with Me.--Approved by the Council and Registered.
--My Interviews with Law.--His Reasons for Seeking My Friendship.--
Arouet de Voltaire.


Rise of Alberoni.--Intimacy of France and England.--Gibraltar Proposed to
be Given Up.--Louville the Agent.--His Departure.--Arrives at Madrid.--
Alarm of Alberoni.--His Audacious Intrigues.--Louville in the Bath.--
His Attempts to See the King.--Defeated.--Driven out of Spain.--Impudence
of Alberoni.--Treaty between France and England.--Stipulation with
Reference to the Pretender.


The Lieutenant of Police.--Jealousy of Parliament.--Arrest of Pomereu
Resolved On.--His Imprisonment and Sudden Release.--Proposed Destruction
of Marly.--How I Prevented It.--Sale of the Furniture.--I Obtain the
'Grandes Entrees'.--Their Importance and Nature.--Afterwards Lavished
Indiscriminately.--Adventure of the Diamond called "The Regent."--Bought
for the Crown of France.


Death of the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres.--Cavoye and His Wife.--Peter the
Great.--His Visit to France.--Enmity to England.--Its Cause.--Kourakin,
the Russian Ambassador.--The Czar Studies Rome.--Makes Himself the Head
of Religion.--New Desires for Rome--Ultimately Suppressed.--Preparations
to Receive the Czar at Paris.--His Arrival at Dunkerque.--At Beaumont.--
Dislikes the Fine Quarters Provided for Him.--His Singular Manners, and
Those of His Suite.


Personal Appearance of the Czar.--His Meals.--Invited by the Regent.--
His Interview with the King--He Returns the Visit.--Excursion in Paris.--
Visits Madame.--Drinks Beer at the Opera.--At the Invalides.--Meudon.--
Issy.--The Tuileries.--Versailles.--Hunt at Fontainebleau.--Saint--Cyr.--
Extraordinary Interview with Madame de Maintenon.--My Meeting with the
Czar at D'Antin's.--The Ladies Crowd to See Him.--Interchange of
Presents.--A Review.--Party Visits.--Desire of the Czar to Be United to


Courson in Languedoc.--Complaints of Perigueux.--Deputies to Paris.--
Disunion at the Council.--Intrigues of the Duc de Noailles.--Scene.--
I Support the Perigueux People.--Triumph.--My Quarrel with Noailles.--
The Order of the Pavilion.


After having thus described with truth and the most exact fidelity all
that has come to my knowledge through my own experience, or others
qualified to speak of Louis XIV. during the last twenty-two years of his
life: and after having shown him such as he was, without prejudice
(although I have permitted myself to use the arguments naturally
resulting from things), nothing remains but to describe the outside life
of this monarch, during my residence at the Court.

However insipid and perhaps superfluous details so well known may appear
after what has been already given, lessons will be found therein for
kings who may wish to make themselves respected, and who may wish to
respect themselves. What determines me still more is, that details
wearying, nay annoying, to instructed readers, who had been witnesses of
what I relate, soon escape the knowledge of posterity; and that
experience shows us how much we regret that no one takes upon himself a
labour, in his own time so ungrateful, but in future years so
interesting, and by which princes, who have made quite as much stir as
the one in question, are characterise. Although it may be difficult to
steer clear of repetitions, I will do my best to avoid them.

I will not speak much of the King's manner of living when with the army.
His hours were determined by what was to be done, though he held his
councils regularly; I will simply say, that morning and evening he ate
with people privileged to have that honour. When any one wished to claim
it, the first gentleman of the chamber on duty was appealed to. He gave
the answer, and if favourable you presented yourself the next day to the
King, who said to you, "Monsieur, seat yourself at table." That being
done, all was done. Ever afterwards you were at liberty to take a place
at the King's table, but with discretion. The number of the persons from
whom a choice was made was, however, very limited. Even very high
military rank did not suffice. M. de Vauban, at the siege of Namur, was
overwhelmed by the distinction. The King did the same honour at Namur to
the Abbe de Grancey, who exposed himself everywhere to confess the
wounded and encourage the troops. No other Abbe was ever so
distinguished. All the clergy were excluded save the cardinals, and the
bishops, piers, or the ecclesiastics who held the rank of foreign

At these repasts everybody was covered; it would have been a want of
respect, of which you would have been immediately informed, if you had
not kept your hat on your head. The King alone was uncovered. When the
King wished to speak to you, or you had occasion to speak to him, you
uncovered. You uncovered, also, when Monseigneur or Monsieur spoke to
you, or you to them. For Princes of the blood you merely put your hand
to your hat. The King alone had an armchair. All the rest of the
company, Monseigneur included, had seats, with backs of black morocco
leather, which could be folded up to be carried, and which were called
"parrots." Except at the army, the King never ate with any man, under
whatever circumstances; not even with the Princes of the Blood, save
sometimes at their wedding feasts.

Let us return now to the Court.

At eight o'clock the chief valet de chambre on duty, who alone had slept
in the royal chamber, and who had dressed himself, awoke the King. The
chief physician, the chief surgeon, and the nurse (as long as she lived),
entered at the same time; the latter kissed the King; the others rubbed
and often changed his shirt, because he was in the habit of sweating a
great deal. At the quarter, the grand chamberlain was called (or, in his
absence, the first gentleman of the chamber), and those who had what was
called the 'grandes entrees'. The chamberlain (or chief gentleman) drew
back the curtains which had been closed again; and presented the holy-
water from the vase, at the head of the bed. These gentlemen stayed but
a moment, and that was the time to speak to the King, if any one had
anything to ask of him; in which case the rest stood aside. When,
contrary to custom, nobody had ought to say, they were there but for a
few moments. He who had opened the curtains and presented the holy-
water, presented also a prayer-book. Then all passed into the cabinet of
the council. A very short religious service being over, the King called,
they re-entered, The same officer gave him his dressing-gown; immediately
after, other privileged courtiers entered, and then everybody, in time to
find the King putting on his shoes and stockings, for he did almost
everything himself and with address and grace. Every other day we saw
him shave himself; and he had a little short wig in which he always
appeared, even in bed, and on medicine days. He often spoke of the
chase, and sometimes said a-word to somebody. No toilette table was near
him; he had simply a mirror held before him.

As soon as he was dressed, he prayed to God, at the side of his bed,
where all the clergy present knelt, the cardinals without cushions, all
the laity remaining standing; and the captain of the guards came to the
balustrade during the prayer, after which the King passed into his

He found there, or was followed by all who had the entree, a very
numerous company, for it included everybody in any office. He gave
orders to each for the day; thus within a half a quarter of an hour it
was known what he meant to do; and then all this crowd left directly.
The bastards, a few favourites; and the valets alone were left. It was
then a good opportunity for talking with the King; for example, about
plans of gardens and buildings; and conversation lasted more or less
according to the person engaged in it.

All the Court meantime waited for the King in the gallery, the captain of
the guard being alone in the chamber seated at the door of the cabinet.
At morning the Court awaited in the saloon; at Trianon in the front rooms
as at Meudon; at Fontainebleau in the chamber and ante-chamber. During
this pause the King gave audiences when he wished to accord any; spoke
with whoever he might wish to speak secretly to, and gave secret
interviews to foreign ministers in presence of Torcy. They were called
"secret" simply to distinguish them from the uncommon ones by the

The King went to mass, where his musicians always sang an anthem. He did
not go below--except on grand fetes or at ceremonies. Whilst he was
going to and returning from mass, everybody spoke to him who wished,
after apprising the captain of the guard, if they were not distinguished;
and he came and went by the door of the cabinet into the gallery. During
the mass the ministers assembled in the King's chamber, where
distinguished people could go and speak or chat with them. The King
amused himself a little upon returning from mass and asked almost
immediately for the council. Then the morning was finished.

On Sunday, and often on Monday, there was a council of state; on Tuesday
a finance council; on Wednesday council of state; on Saturday finance
council: rarely were two held in one day or any on Thursday or Friday.
Once or twice a month there was a council of despatches on Monday
morning; but the order that the Secretaries of State took every morning
between the King's rising and his mass, much abridged this kind of
business. All the ministers were seated accordingly to rank, except at
the council of despatches, where all stood except the sons of France, the
Chancellor, and the Duc de Beauvilliers.

Thursday morning was almost always blank. It was the day for audiences
that the King wished to give--often unknown to any--back-stair audiences.
It was also the grand day taken advantage of by the bastards, the valets,
etc., because the King had nothing to do. On Friday after the mass the
King was with his confessor, and the length of their audiences was
limited by nothing, and might last until dinner. At Fontainebleau on the
mornings when there was no council, the King usually passed from mass to
Madame de Maintenon's, and so at Trianon and Marly. It was the time for
their tete-a-tete without interruption. Often on the days when there was
no council the dinner hour was advanced, more or less for the chase or
the promenade. The ordinary hour was one o'clock; if the council still
lasted, then the dinner waited and nothing was said to the King.

The dinner was always 'au petit couvert', that is, the King ate by
himself in his chamber upon a square table in front of the middle window.
It was more or less abundant, for he ordered in the morning whether it
was to be "a little," or "very little" service. But even at this last,
there were always many dishes, and three courses without counting the
fruit. The dinner being ready, the principal courtiers entered; then all
who were known; and the gentleman of the chamber on duty informed the

I have seen, but very rarely, Monseigneur and his sons standing at their
dinners, the King not offering them a seat. I have continually seen
there the Princes of the blood and the cardinals. I have often seen
there also Monsieur, either on arriving from Saint-Cloud to see the King,
or arriving from the council of despatches (the only one he entered),
give the King his napkin and remain standing. A little while afterwards,
the King, seeing that he did not go away, asked him if he would not sit
down; he bowed, and the King ordered a seat to be brought for him. A
stool was put behind him. Some moments after the King said, "Nay then,
sit down, my brother." Monsieur bowed and seated himself until the end
of the dinner, when he presented the napkin.

At other times when he came from Saint-Cloud, the King, on arriving at
the table, asked for a plate for Monsieur, or asked him if he would dine.
If he refused, he went away a moment after, and there was no mention of a
seat; if he accepted, the King asked for a plate for him. The table was
square, he placed himself at one end, his back to the cabinet. Then the
Grand Chamberlain (or the first gentleman of the chamber) gave him drink
and plates, taking them from him as he finished with them, exactly as he
served the King; but Monsieur received all this attention with strongly
marked politeness. When he dined thus with the King he much enlivened
the conversation. The King ordinarily spoke little at table unless some
family favourite was near. It was the same at hid rising. Ladies
scarcely ever were seen at these little dinners.

I have, however, seen the Marechale de la Mothe, who came in because she
had been used to do so as governess to the children of France, and who
received a seat, because she was a Duchess. Grand dinners were very
rare, and only took place on grand occasions, and then ladies were

Upon leaving the table the King immediately entered his cabinet. That
was the time for distinguished people to speak to him. He stopped at the
door a moment to listen, then entered; very rarely did any one follow
him, never without asking him for permission to do so; and for this few
had the courage. If followed he placed himself in the embrasure of the
window nearest to the door of the cabinet, which immediately closed of
itself, and which you were obliged to open yourself on quitting the King.
This also was the time for the bastards and the valets.

The King amused himself by feeding his dogs, and remained with them more
or less time, then asked for his wardrobe, changed before the very few
distinguished people it pleased the first gentleman of the chamber to
admit there, and immediately went out by the back stairs into the court
of marble to get into his coach. From the bottom of that staircase to
the coach, any one spoke to him who wished.

The King was fond of air, and when deprived of it his health suffered; he
had headaches and vapours caused by the undue use he had formerly made of
perfumes, so that for many years he could not endure any, except the
odour of orange flowers; therefore if you had to approach anywhere near
him you did well not to carry them.

As he was but little sensitive to heat or cold, or even to rain, the
weather was seldom sufficiently bad to prevent his going abroad. He went
out for three objects: stag-hunting, once or more each week; shooting in
his parks (and no man handled a gun with more grace or skill), once or
twice each week; and walking in his gardens for exercise, and to see his
workmen. Sometimes he made picnics with ladies, in the forest at Marly
or at Fontainebleau, and in this last place, promenades with all the
Court around the canal, which was a magnificent spectacle. Nobody
followed him in his other promenades but those who held principal
offices, except at Versailles or in the gardens of Trianon. Marly had a
privilege unknown to the other places. On going out from the chateau,
the King said aloud, "Your hats, gentlemen," and immediately courtiers,
officers of the guard, everybody, in fact, covered their heads, as he
would have been much displeased had they not done so; and this lasted all
the promenade, that is four or five hours in summer, or in other seasons,
when he dined early at Versailles to go and walk at Marly, and not sleep

The stag-hunting parties were on an extensive scale. At Fontainebleau
every one went who wished; elsewhere only those were allowed to go who
had obtained the permission once for all, and those who had obtained
leave to wear the justau-corps, which was a blue uniform with silver and
gold lace, lined with red. The King did not like too many people at
these parties. He did not care for you to go if you were not fond of the
chase. He thought that ridiculous, and never bore ill-will to those who
stopped away altogether.

It was the same with the play-table, which he liked to see always well
frequented--with high stakes--in the saloon at Marly, for lansquenet and
other games. He amused himself at Fontainebleau during bad weather by
seeing good players at tennis, in which he had formerly excelled; and at
Marly by seeing mall played, in which he had also been skilful.
Sometimes when there was no council, he would make presents of stuff, or
of silverware, or jewels, to the ladies, by means of a lottery, for the
tickets of which they paid nothing. Madame de Maintenon drew lots with
the others, and almost always gave at once what she gained. The King
took no ticket.

Upon returning home from walks or drives, anybody, as I have said, might
speak to the King from the moment he left his coach till he reached the
foot of his staircase. He changed his dress again, and rested in his
cabinet an hour or more, then went to Madame de Maintenon's, and on the
way any one who wished might speak to him.

At ten o'clock his supper was served. The captain of the guard announced
this to him. A quarter of an hour after the King came to supper, and
from the antechamber of Madame de Maintenon to the table--again, any one
spoke to him who wished. This supper was always on a grand scale, the
royal household (that is, the sons and daughters of France) at table, and
a large number of courtiers and ladies present, sitting or standing, and
on the evening before the journey to Marly all those ladies who wished to
take part in it. That was called presenting yourself for Marly. Men
asked in the morning, simply saying to the King, "Sire, Marly." In later
years the King grew tired of this, and a valet wrote up in the gallery
the names of those who asked. The ladies continued to present

After supper the King stood some moments, his back to the balustrade of
the foot of his bed, encircled by all his Court; then, with bows to the
ladies, passed into his cabinet, where, on arriving, he gave his orders.

He passed a little less than an hour there, seated in an armchair, with
his legitimate children and bastards, his grandchildren, legitimate and
otherwise, and their husbands or wives. Monsieur in another armchair;
the Princesses upon stools, Monseigneur and all the other Princes

The King, wishing to retire, went and fed his dogs; then said good night,
passed into his chamber to the 'ruelle' of his bed, where he said his
prayers, as in the morning, then undressed. He said good night with an
inclination of the head, and whilst everybody was leaving the room stood
at the corner of the mantelpiece, where he gave the order to the colonel
of the guards alone. Then commenced what was called the 'petit coucher',
at which only the specially privileged remained. That was short. They
did not leave until be got into bed. It was a moment to speak to him.
Then all left if they saw any one buckle to the King. For ten or twelve
years before he died the 'petit coucher' ceased, in consequence of a long
attack of gout be had had; so that the Court was finished at the rising
from supper.

On medicine days, which occurred about once a month, the King remained in
bed, then heard mass. The royal household came to see him for a moment,
and Madame de Maintenon seated herself in the armchair at the head of his
bed. The King dined in bed about three o'clock, everybody being allowed
to enter the room, then rose, and the privileged alone remained. He
passed afterwards into his cabinet, where he held a council, and
afterwards went, as usual, to Madame de Maintenon's and supped at ten
o'clock, according to custom.

During all his life, the King failed only once in his attendance at mass,
It was with the army, during a forced march; he missed no fast day,
unless really indisposed. Some days before Lent, he publicly declared
that he should be very much displeased if any one ate meat or gave it to
others, under any pretext. He ordered the grand prevot to look to this,
and report all cases of disobedience. But no one dared to disobey his
commands, for they would soon have found out the cost. They extended
even to Paris, where the lieutenant of police kept watch and reported.
For twelve or fifteen years he had himself not observed Lent, however.
At church he was very respectful. During his mass everybody was obliged
to kneel at the Sanctus, and to remain so until after the communion of
the priest; and if he heard the least noise, or saw anybody talking
during the mass, he was much displeased. He took the communion five
times a year, in the collar of the Order, band, and cloak. On Holy
Thursday, he served the poor at dinner; at the mass he said his chaplet
(he knew no more), always kneeling, except at the Gospel.

He was always clad in dresses more or less brown, lightly embroidered,
but never at the edges, sometimes with nothing but a gold button,
sometimes black velvet. He wore always a vest of cloth, or of red, blue,
or green satin, much embroidered. He used no ring; and no jewels, except
in the buckles of his shoes, garters, and hat, the latter always trimmed
with Spanish point, with a white feather. He had always the cordon bleu
outside, except at fetes, when he wore it inside, with eight or ten
millions of precious stones attached.

Rarely a fortnight passed that the King did not go to Saint-Germain, even
after the death of King James the Second. The Court of Saint-Germain
came also to Versailles, but oftener to Marly, and frequently to sup
there; and no fete or ceremony took place to which they were not invited,
and at which they were not received with all honours. Nothing could
compare with the politeness of the King for this Court, or with the air
of gallantry and of majesty with which he received it at any time. Birth
days, or the fete days of the King and his family, so observed in the
courts of Europe, were always unknown in that of the King; so that there
never was the slightest mention of them, or any difference made on their

The King was but little regretted. His valets and a few other people
felt his loss, scarcely anybody else. His successor was not yet old
enough to feel anything. Madame entertained for him only fear and
considerate respect. Madame la Duchesse de Berry did not like him, and
counted now upon reigning undisturbed. M. le Duc d'Orleans could
scarcely be expected to feel much grief for him. And those who may have
been expected did not consider it necessary to do their duty. Madame de
Maintenon was wearied with him ever since the death of the Dauphine; she
knew not what to do, or with what to amuse him; her constraint was
tripled because he was much more with her than before. She had often,
too, experienced much ill-humour from him. She had attained all she
wished, so whatever she might lose in losing him, she felt herself
relieved, and was capable of no other sentiment at first. The ennui and
emptiness of her life afterwards made her feel regret. As for M. du
Maine, the barbarous indecency of his joy need not be dwelt upon. The
icy tranquillity of his brother, the Comte de Toulouse, neither increased
nor diminished. Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans surprised me. I had
expected some grief, I perceived only a few tears, which upon all
occasions flowed very readily from her eyes, and which were soon dried
up. Her bed, which she was very fond of, supplied what was wanting
during several days, amidst obscurity which she by no means disliked.

But the window curtains were soon withdrawn and grief disappeared.

As for the Court, it was divided into two grand parties, the men hoping
to figure, to obtain employ, to introduce themselves: and they were
ravished to see the end of a reign under which they had nothing to hope
for; the others; fatigued with a heavy yoke, always overwhelming, and of
the ministers much more than of the King, were charmed to find themselves
at liberty. Thus all, generally speaking, were glad to be delivered from
continual restraint, and were eager for change.

Paris, tired of a dependence which had enslaved everything, breathed
again in the hope of liberty, and with joy at seeing at an end the
authority of so many people who abused it. The provinces in despair at
their ruin and their annihilation breathed again and leaped for joy; and
the Parliament and the robe destroyed by edicts and by revolutions,
flattered themselves the first that they should figure, the other that
they should find themselves free. The people ruined, overwhelmed,
desperate, gave thanks to God, with a scandalous eclat, for a
deliverance, their most ardent desires had not anticipated.

Foreigners delighted to be at last, after so many years, quit of a
monarch who had so long imposed his law upon them, and who had escaped
from them by a species of miracle at the very moment in which they
counted upon having subjugated him, contained themselves with much more
decency than the French. The marvels of the first three quarters of this
reign of more than seventy years, and the personal magnanimity of this
King until then so successful, and so abandoned afterwards by fortune
during the last quarter of his reign--had justly dazzled them. They made
it a point of honour to render to him after his death what they had
constantly refused him during life. No foreign Court exulted: all plumed
themselves upon praising and honouring his memory. The Emperor wore
mourning as for a father, and although four or five months elapsed
between the death of the King and the Carnival, all kinds of amusements
were prohibited at Vienna during the Carnival, and the prohibition was
strictly observed. A monstrous fact was, that towards the end of this
period there was a single ball and a kind of fete that the Comte du Luc
our own ambassador, was not ashamed to give to the ladies, who seduced
him by the ennui of so dull a Carnival. This complaisance did not raise
him in estimation at Vienna or elsewhere. In France people were
contented with ignoring it.

As for our ministry and the intendants of the provinces, the financiers
and what may be called the canaille, they felt all the extent of their
loss. We shall see if the realm was right or wrong in the sentiments it
held, and whether it found soon after that it had gained or lost.

To finish at once all that regards the King, let me here say, that his
entrails were taken to Notre Dame, on the 4th of September, without any
ceremony, by two almoners of the King, without accompaniment. On Friday,
the 6th of September, the Cardinal de Rohan carried the heart to the
Grand Jesuits, with very little accompaniment or pomp. Except the
persons necessary for the ceremony, not half a dozen courtiers were
present. It is not for me to comment upon this prompt ingratitude, I,
who for fifty-two years have never once missed going to Saint-Denis on
the anniversary of the death of Louis XIII., and have never seen a single
person there on the same errand. On the 9th of September, the body of
the late King was buried at Saint-Denis. The Bishop of Aleth pronounced
the oration. Very little expense was gone to; and nobody was found who
cared sufficiently for the late King to murmur at the economy. On
Friday, the 25th of October, his solemn obsequies took place at Saint-
Denis in a confusion, as to rank and precedence, without example. On
Thursday, the 28th of November, the solemn obsequies were again
performed, this time at Notre Dame, and with the usual ceremonies.


The death of the King surprised M. le Duc d'Orleans in the midst of his
idleness as though it had not been foreseen. He had made no progress in
numberless arrangements, which I had suggested he should carry out;
accordingly he was overwhelmed with orders to give, with things to
settle, each more petty than the other, but all so provisional and so
urgent that it happened as I had predicted, he had no time to think of
anything important.

I learnt the death of the King upon awaking. Immediately after, I went
to pay my respects to the new monarch. The first blood had already
passed. I found myself almost alone. I went thence to M. le Duc
d'Orleans, whom I found shut in, but all his apartments so full that a
pin could not have fallen to the ground. I talked of the Convocation of
the States-General, and reminded him of a promise he had given me, that
he would allow the Dukes to keep their hats on when their votes were
asked for; and I also mentioned various other promises he had made. All
I could obtain from him was another promise, that when the public affairs
of pressing moment awaiting attention were disposed of, we should have
all we required. Several of the Dukes who had been witnesses of the
engagement M. le Duc d'Orleans had made, were much vexed at this; but
ultimately it was agreed that for the moment we would sacrifice our own
particular interests to those of the State.

Between five and six the next morning a number of us met at the house of
the Archbishop of Rheims at the end of the Pont Royal, behind the Hotel
de Mailly, and there, in accordance with a resolution previously agreed
upon, it was arranged that I should make a protest to the Parliament
before the opening of the King's will there, against certain other
usurpations, and state that it was solely because M. le Duc d'Orleans had
given us his word that our complaints should be attended to as soon as
the public affairs of the government were settled, that we postponed
further measures upon this subject. It was past seven before our debate
ended, and then we went straight to the Parliament.

We found it already assembled, and a few Dukes who had not attended our
meeting, but had promised to be guided by us, were also present; and then
a quarter of an hour after we were seated the bastards arrived. M. du
Maine was bursting with joy; the term is strange, but his bearing cannot
otherwise be described. The smiling and satisfied air prevailed over
that of audacity and of confidence, which shone, nevertheless, and over
politeness which seemed to struggle with them. He saluted right and
left, and pierced everybody with his looks. His salutation to the
Presidents had an air of rejoicing. To the peers he was serious, nay,
respectful; the slowness, the lowness of his inclination, was eloquent.
His head remained lowered even when he rose, so heavy is the weight of
crime, even at the moment when nothing but triumph is expected. I
rigidly followed him everywhere with my eyes, and I remarked that his
salute was returned by the peers in a very dry and cold manner.

Scarcely were we re-seated than M. le Duc arrived, and the instant after
M. le Duc d'Orleans. I allowed the stir that accompanied his appearance
to subside a little, and then, seeing that the, Chief-President was about
to speak, I forestalled him, uncovered my head, and then covered it, and
made my speech in the terms agreed upon. I concluded by appealing to M.
le Duc d'Orleans to verify the truth of what I had said, in so far as it
affected him.

The profound silence with which I was listened to showed the surprise of
all present. M. le Duc d'Orleans uncovered himself, and in a low tone,
and with an embarrassed manner, confirmed what I had said, then covered
himself again.

Immediately afterwards I looked at M. du Maine, who appeared, to be well
content at being let off so easily, and who, my neighbours said to me,
appeared much troubled at my commencement.

A very short silence followed my protest, after which I saw the Chief-
President say something in a low tone to M. le Duc d'Orleans, then
arrange a deputation of the Parliament to go in search of the King's
will, and its codicil, which had been put in the same place. Silence
continued during this great and short period of expectation; every one
looked at his neighbour without stirring. We were all upon the lower
seats, the doors were supposed to be closed, but the grand chamber was
filled with a large and inquisitive crowd. The regiment of guards had
secretly occupied all the avenues, commanded by the Duc de Guiche, who
got six hundred thousand francs out of the Duc d'Orleans for this
service, which was quite unnecessary.

The deputation was not long in returning. It placed the will and the
codicil in the hands of the Chief-President, who presented them, without
parting with them, to M. le Duc d'Orleans, then passed them from hand to
hand to Dreux, 'conseiller' of the Parliament, and father of the grand
master of the ceremonies, saying that he read well, and in a loud voice
that would he well heard by everybody. It may be imagined with what
silence he was listened to, and how all eyes? and ears were turned
towards him. Through all his; joy the Duc du Maine showed that his soul
was, troubled, as though about to undergo an operation that he must
submit to. M. le Duc d'Orleans showed only a tranquil attention.

I will not dwell upon these two documents, in which nothing is provided
but the grandeur and the power of the bastards, Madame de Maintenon and
Saint-Cyr, the choice of the King's education and of the council of the
regency, by which M. le Duc d'Orleans was to be shorn of all authority to
the advantage of M. le Duc du Maine.

I remarked a sadness and a kind of indignation which were painted upon
all cheeks, as the reading advanced, and which turned into a sort of
tranquil fermentation at the reading of the codicil, which was entrusted
to the Abbe Menguy, another conseiller. The Duc du Maine felt it and
grew pale, for he was solely occupied in looking at every face, and I in
following his looks, and in glancing occasionally at M. le Duc d'Orleans.

The reading being finished, that prince spoke, casting his eyes upon all
the assembly, uncovering himself, and then covering himself again, and
commencing by a word of praise and of regret for the late King;
afterwards raising his voice, he declared that he had only to approve
everything just read respecting the education of the King, and everything
respecting an establishment so fine and so useful as that of Saint-Cyr;
that with respect to the dispositions concerning the government of the
state, he would speak separately of those in the will and those in the
codicil; that he could with difficulty harmonise them with the assurances
the King, during the last days of his life, had given him; that the King
could not have understood the importance of what he had been made to do
for the Duc du Maine since the council of the regency was chosen, and M.
du Maine's authority so established by the will, that the Regent remained
almost without power; that this injury done to the rights of his birth,
to his attachment to the person of the King, to his love and fidelity for
the state, could not be endured if he was to preserve his honour; and
that he hoped sufficiently from the esteem of all present, to persuade
himself that his regency would be declared as it ought to be, that is to
say, complete, independent, and that he should be allowed to choose his
own council, with the members of which he would not discuss public
affairs, unless they were persons who, being approved by the public,
might also have his confidence. This short speech appeared to make a
great impression.

The Duc du Maine wished to speak. As he was about to do so, M. le Duc
d'Orleans put his head in front of M. le Duc and said, in a dry tone,
"Monsieur, you will speak in your turn." In one moment the affair turned
according to the desires of M. le Duc d'Orleans. The power of the
council of the regency and its composition fell. The choice of the
council was awarded to M. le Duc d'Orleans, with all the authority of the
regency, and to the plurality of the votes of the council, the decision
of affairs, the vote of the Regent to be counted as two in the event of
an equal division. Thus all favours and all punishments remained in the
hands of M. le Duc d'Orleans alone. The acclamation was such that the
Duc du Maine did not dare to say a word. He reserved himself for the
codicil, which, if adopted, would have annulled all that M. le Duc
d'Orleans had just obtained.

After some few moments of silence, M. le Duc d'Orleans spoke again. He
testified fresh surprise that the dispositions of the will had not been
sufficient for those who had suggested them, and that, not content with
having established themselves as masters of the state, they themselves
should have thought those dispositions so strange that in order to
reassure them, it had been thought necessary to make them masters of the
person of the King, of the Regent, of the Court, and of Paris. He added,
that if his honour and all law and rule had been wounded by the
dispositions of the will, still more violated were they by those of the
codicil, which left neither his life nor his liberty in safety, and
placed the person of the King in the absolute dependence of those who had
dared to profit by the feeble state of a dying monarch, to draw from him
conditions he did not understand. He concluded by declaring that the
regency was impossible under such conditions, and that he doubted not the
wisdom of the assembly would annul a codicil which could not be
sustained, and the regulations of which would plunge France into the
greatest and most troublesome misfortune. Whilst this prince spoke a
profound and sad silence applauded him without explaining itself.

The Duc du Maine became of all colours, and began to speak, this time
being allowed to do so. He said that the education of the King, and
consequently his person, being confided to him, as a natural result,
entire authority over his civil and military household followed, without
which he could not properly serve him or answer for his person. Then he
vaunted his well-known attachment to the deceased King, who had put all
confidence in him.

M. le Duc d'Orleans interrupted him at this word, and commented upon it.
M. du Maine wished to calm him by praising the Marechal de Villeroy, who
was to assist him in his charge. M. le Duc d'Orleans replied that it
would be strange if the chief and most complete confidence were not
placed in the Regent, and stranger still if he were obliged to live under
the protection and authority of those who had rendered themselves the
absolute masters within and without, and of Paris even, by the regiment
of guards.

The dispute grew warm, broken phrases were thrown from one to the other,
when, troubled about the end of an altercation which became indecent and
yielding to the proposal that the Duc de la Force had just made me in
front of the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, who sat between us, I made a sign
with my hand to M. le Duc d'Orleans to go out and finish this discussion
in another room leading out of the grand chamber and where there was
nobody. What led me to this action was that I perceived M. du Maine grew
stronger, that confused murmurs for a division were heard, and that M. le
Duc d'Orleans did not shine to the best advantage since he descended to
plead his cause, so to speak, against that of the Duc du Maine.

M. le Duc d'Orleans was short-sighted. He was entirely absorbed in
attacking and repelling; so that he did not see the sign I made. Some
moments after I increased it, and meeting with no more success, rose,
advanced some steps, and said to him, though rather distant, "Monsieur,
if you passed into the fourth chamber with M. du Maine you could speak
there more easily," and advancing nearer at the same time I pressed him
by a sign of the head and the eyes that he could distinguish. He replied
to me with another sign, and scarcely was I reseated than I saw him
advance in front of M. le Duc to the Duc du Maine, and immediately after
both rose and went into the chamber I had indicated. I could not see who
of the scattered group around followed them, for all present rose at
their departure, and seated themselves again directly in complete
silence. Some time after, M. le Comte de Toulouse left his place and
went into the Chamber. M. le Duc followed him in a little while soon
again the Duc de la Force did the same.

He did not stay long. Returning to the assembly; he passed the Duc de la
Rochefoucauld and me, put his head between that of the Duc de Sully and
mine, because he did not wish to be heard by La Rochefoucauld, and said
to me, "In the name of God go there; things are getting on badly. M. le
Duc d'Orleans gives way; stop the dispute; make M. le Duc d'Orleans come
back; and, as soon as he is in his place, let him say that it is too late
to finish, that the company had better go to dinner, and return to finish
afterwards, and during this interval," added La Force, "send the King's
people to the Palais Royal, and let doubtful peers be spoken to, and the
chiefs among other magistrates."

The advice appeared to me good and important. I left the assembly and
went to the chamber. I found a large circle of spectators. M. le Duc
d'Orleans and the Duc du Maine stood before the fireplace, looking both
very excited. I looked at this spectacle some moments; then approached
the mantelpiece like a man who wishes to speak. "What is this,
Monsieur?" said M. le Duc d'Orleans to me, with an impatient manner.
"A pressing word, Monsieur, that I have to say to you," said I. He
continued speaking to the Duc du Maine, I being close by. I redoubled my
instances; he lent me his ear. "No, no," said I, "not like that, come
here," and I took him into a, corner by the chimney. The Comte de
Toulouse, who was there, drew completely back, and all the circle on that
side. The Duc du Maine drew back also from where he was.

I said to M. le Duc d'Orleans, in his ear, that he could not hope to gain
anything from M. du Maine, who would not sacrifice the codicil to his
reasonings; that the length of their conference became indecent, useless,
dangerous; that he was making a sight of himself to all who entered; that
the only thing to be done was to return to the assembly, and, when there,
dissolve it. "You are right," said he, "I will do it."--"But," said I,
"do it immediately, and do not allow yourself to be amused. It is to M.
de la Force you owe this advice: he sent me to give it you." He quitted
me without another word, went to M. du Maine, told him in two words that
it was too late, and that the matter must be finished after dinner.

I had remained where he left me. I saw the Duc du Maine bow to him
immediately, and the two separated, and retired at the same moment into
the assembly.

The noise which always accompanies these entrances being appeased, M. le
Duc d'Orleans said it was too late to abuse the patience of the company
any longer; that dinner must be eaten, and the work finished afterwards.
He immediately added, he believed it fitting that M. le Duc should enter
the council of the regency as its chief; and that since the company had
rendered the justice due to his birth and his position as Regent, he
would explain what he thought upon the form to be given to the
government, and that meanwhile he profited by the power he had to avail
himself of the knowledge and the wisdom of the company, and restored to
them from that time their former liberty of remonstrance. These words
were followed by striking and general applause, and the assembly was
immediately adjourned.

I was invited this day to dine with the Cardinal de Noailles, but I felt
the importance of employing the time so precious and so short, of the
interval of dinner, and of not quitting M. le Duc d'Orleans, according to
a suggestion of M. le Duc de la Force. I approached M. le Duc d'Orleans,
and said in his ear, "The moments are precious: I will follow you to the
Palais Royal," and went back to my place among the peers. Jumping into
my coach, I sent a gentleman with my excuses to the Cardinal de Noailles,
saying, I would tell him the reason of my absence afterwards. Then I
went to the Palais Royal, where curiosity had gathered together all who
were not at the palace, and even some who had been there. All the
acquaintances I met asked me the news with eagerness. I contented myself
with replying that everything went well, and according to rule, but that
all was not yet finished.

M. le Duc d'Orleans had passed into a cabinet, where I found him alone
with Canillac, who had waited for him. We took our measures there, and
M. le Duc d'Orleans sent for the Attorney-General, D'Aguesseau,
afterwards Chancellor, and the chief Advocate-General, Joly de Fleury,
since Attorney-General. It was nearly two o'clock. A little dinner was
served, of which Canillac, Conflans, M. le Duc d'Orleans, and myself
partook; and I will say this, by the way, I never dined with him but once
since, namely, at Bagnolet.

We returned to the Parliament a little before four o'clock. I arrived
there alone in my carriage, a moment before M. le Duc d'Orleans, and
found everybody assembled. I was looked at with much curiosity, as it
seemed to me. I am not aware if it was known whence I came. I took care
that my bearing should say nothing. I simply said to the Duc de la Force
that his advice had been salutary, that I had reason to hope all success
from it, and that I had told M. le Duc d'Orleans whence it came. That
Prince arrived, and (the hubbub inseparable from such a numerous suite
being appeased) he said that matters must be recommenced from the point
where they had been broken off in the morning; that it was his duty to
say to the Court that in nothing had he agreed with M. du Maine and to
bring again before all eyes the monstrous clauses of a codicil, drawn
from a dying prince; clauses much more strange than the dispositions of
the testament that the Court had not deemed fit to be put in execution,
and that the Court could not allow M. du Maine to be master of the person
of the King, of the camp, of Paris, consequently of the State, of the
person, life, and liberty of the Regent, whom he would be in a position
to arrest at any moment as soon as he became the absolute and independent
master of the civil and military household of the King; that the Court
saw what must inevitably result from an unheard-of novelty, which placed
everything in the hands of M. du Maine; and that he left it to the
enlightenment, to the prudence, to the wisdom, to the equity of the
company, and its love for the State, to declare what they thought on this

M. du Maine appeared then as contemptible in the broad open daylight as
he had appeared redoubtable in the obscurity of the cabinets. He had the
look of one condemned, and his face, generally so fresh-coloured, was now
as pale as death. He replied in a very low and scarcely intelligible
voice, and with an air as respectful and as humble as it had been
audacious in the morning.

People opined without listening to him; and tumultuously, but with one
voice, the entire abrogation of the codicil was passed. This was
premature, as the abrogation of the testament had been in the morning--
both caused by sudden indignation. D'Aguesseauand Fleury both spoke, the
first in a few words, the other at greater length, making a very good
speech. As it exists, in the libraries, I will only say that the
conclusions of both orators were in everything favourable to M. le Duc

After they had spoken, the Duc du Maine, seeing himself totally shorn,
tried a last resource. He represented, with more force than could have
been expected from his demeanour at this second sitting, but yet with
measure, that since he had been stripped of the authority confided to him
by the codicil, he asked to be discharged from the responsibility of
answering for the person of the King, and to be allowed simply to
preserve the superintendence of his education. M, le Duc d'Orleans
replied, "With all my heart, Monsieur; nothing more is wanted."
Thereupon the Chief. President formally put the question to the vote.
A decree was passed by which all power was taken from the hands of M. du
Maine and placed in those of the Regent, with the right of placing whom
he pleased in the council; of dismissing anybody as it should seem good
to him; and of doing all he might think fit respecting the form to be
given to the government; authority over public affairs, nevertheless, to
remain with the council, and decision to be taken by the plurality of
votes, the vote of the Regent to count double in case of equal division;
M. le Duc to be chief of the council under him, with the right to enter
it at once and opine there.

During all this time, and until the end of the sitting, M. du Maine had
his eyes always cast down, looked more dead than alive, and appeared
motionless. His son and his brother gave no sign of taking interest in

The decree was followed by loud acclamations of the crowd scattered
outside, and that which filled the rest of the palace replied as soon as
they learnt what had been decided.

This noise, which lasted some time, being appeased, the Regent thanked
the company in brief, polished, and majestic terms; declared with what
care he would employ for the good of the state, the authority with which
he was invested; then said it was time he should inform them what he
judged ought to be established in order to aid him in the administration
of affairs. He added that he did so with the more confidence, because
what he proposed was exactly what M. le Duc de Bourgogne ('twas thus he
named him) had resolved, as shown by papers found in his bureau. He
passed a short and graceful eulogy upon the enlightenment and intentions
of that prince; then declared that, besides the council of the regency,
which would be the supreme centre from which all the affairs of the
government would spring, he proposed to establish a council for foreign
affairs, one for war, one for the navy, one for finance, one for
ecclesiastical matters, and one for home affairs and to choose some of
the magistrates of the company to enter these last two councils, and aid
them by their knowledge upon the police of the realm, the jurisprudence,
and what related to the liberties of the Gallican church.

The applause of the magistrates burst out at this, and all the crowd
replied to it. The Chief-President concluded the sitting by a very short
compliment to the Regent, who rose, and at the same time all the
assembly, which then broke up.

On Friday, the 6th of September, 1715, the Regent performed an action of
most exquisite merit, if it had been actuated by the love of God, but
which was of the utmost meanness, religion having no connection with it.
He went at eight o'clock in the morning to see Madame de Maintenon at
Saint-Cyr. He was nearly an hour with this enemy, who had wished to cut
off his head, and who quite recently had sought to deliver him, tied hand
and foot, to M. du Maine, by the monstrous dispositions of the King's
will and codicil.

The Regent assured her during this visit that the four thousand livres
the King had given her every month should be continued, and should be
brought to her the first day of every month by the Duc de Noailles, who
had apparently induced the Prince to pay this visit, and promise this
present. He said to Madame de Maintenon that if she wished for more she
had only to speak, and assured her he would protect Saint-Cyr. In leaving
he was shown the young girls, all together in classes.

It must be remembered, that besides the estate of Maintenon, and the
other property of this famous and fatal witch, the establishment of
Saint-Cyr, which had more than four hundred thousand livres yearly
income, and much money in reserve, was obliged by the rules which founded
it, to receive Madame de Maintenon, if she wished to retire there; to
obey her in all things, as the absolute and sole superior; to keep her
and everybody connected with her, her domestics, her equipages, as she
wished, her table, etc., at the expense of the house, all of which was
very punctually done until her death. Thus she needed not this generous
liberality, by which her pension of forty-eight thousand livres was
continued to her. It would have been quite enough if M. le Duc d'Orleans
had forgotten that she was in existence, and had simply left her
untroubled in Saint-Cyr.

The Regent took good care not to inform me of his visit, before or after;
and I took good care not to reproach him with it, or make him ashamed of
it. It made much noise, and was not approved of. The Spanish affair was
not yet forgotten, and the will and codicil furnished other matter for
all conversations.


Saturday, the 7th of September, was the day fixed for the first Bed of
Justice of the King (Louis XV.); but he caught a cold during the night,
and suffered a good deal. The Regent came alone to Paris. The
Parliament had assembled, and I went to a door of the palace, where I was
informed of the countermand which had just arrived. The Chief-President
and the King's people were at once sent for to the Palais Royal, and the
Parliament, which was about to adjourn, was continued for all the rest of
the month for general business. On the morrow, the Regent, who was
wearied with Versailles,--for he liked to live in Paris, where all his
pleasures were within easy reach,--and who met with opposition from the
Court doctors, all comfortably lodged at Versailles, to the removal of
the person of the King to Vincennes, under pretext of a slight cold,
fetched other doctors from Paris, who had been sent for to see the
deceased King. These practitioners, who had nothing to gain by
recommending Versailles, laughed at the Court doctors, and upon their
opinion it was resolved to take the King to Vincennes, where all was
ready for him on the morrow.

He set out, then, that day from Versailles, at about two o'clock in the
day, in company with the Regent, the Duchesse de Ventadour, the Duc du
Maine, and the Marechal de Villeroy, passed round the ramparts of Paris,
without entering the city, and arrived at Vincennes about five o'clock,
many people and carriages having come out along the road to see him.

On the day after the arrival of the King at Vincennes, the Regent worked
all the morning with all the Secretaries of State separately, whom he had
charged to bring him the list of all the 'lettres de cachet' issued from
their bureaux, and a statement of the reasons for which they were
delivered, as such oftentimes were slight. The majority of the 'lettres
de cachet' of exile and of imprisonment had been drawn up against
Jansenists, and people who had opposed the constitution; numbers the
reasons of which were known only to the deceased King, and to those who
had induced him to grant them; others were of the time of previous
ministers, and among them were many which had been long forgotten and
unknown. The Regent restored everybody to liberty, exiles and prisoners,
except those whom he knew to have been arrested for grave crimes, or
affairs of State; and brought down infinite benedictions upon himself by
this act of justice and humanity.

Many very singular and strange stories were then circulated, which showed
the tyranny of the last reign, and of its ministers, and caused the
misfortunes of the prisoners to be deplored. Among those in the Bastille
was a man who had been imprisoned thirty-five years. Arrested the day he
arrived in Paris, on a journey from Italy, to which country he belonged.
It has never been known why he was arrested, and he had never been
examined, as was the case with the majority of the others: people were
persuaded a mistake had been made. When his liberty was announced to
him, he sadly asked what it was expected he could do with it. He said he
had not a farthing; that he did not know a soul in Paris, not even a
single street, or a person in all France; that his relatives in Italy
had, doubtless, died since he left; that his property, doubtless, had
been divided, so many years having elapsed during which no news had been
received from him; that he knew not what to do. He asked to be allowed
to remain in the Bastille for the rest of his days, with food and
lodging. This was granted, with as much liberty as he wished.

As for those who were taken from the dungeons where the hatred of the
ministers; of the Jesuits; and of the Constitution chiefs, had cast them,
the horrible state they appeared in terrified everybody, and rendered
credible all the cruel stories which, as soon as they were fully at
liberty, they revealed.

The same day on which this merciful decision was come to, died Madame de
la Vieuville, not old, of a cancer in the breast, the existence of which
she had concealed until two days before her death, and thus deprived
herself of help.

A few days after, the finances being in such a bad state, the Regent made
Crosat treasurer of the order, in return for which he obtained from him a
loan of a million, in bars of silver, and the promise of another two
million. Previous to this, the hunting establishments of the King had
been much reduced. Now another retrenchment was made. There were seven
intendants of the finances, who, for six hundred thousand livres, which
their places had cost them, enjoyed eighty thousand livres each per
annum. They were all suppressed, and simply the interest of their
purchase-money paid to them; that is to say, thirty thousand livres each,
until that purchase-money could be paid. It was found that there were
sixteen hundred thousand francs owing to our ambassadors, and to our
agents in foreign countries, the majority of whom literally had not
enough to pay the postage of their letters, having spent all they
possessed. This was a cruel discredit to us, all over Europe. I might
fill a volume in treating upon the state and the arrangements of our
finances. But this labour is above my strength, and contrary to my
taste. I will simply say that as soon as money could be spared it was
sent to our ambassadors abroad. They were dying of hunger, were over
head and ears in debt, had fallen into utter contempt, and our affairs
were suffering accordingly.

The council of the regency, let me say here, was composed of the
following persons: M. le Duc d'Orleans, M. le Duc, the Duc du Maine, the
Comte de Toulouse, Voysin the Chancellor, myself--since I must name
myself,--Marechal de Villeroy, Marechal d'Harcourt, Marechal de Besons,
the Late Bishop of Troyes, and Torcy, with a right to vote; with La
Vrilliere, who kept the register, and Pontchartrain, both without the
right to vote.

I have already alluded to the presence of Lord Stair at this time in our
Court, as ambassador from England. By means of intrigues he had
succeeded in ingratiating himself into the favour of the Regent, and in
convincing him that the interests of France and England were identical.
One of the reasons--the main one--which he brought forward to show this,
was that King George was an usurper; and that if anything happened to our
King, M. le Duc d'Orleans would become, in mounting the throne of France,
an usurper also, the King of Spain being the real heir to the French
monarchy; that, in consequence of this, France and England ought to march
together, protect each other; France assisting England against the
Pretender, and England assisting France, if need be, against the King of
Spain. M. le Duc d'Orleans had too much penetration not to see this
snare; but, marvellous as it may seem, the crookedness of this policy,
and not the desire of reigning, seduced him. I am quite prepared, if
ever these memoirs see the day, to find that this statement will be
laughed at; that it will throw discredit on others, and cause me to be
regarded as a great ass, if I think to make my readers, believe it; or
for an idiot, if I have believed it myself. Nevertheless, such is the
pure truth, to which I sacrifice all, in despite of what my readers may
think of me. However incredible it may be, it is, as I say, the exact
verity; and I do not hesitate to advance, that there are many such facts,
unknown to history, which would much surprise if known; and which are
unknown, only because scarcely any history has been written at first

Stair wished, above all, to hinder the Regent from giving any assistance
to the Pretender, and to prevent him passing through the realm in order
to reach a seaport. Now the Regent was between two stools, for he had
promised the Pretender to wink at his doings, and to favour his passage
through France, if it were made secretly, and at the same time he had
assented to the demand of Stair. Things had arrived at this pass when
the troubles increased in England, and the Earl of Mar obtained some
success in Scotland. Soon after news came that the Pretender had
departed from Bar, and was making his way to the coast. Thereupon Stair
ran in hot haste to M. le Duc d'Orleans to ask him to keep his promise,
and hinder the Pretender's journey. The Regent immediately sent off
Contade, major in the guards, very intelligent, and in whom he could
trust, with his brother, a lieutenant in the same regiment, and two
sergeants of their choice, to go to Chateau-Thierry, and wait for the
Pretender, Stair having sure information that he would pass there.
Contade set out at night on the 9th of November, well resolved and
instructed to miss the person he was to seek. Stair, who expected as
much, took also his measures, which were within an inch of succeeding;
for this is what happened.

The Pretender set out disguised from Bar, accompanied by only three or
four persons, and came to Chaillot, where M. de Lauzun had a little
house, which he never visited, and which he had kept for mere fancy,
although he had a house at Passy, of which he made much use. It was in
this, Chaillot's house, that the Pretender put up, and where he saw the
Queen, his mother, who often stopped at the Convent of the Filles de
Sainte Marie-Therese. Thence he set out in a post-chaise of Torcy's, by
way of Alencon, for Brittany, where he meant to embark.

Stair discovered this scheme, and resolved to leave nothing undone in
order to deliver his party of this, the last of the Stuarts. He quietly
despatched different people by different roads, especially by that from
Paris to Alencon. He charged with this duty Colonel Douglas (who
belonged to the Irish (regiments) in the pay of France), who, under the
protection of his name, and by his wit and his intrigues, had insinuated
himself into many places in Paris since the commencement of the regency;
had placed himself on a footing of consideration and of familiarity with
the Regent; and often came to my house. He was good company; had married
upon the frontier of Metz; was very poor; had politeness and much
experience of the world; the reputation of distinguished valour; and
nothing which could render him suspected of being capable of a crime.

Douglas got into a post-chaise, accompanied by two horsemen; all three
were well armed, and posted leisurely along this road. Nonancourt is a
kind of little village upon this route, at nineteen leagues from Paris;
between Dreux, three leagues further, and Verneuil au Perche, four
leagues this side. It was at Nonancourt that he alighted, ate a morsel
at the post-house, inquired with extreme solicitude after a post-chaise
which he described, as well as the manner in which it would be
accompanied, expressed fear lest it had already passed, and lest he had
not been answered truly. After infinite inquiries, he left a third
horseman, who had just reached him, on guard, with orders to inform him
when the chaise he was in search of appeared; and added menaces and
promises of recompense to the post people, so as not to be deceived by
their negligence.

The post-master was named L'Hospital; he was absent, but his wife was in
the house, and she fortunately was a very honest woman, who had wit,
sense, and courage. Nonancourt is only five leagues from La Ferme, and
when, to save distance, you do not pass there, they send you relays upon
the road. Thus I knew very well this post-mistress, who mixed herself
more in the business than her husband, and who has herself related to me
this adventure more than once. She did all she could, uselessly, to
obtain some explanation upon these alarms. All that she could unravel
was that the strangers were Englishmen, and in a violent excitement about
something, that something very important was at stake,--and that they
meditated mischief. She fancied thereupon that the Pretender was in
question; resolved to save him; mentally arranged her plans, and
fortunately enough executed them.

In order to succeed she devoted herself to the service of these
gentlemen, refused them nothing, appeared quite satisfied, and promised
that they should infallibly be informed. She persuaded them of this so
thoroughly, that Douglas went away without saying where, except to this
third horseman just arrived, but it was close at hand; so that he might
be warned in time. He took one of his valets with him; the other
remained with the horseman to wait and watch.

Another man much embarrassed the post-mistress; nevertheless, she laid
her plans. She proposed to the horseman to drink something, because when
he arrived Douglas had left the table. She served him in her best
manner, and with her best wine, and kept him at table as long as she
could, anticipating all his orders. She had placed a valet, in whom she
could trust, as guard, with orders simply to appear, without a word, if
he saw a chaise; and her resolution was to lock up the Englishman and his
servant, and to give their horses to the chaise if it came. But it came
not, and the Englishman grew tired of stopping at table. Then she
manoeuvred so well that she persuaded him to go and lie down, and to
count upon her, her people, and upon the valet Douglas had left. The
Englishman told this valet not to quit the threshold of the house, and to
inform him as soon as the chaise appeared. He then suffered himself to
be led to the back of the house, in order to lie down. The post-
mistress, immediately after, goes to one of her friends in a by-street,
relates her adventure and her suspicions, makes the friend agree to
receive and secrete in her dwelling the person she expected, sends for an
ecclesiastic, a relative of them both, and in whom she could repose
confidence, who came and lent an Abbe's dress and wig to match. This
done, Madame L'Hospital returns to her home, finds the English valet at
the door, talks with him, pities his ennui, says he is a good fellow to
be so particular, says that from the door to the house there is but one
step, promises him that he shall be as well informed as by his own eyes,
presses him to drink something, and tips the wink to a trusty postilion,
who makes him drink until he rolls dead drunk under the table. During
this performance, the wary mistress listens at the door of the English
gentleman's room, gently turns the key and locks him in, and then
establishes herself upon the threshold of her door.

Half an hour after comes the trusty valet whom she had put on guard: it
was the expected chaise, which, as well as the three men who accompanied
it, were made, without knowing why, to slacken speed. It was King James.
Madame L'Hospital accosts him, says he is expected, and lost if he does
not take care; but that he may trust in her and follow her. At once they
both go to her friends. There he learns all that has happened, and they
hide him, and the three men of his suite as well as they could. Madame
L'Hospital returns home, sends for the officers of justice, and in
consequence of her suspicions she causes the English gentleman and the
English valet, the one drunk, the other asleep, locked in the room where
she had left him, to be arrested, and immediately after despatches a
postilion to Torcy. The officers of justice act, and send their
deposition to the Court.

The rage of the English gentleman on finding himself arrested, and unable
to execute the duty which led him there, and his fury against the valet
who had allowed himself to be intoxicated, cannot be expressed. As for
Madame L'Hospital he would have strangled her if he could; and she for a
long time was afraid of her life.

The Englishman could not be induced to confess what brought him there, or
where was Douglas, whom he named in order to show his importance. He
declared he had been sent by the English ambassador, though Stair had not
yet officially assumed that title, and exclaimed that that minister would
never suffer the affront he had received. They civilly replied to him,
that there were no proofs he came from the English ambassador,--none that
he was connected with the minister: that very suspicious designs against
public safety on the highway alone were visible; that no harm or
annoyance should be caused him, but that he must remain in safety until
orders came, and there upon he was civilly led to prison, as well as the
intoxicated valet.

What became of Douglas at that time was never known, except that he was
recognised in various places, running, inquiring, crying out with despair
that he had escaped, without mentioning any name. Apparently news came
to him, or he sought it, being tired of receiving none. The report of
what had occurred in such a little place as Nonancourt would easily have
reached him, close as he was to it; and perhaps it made him set out anew
to try and catch his prey.

But he journeyed in vain. King James had remained hidden at Nonancourt,
where, charmed with the attentions of his generous post-mistress, who had
saved him from his assassins, he admitted to her who he was, and gave her
a letter for the Queen, his mother. He remained there three days, to
allow the hubbub to pass, and rob those who sought him of all hope; then,
disguised as an Abbe, he jumped into a post-chaise that Madame L'Hospital
had borrowed in the neighbourhood--to confound all identity--and
continued his journey, during which he was always pursued, but happily
was never recognised, and embarked in Brittany for Scotland.

Douglas, tired of useless searches, returned to Paris, where Stair kicked
up a fine dust about the Nonancourt adventure. This he denominated
nothing less than an infraction of the law of nations, with an extreme
audacity and impudence, and Douglas, who could not be ignorant of what
was said about him, had the hardihood to go about everywhere as usual; to
show himself at the theatre; and to present himself before M. le Duc

This Prince ignored as much as he could a plot so cowardly and so
barbarous, and in respect to him so insolent. He kept silence, said to
Stair what he judged fitting to make him be silent likewise, but gave
liberty to his English assassins. Douglas, however, fell much in the
favour of the Regent, and many considerable people closed their doors to
him. He vainly tried to force mine. But as for me I was a perfect
Jacobite, and quite persuaded that it was the interest of France to give
England domestic occupation, which would long hinder her from thinking of
foreign matters. I then, as may be supposed, could not look upon the
odious enterprise with a favourable eye, or pardon its authors. Douglas
complained to me of my disregard for him, but to no purpose. Soon after
he disappeared from Paris. I know not what became of him afterwards.
His wife and his children remained there living by charity. A long time
after his death beyond the seas, the Abbe de Saint-Simon passed from
Noyan to Metz, where he found his widow in great misery.

The Queen of England sent for Madame L'Hospital to Saint-Germain, thanked
her, caressed her, as she deserved, and gave her her portrait. This was
all; the Regent gave her nothing; a long while after King James wrote to
her, and sent her also his portrait. Conclusion: she remained post-
mistress of Nonancourt as before, twenty or twenty-five years after, to
her death; and her son and her daughter-in-law keep the post now. She
was a true woman; estimated in her neighbourhood; not a single word that
she uttered concerning this history has been contradicted by any one.
What it cost her can never be said, but she never received a farthing.
She never complained, but spoke as she found things, with modesty, and
without seeking to speak. Such is the indigence of dethroned Kings, and
their complete forgetfulness of the greatest perils and the most signal

Many honest people avoided Stair, whose insolent airs made others avoid
him. He filled the cup by the insupportable manner in which he spoke
upon that affair, never daring to admit he had directed it, or deigning
to disculpate himself. The only annoyance he showed was about his ill-


I must say a few words now of Madame la Duchesse de Berry, who, as may be
imagined, began to hold her head very high indeed directly the regency of
Monsieur her father was established. Despite the representations of
Madame de Saint-Simon, she usurped all the honours of a queen; she went
through Paris with kettle-drums beating, and all along the quay of the
Tuileries where the King was. The Marechal de Villeroy complained of
this next day to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who promised him that while the
King remained in Paris no kettle-drums should be heard but his. Never
afterwards did Madame la Duchesse de Berry have any, yet when she went to
the theatre she sat upon a raised dais in her box, had four of her guards
upon the stage, and others in the pit; the house was better lighted than
usual, and before the commencement of the performance she was harangued
by the players. This made a strange stir in Paris, and as she did not
dare to continue it she gave up her usual place, and took at the opera a
little box where she could scarcely be seen, and where she was almost
incognito. As the comedy was played then upon the opera stage for
Madame, this little box served for both entertainments.

The Duchess desired apparently to pass the summer nights in all liberty
in the garden of the Luxembourg. She accordingly had all the gates
walled up but one, by which the Faubourg Saint-Germain, which had always
enjoyed the privilege of walking there, were much deprived. M. le Duc
thereupon opened the Conti garden to make up to the public for their
loss. As may be imagined, strange things were said about the motives
which led to the walling up of the garden.

As the Princess found new lovers to replace the old ones, she tried to
pension off the latter at the expense of the public. She had a place
created expressly for La Haye. She bought, or rather the King for her,
a little house at the entry of the Bois de Boulogne, which was pretty,
with all the wood in front, and a fine garden behind. It was called La

After many amours she had become smitten with Rion, a younger son of the
house of Aydic. He was a fat, chubby, pale little fellow, who had so
many pimples that he did not ill resemble an abscess. He had good teeth,
but had no idea he should cause a passion which in less than no time
became ungovernable, and which lasted a long while without however
interfering with temporary and passing amours. He was not worth a penny,
but had many brothers and sisters who had no more than he. He was a
lieutenant of dragoons, relative of Madame Pons, dame d'atours of Madame
la Duchesse de Berry, who sent for him to try and do something for him.
Scarcely had he arrived than the passion of the Duchess declared itself,
and he became the master of the Luxembourg where she dwelt. M. de
Lauzun, who was a distant relative, was delighted, and chuckled inwardly.
He thought he saw a repetition of the old times, when Mademoiselle was in
her glory; he vouchsafed his advice to Rion.

Rion was gentle and naturally polished and respectful, a good and honest
fellow. He soon felt the power of his charms, which could only have
captivated the incomprehensible and depraved fantasy of such a princess.
He did not abuse this power; made himself liked by everybody; but he
treated Madame la Duchesse de Berry as M. de Lauzun had treated
Mademoiselle. He was soon decorated with the most beautiful lace and the
richest clothes covered with silver, loaded with snuffboxes, jewels, and
precious stones. He took pleasure in making the Princess long after him,
and be jealous; affecting to be still more jealous of her. He often made
her cry. Little by little, he obtained such authority over her that she
did not dare to do anything without his permission, not even the most
indifferent things. If she were ready to go to the opera, he made her
stay away; at other times he made her go thither in spite of herself.
He made her treat well many ladies she did not like, or of whom she was
jealous, and treat ill persons who pleased her, but of whom he pretended
to be jealous. Even in her finery she had not the slightest liberty.
He amused himself by making her disarrange her head-dress, or change her
clothes, when she was quite dressed; and that so often and so publicly,
that he accustomed her at last to take over night his orders for her
morning's dress and occupation, and on the morrow he would change
everything, and the Princess wept as much as she could, and more. At
last she actually sent messages to him by trusty valets,--for he lived
close to the Luxembourg,--several times during her toilet, to know what
ribbons she should wear; the same with her gown and other things; and
nearly always he made her wear what she did not wish for. If ever she
dared to do the least thing without his permission, he treated her like a
serving-wench, and her tears lasted sometimes several days. This
princess, so haughty, and so fond of showing and exercising the most
unmeasured pride, disgraced herself by joining in repasts with him and
obscure people; she, with whom no man could lawfully eat if he were not a
prince of the blood!

A Jesuit, named Pere Riglet, whom she had known as a child, and whose
intimacy she had always cultivated since, was admitted to these private
repasts, without being ashamed thereof, and without Madame la Duchesse de
Berry being embarrassed. Madame de Mouchy was the confidante of all
these strange parties she and Rion invited the guests, and chose the
days. La Mouchy often reconciled the Princess to her lover, and was
better treated by him than she, without her daring to take notice of it,
for fear of an eclat which would have caused her to lose so dear a lover,
and a confidante so necessary. This life was public; everybody at the
Luxembourg paid court to M. de Rion, who, on his side, took care to be on
good terms with all the world, nay, with an air of respect that he
refused, even in public, to his princess. He often gave sharp replies to
her in society, which made people lower their eyes, and brought blushes
to the cheek of Madame la Duchesse de Berry, who, nevertheless, did not
attempt to conceal her submission and passionate manners, even before
others. A remarkable fact is, that in the midst of this life, she took
an apartment at the Convent of the Carmelites of the Faubourg Saint-
Germain, where she sometimes went in the afternoon, always slept there on
grand religious fete days, and often remained there several days running.
She took with her two ladies, rarely three, scarcely a single domestic;
she ate with her ladies what the convent could supply for her table;
attended the services, was sometimes long in prayer, and rigidly fasted
on the appointed days.

Two Carmelites, of much talent, and who knew the world, were charged to
receive her, and to be near her. One was very beautiful: the other had
been so. They were rather young, especially the handsomer; but were very
religious and holy, and performed the office entrusted to them much
against their inclination. When they became more familiar they spoke
freely to the Princess, and said to her that if they knew nothing of her
but what they saw, they should admire her as a saint, but, elsewhere,
they learnt that she led a strange life, and so public, that they could
not comprehend why she came to their convent. Madame la Duchesse de
Berry laughed at this, and was not angry. Sometimes they lectured her,
called people and things by their names, and exhorted her to change so
scandalous a life; but it was all in vain. She lived as before, both at
the Luxembourg and at the Carmelites, and caused wonderment by this
surprising conduct.

Madame la Duchesse de Berry returned with usury to her father, the
severity and the domination she suffered at the hands of Rion--yet this
prince, in his weakness, was not less submissive to her, attentive to
her, or afraid of her. He was afflicted with the public reign of Rion,
and the scandal of his daughter; but he did not dare to breathe a word,
or if he did (after some scene, as ridiculous as it was violent, had
passed between the lover and the Princess, and become public), he was
treated like a negro, pouted at several days, and did not know how to
make his peace.

But it is time now to speak of the public and private occupations of the
Regent himself, of his conduct, his pleasure parties, and the employment
of his days.

Up to five o'clock in the evening he devoted himself exclusively to
public business, reception of ministers, councils, etc., never dining
during the day, but taking chocolate between two and three o'clock, when
everybody was allowed to enter his room. After the council of the day,
that is to say, at about five o'clock, there was no more talk of
business. It was now the time of the Opera or the Luxembourg (if he had
not been to the latter place before his chocolate), or he went to Madame
la Duchesse d'Orleans' apartments, or supped, or went out privately, or
received company privately; or, in the fine season, he went to Saint-
Cloud, or elsewhere out of town, now supping there, or at the Luxembourg,
or at home. When Madame was at Paris, he spoke to her for a moment
before his mass; and when she was at Saint-Cloud he went to see her
there, and always paid her much attention and respect.

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