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The Historic Court Memoirs of France, complete

Part 39 out of 62

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armchair; to take it would have been to push him beyond the arm of the
chair, which assuredly he would no more have submitted to than the
majordomo-major on the other side. I resolved, therefore, to hazard a
middle term; to try and introduce myself at the top of the right arm of
the chair, a little sideways, so as to take the place of neither,
entirely; but, nevertheless, to drive them out, and to cover this with an
air of ignorance and of simplicity; and, at the same time, of eagerness,
of joy, of curiosity, of courtier-like desire to speak to the King as
much as possible: and all this I exactly executed, in appearance
stupidly, and in reality very successfully!

When the time for the audience arrived, I took up my position,
accordingly, in the manner I have indicated. The majordomo-major and the
nuncio entered, and finding me thus placed, and speaking to the King,
appeared much surprised. I heard Signor and Sefor repeated right and
left of me, and addressed to me--for both expressed themselves with
difficulty in French--and I replied with bows to one and to the other
with the smiling air of a man entirely absorbed in joy at his functions,
and who understands nothing of what is meant; then I recommenced my
conversation with the King, with a sort of liberty and enthusiasm, so
that the nuncio and majordomo-major: soon grew tired of appealing to a
man whose spirit was so transported that he no longer knew where he was,
or what was said to him. In this manner I defeated the craft, cunning,
and maliciousness of Dubois. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I
accompanied the King and Queen to the door of the Hall of Mirrors, taking
good care then to show every deference to the majordomo-major and the
nuncio, and yielding place to them, in order to remove any impression
from their minds that I had just acted in a contrary manner from design.
As soon as their Catholic Majesties had departed, and the door of the
salon was closed upon them, I was encircled and, so to speak, almost
stifled by the company present, who, one after the other, pressed upon me
with the greatest demonstrations of joy and a thousand compliments.
I returned home after the ceremony, which had lasted a long time. While
I occupied my stolen position I was obliged, in order to maintain it, to
keep up an incessant conversation with the King, and at last, no longer
knowing what to talk about, I asked him for an audience the next day,
which he readily accorded me. But this direct request was contrary to
the usage of the Court, where the ambassadors, the other foreign
ministers, and the subjects of the country of, whatever rank, address
their requests to an officer who is appointed to receive them, who
communicates with the King, and names the day and the hour when his
Majesty will grant the interview.

Grimaldo, a little after the end of ceremony, had gone to work with the
King and Queen, as was customary.--I was surprised, an hour after
returning home, to receive a letter from this minister, asking me if I
had anything to say to the King I did not wish the Queen to hear,
referring to the audience I had asked of the King for the morrow, and
begging me to tell him what it was for. I replied to him instantly, that
having found the opportunity good I had asked for this audience; but if I
had not mentioned the Queen, it was because I had imagined she was so
accustomed to be present that there was no necessity to allude to her:
but as to the rest, I had my thanks to offer to the King upon what had
just passed, and nothing to say to him that I should not wish to say to
the Queen, and that I should be very sorry if she were not present.

As I was writing this reply, Don Gaspard Giron invited me to go and see
the illuminations of the Place Mayor. I quickly finished my letter; we
jumped into a coach, and the principal people of my suite jumped into
others. We were conducted by detours to avoid the light of the
illuminations in approaching them, and we arrived at a fine house which
looks upon the middle of the Place, and which is that where the King and
Queen go to see the fetes that take place. We perceived no light in
descending or in ascending the staircase. Everything had been closed,
but on entering into the chamber which looks upon the Place, we were
dazzled, and immediately we entered the balcony speech failed me, from
surprise, for more than seven or eight minutes.

This Place is superficially much vaster than any I had ever seen in Paris
or elsewhere, and of greater length than breadth. The five stories of
the houses which surround it are all of the same level; each has windows
at equal distance, and of equal size, with balconies as deep as they are
long, guarded by iron balustrades, exactly alike in every case. Upon
each of these balconies two torches of white wax were placed, one at each
end of the balcony, supported upon the balustrade, slightly leaning
outwards, and attached to nothing. The light that this--gives is
incredible; it has a splendour and a majesty about it that astonish you
and impress you. The smallest type can be read in the middle of the
Place, and all about, though the ground-floor is not illuminated.

As soon as I appeared upon the balcony, all the people beneath gathered
round and began to cry, Senor! tauro! tauro! The people were asking me
to obtain for them a bull-fight, which is what they like best in the
world, and what the King had not permitted for several years from
conscientious principles. Therefore I contented myself the next day with
simply telling him of these cries, without asking any questions thereon,
while expressing to him my astonishment at an illumination so surprising
and so admirable.

Don Gaspard Giron and the Spaniards who were with me in the house from
which I saw the illumination, charmed with the astonishment I had
displayed at this spectacle, published it abroad with all the more
pleasure because they were not accustomed to the admiration of the
French, and many noblemen spoke of it to me with great pleasure.
Scarcely had I time to return home and sup after this fine illumination
than I was obliged to go to the palace for the ball that the King had
prepared there, and which lasted until past two in the morning.

The salon was very vast and splendid;'the dresses of the company were
sumptuous; the appearance of our finest fancy-dress balls did not
approach the appearance of this.

What seemed strange to me was to see three bishops in lawn sleeves and
cloaks in the ball-room, remaining, too, all the evening, and to see the
accoutrement of the camerara-mayor, who held exposed in her hand a great
chaplet, and who, while talking and criticising the ball and the dancers,
muttered her prayers, and continued to do so while the ball lasted. What
I found very strange was, that none of the men present (except six
special officers and Maulevrier and myself) were allowed to sit, not even
the dancers; in fact, there was not a single seat in the whole salon, not
even at the back, except those I have specified.

In Spain, men and women of all ages wear all sorts of colours, and dance
if they like, even when more than sixty years old, without exciting the
slightest ridicule or astonishment. I saw several examples of this among
men and women.

Amongst the company present was Madame Robecque, a Frenchwoman, one of
the Queen's ladies, whom I had known before she went to Spain. In former
days we had danced together at the Court. Apparently she said so to the
Queen, for after having danced with one of the children, she traversed
the whole length of the salon, made a fine curtsey to their Catholic
Majesties, and came to dislodge me from my retreat, asking me with a
curtsey and a smile to dance. I replied to her by saying she was
laughing at me; dispute, gallantries; finally, she went to the Queen, who
called me and told me that the King and she wished me to dance.

I took the liberty to represent to her that she wished to divert herself
at my expense; that this order could not be serious; I alleged my age, my
position, the number of years since I had danced; in a word, I did all I
could to back out. But all was useless. The King mixed himself in the
matter; both he and the Queen begged me to comply, tried to persuade me
I danced very well; at last commanded me, and in such a manner that I was
obliged to obey. I acquitted myself, therefore, as well as I could.

The ball being finished, the Marquis de Villagarcias, one of the
majordomos, and one of the most honest and most gracious of men I ever
saw (since appointed Viceroy of Peru), would not let me leave until I had
rested in the refreshment-room, where he made me drink a glass of
excellent neat wine, because I was all in a sweat from the minuets and
quadrilles I had gone through, under a very heavy coat.

This same evening and the next I illuminated my house within and without,
not having a moment's leisure to give any fete in the midst of the many
functions I had been so precipitately called upon to fulfil.


On Thursday, the 27th of November, the King and Queen were to depart from
Madrid to Lerma, a pretty hamlet six leagues from Burgos, where they had
a palace. On the same day, very early in the morning, our ambassador,
Maulevrier, came to me with despatches from Cardinal Dubois, announcing
that the Regent's daughter, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, had departed on
the 18th of November for Spain, and giving information as to the places
she would stop at, the people she would be accompanied by, the day she
would arrive at the frontier, and the persons charged with the exchange
of the Princesses.

Maulevrier and I thought this news so important that we felt there was no
time to lose, and at once hastened away to the palace to communicate it
to their Majesties, who we knew were waiting for it most impatiently. We
arrived at such an early hour that all was deserted in the palace, and
when we reached the door of the Hall of Mirrors, we were obliged to knock
loudly in order to be heard. A French valet opened the door, and told us
that their Catholic Majesties were still in bed. We did not doubt it,
and begged him to apprise them that we wished to have the honour of
speaking to them. Such an honour was unheard of, except under
extraordinary circumstances; nevertheless the valet quickly returned,
saying that their Majesties would receive us, though it was against all
rule and usage to do so while they were in bed.

We traversed therefore the long and grand Hall of Mirrors, turned to the
left at the end into a large and fine room, then short off to the left
again into a very little chamber, portioned off from the other, and
lighted by the door and by two little windows at the top of the partition
wall. There was a bed of four feet and a half at most, of crimson
damask, with gold fringe, four posts, the curtains open at the foot and
at the side the King occupied. The King was almost stretched out upon
pillows with a little bed-gown of white satin; the Queen sitting upright,
a piece of tapestry in her hand, at the left of the King, some skeins of
thread near her, papers scattered upon the rest of the bed and upon an
armchair at the side of it. She was quite close to the King, who was in
his night-cap, she also, and in her bed-gown, both between the sheets,
which were only very imperfectly hidden by the papers.

They made us abridge our reverences, and the King, raising himself a
little impatiently, asked us our business. We were alone, the valet
having retired after showing us the door.

"Good news, Sire," replied I. "Mademoiselle de Montpensier set out on
the 18th; the courier has this instant brought us the news, and we have
at once come to present ourselves to you and apprise your Majesties of

Joy instantly painted itself on their faces, and immediately they began
to question us at great length upon the details the courier had brought
us. After an animated conversation, in which Maulevrier took but little
part, their Catholic Majesties dismissed us, testifying to us the great
pleasure we had caused them by not losing a minute in acquainting them
with the departure of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, above all in not
having been stopped by the hour, and by the fact that they were in bed.

We went back to my house to dine and returned to the palace in order to
see the King and Queen depart. I again received from them a thousand
marks of favour. Both the King and Queen, but especially the latter,
several times insisted that I must not lose any time in following them to
Lerma; upon which I assured them they would find me there as they
alighted from their coach.

I set out, in fact, on the 2nd of December, from Madrid, to join the
Court, and was to sleep at the Escurial, with the Comtes de Lorges and de
Cereste, my second son, the Abbe de Saint-Simon and his brother, Pacquet,
and two principal officers of the King's troops, who remained with me as
long as I stayed in Spain. In addition to the orders of the King of
Spain and the letters of the Marquis de Grimaldo, I was also furnished
with those of the nuncio for the Prior of the Escurial, who is, at the
same time, governor, in order that I might he shown the marvels of this
superb and prodigious monastery, and that everything might be opened for
me that I wished to visit; for I had been warned that, without the
recommendation of the nuncio, neither that of the King and his minister,
nor any official character, would have much served me. It will be seen
that, after all, I did not fail to suffer from the churlishness and the
superstition of these coarse Jeronimites.

They are black and white monks, whose dress resembles that of the
Celestins; very idle, ignorant, and without austerity, who, by the number
of their monasteries and their riches, are in Spain much about what the
Benedictines are in France, and like them are a congregation. They elect
also, like the Benedictines, their superiors, local and general, except
the Prior of the Escurial, who is nominated by the King, remains in
office as long as the King likes and no more, and who is yet better
lodged at the Escurial than his Catholic Majesty. 'Tis a prodigy, this
building, of extent, of structure, of every kind of magnificence, and
contains an immense heap of riches, in pictures, in ornaments, in vases
of all kinds, in precious stones, everywhere strewn about, and the
description of which I will not undertake, since it does not belong to my
subject. Suffice it to say that a curious connoisseur of all these
different beauties might occupy himself there for three months without
cessation, and then would not have examined all. The gridiron (its form,
at least) has regulated all the ordonnance of this sumptuous edifice in
honour of Saint-Laurent, and of the battle of Saint-Quentin, gained by
Philippe II., who, seeing the action from a height, vowed he would erect
this monastery if his troops obtained the victory, and asked his
courtiers, if such were the pleasures of the Emperor, his father, who in
fact did not go so far for them as that.

There is not a door, a lock, or utensil of any kind, or a piece of plate,
that is not marked with a gridiron.

The distance from Madrid to the Escurial is much about the same as that
from Paris to Fontainebleau. The country is very flat and becomes a
wilderness on approaching the Escurial, which takes its name from a large
village you pass, a league off. It is upon an eminence which you ascend
imperceptibly, and upon which you see endless deserts on three sides; but
it is backed, as it were, by the mountain of Guadarama, which encircles
Madrid on three sides, at a distance of several leagues, more or less.
There is no village at the Escurial; the lodging of their Catholic
Majesties forms the handle of the gridiron. The principal grand
officers, and those most necessary, are lodged, as well as the Queen's
ladies, in the monastery; on the side by which you arrive all is very
badly built.

The church, the grand staircase, and the grand cloister, surprised me.
I admired the elegance of the surgery, and the pleasantness of the
gardens, which, however, are only a long and wide terrace. The Pantheon
frightened me by a sort of horror and majesty. The grand-altar and the
sacristy wearied my eyes, by their immense opulence. The library did not
satisfy me, and the librarians still less: I was received with much
civility, and invited to a good supper in the Spanish style, at which the
Prior and another monk did the honours. After this fast repast my people
prepared my meals, but this fat monk always supplied one or two things
that it would not have been civil to refuse, and always ate with me; for,
in order that he might conduct us everywhere, he never quitted our sides.
Bad Latin supplied the place of French, which he did not understand; nor
even Spanish.

In the sanctuary at the grand altar, there are windows behind the seats
of the priest and his assistants, who celebrate the grand mass. These
windows, which are nearly on a level with the sanctuary (very high),
belong to the apartment that Philippe II. had built for himself, and in
which he died. He heard service through these windows. I wished to see
this apartment, which was entered from behind. I was refused. It was in
vain that I insisted on the orders of the King and of the nuncio,
authorising me to see all I wished. I disputed uselessly. They told me
this apartment had been closed ever since the death of Philippe II., and
that nobody had entered it. I maintained that King Philippe V. and his
suite had seen it. They admitted the fact, but at the same time told me
that he had entered by force as a master, threatening to break in the
doors, that he was the only King who had entered since Philippe II., and
that they would not open the apartment to anybody. I understood nothing
of all this superstition, but I was forced to rest content in my
ignorance. Louville, who had entered with the King, had told me that the
place contained only five or six dark chambers, and some holes and
corners with wainscots plastered with mud; without tapestry, when he saw
it, or any kind of furniture; thus I did not lose much by not entering.

In the Rotting-Room, which I have elsewhere described, we read the
inscriptions near us, and the monk read others as we asked him. We
walked thus, all round, talking and discoursing thereon. Passing to the
bottom of the room, the coffin of the unhappy Don Carlos offered itself
to our sight.

"As for him," said I, "it is well known why, and of what he died." At
this remark, the fat monk turned rusty, maintained he had died a natural
death, and began to declaim against the stories which he said had been
spread abroad about him. I smiled, saying, I admitted it was not true
that his veins had been opened. This observation completed the
irritation of the monk, who began to babble in a sort of fury. I
diverted myself with it at first in silence; then I said to him, that the
King, shortly after arriving in Spain; had had the curiosity to open the
coffin of Don Carlos, and that I knew from a man who was present ('twas
Louville), that his head had been found between his legs; that Philippe
II., his father, had had it cut off before him in the prison.

"Very well!" cried the monk in fury, "apparently he had well deserved it;
for Philippe II., had permission from the Pope to do so!" and,
thereupon, he began to cry with all his might about the marvels of piety
and of justice of Philippe II., and about the boundless power of the
Pope, and to cry heresy against any one who doubted that he could not
order, decide, and dispose of all.

Such is the fanaticism of the countries of the Inquisition, where science
is a crime, ignorance and superstition the first of virtues. Though my
official character protected me, I did not care to dispute, and cause a
ridiculous scene with this bigot of a monk. I contented myself with
smiling, and by making a sign of silence as I did so to those who were
with me. The monk, therefore, had full swing, and preached a long time
without giving over. He perceived, perhaps, by our faces, that we were
laughing at him, although without gestures or words. At last he showed
us the rest of the chamber, still fuming; then we descended to the
Pantheon. They did me the singular favour to light about two-thirds of
the immense and admirable chandelier, suspended from the middle of the
roof, the lights of which dazzled us, and enabled us to distinguish in
every part of the Rotting-Room; not only the smallest details of the
smallest letter, but the minutest features of the place.

I passed three days in the Escurial, lodged in a large and fine
apartment, and all that were with me well lodged also. Our monk, who had
always been in an ill-humour since the day of the Rotting-Room, did not
recover himself until the parting breakfast came. We quitted him without
regret, but not the Escurial, which would pleasantly occupy a curious
connoisseur during more than a three months' stay. On the road we met
the Marquis de Montalegre, who invited, us to dinner with him. The meal
was so good that we little regretted the dinner my people had prepared
for us.

At last we arrived on the 9th, at our village of Villahalmanzo, where I
found most comfortable quarters for myself and all who were with me. I
found there, also, my eldest son, still merely, convalescent, with the
Abbe de Monthon, who came from Burgos. We supped very gaily, and I
reckoned upon taking a good excursion the next day, and upon amusing
myself in reconnoitring the village and the environs; but fever seized me
during the night, augmented during the day, became violent the following
night, so that there was no more talk of going on the 11th to meet the
King and Queen at Lerma, as they alighted from their coach, according to

The malady increased with such rapidity that I was found to be in great
danger, and immediately after, on the point of death. I was bled shortly
after. The small-pox, with which the whole country was filled, appeared.
The climate was such this year that it froze hard twelve or fourteen
hours every day, while from eleven o'clock in 'the morning till nearly
four, the sun shone as brightly as possible, and it was too hot about
mid-day for walking! Yet in the shade it did not thaw for an instant.
This cold weather was all the more sharp because the air was purer and
clearer, and the sky continually of the most perfect serenity.

The King of Spain, who was dreadfully afraid of the small-pox, and who
with reason had confidence only in his chief doctor, sent him to me as
soon as he was informed of my illness, with orders not to quit me until I
was cured. I had, therefore, five or six persons continually around me,
in addition to the domestics who served me, one of the best and most
skilful physicians in Europe, who, moreover, was capital company, and who
did not quit me night or day, and three very good surgeons. The small-
pox came out very abundantly all over me; it was of a good kind, and I
had no dangerous accident. Every one who waited upon me, master or man,
was cut off from all intercourse with the rest of the world; even those
who cooked for us, from those who did not.

The chief physician nearly every day provided new remedies in case of
need, and yet administered none to me, except in giving me, as my sole
beverage, water, in which, according to its quantity, oranges were
thrown, cut in two with their skins on, and which gently simmered before
my, fire; occasionally some spoonful of a gentle and agreeable cordial
during the height of the suppuration, and afterwards a little Rota wine,
and some broth, made of beef and partridge.

Nothing was wanting, then, on the part of those who had charge of me. I
was their only patient, and they had orders not to quit me, and nothing
was wanting for my amusement, when I was in a condition to take any, so
much good company being around me, and that at a time when convalescents
of this malady experience all the weariness and fretfulness of it. At
the end of my illness I was bled and purged once, after which I lived as
usual, but in a species of solitude.

During the long interval in which this illness shut me out from all
intercourse with the world, the Abbe de Saint-Simon corresponded for me
with Cardinal Dubois, Grimaldo, Sartine, and some others.

The King and Queen, not content with having sent me their chief
physician, M. Hyghens, to be with me night and day, wished to hear how I
was twice a day, and when I was better, unceasingly showed to me a
thousand favours, in which they were imitated by all the Court.

But I was six weeks ill in all.


Here I think will be the fitting place to introduce an account of the
daily life of the King and Queen of Spain, which in many respects was
entitled to be regarded as singular. During my stay at the Court I had
plenty of opportunity to mark it well, so that what I relate may be said
to have passed under my own eyes. This, then, was their daily life
wherever they were, and in all times and seasons.

The King and Queen never had more than one apartment, and one bed between
them, the latter exactly as I have described it when relating my visit
with Maulevrier to their Catholic Majesties to carry to them the news of
the departure from Paris of the future Princess of the Asturias. During
fevers, illness, no matter of what kind, or on whose side, childbirth
even,--never were they a single night apart, and even when the deceased
Queen was eaten up with the scrofula, the King continued to sleep with
her until a few nights before her death!

About nine o'clock in the morning the curtains were drawn by the Asafeta,
followed by a single valet carrying a basin full of caudle. Hyghens,
during my convalescence, explained to me how this caudle was made, and in
fact concocted some for me to taste. It is a light mixture of broth,
milk, wine (which is in the largest quantity), one or two yolks of eggs,
sugar, cinnamon, and a few cloves. It is white; has a very strong taste,
not unmixed with softness. I should not like to take it habitually,
nevertheless it is not disagreeable. You put in it, if you like, crusts
of bread, or, at times, toast, and then it becomes a species of soup;
otherwise it is drunk as broth; and, ordinarily, it was in this last
fashion the King took it. It is unctuous, but very warm, a restorative
singularly good for retrieving the past night, and, for preparing you for
the next.

While the King partook of this brief breakfast, the Asafeta brought the
Queen some tapestry to work at, passed bed-gowns to their Majesties, and
put upon the bed some of the papers she found upon the adjoining seats,
then withdrew with the valet and what he had brought. Their Majesties
then said their morning prayers. Grimaldo afterwards entered. Sometimes
they signalled to him to wait, as he came in, and called him when their
prayer was over, for there was nobody else, and the bedroom was very
small. Then Grimaldo displayed his papers, drew from his pocket an
inkstand, and worked with the King; the Queen not being hindered by her
tapestry from giving her opinion.

This work lasted more or less according to the business, or to the
conversation. Grimaldo, upon leaving with his papers, found the
adjoining room empty, and a valet in that beyond, who, seeing him pass,
entered into the empty room, crossed it, and summoned the Asafeta, who
immediately came and presented to the King his slippers and his dressing-
gown; he at once passed across the empty room and entered into a cabinet,
where he dressed himself, followed by three valets (never changed) and by
the Duc del Arco, or the Marquis de Santa Cruz, and after by both, nobody
else ever being present at the ceremony.

The Queen, as soon as the King had passed into his cabinet, put on her
stockings and shoes alone with the Asafeta, who gave her her dressing-
gown. It was the only moment in which this person could speak to the
Queen, or the Queen to her; but this moment did not stretch at the most
to more than half a quarter of an hour. Had they been longer together
the King would have known it, and would have wanted to hear what kept
them. The Queen passed through the empty chamber and entered into a fine
large cabinet, where her toilette awaited her. When the King had dressed
in his cabinet--where he often spoke to his confessor--he went to the
Queen's toilette, followed by the two seigneurs just named. A few of the
specially--privileged were also admitted there. This toilette lasted
about three-quarters of an hour, the King and all the rest of the company

When it was over, the King half opened the door of the Hall of Mirrors,
which leads into the salon where the Court assembled, and gave his
orders; then rejoined the Queen in that room which I have so often called
the empty room. There and then took place the private audiences of the
foreign ministers, and of, the seigneurs, or other subjects who obtained
them. Once a week, on Monday, there was a public audience, a practice
which cannot be too much praised where it is not abused. The King,
instead of half opening the door, threw it wide open, and admitted
whoever liked to enter. People spoke to the King as much as they liked,
how they liked, and gave him in writing what they liked. But the
Spaniards resemble in nothing the French; they are measured, discreet,
respectful, brief.

After the audiences, or after amusing himself with the Queen--if there
are none, the King went to dress. The Queen accompanied him, and they
took the communion together (never separately) about once a week, and
then they heard a second mass. The confession of the King was said after
he rose, and before he went to the Queen's toilette.

Upon returning from mass, or very shortly after, the dinner was served.
It was always in the Queen's apartment, as well as the supper, but the
King and Queen had each their dishes; the former, few, the latter, many,
for she liked eating, and ate of everything; the King always kept to the
same things--soup, capon, pigeons, boiled and roast, and always a roast
loin of veal--no fruit; or salad, or cheese; pastry, rarely, never
maigre; eggs, often cooked in various fashion; and he drank nothing but
champagne; the Queen the same. When the dinner was finished, they prayed
to God together. If anything pressing happened, Grimaldo came and gave
them a brief account of it.

About an hour after dinner, they left the apartment by a short passage
accessible to the court, and descended by a little staircase to their
coach, returning by the same way. The seigneurs who frequented the court
pretty constantly assembled, now one, now another, in this passage, or
followed their Majesties to their coaches. Very often I saw them in this
passage as they went or returned. The Queen always said something
pleasant to whoever was there. I will speak elsewhere of the hunting-
party their Majesties daily made.

Upon returning, the King gave his orders. If they had not partaken of a
collation in the coach, they partook of one upon arriving. It was for
the King, a morsel of bread, a big biscuit, some water and wine; and for
the Queen, pastry and fruit in season, sometimes cheese. The Prince and
the Princess of the Asturias, and the children, followed and waited for
them in the inner apartment. This company withdrew in less than half a
quarter of an hour. Grimaldo came and worked ordinarily for a long time;
it was the time for the real work of the day. When the Queen went to
confession this also was the time she selected. Except what related to
the confession, she and her confessor had no time to say anything to each
other. The cabinet in which she confessed to him was contiguous to the
room occupied by the King, and when the latter thought the confession too
long, he opened the door and called her. Grimaldo being gone, they
prayed together, or sometimes occupied themselves with spiritual reading
until supper. It was served like the dinner. At both meals there were
more dishes in the French style than in the Spanish, or even the Italian.

After supper, conversation or prayers conducted them to the hour for bed,
when nearly the same observances took place as in the morning. Finally,
their Catholic Majesties everywhere had but one wardrobe between them,
and were never in private one from another.

These uniform days were the same in all places, and even during the
journeys taken by their Majesties, who were thus never separated, except
for a few minutes at a time. They passed their lives in one long tete-a-
tete. When they travelled it was at the merest snail's pace, and they
slept on the road, night after night, in houses prepared for them. In
their coach they were always alone; when in the palace it was the same.

The King had been accustomed to this monotonous life by his first queen,
and he did not care for any other. The new Queen, upon arriving, soon
found this out, and found also that if she wished to rule him, she must
keep him in the same room, confined as he had been kept by her
predecessor. Alberoni was the only person admitted to their privacy.
This second marriage of the King of Spain, entirely brought about by
Madame des Ursins, was very distasteful to the Spaniards, who detested
that personage most warmly, and were in consequence predisposed to look
unfavourably upon anyone she favoured. It is true, the new Queen, on
arriving, drove out Madame des Ursins, but this showed her to be
possessed of as much power as the woman she displaced, and when she began
to exercise that power in other directions the popular dislike to her was
increased. She made no effort to mitigate it--hating the Spaniards as
much as they hated her--and it is incredible to what an extent this
reciprocal aversion stretched.

When the Queen went out with the King to the chase or to the atocha, the
people unceasingly cried, as well as the citizens in their shops, "Viva
el Re y la Savoyana, y la Savoyana," and incessantly repeated, with all
their lungs, "la Savoyana," which is the deceased Queen (I say this to
prevent mistake), no voice ever crying "Viva la Reina." The Queen
pretended to despise this, but inwardly raged (as people saw), she could
not habituate herself to it. She has said to me very frequently and more
than once: "The Spaniards do not like me, and in return I hate them,"
with an air of anger and of pique.

These long details upon the daily life of the King and Queen may appear
trivial, but they will not be judged so by those who know, as I do, what
valuable information is to be gained from similar particulars. I will
simply say in passing, that an experience of twenty years has convinced
me that the knowledge of such details is the key to many others, and that
it is always wanting in histories, often in memoirs the most interesting
and instructive, but which would be much more so if they had not
neglected this chapter, regarded by those who do not know its price, as a
bagatelle unworthy of entering into a serious recital. Nevertheless, I
am quite certain, that there is not a minister of state, a favourite, or
a single person of whatever rank, initiated by his office into the
domestic life of sovereigns, who will not echo my sentiments.

And now let me give a more distinct account of the King of Spain than I
have yet written.

Philip V. was not gifted with superior understanding or with any stock of
what is called imagination. He was cold, silent, sad, sober, fond of no
pleasure except the chase, fearing society, fearing himself, unexpansive,
a recluse by taste and habits, rarely touched by others, of good sense
nevertheless, and upright, with a tolerably good knowledge of things,
obstinate when he liked, and often then not to be moved; nevertheless,
easy at other times to govern and influence.

He was cold. In his campaigns he allowed himself to be led into any
position, even under a brisk fire, without budging in the slightest; nay,
amusing himself by seeing whether anybody was afraid. Secured and
removed from danger he was the same, without thinking that his glory
could suffer by it. He liked to make war, but was indifferent whether he
went there or not; and present or absent, left everything to the generals
without doing anything himself.

He was extremely vain; could bear no opposition in any of his
enterprises; and what made me judge he liked praise, was that the Queen
invariably praised him--even his face; and asked me one day, at the end
of an audience which had led us into conversation, if I did not think him
very handsome, and more so than any one I knew?--His piety was only
custom, scruples, fears, little observances, without knowing anything of
religion: the Pope a divinity when not opposed to him; in fact he had the
outside religion of the Jesuits, of whom he was passionately fond.

Although his health was very good, he always feared for it; he was always
looking after it. A physician, such as the one Louis XI. enriched so
much at the end of his life; a Maitre Coythier would have become a rich
and powerful personage by his side; fortunately his physician was a
thoroughly good and honourable man, and he who succeeded him devoted to
the Queen. Philip V. could speak well--very well, but was often hindered
by idleness and self-mistrust. To the audiences I had with him, however,
he astonished me by the precision, the grace, the easiness of his words.
He was good, easy to serve, familiar with a few. His love of France
showed itself in everything. He preserved much gratitude and veneration
for the deceased King, and tenderness for the late Monsieur; above all
for the Dauphin, his brother, for whose loss he was never consoled.
I noticed nothing in him towards any other of the royal family, except
the King; and he never asked me concerning anybody in the Court, except,
and then in a friendly manner, the Duchesse de Beauvilliers.

He had scruples respecting his crown, that can with difficulty be
reconciled with the desire he had to return, in case of misfortune, to
the throne of his fathers, which he had more than once so solemnly
renounced. He believed himself an usurper! and in this idea nourished
his desire to return to France, and abandon Spain and his scruples at one
and the same time. It cannot be disguised that all this was very ill-
arranged in his head, but there it was, and he would have abandoned Spain
had it been possible, because he felt compelled by duty to do so. It was
this feeling which principally induced him, after meditating upon it long
before I arrived in Spain, to abdicate his throne in favour of his son.
It was the same usurpation in his eyes, but not being able to obey his
scruples, he contented himself by doing all he could in abdicating. It
was still this feeling which, at the death of his son, troubled him so
much, when he saw himself compelled to reascend the throne; though,
during his abdication, that son had caused him not a little vexation.
As may well be imagined, Philip V. never spoke of these delicate matters
to me, but I was not less well informed of them elsewhere.

The Queen desired not less to abandon Spain, which she hated, and to
return into France and reign, where she hoped to lead a life of less
seclusion, and much more agreeable.

Notwithstanding all I have said, it is perfectly true that Philip V. was
but little troubled by the wars he made, that he was fond of enterprises,
and that his passion was to be respected and dreaded, and to figure
grandly in Europe.

But let me now more particularly describe the Queen.

This princess had much intellect and natural graces, which she knew how
to put to account. Her sense, her reflection, and her conduct, were
guided by that intellect, from which she drew all the charms and, all the
advantages possible. Whoever knew her was astonished to find how her
intelligence and natural capacity supplied the place of her want of
knowledge of the world, of persons, of affairs, upon all of which
subjects, her garret life in Parma, and afterwards her secluded life with
the King of Spain, hindered her from obtaining any real instruction. The
perspicuity she possessed, which enabled her to see the right side of
everything that came under her inspection, was undeniable, and this
singular gift would have become developed in her to perfection if its
growth had not been interrupted by the ill-humour she possessed; which it
must be admitted the life she led was more than enough to give her. She
felt her talent and her strength, but did not feel the fatuity and pride
which weakened them and rendered them ridiculous. The current of her
life was simple, smooth, with a natural gaiety even, which sparkled
through the eternal restraint of her existence; and despite the ill-
temper and the sharpness which this restraint without rest gave her, she
was a woman ordinarily without pretension, and really charming.

When she arrived in Spain she was sure, in the first place, of driving
away Madame des Ursins, and of filling-her place in the government at
once. She seized that place, and took possession also of the King's
mind, which she soon entirely ruled. As to public business, nothing
could be hidden from her. The King always worked in her presence, never
otherwise; all that he saw alone she read and discussed with him. She
was always present at all the private audiences that he gave, whether to
his subjects or to the foreign ministers; so that, as I have before
remarked, nothing possibly could escape her.

As for the King, the eternal night and day tete-a-tete she had with him
enabled her to sound him thoroughly, to know him by heart, so to speak.
She knew perfectly the time for preparatory insinuations, their success;
the resistance, when there was any, its course and how to overcome it;
the moments for yielding, in order to return afterwards to the charge,
and those for holding firm and carrying everything by force. She stood
in need of all these intrigues, notwithstanding her credit with the King.
If I may dare to say it, his temperament was her strong point, and she
sometimes had recourse to it. Then her coldness excited tempests. The
King cried and menaced; now and then went further; she held firm, wept,
and sometimes defended herself. In the morning all was stormy. The
immediate attendants acted towards King and Queen often without
penetrating the cause of their quarrel. Peace was concluded at the first
opportunity, rarely to the disadvantage of the Queen, who mostly had her
own way.

A quarrel of this sort arose when I was at Madrid; and I was advised,
after hearing details I will not repeat, to mix myself up in it, but I
burst out laughing and took good care not to follow this counsel.


The chase was every day the amusement of the King, and the Queen was
obliged to make it hers. But it was always the same. Their Catholic
Majesties did me the singular honour to invite me to it once, and I went
in my coach. Thus I saw this pleasure well, and to see it once is to see
it always. Animals to shoot are not met with in the plains. They must
be sought for among the mountains,--and there the ground is too rugged
for hunting the stag, the wild boar, and other beasts as we hunt the
hare,--and elsewhere. The plains even are so dry, so hard, so full of
deep crevices (that are not perceived until their brink is reached), that
the best hounds or harriers would soon be knocked up, and would have
their feet blistered, nay lamed, for a long time. Besides, the ground is
so thickly covered with sturdy vegetation that the hounds could not
derive much help from their noses. Mere shooting on the wing the King
had long since quitted, and he had ceased to mount his horse; thus the
chase simply resolved itself into a battue.

The Duc del Orco, who, by his post of grand ecuyer, had the
superintendence of all the hunting arrangements, chose the place where
the King and Queen were to go. Two large arbours were erected there, the
one against the other, entirely shut in, except where two large openings,
like windows, were made, of breast-height. The King, the Queen, the
captain of the guards, and the grand ecuyer were in the first arbour with
about twenty guns and the wherewithal to load them. In the other arbour,
the day I was present, were the Prince of the Asturias, who came in his
coach with the Duc de Ponoli and the Marquis del Surco, the Marquis de
Santa Cruz, the Duc Giovenazzo, majordomo, major and grand ecuyer to the
Queen, Valouse, two or three officers of the body-guard, and I myself.
We had a number of guns, and some men to load them. A single lady of the
palace followed the Queen all alone, in another coach, which she did not
quit; she carried with her, for her consolation, a book or some work, for
no one approached her. Their Majesties and their suite went to the chase
in hot haste with relays of guards and of coach horses, for the distance
was at least three or four leagues; at the least double that from Paris
to Versailles. The party alighted at the arbours, and immediately the
carriages, the poor lady of the palace, and all the horses were led away
far out of sight, lest they should frighten the beasts.

Two, three, four hundred peasants had early in the morning beaten the
country round, with hue and cry, after having enclosed it and driven all
the animals together as near these arbours as possible. When in the
arbour you were not allowed to stir, or to make the slightest remarks, or
to wear attractive colours; and everybody stood up in silence.

This period of expectation lasted an hour and a half, and did not appear
to me very amusing. At last we heard loud cries from afar, and soon
after we saw troops of animals pass and repass within shot and within
half-shot of us; and then the King and the Queen banged away in good
earnest. This diversion, or rather species of butchery, lasted more than
half an hour, during which stags, hinds, roebucks, boars, hares, wolves,
badgers, foxes, and numberless pole-cats passed; and were killed or

We were obliged to let the King and Queen fire first, although pretty
often they permitted the grand ecuyer and the captain of the guard to
fire also; and as we did not know from whom came the report, we were
obliged to wait until the King's arbour was perfectly silent; then let
the Prince shoot, who very often had nothing to shoot at, and we still
less. Nevertheless, I killed a fox, but a little before I ought to have
done so, at which, somewhat ashamed, I made my excuses to the Prince of
the Asturias, who burst out laughing, and the company also, I following
their example and all passing very politely.

In proportion as the peasants approach and draw nearer each other, the
sport advances, and it finishes when they all come close to the arbours,
still shouting, and with nothing more behind them. Then the coaches
return, the company quits the arbours, the beasts killed are laid before
the King. They are placed afterwards behind the coaches. During all
this, conversation respecting the sport rolls on. We carried away this
day about a dozen or more beasts, some hares, foxes, and polecats. The
night overtook us soon after we quitted the arbours.

And this is the daily diversion of their Catholic Majesties.

It is time now, however, to resume the thread of my narrative, from which
these curious and little-known details have led me.

I have shown in its place the motive which made me desire my embassy; it
was to obtain the 'grandesse' for my second son, and thus to "branch" my
house. I also desired to obtain the Toison d'Or for my eldest son, that
he might derive from this journey an ornament which, at his age, was a
decoration. I had left Paris with full liberty to employ every aid, in
order to obtain these things; I had, too, from M. le Duc d'Orleans, the
promise that he would expressly ask the King of Spain for the former
favour, employing the name of the King, and letters of the strongest kind
from Cardinal Dubois to Grimaldo and Father Aubenton. In the midst of
the turmoil of affairs I spoke to both of these persons, and was
favourably attended to.

Grimaldo was upright and truthful. He conceived a real friendship for
me, and gave me, during my stay at Madrid, all sorts of proofs of it.
He said that this union of the two Courts by the two marriages might
influence the ministers. His sole point of support, in order to maintain
himself in the post he occupied, so brilliant and so envied, was the King
of Spain. The Queen, he found, could never be a solid foundation on
which to repose. He wished, then, to support himself upon France, or at
least to have no opposition from it, and he perfectly well knew the
duplicity and caprices of Cardinal Dubois. The Court of Spain, at all
times so watchful over M. le Duc d'Orleans, in consequence of what had
passed in the time of the Princesse des Ursins, and during the Regency,.
was not ignorant of the intimate and uninterrupted confidence of this
prince in me, or of the terms on which I was with him. These sort of
things appear larger than they are, when seen from afar, and the choice
that had been made of me for this singular embassy confirmed it still
more! Grimaldo, then, might have thought to assure my friendship in his
behalf, and my influence with M. le Duc d'Orleans, occasion demanding it;
and I don't think I am deceiving myself in attributing to him this policy
while he aided me to obtain a favour, at bottom quite natural, and which
could cause him no inconvenience.

I regarded the moment at which the marriage would be celebrated as that
at which I stood most chance of obtaining what I desired, and I
considered that if it passed over without result to me, all would grow
cold, and become uncertain, and very disagreeable. I had forgotten
nothing during this first stay in Madrid, in order to please everybody,
and I make bold to say that I had all the better succeeded because I had
tried to give weight and merit to my politeness, measuring it according
to the persons I addressed, without prostitution and without avarice, and
that's what made me hasten to learn all I could of the birth, of the
dignities, of the posts, of the alliances, of the reputation of each, so
as to play my cards well, and secure the game.

But still I needed the letters of M. le Duc d'Orleans, and of Cardinal
Dubois. I did not doubt the willingness of the Regent, but I did doubt,
and very much too, that of his minister. It has been seen what reason I
had for this.

These letters ought to have arrived at Madrid at the same time that I
did, but they had not come, and there seemed no prospect of their
arriving. What redoubled my impatience was that I read them beforehand,
and that I wished to have the time to reflect, and to turn round, in
order to draw from them, in spite of them, all the help I could. I
reckoned that these letters would be in a feeble spirit, and this opinion
made me more desirous to fortify my batteries in Spain in order to render
myself agreeable to the King and Queen, and to inspire them with the
desire to grant me the favours I wished.

A few days before going to Lerma I received letters from Cardinal Dubois
upon my affair. Nobody could be more eager or more earnest than the
Cardinal, for he gave me advice how to arrive at my aim, and pressed me
to look out for everything which could aid me; assuring me that his
letters, and those of M. le Duc d'Orleans, would arrive in time. In the
midst of the perfume of so many flowers, the odour of falsehood could
nevertheless be smelt. I had reckoned upon this. I had done all in my
power to supply the place of these letters. I received therefore not as
gospel, all the marvels Dubois sent me, and I set out for Lerma fully
resolved to more and more cultivate my affair without reckoning upon the
letters promised me; but determined to draw as much advantage from them
as I could.

Upon arriving at Lerma I fell ill as I have described, and the small-pox
kept me confined forty days: The letters so long promised and so long
expected did not arrive until the end of my quarantine. They were just
what I expected. Cardinal Dubois explained himself to Grimaldo in turns
and circumlocution, and if one phrase displayed eagerness and desire, the
next destroyed it by an air of respect and of discretion, protesting he
wished simply what the King of Spain would himself wish, with all the
seasoning necessary for the annihilation of his good offices under the
pretence that he did not wish to press his Majesty to anything or to
importune him.

This written stammering savoured of the bombast of a man who had no
desire to serve me, but who, not daring to break his word, used all his
wits to twist and overrate the little he could not hinder himself from
saying. This letter was simply for Grimaldo, as the letter of M. le Duc
d'Orleans was simply for the King of Spain. The last was even weaker
than the first. It was like a design in pencil nearly effaced by the
rain, and in which nothing, connected appeared. It scarcely touched upon
the real point, but lost itself in respects, in reservations, in
deference, and would propose nothing that was not according to the taste
of the King! In a word, the letter withdrew rather than advanced, and
was a sort of ease-conscience which could not be refused, and which did
not promise much success.

It is easy to understand that these letters much displeased me. Although
I had anticipated all the malice of Cardinal Dubois, I found it exceeded
my calculations, and that it was more undisguised than I imagined it
would be.

Such as the letters were I was obliged to make use of them. The Abbe de
Saint-Simon wrote to Grimaldo and to Sartine, enclosing these letter, for
I myself did not yet dare to write on account of the precautions I was
obliged to use against the bad air. Sartine and Grimaldo, to whom I had
not confided my suspicions that these recommendations would be in a very
weak tone, were thrown into the utmost surprise on reading them.

They argued together, they were indignant, they searched for a bias to
strengthen that which had so much need of strength, but this bias could
not be found; they consulted together, and Grimaldo formed a bold
resolution, which astonished me to the last degree, and much troubled me

He came to the conclusion that these letters would assuredly do me more
harm than good; that they must be suppressed, never spoken of to the
King, who must be confirmed without them in the belief that in according
me these favours he would confer upon M. le Duc d'Orleans a pleasure, all
the greater, because he saw to what point extended all his reserve in not
speaking to him about this matter, and mine in not asking for these
favours through his Royal Highness, as there was every reason to believe
I should do. Grimaldo proposed to draw from these circumstances all the
benefit he proposed to have drawn from the letters had they been written
in a fitting spirit, and he said he would answer for it; I should have
the 'grandesse' and the 'Toison d'Or' without making the slightest
allusion to the cold recommendations of M. le Duc d'Orleans to the King
of Spain, and of Dubois to him.

Sartine, by his order, made this known to the Abbe de Saint-Simon, who
communicated it to me, and after having discussed together with Hyghens,
who knew the ground as well as they, and who had really devoted himself
to me, I blindly abandoned myself to the guidance and friendship of
Grimaldo, with full success, as will be seen.

In relating here the very singular fashion by which my affair succeeded,
I am far indeed from abstracting from M. le Duc d'Orleans all gratitude.
If he had not confided to me the double marriage, without the knowledge
of Dubois, and in spite of the secrecy that had been asked for, precisely
on my account, I should not have been led to beg of him the embassy.

I instantly asked for it, declaring that my sole aim was the grandesse
for my second son, and he certainly accorded it to me with this aim, and
promised to aid me with his recommendation in order to arrive at it, but
with the utmost secrecy on account of the vexation Dubois would feel, and
in order to give himself time to arrange with the minister and induce him
to swallow the pill.

If I had not had the embassy in this manner, it would certainly have
escaped me; and thus would have been lost all hope of the grandesse, to
obtain which there would have been no longer occasion, reason, or means.

The friendship and the confidence of this prince prevailed then over the
witchery which his miserable preceptor had cast upon him, and if he
afterwards yielded to the roguery, to the schemes, to the folly which
Dubois employed in the course of this embassy to ruin and disgrace me,
and to bring about the failure of the sole object which had made me
desire it, we must only blame his villainy and the deplorable feebleness
of M. le Duc d'Orleans, which caused me many sad embarrassments, and did
so much harm, but which even did more harm to the state and to the prince

It is with this sad but only too true reflection that I finish the year


The Regent's daughter arrived in Spain at the commencement of the year
1722, and it was arranged that her marriage with the Prince of the
Asturias should be celebrated on the 30th of January at Lerma, where
their Catholic Majesties were then staying. It was some little distance
from my house. I was obliged therefore to start early in the morning in
order to arrive in time. On the way I paid a visit of ceremony to the
Princess, at Cogollos, ate a mouthful of something, and turned off to

As soon as I arrived there, I went to the Marquis of Grimaldo's
apartments. His chamber was at the end of a vast room, a piece of which
had been portioned off, in order to serve as a chapel. Once again I had
to meet the nuncio, and I feared lest he should remember what had passed
on a former occasion, and that I should give Dubois a handle for
complaint. I saw, therefore, but very imperfectly, the reception of the
Princess; to meet whom the King and Queen (who lodged below) and the
Prince precipitated themselves, so to speak, almost to the steps of the
coach. I quietly went up again to the chapel.

The prie-dieu of the King was placed in front of the altar, a short
distance from the steps, precisely as the King's prie-dieu is placed at
Versailles, but closer to the altar, and with a cushion on each side of
it. The chapel was void of courtiers. I placed myself to the right of
the King's cushion just beyond the edge of the carpet, and amused myself
there better than I had expected. Cardinal Borgia, pontifically clad,
was in the corner, his face turned towards me, learning his lesson
between two chaplains in surplices, who held a large book open in front
of him. The good prelate did not know how to read; he tried, however,
and read aloud, but inaccurately. The chaplains took him up, he grew
angry, scolded them, recommenced, was again corrected, again grew angry,
and to such an extent that he turned round upon them and shook them by
their surplices. I laughed as much as I could; for he perceived nothing,
so occupied and entangled was he with his lesson.

Marriages in Spain are performed in the afternoon, and commence at the
door of the church, like baptisms. The King, the Queen, the Prince, and
the Princess arrived with all the Court, and the King was announced.
"Let them wait," said the Cardinal in choler, "I am not ready." They
waited, in fact, and the Cardinal continued his lesson, redder than his
hat, and still furious. At last he went to the door, at which a ceremony
took place that lasted some time. Had I not been obliged to continue at
my post, curiosity would have made me follow him. That I lost some
amusement is certain, for I saw the King and Queen laughing and looking
at their prie-dieu, and all the Court laughing also. The nuncio arriving
and seeing by the position I had taken up that I was preceding him, again
indicated his surprise to me by gestures, repeating, "Signor, signor;"
but I had resolved to understand nothing, and laughingly pointed out the
Cardinal to him, and reproached him for not having better instructed the
worthy prelate for the honour of the Sacred College. The nuncio
understood French very well, but spoke it very badly. This banter and
the innocent air with which I gave it, without appearing to notice his
demonstrations, created such a fortunate diversion, that nobody else was
thought of; more especially as the poor cardinal more and more caused
amusement while continuing the ceremony, during which he neither knew
where he was nor what he was doing, being taken up and corrected every
moment by his chaplains, and fuming against them so that neither the King
nor the Queen could; contain themselves. It was the same with everybody
else who witnessed the scene.

I could see nothing more than the back of the Prince and the Princess as
they knelt each upon a cushion between the prie-dieu and the altar, the
Cardinal in front making grimaces indicative of the utmost confusion.
Happily all I had to think of was the nuncio, the King's majordomo-major
having placed himself by the side of his son, captain of the guards. The
grandees were crowded around with the most considerable people: the rest
filled all the chapel so that there was no stirring.

Amidst the amusement supplied to us by the poor Cardinal, I remarked
extreme satisfaction in the King and Queen at seeing this grand marriage
accomplished. The ceremony finished, as it was not long, only the King,
the Queen, and, when necessary, the Prince and Princess kneeling, their
Catholic Majesties rose and withdrew towards the left corner of their
footcloth, talked together for a short time, after which the Queen
remained where she was, and the King advanced to me, I being where I had
been during all the ceremony.

The King did me the honour to say to me, "Monsieur, in every respect I am
so pleased with you, and particularly for the manner in which you have
acquitted yourself of your embassy, that I wish to give you some marks of
my esteem, of my satisfaction; of my friendship. I make you Grandee of
Spain of the first class; you, and, at the same time, whichever of your
sons you may wish to have the same distinction; and your eldest son I
will make chevalier of the Toison d'Or."

I immediately embraced his knees, and I tried to testify to him my
gratitude and my extreme desire to render myself worthy of the favour he
deigned to spread upon me, by my attachment, my very humble services, and
my most profound respect. Then I kissed his hand, turned and sent for
my, children, employing the moments which had elapsed before they came in
uttering fresh thanks. As soon as my sons appeared, I called the younger
and told him, to embrace the knees of the King who overwhelmed us with
favours, and made him grandee of Spain with me. He kissed the King's
hand in rising, the King saying he was very glad of what he had just
done. I presented the elder to him afterwards, to thank him for the
Toison. He simply bent very low and kissed the King's hand. As soon as
this was at an end, the King went towards the Queen, and I followed him
with my children. I bent very low before the Queen, thanked her, then
presented to her my children, the younger first, the elder afterwards.
The Queen received us with much goodness, said a thousand civil things,
then walked away with the King, followed by the Prince, having upon his
arm the Princess, whom we saluted in passing; and they returned to their
apartments. I wished to follow them, but was carried away, as it were,
by the crowd which pressed eagerly around me to compliment me. I was
very careful to reply in a fitting manner to each, and with the utmost
politeness, and though I but little expected these favours at this
moment, I found afterwards that all this numerous court was pleased with

A short time after the celebration of the marriage between the Regent's
daughter and the Prince of the Asturias, the day came on which my eldest
son was to receive the Toison d'Or. The Duc de Liria was to be his,
godfather, and it was he who conducted us to the place of ceremony. His
carriage was drawn by four perfectly beautiful Neapolitan horses; but
these animals, which are often extremely fantastical, would not stir.
The whip was vigorously applied; results--rearing, snorting, fury, the
carriage in danger of being upset. Time was flying; I begged the Duc de
Liria, therefore, to get into my carriage, so that we might not keep the
King and the company waiting for us. It was in vain I represented to him
that this function of godfather would in no way be affected by changing
his own coach for mine, since it would be by necessity. He would not
listen to me. The horses continued their game for a good half hour
before they consented to start.

All my cortege followed us, for I wished by this display to show the King
of Spain how highly I appreciated the honours of his Court. On the way
the horses again commenced their pranks. I again pressed the Duc de
Liria to change his coach, and he again refused. Fortunately the pause
this time was much shorter than at first; but before we reached the end
of our journey there came a message to say that the King was waiting for
us. At last we arrived, and as soon as the King was informed of it he
entered the room where the chapter of the order was assembled. He
straightway sat himself down in an armchair, and while the rest of the
company were placing themselves in position; the Queen, the Princess of
the Asturias, and their suite, seated themselves as simple spectators at
the end of the room.

All the chapter having arranged themselves in order, the door in front of
the King, by which we had entered, was closed, my son remaining outside
with a number of the courtiers. Then the King covered himself, and all
the chevaliers at the same time, in the midst of a silence, without sign,
which lasted as long as a little prayer. After this, the King very
briefly proposed that the Vidame de Chartres should be received into the
order. All the chevaliers uncovered themselves, made an inclination,
without rising, and covered themselves again. After another silence, the
King called the Duc de Liria, who uncovered himself, and with a reverence
approached the King; by whom he was thus addressed: "Go and see if the
Vidame de Chartres is not somewhere about here."

The Duc de Liria made another reverence to the King, but none to the
chevaliers (who, nevertheless, were uncovered at the same time as he),
went away, the door was closed upon him, and the chevaliers covered
themselves again. The reverences just made, and those I shall have
occasion to speak of in the course of my description, were the same as
are seen at the receptions of the chevaliers of the Saint-Esprit, and in
all grand ceremonies.

The Duc de Liria remained outside nearly a quarter of an hour, because it
is assumed that the new chevalier is ignorant of the proposition made for
him, and that it is only by chance he is found in the palace, time being
needed in order to look for him. The Duc de Liria returned, and
immediately after the door was again closed, and he advanced to the King,
as before, saying that the Vidame de Chartres was in the other room.

Upon this the King ordered him to go and ask the Vidame if he wished to
accept the Order of the Toison d'Or, and be received into it, and
undertake to observe its statutes, its duties, its ceremonies, take its
oaths, promise to fulfil all the conditions submitted: to every one who
is admitted into it, and agree to conduct himself in everything like a
good, loyal, brave, and virtuous chevalier. The Duc de Liria withdrew as
he had before withdrawn. The door was again closed. He returned after
having been absent a shorter time than at first. The door was again
closed, and he approached the King as before, and announced to him the
consent and the thanks of the Vidame. "Very well," replied the King.
"Go seek him, and bring him here."

The Duc de Liria withdrew, as on the previous occasions, and immediately
returned, having my son on his left. The door being open, anybody was at
liberty to enter, and see the ceremony.

The Duc de Liria conducted my son to the feet of the King, and then
seated himself in his place. My son, in advancing, had lightly inclined
himself to the chevaliers, right and left; and, after having made in the
middle of the room a profound bow, knelt before the King, without
quitting his sword, and having his hat under his arm, and no gloves on.
The chevaliers, who had uncovered themselves at the entry of the Duc de
Liria, covered themselves when he sat down; and the Prince of the
Asturias acted precisely as they acted.

The King repeated to my son the same things, a little more lengthily,
that had been said to him by the Duc de Liria, and received his promise
upon each in succession. Afterwards, an attendant, who was standing in
waiting behind the table, presented to the King, from between the table
and the chair, a large book, open, and in which was a long oath, that my
son repeated to the King, who had the book upon his knees, the oath in
French, and on loose paper; being in it. This ceremony lasted rather a
long time: Afterwards, my son kissed the King's hand, and the King made
him rise and pass, without reverence; directly before the table, towards
the middle of which he knelt, his back to the Prince of the Asturias, his
face to the attendant, who showed him (the table being between them) what
to do. There was upon this table a great crucifix of enamel upon a
stand, with a missal open at the Canon, the Gospel of Saint-John, and
forms, in French, of promises and oaths to be made, whilst putting the
hand now upon the Canon, now upon the Gospel. The oath-making took up
some time; after which my son came back and knelt before the King again
as before.

Then, the Duc del Orco, grand ecuyer, and Valouse, premier ecuyer, who
have had the Toison since, and who were near me, went away, the Duke
first, Valouse behind him, carrying in his two hands, with marked care
and respect, the sword of the Grand Captain, Don Gonzalvo de Cordova, who
is never called otherwise. They walked, with measured step, outside the
right-hand seats of the chevaliers, then entered the chapter, where the
Duc de Liria had entered with my son, marched inside the left-hand seats
of the chevaliers, without reverence, but the Duke inclining himself;
Valouse not doing so on account of the respect due to the sword; the
grandees did not incline themselves.

The Duke on arriving between the Prince of the Asturias and the King,
knelt, and Valouse knelt behind him. Some moments after, the King made a
sign to them; Valouse drew the sword from its sheath which he put under
his arm, held the naked weapon by the middle of the blade, kissed the
hilt, and presented it to the King, who, without uncovering himself,
kissed the pommel, took the sword in both hands by the handle, held it
upright some moments; then held it with one hand, but almost immediately
with the other as well, and struck it three times upon each shoulder of
my son, alternately, saying to him, "By Saint-George and Saint-Andrew I
make you Chevalier." And the weight of the sword was so great that the
blows did not fall lightly. While the King was striking them, the grand
ecuyer and the premier remained in their places kneeling. The sword was
returned as it had been presented, and kissed in the same manner.
Valouse put it back into its sheath, after which the grand ecuyer and the
premier ecuyer returned as they came.

This sword, handle included, was more than four feet long; the blade four
good digits wide, thick in proportion, insensibly diminishing in
thickness and width to the point, which was very small. The handle
appeared to me of worked enamel, long and very large; as well as the
pommel; the crossed piece long, and the two ends wide, even, worked,
without branch. I examined it well, and I could not hold it in the air
with one-hand, still less handle it with both hands except with much
difficulty. It is pretended that this is the sword the Great Captain
made use of, and with which he obtained so many victories.

I marvelled at the strength of the men in those days, with whom I believe
early habits did much. I was touched by the grand honour rendered to the
Great Captain's memory; his sword becoming the sword of the State,
carried even by the King with great respect. I repeated, more than once,
that if I were the Duc de Scose (who descends in a direct line from the
Great Captain by the female branch, the male being extinct), I would
leave nothing undone to obtain the Toison, in order to enjoy the honour
and the sensible pleasure of being struck by this sword, and with such
great respect for my ancestor. But to return to the ceremony from which
this little digression has taken me.

The accolade being given by the King after the blows with the sword,
fresh oaths being taken at his feet, then before the table as at first,
and on this occasion at greater length, my son returned and knelt before
the King, but without saying anything more. Then Grimaldo rose and,
without reverence, left the chapter by the left, went behind the right-
hand seats of the chevaliers, and took the collar of the Toison which was
extended at the end of the table. At this moment the King told my son to
rise, and so remain standing in the same place. The Prince of the
Asturias, and the Marquis de Villena then rose also, end approached my
son, both covered, all the other chevaliers remaining seated and covered.
Then Grimaldo, passing between the table and the empty seat of the Prince
of the Asturias, presented; standing, the collar to the King, who took it
with both hands, and meanwhile Grimaldo, passing behind the Prince of the
Asturias, went and placed himself behind my son. As soon as he was
there, the King told my son to bend very low, but without kneeling, and
then leaning forward, but without rising, placed the collar upon him, and
made him immediately after stand upright. The King then took hold of the
collar, simply holding the end of it in his hand. At the same time, the
collar was attached to the left shoulder by the Prince of the Asturias,
to the right shoulder by the Marquis de Villena, and behind by Grimaldo;
the King still holding the end.

When the collar was attached, the Prince of the Asturias, the Marquis de
Villena, and Grimaldo, without making a reverence and no chevalier
uncovering himself, went back to their places, and sat down; at, the same
moment my son knelt before the King, and bared, his head. Then the Duc
de Liria, without reverence, and uncovered (no chevalier uncovering
himself), placed himself before the King at the left, by the side of my,
son, and both made their reverences to the King; turned round to the
Prince of the Asturias, did the same to him, he rising and doing my son
the honour to embrace him, and as soon as he was reseated they made a
reverence to him; then, turning to the King, made him one; afterwards
they did the same to the Marquis de Villena, who rose and embraced my
son. Then he reseated himself; upon which they made a reverence to him,
then turning again towards the King, made another to him; and so an from
right to left until every chevalier had been bowed to in a similar
manner. Then my son sat down, and the Duc de Liria returned to his

After this long series of bows, so bewildering for those who play the
chief part in it, the King remained a short time in his armchair, them
rose, uncovered himself, and retired into his apartment as he came. I
had instructed my son to hurry forward and arrive before him at the door
of his inner apartment. He was in time, and I also, to kiss the hand of
the King, and to express our thanks, which were well received. The Queen
arrived and overwhelmed us with compliments. I must observe that the
ceremony of the sword and the accolade are not performed at the reception
of those who, having already another order, are supposed to have received
them; like the chevaliers of the Saint-Esprit and of Saint-Michel, and
the chevaliers of Saint-Louis.

Their Catholic Majesties being gone, we withdrew to my house, where a
very grand dinner was prepared. The usage is, before the reception, to
visit all the chevaliers of the Toison, and when the day is fixed, to
visit all those invited to dinner on the day of the ceremony; the
godfather, with the other chevalier by whom he is accompanied, also
invites them at the palace before they enter the chapter, and aids the
new chevalier to do the honours of the repast. I had led my son with me
to pay these visits. Nearly all the chevaliers came to dine with us, and
many other nobles. The Duc d'Albuquerque, whom I met pretty often, and
who had excused himself from attending a dinner I had previously given,
on account of his stomach (ruined as he said in the Indies), said he,
would not refuse me twice, on condition that I permitted him to take
nothing but soup, because meat was too solid for him. He came, and
partook of six sorts of soup, moderately of all; he afterwards lightly
soaked his bread in such ragouts as were near him, eating only the end,
and finding everything very good. He drank nothing but wine and water.
The dinner was gay, in spite of the great number of guests. The
Spaniards eat as much as, nay more than, we, and with taste, choice, and
pleasure: as to drink, they are very modest.

On the 13th of March, 1722, their Catholic Majesties returned from their
excursion to the Retiro. The hurried journey I had just made to the
former place, immediately after the arrival of a courier, and in spite of
most open prohibitions forbidding every one to go there, joined to the
fashion, full of favour and goodness, with which I had been distinguished
by their Majesties ever since my arrival in Spain, caused a most
ridiculous rumour to obtain circulation, and which, to my great surprise,
at once gained much belief.

It was reported there that I was going to quit my position of ambassador
from France, and be declared prime minister of Spain! The people who had
been pleased, apparently, with the expense I had kept up, and to whom not
one of my suite had given the slightest cause of complaint, set to crying
after me in the streets; announcing my promotion, displaying joy at it,
and talking of it even in the shops. A number of persons even assembled
round my house to testify to me their pleasure. I dispersed them as
civilly and as quickly as possible, assuring them the report was not
true, and that I was forthwith about to return to France.

This was nothing more than the truth. I had finished all my business.
It was time to think about setting out. As soon, however, as I talked
about going, there was nothing which the King and the Queen did not do to
detain me. All the Court, too, did me the favour to express much
friendship for me, and regret at my departure. I admit even that I could
not easily make up my mind to quit a country where I had found nothing
but fruits and flowers, and to which I was attached, as I shall ever be,
by esteem and gratitude. I made at once a number of farewell visits
among the friends I had been once acquainted with; and on the 21st of
March I had my parting state audiences of the King and Queen separately.
I was surprised with the dignity, the precision, and the measure of the
King's expressions, as I had been surprised at my first audience. I
received many marks of personal goodness, and of regret at my departure
from his Catholic Majesty, and from the Queen even more; from the Prince
of the Asturias a good many also. But in another direction I met with
very different treatment, which I cannot refrain from describing, however
ridiculous it may appear.

I went, of course, to say my adieux to the Princess of the Asturias, and
I was accompanied by all my suite. I found the young lady standing under
a dais, the ladies on one side, the grandees on the other; and I made my
three reverences, then uttered my compliments. I waited in silence her
reply, but 'twas in vain. She answered not one word.

After some moments of silence, I thought I would furnish her with matter
for an answer; so I asked her what orders she had for the King; for the
Infanta, for Madame, and for M. and Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans. By way
of reply, she looked at me and belched so loudly in my face, that the
noise echoed throughout the chamber. My surprise was such that I was
stupefied. A second belch followed as noisy as the first.

I lost countenance at this, and all power of hindering myself from
laughing. Turning round, therefore, I saw everybody with their hands
upon their mouths, and their shoulders in motion. At last a third belch,
still louder than the two others, threw all present into confusion, and
forced me to take flight, followed by all my suite, amid shouts of
laughter, all the louder because they had previously been kept in. But
all barriers of restraint were now thrown down; Spanish gravity was
entirely disconcerted; all was deranged; no reverences; each person,
bursting with laughter, escaped as he could, the Princess all the while
maintaining her countenance. Her belches were the only answers she made
me. In the adjoining room we all stopped to laugh at our ease, and
express our astonishment afterwards more freely.

The King and Queen were soon informed of the success of this audience,
and spoke of it to me after dinner at the Racket Court. They were the
first to laugh at it, so as to leave others at liberty to do so too; a
privilege that was largely made use of without pressing. I received and
I paid numberless visits; and as it is easy to flatter one's self, I
fancied I might flatter myself that I was regretted.

I left Madrid on the 24th of March, after having had the honour of paying
my court to their Catholic Majesties all the afternoon at the Racket
Court, they overwhelming me with civilities, and begging me to take a
final adieu of them in their apartments. I had devoted the last few days
to the friends whom, during my short stay of six months, I had made.
Whatever might be the joy and eagerness I felt at the prospect of seeing
Madame de Saint-Simon and my Paris friends again, I could not quit Spain
without feeling my heart moved, or without regretting persons from whom I
had received so many marks of goodness, and for whom, all I had seen of
the nation, had made me conceive esteem, respect, and gratitude. I kept
up, for many years, a correspondence with Grimaldo, while he lived, in
fact, and after his fall and disgrace, which occurred long after my
departure, with more care and attention than formerly. My attachment,
full of respect and gratitude for the King and Queen of Spain, induced me
to do myself the honour of writing to them on all occasions. They often
did me the honour to reply to me; and always charged their new ministers
in France and the persons of consideration who came there, to convey to
me the expression of their good feeling for me.

After a journey without particular incident, I embarked early one morning
upon the Garonne, and soon arrived at Bordeaux. The jurats did me the
honour to ask, through Segur, the under-mayor, at what time they might
come and salute me. I invited them to supper, and said to Segur that
compliments would be best uttered glass in hand. They came, therefore,
to supper, and appeared to me much pleased with this civility: On the
morrow, the tide early carried me to Blaye, the weather being most
delightful. I slept only one night there, and to save time did not go to

On the 13th of April, I arrived, about five o'clock in the afternoon, at
Loches. I slept there because I wished to write a volume of details to
the Duchesse de Beauvilliers, who was six leagues off, at one of her
estates. I sent my packet by an express, and in this manner I was able
to say what I liked to her without fearing that the letter would be

On the morrow, the 14th, I arrived at Etampes, where I slept, and the
15th, at ten o'clock in the morning, I reached Chartres, where Madame de
Saint-Simon was to meet me, dine, and sleep, so that we might have the
pleasure of opening our hearts to each other, and of finding ourselves
together again in solitude and in liberty, greater than could be looked
for in Paris during the first few days of my return. The Duc d'Humieres
and Louville came with her. She arrived an hour after me, fixing herself
in the little chateau of the Marquis d'Arpajan, who had lent it to her,
and where the day appeared to us very short as well as the next morning,
the 16th of April.

To conclude the account of my journey, let me say that I arrived in Paris
shortly after, and at once made the best of my way to the Palais Royal,
where M. le Duc d'Orleans gave me a sincere and friendly welcome.


Countries of the Inquisition, where science is a crime
Ignorance and superstition the first of virtues





Attempted Reconciliation between Dubois and Villeroy.--Violent Scene.--
Trap Laid for the Marechal.--Its Success.--His Arrest.


I Am Sent for by Cardinal Dubois.--Flight of Frejus.--He Is Sought and
Found.--Behaviour of Villeroy in His Exile at Lyons.--His Rage and
Reproaches against Frejus.--Rise of the Latter in the King's Confidence.


I Retire from Public Life.--Illness and Death of Dubois. --Account of His
Riches.--His Wife.--His Character.--Anecdotes.--Madame de Conflans.--
Relief of the Regent and the King.


Death of Lauzun.--His Extraordinary Adventures.--His Success at Court.--
Appointment to the Artillery.--Counter--worked by Louvois.--Lauzun and
Madame de Montespan.--Scene with the King.--Mademoiselle and Madame de


Lauzun's Magnificence.--Louvois Conspires against Him.--He Is
Imprisoned.--His Adventures at Pignerol.--On What Terms He Is Released.--
His Life Afterwards.--Return to Court.


Lauzun Regrets His Former Favour.--Means Taken to Recover It.--Failure.--
Anecdotes.--Biting Sayings.--My Intimacy with Lauzun.--His Illness,
Death, and Character.


Ill-Health of the Regent.--My Fears.--He Desires a Sudden Death.--
Apoplectic Fit.--Death.--His Successor as Prime Minister.--The Duc de
Chartres.--End of the Memoirs.


Few events of importance had taken place during my absence in Spain.
Shortly after my return, however, a circumstance occurred which may
fairly claim description from me. Let me, therefore, at once relate it.

Cardinal Dubois, every day more and more firmly established in the favour
of M. le Duc d'Orleans, pined for nothing less than to be declared prime
minister. He was already virtually in that position, but was not
publicly or officially recognised as being so. He wished, therefore, to
be declared.

One great obstacle in his path was the Marechal de Villeroy, with whom he
was on very bad terms, and whom he was afraid of transforming into an
open and declared enemy, owing to the influence the Marechal exerted over
others. Tormented with agitating thoughts, every day that delayed his
nomination seemed to him a year. Dubois became doubly ill-tempered and
capricious, more and more inaccessible, and accordingly the most pressing
and most important business was utterly neglected. At last he resolved
to make a last effort at reconciliation with the Marechal, but
mistrusting his own powers, decided upon asking Cardinal Bissy to be the
mediator between them.

Bissy with great willingness undertook the peaceful commission; spoke to
Villeroy, who appeared quite ready to make friends with Dubois, and even
consented to go and see him. As chance would have it, he went,
accompanied by Bissy, on Tuesday morning. I at the same time went, as
was my custom, to Versailles to speak to M. le Duc d'Orleans upon some
subject, I forget now what.

It was the day on which the foreign ministers had their audience of
Cardinal Dubois, and when Bissy and Villeroy arrived, they found these
ministers waiting in the chamber adjoining the Cardinal's cabinet.

The established usage is that they have their audience according to the
order in which they arrive, so as to avoid all disputes among them as to
rank and precedence. Thus Bissy and Villeroy found Dubois closeted with
the Russian minister. It was proposed to inform the Cardinal at once, of
a this, so rare as a visit from the Marechal de Villeroy; but the
Marechal would not permit it, and sat down upon a sofa with Bissy to wait
like the rest.

The audience being over, Dubois came from his cabinet, conducting the
Russian minister, and immediately saw his sofa so well ornamented. He
saw nothing but that in fact; on the instant he ran there, paid a
thousand compliments to the Marechal for anticipating him, when he was
only waiting for permission to call upon him, and begged him and Bissy to
step into the cabinet. While they were going there, Dubois made his
excuses to the ambassadors for attending to Villeroy before them, saying
that his functions and his assiduity as governor of the King did not
permit him to be long absent from the presence of his Majesty; and with
this compliment he quitted them and returned into his cabinet.

At first nothing passed but reciprocal compliments and observations from
Cardinal Bissy, appropriate to the subject. Then followed protestations
from Dubois and replies from the Marechal. Thus far, the sea was very
smooth. But absorbed in his song, the Marechal began to forget its tune;
then to plume himself upon his frankness and upon his plain speaking;
then by degrees, growing hot in his honours, he gave utterance to divers
naked truths, closely akin to insults.

Dubois, much astonished, pretended not to feel the force of these
observations, but as they increased every moment, Bissy tried to call
back the Marechal, explain things to him, and give a more pleasant tone
to the conversation. But the mental tide had begun to rise, and now it
was entirely carrying away the brains of Villeroy. From bad to worse was
easy. The Marechal began now to utter unmistakable insults and the most
bitter reproaches. In vain Bissy tried to silence him; representing to
him how far he was wandering from the subject they came to talk upon; how
indecent it was to insult a man in his own house, especially, after
arriving on purpose to conclude a reconciliation with him. All Bissy
could say simply had the effect of exasperating the Marechal, and of
making him vomit forth the most extravagant insults that insolence and
disdain could suggest.

Dubois, stupefied and beside himself, was deprived of his tongue, could
not utter a word; while Bissy, justly inflamed with anger, uselessly
tried to interrupt his friend. In the midst of the sudden fire which had
seized the Marechal, he had placed himself in such a manner that he
barred the passage to the door, and he continued his invectives without
restraint. Tired of insults, he passed to menaces and derision, saying
to Dubois that since he had now thrown off all disguise, they no longer
were on terms to pardon each other, and then he assured Dubois that,
sooner or later, he would do him all the injury possible, and gave him
what he called good counsel.

"You are all powerful," said he; "everybody bends before you; nobody
resists you; what are the greatest people in the land compared with you?
Believe me, you have only one thing to do; employ all your power, put
yourself at ease, and arrest me, if you dare. Who can hinder you?
Arrest me, I say, you have only that course open."

Thereupon, he redoubled his challenges and his insults, like a man who is
thoroughly persuaded that between arresting him and scaling Heaven there
is no difference. As may well be imagined, such astounding remarks were
not uttered without interruption, and warm altercations from the Cardinal
de Bissy, who, nevertheless, could not stop the torrent. At last,
carried away by anger and vexation, Bissy seized the Marechal by the arm
and the shoulder, and hurried him to the door, which he opened, and then
pushed him out, and followed at his heels. Dubois, more dead than alive,
followed also, as well as he could--he was obliged to be on his guard
against the foreign ministers who were waiting. But the three disputants
vainly tried to appear composed; there was not one of the ministers who
did not perceive that some violent scene must have passed in the cabinet,
and forthwith Versailles was filled with this news; which was soon
explained by the bragging, the explanations, the challenges, and the
derisive speeches of the Marechal de Villeroy.

I had worked and chatted for a long time with M. le Duc d'Orleans. He
had passed into his wardrobe, and I was standing behind his bureau
arranging his papers when I saw Cardinal Dubois enter like a whirlwind,
his eyes starting out of his head. Seeing me alone, he screamed rather
than asked, "Where is M. le Duc d'Orleans?" I replied that he had gone
into his wardrobe, and seeing him so overturned, I asked him what was the

"I am lost, I am lost!" he replied, running to the wardrobe. His reply
was so loud and so sharp that M. le Duc d'Orleans, who heard it, also ran
forward, so that they met each other in the doorway. They returned
towards me, and the Regent asked what was the matter.

Dubois, who always stammered, could scarcely speak, so great was his rage
and fear; but he succeeded at last in acquainting us with the details I
have just given, although at greater length. He concluded by saying that
after the insults he had received so treacherously, and in a manner so
basely premeditated, the Regent must choose between him and the Marechal
de Villeroy, for that after what had passed he could not transact any
business or remain at the Court in safety and honour, while the Marechal
de Villeroy remained there!

I cannot express the astonishment into which M. le Duc d'Orleans and I
were thrown. We could not believe what we had heard, but fancied we were
dreaming. M. le Duc d'Orleans put several questions to Dubois, I took
the liberty to do the same, in order to sift the affair to the bottom.
But there was no variation in the replies of the Cardinal, furious as he
was. Every moment he presented the same option to the Regent; every
moment he proposed that the Cardinal de Bissy should be sent for as
having witnessed everything. It may be imagined that this second scene,
which I would gladly have escaped, was tolerably exciting.

The Cardinal still insisting that the Regent must choose which of the two
be sent away, M. le Duc d'Orleans asked me what I thought. I replied
that I was so bewildered and so moved by this astounding occurrence that
I must collect myself before speaking. The Cardinal, without addressing
himself to me but to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who he saw was plunged Memoirs
in embarrassment, strongly insisted that he must come to some resolution.
Upon this M. le Duc d'Orleans beckoned me over, and I said to him that
hitherto I had always regarded the dismissal of the Marechal de Villeroy
as a very dangerous enterprise, for reasons I had several times alleged
to his Royal Highness: but that now whatever peril there might be in
undertaking it, the frightful scene that had just been enacted persuaded
me that it would be much more dangerous to leave him near the King than
to get rid of him altogether. I added that this was my opinion, since
his Royal Highness wished to know it without giving me the time to
reflect upon it with more coolness; but as for the execution, that must
be well discussed before being attempted.

Whilst I spoke, the Cardinal pricked up his ears, turned his eyes upon
me, sucked in all my words, and changed colour like a man who hears his
doom pronounced. My opinion relieved him as much as the rage with which
he was filled permitted. M. le Duc d'Orleans approved what I had just
said, and the Cardinal, casting a glance upon me as of thanks, said he
was the master, and must choose, but that he must choose at once, because
things could not remain as they were. Finally, it was agreed that the
rest of the day (it was now about twelve) and the following morning
should be given to reflection upon the matter, and that the next day, at
three o'clock in the afternoon, I should meet M. le Duc d'Orleans.

The next day accordingly I went to M. le Prince, whom I found with the
Cardinal Dubois. M. le Duc entered a moment after, quite full of the
adventure. Cardinal Dubois did not fail, though, to give him an abridged
recital of it, loaded with comments and reflections. He was more his own
master than on the preceding day, having had time to recover himself, we
cherishing hopes that the Marechal would be sent to the right about. It
was here that I heard of the brag of the Marechal de Villeroy concerning
the struggle he had had with Dubois, and of the challenges and insults he
had uttered with a confidence which rendered his arrest more and more

After we had chatted awhile, standing, Dubois went away. M. le Duc
d'Orleans sat down at his bureau, and M. le Duc and I sat in front of
him. There we deliberated upon what ought to be done. After a few words
of explanation from the Regent, he called upon me to give my opinion. I
did so as briefly as possible, repeating what I had said on the previous
day. M. le Duc d'Orleans, during my short speech, was very attentive,
but with the countenance of a man much embarrassed.

As soon as I had finished, he asked M. le Duc what he thought. M. le Duc
said his opinion was mine, and that if the Marechal de Villeroy remained
in his office there was nothing for it but to put the key outside the
door; that was his expression. He reproduced some of the principal
reasons I had alleged, supported them, and concluded by saying there was
not a moment to lose. M. le Duc d'Orleans summed up a part of what had
been said, and agreed that the Marechal de Villeroy must be got rid of.
M. le Duc again remarked that it must be done at once. Then we set about
thinking how we could do it.

M. le Duc d'Orleans asked me my advice thereon. I said there were two
things to discuss, the pretext and the execution. That a pretext was
necessary, such as would convince the impartial, and be unopposed even by
the friends of the Marechal de Villeroy; that above all things we had to
take care to give no one ground for believing that the disgrace of
Villeroy was the fruit of the insults he had heaped upon Cardinal Dubois;
that outrageous as those insults might be, addressed to a cardinal, to a
minister in possession of entire confidence, and at the head of affairs,
the public, who envied him and did not like him, well remembering whence
he had sprung, would consider the victim too illustrious; that the
chastisement would overbalance the offence, and would be complained of;
that violent resolutions, although necessary, should always have reason
and appearances in their favour; that therefore I was against allowing
punishment to follow too quickly upon the real offence, inasmuch as M. le
Duc d'Orleans had one of the best pretexts in the world for disgracing
the Marechal, a pretext known by everybody, and which would be admitted
by everybody.

I begged the Regent then to remember that he had told me several times he
never had been able to speak to the King in private, or even in a whisper
before others; that when he had tried, the Marechal de Villeroy had at
once come forward poking his nose between them, and declaring that while
he was governor he would never suffer any one, not even his Royal
Highness, to address his Majesty in a low tone, much lest to speak to him
in private. I said that this conduct towards the Regent, a grandson of
France, and the nearest relative the King had, was insolence enough to
disgust every one, and apparent as such at half a glance. I counselled
M. le Duc d'Orleans to make use of this circumstance, and by its means to
lay a trap for the Marechal into which there was not the slightest doubt
he would fall. The trap was to be thus arranged. M. le Duc d'Orleans
was to insist upon his right to speak to the King in private, and upon
the refusal of the Marechal to recognise it, was to adopt a new tone and
make Villeroy feel he was the master. I added, in conclusion, that this
snare must not be laid until everything was ready to secure its success.

When I had ceased speaking, "You have robbed me," said the Regent; "I was
going to propose the same thing if you had not. What do you think of it,
Monsieur?" regarding M. le Duc. That Prince strongly approved the
proposition I had just made, briefly praised every part of it, and added
that he saw nothing better to be done than to execute this plan very

It was agreed afterwards that no other plan could be adopted than that of
arresting the Marechal and sending him right off at once to Villeroy, and
then, after having allowed him to repose there a day or two, on account
of his age, but well watched, to see if he should be sent on to Lyons or
elsewhere. The manner in which he was to be arrested was to be decided
at Cardinal Dubois' apartments, where the Regent begged me to go at once.
I rose accordingly, and went there.

I found Dubois with one or two friends, all of whom were in the secret of
this affair, as he, at once told me, to put me at my ease. We soon
therefore entered upon business, but it would be superfluous to relate
here all that passed in this little assembly. What we resolved on was
very well executed, as will be seen. I arranged with Le Blanc, who was
one of the conclave, that the instant the arrest had taken place, he
should send to Meudon, and simply inquire after me; nothing more, and
that by this apparently meaningless compliment, I should know that the
Marechal had been packed off.

I returned towards evening to Meudon, where several friends of Madame de
Saint-Simon and of myself often slept, and where others, following the
fashion established at Versailles and Paris, came to dine or sup, so that
the company was always very numerous. The scene between Dubois and
Villeroy was much talked about, and the latter universally blamed.
Neither then nor during the ten days which elapsed before his arrest,
did it enter into the head of anybody to suppose that anything worse
would happen to him than general blame for his unmeasured violence, so
accustomed were people to his freaks, and to the feebleness of M. le Duc
d'Orleans. I was now delighted, however, to find such general
confidence, which augmented that of the Marechal, and rendered more easy
the execution of our project against him; punishment he more and more
deserved by the indecency and affectation of his discourses, and the
audacity of his continual challenges.

Three or four days after, I went to Versailles, to see M. le Duc
d'Orleans. He said that, for want of a better, and in consequence of
what I had said to him on more than one occasion of the Duc de Charost,
it was to him he intended to give the office of governor of the King:
that he had secretly seen him that Charost had accepted with willingness
the post, and was now safely shut up in his apartment at Versailles,
seeing no one, and seen by no one, ready to be led to the King the moment
the time should arrive. The Regent went over with me all the measures to
be taken, and I returned to Meudon, resolved not to budge from it until
they were executed, there being nothing more to arrange.

On Sunday, the 12th of August, 1722, M. le Duc d'Orleans went, towards
the end of the afternoon, to work with the King, as he was accustomed to
do several times each week; and as it was summer time now, he went after
his airing, which he always took early. This work was to show the King
by whom were to be filled up vacant places in the church, among the
magistrates and intendants, &c., and to briefly explain to him the
reasons which suggested the selection, and sometimes the distribution of
the finances. The Regent informed him, too, of the foreign news, which
was within his comprehension, before it was made public. At the
conclusion of this labour, at which the Marechal de Villeroy was always
present, and sometimes M. de Frejus (when he made bold to stop), M. le
Duc d'Orleans begged the King to step into a little back cabinet, where
he would say a word to him alone.

The Marechal de Villeroy at once opposed. M. le Duc d'Orleans, who had
laid this snare far him, saw him fall into it with satisfaction. He
represented to the Marechal that the King was approaching the age when he
would govern by himself, that it was time for him, who was meanwhile the
depository of all his authority, to inform him of things which he could
understand, and which could only be explained to him alone, whatever
confidence might merit any third person. The Regent concluded by begging
the Marechal to cease to place any obstacles in the way of a thing so
necessary and so important, saying that he had, perhaps, to reproach
himself for,--solely out of complaisance to him, not having coerced

The Marechal, arising and stroking his wig, replied that he knew the
respect he owed, him, and knew also quite as well the respect he owed to
the King, and to his place, charged as he was with the person of his
Majesty, and being responsible for it. But he said he would not suffer
his Royal Highness to speak to the King in private (because he ought to
know everything said to his Majesty), still less would he suffer him to
lead the King into a cabinet, out of his sight, for 'twas his (the
Marechal's) duty never to lose sight of his charge, and in everything to
answer for it.

Upon this, M. le Duc d'Orleans looked fixedly at the Marechal and said,
in the tone of a master, that he mistook himself and forgot himself; that
he ought to remember to whom he was speaking, and take care what words he
used; that the respect he (the Regent) owed to the presence of the King,
hindered him from replying as he ought to reply, and from continuing this
conversation. Therefore he made a profound reverence to the King, and
went away.

The Marechal, thoroughly angry, conducted him some steps, mumbling and
gesticulating; M. le Duc d'Orleans pretending to neither see nor hear
him, the King astonished, and M. de Frejus laughing in his sleeve. The
bait so well swallowed,--no one doubted that the Marechal, audacious as
he was, but nevertheless a servile and timid courtier, would feel all the
difference between braving, bearding, and insulting Cardinal Dubois
(odious to everybody, and always smelling of the vile egg from which he
had been hatched) and wrestling with the Regent in the presence of the
King, claiming to annihilate M. le Duc d'Orleans' rights and authority,
by appealing to his own pretended rights and authority as governor of the
King. People were not mistaken; less than two hours after what had
occurred, it was known that the Marechal, bragging of what he had just
done, had added that he should consider himself very unhappy if M. le Duc
d'Orleans thought he had been wanting in respect to him, when his only
idea was to fulfil his precious duty; and that he would go the next day
to have an explanation with his Royal Highness, which he doubted not
would be satisfactory to him.

At every hazard, all necessary measures had been taken as soon as the day
was fixed on which the snare was to be laid for the Marechal. Nothing
remained but to give form to them directly it was known that on the
morrow the Marechal would come and throw himself into the lion's mouth.

Beyond the bed-room of M. le Duc d'Orleans was a large and fine cabinet,
with four big windows looking upon the garden, and on the same floor, two
paces distant, two other windows; and two at the side in front of the
chimney, and all these windows opened like doors. This cabinet occupied
the corner where the courtiers awaited, and behind was an adjoining
cabinet, where M. le Duc d'Orleans worked and received distinguished
persons or favourites who wished to talk with him.

The word was given. Artagnan, captain of the grey musketeers, was in the
room (knowing what was going to happen), with many trusty officers of his
company whom he had sent for, and former musketeers to be made use of at
a pinch, and who clearly saw by these preparations that something
important was in the wind, but without divining what. There were also
some light horse posted outside these windows in the same ignorance, and
many principal officers and others in the Regent's bed-room, and in the
grand cabinet.

All things being well arranged, the Marechal de Villeroy arrived about
mid-day, with his accustomed hubbub, but alone, his chair and porters
remaining outside, beyond the Salle des Gardes. He enters like a
comedian, stops, looks round, advances some steps. Under pretext of
civility, he is environed, surrounded. He asks in an authoritative tone,
what M. le Duc d'Orleans is doing: the reply is, he is in his private
room within.

The Marechal elevates his tone, says that nevertheless he must see the
Regent; that he is going to enter; when lo! La Fare, captain of M. le Duc
d'Orleans' guards, presents himself before him, arrests him, and demands
his sword. The Marechal becomes furious, all present are in commotion.
At this instant Le Blanc presents himself. His sedan chair, that had
been hidden, is planted before the Marechal. He cries aloud, he is
shaking on his lower limbs; but he is thrust into the chair, which is
closed upon him and carried away in the twinkling of an eye through one
of the side windows into the garden, La Fare and Artagnan each on one
side of the chair, the light horse and musketeers behind, judging only by
the result what was in the wind. The march is hastened; the party
descend the steps of the orangery by the side of the thicket; the grand
gate is found open and a coach and six before it. The chair is put down;
the Marechal storms as he will; he is cast into the coach; Artagnan
mounts by his side; an officer of the musketeers is in front; and one of
the gentlemen in ordinary of the King by the side of the officer; twenty
musketeers, with mounted officers, surround the vehicle, and away they

This side of the garden is beneath the window of the Queen's apartments
(when occupied by the Infanta). This scene under the blazing noon-day
sun was seen by no one, and although the large number of persons in M. le
Duc d'Orleans' rooms soon dispersed, it is astonishing that an affair of
this kind remained unknown more than ten hours in the chateau of
Versailles. The servants of the Marechal de Villeroy (to whom nobody had
dared to say a word) still waited with their master's chair near the
Salle des Gardes. They were, told, after M. le Duc d'Orleans had seen
the King, that the Marechal had gone to Villeroy, and that they could
carry to him what was necessary.

I received at Meudon the message arranged. I was sitting down to table,
and it was only towards the supper that people came from Versailles to
tell us all the news, which was making much sensation there, but a
sensation very measured on account of the surprise and fear paused by the
manner in which the arrest had been executed.

It was no agreeable task, that which had to be performed soon after by
the Regent; I mean when he carried the news of the arrest to the King.
He entered into his Majesty's cabinet, which he cleared of all the
company it contained, except those people whose post gave them aright to
enter, but of them there were not many present. At the first word, the
King reddened; his eyes moistened; he hid his face against the back of an
armchair, without saying a word; would neither go out nor play. He ate
but a few mouthfuls at supper, wept, and did not sleep ail night. The
morning and the dinner of the next day, the 14th, passed off but little


That same 14th, as I rose from dinner at Meudon, with much company, the
valet de chambre who served me said that a courier from Cardinal Dubois
had a letter for me, which he had not thought good to bring me before all
my guests. I opened the letter. The Cardinal conjured me to go
instantly and see him at Versailles, bringing with me a trusty servant,
ready to be despatched to La Trappe, as soon as I had spoken with him,
and not to rack my brains to divine what this might mean, because it
would be impossible to divine it, and that he was waiting with the utmost
impatience to tell it to me. I at once ordered my coach, which I thought
a long time in coming from the stables. They are a considerable distance
from the new chateau I occupied.

This courier to be taken to the Cardinal, in order to be despatched to La
Trappe, turned my head. I could not imagine what had happened to occupy
the Cardinal so thoroughly so soon after the arrest of Villeroy. The
constitution, or some important and unknown fugitive discovered at La
Trappe, and a thousand other thoughts, agitated me until I arrived at

Upon reaching the chateau, I saw Dubois at a window awaiting me, and
making many signs to me, and upon reaching the staircase, I found him
there at the bottom, as I was about to mount. His first word was to ask
me if I had brought with me a man who could post to La Trappe. I showed
him my valet de chambre, who knew the road well, having travelled over it
with me very often, and who was well known to the Cardinal, who, when
simple Abbe Dubois, used very frequently to chat with him while waiting
for me.

The Cardinal explained to me, as we ascended the stairs, the cause of his
message. Immediately after the departure of the Marechal de Villeroy,
M. le Frejus, the King's instructor, had been missed. He had
disappeared. He had not slept at Versailles. No one knew what had
become of him! The grief of the King had so much increased upon
receiving this fresh blow--both his familiar friends taken from him at
once--that no one knew what to do with him. He was in the most violent
despair, wept bitterly, and could not be pacified. The Cardinal
concluded by saying that no stone must be left unturned in order to find
M. de Frejus. That unless he had gone to Villeroy, it was probable he
had hid himself in La Trappe, and that we must send and see. With this
he led me to M. le Duc d'Orleans. He was alone, much troubled, walking
up and down his chamber, and he said to me that he knew not what would
become of the King, or what to do with him; that he was crying for M. de
Frejus, and--would listen to nothing; and the Regent began himself to cry
out against this strange flight.

After some further consideration, Dubois pressed me to go and write to La
Trappe. All was in disorder where we were; everybody spoke at once in
the cabinet; it was impossible, in the midst of all this noise, to write
upon the bureau, as I often did when I was alone with the King. My
apartment was in the new wing, and perhaps shut up, for I was not
expected that day. I went therefore, instead, into the chamber of Peze,
close at hand, and wrote my letter there. The letter finished, and I
about to descend, Peze, who had left me, returned, crying, "He is found!
he is found! your letter is useless; return to M. le Duc d'Orleans."

He then related to me that just before, one of M. le Duc d'Orleans'
people, who knew that Frejus was a friend of the Lamoignons, had met
Courson in the grand court, and had asked him if he knew what had become
of Frejus; that Courson had replied, "Certainly: he went last night to
sleep at Basville, where the President Lamoignon is;" and that upon this,
the man hurried Courson to M. le Duc d'Orleans to relate this to him.

Peze and I arrived at M. le Duc d'Orleans' room just after Courson left
it. Serenity had returned. Frejus was well belaboured. After a moment
of cheerfulness, Cardinal Dubois advised M. le Duc d'Orleans to go and
carry this good news to the King, and to say that a courier should at
once be despatched to Basville, to make his preceptor return. M. le Duc
d'Orleans acted upon the suggestion, saying he would return directly. I
remained with Dubois awaiting him.

After having discussed a little this mysterious flight of Frejus, Dubois
told me he had news of Villeroy. He said that the Marechal had not
ceased to cry out against the outrage committed upon his person, the
audacity of the Regent, the insolence of Dubois, or to hector Artagnan
all the way for having lent himself to such criminal violence; then he
invoked the Manes of the deceased King, bragged of his confidence in him,
the importance of the place he held, and for which he had been preferred
above all others; talked of the rising that so impudent an enterprise
would cause in Paris, throughout the realm, and in foreign countries;
deplored the fate of the young King and of all the kingdom; the officers
selected by the late King for the most precious of charges, driven away,
the Duc du Maine first, himself afterwards; then he burst out into
exclamations and invectives; then into praises of his services, of his
fidelity, of his firmness, of his inviolable attachment to his duty. In
fact, he was so astonished, so troubled, so full of vexation and of rage,
that he was thoroughly beside himself. The Duc de Villeroy, the Marechal
de Tallard and Biron had permission to go and see him at Villeroy:
scarcely anybody else asked for it.

M. le Duc d'Orleans having returned from the King, saying that the news

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