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The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete by Duc de Saint-Simon

Part 19 out of 20

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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.



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 all 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
he had carried had much appeased his Majesty, we agreed we must so
arrange matters that Frejus should return the next morning, that M. le
Duc d'Orleans should receive him well, as though nothing had happened,
and give him to understand that it was simply to avoid embarrassing him,
that he had not been made aware of the secret of the arrest (explaining
this to him with all the more liberty, because Frejus hated the Marechal,
his haughtiness, his jealousy, his capriciousness, and in his heart must
be delighted at his removal, and at being able to have entire possession
of the--King), then beg him to explain to the King the necessity of
Villeroy's dismissal: then communicate to Frejus the selection of the Duc
de Charost as governor of the King; promise him all the concert and the
attention from this latter he could desire; ask him to counsel and guide
Charost; finally, seize the moment of the King's joy at the return of
Frejus to inform his Majesty of the new governor chosen, and to present
Charost to him. All this was arranged and very well, executed next day.

When the Marechal heard of it at Villeroy, he flew into a strange passion
against Charost (of whom he spoke with the utmost contempt for having
accepted his place), but above all against Frejus, whom he called a
traitor and a villain! His first moments of passion, of fury, and of
transport, were all the more violent, because he saw by the tranquillity
reigning everywhere that his pride had deceived him in inducing him to
believe that the Parliament, the markets, all Paris would rise if the
Regent dared to touch a person so important and so well beloved as he
imagined himself to be. This truth, which he could no longer hide from
himself, and which succeeded so rapidly to the chimeras that had been his
food and his life, threw him into despair, and turned his head. He fell
foul of the Regent, of his minister, of those employed to arrest him, of
those who had failed to defend him, of all who had not risen in revolt to
bring him back in triumph, of Charost, who had dared to succeed him, and
especially of Frejus, who had deceived him in such an unworthy manner.
Frejus was the person against whom he was the most irritated. Reproaches
of ingratitude and of treachery rained unceasingly upon him; all that the
Marechal had done for him with the deceased King was recollected; how he
had protected, aided, lodged, and fed him; how without him (Villeroy) he
(Frejus) would never have been preceptor of the King; and all this was
exactly true.

The treachery to which he alluded he afterwards explained. He said that
he and Frejus had agreed at the very commencement of the regency to act
in union; and that if by troubles or events impossible to foresee, but
which were only too common in regencies, one of them should be dismissed
from office, the other not being able to hinder the dismissal, though not
touched himself, should at once withdraw and never return to his post,
until the first was reinstated in his. And after these explanations, new
cries broke out against the perfidy of this miserable wretch--(for the
most odious terms ran glibly from the end of his tongue)--who thought
like a fool to cover his perfidy with a veil of gauze, in slipping off to
Basville, so as to be instantly sought and brought back, in fear lest he
should lose his place by the slightest resistance or the slightest delay,
and who expected to acquit himself thus of his word, and of the
reciprocal engagement both had taken; and then he returned to fresh
insults and fury against this serpent, as he said, whom he had warmed and
nourished so many years in his bosom.

The account of these transports and insults, promptly came from Villeroy
to Versailles, brought, not only by the people whom the Regent had placed
as guards over the Marechal, and to give an exact account of all he said
and did, day by day, but by all the domestics who came and went, and
before whom Villeroy launched out his speeches, at table, while passing
through his ante-chambers, or while taking a turn in his gardens.

All this weighed heavily upon Frejus by the rebound. Despite the
apparent tranquillity of his visage, he appeared confounded. He replied
by a silence of respect and commiseration in which he enveloped himself;
nevertheless, he could not do so to the Duc de Villeroy, the Marechal de
Tallard, and a few others. He tranquilly said to them, that he had done
all he could to fulfil an engagement which he did not deny, but that
after having thus satisfied the call of honour, he did not think he could
refuse to obey orders so express from the King and the Regent, or abandon
the former in order to bring about the return of the Marechal de
Villeroy, which was the object of their reciprocal engagement, and which
he was certain he could not effect by absence, however prolonged. But
amidst these very sober excuses could be seen the joy which peeped forth
from him, in spite of himself, at being freed from so inconvenient a
superior, at having to do with a new governor whom he could easily
manage, at being able when he chose to guide himself in all liberty
towards the grand object he had always desired, which was to attach
himself to the King without reserve, and to make out of this attachment,
obtained by all sorts of means, the means of a greatness which he did not
yet dare to figure to himself, but which time and opportunity would teach
him how to avail himself of in the best manner, marching to it meanwhile
in perfect security.

The Marechal was allowed to refresh himself, and exhale his anger five or
six days at Villeroy; and as he was not dangerous away from the King, he
was sent to Lyons, with liberty to exercise his functions of governor of
the town and province, measures being taken to keep a watch upon him, and
Des Libois being left with him to diminish his authority by this
manifestation of precaution and surveillance, which took from him all
appearance of credit. He would receive no honours on arriving there.
A large quantity of his first fire was extinguished; this wide separation
from Paris and the Court, where not even the slightest movement had taken
place, everybody being stupefied and in terror at an arrest of this
importance; took from him all remaining hope, curbed his impetuosity, and
finally induced him to conduct himself with sagacity in order to avoid
worse treatment.

Such was the catastrophe of a man, so incapable of all the posts he had
occupied, who displayed chimeras and audacity in the place of prudence
and sagacity, who everywhere appeared a trifler and a comedian, and whose
universal and profound ignorance (except of the meanest arts of the
courtier) made plainly visible the thin covering of probity and of virtue
with which he tried to hide his ingratitude, his mad ambition, his desire
to overturn all in order to make himself the chief of all, in the midst
of his weakness and his fears, and to hold a helm he was radically
incapable of managing. I speak here only of his conduct since the
establishment of the regency. Elsewhere, in more than one place, the
little or nothing he was worth has been shown; how his ignorance and his
jealousy lost us Flanders, and nearly ruined the State; how his felicity
was pushed to the extreme, and what deplorable reverses followed his
return. Sufficient to say that he never recovered from the state into
which this last madness threw him, and that the rest of his life was only
bitterness, regret, contempt! He had persuaded the King that it was he,
alone, who by vigilance and precaution had preserved his life from poison
that others wished to administer to him. This was the source of those
tears shed by the King when Villeroy was carried off, and of his despair
when Frejus disappeared. He did not doubt that both had been removed in
order that this crime might be more easily committed.

The prompt return of Frejus dissipated the half, of his fear, the
continuance of his good health delivered him by degrees from the other.
The preceptor, who had a great interest in preserving the King, and who
felt much relieved by the absence of Villeroy, left nothing undone in
order to extinguish these gloomy ideas; and consequently to let blame
fall upon him who had inspired them. He feared the return of the
Marechal when the King, who was approaching his majority, should be the
master; once delivered of the yoke he did not wish it to be reimposed
upon him. He well knew that the grand airs, the ironies, the
authoritative fussiness in public of the Marechal were insupportable to
his Majesty, and that they held together only by those frightful ideas of
poison. To destroy them was to show the Marechal uncovered, and worse
than that to show to the King, without appearing to make a charge against
the Marechal, the criminal interest he had in exciting these alarms, and
the falsehood and atrocity of such a venomous invention. These
reflections; which the health of the King each day confirmed, sapped all
esteem, all gratitude, and left his Majesty in full liberty of conscience
to prohibit, when he should be the master, all approach to his person on
the part of so vile and so interested an impostor.

Frejus made use of these means to shelter himself against the possibility
of the Marechal's return, and to attach himself to the King without
reserve. The prodigious success of his schemes has been only too well
felt since.

The banishment of Villeroy, flight and return of Frejus, and installation
of Charost as governor of the King, were followed by the confirmation of
his Majesty by the Cardinal de Rohan, and by his first communion,
administered to him by this self-same Cardinal, his grand almoner.


Villeroy being banished, the last remaining obstacle in Dubois' path was
removed. There was nothing: now, to hinder him from being proclaimed
prime minister. I had opposed it as stoutly as I could; but my words
were lost upon M. le Duc d'Orleans. Accordingly, about two o'clock in
the afternoon of the 23rd of August, 1722, Dubois was declared prime
minister by the Regent, and by the Regent at once conducted to the King
as such.

After this event I began insensibly to withdraw from public affairs.
Before the end of the year the King was consecrated at Rheims. The
disorder at the ceremony was inexpressible. All precedent was forgotten.
Rank was hustled and jostled, so to speak, by the crowd. The desire to
exclude the nobility from all office and all dignity was obvious, at half
a glance. My spirit was ulcerated at this; I saw approaching the
complete re-establishment of the bastards; my heart was cleft in twain,
to see the Regent at the heels of his unworthy minister. He was a prey
to the interest, the avarice, the folly, of this miserable wretch, and no
remedy possible. Whatever experience I might have had of the astonishing
weakness of M. le Duc d'Orleans, it had passed all bounds when I saw him
with my own eyes make Dubois prime minister, after all I had said to him
on the subject,--after all he had said to me. The year 1723 commenced,
and found me in this spirit. It is at the end of this year I have
determined to end those memoirs, and the details of it will not be so
full or so abundant as of preceding years. I was hopelessly wearied with
M. le Duc d'Orleans; I no longer approached this poor prince (with so
many great and useless talents buried in him)--except with repugnance.
I could not help feeling for him what the poor, Israelites said to
themselves in the desert about the manna: "Nauseat anima mea suffer cibum
istum tevissimum." I no longer deigned to speak to him. He perceived
this: I felt he was pained at it; he strove to reconcile me to him,
without daring, however, to speak of affairs, except briefly, and with
constraint, and yet he could not hinder himself from speaking of them.
I scarcely took the trouble to reply to him, and I cut his conversation
as short as possible. I abridged and curtailed my audiences with him;
I listened to his reproaches with coldness. In fact, what had I to
discuss with a Regent who was no longer one, not even over himself, still
less over a realm plunged in disorder?

Cardinal Dubois, when he met me, almost courted me. He knew not how to
catch me. The bonds which united me to M. le Duc d'Orleans had always
been so strong that the prime minister, who knew their strength, did not
dare to flatter himself he could break them. His resource was to try to
disgust me by inducing his master to treat me with a reserve which was
completely new to him, and which cost him more than it cost me; for, in
fact, he had often found my confidence very useful to him, and had grown
accustomed to it. As for me, I dispensed with his friendship more than
willingly, vexed at being no longer able to gather any fruit from it for
the advantage of the State or himself, wholly abandoned as he was to his
Paris pleasures and to his minister. The conviction of my complete
inutility more and more kept me in the background, without the slightest
suspicion that different conduct could be dangerous to me, or that, weak
and abandoned to Dubois as was the Regent, the former could ever exile
me, like the Duc de Roailles, and Cariillac, or disgust me into exiling
myself. I followed, then, my accustomed life. That is to say, never saw
M. le Duc d'Orleans except tete-a-tete, and then very seldom at intervals
that each time grew longer, coldly, briefly, never talking to him of
business, or, if he did to me, returning the conversation, and replying
it! a manner to make it drop. Acting thus, it is easy to see that I was
mixed up in nothing, and what I shall have to relate now will have less
of the singularity and instructiveness of good and faithful memoirs, than
of the dryness and sterility of the gazettes.

First of all I will finish my account of Cardinal Dubois. I have very
little more to say of him; for he had scarcely begun to enjoy his high
honours when Death came to laugh at him for the sweating labour he had
taken to acquire them.

On the 11th of June, 1723, the King went to reside at Meudon, ostensibly
in order that the chateau of Versailles might be cleared--in reality,
to accommodate Cardinal Dubois. He had just presided over the assembly
of the day, and flattered to the last degree at this, wished to repose
upon the honour. He desired, also, to be present sometimes at the
assembling of the Company of the Indies. Meudon brought him half-way to
Paris, and saved him a journey. His debauchery had so shattered his
health that the movement of a coach gave him pains which he very
carefully hid.

The King held at Meudon a review of his household, which in his pride the
Cardinal must needs attend. It cost him dear. He mounted on horseback
the better, to enjoy his triumph; he suffered cruelly, and became so
violently ill that he was obliged to have assistance. The most
celebrated doctors and physicians were called in, with great secrecy.
They shook their heads, and came so often that news of the illness began
to transpire. Dubois was unable to go to Paris again more than once or
twice, and then with much trouble, and solely to conceal his malady,
which gave him no repose.

He left nothing undone, in fact, to hide it from the world; he went as
often as he could to the council; apprised the ambassadors he would go to
Paris, and did not go; kept himself invisible at home, and bestowed the
most frightful abuse upon everybody who dared to intrude upon him. On
Saturday, the 7th of August, he was so ill that the doctors declared he
must submit to an operation, which was very urgent, and without which he
could hope to live but a few days; because the abscess he had having
burst the day he mounted on horseback, gangrene had commenced, with an
overflow of pus, and he must be transported, they added, to Versailles,
in order to undergo this operation. The trouble this terrible
announcement caused him, so overthrew him that he could not be moved the
next day, Sunday, the 8th; but on Monday he was transported in a litter,
at five o'clock in the morning.

After having allowed him to repose himself a, little, the doctors and
surgeons proposed that he should receive the sacrament, and submit to the
operation immediately after. This was not heard very peacefully; he had
scarcely ever been free from fury since the day of the review; he had
grown worse on Saturday, when the operation was first announced to him.
Nevertheless, some little time after, he sent for a priest from
Versailles, with whom he remained alone about a quarter of an hour.
Such a great and good man, so well prepared for death, did not need more:
Prime ministers, too, have privileged confessions. As his chamber again
filled, it was proposed that he should take the viaticum; he cried out
that that was soon said, but there was a ceremonial for the cardinals,
of which he was ignorant, and Cardinal Bissy must be sent to, at Paris,
for information upon it. Everybody looked at his neighbour, and felt
that Dubois merely wished to gain time; but as the operation was urgent,
they proposed it to him without further delay. He furiously sent them
away, and would no longer hear talk of it.

The faculty, who saw the imminent danger of the slightest delay, sent to
Meudon for M. le Duc d'Orleans, who instantly came in the first
conveyance he could lay his hands on. He exhorted the Cardinal to suffer
the operation; then asked the faculty, if it could be performed in
safety. They replied that they could say nothing for certain, but that
assuredly the Cardinal had not two hours to live if he did not instantly
agree to it. M. le Duc d'Orleans returned to the sick man, and begged
him so earnestly to do so, that he consented.

The operation was accordingly performed about five o'clock, and in five
minutes, by La Peyronie, chief surgeon of the King, and successor to
Marechal, who was present with Chirac and others of the most celebrated
surgeons and doctors. The Cardinal cried and stormed strongly. M. le
Duc d'Orleans returned into the chamber directly after the operation was
performed, and the faculty did not dissimulate from him that, judging by
the nature of the wound, and what had issued from it, the Cardinal had
not long to live. He died, in fact, twenty-four hours afterwards, on the
10th, of August, at five o'clock in the morning, grinding his teeth
against his surgeons and against Chirac, whom he had never ceased to

Extreme unction was, however, brought to him. Of the communion, nothing
more was said--or of any priest for him--and he finished his life thus,
in the utmost despair, and enraged at quitting it. Fortune had nicely
played with him; slid made him dearly and slowly buy her favours by all
sorts of trouble, care, projects, intrigues, fears, labour, torment; and
at last showered down upon him torrents of greater power, unmeasured
riches, to let him enjoy them only four years (dating from the time when
he was made Secretary of State, and only two years dating from the time
when he was made Cardinal and Prime Minister), and then snatched them
from him, in the smiling moment when he was most enjoying them, at sixty-
six years of age.

He died thus, absolute master of his master, less a prime minister than
an all-powerful minister, exercising in full and undisturbed liberty the
authority and the power of the King; he was superintendent of the post,
Cardinal, Archbishop of Cambrai, had seven abbeys, with respect to which
he was insatiable to the last; and he had set on foot overtures in order
to seize upon those of Citeaux, Premonte, and others, and it was averred
that he received a pension from England of 40,000 livres sterling! I had
the curiosity to ascertain his revenue, and I have thought what I found
curious enough to be inserted here, diminishing some of the benefices to
avoid all exaggeration. I have made a reduction, too, upon what he drew
from his place of prime minister, and that of the post. I believe, also,
that he had 20,000 livres from the clergy, as Cardinal, but I do not know
it as certain. What he drew from Law was immense. He had made use of a
good deal of it at Rome, in order to obtain his Cardinalship; but a
prodigious sum of ready cash was left in his hands. He had an extreme
quantity of the most beautiful plate in silver and enamel, most admirably
worked; the richest furniture, the rarest jewels of all kinds, the finest
and rarest horses of all countries, and the most superb equipages. His
table was in every way exquisite and superb, and he did the honours of it
very well, although extremely sober by nature and by regime.

The place of preceptor of M. le Duc d'Orleans had procured for him the
Abbey of Nogent-sous-Coucy; the marriage of the Prince that of Saint-
Just; his first journeys to Hanover and England, those of Airvause and of
Bourgueil: three other journeys, his omnipotence. What a monster of
Fortune! With what a commencement, and with what an end!


Benefices .............................324,000 livres
Prime Minister and Past ...............250,000 "
Pension from England ................ 960,000 "
1,534,000 "

On Wednesday evening, the day after his death, Dubois was carried from
Versailles to the church of the chapter of Saint-Honore, in Paris, where
he was interred some days after. Each of the academies of which he was a
member had a service performed for him (at which they were present), the
assembly of the clergy had another (he being their president); and as
prime minister he had one at Notre Dame, at which the Cardinal de
Noailles officiated, and at which the superior courts were present.
There was no funeral oration at any of them. It could not be hazarded.
His brother, more modest than he, and an honest man, kept the office of
secretary of the cabinet, which he had, and which the Cardinal had given
him. This brother found an immense heritage. He had but one son, canon
of Saint-Honore, who had never desired places or livings, and who led a
good life. He would touch scarcely anything of this rich succession.
He employed a part of it in building for his uncle a sort of mausoleum
(fine, but very modest, against the wall, at the end of the church, where
the Cardinal is interred, with a Christian-like inscription), and
distributed the rest to the poor, fearing lest this money should bring a
curse upon him.

It was found some time after his death that the Cardinal had been long
married, but very obscurely! He paid his wife to keep silent when he
received his benefices; but when he dawned into greatness became much
embarrassed with her. He was always in agony lest she should come
forward and ruin him. His marriage had been made in Limousin, and
celebrated in a village church. When he was named Archbishop of Cambrai
he resolved to destroy the proofs of this marriage, and employed
Breteuil, Intendant of Limoges, to whom he committed the secret, to do
this for him skilfully and quietly.

Breteuil saw the heavens open before him if he could but succeed in this
enterprise, so delicate and so important. He had intelligence, and knew
how to make use of it. He goes to this village where the marriage had
been celebrated, accompanied by only two or three valets, and arranges
his journey so as to arrive at night, stops at the cure's house, in
default of an inn, familiarly claims hospitality like a man surprised by
the night, dying of hunger and thirst, and unable to go a step further.

The good cure; transported with gladness to lodge M. l'Intendant, hastily
prepared all there was in the house, and had the honour of supping with
him, whilst his servant regaled the two valets in another room, Breteuil
having sent them all away in order to be alone with his host. Breteuil
liked his glass and knew how to empty it. He pretended to find the
supper good and the wine better. The cure, charmed with his guest,
thought only of egging him on, as they say in the provinces. The tankard
was on the table, and was drained again and again with a familiarity
which transported the worthy priest. Breteuil; who had laid his project,
succeeded in it, and made the good man so drunk that he could not keep
upright, or see, or utter a word. When Breteuil had brought him to this
state, and had finished him off with a few more draughts of wine, he
profited by the information he had extracted from him during the first
quarter of an hour of supper. He had asked if his registers were in good
order, and how far they extended, and under pretext of safety against
thieves, asked him where he kept them, and the keys of them, so that the
moment Breteuil was certain the cure could no longer make use of his
senses, he took his keys, opened the cupboard, took from it the register
of the marriage of the year he wanted, very neatly detached the page he
sought (and woe unto that marriage registered upon the same page), put it
in his pocket, replaced the registers where he had found them, locked up
the cupboard, and put back the keys in the place he had taken them
from. His only thought after this was to steal off as soon as the dawn
appeared, leaving the good cure snoring away the effects of the wine, and
giving, some pistoles to the servant.

He went thence to the notary, who had succeeded to the business and the
papers of the one who had made the contract of marriage; liked himself up
with him, and by force and authority made him give up the minutes of the
marriage contract. He sent afterwards for the wife of Dubois (from whose
hands the wily Cardinal had already obtained the copy of the contract she
possessed), threatened her with dreadful dungeons if she ever dared to
breathe a word of her marriage, and promised marvels to her if she kept

He assured her, moreover, that all she could say or do would be thrown
away, because everything had been so arranged that she could prove
nothing, and that if she dared to speak, preparations were made for
condemning her as a calumniator and impostor, to rot with a shaven head
in the prison of a convent! Breteuil placed these two important
documents in the hands of Dubois, and was (to the surprise and scandal of
all the world) recompensed, some time after, with the post of war
secretary, which, apparently; he had done nothing to deserve, and for
which he was utterly unqualified. The secret reason of his appointment
was not discovered until long after.

Dubois' wife did not dare to utter a whisper. She came to Paris after
the death of her husband. A good proportion was given to her of what was
left. She lived obscure, but in easy circumstances, and died at Paris
more than twenty years after the Cardinal Dubois, by whom she had had no
children. The brother lived on very good terms with her. He was a
village doctor when Dubois sent for him to Paris: In the end this history
was known, and has been neither contradicted nor disavowed by anybody.

We have many examples of prodigious fortune acquired by insignificant
people, but there is no example of a person so destitute of all talent
(excepting that of low intrigue), as was Cardinal Dubois, being thus
fortunate. His intellect was of the most ordinary kind; his knowledge
the most common-place; his capacity nil; his exterior that of a ferret,
of a pedant; his conversation disagreeable, broken, always uncertain; his
falsehood written upon his forehead; his habits too measureless to be
hidden; his fits of impetuosity resembling fits of madness; his head
incapable of containing more than one thing at a time, and he incapable
of following anything but his personal interest; nothing was sacred with
him; he had no sort of worthy intimacy with any one; had a declared
contempt for faith, promises, honour, probity, truth; took pleasure at
laughing at all these things; was equally voluptuous and ambitious,
wishing to be all in all in everything; counting himself alone as
everything, and whatever was not connected with him as nothing; and
regarding it as the height of madness to think or act otherwise. With
all this he was soft, cringing, supple, a flatterer, and false admirer,
taking all shapes with the greatest facility, and playing the most
opposite parts in order to arrive at the different ends he proposed to
himself; and nevertheless was but little capable of seducing. His
judgment acted by fits and starts, was involuntarily crooked, with little
sense or clearness; he was disagreeable in spite of himself.
Nevertheless, he could be funnily vivacious when he wished, but nothing
more, could tell a good story, spoiled, however, to some extent by his
stuttering, which his falsehood had turned into a habit from the
hesitation he always had in replying and in speaking. With such defects
it is surprising that the only man he was able to seduce was M. le Duc
d'Orleans, who had so much intelligence, such a well-balanced mind, and
so much clear and rapid perception of character. Dubois gained upon him
as a child while his preceptor; he seized upon him as a young man by
favouring his liking for liberty, sham fashionable manners and
debauchery, and his disdain of all rule. He ruined his heart, his mind,
and his habits, by instilling into him the principles of libertines,
which this poor prince could no more deliver himself from than from those
ideas of reason, truth, and conscience which he always took care to

Dubois having insinuated himself into the favour of his master in this
manner, was incessantly engaged in studying how to preserve his position.
He never lost sight of his prince, whose great talents and great defects
he had learnt how to profit by. The Regent's feebleness was the main
rock upon which he built. As for Dubois' talent and capacity, as I have
before said, they were worth nothing. All his success was due to his
servile pliancy and base intrigues.

When he became the real master of the State he was just as incompetent as
before. All his application was directed towards his master, and it had
for sole aim that that master should not escape him. He wearied himself
in watching all the movements of the prince, what he did, whom he saw,
and for how long; his humour, his visage, his remarks at the issue of
every audience and of every party; who took part in them, what was said
and by whom, combining all these things; above all, he strove to frighten
everybody from approaching the Regent, and kept no bounds with any one
who had the temerity to do so without his knowledge and permission. This
watching occupied all his days, and by it he regulated all his movements.
This application, and the orders he was obliged to give for appearance
sake, occupied all his time, so that he became inaccessible except for a
few public audiences, or for others to the foreign ministers. Yet the
majority of those ministers never could catch him, and were obliged to
lie in wait for him upon staircases or in passages, where he did not
expect to meet them. Once he threw into the fire a prodigious quantity
of unopened letters, and then congratulated himself upon having got rid
of all his business at once. At his death thousands of letters were
found unopened.

Thus everything was in arrear, and nobody, not even the foreign
ministers, dared to complain to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who, entirely
abandoned to his pleasures, and always on the road from Versailles to
Paris, never thought of business, only too satisfied to find himself so
free, and attending to nothing except the few trifles he submitted to the
King under the pretence of working with his Majesty. Thus, nothing could
be settled, and all was in chaos. To govern in this manner there is no
need for capacity. Two words to each minister charged with a department,
and some care in garnishing the councils attended by the King, with the
least important despatches (settling the others with M. le Duc d'Orleans)
constituted all the labour of the prime minister; and spying, scheming,
parade, flatteries, defence, occupied all his time. His fits of passion,
full of insults and blackguardism, from which neither man nor woman, no
matter of what rank, was sheltered, relieved him from an infinite number
of audiences, because people preferred going to subalterns, or neglecting
their business altogether, to exposing themselves to this fury and these

The mad freaks of Dubois, especially when he had become master, and
thrown off all restraint, would fill a volume. I will relate only one or
two as samples. His frenzy was such that he would sometimes run all
round the chamber, upon the tables and chairs, without touching the
floor! M. le Duc d'Orleans told me that he had often witnessed this.

Another sample:

The Cardinal de Gesvres came over to-day to complain to M. le Duc
d'Orleans that the Cardinal Dubois had dismissed him in the most filthy
terms. On a former occasion, Dubois had treated the Princesse de
Montauban in a similar manner, and M. le Duc d'Orleans had replied to her
complaints as he now replied to those of the Cardinal de Gesvres. He
told the Cardinal, who was a man of good manners, of gravity, and of
dignity (whereas the Princess deserved what she got) that he had always
found the counsel of the Cardinal Dubois good, and that he thought he
(Gesvres ) would do well to follow the advice just given him! Apparently
it was to free himself from similar complaints that he spoke thus; and,
in fact, he had no more afterwards.

Another sample:

Madame de Cheverny, become a widow, had retired to the Incurables. Her
place of governess of the daughters of M. le Duc d'Orleans had been given
to Madame de Conflans. A little while after Dubois was consecrated,
Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans asked Madame de Conflans if she had called
upon him. Thereupon Madame de Conflans replied negatively and that she
saw no reason for going, the place she held being so little mixed up in
State affairs. Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans pointed out how intimate the
Cardinal was with M. le Duc d'Orleans. Madame de Conflans still tried to
back out, saying that he was a madman, who insulted everybody, and to
whom she would not expose herself. She had wit and a tongue, and was
supremely vain, although very polite. Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans burst
out laughing at her fear, and said, that having nothing to ask of the
Cardinal, but simply to render an account to him of the office M. le Duc
d'Orleans had given her, it was an act of politeness which could only
please him, and obtain for her his regard, far from having anything
disagreeable, or to be feared about it; and finished by saying to her
that it was proper, and that she wished her to go.

She went, therefore, for it was at Versailles, and arrived in a large
cabinet, where there were eight or ten persons waiting to speak to the
Cardinal, who was larking with one of his favourites, by the mantelpiece.
Fear seized upon Madame de Conflans, who was little, and who appeared
less. Nevertheless, she approached as this woman retired. The Cardinal,
seeing her advance, sharply asked her what she wanted.

"Monseigneur," said she,--"Oh, Monseigneur--"

"Monseigneur," interrupted the Cardinal, "I can't now."

"But, Monseigneur," replied she--

"Now, devil take me, I tell you again," interrupted the Cardinal, "when I
say I can't, I can't."

"Monseigneur," Madame de Conflans again said, in order to explain that
she wanted nothing; but at this word the Cardinal seized her by the
shoulders; and pushed her out, saying, "Go to the devil, and let me

She nearly fell over, flew away in fury, weeping hot tears, and reached,
in this state, Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, to whom, through her sobs,
she related the adventure.

People were so accustomed to the insults of the Cardinal, and this was
thought so singular and so amusing, that the recital of it caused shouts
of laughter, which finished off poor Madame de Conflans, who swore that,
never in her life, would she put foot in the house of this madman.

The Easter Sunday after he was made Cardinal, Dubois woke about eight
o'clock, rang his bells as though he would break them, called for his
people with the most horrible blasphemies, vomited forth a thousand
filthy expressions and insults, raved at everybody because he had not
been awakened, said that he wanted to say mass, but knew not how to find
time, occupied as he was. After this very beautiful preparation, he very
wisely abstained from saying mass, and I don't know whether he ever did
say it after his consecration.

He had taken for private secretary one Verrier, whom he had unfrocked
from the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, the business of which he had
conducted for twenty years, with much cleverness and intelligence. He
soon accommodated himself to the humours of the Cardinal, and said to him
all he pleased.

One morning he was with the Cardinal, who asked for something that could
not at once be found. Thereupon Dubois began to blaspheme, to storm
against his clerks, saying that if he had not enough he would engage
twenty, thirty, fifty, a hundred, and making the most frightful din.
Verrier tranquilly listened to him. The Cardinal asked him if it was not
a terrible thing to be so ill-served, considering the expense he was put
to; then broke out again, and pressed him to reply.

"Monseigneur," said Verrier, "engage one more clerk, and give him, for
sole occupation, to swear and storm for you, and all will go well; you
will have much more time to yourself and will be better served."

The Cardinal burst out laughing, and was appeased.

Every evening he ate an entire chicken for his supper. I know not by
whose carelessness, but this chicken was forgotten one evening by his
people. As he was about to go to bed he bethought him of his bird, rang,
cried out, stormed against his servants, who ran and coolly listened to
him. Upon this he cried the more, and complained of not having been
served. He was astonished when they replied to him that he had eaten his
chicken, but that if he pleased they would put another down to the spit.

"What!" said he, "I have eaten my chicken!"

The bold and cool assertion of his people persuaded him, and they laughed
at him.

I will say no more, because, I repeat it, volumes might be filled with
these details. I have said enough to show what was this monstrous
personage, whose death was a relief to great and little, to all Europe,
even to his brother, whom he treated like a negro. He wanted to dismiss
a groom on one occasion for having lent one of his coaches to this same
brother, to go somewhere in Paris.

The most relieved of all was M. le Duc d'Orleans. For a long time he had
groaned in secret beneath the weight of a domination so harsh, and of
chains he had forged for himself. Not only he could no longer dispose or
decide upon anything, but he could get the Cardinal to do nothing, great
or small, he desired done. He was obliged, in everything, to follow the
will of the Cardinal, who became furious, reproached him, and stormed
at him when too much contradicted. The poor Prince felt thus the
abandonment into which he had cast himself, and, by this abandonment,
the power of the Cardinal, and the eclipse of his own power. He feared
him; Dubois had become insupportable to him; he was dying with desire, as
was shown in a thousand things, to get rid of him, but he dared not--he
did not know how to set about it; and, isolated and unceasingly wretched
as he was, there was nobody to whom he could unbosom himself; and the
Cardinal, well informed of this, increased his freaks, so as to retain by
fear what he had usurped by artifice, and what he no longer hoped to
preserve in any other way.

As soon as Dubois was dead, M. le Duc d'Orleans returned to Meudon, to
inform the King of the event. The King immediately begged him to charge
himself with the management of public affairs, declared him prime
minister, and received, the next day, his oath, the patent of which was
immediately sent to the Parliament, and verified. This prompt
declaration was caused by the fear Frejus had to see a private person
prime minister. The King liked M. le Duc d'Orleans, as we have already
seen by the respect he received from him, and by his manner of working
with him. The Regent, without danger of being taken at his word, always
left him master of all favours, and of the choice of persons he proposed
to him; and, besides, never bothered him, or allowed business to
interfere with his amusements. In spite of all the care and all the
suppleness Dubois had employed in order to gain the spirit of the King,
he never could succeed, and people remarked, without having wonderful
eyes, a very decided repugnance of the King for him. The Cardinal was
afflicted, but redoubled his efforts, in the hope at last of success.
But, in addition to his own disagreeable manners, heightened by the
visible efforts he made to please, he had two enemies near the King, very
watchful to keep him away from the young prince--the Marechal de
Villeroy, while he was there, and Frejus, who was much more dangerous,
and who was resolved to overthrow him. Death, as we have seen, spared
him the trouble.

The Court returned from Meudon to Paris on the 13th of August. Soon
after I met M. le Duc d'Orleans there.

As soon as he saw me enter his cabinet he ran to me, and eagerly asked me
if I meant to abandon him. I replied that while his Cardinal lived I
felt I should be useless to him, but that now this obstacle was removed,
I should always be very humbly at his service. He promised to live with
me on the same terms as before, and, without a word upon the Cardinal,
began to talk about home and foreign affairs. If I flattered myself that
I was to be again of use to him for any length of time, events soon came
to change the prospect. But I will not anticipate my story.


The Duc de Lauzun died on the 19th of November, at the age of ninety
years and six months. The intimate union of the two sisters I and he had
espoused, and our continual intercourse at the Court (at Marly, we had a
pavilion especially for us four), caused me to be constantly with him,
and after the King's death we saw each other nearly every day at Paris,
and unceasingly frequented each other's table. He was so extraordinary a
personage, in every way so singular, that La Bruyere, with much justice,
says of him in his "Characters," that others were not allowed to dream as
he had lived. For those who saw him in his old age, this description
seems even more just. That is what induces me to dwell upon him here.
He was of the House of Caumont, the branch of which represented by the
Ducs de la Force has always passed for the eldest, although that of
Lauzun has tried to dispute with it.

The mother of M. de Lauzun was daughter of the Duc de la Force, son of
the second Marechal Duc de la Force, and brother of the Marechale de
Turenne, but by another marriage; the Marechale was by a first marriage.
The father of M. de Lauzun was the Comte de Lauzun, cousin-german of the
first Marechal Duc de Grammont, and of the old Comte de Grammont.

M. de Lauzun was a little fair man, of good figure, with a noble and
expressively commanding face, but which was without charm, as I have
heard people say who knew him when he was young. He was full of
ambition, of caprice, of fancies; jealous of all; wishing always to go
too far; never content with anything; had no reading, a mind in no way
cultivated, and without charm; naturally sorrowful, fond of solitude,
uncivilised; very noble in his dealings, disagreeable and malicious by
nature, still more so by jealousy and by ambition; nevertheless, a good
friend when a friend at all, which was rare; a good relative; enemy even
of the indifferent; hard upon faults, and upon what was ridiculous,
which he soon discovered; extremely brave, and as dangerously bold.
As a courtier he was equally insolent and satirical, and as cringing as a
valet; full of foresight, perseverance, intrigue, and meanness, in order
to arrive at his ends; with this, dangerous to the ministers; at the
Court feared by all, and full of witty and sharp remarks which spared

He came very young to the Court without any fortune, a cadet of Gascony,
under the name of the Marquis de Puyguilhem. The Marechal de Grammont,
cousin-german of his brother, lodged him: Grammont was then in high
consideration at the Court, enjoyed the confidence of the Queen-mother,
and of Cardinal Mazarin, and had the regiment of the guards and the
reversion of it for the Comte de Guiche, his eldest son, who, the prince
of brave fellows, was on his side in great favour with the ladies, and
far advanced in the good graces of the King and of the Comtesse de
Soissons, niece of the Cardinal, whom the King never quitted, and who was
the Queen of the Court. This Comte de Guiche introduced to the Comtesse
de Soissons the Marquis de Puyguilhem, who in a very little time became
the King's favourite. The King, in fact, gave him his regiment of
dragoons on forming it, and soon after made him Marechal de Camp, and
created for him the post of colonel-general of dragoons.

The Duc de Mazarin, who in 1669 had already retired from the Court,
wished to get rid of his post of grand master of the artillery;
Puyguilhem had scent of his intention, and asked the King for this
office. The King promised it to him, but on condition that he kept the
matter secret some days. The day arrived on which the King had agreed to
declare him. Puyguilhem, who had the entrees of the first gentleman of
the chamber (which are also named the grandes entrees), went to wait for
the King (who was holding a finance council), in a room that nobody
entered during the council, between that in which all the Court waited,
and that in which the council itself was held. He found there no one but
Nyert, chief valet de chambre, who asked him how he happened to come
there. Puyguilhem, sure of his affair, thought he should make a friend
of this valet by confiding to him what was about to take place. Nyert
expressed his joy; then drawing out his watch, said he should have time
to go and execute a pressing commission the King had given him. He
mounted four steps at a time the little staircase, at the head of which
was the bureau where Louvois worked all day--for at Saint-Germain the
lodgings were little and few--and the ministers and nearly all the Court
lodged each at his own house in the town. Nyert entered the bureau of
Louvois, and informed him that upon leaving the council (of which Louvois
was not a member), the King was going to declare Puyguilhem grand master
of the artillery, adding that he had just learned this news from

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