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The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, v1 by Duc de Saint-Simon

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beautiful, with the form of a goddess--notorious for the number of her
gallantries--was very intimate with the Princess de Conti. The King, not
liking such a companion for his daughter, gave the Duc de Choiseul to
understand that the public disorders of the Duchess offended him. If the
Duke would send her into a convent, the Marechal's baton would be his.
The Duc de Choiseul, indignant that the reward of his services in the war
was attached to a domestic affair which concerned himself alone, refused
promotion on such terms. He thus lost the baton; and, what was worse for
him, the Duchess soon after was driven from Court, and so misbehaved
herself, that at last he could endure her no longer, drove her away
himself, and separated from her for ever.

Mademoiselle la grande Mademoiselle, as she was called, to distinguish
her from the daughter of Monsieur--or to call her by her name,
Mademoiselle de Montpensier, died on Sunday the 5th of April, at her
palace in the Luxembourg, sixty-three years of age, and the richest
private princess in Europe. She interested herself much in those who
were related to her, even to the lowest degree, and wore mourning for
them, however far removed. It is well known, from all the memoirs of the
time, that she was greatly in love with M. de Lauzun, and that she
suffered much when the King withheld his permission to their marriage.
M. de Lauzun was so enraged, that he could not contain himself, and at
last went so far beyond bounds, that he was sent prisoner to Pignerol,
where he remained, extremely ill-treated, for ten years. The affection
of Mademoiselle did not grow cold by separation. The King profited by
it, to make M. de Lauzun buy his liberty at her expense, and thus
enriched M. du Maine. He always gave out that he had married
Mademoiselle, and appeared before the King, after her death, in a long
cloak, which gave great displeasure. He also assumed ever afterwards a
dark brown livery, as an external expression of his grief for
Mademoiselle, of whom he had portraits everywhere. As for Mademoiselle,
the King never quite forgave her the day of Saint Antoine; and I heard
him once at supper reproach her in jest, for having fired the cannons of
the Bastille upon his troops. She was a little embarrassed, but she got
out of the difficulty very well.

Her body was laid out with great state, watched for several days, two
hours at a time, by a duchess or a princess, and by two ladies of
quality. The Comtesse de Soissons refused to take part in this watching,
and would not obey until the King threatened to dismiss her from the
Court. A very ridiculous accident happened in the midst of this
ceremony. The urn containing the entrails fell over, with a frightful
noise and a stink sudden and intolerable. The ladies, the heralds, the
psalmodists, everybody present fled, in confusion. Every one tried to
gain the door first. The entrails had been badly embalmed, and it was
their fermentation which caused the accident. They were soon perfumed
and put in order, and everybody laughed at this mishap. These entrails
were in the end carried to the Celestins, the heart to Val de Grace, and
the body to the Cathedral of Saint Denis, followed by a numerous company.


On May 3d 1693, the King announced his intention of placing himself at
the head of his army in Flanders, and, having made certain alterations in
the rule of precedence of the marechale of France, soon after began the
campaign. I have here, however, to draw attention to my private affairs,
for on the above-mentioned day, at ten o'clock in the morning, I had the
misfortune to lose my father. He was eighty-seven years of age, and had
been in bad health for some time, with a touch of gout during the last
three weeks. On the day in question he had dined as usual with his
friends, had retired to bed, and, while talking to those around him
there, all at once gave three violent sighs. He was dead almost before
it was perceived that he was ill; there was no more oil in the lamp.

I learned this sad news after seeing the King to bed; his Majesty was to
purge himself on the morrow. The night was given to the just sentiments
of nature; but the next day I went early to visit Bontems, and then the
Duc de Beauvilliers, who promised to ask the King, as soon as his
curtains were opened, to grant me the--offices my father had held. The
King very graciously complied with his request, and in the afternoon said
many obliging things to me, particularly expressing his regret that my
father had not been able to receive the last sacraments. I was able to
say that a very short time before, my father had retired for several days
to Saint Lazare, where was his confessor, and added something on the
piety of his life. The King exhorted me to behave well, and promised to
take care of me. When my father was first taken ill; several persons,
amongst others, D'Aubigne, brother of Madame de Maintenon, had asked for
the governorship of Blaye. But the King refused them all, and said very
bluntly to D'Aubigne, "Is there not a son?" He had, in fact, always
given my father to understand I should succeed him, although generally he
did not allow offices to descend from father to son.

Let me say a few words about my father. Our family in my grandfather's
time had become impoverished; and my father was early sent to the Court
as page to Louis XIII. It was very customary then for the sons of
reduced gentlemen to accept this occupation. The King was passionately
fond of hunting, an amusement that was carried on with far less state,
without that abundance of dogs, and followers, and convenience of all
kinds which his successor introduced, and especially without roads
through the forests. My father, who noticed the impatience of the King
at the delays that occurred in changing horses, thought of turning the
head of the horse he brought towards the crupper of that which the King
quitted. By this means, without putting his feet to the ground, his
Majesty, who was active, jumped from one horse to another. He was so
pleased that whenever he changed horses he asked for this same page.
From that time my father grew day by day in favour. The King made him
Chief Ecuyer, and in course of years bestowed other rewards upon him,
created him Duke and peer of France, and gave him the Government of
Blaye. My father, much attached to the King, followed him in all his
expeditions, several times commanded the cavalry of the army, was
commander-in-chief of all the arrierebans of the kingdom, and acquired
great reputation in the field for his valour and skill. With Cardinal
Richelieu he was intimate without sympathy, and more than once, but
notably on the famous Day of the Dupes, rendered signal service to that
minister. My father used often to be startled out of his sleep in the
middle of the night by a valet, with a taper in his hand, drawing the
curtain--having behind him the Cardinal de Richelieu, who would often
take the taper and sit down upon the bed and exclaim that he was a lost
man, and ask my father's advice upon news that he had received or on
quarrels he had had with the King. When all Paris was in consternation
at the success of the Spaniards, who had crossed the frontier, taken
Corbie, and seized all the country as far as Compiegne, the King insisted
on my father being present at the council which was then held. The
Cardinal de Richelieu maintained that the King should retreat beyond the
Seine, and all the assembly seemed of that opinion. But the King in a
speech which lasted a quarter of an hour opposed this, and said that to
retreat at such a moment would be to increase the general disorder. Then
turning to my father he ordered him to be prepared to depart for Corbie
on the morrow, with as many of his men as he could get ready. The
histories and the memoirs of the time show that this bold step saved the
state. The Cardinal, great man as he was, trembled, until the first
appearance of success, when he grew bold enough to join the King. This
is a specimen of the conduct of that weak King governed by that first
minister to whom poets and historians have given the glory they have
stripped from his master; as, for instance, all the works of the siege of
Rochelle, and the invention and unheard-of success of the celebrated
dyke, all solely due to the late King!

Louis XIII. loved my father; but he could scold him at times. On two
occasions he did so. The first, as my father has related to me, was on
account of the Duc de Bellegarde. The Duke was in disgrace, and had been
exiled. My father, who was a friend of his, wished to write to him one
day, and for want of other leisure, being then much occupied, took the
opportunity of the King's momentary absence to carry out his desire.
Just as he was finishing his letter, the King came in; my father tried to
hide the paper, but the eyes of the King were too quick for him. "What
is that paper?" said he. My father, embarrassed, admitted that it was a
few words he had written to M. de Bellegarde.

"Let me see it," said the King; and he took the paper and read it.
"I don't find fault with you," said he, "for writing to your friends,
although in disgrace, for I know you will write nothing improper; but
what displeases me is, that you should fail in the respect you owe to a
duke and peer, in that, because he is exiled, you should omit to address
him as Monseigneur;" and then tearing the letter in two, he added, "Write
it again after the hunt, and put, Monseigneur, as you ought." My father
was very glad to be let off so easily.

The other reprimand was upon a more serious subject. The King was really
enamoured of Mademoiselle d'Hautefort. My father, young and gallant,
could not comprehend why he did not gratify his love. He believed his
reserve to arise from timidity, and under this impression proposed one
day to the King to be his ambassador and to bring the affair to a
satisfactory conclusion. The King allowed him to speak to the end, and
then assumed a severe air. "It is true," said he, "that I am enamoured
of her, that I feel it, that I seek her, that I speak of her willingly,
and think of her still more willingly; it is true also that I act thus in
spite of myself, because I am mortal and have this weakness; but the more
facility I have as King to gratify myself, the more I ought to be on my
guard against sin and scandal. I pardon you this time, but never address
to me a similar discourse again if you wish that I should continue to
love you." This was a thunderbolt for my father; the scales fell from
his eyes; the idea of the King's timidity in love disappeared before the
display of a virtue so pure and so triumphant.

My father's career was for a long time very successful, but unfortunately
he had an enemy who brought it to an end. This enemy was M. de Chavigny:
he was secretary of state, and had also the war department. Either from
stupidity or malice he had left all the towns in Picardy badly supported;
a circumstance the Spaniards knew well how to profit by when they took
Corbie in 1636. My father had an uncle who commanded in one of these
towns, La Capelle, and who had several times asked for ammunition and
stores without success. My father spoke upon this subject to Chavigny,
to the Cardinal de Richelieu, and to the King, but with no good effect.
La Capelle, left without resources, fell like the places around. As I
have said before, Louis XIII. did not long allow the Spaniards to enjoy
the advantages they had gained. All the towns in Picardy were soon
retaken, and the King, urged on by Chavigny, determined to punish the
governors of these places for surrendering them so easily. My father's
uncle was included with the others. This injustice was not to be borne.
My father represented the real state of the case and used every effort,
to save his uncle, but it was in vain. Stung to the quick he demanded
permission to retire, and was allowed to do so. Accordingly, at the
commencement of 1637, he left for Blaye; and remained there until the
death of Cardinal Richelieu. During this retirement the King frequently
wrote to him, in a language they had composed so as to speak before
people without being understood; and I possess still many of these
letters, with much regret that I am ignorant of their contents.

Chavigny served my father another ill turn. At the Cardinal's death my
father had returned to the Court and was in greater favour than ever.
Just before Louis XIII. died he gave my father the place of first master
of the horse, but left his name blank in the paper fixing the
appointment. The paper was given into the hands of Chavigny. At the
King's death he had the villainy, in concert with the Queen-regent, to
fill in the name of Comte d'Harcourt, instead of that the King had
instructed him of. The indignation of my father was great, but, as he
could obtain no redress, he retired once again to his Government of
Blaye. Notwithstanding the manner in which he had been treated by the
Queen-regent, he stoutly defended her cause when the civil war broke out,
led by M. le Prince. He garrisoned Blaye at his own expense, incurring
thereby debts which hung upon him all his life, and which I feel the
effects of still, and repulsed all attempts of friends to corrupt his
loyalty. The Queen and Mazarin could not close their eyes to his
devotion, and offered him, while the war was still going on, a marechal's
baton, or the title of foreign prince. But he refused both, and the
offer was not renewed when the war ended. These disturbances over, and
Louis XIV. being married, my father came again to Paris, where he had
many friends. He had married in 1644, and had had, as I have said, one
only daughter. His wife dying in 1670, and leaving him without male
children, he determined, however much he might be afflicted at the loss
he had sustained, to marry again, although old. He carried out his
resolution in October of the same year, and was very pleased with the
choice he had made. He liked his new wife so much, in fact, that when
Madame de Montespan obtained for her a place at the Court, he declined it
at once. At his age--it was thus he wrote to Madame de Montespan, he had
taken a wife not for the Court, but for himself. My mother, who was
absent when the letter announcing the appointment was sent, felt much
regret, but never showed it.

Before I finish this account of my father, I will here relate adventures
which happened to him, and which I ought to have placed before his second
marriage. A disagreement arose between my father and M. de Vardes, and
still existed long after everybody thought they were reconciled. It was
ultimately agreed that upon an early day, at about twelve o'clock, they
should meet at the Porte St. Honore, then a very deserted spot, and that
the coach of M. de Vardes should run against my father's, and a general
quarrel arise between masters and servants. Under cover of this quarrel,
a duel could easily take place, and would seem simply to arise out of the
broil there and then occasioned. On the morning appointed, my father
called as usual upon several of his friends, and, taking one of them for
second, went to the Porte St. Honore. There everything fell out just as
had been arranged. The coach of M. de Vardes struck against the other.
My father leaped out, M. de Vardes did the same, and the duel took place.
M. de Vardes fell, and was disarmed. My father wished to make him beg
for his life; he would not do this, but confessed himself vanquished.
My father's coach being the nearest, M. de Vardes got into it. He
fainted on the road. They separated afterwards like brave people, and
went their way. Madame de Chatillon, since of Mecklenburg, lodged in one
of the last houses near the Porte St. Honore, and at the noise made by
the coaches, put, her head to the window, and coolly looked at the whole
of the combat. It soon made a great noise. My father was complimented
everywhere. M. de Vardes was sent for ten or twelve days to the
Bastille. My father and he afterwards became completely reconciled to
each other.

The other adventure was of gentler ending. The Memoirs of M. de la
Rochefoucauld appeared. They contained certain atrocious and false
statements against my father, who so severely resented the calumny, that
he seized a pen, and wrote upon the margin of the book, "The author has
told a lie." Not content with this, he went to the bookseller, whom he
discovered with some difficulty, for the book was not sold publicly at
first. He asked to see all the copies of the work, prayed, promised,
threatened, and at last succeeded in obtaining them. Then he took a pen
and wrote in all of them the same marginal note. The astonishment of the
bookseller may be imagined. He was not long in letting M. de la
Rochefoucauld know what had happened to his books: it may well be
believed that he also was astonished. This affair made great noise. My
father, having truth on his side, wished to obtain public satisfaction
from M. de la Rochefoucauld. Friends, however, interposed, and the
matter was allowed to drop. But M. de la Rochefoucauld never pardoned my
father; so true it is that we less easily forget the injuries we inflict
than those that we receive.

My father passed the rest of his long life surrounded by friends, and
held in high esteem by the King and his ministers. His advice was often
sought for by them, and was always acted upon. He never consoled himself
for the loss of Louis XIII., to whom he owed his advancement and his
fortune. Every year he kept sacred the day of his death, going to Saint-
Denis, or holding solemnities in his own house if at Blaye. Veneration,
gratitude, tenderness, ever adorned his lips every time he spoke of that


After having paid the last duties to my father I betook myself to Mons to
join the Royal Roussillon cavalry regiment, in which I was captain. The
King, after stopping eight or ten days with the ladies at Quesnoy, sent
them to Namur, and put himself at the head of the army of M. de
Boufflers, and camped at Gembloux, so that his left was only half a
league distant from the right of M. de Luxembourg. The Prince of Orange
was encamped at the Abbey of Pure, was unable to receive supplies, and
could not leave his position without having the two armies of the King to
grapple with: he entrenched himself in haste, and bitterly repented
having allowed himself to be thus driven into a corner. We knew
afterwards that he wrote several times to his intimate friend the Prince
de Vaudemont, saying that he was lost, and that nothing short of a
miracle could save him.

We were in this position, with an army in every way infinitely superior
to that of the Prince of Orange, and with four whole months before us to
profit by our strength, when the King declared on the 8th of June that he
should return to Versailles, and sent off a large detachment of the army
into Germany. The surprise of the Marechal de Luxembourg was without
bounds. He represented the facility with which the Prince of Orange
might now be beaten with one army and pursued by another; and how
important it was to draw off detachments of the Imperial forces from
Germany into Flanders, and how, by sending an army into Flanders instead
of Germany, the whole of the Low Countries would be in our power. But
the King would not change his plans, although M. de Luxembourg went down
on his knees and begged him not to allow such a glorious opportunity to
escape. Madame de Maintenon, by her tears when she parted from his
Majesty, and by her letters since, had brought about this resolution.

The news had not spread on the morrow, June 9th. I chanced to go alone
to the quarters of M. de Luxembourg, and was surprised to find not a soul
there; every one had gone to the King's army. Pensively bringing my
horse to a stand, I was ruminating on a fact so strange, and debating
whether I should return to my tent or push on to the royal camp, when up
came M. le Prince de Conti with a single page and a groom leading a
horse. "What are you doing there?" cried he, laughing at my surprise.
Thereupon he told me he was going to say adieu to the King, and advised
me to do likewise. "What do you mean by saying Adieu?" answered I.
He sent his servants to a little distance, and begged me to do the same,
and with shouts of laughter told me about the King's retreat, making
tremendous fun of him, despite my youth, for he had confidence in me.
I was astonished. We soon after met the whole company coming back;
and the great people went aside to talk and sneer. I then proceeded to
pay my respects to the King, by whom I was honourably received.
Surprise, however, was expressed by all faces, and indignation by some.

The effect of the King's retreat, indeed, was incredible, even amongst
the soldiers and the people. The general officers could not keep silent
upon it, and the inferior officers spoke loudly, with a license that
could not be restrained. All through the army, in the towns, and even at
Court, it was talked about openly. The courtiers, generally so glad to
find themselves again at Versailles, now declared that they were ashamed
to be there; as for the enemy, they could not contain their surprise and
joy. The Prince of Orange said that the retreat was a miracle he could
not have hoped for; that he could scarcely believe in it, but that it had
saved his army, and the whole of the Low Countries. In the midst of all
this excitement the King arrived with the ladies, on the 25th of June, at

We gained some successes, however, this year. Marechal de Villeroy took
Huy in three days, losing only a sub-engineer and some soldiers. On the
29th of July we attacked at dawn the Prince of Orange at Neerwinden, and
after twelve hours of hard fighting, under a blazing sun, entirely routed
him. I was of the third squadron of the Royal Roussillon, and made five
charges. One of the gold ornaments of my coat was torn away, but I
received no wound. During the battle our brigadier, Quoadt, was killed
before my eyes. The Duc de Feuillade became thus commander of the
brigade. We missed him immediately, and for more than half an hour saw
nothing of him; he had gone to make his toilette. When he returned he
was powdered and decked out in a fine red surtotxt, embroidered with
silver, and all his trappings and those of his horse were magnificent; he
acquitted himself with distinction.

Our cavalry stood so well against the fire from the enemy's guns, that
the Prince of Orange lost all patience, and turning away, exclaimed--
"Oh, the insolent nation!" He fought until the last, and retired with
the Elector of Hanover only when he saw there was no longer any hope.
After the battle my people brought us a leg of mutton and a bottle of
wine, which they had wisely saved from the previous evening, and we
attacked them in good earnest, as may be believed.

The enemy lost about twenty thousand men, including a large number of
officers; our loss was not more than half that number. We took all their
cannon, eight mortars, many artillery waggons, a quantity of standards,
and some pairs of kettle-drums. The victory was complete.

Meanwhile, the army which had been sent to Germany under the command of
Monseigneur and of the Marechal de Lorges, did little or nothing. The
Marechal wished to attack Heilbronn, but Monseigneur was opposed to it;
and, to the great regret of the principal generals and of the troops, the
attack was not made. Monseigneur returned early to Versailles.

At sea we were more active. The rich merchant fleet of Smyrna was
attacked by Tourville; fifty vessels were burnt or sunk, and twenty-seven
taken, all richly freighted. This campaign cost the English and Dutch
dear. It is believed their loss was more than thirty millions of ecus.

The season finished with the taking of Charleroy. On the 16th of
September the Marechal de Villeroy, supported by M. de Luxembourg, laid
siege to it, and on the 11th of October, after a good defence, the place
capitulated. Our loss was very slight. Charleroy taken, our troops went
into winter-quarters, and I returned to Court, like the rest. The roads
and the posting service were in great disorder. Amongst other adventures
I met with, I was driven by a deaf and dumb postillion, who stuck me fast
in the mud when near Quesnoy. At Pont Saint-Maxence all the horses were
retained by M. de Luxembourg. Fearing I might be left behind, I told the
postmaster that I was governor (which was true), and that I would put him
in jail if he did not give me horses. I should have been sadly puzzled
how to do it; but he was simple enough to believe me, and gave the
horses. I arrived, however, at last at Paris, and found a change at the
Court, which surprised me.

Daquin--first doctor of the King and creature of Madame de Montespan--had
lost nothing of his credit by her removal, but had never been able to get
on well with Madame de Maintenon, who looked coldly upon all the friends
of her predecessor. Daquin had a son, an abbe, and wearied the King with
solicitations on his behalf. Madame de Maintenon seized the opportunity,
when the King was more than usually angry with Daquin, to obtain his
dismissal: it came upon him like a thunderbolt. On the previous evening
the King had spoken to him for a long time as usual, and had never
treated him better. All the Court was astonished also. Fagon, a very
skilful and learned man, was appointed in his place at the instance of
Madame de Maintenon.

Another event excited less surprise than interest. On Sunday, the 29th
of November, the King learned that La Vauguyon had killed himself in his
bed, that morning, by firing twice into his throat. I must say a few
words about this Vauguyon. He was one of the pettiest and poorest
gentlemen of France: he was well-made, but very swarthy, with Spanish
features, had a charming voice, played the guitar and lute very well, and
was skilled in the arts of gallantry. By these talents he had succeeded,
in finding favour with Madame de Beauvais, much regarded at the Court as
having been the King's first mistress. I have seen her--old, blear-eyed,
and half blind,--at the toilette of the Dauphiness of Bavaria, where
everybody courted her, because she was still much considered by the King.
Under this protection La Vauguyon succeeded well; was several times sent
as ambassador to foreign countries; was made councillor of state, and to
the scandal of everybody, was raised to the Order in 1688. Of late
years, having no appointments, he had scarcely the means of living, and
endeavoured, but without success, to improve his condition.

Poverty by degrees turned his brain; but a long time passed before it was
perceived. The first proof that he gave of it was at the house of Madame
Pelot, widow of the Chief President of the Rouen parliament. Playing at
brelan one evening, she offered him a stake, and because he would not
accept it bantered him, and playfully called him a poltroon. He said
nothing, but waited until all the rest of the company had left the room;
and when he found himself alone with Madame Pelot, he bolted the door,
clapped his hat on his head, drove her up against the chimney, and
holding her head between his two fists, said he knew no reason why he
should not pound it into a jelly, in order to teach her to call him
poltroon again. The poor woman was horribly frightened, and made
perpendicular curtseys between his two fists, and all sorts of excuses.
At last he let her go, more dead than alive. She had the generosity to
say no syllable of this occurrence until after his death; she even
allowed him to come to the house as usual, but took care never to be
alone with him.

One day, a long time after this, meeting, in a gallery, at Fontainebleau,
M. de Courtenay, La Vauguyon drew his sword, and compelled the other to
draw also, although there had never been the slightest quarrel between
them. They were soon separated and La Vauguyon immediately fled to the
King, who was just then in his private closet, where nobody ever entered
unless expressly summoned. But La Vauguyon turned the key, and, in spite
of the usher on guard, forced his way in. The King in great emotion
asked him what was the matter. La Vauguyon on his knees said he had been
insulted by M. de Courtenay and demanded pardon for having drawn his
sword in the palace. His Majesty, promising to examine the matter, with
great trouble got rid of La Vauguyon. As nothing could be made of it, M.
de Courtenay declaring he had been insulted by La Vauguyon and forced to
draw his sword, and the other telling the same tale, both were sent to
the Bastille. After a short imprisonment they were released, and
appeared at the Court as usual.

Another adventure, which succeeded this, threw some light upon the state
of affairs. Going to Versailles, one day, La Vauguyon met a groom of the
Prince de Conde leading a saddled horse, he stopped the man, descended
from his coach, asked whom the horse belonged to, said that the Prince
would not object to his riding it, and leaping upon the animal's back,
galloped off. The groom, all amazed, followed him. La Vauguyon rode on
until he reached the Bastille, descended there, gave a gratuity to the
man, and dismissed him: he then went straight to the governor of the
prison, said he had had the misfortune to displease the King, and begged
to be confined there. The governor, having no orders to do so, refused;
and sent off an express for instructions how to act. In reply he was
told not to receive La Vauguyon, whom at last, after great difficulty, he
prevailed upon to go away. This occurrence made great noise. Yet even
afterwards the King continued to receive La Vauguyon at the Court, and to
affect to treat him well, although everybody else avoided him and was
afraid of him. His poor wife became so affected by these public
derangements, that she retired from Paris, and shortly afterwards died.
This completed her husband's madness; he survived her only a month, dying
by his own hand, as I have mentioned. During the last two years of his
life he carried pistols in his carriage, and frequently pointed them at
his coachman and postilion. It is certain that without the assistance of
M. de Beauvais he would often have been brought to the last extremities.
Beauvais frequently spoke of him to the King; and it is inconceivable
that having raised this man to such a point; and having always shown him
particular kindness, his Majesty should perseveringly have left him to
die of hunger and become mad from misery.

The year finished without any remarkable occurrence.

My mother; who had been much disquieted for me during the campaign,
desired strongly that I should not make another without being married.
Although very young, I had no repugnance to marry, but wished to do so
according to my own inclinations. With a large establishment I felt very
lonely in a country where credit and consideration do more than all the
rest. Without uncle, aunt, cousins-German, or near relatives, I found
myself, I say, extremely solitary.

Among my best friends, as he had been the friend of my father; was the
Duc de Beauvilliers. He had always shown me much affection, and I felt a
great desire to unite myself to his family: My mother approved of my
inclination, and gave me an exact account of my estates and possessions.
I carried it to Versailles, and sought a private interview with M. de
Beauvilliers. At eight o'clock the same evening he received me alone in
the cabinet of Madame de Beauvilliers. After making my compliments to
him, I told him my wish, showed him the state of my affairs, and said
that all I demanded of him was one of his daughters in marriage, and that
whatever contract he thought fit to draw up would be signed by my mother
and myself without examination.

The Duke, who had fixed his eyes upon me all this time, replied like a
man penetrated with gratitude by the offer I had made. He said, that of
his eight daughters the eldest was between fourteen and fifteen years
old; the second much deformed, and in no way marriageable; the third
between twelve and thirteen years of age, and the rest were children: the
eldest wished to enter a convent, and had shown herself firm upon that
point. He seemed inclined to make a difficulty of his want of fortune;
but, reminding him of the proposition I had made, I said that it was not
for fortune I had come to him, not even for his daughter, whom I had
never seen; that it was he and Madame de Beauvilliers who had charmed me,
and whom I wished to marry!

"But," said he, "if my eldest daughter wishes absolutely to enter a

"Then," replied I, "I ask the third of you." To this he objected, on the
ground that if he gave the dowry of the first to the third daughter, and
the first afterwards changed her mind and wished to marry, he should be
thrown into an embarrassment. I replied that I would take the third as
though the first were to be married, and that if she were not, the
difference between what he destined for her and what he destined for the
third, should be given to me. The Duke, raising his eyes to heaven,
protested that he had never been combated in this manner, and that he was
obliged to gather up all his forces in order to prevent himself yielding
to me that very instant.

On the next day, at half-past three, I had another interview with M. de
Beauvilliers. With much tenderness he declined my proposal, resting his
refusal upon the inclination his daughter had displayed for the convent,
upon his little wealth, if, the marriage of the third being made, she
should change her mind--and upon other reasons. He spoke to me with much
regret and friendship, and I to him in the same manner; and we separated,
unable any longer to speak to each other. Two days after, however, I had
another interview with him by his appointment. I endeavoured to overcome
the objections that he made, but all in vain. He could not give me his
third daughter with the first unmarried, and he would not force her, he
said, to change her wish of retiring from the world. His words, pious
and elevated, augmented my respect for him, and my desire for the
marriage. In the evening, at the breaking up of the appointment, I could
not prevent myself whispering in his ear that I should never live happily
with anybody but his daughter, and without waiting for a reply hastened
away. I had the next evening, at eight o'clock, an interview with Madame
de Beauvilliers. I argued with her with such prodigious ardor that she
was surprised, and, although she did not give way, she said she would be
inconsolable for the loss of me, repeating the same tender and flattering
things her husband had said before, and with the same effusion of

I had yet another interview with M. de Beauvilliers. He showed even more
affection for me than before, but I could not succeed in putting aside
his scruples. He unbosomed himself afterwards to one of our friends, and
in his bitterness said he could only console himself by hoping that his
children and mine might some day intermarry, and he prayed me to go and
pass some days at Paris, in order to allow him to seek a truce to his
grief in my absence. We both were in want of it. I have judged it
fitting to give these details, for they afford a key to my exceeding
intimacy with M. de Beauvilliers, which otherwise, considering the
difference in our ages, might appear incomprehensible.

There was nothing left for me but to look out for another marriage. One
soon presented itself, but as soon fell to the ground; and I went to La
Trappe to console myself for the impossibility of making an alliance with
the Duc de Beauvilliers.

La Trappe is a place so celebrated and so well known, and its reformer so
famous, that I shall say but little about it. I will, however, mention
that this abbey is five leagues from La Ferme-au-Vidame, or Arnold, which
is the real distinctive name of this Ferme among so many other Fetes in
France, which have preserved the generic name of what they have been,
that is to say, forts or fortresses ('freitas'). My father had been very
intimate with M. de la Trappe, and had taken me to him.

Although I was very young then, M. de la Trappe charmed me, and the
sanctity of the place enchanted me. Every year I stayed some days there,
sometimes a week at a time, and was never tired of admiring this great
and distinguished man. He loved me as a son, and I respected him as
though he were any father. This intimacy, singular at my age, I kept
secret from everybody, and only went to the convent clandestinely.


On my return from La Trappe, I became engaged in an affair which made a
great noise, and which had many results for me.

M. de Luxembourg, proud of his successes, and of the applause of the
world at his victories, believed himself sufficiently strong to claim
precedence over seventeen dukes, myself among the number; to step, in
fact, from the eighteenth rank, that he held amongst the peers, to the
second. The following are the names and the order in precedence of the
dukes he wished to supersede:

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

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

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

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

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

Let me say something more of this Harlay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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