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The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, v2 by Duc de Saint-Simon

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A strange adventure, which happened at this time, terrified everybody,
and gave rise to many surmises. Savary was found assassinated in his
house at Paris he kept only a valet and a maid-servant, and they were
discovered murdered at the same time, quite dressed, like their master,
and in different parts of the house. It appeared by writings found
there, that the crime was one of revenge: it was supposed to have been
committed in broad daylight. Savary was a citizen of Paris, very rich,
without occupation, and lived like an epicurean. He had some friends of
the highest rank, and gave parties, of all kinds of pleasure, at his
house, politics sometimes being discussed. The cause of this
assassination was never known; but so much of it was found out, that no
one dared to search for more. Few doubted but that the deed had been
done by a very ugly little man, but of a blood so highly respected, that
all forms were dispensed with, in the fear lest it should be brought home
to him; and, after the first excitement, everybody ceased to speak of
this tragic history.

On the night between the 3rd and 4th of June, a daring robbery was
effected at the grand stables of Versailles. All the horse-cloths and
trappings, worth at least fifty thousand crowns, were carried off, and so
cleverly and with such speed, although the night was short, that no
traces of them could ever afterwards be found. This theft reminds me of
another which took place a little before the commencement of these
memoirs. The grand apartment at Versailles, that is to say, from the
gallery to the tribune, was hung with crimson velvet, trimmed and fringed
with gold. One fine morning the fringe and trimmings were all found to
have been cut away. This appeared extraordinary in a place so frequented
all day, so well closed at night, and so well guarded at all times.
Bontems, the King's valet, was in despair, and did his utmost to discover
the thieves, but without success.

Five or six days afterwards, I was at the King's supper, with nobody but
Daqum, chief physician, between the King and me, and nobody at all
between one and the table. Suddenly I perceived a large black form in
the air, but before I could tell what it was, it fell upon the end of the
King's table just before the cover which had been laid for Monseigneur
and Madame. By the noise it made in falling, and the weight of the thing
itself, it seemed as though the table must be broken. The plates jumped
up, but none were upset, and the thing, as luck would have it, did not
fall upon any of them, but simply upon the cloth. The King moved his
head half round, and without being moved in any way said, "I think that
is my fringe!"

It was indeed a bundle, larger than a flat-brimmed priest's hat, about
two feet in height, and shaped like a pyramid. It had come from behind
me, from towards the middle door of the two ante-chambers, and a piece of
fringe getting loose in the air, had fallen upon the King's wig, from
which it was removed by Livry, a gentleman-in-waiting. Livry also opened
the bundle, and saw that it did indeed contain the fringes all twisted
up, and everybody saw likewise. A murmur was heard. Livry wishing to
take away the bundle found a paper attached to it. He took the paper and
left the bundle. The King stretched out his hand and said, "Let us see."
Livry, and with reason, would not give up the paper, but stepped back,
read it, and then passed it to Daquin, in whose hands I read it. The
writing, counterfeited and long like that of a woman, was in these
words:--" Take back your fringes, Bontems; they are not worth the trouble
of keeping--my compliments to the King."

The paper was rolled up, not folded: the King wished to take it from
Daquin, who, after much hesitation, allowed him to read it, but did not
let it out of his hands. "Well, that is very insolent!" said the King,
but in quite a placid unmoved tone--as it were, an historical tone.
Afterwards he ordered the bundle to be taken away. Livry found it so
heavy that he could scarcely lift it from the table, and gave it to an
attendant who presented himself. The King spoke no more of this matter,
nobody else dared to do so; and the supper finished as though nothing had

Besides the excess of insolence and impudence of this act, it was so
perilous as to be scarcely understood. How could any one, without being
seconded by accomplices, throw a bundle of this weight and volume in the
midst of a crowd such as was always present at the supper of the King, so
dense that it could with difficulty be passed through? How, in spite of
a circle of accomplices, could a movement of the arms necessary for such
a throw escape all eyes? The Duc de Gesvres was in waiting. Neither he
nor anybody else thought of closing the doors until the King had left the
table. It may be guessed whether the guilty parties remained until then,
having had more than three-quarters of an hour to escape, and every issue
being free. Only one person was discovered, who was not known, but he
proved to be a very honest man, and was dismissed after a short
detention. Nothing has since been discovered respecting this theft or
its bold restitution.


On the 12th August, Madame de Saint-Simon was happily delivered of a
second son, who bore the name of Marquis de Ruffec. A singular event
which happened soon after, made all the world marvel.

There arrived at Versailles a farrier, from the little town of Salon, in
Provence, who asked to see the King in private. In spite of the rebuffs
he met with, he persisted in his request, so that at last it got to the
ears of the King. The King sent word that he was not accustomed to grant
such audiences to whoever liked to ask for them. Thereupon the farrier
declared that if he was allowed to see the King he would tell him things
so secret and so unknown to everybody else that he would be persuaded of
their importance, demanding, if the King would not see him, to be sent to
a minister of state. Upon this the King allowed him to have an interview
with one of his secretaries, Barbezieux. But Barbezieux was not a
minister of state, and to the great surprise of everybody, the farrier,
who had only just arrived from the country, and who had never before left
it or his trade, replied, that not being a minister of state he would not
speak with him. Upon this he was allowed to see Pomponne, and converse
with him; and this is the story he told:

He said, that returning home late one evening he found himself surrounded
by a great light, close against a tree and near Salon. A woman clad in
white--but altogether in a royal manner, and beautiful, fair, and very
dazzling--called him by his name, commanded him to listen to her, and
spake to him more than half-an-hour. She told him she was the Queen,
who had been the wife of the King; to whom she ordered him to go and say
what she had communicated; assuring him that God would assist him through
all the journey, and that upon a secret thing he should say, the King,
who alone knew that secret, would recognise the truth of all he uttered.
She said that in case he could not see the King he was to speak with a
minister of state, telling him certain things, but reserving certain
others for the King alone. She told him, moreover, to set out at once,
assuring him he would be punished with death if he neglected to acquit
himself of his commission. The farrier promised to obey her in
everything, and the queen then disappeared. He found himself in darkness
near the tree. He lay down and passed the night there, scarcely knowing
whether he was awake or asleep. In the morning he went home, persuaded
that what he had seen was a mere delusion and folly, and said nothing
about it to a living soul.

Two days afterwards he was passing by the same place when the same vision
appeared to him, and he was addressed in the same terms. Fresh threats
of punishment were uttered if he did not comply, and he was ordered to go
at once to the Intendant of the province, who would assuredly furnish him
with money, after saying what he had seen. This time the farrier was
convinced there was no delusion in the matter; but, halting between his
fears and doubts, knew not what to do, told no one what had passed,
and was in great perplexity. He remained thus eight days, and at last
had resolved not to make the journey; when, passing by the same spot,
he saw and heard the same vision, which bestowed upon him so many
dreadful menaces that he no longer thought of anything but setting out
immediately. In two days from that time he presented himself, at Aix,
to the Intendant of the province, who, without a moment's hesitation,
urged him to pursue his journey, and gave him sufficient money to travel
by a public conveyance. Nothing more of the story was ever known.

The farrier had three interviews with M. de Pomponne, each of two hours'
length. M. de Pomponne rendered, in private, an account of these to the
King, who desired him to speak more fully upon the point in a council
composed of the Ducs de Beauvilliers, Pontchartrain, Torcy, and Pomponne
himself; Monseigneur to be excluded. This council sat very long, perhaps
because other things were spoken of. Be that as it may, the King after
this wished to converse with the farrier, and did so in his cabinet. Two
days afterwards he saw the man again; at each time was nearly an hour
with him, and was careful that no one was within hearing.

The day after the first interview, as the King was descending the
staircase, to go a-hunting, M. de Duras, who was in waiting, and who was
upon such a footing that he said almost what he liked, began to speak of
this farrier with contempt, and, quoting the bad proverb, said, "The man
was mad, or the King was not noble." At this the King stopped, and,
turning round, a thing he scarcely ever did in walking, replied, "If that
be so, I am not noble, for I have discoursed with him long, he has spoken
to me with much good sense, and I assure you he is far from being mad."

These last words were pronounced with a sustained gravity which greatly
surprised those near, and which in the midst of deep silence opened all
eyes and ears. After the second interview the King felt persuaded that
one circumstance had been related to him by the farrier, which he alone
knew, and which had happened more than twenty years before. It was that
he had seen a phantom in the forest of Saint Germains. Of this phantom
he had never breathed a syllable to anybody.

The King on several other occasions spoke favourably of the farrier;
moreover, he paid all the expenses the man had been put to, gave him a
gratuity, sent him back free, and wrote to the Intendant of the province
to take particular care of him, and never to let him want for anything
all his life.

The most surprising thing of all this is, that none of the ministers
could be induced to speak a word upon the occurrence. Their most
intimate friends continually questioned them, but without being able to
draw forth a syllable. The ministers either affected to laugh at the
matter or answered evasively. This was the case whenever I questioned
M. de Beauvilliers or M. de Pontchartrain, and I knew from their most
intimate friends that nothing more could ever be obtained from M. de
Pomponne or M. de Torcy. As for the farrier himself, he was equally
reserved. He was a simple, honest, and modest man, about fifty years of
age. Whenever addressed upon this subject, he cut short all discourse by
saying, "I am not allowed to speak," and nothing more could be extracted
from him. When he returned to his home he conducted himself just as
before, gave himself no airs, and never boasted of the interview he had
had with the King and his ministers. He went back to his trade, and
worked at it as usual.

Such is the singular story which filled everybody with astonishment, but
which nobody could understand. It is true that some people persuaded
themselves, and tried to persuade others, that the whole affair was a
clever trick, of which the simple farrier had been the dupe. They said
that a certain Madame Arnoul, who passed for a witch, and who, having
known Madame de Maintenon when she was Madame Scarron, still kept up a
secret intimacy with her, had caused the three visions to appear to the
farrier, in order to oblige the King to declare Madame de Maintenon
queen. But the truth of the matter was never known.

The King bestowed at this time some more distinctions on his illegitimate
children. M. du Maine, as grand-master of the artillery, had to be
received at the Chambre des Comptes; and his place ought to have been,
according to custom, immediately above that of the senior member. But
the King wished him to be put between the first and second presidents;
and this was done. The King accorded also to the Princesse de Conti that
her two ladies of honour should be allowed to sit at the Duchesse de
Bourgogne's table. It was a privilege that no lady of honour to a
Princess of the blood had ever been allowed. But the King gave these
distinctions to the ladies of his illegitimate children, and refused it
to those of the Princesses of the blood.

In thus according honours, the King seemed to merit some new ones
himself. But nothing fresh could be thought of. What had been done
therefore at his statue in the Place des Victoires, was done over again
in the Place Vendome on the 13th August, after midday. Another statue
which had been erected there was uncovered. The Duc de Gesvres, Governor
of Paris, was in attendance on horseback, at the head of the city troops,
and made turns, and reverences, and other ceremonies, imitated from those
in use at the consecration of the Roman Emperors. There were, it is
true, no incense and no victims: something more in harmony with the title
of Christian King was necessary. In the evening, there was upon the
river a fine illumination, which Monsieur and Madame went to see.

A difficulty arose soon after this with Denmark. The Prince Royal had
become King, and announced the circumstance to our King, but would not
receive the reply sent him because he was not styled in it "Majesty."
We had never accorded to the Kings of Denmark this title, and they had
always been contented with that of "Serenity." The King in his turn
would not wear mourning for the King of Denmark, just dead, although he
always did so for any crowned head, whether related to him or not. This
state of things lasted some months; until, in the end, the new King of
Denmark gave way, received the reply as it had been first sent, and our
King wore mourning as if the time for it had not long since passed.

Boucherat, chancellor and keeper of the seals, died on the 2nd of
September. Harlay, as I have previously said, had been promised this
appointment when it became vacant. But the part he had taken in our case
with M. de Luxembourg had made him so lose ground, that the appointment
was not given to him. M. de la Rochefoucauld, above all, had undermined
him in the favour of the King; and none of us had lost an opportunity of
assisting in this work. Our joy, therefore, was extreme when we saw all
Harlay's hopes frustrated, and we did not fail to let it burst forth.
The vexation that Harlay conceived was so great, that he became
absolutely intractable, and often cried out with a bitterness he could
not contain, that he should be left to die in the dust of the palace.
His weakness was such, that he could not prevent himself six weeks after
from complaining to the King at Fontainebleau, where he was playing the
valet with his accustomed suppleness and deceit. The King put him off
with fine speeches, and by appointing him to take part in a commission
then sitting for the purpose of bringing about a reduction in the price
of corn in Paris and the suburbs, where it had become very dear. Harlay
made a semblance of being contented, but remained not the less annoyed.
His health and his head were at last so much attacked that he was forced
to quit his post: he then fell into contempt after having excited so much
hatred. The chancellorship was given to Pontchartrain, and the office of
comptroller-general, which became vacant at the same time, was given to
Chamillart; a very honest man, who owed his first advancement to his
skill at billiards, of which game the King was formerly very fond.
It was while Chamillart was accustomed to play billiards with the King,
at least three times a week, that an incident happened which ought not to
be forgotten. Chamillart was Counsellor of the Parliament at that time.
He had just reported on a case that had been submitted to him.
The losing party came to him, and complained that he had omitted to bring
forward a document that had been given into his hands, and that would
assuredly have turned the verdict. Chamillart searched for the document,
found it, and saw that the complainer was right. He said so, and added,
--"I do not know how the document escaped me, but it decides in your
favour. You claimed twenty thousand francs, and it is my fault you did
not get them. Come to-morrow, and I will pay you." Chamillart, although
then by no means rich, scraped together all the money he had, borrowing
the rest, and paid the man as he had promised, only demanding that the
matter should be kept a secret. But after this, feeling that billiards
three times a week interfered with his legal duties, he surrendered part
of them, and thus left himself more free for other charges he was obliged
to attend to.

The Comtesse de Fiesque died very aged, while the Court was at
Fontainebleau this year. She had passed her life with the most frivolous
of the great world. Two incidents amongst a thousand will characterise
her. She was very straitened in means, because she had frittered away
all her substance, or allowed herself to be pillaged by her business
people. When those beautiful mirrors were first introduced she obtained
one, although they were then very dear and very rare. "Ah, Countess!"
said her friends, "where did you find that?"

"Oh!" replied she, "I had a miserable piece of land, which only yielded
me corn; I have sold it, and I have this mirror instead. Is not this
excellent? Who would hesitate between corn and this beautiful mirror?"

On another occasion she harangued with her son, who was as poor as a rat,
for the purpose of persuading him to make a good match and thus enrich
himself. Her son, who had no desire to marry, allowed her to talk on,
and pretended to listen to her reasons: She was delighted--entered into a
description of the wife she destined for him, painting her as young,
rich, an only child, beautiful, well-educated, and with parents who would
be delighted to agree to the marriage. When she had finished, he pressed
her for the name of this charming and desirable person. The Countess
said she was the daughter of Jacquier, a man well known to everybody,
and who had been a contractor of provisions to the armies of M. de
Turenne. Upon this, her son burst out into a hearty laugh, and she in
anger demanded why he did so and what he found so ridiculous in the

The truth was, Jacquier had no children, as the Countess soon remembered.
At which she said it was a great pity, since no marriage would have
better suited all parties. She was full of such oddities, which she
persisted in for some time with anger, but at which she was the first to
laugh. People said of her that she had never been more than eighteen
years old. The memoirs of Mademoiselle paint her well. She lived with
Mademoiselle, and passed all her life in quarrels about trifles.

It was immediately after leaving Fontainebleau that the marriage between
the Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne was consummated. It was upon this
occasion that the King named four gentlemen to wait upon the Duke,--
four who in truth could not have been more badly chosen. One of them,
Gamaches, was a gossip; who never knew what he was doing or saying--
who knew nothing of the world, or the Court, or of war, although he had
always been in the army. D'O was another; but of him I have spoken.
Cheverny was the third, and Saumery the fourth. Saumery had been raised
out of obscurity by M. de Beauvilliers. Never was man so intriguing, so
truckling, so mean, so boastful, so ambitious, so intent upon fortune,
and all this without disguise, without veil, without shame! Saumery had
been wounded, and no man ever made so much of such a mishap. I used to
say of him that he limped audaciously, and it was true. He would speak
of personages the most distinguished, whose ante-chambers even he had
scarcely seen, as though he spoke of his equals or of his particular
friends. He related what he had heard, and was not ashamed to say before
people who at least had common sense, "Poor Mons. Turenne said to me,"
M. de Turenne never having probably heard of his existence. With
Monsieur in full he honoured nobody. It was Mons. de Beauvilliers, Mons.
de Chevreuse, and so on; except with those whose names he clipped off
short, as he frequently would even with Princes of the blood. I have
heard him say many times, "the Princesse de Conti," in speaking of the
daughter of the King; and "the Prince de Conti," in speaking of Monsieur
her brother-in-law! As for the chief nobles of the Court, it was rare
for him to give them the Monsieur or the Mons. It was Marechal
d'Humieres, and so on with the others. Fatuity and insolence were united
in him, and by dint of mounting a hundred staircases a day, and bowing
and scraping everywhere, he had gained the ear of I know not how many
people. His wife was a tall creature, as impertinent as he, who wore the
breeches, and before whom he dared not breathe. Her effrontery blushed
at nothing, and after many gallantries she had linked herself on to M. de
Duras, whom she governed, and of whom she was publicly and absolutely the
mistress, living at his expense. Children, friends, servants, all were
at her mercy; even Madame de Duras herself when she came, which was but
seldom, from the country.

Such were the people whom the King placed near M. le Duc de Bourgogne.

The Duc de Gesvres, a malicious old man, a cruel husband and unnatural
father, sadly annoyed Marechal de Villeroy towards the end of this year,
having previously treated me very scurvily for some advice I gave him
respecting the ceremonies to be observed at the reception by the King of
M. de Lorraine as Duc de Bar. M. de Gesvres and M. de Villeroy had both
had fathers who made large fortunes and who became secretaries of state.
One morning M. de Gesvres was waiting for the King, with a number of
other courtiers, when M. de Villeroy arrived, with all that noise and
those airs he had long assumed, and which his favour and his appointments
rendered more superb. I know not whether this annoyed De Gesvres, more
than usual, but as soon as the other had placed himself, he said,
"Monsieur le Marechal, it must be admitted that you and I are very
lucky." The Marechal, surprised at a remark which seemed to be suggested
by nothing, assented with a modest air, and, shaking his head and his
wig, began to talk to some one else. But M. de Gesvres had not commenced
without a purpose. He went on, addressed M. de Villeroy point-blank,
admiring their mutual good fortune, but when he came to speak of the
father of each, "Let us go no further," said he, "for what did our
fathers spring from? From tradesmen; even tradesmen they were
themselves. Yours was the son of a dealer in fresh fish at the markets,
and mine of a pedlar, or, perhaps, worse. Gentlemen," said he,
addressing the company, "have we not reason to think our fortune
prodigious--the Marechal and I?" The Marechal would have liked to
strangle M. de Gesvres, or to see him dead--but what can be done with a
man who, in order to say something cutting to you, says it to himself
first? Everybody was silent, and all eyes were lowered. Many, however,
were not sorry to see M. de Villeroy so pleasantly humiliated. The King
came and put an end to the scene, which was the talk of the Court for
several days.

Omissions must be repaired as soon as they are perceived. Other matters
have carried me away. At the commencement of April, Ticquet, Counsellor
at the Parliament, was assassinated in his own house; and if he did not
die, it was not the fault of his porter, or of the soldier who had
attempted to kill him, and who left him for dead, disturbed by a noise
they heard. This councillor, who was a very poor man, had complained to
the King, the preceding year, of the conduct of his wife with
Montgeorges, captain in the Guards, and much esteemed. The King
prohibited Montgeorges from seeing the wife of the councillor again.

Such having been the case, when the crime was attempted, suspicion fell
upon Montgeorges and the wife of Ticquet, a beautiful, gallant, and bold
woman, who took a very high tone in the matter. She was advised to fly,
and one of my friends offered to assist her to do so, maintaining that in
all such cases it is safer to be far off than close at hand. The woman
would listen to no such advice, and in a few days she was no longer able.
The porter and the soldier were arrested and tortured, and Madame
Ticquet, who was foolish enough to allow herself to be arrested, also
underwent the same examination, and avowed all. She was condemned to
lose her head, and her accomplice to be broken on the wheel. Montgeorges
managed so well, that he was not legally criminated. When Ticquet heard
the sentence, he came with all his family to the King, and sued for
mercy. But the King would not listen to him, and the execution took
place on Wednesday, the 17th of June, after mid-day, at the Greve. All
the windows of the Hotel de Ville, and of the houses in the Place de
Greve, in the streets that lead to it from the Conciergerie of the palace
where Madame Ticquet was confined, were filled with spectators, men and
women, many of title and distinction. There were even friends of both
sexes of this unhappy woman, who felt no shame or horror in going there.
In the streets the crowd was so great that it could not be passed
through. In general, pity was felt for the culprit; people hoped she
would be pardoned, and it was because they hoped so, that they went to
see her die. But such is the world; so unreasoning, and so little in
accord with itself.


The year 1700 commenced by a reform. The King declared that he would no
longer bear the expense of the changes that the courtiers introduced into
their apartments. It had cost him more than sixty thousand francs since
the Court left Fontainebleau. It is believed that Madame de Mailly was
the cause of this determination of the King; for during the last two or
three years she had made changes in her apartments every year.

A difficulty occurred at this time which much mortified the King. Little
by little he had taken all the ambassadors to visit Messieurs du Maine
and de Toulouse, as though they were Princes of the blood. The nuncio,
Cavallerini, visited them thus, but upon his return to Rome was so taken
to task for it, that his successor, Delfini, did not dare to imitate him.
The cardinals considered that they had lowered themselves, since
Richelieu and Mazarm, by treating even the Princes of the blood on terms
of equality, and giving them their hand, which had not been customary m
the time of the two first ministers just named. To do so to the
illegitimate offspring of the King, and on occasions of ceremony,
appeared to them monstrous. Negotiations were carried on for a month,
but Delfini would not bend, and although in every other respect he had
afforded great satisfaction during his nunciature, no farewell audience
was given to him; nor even a secret audience. He was deprived of the
gift of a silver vessel worth eighteen hundred francs, that it was
customary to present to the cardinal nuncios at their departure: and he
went away without saying adieu to anybody.

Some time before, M. de Monaco had been sent as ambassador to Rome. He
claimed to be addressed by the title of "Highness," and persisted in it
with so much obstinacy that he isolated, himself from almost everybody,
and brought the affairs of his embassy nearly to a standstill by the
fetters he imposed upon them in the most necessary transactions. Tired
at last of the resistance he met with, he determined to refuse the title
of "Excellence," although it might fairly belong to them, to all who
refused to address him as "Highness." This finished his affair; for
after that determination no one would see him, and the business of the
embassy suffered even more than before. It is difficult to comprehend
why the King permitted such a man to remain as his representative at a
foreign Court.

Madame de Navailles died on the 14th of February: Her mother, Madame de
Neuillant, who became a widow, was avarice itself. I cannot say by what
accident or chance it was that Madame de Maintenon in returning young and
poor from America, where she had lost her father and mother, fell in
landing at Rochelle into the hands of Madame de Neuillant, who lived in
Poitou. Madame de Neuillant took home Madame de Maintenon, but could not
resolve to feed her without making her do something in return. Madame de
Maintenon was charged therefore with the key of the granary, had to
measure out the corn and to see that it was given to the horses. It was
Madame de Neuillant who brought Madame de Maintenon to Paris, and to get
rid of her married her to Scarron, and then retired into Poitou.

Madame de Navailles was the eldest daughter of this Madame de Neuillant,
and it was her husband, M. de Navailles, who, serving under M. le Prince
in Flanders, received from that General a strong reprimand for his
ignorance. M. le Prince wanted to find the exact position of a little
brook which his maps did not mark. To assist him in the search, M. de
Navailles brought a map of the world! On another occasion, visiting
M. Colbert, at Sceaux, the only thing M. de Navailles could find to
praise was the endive of the kitchen garden: and when on the occasion of
the Huguenots the difficulty of changing religion was spoken of, he
declared that if God had been good enough to make him a Turk, he should
have remained so.

Madame de Navailles had been lady of honour to the Queen-mother, and lost
that place by a strange adventure.

She was a woman of spirit and of virtue, and the young ladies of honour
were put under her charge. The King was at this time young and gallant.
So long as he held aloof from the chamber of the young ladies, Madame de
Navailles meddled not, but she kept her eye fixed upon all that she
controlled. She soon perceived that the King was beginning to amuse
himself, and immediately after she found that a door had secretly been
made into the chamber of the young ladies; that this door communicated
with a staircase by which the King mounted into the room at night, and
was hidden during the day by the back of a bed placed against it. Upon
this Madame de Navailles held counsel with her husband. On one side was
virtue and honour, on the other, the King's anger, disgrace, and exile.
The husband and wife did not long hesitate. Madame de Navailles at once
took her measures, and so well, that in a few hours one evening the door
was entirely closed up. During the same night the King, thinking to
enter as usual by the little staircase, was much surprised to no longer
find a door. He groped, he searched, he could not comprehend the
disappearance of the door, or by what means it had become wall again.
Anger seized him; he doubted not that the door had been closed by Madame
de Navailles and her husband. He soon found that such was the case, and
on the instant stripped them of almost all their offices, and exiled them
from the Court. The exile was not long; the Queen-mother on her death-
bed implored him to receive back Monsieur and Madame de Navailles, and he
could not refuse. They returned, and M. de Navailles nine years
afterwards was made Marechal of France. After this Madame de Navailles
rarely appeared at the Court. Madame de Maintenon could not refuse her
distinctions and special favours, but they were accorded rarely and by
moments. The King always remembered his door; Madame de Maintenon always
remembered the hay and barley of Madame de Neuillant, and neither years
nor devotion could deaden the bitterness of the recollection.

From just before Candlemas-day to Easter of this year, nothing was heard
of but balls and pleasures of the Court. The King gave at Versailles and
at Marly several masquerades, by which he was much amused, under pretext
of amusing the Duchesse de Bourgogne. At one of these balls at Marly a
ridiculous scene occurred. Dancers were wanting and Madame de Luxembourg
on account of this obtained an invitation, but with great difficulty, for
she lived in such a fashion that no woman would see her. Monsieur de
Luxembourg was perhaps the only person in France who was ignorant of
Madame de Luxembourg's conduct. He lived with his wife on apparently
good terms and as though he had not the slightest mistrust of her. On
this occasion, because of the want of dancers, the King made older people
dance than was customary, and among others M. de Luxembourg. Everybody
was compelled to be masked. M. de Luxembourg spoke on this subject to
M. le Prince, who, malicious as any monkey, determined to divert all the
Court and himself at the Duke's expense. He invited M. de Luxembourg to
supper, and after that meal was over, masked him according to his fancy.

Soon after my arrival at the ball, I saw a figure strangely clad in long
flowing muslin, and with a headdress on which was fixed the horns of a
stag, so high that they became entangled in the chandelier. Of course
everybody was much astonished at so strange a sight, and all thought that
that mask must be very sure of his wife to deck himself so. Suddenly the
mask turned round and showed us M. de Luxembourg. The burst of laughter
at this was scandalous. Good M. de Luxembourg, who never was very
remarkable for wit, benignly took all this laughter as having been
excited simply by the singularity of his costume, and to the questions
addressed him, replied quite simply that his dress had been arranged by
M. le Prince; then, turning to the right and to the left, he admired
himself and strutted with pleasure at having been masked by M. le Prince.
In a moment more the ladies arrived, and the King immediately after them.
The laughter commenced anew as loudly as ever, and M. de Luxembourg
presented himself to the company with a confidence that was ravishing.
His wife had heard nothing of this masquerading, and when she saw it,
lost countenance, brazen as she was. Everybody stared at her and her
husband, and seemed dying of laughter. M. le Prince looked at the scene
from behind the King, and inwardly laughed at his malicious trick. This
amusement lasted throughout all the ball, and the King, self-contained as
he usually was, laughed also; people were never tired of admiring an
invention so, cruelly ridiculous, and spoke of it for several days.

No evening passed on which there was not a ball. The chancellor's wife
gave one which was a fete the most gallant and the most magnificent
possible. There were different rooms for the fancy-dress ball, for the
masqueraders, for a superb collation, for shops of all countries,
Chinese, Japanese, &c., where many singular and beautiful things were
sold, but no money taken; they were presents for the Duchesse de
Bourgogne and the ladies. Everybody was especially diverted at this
entertainment, which did not finish until eight o'clock in the morning.
Madame de Saint-Simon and I passed the last three weeks of this time
without ever seeing the day. Certain dancers were only allowed to leave
off dancing at the same time as the Duchesse de Bourgogne. One morning,
at Marty, wishing to escape too early, the Duchess caused me to be
forbidden to pass the doors of the salon; several of us had the same
fate. I was delighted when Ash Wednesday arrived; and I remained a day
or two dead beat, and Madame de Saint-Simon could not get over Shrove

La Bourlie, brother of Guiscard, after having quitted the service, had
retired to his estate near Cevennes, where he led a life of much licence.
About this time a robbery was committed in his house; he suspected one of
the servants, and on his own authority put the man to the torture. This
circumstance could not remain so secret but that complaints spread
abroad. The offence was a capital one. La Bourlie fled from the realm,
and did many strange things until his death, which was still more
strange; but of which it is not yet time to speak.

Madame la Duchesse, whose heavy tradesmen's debts the King had paid not
long since, had not dared to speak of her gambling debts, also very
heavy. They increased, and, entirely unable to pay them, she found
herself in the greatest embarrassment. She feared, above all things,
lest M. le Prince or M. le Duc should hear of this. In this extremity
she addressed herself to Madame de Maintenon, laying bare the state of
her finances, without the slightest disguise. Madame de Maintenon had
pity on her situation, and arranged that the King should pay her debts,
abstain from scolding her, and keep her secret. Thus, in a few weeks,
Madame la Duchesse found herself free of debts, without anybody whom she
feared having known even of their existence.

Langlee was entrusted with the payment and arrangement of these debts.
He was a singular kind of man at the Court, and deserves a word. Born of
obscure parents, who had enriched themselves, he had early been
introduced into the great world, and had devoted himself to play, gaining
an immense fortune; but without being accused of the least unfairness.
With but little or no wit, but much knowledge of the world, he had
succeeded in securing many friends, and in making his way at the Court.
He joined in all the King's parties, at the time of his mistresses.
Similarity of tastes attached Langlee to Monsieur, but he never lost
sight of the King. At all the fetes Langlee was present, he took part in
the journeys, he was invited to Marly, was intimate with all the King's
mistresses; then with all the daughters of the King, with whom indeed he
was so familiar that he often spoke to them with the utmost freedom. He
had become such a master of fashions and of fetes that none of the latter
were given, even by Princes of the blood, except under his directions;
and no houses were bought, built, furnished, or ornamented, without his
taste being consulted. There were no marriages of which the dresses and
the presents were not chosen, or at least approved, by him. He was on
intimate terms with the most distinguished people of the Court; and often
took improper advantage of his position. To the daughters of the King
and to a number of female friends he said horribly filthy things, and
that too in their own houses, at St. Cloud or at Marly. He was often
made a confidant in matters of gallantry, and continued to be made so all
his life. For he was a sure man, had nothing disagreeable about him, was
obliging, always ready to serve others with his purse or his influence,
and was on bad terms with no one.

While everybody, during all this winter, was at balls and amusements,
the beautiful Madame de Soubise--for she was so still--employed herself
with more serious matters. She had just bought, very cheap, the immense
Hotel de Guise, that the King assisted her to pay for. Assisted also by
the King, she took steps to make her bastard son canon of Strasbourg;
intrigued so well that his birth was made to pass muster, although among
Germans there is a great horror of illegitimacy, and he was received into
the chapter. This point gained, she laid her plans for carrying out
another, and a higher one, nothing less than that of making her son
Archbishop of Strasbourg.

But there was an obstacle, in the way. This obstacle was the Abbe
d'Auvergne (nephew of Cardinal de Bouillon), who had the highest position
in the chapter, that of Grand Prevot, had been there much longer than the
Abbe de Soubise, was older, and of more consequence. His reputation,
however, was against him; his habits were publicly known to be those of
the Greeks, whilst his intellect resembled theirs in no way. By his
stupidity he published his bad conduct, his perfect ignorance, his
dissipation, his ambition; and to sustain himself he had only a low,
stinking, continual vanity, which drew upon him as much disdain as did
his habits, alienated him from all the world, and constantly subjected
him to ridicule.

The Abbe de Soubise had, on the contrary, everything smiling in his
favour, even his exterior, which showed that he was born of the tenderest
amours. Upon the farms of the Sorbonne he had much distinguished
himself. He had been made Prior of Sorbonne, and had shone conspicuously
in that position, gaining eulogies of the most flattering kind from
everybody, and highly pleasing the King. After this, he entered the
seminary of Saint Magloire, then much in vogue, and gained the good
graces of the Archbishop of Paris, by whom that seminary was favoured.
On every side the Abbe de Soubise was regarded, either as a marvel of
learning, or a miracle of piety and purity of manners. He had made
himself loved everywhere, and his gentleness, his politeness, his
intelligence, his graces, and his talent for securing friends, confirmed
more and more the reputation he had established.

The Abbe d'Auvergne had a relative, the Cardinal de Furstenberg, who also
had two nephews, canons of Strasbourg, and in a position to become
claimants to the bishopric. Madame de Soubise rightly thought that her
first step must be to gain over the Cardinal to her side. There was a
channel through which this could be done which at once suggested itself
to her mind. Cardinal Furstenberg, it was said, had been much enamoured
of the Comtesse de La Marck, and had married her to one of his nephews,
in order that he might thus see her more easily. It was also said that
he had been well treated, and it is certain that nothing was so striking
as the resemblance, feature for feature, of the Comte de La Marck to
Cardinal de Furstenberg. If the Count was not the son of the Cardinal he
was nothing to him. The attachment of Cardinal Furstenberg for the
Comtesse de La Marck did not abate when she became by her marriage
Comtesse de Furstenberg; indeed he could not exist without her; she lived
and reigned in his house. Her son, the Comte de La Marck, lived there
also, and her dominion over the Cardinal was so public, that whoever had
affairs with him spoke to the Countess, if he wished to succeed. She had
been very beautiful, and at fifty-two years of age, still showed it,
although tall, stout, and coarse featured as a Swiss guard in woman's
clothes. She was, moreover, bold, audacious, talking loudly and always
with authority; was polished, however, and of good manners when she
pleased. Being the most imperious woman in the world, the Cardinal was
fairly tied to her apron-strings, and scarcely dared to breathe in her
presence. In dress and finery she spent like a prodigal, played every
night, and lost large sums, oftentimes staking her jewels and her various
ornaments. She was a woman who loved herself alone, who wished for
everything, and who refused herself nothing, not even, it was said,
certain gallantries which the poor Cardinal was obliged to pay for, as
for everything else. Her extravagance was such, that she was obliged to
pass six or seven months of the year in the country, in order to have
enough to spend in Paris during the remainder of the year.

It was to the Comtesse de Furstenberg, therefore, that Madame de Soubise
addressed herself in order to gain over the support of Cardinal de
Furstenberg, in behalf of her son. Rumour said, and it was never
contradicted, that Madame de Soubise paid much money to the Cardinal
through the Countess, in order to carry this point. It is certain that
in addition to the prodigious pensions the Cardinal drew from the King,
he touched at this time a gratification of forty thousand crowns, that it
was pretended had been long promised him.

Madame de Soubise having thus assured herself of the Countess and the
Cardinal (and they having been privately thanked by the King), she caused
an order to be sent to Cardinal de Bouillon, who was then at Rome,
requesting him to ask the Pope in the name of the King, for a bull
summoning the Chapter of Strasbourg to meet and elect a coadjutor and a
declaration of the eligibility of the Abbe de Soubise.

But here a new obstacle arose in the path of Madame de Soubise. Cardinal
de Bouillon, a man of excessive pride and pretension, who upon reaching
Rome claimed to be addressed as "Most Eminent Highness," and obtaining
this title from nobody except his servants, set himself at loggerheads
with all the city--Cardinal de Bouillon, I say, was himself canon of
Strasbourg, and uncle of the Abbe d'Auvergne. So anxious was the
Cardinal to secure the advancement of the Abbe d'Auvergne, that he had
already made a daring and fraudulent attempt to procure for him a
cardinalship. But the false representations which he made in order to
carry his point, having been seen through, his attempt came to nothing,
and he himself lost all favour with the King for his deceit. He,
however; hoped to make the Abbe d'Auvergne bishop of Strasbourg, and was
overpowered, therefore, when he saw this magnificent prey about to escape
him. The news came upon him like a thunderbolt. It was bad enough to
see his hopes trampled under foot; it was insupportable to be obliged to
aid in crushing them. Vexation so transported and blinded him, that he
forgot the relative positions of himself and of Madame de Soubise, and
imagined that he should be able to make the King break a resolution he
had taken, and an engagement he had entered into. He sent therefore, as
though he had been a great man, a letter to the King, telling him that he
had not thought sufficiently upon this matter, and raising scruples
against it. At the same time he despatched a letter to the canons of
Strasbourg, full of gall and compliments, trying to persuade them that
the Abbe de Soubise was too young for the honour intended him, and
plainly intimating that the Cardinal de Furstenberg had been gained over
by a heavy bribe paid to the Comtesse de Furstenberg. These letters.
made a terrible uproar.

I was at the palace on Tuesday, March 30th, and after supper I saw Madame
de Soubise arrive, leading the Comtesse de Furstenberg, both of whom
posted themselves at the door of the King's cabinet. It was not that
Madame de Soubise had not the privilege of entering if she pleased, but
she preferred making her complaint as public as the charges made against
her by Cardinal de Bouillon had become. I approached in order to witness
the scene. Madame de Soubise appeared scarcely able to contain herself,
and the Countess seemed furious. As the King passed, they stopped him.
Madame de Soubise said two words in a low tone. The Countess in a louder
strain demanded justice against the Cardinal de Bouillon, who, she said,
not content in his pride and ambition with disregarding the orders of the
King, had calumniated her and Cardinal de Furstenberg in the most
atrocious manner, and had not even spared Madame de Soubise herself. The
King replied to her with much politeness, assured her she should be
contented, and passed on.

Madame de Soubise was so much the more piqued because Cardinal de
Bouillon had acquainted the King with the simony she had committed,
and assuredly if he had not been ignorant of this he would never have
supported her in the affair. She hastened therefore to secure the
success of her son, and was so well served by the whispered authority of
the King, and the money she had spent, that the Abbe de Soubise was
elected by unanimity Coadjutor of Strasbourg.

As for the Cardinal de Bouillon, foiled in all his attempts to prevent
the election, he wrote a second letter to the King, more foolish than the
first. This filled the cup to overflowing. For reply, he received
orders, by a courier, to quit Rome immediately and to retire to Cluni or
to Tournus, at his choice, until further orders. This order appeared so
cruel to him that he could not make up his mind to obey. He was
underdoyen of the sacred college. Cibo, the doyen, was no longer able to
leave his bed. To become doyen, it was necessary to be in Rome when the
appointment became vacant. Cardinal de Bouillon wrote therefore to the
King, begging to be allowed to stay a short time, in order to pray the
Pope to set aside this rule, and give him permission to succeed to the
doyenship, even although absent from Rome when it became vacant. He knew
he should not obtain this permission, but he asked for it in order to
gain time, hoping that in the meanwhile Cardinal Cibo might die, or even
the Pope himself, whose health had been threatened with ruin for some
time. This request of the Cardinal de Bouillon was refused. There
seemed nothing for him but to comply with the orders he had received.
But he had evaded them so long that he thought he might continue to do
so. He wrote to Pere la Chaise, begging him to ask the King for
permission to remain at Rome until the death of Cardinal Cibo, adding
that he would wait for a reply at Caprarole, a magnificent house of the
Duke of Parma, at eight leagues from Rome. He addressed himself to Pere
la Chaise, because M. de Torcy, to whom he had previously written, had
been forbidden to open his letters, and had sent him word to that effect.
Having, too, been always on the best of terms with the Jesuits, he hoped
for good assistance from Pere la Chaise. But he found this door closed
like that of M. de Torcy. Pere la Chaise wrote to Cardinal de Bouillon
that he too was prohibited from opening his letters. At the same time a
new order was sent to the Cardinal to set out immediately. Just after he
had read it Cardinal Cibo died, and the Cardinal de Bouillon hastened at
once to Rome to secure the doyenship, writing to the King to say that he
had done so, that he would depart in twenty-four hours, and expressing a
hope that this delay would not be refused him. This was laughing at the
King and his orders, and becoming doyen in spite of him. The King,
therefore, displayed his anger immediately he learnt this last act of
disobedience. He sent word immediately to M. de Monaco to command the
Cardinal de Bouillon to surrender his charge of grand chaplain, to give
up his cordon bleu, and to take down the arms of France from the door of
his palace; M. de Monaco was also ordered to prohibit all French people
in Rome from seeing Cardinal de Bouillon, or from having any
communication with him. M. de Monaco, who hated the Cardinal, hastened
willingly to obey these instructions. The Cardinal appeared overwhelmed,
but he did not even then give in. He pretended that his charge of grand
chaplain was a crown office, of which he could not be dispossessed,
without resigning. The King, out of all patience with a disobedience so
stubborn and so marked, ordered, by a decree in council, on the 12th
September, the seizure of all the Cardinal's estates, laical and
ecclesiastical, the latter to be confiscated to the state, the former to
be divided into three portions, and applied to various uses. The same
day the charge of grand chaplain was given to Cardinal Coislin, and that
of chief chaplain to the Bishop of Metz. The despair of the Cardinal
de Bouillon, on hearing of this decree, was extreme. Pride had hitherto
hindered him from believing that matters would be pushed so far against
him. He sent in his resignation only when it was no longer needed of
him. His order he would not give up. M. de Monaco warned him that,
in case of refusal, he had orders to snatch it from his neck. Upon this
the Cardinal saw the folly of holding out against the orders of the King.
He quitted then the marks of the order, but he was pitiful enough to wear
a narrow blue ribbon, with a cross of gold attached, under his cassock,
and tried from time to time to show a little of the blue. A short time
afterwards, to make the best of a bad bargain, he tried to persuade
himself and others, that no cardinal was at liberty to wear the orders of
any prince. But it was rather late in the day to think of this, after
having worn the order of the King for thirty years, as grand chaplain;
and everybody thought so, and laughed at the idea.


Chateauneuf, Secretary of State, died about this time. He had asked that
his son, La Vrilliere, might be allowed to succeed him, and was much
vexed that the King refused this favour. The news of Chateauneuf's death
was brought to La Vrilliere by a courier, at five o'clock in the morning.
He did not lose his wits at the news, but at once sent and woke up the
Princesse d'Harcourt, and begged her to come and see him instantly.
Opening his purse, he prayed her to go and see Madame de Maintenon as
soon as she got up, and propose his marriage with Mademoiselle de Mailly,
whom he would take without dowry, if the King gave him his father's
appointments. The Princesse d'Harcourt, whose habit it was to accept any
sum, from a crown upwards, willingly undertook this strange business.
She went upon her errand immediately, and then repaired to Madame de
Mailly, who without property, and burdened with a troop of children--sons
and daughters, was in no way averse to the marriage.

The King, upon getting up, was duly made acquainted with La Vrilliere's
proposal, and at once agreed to it. There was only one person opposed to
the marriage, and that was Mademoiselle de Mailly. She was not quite
twelve years of age. She burst out a-crying, and declared she was very
unhappy, that she would not mind marrying a poor man, if necessary,
provided he was a gentleman, but that to marry a paltry bourgeois, in
order to make his fortune, was odious to her. She was furious against
her mother and against Madame de Maintenon. She could not be kept quiet
or appeased, or hindered from making grimaces at La Vrilliere and all his
family, who came to see her and her mother.

They felt it; but the bargain was made, and was too good to be broken.
They thought Mademoiselle de Mailly's annoyance would pass with her
youth--but they were mistaken. Mademoiselle de Mailly always was sore at
having been made Madame de la Vrilliere, and people often observed it.

At the marriage of Monseigneur the Duc de Bourgogne, the King had offered
to augment considerably his monthly income. The young Prince, who found
it sufficient, replied with thanks, and said that if money failed him at
any time he would take the liberty, of asking the King for more. Finding
himself short just now, he was as good as his word. The King praised him
highly, and told him to ask whenever he wanted money, not through a third
person, but direct, as he had done in this instance. The King, moreover,
told the Duc de Bourgogne to play without fear, for it was of no
consequence how much such persons as he might lose. The King was pleased
with confidence, but liked not less to see himself feared; and when timid
people who spoke to him discovered themselves, and grew embarrassed in
their discourse, nothing better made their court, or advanced their

The Archbishop of Rheims presided this year over the assembly of the
clergy, which was held every five years. It took place on this occasion
at Saint Germains, although the King of England occupied the chateau. M.
de Rheims kept open table there, and had some champagne that was much
vaunted. The King of England, who drank scarcely any other wine, heard
of this and asked for some. The Archbishop sent him six bottles. Some
time after, the King of England, who had much relished the wine, sent and
asked for more. The Archbishop, more sparing of his wine than of his
money, bluntly sent word that his wine was not mad, and did not run
through the streets; and sent none. However accustomed people might be
to the rudeness of the Archbishop, this appeared so strange that it was
much spoken of: but that was all.

M. de Vendome took another public leave of the King, the Princes, and the
Princesses, in order to place himself again under the doctor's hands.
He perceived at last that he was not cured, and that it would be long
before he was; so went to Anet to try and recover his health, but without
success better than before. He brought back a face upon which his state
was still more plainly printed than at first. Madame d'Uzes, only
daughter of the Prince de Monaco, died of this disease. She was a woman
of merit--very virtuous and unhappy--who merited a better fate.
M. d'Uzes was an obscure man, who frequented the lowest society, and
suffered less from its effects than his wife, who was much pitied and
regretted. Her children perished of the same disease, and she left none
behind her.--[Syphilis. D.W.]

Soon after this the King ordered the Comtes d'Uzes and d'Albert to go to
the Conciergerie for having fought a duel against the Comtes de Rontzau,
a Dane, and Schwartzenberg, an Austrian. Uzes gave himself up, but the
Comte d'Albert did not do so for a long Time, and was broken for his
disobedience. He had been on more than good terms with Madame de
Luxembourg--the Comte de Rontzau also: hence the quarrel; the cause of
which was known by everybody, and made a great stir. Everybody knew it,
at least, except M. de Luxembourg, and said nothing, but was glad of it;
and yet in every direction he asked the reason; but, as may be imagined,
could find nobody to tell him, so that he went over and over again to M.
le Prince de Conti, his most intimate friend, praying him for information
upon the subject. M. de Conti related to me that on one occasion, coming
from Meudon, he was so solicited by M. de Luxembourg on this account,
that he was completely embarrassed, and never suffered to such an extent
in all his life. He contrived to put off M. de Luxembourg, and said
nothing, but was glad indeed to get away from him at the end of the

Le Notre died about this time, after having been eighty-eight years in
perfect health, and with all his faculties and good taste to the very
last. He was illustrious, as having been the first designer of those
beautiful gardens which adorn France, and which, indeed, have so
surpassed the gardens of Italy, that the most famous masters of that
country come here to admire and learn. Le Notre had a probity, an
exactitude, and an uprightness which made him esteemed and loved by
everybody. He never forgot his position, and was always perfectly
disinterested. He worked for private people as for the King, and with
the same application--seeking only to aid nature, and to attain the
beautiful by the shortest road. He was of a charming simplicity and
truthfulness. The Pope, upon one occasion, begged the King to lend him
Le Notre for some months. On entering the Pope's chamber, instead of
going down upon his knees, Le Notre ran to the Holy Father, clasped him
round the neck, kissed him on the two cheeks, and said--"Good morning,
Reverend Father; how well you look, and how glad I am to see you in such
good health."

The Pope, who was Clement X., Altieri, burst out laughing with all his
might. He was delighted with this odd salutation, and showed his
friendship towards the gardener in a thousand ways. Upon Le Notre's
return, the King led him into the gardens of Versailles, and showed him
what had been done in his absence. About the Colonnade he said nothing.
The King pressed him to give his opinion thereupon.

"Why, sire," said Le Notre, "what can I say? Of a mason you have made a
gardener, and he has given you a sample of his trade."

The King kept silence and everybody laughed; and it was true that this
morsel of architecture, which was anything but a fountain, and yet which
was intended to be one, was much out of place in a garden. A month
before Le Notre's death, the King, who liked to see him and to make him
talk, led him into the gardens, and on account of his great age, placed
him in a wheeled chair, by the side of his own. Upon this Le Notre said,
"Ah, my poor father, if you were living and could see a simple gardener
like me, your son, wheeled along in a chair by the side of the greatest
King in the world, nothing would be wanting to my joy!"

Le Notre was Overseer of the Public Buildings, and lodged at the
Tuileries, the garden of which (his design), together with the Palace,
being under his charge. All that he did is still much superior to
everything that has been done since, whatever care may have been taken to
imitate and follow him as closely as possible. He used to say of flower-
beds that they were only good for nurses, who, not being able to quit the
children, walked on them with their eyes, and admired them from the
second floor. He excelled, nevertheless, in flowerbeds, as in everything
concerning gardens; but he made little account of them, and he was right,
for they are the spots upon which people never walk.

The King of England (William III.) lost the Duke of Gloucester, heir-
presumptive to the crown. He was eleven years of age, and was the only
son of the Princess of Denmark, sister of the defunct Queen Mary, wife of
William. His preceptor was Doctor Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, who was
in the secret of the invasion, and who passed into England with the
Prince of Orange at the Revolution, of which Revolution he has left a
very fraudulent history, and many other works of as little truth and good
faith. The underpreceptor was the famous Vassor, author of the "History
of Louis XIII.," which would be read with more pleasure if there were
less spite against the Catholic religion, and less passion against the
King. With those exceptions it is excellent and true. Vassor must have
been singularly well informed of the anecdotes that he relates, and which
escape almost all historians. I have found there, for instance, the Day
of the Dupes related precisely as my father has related it to me, and
several other curious things not less exact. This author has made such a
stir that it is worth while to say something about him. He was a priest
of the Oratory, and in much estimation as a man whose manners were
without reproach. After a time, however, he was found to have disclosed
a secret that had been entrusted to him, and to have acted the spy on
behalf of the Jesuits. The proofs of his treason were found upon his
table, and were so conclusive that there was nothing for him but to leave
the Oratory. He did so, and being deserted by his Jesuit employers,
threw himself into La Trappe. But he did not enter the place in a proper
spirit, and in a few days withdrew. After this he went to the Abbey of
Perseigne, hired a lodging there, and remained several months. But he
was continually at loggerheads with the monks. Their garden was separate
from his only by a thick hedge; their fowls could jump over it. He laid
the blame upon the monks, and one day caught as many of their fowls as he
could; cut off their beaks and their spurs with a cleaver, and threw them
back again over the hedge. This was cruelty so marked that I could not
refrain from relating it.

Vassor did not long remain in this retreat, but returned to Paris, and
still being unable to gain a living, passed into Holland, from rage and
hunger became a Protestant, and set himself to work to live by his pen.
His knowledge, talent, and intelligence procured him many friends, and
his reputation reached England, into which country he passed, hoping to
gain there more fortune than in Holland. Burnet received him with open
arms, and obtained for him the post of under-preceptor to the Duke of
Gloucester. It would have been difficult to have found two instructors
so opposed to the Catholics and to France, or so well suited to the King
as teachers of his successor.

Among so many things which paved the way for the greatest events, a very
strange one happened, which from its singularity merits a short recital.
For many years the Comtesse de Verrue lived at Turin, mistress, publicly,
of M. de Savoie. The Comtesse de Verrue was daughter of the Duc de
Luynes, and had been married in Piedmont, when she was only fourteen
years of age, to the Comte de Verrue, young, handsome, rich, and honest;
whose mother was lady of honour to Madame de Savoie.

M. de Savoie often met the Comtesse de Verrue, and soon found her much to
his taste. She saw this, and said so to her husband and her mother-in-
law. They praised her, but took no further notice of the matter. M. de
Savoie redoubled his attentions, and, contrary to his usual custom, gave
fetes, which the Comtesse de Verrue felt were for her. She did all she
could not to attend them, but her mother-in-law quarrelled with her, said
she wished to play the important, and that it was her vanity which gave
her these ideas. Her husband, more gentle, desired her to attend these
fetes, saying that even if M. de Savoie were really in love with her, it
would not do to fail in anything towards him. Soon after M. de Savoie
spoke to the Comtesse de Verrue. She told her husband and her mother-in-
law, and used every entreaty in order to prevail upon them to let her go
and pass some time in the country. They would not listen to her, and
seeing no other course open, she feigned to be ill, and had herself sent
to the waters of Bourbon. She wrote to her father, the Duc de Luynes, to
meet her there, and set out under the charge of the Abbe de Verrue; uncle
of her husband. As soon as the Duc de Luynes arrived at Bourbon, and
became acquainted with the danger which threatened his daughter; he
conferred with the Abbe as to the best course to adopt, and agreed with
him that the Countess should remain away from Turin some time, in order
that M. de Savoie might get cured of his passion. M. de Luynes little
thought that he had conferred with a wolf who wished to carry off his
lamb. The Abbe de Verrue, it seems, was himself violently in love with
the Countess, and directly her father had gone declared the state of his
heart. Finding himself only repulsed, the miserable old man turned his
love into hate; ill-treated the Countess, and upon her return to Turin,
lost no opportunity of injuring her in the eyes of her husband and her

The Comtesse de Verrue suffered this for some time, but at last her
virtue yielded to the bad treatment she received. She listened to M. de
Savoie, and delivered herself up to him in order to free herself from
persecution. Is not this a real romance? But it happened in our own
time, under the eyes and to the knowledge of everybody.

When the truth became known, the Verrues were in despair, although they
had only themselves to blame for what had happened. Soon the new
mistress ruled all the Court of Savoy, whose sovereign was at her feet as
before a goddess. She disposed of the favours of her lover, and was
feared and courted by the ministry. Her haughtiness made her hated; she
was poisoned; M. de Savoie gave her a subtle antidote, which fortunately
cured her, and without injury to her beauty. Her reign still lasted.
After a while she had the small-pox. M. de Savoie tended her during this
illness, as though he had been a nurse; and although her face suffered a
little by it, he loved her not the less. But he loved her after his own
fashion. He kept her shut up from view, and at last she grew so tired of
her restraint that she determined to fly. She conferred with her
brother, the Chevalier de Luynes, who served with much distinction in the
navy, and together they arranged the matter.

They seized an opportunity when M. de Savoie had gone on a tour to
Chambery, and departed furtively. Crossing our frontier, they arrived m
Paris, where the Comtesse de Verrue, who had grown very rich, took a
house, and by degrees succeeded in getting people to come and see her,
though, at first, owing to the scandal of her life, this was difficult.
In the end, her opulence gained her a large number of friends, and she
availed herself so well of her opportunities, that she became of much
importance, and influenced strongly the government. But that time goes
beyond my memoirs. She left in Turin a son and a daughter, both
recognised by M. de Savoie, after the manner of our King. He loved
passionately these, illegitimate children, and married the daughter to
the Prince de Carignan.

Mademoiselle de Conde died at Paris on October 24th, after a long
illness, from a disease in the chest, which consumed her less than the
torments she experienced without end from M. le Prince, her father, whose
continual caprices were the plague of all those over whom he could
exercise them. Almost all the children of M. le Prince were little
bigger than dwarfs, which caused M. le Prince, who was tall, to say in
pleasantry, that if his race went on always thus diminishing it would
come to nothing. People attributed the cause to a dwarf that Madame la
Princesse had had for a long time near her.

At the funeral of Mademoiselle de Conde, a very indecorous incident
happened. My mother, who was invited to take part in the ceremony, went
to the Hotel de Conde, in a coach and six horses, to join Mademoiselle
d'Enghien. When the procession was about to start the Duchesse de
Chatillon tried to take precedence of my mother. But my mother called
upon Mademoiselle d'Enghien to prevent this, or else to allow her to
return. Madame de Chatillon persisted in her attempt, saying that
relationship decided the question of precedence on these occasions, and
that she was a nearer relative to the deceased than my mother. My
mother, in a cold but haughty tone, replied that she could pardon this
mistake on account of the youth and ignorance of Madame de Chatillon; but
that in all such cases it was rank and not relationship which decided the
point. The dispute was at last put to an end by Madame de Chatillon
giving way. But when the procession started an attempt was made by her
coachman to drive before the coach of my mother, and one of the company
had to descend and decide the dispute. On the morrow M. le Prince sent
to apologise to my mother for the occurrence that had taken place, and
came himself shortly afterwards full of compliments and excuses. I never
could understand what induced Madame de Chatillon to take this fancy into
her head; but she was much ashamed of it afterwards, and made many
excuses to my mother.

I experienced, shortly after this, at Fontainebleau, one of the greatest
afflictions I had ever endured. I mean the loss of M. de La Trappe,
These Memoirs are too profane to treat slightly of a life so sublimely
holy, and of a death so glorious and precious before God. I will content
myself with saying here that praises of M. de La Trappe were so much the
more great and prolonged because the King eulogised him in public; that
he wished to see narrations of his death; and that he spoke more than
once of it to his grandsons by way of instruction. In every part of
Europe this great loss was severely felt. The Church wept for him, and
the world even rendered him justice. His death, so happy for him and so
sad for his friends, happened on the 26th of October, towards half-past
twelve, in the arms of his bishop, and in presence of his community, at
the age of nearly seventy-seven years, and after nearly forty years of
the most prodigious penance. I cannot omit, however, the most touching
and the most honourable mark of his friendship. Lying upon the ground,
on straw and ashes, in order to die like all the brethren of La Trappe,
he deigned, of his own accord, to recollect me, and charged the Abbe La
Trappe to send word to me, on his part, that as he was quite sure of my
affection for him, he reckoned that I should not doubt of his tenderness
for me. I check myself at this point; everything I could add would be
too much out of place here.


But with a crawling baseness equal to her previous audacity
He limped audaciously
Height to which her insignificance had risen
His death, so happy for him and so sad for his friends
His habits were publicly known to be those of the Greeks
In order to say something cutting to you, says it to himself
Madame de Maintenon in returning young and poor from America
No means, therefore, of being wise among so many fools
Omissions must be repaired as soon as they are perceived
Pope excommunicated those who read the book or kept it
She lose her head, and her accomplice to be broken on the wheel
The clergy, to whom envy is not unfamiliar
The porter and the soldier were arrested and tortured
Whitehall, the largest and ugliest palace in Europe
World; so unreasoning, and so little in accord with itself

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