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The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, v8 by Duc de Saint-Simon

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This etext was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an
entire meal of them. D.W.]





State of the Country.--New Taxes.--The King's Conscience Troubled.--
Decision of the Sorbonne.--Debate in the Council.--Effect of the Royal
Tithe.--Tax on Agioteurs.--Merriment at Court.--Death of a Son of
Marechal Boufflers.--The Jesuits.


My Interview with Du Mont.--A Mysterious Communication. --Anger of
Monseigneur against Me.--Household of the Duchesse de Berry.--Monseigneur
Taken Ill of the Smallpox.--Effect of the News.--The King Goes to
Meudon.--The Danger Diminishes.--Madame de Maintenon at Meudon.--The
Court at Versailles.--Hopes and Fears.--The Danger Returns.--Death of
Monseigneur.--Conduct of the King.


A Rumour Reaches Versailles.--Aspect of the Court.--Various Forms of
Grief.--The Duc d'Orleans.--The News Confirmed at Versailles.--Behaviour
of the Courtiers.--The Duc and Duchesse de Berry.--The Duc and Duchesse
de Bourgogne.--Madame.--A Swiss Asleep.--Picture of a Court.--The Heir-
Apparent's Night.--The King Returns to Marly.--Character of Monseigneur.
--Effect of His Death.


State of the Court at Death of Monseigneur.--Conduct of the Dauphin and
the Dauphine.--The Duchesse de Berry.--My Interview with the Dauphin.--
He is Reconciled with M. d'Orleans.


Warnings to the Dauphin and the Dauphine.--The Dauphine Sickens and
Dies.--Illness of the Dauphin.--His Death.--Character and Manners of the
Dauphine.--And of the Dauphin.


Certainty of Poison.--The Supposed Criminal.--Excitement of the People
against M. d'Orleans.--The Cabal.--My Danger and Escape.--The Dauphin's


Although, as we have just seen, matters were beginning to brighten a
little in Spain, they remained as dull and overcast as ever in France.
The impossibility of obtaining peace, and the exhaustion of the realm,
threw, the King into the most cruel anguish, and Desmarets into the
saddest embarrassment. The paper of ail kinds with which trade was
inundated, and which had all more or less lost credit, made a chaos for
which no remedy could be perceived. State-bills, bank-bills, receiver-
general's-bills, title-bills, utensil-bills, were the ruin of private
people, who were forced by the King to take them in payment, and who lost
half, two-thirds, and sometimes more, by the transaction. This
depreciation enriched the money people, at the expense of the public; and
the circulation of money ceased, because there was no longer any money;
because the King no longer paid anybody, but drew his revenues still; and
because all the specie out of his control was locked up in the coffers of
the possessors.

The capitation tax was doubled and trebled, at the will of the Intendants
of the Provinces; merchandise and all kinds of provision were taxed to
the amount of four times their value; new taxes of all kinds and upon all
sorts of things were exacted; all this crushed nobles and roturiers,
lords and clergy, and yet did not bring enough to the King, who drew the
blood of all his subjects, squeezed out their very marrow, without
distinction, and who enriched an army of tax-gatherers and officials of
all kinds, in whose hands the best part of what was collected remained.

Desmarets, in whom the King had been forced to put all his confidence in
finance matters, conceived the idea of establishing, in addition to so
many taxes, that Royal Tithe upon all the property of each community and
of each private person of the realm, that the Marechal de Vauban, on the
one hand, and Boisguilbert on the other, had formerly proposed; but, as I
have already described, as a simple and stile tax which would suffice for
all, which would all enter the coffers of the King, and by means of which
every other impost would be abolished.

We have seen what success this proposition met with; how the fanciers
trembled at it; how the ministers blushed at it, with what anathemas it
was rejected, and to what extent these two excellent and skilful citizens
were disgraced. All this must be recollected here, since Desmarets, who
had not lost sight of this system (not as relief and remedy--unpardonable
crimes in the financial doctrine), now had recourse to it.

He imparted his project to three friends, Councillors of State, who
examined it well, and worked hard to see how to overcome the obstacles
which arose in the way of its execution. In the first place, it was
necessary, in order to collect this tax, to draw from each person a clear
statement of his wealth, of his debts, and so on. It was necessary to
demand sure proofs on these points so as not to be deceived. Here was
all the difficulty. Nothing was thought of the desolation this extra
impost must cause to a prodigious number of men, or of their despair upon
finding themselves obliged to disclose their family secrets; to hate a
lamp thrown, as it were, upon their most delicate parts; all these
things, I say, went for nothing. Less than a month sufficed these humane
commissioners to render an account of this gentle project to the Cyclops
who had charged them with it. Desmarets thereupon proposed it to the
King, who, accustomed as he was to the most ruinous imposts, could not
avoid being terrified at this. For a long while he had heard nothing
talked of but the most extreme misery; this increase saddened him in a
manner so evident, that his valets perceived it several days running, and
were so disturbed at it, that Marechal (who related all this curious
anecdote to me) made bold to speak to the King upon this sadness, fearing
for his health. The King avowed to him that he felt infinite trouble,
and threw himself vaguely upon the state of affairs. Eight or ten days.
after (during which he continued to feel the same melancholy), the King
regained his usual calmness, and called Marechal to explain the cause of
his trouble.

The King related to Marechal that the extremity of his affairs had forced
him to put on furious imposts; that setting aside compassion, scruples
had much tormented him for taking thus the wealth of his subjects; that
at last he had unbosomed himself to the Pere Tellier, who had asked for a
few days to think upon the matter, and that he had returned after having
had a consultation with some of the most skilful doctors of the Sorbonne,
who had decided that all the wealth of his subjects was his, and that
when he took it he only took what belonged to him! The King added, that
this decision had taken away all his scruples, and had restored to him
the calm and tranquillity he had lost. Marechal was so astonished, so
bewildered to hear, this recital, that he could not offer one word.
Happily for him, the King quitted him almost immediately, and Marechal
remained some time in the same place, scarcely knowing where he was.

After the King had been thus satisfied by his confessor, no time was lost
in establishing the tax. On Tuesday, the 30th of September, Desmarets
entered the Finance Council with the necessary edict in his bag.

For some days everybody had known of this bombshell in the air, and had
trembled with that remnant of hope which is founded only upon desire; all
the Court as well as all Paris waited in a dejected sadness to see what
would happen. People whispered to each other, and even when the project
was rendered public, no one dared to talk of it aloud.

On the day above-named, the King brought forward this measure in the
Council, by saying, that the impossibility of obtaining peace, and the
extreme difficulty of sustaining the war, had caused Desmarets to look
about in order to discover some means, which should appear good, of
raising money; that he had pitched upon this tax; that he (the King),
although sorry to adopt such a resource, approved it, and had no doubt
the Council would do so likewise, when it was explained to them.
Desmarets, in a pathetic discourse, then dwelt upon the reasons which had
induced him to propose this tax, and afterwards read the edict through
from beginning to end without interruption.

No one spoke, moreover, when it was over, until the King asked
D'Aguesseau his opinion. D'Aguesseau replied, that it would be necessary
for him to take home the edict and read it through very carefully before
expressing an opinion. The King said that D'Aguesseau was right--it
would take a long time to examine the edict--but after all, examination
was unnecessary, and would only be loss of time. All remained silent
again, except the Duc de Beauvilliers, who, seduced by the nephew of
Colbert, whom he thought an oracle in finance, said a few words in favour
of the project.

Thus was settled this bloody business, and immediately after signed,
sealed, and registered, among stifled sobs, and published amidst the most
gentle but most piteous complaints. The product of this tax was nothing
like so much as had been imagined in this bureau of Cannibals; and the
King did not pay a single farthing more to any one than he had previously
done. Thus all the fine relief expected by this tax ended in smoke.

The Marechal de Vauban had died of grief at the ill-success of his task
and his zeal, as I have related in its place. Poor Boisguilbert, in the
exile his zeal had brought him, was terribly afflicted, to find he had
innocently given advice which he intended for the relief of the State,
but which had been made use of in this frightful manner. Every man,
without exception, saw himself a prey to the tax-gatherers: reduced to
calculate and discuss with them his own patrimony, to receive their
signature and their protection under the most terrible pains; to show in
public all the secrets of his family; to bring into the broad open
daylight domestic turpitudes enveloped until then in the folds of
precautions the wisest and the most multiplied. Many had to convince the
tax agents, but vainly, that although proprietors, they did not enjoy the
tenth part of them property. All Languedoc offered to give up its entire
wealth, if allowed to enjoy, free from every impost, the tenth part of
it. The proposition not only was not listened to, but was reputed an
insult and severely blamed.

Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne spoke openly against this tax; and
against the finance people, who lived upon the very marrow of the people;
spoke with a just and holy anger that recalled the memory of Saint-Louis,
of Louis XII., Father of the People, and of Louis the Just. Monseigneur,
too, moved by this indignation, so unusual, of his son, sided with him,
and showed anger at so many exactions as injurious as barbarous, and at
so many insignificant men so monstrously enriched with the nation's
blood. Both father and son infinitely surprised those who heard them,
and made themselves looked upon, in some sort as resources from which
something might hereafter be hoped for. But the edict was issued, and
though there might be some hope in the future, there was none in the
present. And no one knew who was to be the real successor of Louis XIV.,
and how under the next government we were to be still more overwhelmed
than under this one.

One result of this tax was, that it enabled the King to augment all his
infantry with five men per company.

A tax was also levied upon the usurers, who had much gained by
trafficking in the paper of the King, that is to say, had taken advantage
of the need of those to whom the King gave this paper in payment. These
usurers are called 'agioteurs'. Their mode was, ordinarily, to give, for
example, according as the holder of paper was more or less pressed, three
or four hundred francs (the greater part often in provisions), for a bill
of a thousand francs! This game was called 'agio'. It was said that
thirty millions were obtained from this tax. Many people gained much by
it; I know not if the King was the better treated.

Soon after this the coin was re-coined, by which much profit was made for
the King, and much wrong done to private people and to trade. In all
times it has, been regarded as a very great misfortune to meddle with
corn and money. Desmarets has accustomed us to tricks with the money;
M. le Duc and Cardinal Fleury to interfere with corn and to fictitious

At the commencement of December, the King declared that he wished there
should be, contrary to custom, plays and "apartments" at Versailles even
when Monseigneur should be at Meudon. He thought apparently he must keep
his Court full of amusements, to hide, if it was possible, abroad and at
home, the disorder and the extremity of affairs. For the same reason,
the carnival was opened early this season, and all through the winter
there were many balls of all kinds at the Court, where the wives of the
ministers gave very magnificent displays, like fetes, to Madame la
Duchesse de Bourgogne and to all the Court.

But Paris did not remain less wretched or the provinces less desolated.

And thus I have arrived at the end of 1710.

At the commencement of the following year, 1711, that is to say, a few
days after the middle of March, a cruel misfortune happened to the
Marechal de Boufflers. His eldest son was fourteen years of age,
handsome, well made, of much promise, and who succeeded marvellously at
the Court, when his father presented him there to the King to thank his
Majesty for the reversion of the government of Flow and of Lille. He
returned afterwards to the College of the Jesuits, where he was being
educated. I know not what youthful folly he was guilty of with the two
sons of D'Argenson; but the Jesuits, wishing to show that they made no
distinction of persons, whipped the little lad, because, to say the
truth, they had nothing to fear from the Marechal de Boufflers; but they
took good care to left the others off, although equally guilty, because
they had to reckon with D'Argenson, lieutenant of the police, of much
credit in book matters, Jansenism, and all sorts of things and affairs in
which they were interested.

Little Boufflers, who was full of courage, and who had done no more than
the two Argensons, and with them, was seized with such despair, that he
fell ill that same day. He was carried to the Marechal's house, but it
was impossible to save him. The heart was seized, the blood diseased,
the purples appeared; in four days all was over. The state of the father
and mother may be imagined! The King, who was much touched by it, did
not let them ask or wait for him. He sent one of his gentlemen to
testify to them the share he had in their loss, and announced that he
would give to their remaining son 'what he had already given to the
other. As for the Jesuits, the universal cry against them was
prodigious; but that was all. This would be the place, now that I am
speaking of the Jesuits, to speak of another affair in which they were
concerned. But I pass over, for the present, the dissensions that broke
out at about this time, and that ultimately led to the famous Papal Bull
Unigenitus, so fatal to the Church and to the State, so shameful far
Rome, and so injurious to religion; and I proceed to speak of the great
event of this year which led to others so memorable and so unexpected.


But in Order to understand the part I played in the event I have alluded
to and the interest I took in it, it is necessary for me to relate some
personal matters that occurred in the previous year. Du Mont was one of
the confidants of Monseigneur; but also had never forgotten what his
father owed to mine. Some days after the commencement of the second
voyage to Marly, subsequently to the marriage of the Duchesse de Berry,
as I was coming back from the King's mass, the said Du Mont, in the crush
at the door of the little salon of the chapel, took an opportunity when
he was not perceived, to pull me by my coat, and when I turned round put
a finger to his lips, and pointed towards the gardens which are at the
bottom of the river, that is to say, of that superb cascade which the
Cardinal Fleury has destroyed, and which faced the rear of the chateau.
At the same time du Mont whispered in my car: "To the arbours!" That part
of the garden was surrounded with arbours palisaded so as to conceal what
was inside. It was the least frequented place at Marly, leading to
nothing; and in the afternoon even, and the evening, few people within

Uneasy to know what Du Mont wished to communicate with so much mystery,
I gently went towards the arbours where, without being seen, I looked
through one of the openings until I saw him appear. He slipped in by the
corner of the chapel, and I went towards him. As he joined me he begged
me to return towards the river, so as to be still more out of the way;
and then we set ourselves against the thickest palisades, as far as
possible from all openings, so as to be still more concealed. All this
surprised and frightened me: I was still more so when I learned what was
the matter.

Du Mont then told me, on condition that I promised not to show that I
knew it, and not to make use of my knowledge in any way without his
consent, that two days after the marriage of the Duc de Berry, having
entered towards the end of the morning the cabinet of Monseigneur, he
found him alone, looking very serious. He followed Monseigneur, through
the gardens alone, until he entered by the window the apartments of the
Princesse de Conti, who was also alone. As he entered Monseigneur said
with an air not natural to him, and very inflamed--as if by way of
interrogation--that she "sat very quietly there." This frightened her
so, that she asked if there was any news from Flanders, and what had
happened. Monseigneur answered, in a tone of great annoyance, that there
was no news except that the Duc de Saint-Simon had said, that now that
the marriage of the Duc de Berry was brought about, it would be proper to
drive away Madame la Duchesse and the Princesse de Conti, after which it
would be easy to govern "the great imbecile," meaning himself. This was
why he thought she ought not to be so much at her ease. Then, suddenly,
as if lashing his sides to get into a greater rage, he spoke in a way
such a speech would have deserved, added menaces, said that he would have
the Duc de Bourgogne to fear me, to put me aside, and separate himself
entirely from me. This sort of soliloquy lasted a long time, and I was
not told what the Princesse de Conti said to it; but from the silence of
Du Mont, her annoyance at the marriage, I had brought about, and other
reasons, it seems to me unlikely that she tried to soften Monseigneur.

Du Mont begged me not, for a long time at least, to show that I knew what
had taken place, and to behave with the utmost prudence. Then he fled
away by the path he had come by, fearing to be seen. I remained walking
up and down in the arbour all the time, reflecting on the wickedness of
my enemies, and the gross credulity of Monseigneur. Then I ran away, and
escaped to Madame de Saint-Simon, who, as astonished and frightened as I,
said not a word of the communication I had received.

I never knew who had served me this ill-turn with Monseigneur, but I
always suspected Mademoiselle de Lillebonne. After a long time, having
obtained with difficulty the consent of the timid Du Mont, I made Madame
de Saint-Simon speak to the Duchesse de Bourgogne, who undertook to
arrange the affair as well as it could be arranged. The Duchesse spoke
indeed to Monseigneur, and showed him how ridiculously he had been
deceived, when he was persuaded that I could ever have entertained the
ideas attributed to me. Monseigneur admitted that he had been carried
away by anger; and that there was no likelihood that I should have
thought of anything so wicked and incredible.

About this time the household of the Duc and Duchesse de Berry was
constituted. Racilly obtained the splendid appointment of first surgeon,
and was worthy of it; but the Duchesse de Berry wept bitterly, because
she did not consider him of high family enough. She was not so delicate
about La Haye, whose appointment she rapidly secured. The fellow looked
in the glass more complaisantly than ever. He was well made, but stiff,
and with a face not at all handsome, and looking as if it had been
skinned. He was happy in more ways than one, and was far more attached
to his new mistress than to his master. The King was very angry when he
learned that the Duc de Berry had supplied himself with such an

Meantime, I continued on very uneasy terms with Monseigneur, since I had
learned his strange credulity with respect to me. I began to feel my
position very irksome, not to say painful, on this account. Meudon I
would not go to--for me it was a place infested with demons--yet by
stopping away I ran great risks of losing the favour and consideration I
enjoyed at Court. Monseigneur was a man so easily imposed upon, as I had
already experienced, and his intimate friends were so unscrupulous that
there was no saying what might be invented on the one side and swallowed
on the other, to my discredit. Those friends, too, were, I knew, enraged
against me for divers weighty reasons, and would stop at nothing, I was
satisfied, to procure my downfall. For want of better support I
sustained myself with courage. I said to myself, "We never experience
all the evil or all the good that we have apparently the most reason to
expect." I hoped, therefore, against hope, terribly troubled it must be
confessed on the score of Meudon. At Easter, this year, I went away to
La Ferme, far from the Court and the world, to solace myself as I could;
but this thorn in my side was cruelly sharp! At the moment the most
unlooked-for it pleased God to deliver me from it.

At La Ferme I had but few guests: M. de Saint-Louis, an old brigadier of
cavalry, and a Normandy gentleman, who had been in my regiment, and who
was much attached to me. On Saturday, the 11th of the month, and the day
before Quasimodo, I had been walking with them all the morning, and I had
entered all-alone into my cabinet a little before dinner, when a courier
sent by Madame de Saint-Simon, gave me a letter from her, in which I was
informed that Monseigneur was ill!

I learnt afterwards that this Prince, while on his way to Meudon for the
Easter fetes, met at Chaville a priest, who was carrying Our Lord to a
sick person. Monseigneur, and Madame de Bourgogne, who was with him,
knelt down to adore the Host, and then Monseigneur inquired what was the
malady of the patient. "The small-pox," he was told. That disease was
very prevalent just then. Monseigneur had had it, but very lightly, and
when young. He feared it very much, and was struck with the answer he
now received. In the evening he said to Boudin, his chief doctor, "I
should not be surprised if I were to have the small-pox." The, day,
however, passed over as usual.

On the morrow, Thursday, the 9th, Monseigneur rose, and meant to go out
wolf-hunting; but as he was dressing, such a fit of weakness seized him,
that he fell into his chair. Boudin made him get into bed again; but all
the day his pulse was in an alarming state. The King, only half informed
by Fagon of what had taken place, believed there was nothing the matter,
and went out walking at Marly after dinner, receiving news from time to
time. Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne and Madame de Bourgogne dined at
Meudon, and they would not quit Monseigneur for one moment. The Princess
added to the strict duties of a daughter-in-law all that her gracefulness
could suggest, and gave everything to Monseigneur with her own hand. Her
heart could not have been troubled by what her reason foresaw; but,
nevertheless, her care and attention were extreme, without any airs of
affectation or acting. The Duc de Bourgogne, simple and holy as he was,
and full of the idea of his duty, exaggerated his attention; and although
there was a strong suspicion of the small-pox, neither quitted
Monseigneur, except for the King's supper.

The next day, Friday, the 10th, in reply to his express demands, the King
was informed of the extremely dangerous state of Monseigneur. He had
said on the previous evening that he would go on the following morning to
Meudon, and remain there during all the illness of Monseigneur whatever
its nature might be. He was now as good as his word. Immediately after
mass he set out for Meudon. Before doing so, he forbade his children,
and all who had not had the small-pox, to go there, which was suggested
by a motive of kindness. With Madame de Maintenon and a small suite, he
had just taken up his abode in Meudon, when Madame de Saint-Simon sent me
the letter of which I have just made mention.

I will continue to speak of myself with the same truthfulness I speak of
others, and with as much exactness as possible. According to the terms
on which I was with Monseigneur and his intimates, may be imagined the
impression made upon me by this news. I felt that one way or other, well
or ill, the malady of Monseigneur would soon terminate. I was quite at
my ease at La Ferme. I resolved therefore to wait there until I received
fresh particulars. I despatched a courier to Madame de Saint-Simon,
requesting her to send me another the next day, and I passed the rest of
this day, in an ebb and flow of feelings; the man and the Christian
struggling against the man and the courtier, and in the midst of a crowd
of vague fancies catching glimpses of the future, painted in the most
agreeable colours.

The courier I expected so impatiently arrived the next day, Sunday, after
dinner. The small-pox had declared itself, I learnt, and was going on as
well as could be wished. I believed Monseigneur saved, and wished to
remain at my own house; nevertheless I took advice, as I have done all my
life, and with great regret set out the next morning. At La queue, about
six leagues from Versailles, I met a financier of the name of La
Fontaine, whom I knew well. He was coming from Paris and Versailles, and
came up to me as I changed horses. Monseigneur, he said, was going on
admirably; and he added details which convinced me he was out of all
danger. I arrived at Versailles, full of this opinion, which was
confirmed by Madame de Saint-Simon and everybody I met, so that nobody
any longer feared, except on account of the treacherous nature of this
disease in a very fat man of fifty.

The King held his Council, and worked in the evening with his ministers
as usual. He saw Monseigneur morning and evening, oftentimes in the
afternoon, and always remained long by the bedside. On the Monday I
arrived he had dined early, and had driven to Marly, where the Duchesse
de Bourgogne joined him. He saw in passing on the outskirts of the
garden of Versailles his grandchildren, who had come out to meet him, but
he would not let them come near, and said, "good day" from a distance.
The Duchesse de Bourgogne had had the small-pox, but no trace was left.

The King only liked his own houses, and could not bear to be anywhere
else. This was why his visits to Meudon were few and short, and only
made from complaisance. Madame de Maintenon was still more out of her
element there. Although her chamber was everywhere a sanctuary, where
only ladies entitled to the most extreme familiarity entered, she always
wanted another retreat near at hand entirely inaccessible except to the
Duchesse de Bourgogne alone, and that only for a few instants at a time.
Thus she had Saint-Cyr for Versailles and for Marly; and at Marly also a
particular retiring place; at Fontainebleau she had her town house.
Seeing therefore that Monseigneur was getting on well, and that a long
sojourn it Meudon would be necessary, the upholsterers of the King were
ordered to furnish a house in the park which once belonged to the
Chancellor le Tellier, but which Monseigneur had bought.

When I arrived at Versailles, I wrote to M. de Beauvilliers at Meudon
praying him to apprise the King that I had returned on account of the
illness of Monseigneur, and that I would have gone to see him, but that,
never having had the small-pox, I was included in the prohibition. M. de
Beauvilliers did as I asked, and sent word back to me that my return had
been very well timed, and that the King still forbade me as well as
Madame de Saint-Simon to go to Meudon. This fresh prohibition did not
distress me in the least. I was informed of all that was passing there;
and that satisfied me.

There were yet contrasts at Meudon worth noticing. Mademoiselle Choin
never appeared while the King was with Monseigneur, but kept close in her
loft. When the coast was clear she came out, and took up her position at
the sick man's bedside. All sorts of compliments passed between her and
Madame de Maintenon, yet the two ladies never met. The King asked Madame
de Maintenon if she had seen Mademoiselle Choin, and upon learning that
she had not, was but ill-pleased. Therefore Madame de Maintenon sent
excuses and apologies to Mademoiselle Choin, and hoped she said to see
her soon,--strange compliments from one chamber to another under the same
roof. They never saw each other afterwards.

It should be observed, that Pere Tellier was also incognito at Meudon,
and dwelt in a retired room from which he issued to see the King, but
never approached the apartments of Monseigneur.

Versailles presented another scene. Monseigneur le Duc and Madame la
Duchesse de Bourgogne held their Court openly there; and this Court
resembled the first gleamings of the dawn. All the Court assembled
there; all Paris also; and as discretion and precaution were never French
virtues, all Meudon came as well. People were believed on their word
when they declared that they had not entered the apartments of
Monseigneur that day, and consequently could not bring the infection.
When the Prince and Princess rose, when they weft to bed, when they dined
and supped with the ladies,--all public conversations--all meals--all
assembled--were opportunities of paying court to them. The apartments
could not contain the crowd. The characteristic features of the room
were many. Couriers arrived every quarter of an hour, and reminded
people of the illness of Monseigneur--he was going on as well as could be
expected; confidence and hope were easily felt; but there was an extreme
desire to please at the new Court. The young Prince and the Princess
exhibited majesty and gravity, mixed with gaiety; obligingly received
all, continually spoke to every one; the crowd wore an air of
complaisance; reciprocal satisfaction showed in every face; the Duc and
Duchesse de Berry ware treated almost as nobody. Thus five days fled
away in increasing thought of future events--in preparation to be ready
for whatever might happen.

On Tuesday, the 14th of April, I went to see the chancellor, and asked
for information upon the state of Monseigneur. He assured me it was
good, and repeated to me the words Fagon had spoken to him, "that things
were going an according to their wishes, and beyond their hopes." The
Chancellor appeared to me very confident, and I had faith in him, so much
the more, because he was on extremely good footing with Monseigneur. The
Prince, indeed, had so much recovered, that the fish-women came in a body
the self-same day to congratulate him, as they did after his attack of
indigestion. They threw the themselves at the foot of his bed, which
they kissed several times, and in their joy said they would go back to
Paris and have a Te Deum sung. But Monseigneur, who was not insensible
to these marks of popular affection, told them it was not yet time,
thanked them, and gave them a dinner and some money.

As I was going home, I saw the Duchesse d'Orleans walking on a terrace.
She called to me; but I pretended not to notice her, because La Montauban
was with her, and hastened home, my mind filled with this news, and
withdrew to my cabinet. Almost immediately afterwards Madame la Duchesse
d'Orleans joined me there. We were bursting to speak to each other
alone, upon a point on which our thoughts were alike. She had left
Meudon not an hour before, and she had the same tale to tell as the
Chancellor. Everybody was at ease there she said; and then she extolled
the care and capacities of the doctors, exaggerating their success; and,
to speak frankly and to our shame, she and I lamented together to see
Monseigneur, in spite of his age and his fat, escape from so dangerous an
illness. She reflected seriously but wittily, that after an illness of
this sort, apoplexy was not to be looked for; that an attack of
indigestion was equally unlikely to arise, considering the care
Monseigneur had taken not to over-gorge himself since his recent danger;
and we concluded more than dolefully, that henceforth we must make up our
minds that the Prince would live and reign for a long time. In a word,
we let ourselves loose in this rare conversation, although not without an
occasional scruple of conscience which disturbed it. Madame de Saint-
Simon all devoutly tried what she could to put a drag upon our tongues,
but the drag broke, so to speak, and we continued our free discourse,
humanly speaking very reasonable on our parts, but which we felt,
nevertheless, was not according to religion. Thus two hours passed,
seemingly very short. Madame d'Orleans went away, and I repaired with
Madame de Saint-Simon to receive a numerous company.

While thus all was tranquillity at Versailles, and even at Meudon,
everything had changed its aspect at the chateau. The King had seen
Monseigneur several times during the day; but in his after-dinner visit
he was so much struck with the extraordinary swelling of the face and of
the head, that he shortened his stay, and on leaving the chateau, shed
tears. He was reassured as much as possible, and after the council he
took a walk in the garden.

Nevertheless Monseigneur had already mistaken Madame la Princesse de
Conti for some one else; and Boudin, the doctor, was alarmed.
Monseigneur himself had been so from the first, and he admitted, that for
a long time before being attacked, he had been very unwell, and so much
on Good Friday, that he had been unable to read his prayer-book at

Towards four o'clock he grew worse, so much so that Boudin proposed to
Fagon to call in other doctors, more familiar with the disease than they
were. But Fagon flew into a rage at this, and would call in nobody. He
declared that it would be better to act for themselves, and to keep
Monseigneur's state secret, although it was hourly growing worse, and
towards seven o'clock was perceived by several valets and courtiers. But
nobody dared to open his mouth before Fagon, and the King was actually
allowed to go to supper and to finish it without interruption, believing
on the faith of Fagon that Monseigneur was going on well.

While the King supped thus tranquilly, all those who were in the sick-
chamber began to lose their wits. Fagon and the others poured down
physic on physic, without leaving time for any to work. The Cure, who
was accustomed to go and learn the news every evening, found, against all
custom, the doors thrown wide open, and the valets in confusion. He
entered the chamber, and perceiving what was the matter, ran to the
bedside, took the hand of Monseigneur, spoke to him of God, and seeing
him full of consciousness, but scarcely able to speak, drew from him a
sort of confession, of which nobody had hitherto thought, and suggested
some acts of contrition. The poor Prince repeated distinctly several
words suggested to him, and confusedly answered others, struck his
breast, squeezed the Cure's hand, appeared penetrated with the best
sentiments, and received with a contrite and willing air the absolution
of the Cure.

As the King rose from the supper-table, he well-nigh fell backward when
Fagon, coming forward, cried in great trouble that all was lost. It may
be imagined what terror seized all the company at this abrupt passage
from perfect security to hopeless despair. The King, scarcely master of
himself, at once began to go towards the apartment of Monseigneur, and
repelled very stiffly the indiscreet eagerness of some courtiers who
wished to prevent him, saying that he would see his son again, and be
quite certain that nothing could be done. As he was about to enter the
chamber, Madame la Princesse de Conti presented herself before him, and
prevented him from going in. She pushed him back with her hands, and
said that henceforth he had only to think of himself. Then the King,
nearly fainting from a shock so complete and so sudden, fell upon a sofa
that stood near. He asked unceasingly for news of all who passed, but
scarce anybody dared to reply to him. He had sent for here Tellier, who
went into Monseigneur's room; but it was no longer time. It is true the
Jesuit, perhaps to console the King, said that he gave him a well-founded
absolution. Madame de Maintenon hastened after the King, and sitting
down beside him on the same sofa, tried to cry. She endeavoured to lead
away the King into the carriage already waiting for him in the
courtyard, but he would not go, and sat thus outside the door until
Monseigneur had expired.

The agony, without consciousness, of Monseigneur lasted more than an hour
after the King had come into the cabinet. Madame la Duchesse and Madame
la Princesse de Conti divided their cares between the dying man and the
King, to whom they constantly came back; whilst the faculty confounded,
the valets bewildered, the courtiers hurrying and murmuring, hustled
against each other, and moved unceasingly to and fro, backwards and
forwards, in the same narrow space. At last the fatal moment arrived.
Fagon came out, and allowed so much to be understood.

The King, much afflicted, and very grieved that Monseigneur's confession
had been so tardily made, abused Fagon a little; and went away led by
Madame de Maintenon and the two Princesses. He was somewhat struck by
finding the vehicle of Monseigneur outside; and made a sign that he would
have another coach, for that one made him suffer, and left the chateau.
He was not, however, so much occupied with his grief that he could not
call Pontchartrain to arrange the hour of the council on the next day.
I will not comment on this coolness, and shall merely say it surprised
extremely all present; and that if Pontchartrain had not said the council
could be put off, no interruption to business would have taken place.
The King got into his coach with difficulty, supported on both sides.
Madame de Maintenon seated herself beside him. A crowd of officers of
Monseigneur lined both sides of the court on their knees, as he passed
out, crying to him with strange howlings to have compassion on them, for
they had lost all, and must die of hunger.


While Meudon was filled with horror, all was tranquil at Versailles,
without the least suspicion. We had supped. The company some time after
had retired, and I was talking with Madame de Saint-Simon, who had nearly
finished undressing herself to go to bed, when a servant of Madame la
Duchesse de Berry, who had formerly belonged to us, entered, all
terrified. He said that there must be some bad news from Meudon, since
Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne had just whispered in the ear of M. le
Duc de Berry, whose eyes had at once become red, that he left the table,
and that all the company shortly after him rose with precipitation. So
sudden a change rendered my surprise extreme. I ran in hot haste to
Madame la Duchesse de Berry's. Nobody was there. Everybody had gone to
Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne. I followed on with all speed.

I found all Versailles assembled on arriving, all the ladies hastily
dressed--the majority having been on the point of going to bed--all the
doors open, and all in trouble. I learnt that Monseigneur had received
the extreme unction, that he was without consciousness and beyond hope,
and that the King had sent word to Madame de Bourgogne that he was going
to Marly, and that she was to meet him as he passed through the avenue
between the two stables.

The spectacle before me attracted all the attention I could bestow. The
two Princes and the two Princesses were in the little cabinet behind the

The bed toilette was as usual in the chamber of the Duchesse de
Bourgogne, which was filled with all the Court in confusion. She came
and went from the cabinet to the chamber, waiting for the moment when she
was to meet the King; and her demeanour, always distinguished by the same
graces, was one of trouble and compassion, which the trouble and
compassion of others induced them to take for grief. Now and then, in
passing, she said a few rare words. All present were in truth expressive
personages. Whoever had eyes, without any knowledge of the Court, could
see the interests of all interested painted on their faces, and the
indifference of the indifferent; these tranquil, the former penetrated
with grief, or gravely attentive to themselves to, hide their
emancipation and their joy.

For my part, my first care was to inform myself thoroughly of the state
of affairs, fearing lest there might be too much alarm for too trifling a
cause; then, recovering myself, I reflected upon the misery common to all
men, and that I myself should find myself some day at the gates of death.
Joy, nevertheless, found its way through the momentary reflections of
religion and of humanity, by which I tried to master myself. My own
private deliverance seemed so great and so unhoped for, that it appeared
to me that the State must gain everything by such a loss. And with these
thoughts I felt, in spite of myself, a lingering fear lest the sick man
should recover, and was extremely ashamed of it.

Wrapped up thus in myself, I did not fail, nevertheless, to cast
clandestine looks upon each face, to see what was passing there. I saw
Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans arrive, but her countenance, majestic and
constrained, said nothing. She went into the little cabinet, whence she
presently issued with the Duc d'Orleans, whose activity and turbulent air
marked his emotion at the spectacle more than any other sentiment. They
went away, and I notice this expressly, on account of what happened
afterwards in my presence.

Soon afterwards I caught a distant glimpse of the Duc de Bourgogne, who
seemed much moved and troubled; but the glance with which I probed him
rapidly, revealed nothing tender, and told merely of a mind profoundly
occupied with the bearings of what had taken place.

Valets and chamber-women were already indiscreetly crying out; and their
grief showed well that they were about to lose something!

Towards half-past twelve we had news of the King, and immediately after
Madame de Bourgogne came out of the little cabinet with the Duke, who
seemed more touched than when I first saw him. The Princess took her
scarf and her coifs from the toilette, standing with a deliberate air,
her eyes scarcely wet--a fact betrayed by inquisitive glances cast
rapidly to the right and left--and, followed only by her ladies, went to
her coach by the great staircase.

I took the opportunity to go to the Duchesse d'Orleans, where I found
many people. Their presence made me very impatient; the Duchess, who was
equally impatient, took a light and went in. I whispered in the ear of
the Duchesse de Villeroy, who thought as I thought of this event. She
nudged me, and said in a very low voice that I must contain myself.
I was smothered with silence, amidst the complaints and the narrative
surprises of these ladies; but at last M. le Duc d'Orleans appeared at
the door of his cabinet, and beckoned me to come to him.

I followed him into the cabinet, where we were alone. What was my
surprise, remembering the terms on which he was with Monseigneur, to see
the tears streaming from his eyes.

"Sir!" exclaimed I, rising: He understood me at once; and answered in a
broken voice, really crying: "You are right to be surprised--I am
surprised myself; but such a spectacle touches. He was a man with whom I
passed much of my life, and who treated me well when he was uninfluenced.
I feel very well that my grief won't last long; in a few days I shall
discover motives of joy; at present, blood, relationship, humanity,--all
work; and my entrails are moved." I praised his sentiments, but repeated
my surprise. He rose, thrust his head into a corner, and with his nose
there, wept bitterly and sobbed, which if I had not seen I could not have

After a little silence, however, I exhorted him to calm himself. I
represented to him that, everybody knowing on what terms he had been with
Monseigneur, he would be laughed at, as playing a part, if his eyes
showed that he had been weeping. He did what he could to remove the
marks of his tears, and we then went back into the other room.

The interview of the Duchesse de Bourgogne with the King had not been
long. She met him in the avenue between the two stables, got down, and
went to the door of the carriage. Madame de Maintenon cried out, "Where
are you going? We bear the plague about with us." I do not know what
the King said or did. The Princess returned to her carriage, and came
back to Versailles, bringing in reality the first news of the actual
death of Monseigneur.

Acting upon the advice of M. de Beauvilliers, all the company had gone
into the salon. The two Princes, Monseigneur de Bourgogne and M. de
Berry, were there, seated on one sofa, their Princesses at their sides;
all the rest of the company were scattered about in confusion, seated or
standing, some of the ladies being on the floor, near the sofa. There
could be no doubt of what had happened. It was plainly written on every
face in the chamber and throughout the apartment. Monseigneur was no
more: it was known: it was spoken of: constraint with respect to him no
longer existed. Amidst the surprise, the confusion, and the movements
that prevailed, the sentiments of all were painted to the life in looks
and gestures.

In the outside rooms were heard the constrained groans and sighs of the
valets--grieving for the master they had lost as well as for the master
that had succeeded. Farther on began the crowd of courtiers of all
kinds. The greater number--that is to say the fools--pumped up sighs as
well as they could, and with wandering but dry eyes, sung the praises of
Monseigneur--insisting especially on his goodness. They pitied the King
for the loss of so good a son. The keener began already to be uneasy
about the health of the King; and admired themselves for preserving so
much judgment amidst so much trouble, which could be perceived by the
frequency of their repetitions. Others, really afflicted--the
discomfited cabal--wept bitterly, and kept themselves under with an
effort as easy to notice as sobs. The most strong-minded or the wisest,
with eyes fixed on the ground, in corners, meditated on the consequences
of such an event--and especially on their own interests. Few words
passed in conversation--here and there an exclamation wrung from grief
was answered by some neighbouring grief--a word every quarter of an hour
--sombre and haggard eyes--movements quite involuntary of the hands--
immobility of all other parts of the body. Those who already looked upon
the event as favourable in vain exaggerated their gravity so as to make
it resemble chagrin and severity; the veil over their faces was
transparent and hid not a single feature. They remained as motionless as
those who grieved most, fearing opinion, curiosity, their own
satisfaction, their every movement; but their eyes made up for their
immobility. Indeed they could not refrain from repeatedly changing their
attitude like people ill at ease, sitting or standing, from avoiding each
other too carefully, even from allowing their eyes to meet--nor repress a
manifest air of liberty--nor conceal their increased liveliness--nor put
out a sort of brilliancy which distinguished them in spite of themselves.

The two Princes, and the two Princesses who sat by their sides, were more
exposed to view than any other. The Duc de Bourgogne wept with
tenderness, sincerity, and gentleness, the tears of nature, of religion,
and patience. M. le Duc de Berry also sincerely shed abundance of tears,
but bloody tears, so to speak, so great appeared their bitterness; and he
uttered not only sobs, but cries, nay, even yells. He was silent
sometimes, but from suffocation, and then would burst out again with such
a noise, such a trumpet sound of despair, that the majority present burst
out also at these dolorous repetitions, either impelled by affliction or
decorum. He became so bad, in fact, that his people were forced to
undress him then and there, put him to bed, and call in the doctor,
Madame la Duchesse de Berry was beside herself, and we shall soon see
why. The most bitter despair was painted with horror on her face. There
was seen written, as it were, a sort of furious grief, based on interest,
not affection; now and then came dry lulls deep and sullen, then a
torrent of tears and involuntary gestures, yet restrained, which showed
extreme bitterness of mind, fruit of the profound meditation that had
preceded. Often aroused by the cries of her husband, prompt to assist
him, to support him, to embrace him, to give her smelling-bottle, her
care for him was evident; but soon came another profound reverie--then a
gush of tears assisted to suppress her cries. As for Madame la Duchesse
de Bourgogne she consoled her husband with less trouble than she had to
appear herself in want of consolation. Without attempting to play a
part, it was evident that she did her best to acquit herself of a
pressing duty of decorum. But she found extreme difficulty in keeping up
appearances. When the Prince her brother-in-law howled, she blew her
nose. She had brought some tears along with her and kept them up with
care; and these, combined with the art of the handkerchief, enabled her
to redden her eyes, and make them swell, and smudge her face; but her
glances often wandered on the sly to the countenances of all present.

Madame arrived, in full dress she knew not why, and howling she knew not
why, inundated everybody with her tears in embracing them, making the
chateau echo with renewed cries, and furnished the odd spectacle of a
Princess putting on her robes of ceremony in the dead of night to come
and cry among a crowd of women with but little on except their night-
dresses,--almost as masqueraders.

In the gallery several ladies, Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, Madame de
Castries, and Madame de Saint-Simon among the rest, finding no one close
by, drew near each other by the side of a tent-bedstead, and began to
open their hearts to each other, which they did with the more freedom,
inasmuch as they had but one sentiment in common upon what had occurred.
In this gallery, and in the salon, there were always during the night
several beds, in which, for security's sake, certain Swiss guards and
servants slept. These beds had been put in their usual place this
evening before the bad news carne from Meudon. In the midst of the
conversation of the ladies, Madame de Castries touched the bed, felt
something move, and was much terrified. A moment after they saw a sturdy
arm, nearly naked, raise on a sudden the curtains, and thus show them a
great brawny Swiss under the sheets, half awake, and wholly amazed. The
fellow was a long time in making out his position, fixing his eyes upon
every face one after the other; but at last, not judging it advisable to
get up in the midst of such a grand company, he reburied himself in his
bed, and closed the curtains. Apparently the good man had gone to bed
before anything had transpired, and had slept so soundly ever since that
he had not been aroused until then. The saddest sights have often the
most ridiculous contrasts. This caused some of the ladies to laugh, and
Madame d'Orleans to fear lest the conversation should have been
overheard. But after reflection, the sleep and the stupidity of the
sleeper reassured her.

I had some doubts yet as to the event that had taken place; for I did not
like to abandon myself to belief, until the word was pronounced by some
one in whom I could have faith. By chance I met D'O, and I asked him.
He answered me clearly that Monseigneur was no more. Thus answered, I
tried not to be glad. I know not if I succeeded well, but at least it is
certain, that neither joy nor sorrow blunted my curiosity, and that while
taking due care to preserve all decorum, I did not consider myself in any
way forced to play the doleful. I no longer feared any fresh attack from
the citadel of Meudon, nor any cruel charges from its implacable
garrison. I felt, therefore, under no constraint, and followed every
face with my glances, and tried to scrutinise them unobserved.

It must be admitted, that for him who is well acquainted with the
privacies of a Court, the first sight of rare events of this nature, so
interesting in so many different respects, is extremely satisfactory.
Every countenance recalls the cares, the intrigues, the labours employed
in the advancement of fortunes--in the overthrow of rivals: the
relations, the coldness, the hatreds, the evil offices done, the baseness
of all; hope, despair, rage, satisfaction, express themselves in the
features. See how all eyes wander to and fro examining what passes
around--how some are astonished to find others more mean, or less mean
than was expected! Thus this spectacle produced a pleasure, which,
hollow as it may be, is one of the greatest a Court can bestow.

The turmoil in this vast apartment lasted about an hour, at the end of
which M. de Beauvilliers thought it was high time to deliver the Princes
of their company. The rooms were cleared. M. le Duc de Berry went away
to his rooms, partly supported by his wife. All through the night he
asked, amid tears and cries, for news from Meudon; he would not
understand the cause of the King's departure to Marly. When at length
the mournful curtain was drawn from before his eyes, the state he fell
into cannot be described. The night of Monseigneur and Madame de
Bourgogne was more tranquil. Some one having said to the Princess, that
having--no real cause to be affected, it would be terrible to play a
part, she replied, quite naturally, that without feigning, pity touched
her and decorum controlled her; and indeed she kept herself within these
bounds with truth and decency. Their chamber, in which they invited
several ladies to pass the night in armchairs, became immediately a
palace of Morpheus. All quietly fell asleep. The curtains were left
open, so that the Prince and Princess could be seen sleeping profoundly.
They woke up once or twice for a moment. In the morning the Duke and
Duchess rose early, their tears quite dried up. They shed no more for
this cause, except on special and rare occasions. The ladies who had
watched and slept in their chamber, told their friends how tranquil the
night had been. But nobody was surprised, and as there was no longer a
Monseigneur, nobody was scandalised. Madame de Saint-Simon and I
remained up two hours before going to bed, and then went there without
feeling any want of rest. In fact, I slept so little that at seven in
the morning I was up; but it must be admitted that such restlessness is
sweet, and such re-awakenings are savoury.

Horror reigned at Meudon. As soon as the King left, all the courtiers
left also, crowding into the first carriages that came. In an instant
Meudon was empty. Mademoiselle Choin remained alone in her garret, and
unaware of what had taken place. She learned it only by the cry raised.
Nobody thought of telling her. At last some friends went up to her,
hurried her into a hired coach, and took her to Paris. The dispersion
was general. One or two valets, at the most, remained near the body.
La Villiere, to his praise be it said, was the only courtier who, not
having abandoned Monseigneur during life, did not abandon him after his
death. He had some difficulty to find somebody to go in search of
Capuchins to pray over the corpse. The decomposition became so rapid and
so great, that the opening of the windows was not enough; the Capuchins,
La Vrilliere, and the valets, were compelled to pass the night outside.

At Marly everybody had felt so confident that the King's return there was
not dreamt of. Nothing was ready, no keys of the rooms, no fires,
scarcely an end of candle. The King was more than an hour thus with
Madame de Maintenon and other ladies in one of the ante-chambers. The
King retired into a corner, seated between Madame de Maintenon and two
other ladies, and wept at long intervals. At last the chamber of Madame
de Maintenon was ready. The King entered, remained there an hour, and
then 'went to bed at nearly four o'clock in the morning.

Monseigneur was rather tall than short; very fat, but without being
bloated; with a very lofty and noble aspect without any harshness; and he
would have had a very agreeable face if M. le Prince de Conti had not
unfortunately broken his nose in playing while they were both young. He
was of a very beautiful fair complexion; he had a face everywhere covered
with a healthy red, but without expression; the most beautiful legs in
the world; his feet singularly small and delicate. He wavered always in
walking, and felt his way with his feet; he was always afraid of falling,
and if the path was not perfectly even and straight, he called for
assistance. He was a good horseman, and looked well when mounted; but he
was not a bold rider. When hunting--they had persuaded him that he liked
this amusement--a servant rode before him; if he lost sight of this
servant he gave himself up for lost, slicked his pace to a gentle trot,
and oftentimes waited under a tree for the hunting party, and returned to
it slowly. He was very fond of the table, but always without indecency.
Ever since that great attack of indigestion, which was taken at first for
apoplexy, he made but one real meal a day, and was content,--although a
great eater, like the rest of the royal family. Nearly all his portraits
well resemble him.

As for his character he had none; he was without enlightenment or
knowledge of any kind, radically incapable of acquiring any; very idle,
without imagination or productiveness; without taste, without choice,
without discernment; neither seeing the weariness he caused others, nor
that he was as a ball moving at hap-hazard by the impulsion of others;
obstinate and little to excess in everything; amazingly credulous and
accessible to prejudice, keeping himself, always, in the most pernicious
hands, yet incapable of seeing his position or of changing it; absorbed
in his fat and his ignorance; so that without any desire to do ill he
would have made a pernicious King.

His avariciousness, except in certain things, passed all belief. He kept
an account of his personal expenditure, and knew to a penny what his
smallest and his largest expenses amounted to. He spent large sums in
building, in furniture, in jewels, and in hunting, which he made himself
believe he was fond of.

It is inconceivable the little he gave to La Choin, whom he so much
loved. It never exceeded four hundred Louis a quarter in gold, or
sixteen hundred Louis a year, whatever the Louis might be worth. He gave
them to her with his own hand, without adding or subtracting a pistole,
and, at the most, made her but one present a year, and that he looked at
twice before giving. It was said that they were married, and certain
circumstances seemed to justify this rumour. As for instance, during the
illness of Monseigneur, the King, as I have said, asked Madame de
Maintenon if she had seen Mademoiselle Choin, and upon receiving negative
reply, was displeased. Instead of driving her away from the chateau he
inquired particularly after her! This, to say the least, looked as
though Mademoiselle Choin was Monseigneur's Maintenon--but the matter
remained incomprehensible to the last. Mademoiselle Choin threw no light
upon it, although she spoke on many other things concerning Monseigneur.
In the modest home at Paris, to which she had retired for the rest of her
days. The King gave her a pension of twelve thousand livres.

Monseigneur was, I have said, ignorant to the last degree, and had a
thorough aversion for learning; so that, according to his own admission,
ever since he had been released from the hands of teachers he had never
read anything except the article in the "Gazette de France," in which
deaths and marriages are recorded. His timidity, especially before the
King, was equal to his ignorance, which indeed contributed not a little
to cause it. The King took advantage of it, and never treated him as a
son, but as a subject. He was the monarch always, never the father.
Monseigneur had not the slightest influence with the King. If he showed
any preference for a person it was enough! That person was sure to be
kept back by the King. The King was so anxious to show that Monseigneur
could do nothing, that Monseigneur after a time did not even try. He
contented himself by complaining occasionally in monosyllables, and by
hoping for better times.

The body of Monseigneur so soon grew decomposed; that immediate burial
was necessary. At midnight on Wednesday he was carried, with but little
ceremony, to Saint-Denis, and deposited in the royal vaults. His funeral
services were said at Saint-Denis on the 18th of the following June, and
at Notre Dame on the 3rd of July. As the procession passed through Paris
nothing but cries, acclamations, and eulogiums of the defunct were heard.
Monseigneur had, I know not how, much endeared himself to the common
people of Paris, and this sentiment soon gained the provinces; so true it
is, that in France it costs little to its Princes to make themselves
almost adored!

The King soon got over his affliction for the loss of this son of fifty.
Never was a man so ready with tears, so backward with grief, or so
promptly restored to his ordinary state. The morning after the death of
Monseigneur he rose late, called M. de Beauvilliers into his cabinet,
shed some more tears, and then said that from that time Monseigneur le
Duc de Bourgogne and Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne were to enjoy the
honours, the rank, and the name of Dauphin and of Dauphine. Henceforth I
shall call them by no other names.

My joy at this change may be imagined. In a few days all my causes of
disquietude had been removed, and I saw a future opening before me full
of light and promise. Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne become Dauphin,
heir to the throne of France; what favour might I not hope for? I could
not conceal or control my satisfaction.

But alas! it was soon followed by sad disappointment and grievous


The death of Monseigneur, as we have seen, made a great change in the
aspect of the Court and in the relative positions of its members. But
the two persons to whom I must chiefly direct attention are the Duchesse
de Bourgogne and the Duchesse de Berry. The former, on account of her
husband's fall in the opinion of his father, had long been out of favour
likewise. Although Monseigneur had begun to treat her less well for a
long time, and most harshly during the campaign of Lille, and above all
after the expulsion of the Duc de Vendome from Marly and Meudon; yet
after the marriage of the Duc de Berry his coldness had still further
increased. The adroit Princess, it is true, had rowed against the current
with a steadiness and grace capable of disarming even a well-founded
resentment; but the persons who surrounded him looked upon the meeting of
them as dangerous for their projects. The Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne
were every day still further removed in comparative disgrace.

Things even went so far that apropos of an engagement broken off, the
Duchesse resolved to exert her power instead of her persuasion, and
threatened the two Lillebonnes. A sort of reconciliation was then
patched up, but it was neither sincere nor apparently so.

The cabal which laboured to destroy the Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne was
equally assiduous in augmenting the influence of the Duc de Berry, whose
wife had at once been admitted without having asked into the sanctuary of
the Parvulo. The object was to disunite the two brothers and excite
jealousy between then. In this they did not succeed even in the
slightest degree. But they found a formidable ally in the Duchesse de
Berry, who proved as full of wickedness and ambition as any among them.
The Duc d'Orleans often called his Duchess Madame Lucifer, at which she
used to smile with complacency. He was right, for she would have been a
prodigy of pride had she not, had a daughter who far surpassed her. This
is not yet the time to paint their portraits; but I must give a word or
two of explanation on the Duchesse de Berry.

That princess was a marvel of wit, of pride, of ingratitude and folly--
nay, of debauchery and obstinacy.

Scarcely had she been married a week when she began to exhibit herself in
all these lights,--not too manifestly it is true, for one of the
qualities of which she was most vain was her falsity and power of
concealment, but sufficiently to make an impression on those around her.
People soon perceived how annoyed she was to be the daughter of an
illegitimate mother, and to have lived under her restraint however mild;
how she despised the weakness of her father, the Duc d'Orleans, and how
confident she was of her influence over him; and how she had hated all
who had interfered in her marriage--merely because she could not bear to
be under obligations to any one--a reason she was absurd enough publicly
to avow and boast of. Her conduct was now based on those motives. This
is an example of how in this world people work with their heads in a
sack, and how human prudence and wisdom are sometimes confounded by
successes which have been reasonably desired and which turn out to be
detestable! We had brought about this marriage to avoid a marriage with
Mademoiselle de Bourbon and to cement the union of the two brothers. We
now discovered that there was little danger of Mademoiselle de Bourbon,
and then instead of her we had a Fury who had no thought but how to ruin
those who had established her, to injure her benefactors, to make her
husband and her brother quarrel; and to put herself in the power of her
enemies because they were the enemies of her natural friends. It never
occurred to her that the cabal would not be likely to abandon to her the
fruit of so much labour and so many crimes.

It may easily be imagined that she was neither gentle nor docile when
Madame la Duchesse began to give her advice. Certain that her father
would support her, she played the stranger and the daughter of France
with her mother. Estrangement, however, soon came on. She behaved
differently in form, but in effect the same with the Duchesse de
Bourgogne, who wished to guide her as a daughter, but who soon gave up
the attempt. The Duchesse de Berry's object could only be gained by
bringing about disunion between the two brothers, and for this purpose
she employed as a spring the passion of her husband for herself.

The first night at Versailles after the death of Monseigneur was
sleepless. The Dauphin and Dauphine heard mass early next morning.
I went to see them. Few persons were present on account of the hour.
The Princess wished to be at Marly at the King's waking. Their eyes were
wonderfully dry, but carefully managed; and it was easy to see they were
more occupied with their new position than with the death of Monseigneur.
A smile which they exchanged as they spoke, in whispers convinced me of
this. One of their first cares was to endeavour to increase their good
relations with the Duc and Duchesse de Berry. They were to see them
before they were up. The Duc de Berry showed himself very sensible to
this act, and the Duchess was eloquent, clever, and full of tears. But
her heart was wrung by these advances of pure generosity. The separation
she had planned soon followed: and the two princesses felt relieved at no
longer being obliged to dine together.

Thus never was change greater or more marked than that brought about by
the death of Monseigneur. That prince had become the centre of all hope
and of all fear, a formidable cabal had seized upon him, yet without
awakening the jealousy of the King, before whom all trembled, but whose
anxieties did not extend beyond his own lifetime, during which, and very
reasonably, he feared nothing.

Before I go any further, let me note a circumstance characteristic of the
King. Madame la Dauphine went every day to Marly to see him. On the day
after the death of Monseigneur she received, not without surprise, easily
understood, a hint from Madame de Maintenon. It was to the effect that
she should dress herself with some little care, inasmuch as the
negligence of her attire displeased the King! The Princess did not think
that dress ought to occupy her then; and even if she had thought so, she
would have believed, and with good reason, that she was committing a
grave fault against decorum, a fault which would have been less readily
pardoned, since in every way she had gained too much by what had just
occurred not to be very guarded in her behaviour. On the next day she
took more pains with her toilette; but what she did not being found
sufficient, the day following she carried with her some things and
dressed herself secretly in Madame de Maintenon's rooms; and resumed
there her ordinary apparel before returning to Versailles. Thus she
avoided offence both to the King and to society. The latter certainly
would with difficulty have been persuaded that in this ill-timed
adornment of her person, her own tastes went for nothing. The Comtesse
de Mailly, who invented the scheme, and Madame de Nogaret, who both liked
Monseigneur, related this to me and were piqued by it. From this fact
and from the circumstance that all the ordinary pleasures and occupations
were resumed immediately after the death of Monseigneur, the King passing
his days without any constraint,--it may be assumed that if the royal
grief was bitter its evidences were of a kind to promise that it would
not be of long duration.

M. le Dauphin, for, as I have said, it is by that title I shall now name
Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne--M. le Dauphin, I say, soon gained all
hearts. In the first days of solitude following upon the death of
Monseigneur, the King intimated to M. de Beauvilliers that he should not
care to see the new Dauphin go very often to Meudon. This was enough.
M. le Dauphin at once declared that he would never set his foot in that
palace, and that he would never quit the King. He was as good as his
word, and not one single visit did he ever afterwards pay to Meudon. The
King wished to give him fifty thousand livres a month, Monseigneur having
had that sum. M. le Dauphin would not accept them. He had only six
thousand livres per month. He was satisfied with double that amount and
would not receive more. This disinterestedness much pleased the public.
M. le Dauphin wished for nothing special on his account, and persisted in
remaining in nearly everything as he was during the life of Monseigneur.
These auguries of a prudent and measured reign, suggested the brightest
of hopes.

Aided by his adroit spouse, who already had full possession of the King's
heart and of that of Madame de Maintenon, M. le Dauphin redoubled his
attentions in order to possess them also. These attentions, addressed to
Madame de Maintenon, produced their fruit. She was transported with
pleasure at finding a Dauphin upon whom she could rely, instead of one
whom she did not like, gave herself up to him accordingly, and by that
means secured to him the King's favour. The first fortnight made evident
to everybody at Marly the extraordinary change that had come over the
King with respect to the Dauphin. His Majesty, generally severe beyond
measure with his legitimate children, showed the most marked graciousness
for this prince. The effects of this, and of the change that had taken
place in his state, were soon most clearly visible in the Dauphin.
Instead of being timid and retiring, diffident in speech, and more fond
of his study than of the salon, he became on a sudden easy and frank,
showing himself in public on all occasions, conversing right and left in
a gay, agreeable, and dignified manner; presiding, in fact, over the
Salon of Marly, and over the groups gathered round him, like the divinity
of a temple, who receives with goodness the homage to which he is
accustomed, and recompenses the mortals who offer it with gentle regard.

In a short time hunting became a less usual topic of conversation.
History, and even science, were touched upon lightly, pleasantly, and
discreetly, in a manner that charmed while it instructed. The Dauphin
spoke with an eloquent freedom that opened all eyes, ears and hearts.
People sometimes, in gathering near him, were less anxious to make their
court than to listen to his natural eloquence, and to draw from it
delicious instruction. It is astonishing with what rapidity he gained
universal esteem and admiration. The public joy could not keep silent.
People asked each other if this was really the same man they had known as
the Duc de Bourgogne, whether he was a vision or a reality? One of M. le
Dauphin's friends, to whom this question was addressed, gave a keen
reply. He answered, that the cause of all this surprise was, that
previously the people did not, and would not, know this prince, who,
nevertheless, to those who had known him, was the same now as he had ever
been; and that this justice would be rendered to him when time had shown
how much it was deserved.

From the Court to Paris, and from Paris to the provinces, the reputation
of the Dauphin flew on rapid wings. However founded might be this
prodigious success, we need not believe it was entirely due to the
marvellous qualities of the young prince. It was in a great measure a
reaction against the hostile feeling towards him which had been excited
by the cabal, whose efforts I have previously spoken of. Now that people
saw how unjust was this feeling, their astonishment added to their
admiration. Everybody was filled with a sentiment of joy at seeing the
first dawn of a new state of things, which promised so much order and
happiness after such a long confusion and so much obscurity.

Gracious as the King showed himself to M. le Dauphin, and accustomed as
the people grew to his graciousness, all the Court was strangely
surprised at a fresh mark of favour that was bestowed one morning by his
Majesty on this virtuous prince. The King, after having been closeted
alone with him for some time, ordered his ministers to work with the
Dauphin whenever sent for, and, whether sent for or not, to make him
acquainted with all public affairs; this command being given once for

It is not easy to describe the prodigious movement caused at the Court by
this order, so directly opposed to the tastes, to the disposition, to the
maxims, to the usage of the King, who thus showed a confidence in the
Dauphin which was nothing less than tacitly transferring to him a large
part of the disposition of public affairs. This was a thunderbolt for
the ministers; who, accustomed to have almost everything their own way,
to rule over everybody and browbeat everybody at will, to govern the
state abroad and at home, in fact, fixing all punishments, all
recompenses, and always sheltering themselves behind the royal authority
"the King wills it so" being the phrase ever on their lips,--to these
officers, I say, it was a thunderbolt which so bewildered them, that they
could not hide their astonishment or their confusion. The public joy at
an order which reduced these ministers, or rather these kings, to the
condition of subjects, which put a curb upon their power, and provided
against the abuses they committed, was great indeed! The ministers were
compelled to bend their necks, though stiff as iron, to the yoke. They
all went, with a hang-dog look, to show the Dauphin a feigned joy and a
forced obedience to the order they had received.

Here, perhaps, I may as well speak of the situation in which I soon
afterwards found myself with the Dauphin, the confidence as to the
present and the future that I enjoyed with him, and the many
deliberations we had upon public affairs. The matter is curious and
interesting, and need no longer be deferred.

The Court being changed by the death of Monseigneur, I soon began indeed
to think of changing my conduct with regard to the new Dauphin. M. de
Beauvilliers spoke to me about this matter first, but he judged, and I
shared his opinion, that slandered as I had been on previous occasions,
and remaining still, as it were, half in disgrace, I must approach the
Dauphin only by slow degrees, and not endeavour to shelter myself under
him until his authority with the King had become strong enough to afford
me a safe asylum. I believed, nevertheless, that it would be well to
sound him immediately; and one evening, when he was but thinly
accompanied, I joined him in the gardens at Marly and profited by his
gracious welcome to say to him, on the sly, that many reasons, of which
he was not ignorant, had necessarily kept me until then removed from him,
but that now I hoped to be able to follow with less constraint my
attachment and my inclination, and that I flattered myself this would be
agreeable to him. He replied in a low tone, that there were sometimes
reasons which fettered people, but in our case such no longer existed;
that he knew of my regard for him, and reckoned with pleasure that we
should soon see each other more frequently than before. I am writing the
exact words of his reply, on account of the singular politeness of the
concluding ones. I regarded that reply as the successful result of a
bait that had been taken as I wished. Little by little I became more
assiduous at his promenades, but without following them when the crowd or
any dangerous people do so; and I spoke more freely. I remained content
with seeing the Dauphin in public, and I approached him in the Salon only
when if I saw a good opportunity.

Some days after, being in the Salon, I saw the Dauphin and the Dauphine
enter together and converse. I approached and heard their last words;
they stimulated me to ask the prince what was in debate, not in a
straightforward manner, but in a sort of respectful insinuating way which
I already adopted. He explained to me that he was going to Saint-Germain
to pay an ordinary visit; that on this occasion there would be some
change in the ceremonial; explained the matter, and enlarged with
eagerness on the necessity of not abandoning legitimate rights.

"How glad I am to see you think thus," I replied, "and how well you act
in advocating these forms, the neglect of which tarnishes everything."

He responded with warmth; and I seized the moment to say, that if he,
whose rank was so great and so derided, was right to pay attention to
these things, how such we dukes had reason to complain of our losses, and
to try to sustain ourselves! Thereupon he entered into the question so
far as to become the advocate of our cause, and finished by saying that
he regarded our restoration as an act of justice important to the state;
that he knew I was well instructed in these things, and that I should
give him pleasure by talking of them some day. He rejoined at that,
moment the Dauphine, and they set off for Saint-Germain.

A few days after this the Dauphin sent for me. I entered by the
wardrobe, where a sure and trusty valet was in waiting; he conducted me
to a cabinet in which the Dauphin was sitting alone. Our conversation at
once commenced. For a full hour we talked upon the state of affairs, the
Dauphin listening with much attention to all I said, and expressing
himself with infinite modesty, sense, and judgment. His view, I found,
were almost entirely in harmony with mine. He was sorry, and touchingly
said so, for the ignorance of all things in which the King was kept by
his ministers; he was anxious to see the power of those ministers
restricted; he looked with dislike upon the incredible elevation of the
illegitimate children; he wished to see the order to which I belonged
restored to the position it deserved to occupy.

It is difficult to express what I felt in quitting the Dauphin. A
magnificent and near future opened out before me. I saw a prince, pious,
just, debonnaire, enlightened, and seeking to become more so; with
principles completely in accord with my own, and capacity to carry out
those principles when the time for doing so arrived. I relished
deliciously a confident so precious and so full upon the most momentous
matters and at a first interview. I felt all the sweetness of this
perspective, and of my deliverance from a servitude which, in spite of
myself, I sometimes could not help showing myself impatient of. I felt,
too, that I now had an opportunity of elevating myself, and of
contributing to those grand works, for the happiness and advantage of the
state I so much wished to see accomplished.

A few days after this I had another interview with the Dauphin. I was
introduced secretly as before, so that no one perceived either my coming
or my departure. The same subjects we had previously touched upon we now
entered into again, and more amply than on the former occasion. The
Dauphin, in taking leave of me, gave me full permission to see him in
private as often as I desired, though in public I was still to be

Indeed there was need of great circumspection in carrying on even private
intercourse with the Dauphin. From this time I continually saw him in
his cabinet, talking with him in all liberty upon the various persons of
the Court, and upon the various subjects relating to the state; but
always with the same secrecy as at first. This was absolutely necessary;
as I have just said, I was still in a sort of half disgrace the King did
not regard me with the eyes of favour; Madame de Maintenon was resolutely
averse to me. If they two had suspected my strict intimacy with the heir
to the throne, I should have been assuredly lost.

To show what need there was of precaution in my private interviews with
the Dauphin, let me here recall an incident which one day occurred when
we were closeted together, and which might have led to the greatest
results. The Prince lodged then in one of the four grand suites of
apartments, on the same level as the Salon, the suite that was broken up
during an illness of Madame la Princesse de Conti, to make way for a
grand stair case, the narrow and crooked one in use annoying the King
when he ascended it. The chamber of the Dauphine was there; the bed had
its foot towards the window; by the chimney was the door of the obscure
wardrobe by which I entered; between the chimney and one of the two
windows was a little portable bureau; in front of the ordinary entrance
door of the chamber and behind the bureau was the door of one of the
Dauphine's rooms; between the two windows was a chest of drawers which
was used for papers only.

There were always some moments of conversation before the Dauphin set
himself down at his bureau, and ordered me to place myself opposite him.
Having become more free with him, I took the liberty to say one day in
these first moments of our discourse, that he would do well to bolt the
door behind him, the door I mean of the Dauphine's chamber. He said that
the Dauphine would not come, it not being her hour. I replied that I did
not fear that princess herself, but the crowd that always accompanied
her. He was obstinate, and would not bolt the door. I did not dare to
press him more. He sat down before his bureau, and ordered me to sit
also. Our deliberation was long; afterwards we sorted our papers. Here
let me say this--Every time I went to see the Dauphin I garnished all my
pockets with papers, and I often smiled within myself passing through the
Salon, at seeing there many people who at that moment were in my pockets,
and who were far indeed from suspecting the important discussion that was
going to take place. To return: the Dauphin gave, me his papers to put
in my pockets, and kept mine. He locked up some in his cupboard, and
instead of locking up the others in his bureau, kept them out, and began
talking to me, his back to the chimney, his papers in one hand, his keys
in the other. I was standing at the bureau looking for some other
papers, when on a sudden the door in front of me opened, and the Dauphine

The first appearance of all three--for, thank God! she was alone--the
astonishment, the countenance of all have never left my memory. Our
fixed eyes, our statue-like immobility, and our embarrassment were all
alike, and lasted longer than a slow Pater-poster. The Princess spoke
first. She said to the Prince in a very ill-assured voice, that she had
not imagined him in such good company; smiling upon him and upon me. I
had scarce time to smile also and to lower my eyes, before the Dauphin

"Since you find me so," said he, smiling in turn, "leave me so."

For an instant she looked on him, he and she both smiling at each other
more; then she looked on me, still smiling with greater liberty than at
first, made a pirouette, went away and closed the door, beyond the
threshold of which she had not come.

Never have I seen woman so astonished; never man so taken aback, as the
Prince after the Dauphine's departure; and never man, to say truth, was
so afraid as I was at first, though I quickly reassured myself when I
found that our intruder was alone. As soon as she had closed the door,
"Well, Monsieur," said I to the Dauphin, "if you had drawn the bolt?"

"You were right," he replied, "and I was wrong. But no harm is done.
She was alone fortunately, and I guarantee to you her secrecy."

"I am not troubled," said I to him, (yet I was so mightily) "but it is a
miracle she was alone. With her suite you would have escaped with a
scolding perhaps but for me, I should have been utterly lost."

He admitted again he had, been wrong, and assure me more and more that
our secret was safe. The Dauphine had caught us, not only tete-a-tete--
of which no one had the least suspicion--she had caught us in the fact,
so to say, our crimes in out hands. I felt that she would not expose the
Dauphin, but I feared an after-revelation through some over-easy
confidant. Nevertheless our secret was so well kept if confided that it
never transpired. We finished, I to pocket, the Prince to lock up, the
papers. The rest of the conversation was short, and I withdrew by the
wardrobe as usual. M. de Beauvilliers, to whom I related this adventure
shortly afterwards, grew pale at first, but recovered when I said the
Dauphine was alone. He blamed the imprudence of the Dauphin, but assured
me my secret was safe. Ever since that adventure the Dauphine often
smiled upon me when we met, as if to remind me of it, and showed marked
attention to me.

No sooner did I feel myself pretty firmly established on this footing of
delicious intimacy with the Dauphin than I conceived the desire to unite
him with M. le Duc d'Orleans through the means of M. de Beauvilliers. At
the very outset, however, an obstacle arose in my path.

I have already said, that the friendship of M. d'Orleans for his
daughter, Madame la Duchesse de Berry, had given employment to the
tongues of Satan, set in Motion by hatred and jealousy. Evil reports
even reached M. le Duc de Berry, who on his part, wishing to enjoy the
society of his wife in full liberty, was importuned by the continual
presence near her, of her father. To ward off a quarrel between son-in-
law and father-in-law, based upon so false and so odious a foundation,
appeared to Madame de Saint-Simon and myself a pressing duty.

I had already tried to divert M. le Duc d'Orleans from an assiduity which
wearied M. le Duc de Berry; but I had not succeeded. I believed it my
duty then to return to the charge more hotly; and remembering my previous
ill-success, I prefaced properly, and then said what I had to say. M.
d'Orleans was astonished; he cried out against the horror of such a vile
imputation and the villainy that had carried it to M. le Duc de Berry.
He thanked me for having warned him of it, a service few besides myself
would have rendered him. I left him to draw the proper and natural
conclusion on the conduct he should pursue. This conversation passed one
day at Versailles about four o'clock in the afternoon.

On the morrow Madame de Saint-Simon related to me, that returning home
the previous evening, from the supper and the cabinet of the King with
Madame la Duchesse de Berry, the Duchess had passed straight into the
wardrobe and called her there; and then with a cold and angry air, said
she was very much astonished that I wished to get up a quarrel between
her and M. le Duc d'Orleans. Madame Saint-Simon exhibited surprise, but
Madame la Duchesse de Berry declared that nothing was so true; that I
wished to estrange M. d'Orleans from her, but that I should not succeed;
and immediately related all that I had just said to her father. He had
had the goodness to repeat it to her an hour afterwards! Madame de
Saint-Simon, still more surprised, listened attentively to the end, and
replied that this horrible report was public, that she herself could see
what consequences it would have, false and abominable as it might be, and
feel whether it was not important that M. le Duc d'Orleans should be
informed of it. She added, that I had shown such proofs of my attachment
for them and of my desire for their happiness, that I was above all
suspicion. Then she curtsied and leaving the Princess went to bed. This
scene appeared to me enormous.

For some time after this I ceased entirely to see Duc d'Orleans and
Madame la Duchesse de Berry. They cajoled me with all sorts of excuses,
apologies, and so forth, but I remained frozen. They redoubled their
excuses and their prayers. Friendship, I dare not say compassion,
seduced me, and I allowed myself to be led away. In a word, we were
reconciled. I kept aloof, however, from Madame la Duchesse de Berry as
much as possible, visiting her only for form's sake; and as long as she
lived never changed in this respect.

Being reconciled with M. d'Orleans, I again thought of my project of
uniting him to the Dauphin through M. de Beauvilliers. He had need of
some support, for on all sides he was sadly out of favour. His
debauchery and his impiety, which he had quitted for a time after
separating himself from Madame d'Argenton, his mistress, had now seized
on him again as firmly as ever. It seemed as though there were a wager
between him and his daughter, Madame la Duchesse de Berry, which should
cast most contempt on religion and good manners.

The King was nothing ignorant of the conduct of his nephew. He had been
much shocked with the return to debauchery and low company. The enemies
of M. d'Orleans, foremost among whom was M. du Maine, had therefore
everything in their favour. As I have said, without some support M.
d'Orleans seemed in danger of being utterly lost.

It was no easy matter to persuade M. de Beauvilliers to, fall in with the
plan I had concocted, and lend his aid to it. But I worked him hard. I
dwelt upon the taste of the Dauphin for history, science, and the arts,
and showed what a ripe knowledge of those subjects M. d'Orleans had, and
what agreeable conversation thereon they both might enjoy together. In
brief I won over M. de Beauvilliers to my scheme. M. D'Orleans, on his
side, saw without difficulty the advantage to him of union with the
Dauphin. To bring it about I laid before him two conditions. One, that
when in the presence of the Prince he should suppress that detestable
heroism of impiety he affected more than he felt, and allow no licentious
expressions to escape him. The second was to go less often into evil
company at Paris, and if he must continue his debauchery, to do so at the
least within closed doors, and avoid all public scandal. He promised
obedience, and was faithful to his promise. The Dauphin perceived and
approved the change; little by little the object of my desire was gained.

As I have already said, it would be impossible for me to express all the
joy I felt at my deliverance from the dangers I was threatened with
during the lifetime of Monseigneur. My respect, esteem, and admiration
for the Dauphin grew more and more day by day, as I saw his noble
qualities blossom out in richer luxuriance. My hopes, too, took a
brighter colour from the rising dawn of prosperity that was breaking
around me. Alas! that I should be compelled to relate the cruel manner
in which envious fortune took from me the cup of gladness just as I was
raising it to my lips.


On Monday, the 18th of January, 1712, after a visit to Versailles, the
King went to Marly. I mark expressly this journey. No sooner were we
settled there than Boudin, chief doctor of the Dauphine, warned her to
take care of herself, as he had received sure information that there was
a plot to poison her and the Dauphin, to whom he made a similar
communication. Not content with this he repeated it with a terrified
manner to everybody in the salon, and frightened all who listened to him.
The King spoke to him about it in private. Boudin declared that this
information was good, and yet that he did not know whence it came; and he
stuck to this contradiction. For, if he did not know where the
information came from how could he be assured it was trustworthy?

The most singular thing is, that twenty-four hours after Boudin had
uttered this warning, the Dauphin received a similar one from the King of
Spain, vague, and without mentioning whence obtained, and yet also
declared to be of good source. In this only the Dauphin was named
distinctly--the Dauphine obscurely and by implication--at least, so the
Dauphin explained the matter, and I never heard that he said otherwise.
People pretended to despise these stories of origin unknown, but they
were struck by them nevertheless, and in the midst of the amusements and
occupations of the Court, seriousness, silence, and consternation were

The King, as I have said, went to Marly on Monday, the 18th of January,
1712. The Dauphine came there early with a face very much swelled, and
went to bed at once; yet she rose at seven o'clock in the evening because
the King wished her to preside in the salon. She played there, in
morning-dress, with her head wrapped up, visited the King m the apartment
of Madame de Maintenon just before his supper, and then again went to
bed, where she supped. On the morrow, the 19th, she rose only to play in
the salon, and see the King, returning to her bed and supping there. On
the 20th, her swelling diminished, and she was better. She was subject
to this complaint, which was caused by her teeth. She passed the
following days as usual. On Monday, the 1st of February, the Court
returned to Versailles.

On Friday, the 5th of February, the Duc de Noailles gave a very fine box
full of excellent Spanish snuff to the Dauphine, who took some, and liked
it. This was towards the end of the morning. Upon entering her cabinet
(closed to everybody else), she put this box upon the table, and left it
there. Towards the evening she was seized with trembling fits of fever.
She went to bed, and could not rise again even to go to the King's
cabinet after the supper. On Saturday, the 6th of February, the
Dauphine, who had had fever all night, did not fail to rise at her
ordinary hour, and to pass the day as usual; but in the evening the fever
returned. She was but middling all that night, a little worse the next
day; but towards ten o'clock at night she was suddenly seized by a sharp
pain under the temple. It did not extend to the dimensions of a ten sous
piece, but was so violent that she begged the King, who was coming to see
her, not to enter. This kind of madness of suffering lasted without
intermission until Monday, the 8th, and was proof against tobacco chewed
and smoked, a quantity of opium, and two bleedings in the arms. Fever
showed itself more then this pain was a little calmed; the Dauphine said
she had suffered more than in child-birth.

Such a violent illness filled the chamber with rumours concerning the
snuff-box given to the Dauphine by the Duc de Noailles. In going to bed
the day she had received it and was seized by fever, she spoke of the
snuff to her ladies, highly praising it and the box, which she told one
of them to go and look for upon the table in the cabinet, where, as I
have said, it had been left. The box could not be found, although looked
for high and low. This disappearance had seemed very extraordinary from
the first moment it became known. Now, joined to the grave illness with
which the Dauphine was so cruelly assailed, it aroused the most sombre
suspicions. Nothing, however, was breathed of these suspicions, beyond a
very restricted circle; for the Princess took snuff with the knowledge of
Madame de Maintenon, but without that of the King, who would have made a
fine scene if he had discovered it. This was what was feared, if the
singular loss of the box became divulged.

Let me here say, that although one of my friends, the Archbishop of
Rheims, believed to his dying day that the Duc de Noailles had poisoned
the Dauphine by means of this box of Spanish snuff, I never could induce
myself to believe so too. The Archbishop declared that in the manner of
the Duc de Noailles, after quitting the chamber of the Princess, there
was something which suggested both confusion and contentment. He brought
forward other proofs of guilt, but they made no impression upon me. I
endeavoured, on the contrary, to shake his belief, but my labour was in
vain. I entreated him, however, at least to maintain the most profound
silence upon this horrible thought, and he did so.

Those who afterwards knew the history of the box--and they were in good
number--were as inaccessible to suspicion as I; and nobody thought of
charging the Duc de Noailles with the offence it was said he had
committed. As for me, I believed in his guilt so little that our
intimacy remained the same; and although that intimacy grew even up to
the death of the King, we never spoke of this fatal snuff-box.

During the night, from Monday to Tuesday, the 9th of February, the
lethargy was great. During the day the King approached the bed many
times: the fever was strong, the awakenings were short; the head was
confused, and some marks upon the skin gave tokens of measles, because
they extended quickly, and because many people at Versailles and at Paris
were known to be, at this time, attacked with that disease. The night
from Tuesday to Wednesday passed so much the more badly, because the hope
of measles had already vanished. The King came in the morning to see
Madame la Dauphine, to whom an emetic had been given. It operated well,
but produced no relief. The Dauphin, who scarcely ever left the bedside
of his wife, was forced into the garden to take the air, of which he had
much need; but his disquiet led him back immediately into the chamber.
The malady increased towards the evening, and at eleven o'clock there was
a considerable augmentation of fever. The night was very bad.
On Thursday, the 11th of February, at nine o'clock in the morning, the
King entered the Dauphine's chamber, which Madame de Maintenon scarcely
ever left, except when he was in her apartments. The Princess was so ill
that it was resolved to speak to her of receiving the sacrament.
Prostrated though she was she was surprised at this. She put some
questions as to her state; replies as little terrifying as possible were
given to her, and little by little she was warned against delay.
Grateful for this advice, she said she would prepare herself.

After some time, accidents being feared, Father la Rue, her (Jesuit)
confessor, whom she had always appeared to like, approached her to exhort
her not to delay confession. She looked at him, replied that she
understood him, and then remained silent. Like a sensible man he saw
what was the matter, and at once said that if she had any objection to
confess to him to have no hesitation in admitting it. Thereupon she
indicated that she should like to have M. Bailly, priest of the mission
of the parish of Versailles. He was a man much esteemed, but not
altogether free from the suspicion of Jansenism. Bailly, as it happened,
had gone to Paris. This being told her, the Dauphine asked for Father
Noel, who was instantly sent for.

The excitement that this change of confessor made at a moment so critical
may be imagined. All the cruelty of the tyranny that the King never
ceased to exercise over every member of his family was now apparent.
They could not have a confessor not of his choosing! What was his
surprise and the surprise of all the Court, to find that in these last
terrible moments of life the Dauphine wished to change her confessor,
whose order even she repudiated!

Meanwhile the Dauphin had given way. He had hidden his own illness as
long as he could, so as not to leave the pillow of his Dauphine. Now the
fever he had was too strong to be dissimulated; and the doctors, who
wished to spare him the sight of the horrors they foresaw, forgot nothing
to induce him to stay in his chamber, where, to sustain him, false news
was, from time to time, brought him of the state of his spouse.

The confession of the Dauphine was long. Extreme unction was
administered immediately afterwards; and the holy viaticum directly.
An hour afterwards the Dauphine desired the prayers for the dying to be
said. They told her she was not yet in that state, and with words of
consolation exhorted her to try and get to sleep. Seven doctors of the
Court and of Paris were sent for. They consulted together in the
presence of the King and Madame de Maintenon. All with one voice were in
favour of bleeding at the foot; and in case it did not have the effect
desired, to give an emetic at the end of the night. The bleeding was
executed at seven o'clock in the evening. The return of the fever came
and was found less violent than the preceding. The night was cruel. The
King came early next morning to see the Dauphine. The emetic she took at
about nine o'clock had little effect. The day passed in symptoms each
more sad than the other; consciousness only at rare intervals. All at
once towards evening, the whole chamber fell into dismay. A number of
people were allowed to enter although the King was there. Just before
she expired he left, mounted into his coach at the foot of the grand
staircase, and with Madame de Maintenon and Madame de Caylus went away to
Marly. They were both in the most bitter grief, and had not the courage
to go to the Dauphin. Upon arriving at Marly the King supped in his own
room; and passed a short time with M. d'Orleans and his natural children.
M. le Duc de Berry, entirely occupied with his affliction, which was
great and real, had remained at Versailles with Madame la Duchesse de
Berry, who, transported with joy upon seeing herself delivered from a
powerful rival, to whom, however, she owed all, made her face do duty for
her heart.

Monseigneur le Dauphin, ill and agitated by the most bitter grief, kept
his chamber; but on Saturday morning the 13th, being pressed to go to
Marly to avoid the horror of the noise overhead where the Dauphine was
lying dead, he set out for that place at seven o'clock in the morning.
Shortly after arriving he heard mass in the chapel, and thence was
carried in a chair to the window of one of his rooms. Madame de
Maintenon came to see him there afterwards; the anguish of the interview
was speedily too much for her, and she went away. Early in the morning I
went uninvited to see M. le Dauphin. He showed me that he perceived this
with an air of gentleness and of affection which penetrated me. But I
was terrified with his looks, constrained, fixed and with something wild
about them, with the change in his face and with the marks there, livid
rather than red, that I observed in good number and large; marks observed
by the others also. The Dauphin was standing. In a few minutes he was
apprised that the King had awaked. The tears that he had restrained, now
rolled from his eyes; he turned round at the news but said nothing,
remaining stock still. His three attendants proposed to him, once or
twice, that he should go to the King. He neither spoke nor stirred. I
approached and made signs to him to go, then softly spoke to the same
effect. Seeing that he still remained speechless and motionless, I made
bold to take his arm, representing to him that sooner or later he must
see the King, who expected him, and assuredly with the desire to see and
embrace him; and pressing him in this manner, I took the liberty to
gently push him. He cast upon me a look that pierced my soul and went
away: I followed him some few steps and then withdrew to recover breath;
I never saw him again. May I, by the mercy of God, see him eternally
where God's goodness doubtless has placed him!

The Dauphin reached the chamber of the King, full just then of company.
As soon as, he appeared the King called him and embraced him tenderly
again and again. These first moments, so touching, passed in words
broken by sobs and tears.

Shortly afterwards the King looking at the Dauphin was terrified by the
same things that had previously struck me with affright. Everybody
around was so, also the doctors more than the others. The King ordered
them to feel his pulse; that they found bad, so they said afterwards; for
the time they contented themselves with saying it was not regular, and
that the Dauphin would do wisely to go to bed. The King embraced him
again, recommended him very tenderly to take care of himself, and ordered
him to go to bed. He obeyed and rose no more!

It was now late in the morning. The King had passed a cruel night and
had a bad headache; he saw at his dinner, the few courtiers who presented
themselves, and after dinner went to the Dauphin. The fever had
augmented: the pulse was worse than before. The King passed into the
apartments of Madame de Maintenon, and the Dauphin was left with his
attendants and his doctors. He spent the day in prayers and holy

On the morrow, Sunday, the uneasiness felt on account of the Dauphin
augmented. He himself did not conceal his belief that he should never
rise again, and that the plot Boudin had warned him of, had been
executed. He explained himself to this effect more than once, and always
with a disdain of earthly grandeur and an incomparable submission and
love of God. It is impossible to describe the general consternation. On
Monday the 15th, the King was bled. The Dauphin was no better than
before. The King and Madame de Maintenon saw him separately several
times during the day, which was passed in prayers and reading.

On Tuesday, the 16th, the Dauphin was worse. He felt himself devoured by
a consuming fire, which the external fever did not seem to justify; but
the pulse was very extraordinary and exceedingly menacing. This was a
deceptive day. The marks on the Dauphin's face extended over all the
body. They were regarded as the marks of measles. Hope arose thereon,
but the doctors and the most clear-sighted of the Court could not forget
that these same marks had shown themselves on the body of the Dauphine; a
fact unknown out of her chamber until after death.

On Wednesday, the 17th, the malady considerably increased. I had news at
all moments of the Dauphin's state from Cheverny, an excellent apothecary
of the King and of my family. He hid nothing from us. He had told us
what he thought of the Dauphine's illness; he told us now what he thought
of the Dauphin's. I no longer hoped therefore, or rather I hoped to the
end, against all hope.

On Wednesday the pains increased. They were like a devouring fire, but
more violent than ever. Very late into the evening the Dauphin sent to
the King for permission to receive the communion early the next morning,
without ceremony and without display, at the mass performed in his
chamber. Nobody heard of this, that evening; it was not known until the
following morning. I was in extreme desolation; I scarcely saw the King
once a day. I did nothing but go in quest of news several times a day,
and to the house of M. de Chevreuse, where I was completely free. M. de
Chevreuse--always calm, always sanguine--endeavoured to prove to us by
his medical reasonings that there was more reason to hope than to fear,
but he did so with a tranquillity that roused my impatience. I returned
home to pass a cruel night.

On Thursday morning, the 18th of February, I learned that the Dauphin,
who had waited for midnight with impatience, had heard mass immediately
after the communion, had passed two hours in devout communication with
God, and that his reason then became embarrassed. Madame de Saint-Simon
told me afterwards that he had received extreme unction: in fine, that he
died at half-past eight. These memoirs are not written to describe my
private sentiments. But in reading them,--if, long after me, they shall
ever appear, my state and that of Madame de Saint-Simon will only too
keenly be felt. I will content myself with saying, that the first days
after the Dauphin's death scarcely appeared to us more than moments; that
I wished to quit all, to withdraw from the Court and the world, and that
I was only hindered by the wisdom, conduct, and power over me of Madame
de Saint-Simon, who yet had much trouble to subdue my sorrowful desires.
Let me say something now of the young prince and his spouse, whom we thus
lost in such quick succession.

Never did princess arrive amongst us so young with so much instruction,
or with such capacity to profit by instruction. Her skilful father, who
thoroughly knew our Court, had painted it to her, and had made her
acquainted with the only manner of making herself happy there. From the
first moment of her arrival she had acted upon his lessons. Gentle,
timid, but adroit, fearing to give the slightest pain to anybody, and
though all lightness and vivacity, very capable of far-stretching views;
constraint, even to annoyance, cost her nothing, though she felt all its
weight. Complacency was natural to her, flowed from her, and was
exhibited towards every member of the Court.

Regularly plain, with cheeks hanging, a forehead too prominent, a nose
without meaning, thick biting lips, hair and eye-brows of dark chestnut,
and well planted; the most speaking and most beautiful eyes in the world;
few teeth, and those all rotten, about which she was the first to talk
and jest; the most beautiful complexion and skin; not much bosom, but
what there was admirable; the throat long, with the suspicion of a
goitre, which did not ill become her; her head carried gallantly,
majestically, gracefully; her mien noble; her smile most expressive; her
figure long, round, slender, easy, perfectly-shaped; her walk that of a
goddess upon the clouds: with such qualifications she pleased supremely.
Grace accompanied her every step, and shone through her manners and her
most ordinary conversation. An air always simple and natural, often
naive, but seasoned with wit-this with the ease peculiar to her, charmed
all who approached her, and communicated itself to them. She wished to
please even the most useless and the most ordinary persons, and yet
without making an effort to do so. You were tempted to believe her
wholly and solely devoted to those with whom she found herself. Her
gaiety--young, quick, and active--animated all; and her nymph-like
lightness carried her everywhere, like a whirlwind which fills several
places at once, and gives them movement and life. She was the ornament
of all diversions, the life and soul of all pleasure, and at balls
ravished everybody by the justness and perfection of her dancing. She
could be amused by playing for small sums but liked high gambling better,
and was an excellent, good-tempered, and bold gamester.

She spared nothing, not even her health, to gain Madame de Maintenon, and
through her the King. Her suppleness towards them was without example,
and never for a moment was at fault. She accompanied it with all the
discretion that her knowledge of them, acquired by study and experience,
had given her, and could measure their dispositions to an inch. In this
way she had acquired a familiarity with them such as none of the King's
children, not even the bastards, had approached.

In public, serious, measured, with the King, and in timid decorum with
Madame de Maintenon, whom she never addressed except as my aunt, thus
prettily confounding friendship and rank. In private, prattling,
skipping, flying around them, now perched upon the sides of their arm-
chairs, now playing upon their knees, she clasped them round the neck,
embraced them, kissed them, caressed them, rumpled them, tickled them
under the chin, tormented them, rummaged their tables, their papers,
their letters, broke open the seals, and read the contents in spite of
opposition, if she saw that her waggeries were likely to be received in
good part. When the King was with his ministers, when he received
couriers, when the most important affairs were under discussion, she was
present, and with such liberty, that, hearing the King and Madame de
Maintenon speak one evening with affection of the Court of England, at
the time when peace was hoped for from Queen Anne, "My aunt," she said,
"you must admit that in England the queens govern better than the kings,
and do you know why, my aunt?" asked she, running about and gambolling
all the time, "because under kings it is women who govern, and men under
queens." The joke is that they both laughed, and said she was right.

The King really could not do without her. Everything went wrong with him
if she was not by; even at his public supper, if she were away an
additional cloud of seriousness and silence settled around him. She took
great care to see him every day upon arriving and departing; and if some
ball in winter, or some pleasure party in summer, made her lose half the
night, she nevertheless adjusted things so well that she went and
embraced the King the moment he was up, and amused him with a description
of the fete.

She was so far removed from the thoughts of death, that on Candlemas-day
she talked with Madame de Saint-Simon of people who had died since she
had been at Court, and of what she would herself do in old age, of the
life she would lead, and of such like matters. Alas! it pleased God,
for our misfortune, to dispose of her differently.

With all her coquetry--and she was not wanting in it--never woman seemed
to take less heed of her appearance; her toilette was finished in a
moment, she cared nothing for finery except at balls and fetes; if she
displayed a little at other times it was simply in order to please the
king. If the Court subsisted after her it was only to languish. Never
was princess so regretted, never one so worthy of it: regrets have not
yet passed away, the involuntary and secret bitterness they caused still
remain, with a frightful blank not yet filled up.

Let me now turn to the Dauphin.

The youth of this prince made every one tremble. Stern and choleric to
the last degree, and even against inanimate objects; impetuous with
frenzy, incapable of suffering the slightest resistance even from the
hours and the elements, without flying into a passion that threatened to
destroy his body; obstinate to excess; passionately fond of all kind of
voluptuousness, of women, with even a worse passion strongly developed at
the same time; fond not less of wine, good living, hunting, music, and
gaming, in which last he could not endure to be beaten; in fine,
abandoned to every passion, and transported by every pleasure; oftentimes
wild, naturally disposed towards cruelty; barbarous in raillery, and with
an all-powerful capacity for ridicule.

He looked down upon all men as from the sky, as atoms with whom he had
nothing in common; even his brothers scarcely appeared connecting links
between himself and human nature, although all had been educated together
in perfect equality. His sense and penetration shone through everything.
His replies, even in anger, astonished everybody. He amused himself with
the most abstract knowledge. The extent and vivacity of his intellect
were prodigious, and rendered him incapable of applying himself to one
study at a time.

So much intelligence and of such a kind, joined to such vivacity,
sensibility, and passion, rendered his education difficult. But God, who
is the master of all hearts, and whose divine spirit breathes where he
wishes, worked a miracle on this prince between his eighteenth and
twentieth years. From this abyss he came out affable, gentle, humane,
moderate, patient, modest, penitent, and humble; and austere, even more
than harmonised with his position. Devoted to his duties, feeling them
to be immense, he thought only how to unite the duties of son and subject
with those he saw to be destined for himself. The shortness of each day
was his only sorrow. All his force, all his consolation, was in prayer
and pious reading. He clung with joy to the cross of his Saviour,
repenting sincerely of his past pride. The King, with his outside
devotion, soon saw with secret displeasure his own life censured by that
of a prince so young, who refused himself a new desk in order to give the
money it would cost to the poor, and who did not care to accept some new
gilding with which it was proposed to furnish his little room.
Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, alarmed at so austere a spouse, left
nothing undone in order to soften him. Her charms, with which he was
smitten, the cunning and the unbridled importunities of the young ladies
of her suite, disguised in a hundred different forms--the attraction of
parties and pleasures to which he was far from insensible, all were
displayed every day.. But for a long time he behaved not like a prince
but like a novice. On one occasion he refused to be present at a ball on
Twelfth Night, and in various ways made himself ridiculous at Court.
In due time, however, he comprehended that the faithful performance of
the duties proper to the state in which he had been placed, would be the
conduct most agreeable to God. The bark of the tree, little by little,
grew softer without affecting the solidity of the trunk. He applied
himself to the studies which were necessary, in order to instruct himself
in public affairs, and at the same time he lent himself more to the
world, doing so with so much grace, with such a natural air, that
everybody soon began to grow reconciled to him.

The discernment of this prince was such, that, like the bee, he gathered
the most perfect substance from the best and most beautiful flowers. He
tried to fathom men, to draw from them the instruction and the light that
he could hope for. He conferred sometimes, but rarely, with others
besides his chosen few. I was the only one, not of that number, who had
complete access to him; with me he opened his heart upon the present and
the future with confidence, with sageness, with discretion. A volume
would not describe sufficiently my private interviews with this prince,
what love of good! what forgetfulness of self! what researches! what
fruit! what purity of purpose!--May I say it? what reflection of the
divinity in that mind, candid, simple, strong, which as much as is
possible here below had preserved the image of its maker!

If you had business, and thought of opening it to him, say for a quarter
of an hour or half an hour, he gave you oftentimes two hours or more,
according as he found himself at liberty. Yet he was without verbiage,
compliments, prefaces, pleasantries, or other hindrances; went straight
to the point, and allowed you to go also.

His undue scruples of devotion diminished every day, as he found himself
face to face with the world; above all, he was well cured of the
inclination for piety in preference to talent, that is to say, for making
a man ambassador, minister, or general, rather on account of his
devotedness than of his capacity or experience. He saw the danger of
inducing hypocrisy by placing devotion too high as a qualification for

It was he who was not afraid to say publicly, in the Salon of Marly, that
"a king is made for his subjects, and not the subjects for him;" a remark
that, except under his own reign, which God did not permit, would have
been the most frightful blasphemy.

Great God! what a spectacle you gave to us in him. What tender but
tranquil views he had! What submission and love of God! What a
consciousness of his own nothingness, and of his sins! What a
magnificent idea of the infinite mercy! What religious and humble fear!
What tempered confidence! What patience!

What constant goodness for all who approached him! France fell, in fine,
under this last chastisement. God showed to her a prince she merited
not. The earth was not worthy of him; he was ripe already for the
blessed eternity!


The consternation at the event that had taken place was real and general;
it penetrated to foreign lands and courts. Whilst the people wept for
him who thought only of their relief, and all France lamented a prince
who only wished to reign in order to render it flourishing and happy,
the sovereigns of Europe publicly lamented him whom they regarded as
their example, and whose virtues were preparing him to be their
arbitrator, and the peaceful and revered moderator of nations. The Pope
was so touched that he resolved of himself to set aside all rule and hold
expressly a consistory; deplored there the infinite loss the church and
all Christianity had sustained, and pronounced a complete eulogium of the
prince who caused the just regrets of all Europe.

On Saturday, the 13th, the corpse of the Dauphine was left in its bed
with uncovered face, and opened the same evening at eleven in presence of
all the faculty. On the 15th it was placed in the grand cabinet, where
masses were continually said.

On Friday, the 19th, the corpse of Monseigneur le Dauphin was opened, a
little more than twenty-four hours after his death, also in presence of
all the faculty. His heart was immediately carried to Versailles, and
placed by the side of that of Madame la Dauphine. Both were afterwards
taken to the Val de Grace. They arrived at midnight with a numerous
cortege. All was finished in two hours. The corpse of Monseigneur le
Dauphin was afterwards carried from Marly to Versailles, and placed by
the side of Madame la Dauphine on the same estrade.

On Tuesday, the 23rd February, the two bodies were taken from Versailles
to Saint-Denis in the same chariot. The procession began to enter Paris
by the Porte Saint-Honore at two o'clock in the morning, and arrived
between seven and eight o'clock in the morning at Saint-Denis. There was
great order in Paris, and no confusion.

On Tuesday, the 8th March, Monseigneur le Duc de Bretagne, eldest son of
Monsieur le Dauphin, who had succeeded to the name and rank of his
father, being then only five years and some months old, and who had been
seized with measles within a few days, expired, in spite of all the
remedies given him. His brother, M. le Duc d'Anjou, who still sucked,
was taken ill at the same time, but thanks to the care of the Duchesse de
Ventadour, whom in after life he never forgot, and who administered an
antidote, escaped, and is now King.

Thus three Dauphins died in less than a year, and father, mother, and
eldest son in twenty-four days! On Wednesday, the 9th of March, the
corpse of the little Dauphin was opened at night, and without any
ceremony his heart was taken to the Val de Grace, his body to Saint-
Denis, and placed by the side of those of his father and mother. M. le
Duc d'Anjou, now, sole remaining child, succeeded to the title and to the
rank of Dauphin.

I have said that the bodies of the Dauphin and the Dauphine were opened
in presence of all the faculty. The report made upon the opening of the
latter was not consolatory. Only one of the doctors declared there were
no signs of poison; the rest were of the opposite opinion. When the body
of the Dauphin was opened, everybody was terrified. His viscera were
all dissolved; his heart had no consistency; its substance flowed through
the hands of those who tried to hold it; an intolerable odour, too,
filled the apartment. The majority of the doctors declared they saw in
all this the effect of a very subtle and very violent poison, which had
consumed all the interior of the body, like a burning fire. As before,
there was one of their number who held different views, but this was
Marechal, who declared that to persuade the King of the existence of
secret enemies of his family would be to kill him by degrees.

This medical opinion that the cause of the Dauphin's and the Dauphine's
death was poison, soon spread like wildfire over the Court and the city.
Public indignation fell upon M. d'Orleans, who was at once pointed out as
the poisoner. The rapidity with which this rumour filled the Court,
Paris, the provinces, the least frequented places, the most isolated
monasteries, the most deserted solitudes, all foreign countries and all
the peoples of Europe, recalled to me the efforts of the cabal, which had
previously spread such black reports against the honour of him whom all
the world now wept, and showed that the cabal, though dispersed, was not

In effect M. du Maine, now the head of the cabal, who had all to gain and
nothing to lose by the death of the Dauphin and Dauphine, from both of
whom he had studiously held aloof, and who thoroughly disliked M.
d'Orleans, did all in his power to circulate this odious report. He
communicated it to Madame de Maintenon, by whom it reached the King. In
a short time all the Court, down to the meanest valets, publicly cried
vengeance upon M. d'Orleans, with an air of the most unbridled
indignation and of perfect security.

M. d'Orleans, with respect to the two losses that afflicted the public,
had an interest the most directly opposite to that of M. du Maine; he had
everything to gain by the life of the Dauphin and Dauphine, and unless he
had been a monster vomited forth from hell he could not have been guilty
of the crime with which he was charged. Nevertheless, the odious
accusation flew from mouth to mouth, and took refuge in every breast.

Let us compare the interest M. d'Orleans had in the life of the Dauphin
with the interest M. du Maine had in his death, and then look about for
the poisoner. But this is not all. Let us remember how M. le Duc
d'Orleans was treated by Monseigneur, and yet what genuine grief he
displayed at the death of that prince. What a contrast was this conduct
with that of M. du Maine at another time, who, after leaving the King
(Louis XIV.) at the point of death, delivered over to an ignorant
peasant, imitated that peasant so naturally and so pleasantly, that
bursts of laughter extended to the gallery, and scandalized the passers-
by. This is a celebrated and very characteristic fact, which will find
its proper place if I live long enough to carry these memoirs up to the
death of the King.

M. d'Orleans was, however, already in such bad odour, that people were
ready to believe anything to his discredit. They drank in this new
report so rapidly, that on the 17th of February, as he went with Madame
to give the holy water to the corpse of the Dauphine, the crowd of the
people threw out all sorts of accusations against him, which both he and
Madame very distinctly heard, without daring to show it, and were in
trouble, embarrassment, and indignation, as may be imagined. There was
even ground for fearing worse from an excited and credulous populace when
M. d'Orleans went alone to give the holy water to the corpse of the
Dauphin. For he had to endure on his passage atrocious insults from a
populace which uttered aloud the most frightful observations, which
pointed the finger at him with the coarsest epithets, and which believed
it was doing him a favour in not falling upon him and tearing him to

Similar circumstances took place at the funeral procession. The streets
resounded more with cries of indignation against M. d'Orleans and abuse
of him than with grief. Silent precautions were not forgotten in Paris
in order to check the public fury, the boiling over of which was feared
at different moments. The people recompensed themselves by gestures,
cries, and other atrocities, vomited against M. d'Orleans. Near the
Palais Royal, before which the procession passed, the increase of shouts,
of cries, of abuse, was so great, that for some minutes everything was to
be feared.

It may be imagined what use M. du Maine contrived to make of the public
folly, the rumours of the Paris cafes, the feeling of the salon of Marly,
that of the Parliament, the reports that arrived from the provinces and
foreign countries. In a short time so overpowered was M. d'Orleans by
the feeling against him everywhere exhibited, that acting upon very ill-
judged advice he spoke to the King upon the subject, and begged to be
allowed to surrender himself as a prisoner at the Bastille, until his
character was cleared from stain.

I was terribly annoyed when I heard that M. d'Orleans had taken this
step, which could not possibly lead to good. I had quite another sort of
scheme in my head which I should have proposed to him had I known of his
resolve. Fortunately, however, the King was persuaded not to grant M.
d'Orleans' request, out of which therefore nothing came. The Duke
meanwhile lived more abandoned by everybody than ever; if in the salon he
approached a group of courtiers, each, without the least hesitation,
turned to the right or to the left and went elsewhere, so that it was
impossible for him to accost anybody except by surprise, and if he did
so, he was left alone directly after with the most marked indecency.
In a word, I was the only person, I say distinctly, the only person,
who spoke to M. d'Orleans as before. Whether in his own house or in the
palace I conversed with him, seated myself by his side in a corner of the
salon, where assuredly we had no third person to fear, and walked with
him in the gardens under the very windows of the King and of Madame de

Nevertheless, all my friends warned me that if I pursued this conduct so
opposite to that in vogue, I should assuredly fall into disgrace. I held
firm. I thought that when we did not believe our friends guilty we ought
not to desert them, but, on the contrary, to draw closer to them, as by
honour bound, give them the consolation due from us, and show thus to the
world our hatred for calumny. My friends insisted; gave me to understand
that the King disapproved my conduct, that Madame de Maintenon was
annoyed at it: they forgot nothing to awaken my fears. But I was
insensible to all they said to me, and did not omit seeing M. d'Orleans a
single day; often stopping with him two and three hours at a time.

A few weeks had passed over thus, when one morning M. de Beauvilliers
called upon me, and urged me to plead business, and at once withdraw to
La Ferme; intimating that if I did not do so of my own accord, I should
be compelled by an order from the King. He never explained himself more
fully, but I have always remained persuaded that the King or Madame de
Maintenon had sent him to me, and had told him that I should be banished
if I did not banish myself. Neither my absence nor my departure made any
stir; nobody suspected anything. I was carefully informed, without
knowing by whom, when my exile was likely to end: and I returned, after a
month or five weeks, straight to the Court, where I kept up the same
intimacy with M. d'Orleans as before.

But he was not yet at the end of his misfortunes. The Princesse des
Ursins had not forgiven him his pleasantry at her expense. Chalais, one
of her most useful agents, was despatched by her on a journey so
mysterious that its obscurity has never been illuminated. He was
eighteen days on the road, unknown, concealing his name, and passing
within two leagues of Chalais, where his father and mother lived, without
giving them any signs of life, although all were on very good terms. He
loitered secretly in Poitou, and at last arrested there a Cordelier monk,
of middle age, in the convent of Bressuire, who cried, "Ah! I am lost!"
upon being caught. Chalais conducted him to the prison of Poitiers,
whence he despatched to Madrid an officer of dragoons he had brought with
him, and who knew this Cordelier, whose name has never transpired,
although it is certain he was really a Cordelier, and that he was
returning from as journey in Italy and Germany that had extended as far
as Vienna. Chalais pushed on to Paris, and came to Marly on the 27th of
April, a day on which the King had taken medicine. After dinner he was
taken by Torcy to the King, with whom he remained half an hour, delaying
thus the Council of State for the same time, and then returned
immediately to Paris. So much trouble had not been taken for no purpose:
and Chalais had not prostituted himself to play the part of prevot to a
miserable monk without expecting good winnings from the game.
Immediately afterwards the most dreadful rumours were everywhere in
circulation against M. d'Orleans, who, it was said, had poisoned the
Dauphin and Dauphine by means of this monk, who, nevertheless, was far
enough away from our Prince and Princess at the time of their death. In
an instant Paris resounded with these horrors; the provinces were
inundated with them, and immediately afterwards foreign countries--this
too with an incredible rapidity, which plainly showed how well the plot
had been prepared--and a publicity that reached the very caverns of the
earth. Madame des Ursins was not less served in Spain than M. du Maine
and Madame de Maintenon in France. The anger of the public was doubled.
The Cordelier was brought, bound hand and foot, to the Bastille, and
delivered up to D'Argenson, Lieutenant of Police.

This D'Argenson rendered an account to the King of many things which
Pontchartrain, as Secretary of State, considered to belong to his
department. Pontchartrain was vexed beyond measure at this, and could
not see without despair his subaltern become a kind of minister more
feared, more valued, more in consideration than he, and conduct himself
always in such manner that he gained many powerful friends, and made but
few enemies, and those of but little moment. M. d'Orleans bowed before
the storm that he could not avert; it could not increase the general
desertion; he had accustomed himself to his solitude, and, as he had
never heard this monk spoken of, had not the slightest fear on his
account. D'Argenson, who questioned the Cordelier several times, and
carried his replies daily to the King, was sufficiently adroit to pay his
court to M. d'Orleans, by telling him that the prisoner had uttered
nothing which concerned him, and by representing the services he did M.
d'Orleans with the King. Like a sagacious man, D'Argenson saw the
madness of popular anger devoid of all foundation, and which could not
hinder M. d'Orleans from being a very considerable person in France,
during a minority that--the age of the King showed to be pretty near.
He took care, therefore, to avail himself of the mystery which surrounded
his office, to ingratiate himself more and more with M. d'Orleans, whom
he had always carefully though secretly served; and his conduct, as will
be seen in due time, procured him a large fortune.

But I have gone too far. I must retrace my steps, to speak of things I
have omitted to notice in their proper place.

The two Dauphins and the Dauphine were interred at Saint-Denis, on
Monday, the 18th of April. The funeral oration was pronounced by Maboul,
Bishop of Aleth, and pleased; M. de Metz, chief chaplain, officiated; the
service commenced at about eleven o'clock. As it was very long, it was
thought well to have at hand a large vase of vinegar, in case anybody
should be ill. M. de Metz having taken the first oblation, and observing
that very little wine was left for the second, asked for more. This
large vase of vinegar was supposed to be wine, and M. de Metz, who wished
to strengthen himself, said, washing his fingers over the chalice, "fill
right up." He swallowed all at a draught, and did not perceive until the
end that he had drunk vinegar; his grimace and his complaint caused some
little laughter round him; and he often related this adventure, which
much soured him. On Monday, the 20th of May, the funeral service for the
Dauphin and Dauphine was performed at Notre Dame.

Let me here say, that before the Prince and his spouse were buried, that
is to say, the 6th of April, the King gave orders for the recommencement
of the usual play at Marly; and that M. le Duc de Berry and Madame la
Duchesse de Berry presided in the salon at the public lansquenet and
brelan; and the different gaming tables for all the Court. In a short
time the King dined in Madame de Maintenon's apartments once or twice a
week, and had music there. And all this, as I have remarked, with the
corpse of the Dauphin and that of the Dauphine still above ground.

The gap left by the death of the Dauphine could not, however, be easily
filled up. Some months after her loss, the King began to feel great
ennui steal upon him in the hours when he had no work with his ministers.
The few ladies admitted into the apartments of Madame de Maintenon when
he was there, were unable to entertain him. Music, frequently
introduced, languished from that cause. Detached scenes from the
comedies of Moliere were thought of, and were played by the King's
musicians, comedians for the nonce. Madame de Maintenon introduced, too,
the Marechal de Villeroy, to amuse the King by relating their youthful

Evening amusements became more and more frequent in Madame de Maintenon's
apartments, where, however, nothing could fill up the void left by the
poor Dauphine.

I have said little of the grief I felt at the loss of the prince whom
everybody so deeply regretted. As will be believed, it was bitter and
profound. The day of his death, I barricaded myself in my own house, and
only left it for one instant in order to join the King at his promenade
in the gardens. The vexation I felt upon seeing him followed almost as
usual, did not permit me to stop more than an instant. All the rest of
the stay at Versailles, I scarcely left my room, except to visit M. de
Beauvilliers. I will admit that, to reach M. de Beauvilliers' house, I
made a circuit between the canal and the gardens of Versailles, so as to
spare myself the sight of the chamber of death, which I had not force
enough to approach. I admit that I was weak. I was sustained neither by
the piety, superior to all things, of M. de Beauvilliers, nor by that of
Madame de Saint-Simon, who nevertheless not the less suffered. The truth
is, I was in despair. To those who know my position, this will appear
less strange than my being able to support at all so complete a
misfortune. I experienced this sadness precisely at the same age as that
of my father when he lost Louis XIII.; but he at least had enjoyed the
results of favour, whilst I, 'Gustavi paululum mellis, et ecce morior.'
Yet this was not all.

In the casket of the Dauphin there were several papers he had asked me
for. I had drawn them up in all confidence; he had preserved them in the
same manner. There was one, very large, in my hand, which if seen by the
King, would have robbed me of his favour for ever; ruined me without hope
of return. We do not think in time of such catastrophes. The King knew
my handwriting; he did not know my mode of thought, but might pretty well
have guessed it. I had sometimes supplied him with means to do so; my
good friends of the Court had done the rest. The King when he discovered
my paper would also discover on what close terms of intimacy I had been
with the Dauphin, of which he had no suspicion. My anguish was then
cruel, and there seemed every reason to believe that if my secret was
found out, I should be disgraced and exiled during all the rest of the
King's reign.

What a contrast between the bright heaven I had so recently gazed upon
and the abyss now yawning at my feet! But so it is in the Court and the
world! I felt then the nothingness of even the most desirable future, by
an inward sentiment, which, nevertheless, indicates how we cling to it.
Fear on account of the contents of the casket had scarcely any power over
me. I was obliged to reflect in order to return to it from time to time.
Regret for this incomparable Dauphin pierced my heart, and suspended all
the faculties of my soul. For a long time I wished to fly from the
Court, so that I might never again see the deceitful face of the world;
and it was some time before prudence and honour got the upper hand.

It so happened that the, Duc de Beauvilliers himself was able to carry
this casket to the King, who had the key of it. M. de Beauvilliers in
fact resolved not to trust it out of his own hands, but to wait until he
was well enough to take it to the King, so that he might then try to hide
my papers from view. This task was difficult, for he did not know the
position in the casket of these dangerous documents, and yet it was our
only resource. This terrible uncertainty lasted more than a fortnight.

On Tuesday, the 1st of March, M. de Beauvilliers carried the casket to
the King. He came to me shortly after, and before sitting down,
indicated by signs that there was no further occasion for fear. He then
related to me that he had found the casket full of a mass of documents,
finance projects, reports from the provinces, papers of all kinds, that
he had read some of them to the King on purpose to weary him, and had
succeeded so well that the King soon was satisfied by hearing only the
titles; and, at last, tired out by not finding anything important, said
it was not worth while to read more, and that there was nothing to do but
to throw everything into the fire. The Duke assured me that he did not
wait to be told twice, being all the more anxious to comply, because at
the bottom of the casket he had seen some of my handwriting, which he had
promptly covered up in taking other papers to read their titles to the
King; and that immediately the word "fire" was uttered, he confusedly
threw all the papers into the casket, and then emptied it near the fire,
betweein the King and Madame de Maintenon, taking good care as he did so
that my documents should not be seen,--even cautiously using the tongs in
order to prevent any piece flying away, and not quitting the fireplace
until he had seen every page consumed. We embraced each other, in the
relief we reciprocally felt, relief proportioned to the danger we had


A king is made for his subjects, and not the subjects for him
A lingering fear lest the sick man should recover
Danger of inducing hypocrisy by placing devotion too high
For want of better support I sustained myself with courage
Interests of all interested painted on their faces
Never was a man so ready with tears, so backward with grief
Suspicion of a goitre, which did not ill become her
The shortness of each day was his only sorrow

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