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

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fat. A dwarf of Madame la Princesse was said to be the cause. He was of
a livid yellow, nearly always looked furious, and was ever so proud, so
audacious, that it was difficult to get used to him. His cruelty and
ferocity were so extreme that people avoided him, and his pretended
friends would not invite him to join in any merriment. They avoided him:
he ran after them to escape from solitude, and would sometimes burst upon
them during their jovial repasts, reproach them with turning a cold
shoulder to him, and change their merriment to desolation.

After the death of M. le Duc, a grand discussion on precedence at the
After-suppers, set on foot by the proud Duchesse d'Orleans, was,--after
an elaborate examination by the King, brought to a close. The King
ordered his determination to be kept secret until he formally declared
it. It is necessary to set forth in a few words the mechanism of the
After-suppers every day. The King, on leaving table, stopped less than a
half-quarter of an hour with his back leaning against the balustrade of
his chamber. He there found in a circle all the ladies who had been at
his supper, and who came there to wait for him a little before he left
table, except the ladies who sat, who came out after him, and who, in the
suite of the Princes and the Princesses who had supped with him, advanced
one by one and made him a courtesy, and filled up the remainder of the
standing circle; for a space was always left for them by the other
ladies. The men stood behind. The King amused himself by observing the
dresses, the countenances, and the gracefulness of the ladies courtesies,
said a word to the Princes and Princesses who had supped with him, and
who closed the circle near him an either hand, then bowed to the ladies
on right and left, bowed once or twice more as he went away, with a grace
and majesty unparalleled, spoke sometimes, but very rarely, to some lady
in passing, entered the first cabinet, where he gave the order, and then
advanced to the second cabinet, the doors from the first to the second
always remaining open. There he placed himself in a fauteuil, Monsieur,
while he was there, in another; the Duchesse de Bourgogne, Madame (but
only after the death of Monsieur), the Duchesse de Berry (after her
marriage), the three bastard-daughters, and Madame du Maine (when she was
at Versailles), on stools on each side. Monseigneur, the Duc de
Bourgogne, the Duc de Berry, the Duc d'Orleans, the two bastards, M. le
Duc (as the husband of Madame la Duchesse), and afterwards the two sons
of M. du Maine, when they had grown a little, and D'Antin, came
afterwards, all standing. It was the object of the Duchesse d'Orleans to
change this order, and make her daughters take precedence of the wives of
the Princes of the blood; but the King declared against her. When he
made the public announcement of his decision, the Duc d'Orleans took the
opportunity of alluding to a marriage which would console him for
everything. "I should think so," replied the King, dryly, and with a
bitter and mocking smile.


It was the desire of the Duc and Duchesse d'Orleans to marry Mademoiselle
(their daughter) to the Duc de Berry (third son of Monseigneur, and
consequently brother of the Duc de Bourgogne and of the King of Spain).
There were many obstacles in the way--partly the state of public affairs
--partly the fact that the King, though seemingly, was not really quite
reconciled--partly the recollection of that cruel 'bon mot' in Spain--
partly the fact that Monseigneur would naturally object to marry his
favourite son with the daughter of a man toward whom he always testified
hatred in the most indecent manner. The recent union between Madame de
Maintenon, Mademoiselle Choin, and Monseigneur was also a great obstacle.
In fact after what M. le Duc d'Or leans had been accused of in Spain,
with his abilities and talents it seemed dangerous to make him the
father-in-law of M. le Duc de Berry.

For my part I passionately desired the marriage of Mademoiselle, although
I saw that all tended to the marriage of Mademoiselle de Bourbon,
daughter of Madame la Duchesse, in her place. I had many reasons,
private and public, for acting against the latter marriage; but it was
clear that unless very vigorous steps were taken it would fall like a
mill-stone upon my head, crush me, and wound the persons to whom I was
attached. M. le Duc d'Orleans and Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans were
immersed in the deepest indolence. They desired, but did not act. I
went to them and explained the state of the case--pointed out the danger
of Madame la Duchesse--excited their pride, their jealousy, their spite.
Will it be believed that it was necessary to put all this machinery in
motion? At last, by working on them by the most powerful motives, I made
them attend to their own interests. The natural but extreme laziness of
the Duchesse d'Orleans gave way this time, but less to ambition than to
the desire of defeating a sister who was so inimical to her. We next
concerted how we should make use of M. d'Orleans himself.

That Prince, with all his wit and his passion for Mademoiselle--which had
never weakened since her birth--was like a motionless beam, which stirred
only in obedience to our redoubled efforts, and who remained so to the
conclusion of this great business. I often reflected on the causes of
this incredible conduct, and was led to suppose that the knowledge of the
irremediable nature of what had taken place in Spain was the rein that
restrained him. However this may have been, I was throughout obliged to
use main force to bring him to activity. I determined to form and direct
a powerful cabal in order to bring my views to pass. The first person of
whom it was necessary to make sure was the Duchesse de Bourgogne. That
Princess had many reasons for the preference of Mademoiselle over
Mademoiselle de Bourbon (daughter of Madame la Duchesse). She knew the
King perfectly; and could not be ignorant of the power of novelty over
his mind, of which power she had herself made a happy experiment. What
she had to fear was another herself--I mean a Princess on the same terms
with the King as she was, who, being younger than she, would amuse him by
new childish playfulness no longer suited to her age, and yet which she
(the Duchess) was still obliged to employ. The very contrast of her own
untimely childishness, with a childishness so much more natural, would
injure her. The new favourite would, moreover, not have a husband to
support; for the Duc de Berry was already well liked. The Duc de
Bourgogne, on the contrary, since the affair of Flanders, had fallen into
disgrace with his father, Monseigneur; and his scruples, his preciseness,
his retired life, devoted to literal compliance with the rules of
devotion, contrasted unfavourably with the free life of his younger

The present and the future--whatever was important in life--were
therefore at stake with Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne; and yet her
great duty to herself was perpetually in danger of being stifled by the
fictitious and petty duties of daily life. It was necessary to stimulate
her. She felt these things in general; and that it was necessary that
her sister-in-law should be a Princess, neither able nor willing to give
her umbrage, and over whom she should be mistress. But in spite of her
wit and sense, she was not capable of feeling in a sufficiently lively
manner of herself all the importance of these things, amidst the
effervescence of her youth, the occupation of her successive duties,
the private and general favour she seemed to enjoy, the greatness of a
rank in expectation of a throne, the round of amusements which dissipated
her mind and her days: gentle, light, easy--perhaps too easy. I felt,
however, that from the effect of these considerations upon her I should
derive the greatest assistance, on account of the influence she could
exert upon the King, and still more on Madame de Maintenon, both of whom
loved her exceedingly; and I felt also that the Duchesse d'Orleans would
have neither the grace nor the fire necessary to stick it in deep enough
--on account of her great interest in the matter.

I influenced the Duchesse de Villeroy and Madame de Levi, who could work
on the Duchess, and also Madame d'O; obtained the indirect assistance of
M. du Maine--and by representing to the Ducs de Chevreuse, and de
Beauvilliers, that if M. de Berry married Mademoiselle de Bourbon, hatred
would arise between him and his brother, and great danger to the state,
enlisted them also on my side. I knew that the Joie de Berry was a fort
that could only be carried by mine and assault. Working still further,
I obtained the concurrence of the Jesuits; and made the Pere de Trevoux
our partisan. Nothing is indifferent to the Jesuits. They became a
powerful instrument. As a last ally I obtained the co-operation of the
Marechal de Boufflers. Such were the machines that my friendship for
those to whom I was attached, my hatred for Madame la Duchesse, my care
of my present and future situation, enabled me to discover, to set going,
with an exact and compassed movement, a precise agreement, and the
strength of a lever--which the space of one Lent commenced and perfected
--all whose movements, embarrassments, and progress in their divers lines
I knew; and which I regularly wound up in reciprocal cadence every day!

Towards the end of the Lent, the Duchesse de Bourgogne, having sounded
the King and Madame de Maintenon, had found the latter well disposed, and
the former without any particular objection. One day that Mademoiselle
had been taken to see the King at the apartments of Madame de Maintenon,
where Monseigneur happened to be, the Duchesse de Bourgogne praised her,
and when she had gone away, ventured, with that freedom and that
predetermined impulsiveness and gaiety which she sometimes made use of,
to say: "What an excellent wife for M. le Duc de Berry!" This expression
made Monseigneur redden with anger, and exclaim, "that would be an
excellent method of recompensing the Duc d'Orleans for his conduct in
Spain!" When he had said these words he hastily left the company, all
very much astonished; for no one expected a person seemingly so
indifferent and so measured to come out so strongly. The Duchesse de
Bourgogne, who had only spoken so to feel the way with Monseigneur in
presence of the King, was bold and clever to the end. Turning with a
bewildered look towards Madame de Maintenon, "My Aunt," quoth she to her,
"have I said something foolish?" the King, piqued, answered for Madame
de Maintenon, and said, warmly, that if Madame la Duchesse was working
upon Monseigneur she would have to deal with him. Madame de Maintenon
adroitly envenomed the matter by wondering at a vivacity so uncommon with
Monseigneur, and said that if Madame la Duchesse had that much of
influence, she would soon make him do other things of more consequence.
The conversation, interrupted in various ways and renewed, advanced with
emotion, and in the midst of reflections that did more injury to
Mademoiselle de Bourbon than the friendship of Monseigneur for Madame la
Duchesse could serve her.

When I learned this adventure, I saw that it was necessary to attack
Monseigneur by piquing the King against Madame la Duchesse, and making
him fear the influence of that Princess on Monseigneur and through
Monseigneur on himself; that no opportunity should be lost to impress on
the King the fear of being governed and kept in pupilage by his children;
that it was equally important to frighten Madame de Maintenon, and show
her the danger she was in from the influence of Monseigneur. I worked on
the fears of the Duchesse de Bourgogne, by Madame de Villeroy and de
Levi; on the Duc de Bourgogne, by M. de Beauvilliers; on Madame de
Maintenon, by the Marechal de Boufflers; on the King himself, by the Pere
Tellier; and all these batteries succeeded.

In order not to hurry matters too much, I took a turn to La Ferme, and
then came back to Marly just as the King arrived. Here I had a little
alarm, which did not, however, discourage me. I learned, in fact, that
one day the Duchesse de Bourgogne, urged perhaps rather too much on the
subject of Mademoiselle by Madame d'O, and somewhat annoyed, had shown an
inclination for a foreign marriage. Would to God that such a marriage
could have been brought about! I should always have preferred it, but
there were many reasons to render it impossible.

On my arrival at Marly, I found everything in trouble there: the King so
chagrined that he could not hide it--although usually a master of himself
and of his face: the Court believing that some new disaster had happened
which would unwillingly be declared. Four or five days passed in this
way: at last it became known what was in the wind. The King, informed
that Paris and all the public were murmuring loudly about the expenses of
Marly--at a time when it was impossible to meet the most indispensable
claims of a necessary and unfortunate war--was more annoyed this time
than on any other occasion, although he had often received the same
warnings. Madame de Maintenon had the greatest difficulty to hinder him
from returning straight to Versailles. The upshot was that the King
declared with a sort of bitter joy, that he would no longer feed the
ladies at Marly; that for the future he would dine alone, simply, as at
Versailles; that he would sup every day at a table for sixteen with his
family, and that the spare places should be occupied by ladies invited in
the morning; that the Princesses of his family should each have a table
for the ladies they brought with them; and that Mesdames Voysin and
Desmarets should each have one for the ladies who did not choose to eat
in their own rooms. He added bitterly, that by making retrenchments at
Marly he should not spend more there than at Versailles, so that he could
go there when he pleased without being exposed to the blame of any one.
He deceived himself from one end of this business to the other, but
nobody but himself was deceived, if indeed he was in any other way but in
expecting to deceive the world. The truth is, that no change was made at
Marly, except in name. The same expenses went on. The enemies
insultingly ridiculed these retrenchments. The King's subjects did not
cease to complain.

About this time an invitation to Marly having been obtained by Madame la
Duchesse for her daughters, Mademoiselles de Bourbon and de Charolois,
the King offered one to Mademoiselle. This offer was discussed before
the Duc and Duchesse d'Orleans and me. We at last resolved to leave
Mademoiselle at Versailles; and not to be troubled by seeing Mademoiselle
de Bourbon passing her days in the same salon, often at the same play-
table with the Duc de Berry, making herself admired by the Court,
fluttering round Monseigneur, and accustoming the eye of the King to her.
We knew that these trifles would not bring about a marriage; and it was
still more important not to give up Mademoiselle to the malignity of the
Court, to exposure, and complaints, from which it might not always be
possible to protect her.

But I had felt that it was necessary to act vigorously, and pressed the
Duc d'Orleans to speak to the King. To my surprise he suddenly heaped up
objections, derived from the public disasters, with which a princely
marriage would contrast disagreeably. The Duchesse d'Orleans was
strangely staggered by this admission; it only angered me. I answered by
repeating all my arguments. At last he gave way, and agreed to write to
the King. Here, again, I had many difficulties to overcome, and was
obliged, in fact, to write the letter myself, and dictate it to him. He
made one or two changes; and at last signed and sealed it. But I had the
greatest difficulty yet in inciting him to give it to the King. I had to
follow him, to urge him, to pique him, almost to push him into the
presence. The King received the letter very graciously; it had its
effect; and the marriage was resolved on.

When the preliminaries were settled, the Duc and Duchesse d'Orleans began
to show their desire that Madame de Saint-Simon should be lady of honour
to their daughter when she had become the Duchesse de Berry. I was far
from flattered by this distinction and refused as best I might. Madame
de Saint-Simon went to have an audience of the Duchesse de Bourgogne, and
asked not to be appointed; but her objections were not listened to, or
listened to with astonishment. Meanwhile I endeavoured to bring about a
reconciliation of the Duc d'Orleans with La Choin; but utterly failed.
La Choin positively refused to have anything to do with the Duke and
Duchess. I was much embarrassed to communicate this news to them, to
whom I was attached. It was necessary; however, to do so. I hastened to
Saint-Cloud, and found the Duc and Duchesse d'Orleans at table with
Mademoiselle and some ladies in a most delightful menagerie, adjoining
the railing of the avenue near the village, with a charming pleasure-
garden attached to it. All this belonged, under the name of
Mademoiselle, to Madame de Mare, her governess. I sat down and chatted
with them; but the impatience of the Duc d'Orleans to learn the news
could not be checked. He asked me if I was very satisfied. "Middling,"
I replied, not to spoil his dinner; but he rose at once and took me into
the garden. He was much affected to hear of the ill-success of my
negotiation; and returned downcast to table. I took the first
opportunity to blame his impatience, and the facility with which he
allowed the impressions he received to appear. Always in extreme, he
said he cared not; and talked wildly of planting cabbages--talk in which
he indulged often without meaning anything.

Soon after, M. le Duc d'Orleans went aside with Mademoiselle, and I found
myself placed accidentally near Madame de Fontaine-Martel. She was a
great friend of mine, and much attached to M. d'Orleans; and it was by
her means that I had become friendly with the Duke. She felt at once
that something was going on; and did not doubt that the marriage of
Mademoiselle was on the carpet. She said so, but I did not answer, yet
without assuming an air of reserve that would have convinced her. Taking
her text from the presence of M. le Duc d'Orleans with Mademoiselle, she
said to me confidentially, that it would be well to hasten this marriage
if it was possible, because all sorts of horrible things were invented to
prevent it; and without waiting to be too much pressed, she told me that
the most abominable stories were in circulation as to the friendship of
father and daughter. The hair of my head stood on end. I now felt more
heavily than ever with what demons we had to do; and how necessary it was
to hurry on matters. For this reason, after we had walked about a good
deal after dark, I again spoke with M. d'Orleans, and told him that if,
before the end of this voyage to Marly, he did not carry the declaration
of his daughter's marriage, it would never take place.

I persuaded him; and left him more animated and encouraged than I had
seen him. He amused himself I know not in what other part of the house.
I then talked a little with Madame de Mare, my relation and friend, until
I was told that Madame de Fontaine-Martel wished to speak to me in the
chateau. When I went there I was taken to the cabinet of the Duchesse
d'Orleans, when I learnt that she had just been made acquainted with the
abominable reports spread against her husband and daughter. We deplored
together the misfortune of having to do with such furies. The Duchess
protested that there was not even any seeming in favour of these
calumnies. The Duke had ever tenderly loved his daughter from the age of
two years, when he was nearly driven to despair by a serious illness she
had, during which he watched her night and day; and this tenderness had
gone on increasing day by day, so that he loved her more than his son.
We agreed that it would be cruel, wicked, and dangerous to tell M.
d'Orleans what was said.

At length the decisive blow was struck. The King had an interview with
Monseigneur; and told him he had determined on the marriage, begging him
to make up his mind as soon as possible. The declaration was soon made.
What must have been the state of Madame la Duchesse! I never knew what
took place in her house at this strange moment; and would have dearly
paid for a hiding-place behind the tapestry. As for Monseigneur, as soon
as his original repugnance was overcome, and he saw that it was necessary
to comply, he behaved very well. He received the Duc and Duchesse
d'Orleans very well, and kissed her and drank their health and that of
all the family cheerfully. They were extremely delighted and surprised.

My next visit to Saint-Cloud was very different from that in which I
reported the failure of my endeavours with Mademoiselle Choin. I was
received in triumph before a large company. To my surprise,
Mademoiselle, as soon as I appeared, ran towards me, kissed me on both
cheeks, took me by the hand, and led me into the orangery. Then she
thanked me, and admitted that her father had constantly kept her
acquainted with all the negotiations as they went on. I could not help
blaming his easiness and imprudence. She mingled all with testimonies of
the most lively joy; and I was surprised by her grace, her eloquence, the
dignity and the propriety of the terms she used. I learned an immense
number of things in this half-hour's conversation. Afterwards
Mademoiselle took the opportunity to say and do all manner of graceful
things to Madame de Saint-Simon.

The Duchesse d'Orleans now returned once more to the charge, in order to
persuade my wife to be dame d'honneur to her daughter. I refused as
firmly as I could. But soon after the King himself named Madame de
Saint-Simon; and when the Duchesse de Bourgogne suggested a doubt of her
acceptance, exclaimed, almost piqued: "Refuse! O, no! not when she
learns that it is my desire." In fact, I soon received so many menacing
warnings that I was obliged to give in; and Madame de Saint-Simon
received the appointment. This was made publicly known by the King, who
up to that very morning remained doubtful whether he would be met by a
refusal or not; and who, as he was about to speak, looked at me with a
smile that was meant to please and warn me to be silent. Madame de
Saint-Simon learned the news with tears. She was excellently well
received by the King, and complimented agreeably by Madame de Maintenon.

The marriage took place with the usual ceremonies. The Duc de
Beauvilliers and Madame de Saint-Simon drew the curtains of the couple
when they went to bed; and laughed together at being thus employed. The
King, who had given a very mediocre present of diamonds to the new
Duchesse de Berry, gave nothing to the Duc de Berry. The latter had so
little money that he could not play during the first days of the voyage
to Marly. The Duchesse de Bourgogne told this to the King, who, feeling
the state in which he himself was, said that he had only five hundred
pistoles to give him. He gave them with an excuse on the misfortunes of
the time, because the Duchesse de Bourgogne thought with reason that a
little was better than nothing, and that it was insufferable not to be
able to play.

Madame de Mare was now set at liberty. The place of Dame d'Atours was
offered to her; but she advanced many reasons for not accepting it, and
on being pressed, refused with an obstinacy that surprised every one.
We were not long in finding out the cause of her obstinate unwillingness
to remain with Madame la Duchesse de Berry. The more that Princess
allowed people to see what she was--and she never concealed herself--the
more we saw that Madame de Mare was in the right; and the more we admired
the miracle of care and prudence which had prevented anything from coming
to light; and the more we felt how blindly people act in what they desire
with the most eagerness, and achieve with much trouble and much joy; and
the more we deplored having succeeded in an affair which, so far from
having undertaken and carried out as I did, I should have traversed with
still greater zeal, even if Mademoiselle de Bourbon had profited thereby
without knowing it, if I had known half a quarter--what do I say? the
thousandth part--of what we unhappily witnessed! I shall say no more for
the present; and as I go on, I shall only say what cannot be concealed;
and I say thus much so soon merely because the strange things that soon
happened began to develop themselves a little during this first voyage to


On Saturday, the 15th of February, the King was waked up at seven o'clock
in the morning, an hour earlier than usual, because Madame la Duchesse de
Bourgogne was in the pains of labour. He dressed himself diligently in
order to go to her. She did not keep him waiting long. At three minutes
and three seconds after eight o'clock, she brought into the world a Duc
d'Anjou, who is the King Louis XV., at present reigning, which caused a
great joy. This Prince was soon after sprinkled by Cardinal de Janson in
the chamber where he was born, and then carried upon the knees of the
Duchesse de Ventadour in the sedan chair of the King into the King's
apartments, accompanied by the Marechal de Boufflers and by the body-
guards with officers. A little while after La Villiere carried to him
the cordon bleu, and all the Court went to see him, two things which much
displeased his brother, who did not scruple to show it. Madame de Saint-
Simon, who was in the chamber of Madame la Dauphine, was by chance one of
the first who saw this new-born Prince. The accouchement passed over
very well.

About this time died the Marechale de la Meilleraye, aged eighty-eight
years. She was the paternal aunt of the Marechal de Villeroy and the Duc
de Brissac, his brother-in-law. It was she who unwittingly put the cap
on MM. de Brissac, which they have ever since worn in their arms, and
which has been imitated. She was walking in a picture gallery of her
ancestors one day with her niece, a lively, merry person, whom she
obliged to salute and be polite to each portrait, and who in pleasant
revenge persuaded her that one of the said portraits wore a cap which
proved him to be an Italian Prince. She swallowed this, and had the cap
introduced into her, arms, despite her family, who are now obliged to
keep it, but who always call it, "My Aunt's cap." On another occasion,
people were speaking in her presence of the death of the Chevalier de
Savoie, brother of the Comte de Soissons, and of the famous Prince
Eugene, who died very young, very suddenly, very debauched; and full of
benefices. The talk became religious. She listened some time, and then,
with a profound look of conviction, said: "For my part, I am persuaded
that God will think twice about damning a man of such high birth as
that!" This caused a burst of laughter, but nothing could make her
change her opinion. Her vanity was cruelly punished. She used to affect
to apologise for having married the Marechal de la Meilleraye. After his
death, being in love with Saint-Ruth, her page, she married him; but took
care not to disclose her marriage for fear of losing her distinction at
Court. Saint-Ruth was a very honourable gentleman, very poor, tall, and
well made, whom everybody knew; extremely ugly--I don't know whether he
became so after his marriage. He was a worthy man and a good soldier.
But he was also a rough customer, and when his distinguished wife annoyed
him he twirled his cudgel and belaboured her soundly. This went so far
that the Marechale, not being able to stand it any longer, demanded an
audience of the King, admitted her weakness and her shame, and implored
his protection. The King kindly promised to set matters to rights. He
soundly rated Saint-Ruth in his cabinet, and forbade him to ill-treat the
Marechale. But what is bred in the bone will never get out of the flesh.
The Marechale came to make fresh complaints. The King grew angry in
earnest, and threatened Saint-Ruth. This kept him quiet for some time.
But the habit of the stick was too powerful; and he flourished it again.
The Marechale flew as usual to the King, who, seeing that Saint-Ruth was
incorrigible, was good enough to send him to Guyenne under pretence, of
employment. Afterwards he was sent to Ireland; where he was killed.

The Marechale de la Meilleraye had been perfectly beautiful, and was full
of wit. She so turned the head of the Cardinal de Retz, that he wanted
to turn everything topsy-turvy in France, in order to make himself, a
necessary man and force the King to use his influence at Rome in order to
obtain a dispensation by which he (the Cardinal) should be allowed,
though a priest--and a consecrated bishop, to marry the Marechale de la
Meilleraye while her husband was alive and she on very good terms with
him! This madness is inconceivable and yet existed.

I have described in its place the disgrace of Cardinal de Bouillon, and
the banishment to which he was sentenced. Exile did not improve him.
He languished in weariness and rage, and saw no hope that his position
would ever change. Incapable of repose, he had passed all his long
enforced leisure in a monastic war. The monks of Cluni were his
antagonists. He was constantly bringing actions against them, which they
as constantly defended. He accused them of revolt--they accused him of
scheming. They profited by his disgrace, and omitted nothing to shake
off the yoke which, when in favour, he had imposed on them. These broils
went on, until at last a suit, which Cardinal de Bouillon had commenced
against the refractory monks, and which had been carried into Grand
Council of Paris, was decided against him, notwithstanding all the
efforts he made to obtain a contrary verdict. This was the last drop
which made the too full cup overflow, and which consummated the
resolution that Cardinal had long since had in his head, and which he now

By the terms of his exile, he was allowed to visit, without restraint,
his various abbeys, situated in different parts of the realm. He took
advantage of this privilege, gave out that he was going to Normandy, but
instead of doing so, posted away to Picardy, stopped briefly at
Abbeville, gained Arras, where he had the Abbey of Saint-Waast, thence
feigning to go and see his abbey of Vigogne, he passed over into the camp
of the enemy, and threw himself into the arms of the Duke of Marlborough
and Prince Eugene. The Prince d'Auvergne, his nephew, had deserted from
France in a similar manner some time before, as I have related in its
place, and was in waiting to receive the Cardinal, who was also very
graciously welcomed by Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough, who
introduced him to the heads of the army, and lavished upon him the
greatest honours.

Such a change of condition appeared very sweet to this spirit so haughty
and so ulcerated, and marvellously inflated the Cardinal's courage. He
recompensed his dear hosts by discourses, which were the most agreeable
to them, upon the misery of France (which his frequent journeys through
the provinces had placed before his eyes), upon its powerlessness to
sustain the war; upon the discontent which reigned among the people; upon
the exhaustion of the finances; in fine, he spared nothing that perfidy
or ingratitude could suggest to flatter them and gain their favour.

No sooner had the Cardinal had time to turn round among his new friends
than he wrote a letter to the King announcing his flight--a letter which
was such a monstrous production of insolence, of madness, of felony, and
which was written in a style so extravagant and confused that it deserves
to be thus specially alluded to. In this letter, as full of absurdities,
impudence, and of madness, as of words, the Cardinal, while pretending
much devotion for the King, and much submission to the Church, plainly
intimated that he cared for neither. Although this was as the sting of a
gnat upon an elephant, the King was horribly piqued at it. He received
the letter on the 24th of May, gave it the next day to D'Aguesseau,
attorney-general, and ordered him to commence a suit against Cardinal de
Bouillon, as guilty of felony. At the same time the King wrote to Rome,
enclosing a copy of Bouillon's letter, so that it might be laid before
the Pope. This letter received little approbation. People considered
that the King had forgotten his dignity in writing it, it seemed so much
like a justification and so little worthy, of a great monarch. As for
the Cardinal de Bouillon, he grew more haughty than ever. He wrote a
letter upon the subject of this trial with which he was threatened, even
more violent than his previous letter, and proclaimed that cardinals were
not in any way amenable to secular justice, and could not be judged
except by the Pope and all the sacred college.

So in fact it seemed to, be; for although the Parliament commenced the
trial, and issued an order of arrest against the Cardinal, they soon
found themselves stopped by difficulties which arose, and by this
immunity of the cardinals, which was supported by many examples. After
all the fuss made, therefore, this cause fell by its own weakness, and
exhaled itself, so to speak, in insensible perspiration. A fine lesson
this for the most powerful princes, and calculated to teach them that if
they want to be served by Rome they should favour those that are there,
instead of raising their own subjects, who, out of Rome, can be of no
service to the State; and who are good only to seize three or four
hundred thousand livres a year in benefices, with the quarter of which an
Italian would be more than recompensed. A French cardinal in France is
the friend of the Pope, but the enemy of the King, the Church, and the
State; a tyrant very often to the clergy and the ministers, at liberty to
do what he likes without ever being punished for anything.

As nothing could be done in this way against the Cardinal, other steps
were taken. The fraudulent "Genealogical History of the House of
Auvergne," which I have previously alluded to, was suppressed by royal
edict, and orders given that all the copies of it should be seized.
Baluze, who had written it, was deprived of his chair of Professor of the
Royal College, and driven out of the realm. A large quantity of copies
of this edict were printed and publicly distributed. The little
patrimony that Cardinal de Bouillon had not been able to carry away, was
immediately confiscated: the temporality of his benefices had been
already seized, and on the 7th of July appeared a declaration from the
King, which, depriving the Cardinal of all his advowsons, distributed
them to the bishops of the dioceses in which those advowsons were

These blows were very sensibly felt by the other Bouillons, but it was no
time for complaint. The Cardinal himself became more enraged than ever.
Even up to this time he had kept so little within bounds that he had
pontifically officiated in the church of Tournai at the Te Deum for the
taking of Douai (by the enemies); and from that town (Tournai), where he
had fixed his residence, he wrote a long letter to M. de Beauvais,--
bishop of the place, when it yielded, and who would not sing the Te Deum,
exhorting him to return to Tournai and submit to the new rule. Some time
after this, that is to say, towards the end of the year, he was guilty of
even greater presumption. The Abbey of Saint-Arnaud, in Flanders, had
just been given by the King to Cardinal La Tremoille, who had been
confirmed in his possession by bulls from the Pope. Since then the abbey
had fallen into the power of the enemy. Upon this, Cardinal de Bouillon
caused himself to be elected Abbot by a minority of the monks and in
spite of the opposition of the others. It was curious to see this
dutiful son of Rome, who had declared in his letter to the King, that he
thought of nothing except the dignity of the King, and how he could best.
serve God and the Church, thus elect him self in spite of the bull of the
Pope, in spite of the orders of the King, and enjoy by force the revenues
of the abbey, protected solely by heretics!

But I have in the above recital alluded to the taking of Douai: this
reminds me that I have got to speak of our military movements, our
losses, and our victories, of this year. In Flanders and in Spain they
were of some importance, and had better, perhaps, have a chapter or more
to themselves.


The King, who had made numberless promotions, appointed this year the
same generals to the same armies. Villars was chosen for Flanders, as
before. Having, arrived at the very summit of favour, he thought he
might venture, for the first time in his life, to bring a few truths
before the King. He did nothing then but represent to the ministers,
nay, even to the King and Madame de Maintenon themselves, the wretched
state of our magazines and our garrisons; the utter absence of all
provision for the campaign, and the piteous condition of the troops and
their officers, without money and without pay. This was new language in
the mouth of Villars, who hitherto had owed all his success to the
smiling, rose-tinted account he had given of everything. It was the
frequency and the hardihood of his falsehoods in this respect that made
the King and Madame de Maintenon look upon him as their sole resource;
for he never said anything disagreeable, and never found difficulties
anywhere. Now that he had raised this fatal curtain, the aspect appeared
so hideous to them, that they found it easier to fly into a rage than to
reply. From that moment they began to regard Villars with other eyes.
Finding that he spoke now the language which everybody spoke, they began
to look upon him as the world had always looked upon him, to find him
ridiculous, silly, impudent, lying, insupportable; to reproach themselves
with having elevated him from nothing, so rapidly and so enormously; they
began to shun him, to put him aside, to make him perceive what they
thought, and to let others perceive it also.

Villars in his turn was frightened. He saw the prospect of losing what
he had gained, and of sinking into hopeless disgrace. With the
effrontery that was natural to him, he returned therefore to his usual
flatteries, artifices, and deceits; laughed at all dangers and
inconveniences, as having resources in himself against everything!
The coarseness of this variation was as plain as possible; but the
difficulty of choosing another general was equally plain, and Villars
thus got out of the quagmire. He set forth for the frontier, therefore,
in his coach, and travelling easy stages, on account of his wound,
arrived in due time at the army.

Neither Prince Eugene nor the Duke of Marlborough wished for peace; their
object was, the first, from personal vengeance against the King, and a
desire to obtain a still greater reputation; the second, to get rich, for
ambition was the prominent passion of one, and avarice of the other--
their object was, I say, to enter France, and, profiting by the extreme
weakness and straitened state of our troops and of our places, to push
their conquests as far as possible.

As for the King, stung by his continual losses, he wished passionately
for nothing so much as a victory, which should disturb the plans of the
enemies, and deliver him from the necessity of continuing the sad and
shameful negotiations for peace he had set an foot at Gertruydemberg.
But the enemies were well posted, end Villars had imprudently lost a good
opportunity of engaging them. All the army had noticed this fault; he
had been warned in time by several general officers, and by the Marechal
de Montesquiou, but he would not believe them. He did not dare to attack
the enemies, now, after having left them leisure to make all their
dispositions. The army cried aloud against so capital a fault. Villars
answered with his usual effrontery. He had quarrelled with his second in
command, the Marechal de Montesquiou, and now knew not what to do.

In this crisis, no engagement taking place, the King thought it fitting
to send Berwick into Flanders to act as mediator, even, to some extent,
as dictator to the army. He was ordered to bring back an account of all
things, so that it might be seen whether a battle could or could not be

I think I have already stated who Berwick was; but I will here add a few
more words about him to signalise his prodigious and rapid advancement.

We were in the golden age of bastards, and Berwick was a man who had
reason to think so. Bastard of James II., of England, he had arrived in
France, at the age of eighteen, with that monarch, after the Revolution
of 1688. At twenty-two he was made lieutenant-general, and served as
such in Flanders, without having passed through any other rank. At
thirty-three he commanded in chief in Spain with a patent of general.
At thirty-four he was made, on account of his victory at Almanza, Grandee
of Spain, and Chevalier of the Golden Fleece. He continued to command in
chief until February, 1706, when he was made Marshal of France, being
then not more than thirty-six years old. He was an English Duke, and
although as such he had no rank in France, the King had awarded it to
him, as to all who came over with James. This was making a rapid fortune
with a vengeance, under a King who regarded people of thirty-odd as
children, but who thought no more of the ages of bastards than of those
of the gods.

For more than a year past Berwick had coveted to be made Duke and Peer;
But he could not obtain his wish. Now, however, that he was to be sent
into Flanders for the; purpose I have just described, it seemed a good
opportunity to try again. He did try, and was successful. He was made
Duke and Peer. He had been twice married. By his first wife he had had
a son. By his second several sons and daughters. Will it be believed,
that he was hardy enough to propose, and that we were weak enough to
accord to him, that his son of the first bed should be formally excluded
from the letters-patent of Duke and Peer, and that those of the second
bed should alone be entered there? Yet so it was. Berwick was, in
respect to England, like the Jews, who await the Messiah. He coaxed
himself always with the hope of a revolution in England, which should put
the Stuarts on the throne again, and reinstate him in his wealth and
honours. He was son of the sister of the Duke of Marlborough, by which
general he was much loved, and with whom, by permission of the King, and
of King James, he kept up a secret intercourse, of which all three were
the dupes, but which enabled Berwick to maintain other intercourses in
England, and to establish his batteries there, hoping thus for his
reinstatement even under the government established. This explains his
motive for the arrangement he made in the letters-patent. He wished his
eldest son to succeed to his English dukedom and his English estates; to
make the second Duke and Peer of France, and the third Grandee of Spain.
Three sons hereditarily elevated to the three chief dignities of the
three, chief realms in Europe, it must be agreed was not bad work for a
man to have achieved at fifty years of age! But Berwick failed in his
English projects. Do what he could all his life to court the various
ministers who came from England, he never could succeed in reestablishing

The scandal was great at the complaisance of the King in consenting to a
family arrangement, by which a cadet was put over the head of his elder
brother; but the time of the monsters had arrived. Berwick bought an
estate that he created under the name of Fitz-James. The King, who
allowed him to do so, was shocked by the name; and, in my presence, asked
Berwick the meaning of it; he, without any embarrassment, thus explained

The Kings of England, in legitimatising their children gave them a name
and arms, which pass to their posterity. The name varies. Thus the Duke
of Richmond, bastard of Charles II., had the name of "Lennox;" the Dukes
of Cleveland and of Grafton, by the same king, that of "Fitz-Roi," which
means "son of the king;" in fine, the Duke of Berwick had the name of
"Fitz-James;" so that his family name for his posterity is thus "Son of
James;" as a name, it is so ridiculous in French, that nobody could help
laughing at it, or being astonished at the scandal of imposing it in
English upon France.

Berwick having thus obtained his recompense beforehand, started off for
Flanders, but not until he had seen everything signed and sealed and
delivered in due form. He found the enemy so advantageously placed, and
so well prepared, that he had no difficulty in subscribing to the common
opinion of the general officers, that an attack could no longer be
thought of. He gathered up all the opinions he could, and then returned
to Court, having been only about three weeks absent. His report dismayed
the King, and those who penetrated it. Letters from the army soon showed
the fault of which Villars had been guilty, and everybody revolted
against this wordy bully.

He soon after was the subject of common talk at the Court, and in the
army, in consequence of a ridiculous adventure, in which he was the hero.
His wound, or the airs that he gave himself in consequence of it, often
forced him to hold his leg upon the neck of his horse, almost in the same
manner as ladies do. One day, he let slip the remark that he was sick to
death of mounting on horseback like those "harlots" in the suite of
Madame de Bourgogne. Those "harlots," I will observe parenthetically,
were all the young ladies of the Court, and the daughters of Madame la
Duchesse! Such a remark uttered by a general not much loved, speedily
flew from one end of the camp to the other, and was not long in making
its way to the Court and to Paris. The young horsewomen alluded to were
offended; their friends took up arms for them, and Madame la Duchesse de
Bourgogne could not help showing irritation, or avoid complaining.

Villars was apprised of all, and was much troubled by this increase of
enemies so redoubtable, of whom just then he assuredly had no need. He
took it into his head to try and discover who had blabbed; and found it
was Heudicourt, whom Villars, to advance his own interests, by means of
Heudicourt's mother (who was the evil genius of Madame de Maintenon,) had
protected; and to whom even, much against his custom, he had actually not
lent, but given money.

This Heudicourt (whom I have previously allluded to, 'a propos' of a song
he wrote) was a merry wag who excelled in making fun of people, in
highly-seasoned pleasantry, and in comic songs. Spoiled by the favour
which had always sustained him, he gave full licence to his tongue, and
by this audacity had rendered himself redoubtable. He was a scurrilous
wretch, a great drunkard, and a debauchee; not at all cowardly, and with
a face hideous as that of an ugly satyr. He was not insensible to this;
and so, unfitted for intrigues himself, he assisted others in them, and,
by this honest trade, had acquired many friends amongst the flower of the
courtiers of both sexes--above all with the ladies. By way of contrast
to his wickedness, he was called "the good little fellow" and "the good
little fellow" was mixed up in all intrigues; the ladies of the Court
positively struggled for him; and not one of them, even of the highest
ranks, would have dared to fall out with him. Thus protected, he was
rather an embarrassing customer for Marechal de Villars, who,
nevertheless, falling back as usual upon his effrontery, hit upon a
bright project to bring home to Heudicourt the expedient he had against

He collected together about fifteen general officers, and Heudicourt with
them. When they had all arrived, he left his chamber, and went to them.
A number of loiterers had gathered round. This was just what Villars
wanted. He asked all the officers in turn, if they remembered hearing
him utter the expression attributed to him. Albergotti said he
remembered to have heard Villars apply the term "harlots" to the sutlers
and the camp creatures, but never to any other woman. All the rest
followed in the same track. Then Villars, after letting out against this
frightful calumny, and against the impostor who had written and sent it
to the Court, addressed himself to Heudicourt, whom he treated in the
most cruel fashion. "The good little fellow" was strangely taken aback,
and wished to defend himself; but Villars produced proofs that could not
be contradicted. Thereupon the ill-favoured dog avowed his turpitude,
and had the audacity to approach Villars in order to speak low to him;
but the Marechal, drawing back, and repelling him with an air of
indignation, said to him, aloud, that with scoundrels like him he wished
for no privacy. Gathering up, his pluck at this, Heudicourt gave rein to
all his impudence, and declared that they who had been questioned had not
dared to own the truth for fear of offending a Marechal; that as for
himself he might have been wrong in speaking and writing about it, but he
had not imagined that words said before such a numerous company; and in
such a public place, could remain secret, or that he had done more harm
in writing about them that so, many others who had acted likewise.

The Marechal, outraged upon hearing so bold and so truthful a reply, let
out with, greater violence than ever against Heudicourt, accused him of
ingratitude and villainy, drove him away, and a few minutes after had him
arrested and conducted as a prisoner to the chateau at Calais. This
violent scene made as much stir at the Court and in the army as that
which had caused it. The consistent and public conduct of Villars was
much approved. The King declared that he left Heudicourt in his hands:
Madame de Maintenon and, Madame de Bourgogne, that they abandoned him;
and his friends avowed that his fault was inexcusable. But the tide soon
turned. After the first hubbub, the excuse of "the good little fellow"
appeared excellent to the ladies who had their reasons for liking him and
for fearing to irritate him; and also to the army, where the Marechal was
not liked. Several of the officers who had been publicly interrogated by
Villars, now admitted that they had been taken by surprise, and had not
wished to compromise themselves. It was even, going into base details,
argued that the Marechal's expression could not apply to the vivandieres
and the other camp women, as they always rode astride, one leg on this
side one leg on the other, like men, a manner very different from that of
the ladies of Madame de Bourgogne. People contested the power of a
general to deal out justice upon his inferiors for personal matters in
which the service was in nowise concerned; in a word, Heudicourt was soon
let out of Calais, and remained "the good little fellow" in fashion in
spite of the Marechal, who, tormented by so many things this campaign,
sought for and obtained permission to go and take the waters; and did so.
He was succeeded by Harcourt, who was himself in weak health. Thus one
cripple replaced another. One began, the other ended, at Bourbonne.
Douai, Saint-Venant, and Aire fell into the hands of the enemy during
this 'campaign, who thus gained upon us more and more, while we did
little or nothing. This was the last campaign in Flanders of the Duke of
Marlborough. On the Rhine our troops observed and subsisted: nothing
more; but in Spain there was more movement, and I will therefore turn my
glances towards that country, and relate what took place there.


Before I commence speaking of the affairs of Spain, let me pass lightly
over an event which, engrafted upon some others, made much noise,
notwithstanding the care taken to stifle it.

Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne supped at Saint-Cloud one evening with
Madame la Duchesse de Berry and others--Madame de Saint-Simon absenting
herself from the party. Madame la Duchesse de Berry and M. d'Orleans--
but she more than he--got so drunk, that Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans,
Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, and the rest of the numerous company
there assembled, knew not what to do. M. le Duc de Berry was there, and
him they talked over as well as they could; and the numerous company was
amused by the Grand Duchess as well as she was able. The effect of the
wine, in more ways than one, was such, that people were troubled. In
spite of all, the Duchesse de Berry could not be sobered, so that it
became necessary to carry her, drunk as she was; to Versailles. All the
servants saw her state, and did not keep it to themselves; nevertheless,
it was hidden from the King, from Monseigneur, and from Madame de

And now, having related this incident, let me turn to Spain.

The events which took place in that country were so important, that I
have thought it best to relate them in a continuous narrative without
interruption. We must go back to the commencement of the year, and
remember the dangerous state which Spain was thrown into, delivered up to
her own weakness, France being too feeble to defend her; finding it
difficult enough, in fact, to defend herself, and willing to abandon her
ally entirely in the hope by this means to obtain peace.

Towards the end of March the King of Spain set out from Madrid to put
himself at the head of his army in Aragon. Villadatias, one of his best
and oldest general officers, was chosen to command under him. The King
of Spain went from Saragossa to Lerida, where he was received with
acclamations by the people and his army. He crossed the Segre on the
14th of May, and advanced towards Balaguier; designing to lay siege to
it. But heavy rains falling and causing the waters to rise, he was
obliged to abandon his project. Joined a month afterwards by troops
arrived from Flanders, he sought to attack the enemy, but was obliged to
content himself for the moment by scouring the country, and taking some
little towns where the Archduke had established stores. All this time
the Count of Staremberg, who commanded the forces of the Archduke, was
ill; this circumstance the King of Spain was profiting by. But the Count
grew well again quicker than was expected; promptly assembled his forces;
marched against the army of the King of Spain; engaged it, and obliged
it, all astonished, to retire under Saragossa. This ill-success fell
entirely on Villadarias, who was accused of imprudence and negligence.
The King of Spain was desperately in want of generals, and M. de Vendome,
knowing this, and sick to death of banishment, had asked some little time
before to be allowed to offer his services. At first he was snubbed.
But the King of Spain, who eagerly wished for M. de Vendome, despatched a
courier, after this defeat, begging the King to allow him to come and
take command. The King held out no longer.

The Duc de Vendome had prepared everything in advance; and having got
over a slight attack of gout, hastened to Versailles. M. du Maine had
negotiated with Madame de Maintenon to obtain permission to take Vendome
to the Duchesse de Bourgogne. The opportunity seemed favourable to them.
Vendome was going to Spain to serve the brother and sister of the
Duchess; and his departure without seeing her would have had a very
disagreeable effect. The Duc du Maine, followed by Vendome, came then
that day to the toilette of the Duchesse de Bourgogne. There happened
that there was a very large company of men and ladies. The Duchess rose
for them, as she always did for the Princes of the blood and others, and
for all the Dukes and Duchesses, and sat down again as usual; but after
this first glance, which could not be refused, she, though usually very
talkative and accustomed to look round, became for once attentive to her
adornment, fixed her eyes on her mirror, and spoke no more to any one.
M. du Maine, with M. de Vendome stuck by his side, remained very
disconcerted; and M. du Maine, usually so free and easy, dared not utter
a single word. Nobody went near them or spoke to them. They remained
thus about half a quarter of an hour, with an universal silence
throughout the chamber--all eyes being fixed on them; and not being able
to stand this any longer, slunk away. This reception was not
sufficiently agreeable to induce Vendome to pay his respects at parting;
for it would have been more embarrassing still if, when according to
custom he advanced to kiss the Duchesse de Bourgogne, she had given him
the unheard-of affront of a refusal. As for the Duc de Bourgogne, he
received Vendome tolerably politely, that is to say, much too well.

Staremberg meanwhile profited by the advantage he had gained; he attacked
the Spanish army under Saragossa and totally defeated it. Artillery,
baggage, all was lost; and the rout was complete. This misfortune
happened on the 20th of August. The King, who had witnessed it from
Saragossa, immediately afterwards took the road for Madrid. Bay, one of
his generals, gathered together eighteen thousand men, with whom he
retired to Tudela, without any impediment on the part of the enemy.

M. de Vendome learnt the news of this defeat while on his way to Spain.
Like a prudent man as he was, for his own interests, he stopped at once
so as to see what turn affairs were taking, and to know how to act.
He waited at Bayonne, gaining time there by sending a courier to the King
for instructions how to act, and remaining until the reply came. After
its arrival he set out to continue his journey, and joined the King of
Spain at Valladolid.

Staremberg, after his victory, was joined by the Archduke, and a debate
soon took place as to the steps next to be taken. Staremberg was for
giving battle to the army of eighteen thousand men under Bay, which I
have just alluded to, beating it, and then advancing little by little
into Spain, to make head against the vanquished army of the King. Had
this advice been acted on, it could scarcely have failed to ruin the King
of Spain, and the whole country must have fallen into the hands of the
enemy. But it was not acted on. Stanhope, who commanded the English and
Dutch troops, said that his Queen had ordered him to march upon Madrid
when possible, in preference to every other place. He therefore proposed
that they should go straight to Madrid with the Archduke, proclaim him
King there, and thus terrify all Spain by seizing the capital.
Staremberg, who admitted that the project was dazzling, sustained,
however, that it was of little use, and of great danger. He tried all in
his power to shake the inflexibility of Stanhope, but in vain, and at
last was obliged to yield as being the feebler of the two. The time lost
in this dispute saved the wreck of the army which had just been defeated.
What was afterwards done saved the King of Spain.

When the plan of the allies became known, however, the consternation at
Madrid, which was already great, was extreme. The King resolved to
withdraw from a place which could not defend itself, and to carry away
with him the Queen, the Prince, and the Councils. The grandees declared
that they would follow the King and his fortune everywhere, and very few
failed to do so; the departure succeeded the declaration in twenty-four
hours. The Queen, holding the Prince in her arms, at a balcony of the
palace, spoke to the people assembled beneath, with so much grace, force,
and courage, that the success she had is incredible. The impression that
the people received was communicated everywhere, and soon gained all the
provinces. The Court thus left Madrid for the second time in the midst
of the most lamentable cries, uttered from the bottom of their hearts, by
people who came from town and country, and who so wished to follow the
King and Queen that considerable effort was required in order to induce
them to return, each one to his home.

Valladolid was the retreat of this wretched Court, which in the most
terrible trouble it had yet experienced, lost neither judgment nor
courage. Meanwhile the grandest and rarest example of attachment and of
courage that had ever been heard of or seen was seen in Spain. Prelates
and the humblest of the clergy, noblemen and the poorest people, lawyers
and artisans all bled themselves of the last drop of their substance,
in order to form new troops and magazines, and to provide all kinds of
provisions for the Court, and those who had followed it. Never nation
made more efforts so surprising, with a unanimity and a concert which
acted everywhere at once. The Queen sold off all she possessed, received
with her own hands sometimes even as little as ten pistoles, in order to
content the zeal of those; who brought, and thanked them with as much
affection as they themselves displayed. She would continually say that
she should like to put herself at the head of her troops, with her son in
her arms. With this language and her conduct, she gained all hearts, and
was very useful in such a strange extremity.

The Archduke meanwhile arrived in Madrid with his army. He entered there
in triumph, and caused himself to be proclaimed King of Spain, by the
violence of his troops, who dragged the trembling Corregidor through the
streets, which for the most part were deserted, whilst the majority of
the houses were without inhabitants, the few who remained having
barricaded their doors and windows, and shut themselves up in the most
remote places, where the troops did not dare to break in upon them, for
fear of increasing the visible and general despair, and in the hope of
gaining by gentleness. The entry of the Archduke was not less sad than
his proclamation. A few scarcely audible and feeble acclamations were
heard, but were so forced that the Archduke, sensibly astonished, made
them cease of himself. He did not dare to lodge in the palace, or in the
centre of Madrid, but slept at the extremity of the city, and even there
only for two or three nights. Scarcely any damage was inflicted upon the
town. Staremberg was careful to gain over the inhabitants by
conciliation and clemency; yet his army perished of all kinds of misery.

Not a single person could be found to supply it with subsistence for man
or beast--not even when offered money. Prayers, menaces, executions, all
were perfectly useless. There was not a Castilian who would not have
believed himself dishonourable in selling the least thing to the enemies,
or in allowing them to take it. It is thus that this magnanimous people,
without any other help than their courage and their fidelity, sustained
themselves in the midst of their enemies, whose army they caused to
perish; while at the same time; by inconceivable prodigies, they formed a
new army for themselves, perfectly equipped and furnished, and put thus,
by themselves; alone, and for the second time, the crown upon the head of
their King; with a glory for ever an example to all the people of Europe;
so true it is that nothing approaches the strength which is found in the
heart of a nation for the succour and re-establishment of kings!

Stanhope, who had not failed to see the excellence of Staremberg's advice
from the first moment of their dispute, now said insolently, that having
executed the orders of his Queen, it was for Staremberg to draw the army
out of its embarrassment. As for himself, he had nothing more to do in
the matter! When ten or twelve days had elapsed, it was resolved to
remove from Madrid towards Toledo. From the former place nothing was
taken away, except same of the king's tapestry; which Stanhope was not
ashamed to carry off, but which he did not long keep. This act of
meanness was blamed even by his own countrymen. Staremberg did not make
a long stay at Toledo, but in quitting the town, burnt the superb palace
in the Moorish style that Charles Quint had built there, and that, was
called the Alcazar. This was an irreparable damage, which he made
believe happened accidentally.

As nothing now hindered the King of Spain from going to see his faithful
subjects at Madrid, he entered that city on the 2nd of December, in the
midst of an infinite crowd and incredible acclamations. He descended at
the church of Notre Dame d'Atocha, and was three hours in arriving at the
palace, so prodigious was the crowd. The city made a present to him of
twenty thousand pistoles. On the fourth day after his arrival at Madrid,
the King left, in order to join M. de Vendeme and his army.

But a little while before, this monarch was a fugitive wanderer, almost
entirely destroyed, without troops, without money, and without
subsistence. Now he found himself at the head of ten or fifteen thousand
men well armed, well clad, well paid, with provisions, money, and
ammunition in abundance; and this magical change was brought about by the
sudden universal conspiracy of the unshakable fidelity and attachment--
without example, of all the orders of his subjects; by their efforts and
their industry, as prodigious the one as the other.

Vendome, in the utmost surprise at a change so little to be hoped for,
wished to profit by it by joining the army under Bay, which was too weak
itself to appear before Staremberg. Vendome accordingly set about making
this junction, which Staremberg thought only how to hinder. He knew well
the Duc de Vendome. In Savoy he had gained many a march upon him; had
passed five rivers in front of him; and in spite of him had led his
troops to M. de Savoie. Staremberg thought only therefore in what manner
he could lay a trap for M. de Vendome, in which he, with his army, might
fall and break his neck without hope of escape. With this view he put
his army into quarters access to which was easy everywhere, which were
near each other, and which could assist each other in case of need. He
then placed all his English and Dutch, Stanhope at their head, in
Brighuega, a little fortified town in good condition for defence. It was
at the head of all the quarters of Staremberg's army, and at the entrance
of a plain over which M. de Vendome had to pass to join Bay.

Staremberg was on the point of being joined by his army of Estremadura,
so that in the event of M. de Vendeme attacking Brighuega, as he hoped,
he had a large number of troops to depend upon.

Vendome, meanwhile, set out on his march. He was informed of
Staremberg's position, but in a manner just such as Staremberg wished;
that is to say, he was led to believe that Stanhope had made a wrong move
in occupying Brighuega, that he was too far removed from Staremberg to
receive any assistance from him, and that he could be easily overpowered.
That is how matters appeared to Vendome. He hastened his march,
therefore, made his dispositions, and on the 8th of December, after mid-
day, approached Brighuega, called upon it to surrender, and upon its
refusal, prepared to attack it.

Immediately afterwards his surprise was great, upon discovering that
there were so many troops in the town, and that instead of having to do
with a mere outpost, he was engaged against a place of some consequence.
He did not wish to retire, and could not have done so with impunity. He
set to therefore, storming in his usual manner, and did what he could to
excite his troops to make short work, of a conquest so different from
what he had imagined, and so dangerous to delay.

Nevertheless, the weight of his mistake pressed upon him as the hours
passed and he saw fresh enemies arrive. Two of his assaults had failed:
he determined to play at double or quits, and ordered a third assault.
While the dispositions were being made, on the 9th of December he learnt
that Staremberg was marching against him with four or five thousand men,
that is to say, with just about half of what he really led. In this
anguish, Vendome did not hesitate to stake even the Crown of Spain upon
the hazard of the die. His third attack was made with all the force of
which he was capable. Every one of the assailants knew the extremity of
the danger, and behaved with so much valour and impetuosity, that the
town was carried in spite of an obstinate resistance. The besieged were
obliged to yield, and to the number of eight battalions and eight
squadrons, surrendered themselves prisoners of war, and with them,
Stanhope, their general, who, so triumphant in Madrid, was here obliged
to disgorge the King's tapestries that he had taken from the palace.

While the capitulation was being made, various information came to
Vendome of Staremberg's march, which it was necessary, above all, to hide
from the prisoners, who, had they known their liberator was only a league
and a half distant from them, as he was then, would have broken the
capitulation; and defended themselves. M. de Vendome's embarrassment was
great. He had, at the same time, to march out and meet Staremberg and to
get rid of, his numerous prisoners. All was done, however, very
successfully. Sufficient troops were left in Brighuega to attend to the
evacuation, and when it was at an end, those troops left the place
themselves and joined their comrades, who, with M. de Vendome, were
waiting for Staremberg outside the town, at Villaviciosa, a little place
that afterwards gave its name to the battle. Only four hundred men were
left in Brighuega.

M. de Vendome arranged his army in order of battle in a tolerably open
plain, but embarrassed by little knolls in several places; very
disadvantageous for the cavalry. Immediately afterwards the cannon began
to fire on both sides, and almost immediately the two links of the King
of Spain prepared to charge. After the battle had proceeded some time,
M. de Vendome perceived that his centre began to give way, and that the
left of his cavalry could not break the right of the enemies. He thought
all was lost, and gave orders accordingly to his men to retire towards
Torija. Straightway, too, he directed himself in that direction, with
the King of Spain and a good part of his troops. While thus retreating,
he learnt that two of his officers had charged the enemy's infantry with
the cavalry they had at their orders, had much knocked it about and had
rendered themselves masters, on the field of battle, of a large number
of-prisoners, and of the artillery that the enemy had abandoned. News so
agreeable and so little expected determined the Duc de Vendome and the
King of Spain to return to the battle with the troops that had followed
them. The day was, in fact, won just as night came on. The enemies
abandoned twenty pieces of cannon, two mortars, their wounded and their
equipages; and numbers of them were taken prisoners. But Staremberg,
having all the night to himself, succeeded in retiring in good order with
seven or eight thousand men. His baggage and the majority of his waggons
fell a prey to the vanquisher. Counting the garrison of Brighuega, the
loss to the enemy was eleven thousand men killed or taken, their
ammunition, artillery, baggage, and a great number of flags and

When we consider the extreme peril the Crown of Spain ran in these
engagements, and that this time, if things had gone ill there was no
resource, we tremble still. Had a catastrophe happened, there was
nothing to hope from France. Its exhaustion and its losses would not
have enabled it to lend aid. In its desire for peace, in fact, it would
have hailed the loss of the Spanish Crown as a relief. The imprudence,
therefore, of M. de Vendome in so readily falling into the snare laid for
him, is all the more to be blamed. He takes no trouble to inform himself
of the dispositions of the enemy; he comes upon a place which he believes
a mere post, but soon sees it contains a numerous garrison, and finds
that the principal part of the enemy's army is ready to fall upon him as
he makes the attack. Then he begins to see in what ship he has embarked;
he sees the double peril of a double action to sustain against Stanhope,
whom he must overwhelm by furious assault, and against Staremberg, whom
he must meet and defeat; or, leave to the enemies the Crown of Spain, and
perhaps the person of Philip V., as price of his folly. Brighuega is
gained, but it is without him. Villaviciosa is gained, but it is also
without him. This hero is not sharp-sighted enough to see success when
it comes. He thinks it defeat, and gives orders for retreat. When
informed that the battle is gained, he returns to the field, and as
daylight comes perceives the fact to be so. He is quite without shame
for his stupid mistake, and cries out that he has vanquished, with an
impudence to which the Spaniards were not accustomed; and, to conclude,
he allows Staremberg's army to get clean off, instead of destroying it at
once, as he might have done, and so finished the war. Such were the
exploits of this great warrior, so desired in Spain to resuscitate it,
and such, were the first proofs of his capacity upon arriving in that

At the moment that the King of Spain was led back to the battle-field by
Vendome, and that they could no longer doubt their good fortune, he sent
a courier to the Queen. Her mortal anguish was on the instant changed
into so great a joy, that she went out immediately on foot into the
streets of Vittoria, where all was delight; as it soon was over all
Spain. The news of the victory was brought to the King (of France) by
Don Gaspard de Zuniga, who gave an exact account of all that had
occurred, hiding nothing respecting M. de Vendome, who was thus unmasked
and disgraced, in spite of every effort on the part of his cabal to
defend him.

Among the allies, all the blame, of this defeat fell upon Stanhope.
Seven or eight hours more of resistance on his part at Brighuega would
have enabled Staremberg to come up to his assistance, and all the
resources of Spain would then have been annihilated. Staremberg,
outraged at the ill-success of his undertaking, cried out loudly against
Stanhope. Some of the principal officers who had been at Brighuega
seconded these complaints. Stanhope even did not dare to deny his fault.
He was allowed to demand leave of absence to go home and defend himself.
He was badly received, stripped of all military rank in England and
Holland, and (as well as the officers under him) was not without fear of
his degradation, and was even in danger of his life.

This recital of the events that took place in Spain has led me away from
other matters of earlier date. It is time now that I should return to


Found it easier to fly into a rage than to reply





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

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