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

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present him to the King. The King was so far from being displeased, that
he made the Duc de Villeroy Lieutenant-General before dismissing him.

There is another odd thing that I must relate before quitting this
affair. Tesse, as I have said, was charged with the defence of Toulon by
land. It was a charge of no slight importance. He was in a country
where nothing was prepared, and where everything was wanting; the fleet
of the enemy and their army were near at hand, commanded by two of the
most skilful captains of the day: if they succeeded, the kingdom itself
was in danger, and the road open to the enemy even to Paris. A general
thus situated would have been in no humour for jesting, it might have
been thought. But this was not the case with Tesse. He found time to
write to Pontchartrain all the details of the war and all that passed
amongst our troops in the style of Don Quixote, of whom he called himself
the wretched squire and the Sancho; and everything he wrote he adapted to
the adventures of that romance. Pontchartrain showed me these letters;
they made him die with laughing, he admired them so; and in truth they
were very comical, and he imitated that romance with more wit than I
believed him to possess. It appeared to me incredible, however, that a
man should write thus, at such a critical time, to curry, favour with a
secretary of state. I could not have believed it had I not seen it.


Imagining themselves everywhere in marvellous danger of capture
Oh, my lord! how many virtues you make me detest
Polite when necessary, but insolent when he dared
Promotion was granted according to length of service





Precedence at the Communion Table.--The King Offended with Madame de
Torcy.--The King's Religion.--Atheists and Jansenists.--Project against
Scotland.--Preparations.--Failure.--The Chevalier de St. George.--His
Return to Court.


Death and Character of Brissac.--Brissac and the Court Ladies.--The
Duchesse de Bourgogne.--Scene at the Carp Basin.--King's Selfishness.--
The King Cuts Samuel Bernard's Purse.--A Vain Capitalist.--Story of Leon
and Florence the Actress.--His Loves with Mademoiselle de Roquelaure.--
Run--away Marriage.--Anger of Madame de Roquelaure.--A Furious Mother.--
Opinions of the Court.--A Mistake.--Interference of the King.--
Fate of the Couple .


The Duc d'Orleans in Spain.--Offends Madame des Ursins and Madame de
Maintenon.--Laziness of M. de Vendome in Flanders.--Battle of Oudenarde.
--Defeat and Disasters.--Difference of M. de Vendome and the Duc de


Conflicting Reports.--Attacks on the Duc de Bourgogne.--The Duchesse de
Bourgogne Acts against Vendome.--Weakness of the Duke.--Cunning of
Vendome.--The Siege of Lille.--Anxiety for a Battle.--Its Delay.--Conduct
of the King and Monseigneur.--A Picture of Royal Family Feeling.--Conduct
of the Marechal de Boufflers.


Equivocal Position of the Duc de Bourgogne.--His Weak Conduct.--
Concealment of a Battle from the King.--Return of the Duc de Bourgogne to
Court.--Incidents of His Reception.--Monseigneur.--Reception of the Duc
de Berry.--Behaviour of the Duc de Bourgogne.--Anecdotes of Gamaches.--
Return of Vendome to Court.--His Star Begins to Wane.--Contrast of
Boufflers and Vendome.--Chamillart's Project for Retaking Lille.--How It
Was Defeated by Madame de Maintenon.


Tremendous Cold in France.--Winters of 1708-1709--Financiers and the
Famine.--Interference of the Parliaments of Paris and Dijon.--Dreadful
Oppression.--Misery of the People.--New Taxes.--Forced Labour.--General
Ruin.--Increased Misfortunes.--Threatened Regicide.--Procession of Saint
Genevieve.--Offerings of Plate to the King.--Discontent of the People.--
A Bread Riot, How Appeased.


M. de Vendome out of Favour.--Death and Character of the Prince de
Conti.--Fall of Vendome.--Pursegur's Interview with the King.--Madame de
Bourgogne against Vendome.--Her Decided Conduct.--Vendome Excluded from
Marly.--He Clings to Meudon.--From Which He is also Expelled.--His Final
Disgrace and Abandonment.--Triumph of Madame de Maintenon.


Death of Pere La Chaise.--His Infirmities in Old Age.--Partiality of the
King.--Character of Pere La Chaise.--The Jesuits.--Choice of a New
Confessor.--Fagon's Opinion.--Destruction of Port Royal.--Jansenists and
Molinists.--Pascal.--Violent Oppression of the Inhabitants of Port Royal.


I went this summer to Forges, to try, by means of the waters there, to
get rid of a tertian fever that quinquina only suspended. While there I
heard of a new enterprise on the part of the Princes of the blood, who,
in the discredit in which the King held them, profited without measure by
his desire for the grandeur of the illegitimate children, to acquire new
advantages which were suffered because the others shared them. This was
the case in question.

After the elevation of the mass--at the King's communion--a folding-chair
was pushed to the foot of the altar, was covered with a piece of stuff,
and then with a large cloth, which hung down before and behind. At the
Pater the chaplain rose and whispered in the King's ear the names of all
the Dukes who were in the chapel. The King named two, always the oldest,
to each of whom the chaplain advanced and made a reverence. During the
communion of the priest the King rose, and went and knelt down on the
bare floor behind this folding seat, and took hold of the cloth; at the
same time the two Dukes, the elder on the right, the other on the left,
each took hold of a corner of the cloth; the two chaplains took hold of
the other two corners of the same cloth, on the side of the altar, all
four kneeling, and the captain of the guards also kneeling and behind the
King. The communion received and the oblation taken some moments
afterwards, the King remained a little while in the same place, then
returned to his own, followed by the two Dukes and the captain of the
guards, who took theirs. If a son of France happened to be there alone,
he alone held the right corner of the cloth, and nobody the other; and
when M. le Duc d'Orleans was there, and no son of France was present, M.
le Duc d'Orleans held the cloth in like manner. If a Prince of the blood
were alone present, however, he held the cloth, but a Duke was called
forward to assist him. He was not privileged to act without the Duke.

The Princes of the blood wanted to change this; they were envious of the
distinction accorded to M. d'Orleans, and wished to put themselves on the
same footing. Accordingly, at the Assumption of this year, they managed
so well that M. le Duc served alone at the altar at the King's communion,
no Duke being called upon to come and join him. The surprise at this was
very great. The Duc de la Force and the Marechal de Boufflers, who ought
to have served, were both present. I wrote to this last to say that such
a thing had never happened before, and that it was contrary to all
precedent. I wrote, too, to M. d'Orleans, who was then in Spain,
informing him of the circumstance. When he returned he complained to the
King. But the King merely said that the Dukes ought to have presented
themselves and taken hold of the cloth. But how could they have done so,
without being requested, as was customary, to come forward? What would
the king have thought of them if they had? To conclude, nothing could be
made of the matter, and it remained thus. Never then, since that time,
did I go to the communions of the King.

An incident occurred at Marly about the same time, which made much stir.
The ladies who were invited to Marly had the privilege of dining with the
King. Tables were placed for them, and they took up positions according
to their rank. The non-titled ladies had also their special place. It
so happened one day; that Madame de Torcy (an untitled lady) placed
herself above the Duchesse de Duras, who arrived at table a moment after
her. Madame de Torcy offered to give up her place, but it was a little
late, and the offer passed away in compliments. The King entered, and
put himself at table. As soon as he sat down, he saw the place Madame de
Torcy had taken, and fixed such a serious and surprised look upon her,
that she again offered to give up her place to the Duchesse de Duras; but
the offer was again declined. All through the dinner the King scarcely
ever took his eyes off Madame de Torcy, said hardly a word, and bore a
look of anger that rendered everybody very attentive, and even troubled
the Duchesse de Duras.

Upon rising from the table, the King passed, according to custom, into
the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, followed by the Princesses of the
blood, who grouped themselves around him upon stools; the others who
entered, kept at a distance. Almost before he had seated himself in his
chair, he said to Madame de Maintenon, that he had just been witness of
an act of "incredible insolence" (that was the term he used) which had
thrown him into such a rage that he had been unable to eat: that such an
enterprise would have been insupportable in a woman of the highest
quality; but coming, as it did, from a mere bourgeoise, it had so
affected him, that ten times he had been upon the point of making her
leave the table, and that he was only restrained by consideration for her
husband. After this outbreak he made a long discourse upon the genealogy
of Madame de Torcy's family, and other matters; and then, to the
astonishment of all present, grew as angry as ever against Madame de
Torcy. He went off then into a discourse upon the dignity of the Dukes,
and in conclusion, he charged the Princesses to tell Madame de Torcy to
what extent he had found her conduct impertinent. The Princesses looked
at each other, and not one seemed to like this commission; whereupon the
King, growing more angry, said; that it must be undertaken however, and
left the robes; The news of what had taken place, and of the King's
choler, soon spread all over the Court. It was believed, however, that
all was over, and that no more would be heard of the matter. Yet the
very same evening the King broke out again with even more bitterness than
before. On the morrow, too, surprise was great indeed, when it was found
that the King, immediately after dinner, could talk of nothing but this
subject, and that, too, without any softening of tone. At last he was
assured that Madame de Torcy had been spoken to, and this appeased him a
little. Torcy was obliged to write him a letter, apologising for the
fault of Madame de Torcy; and the King at this grew content. It may be
imagined what a sensation this adventure produced all through the Court.

While upon the subject of the King, let me relate an anecdote of him,
which should have found a place ere this. When M. d'Orleans was about to
start for Spain, he named the officers who were to be of his suite.
Amongst others was Fontpertius. At that name the King put on a serious

"What! my nephew," he said. "Fontpertius! the son of a Jansenist--of
that silly woman who ran everywhere after M. Arnould! I do not wish that
man to go with you."

"By my faith, Sire," replied the Duc d'Orleans, "I know not what the
mother has done; but as for the son, he is far enough from being a
Jansenist, I'll answer for it; for he does not believe in God."

"Is it possible, my nephew?" said the King, softening.

"Nothing more certain, Sire, I assure you."

"Well, since it is so," said the King, "there is no harm: you can take
him with you."

This scene--for it can be called by no other name--took place in the
morning. After dinner M. d'Orleans repeated it to me, bursting with
laughter, word for word, just as I have written it. When we had both
well laughed at this, we admired the profound instruction of a discreet
and religious King, who considered it better not to believe in God than
to be a Jansenist, and who thought there was less danger to his nephew
from the impiety of an unbeliever than from the doctrines of a sectarian.
M. d'Orleans could not contain himself while he told the story, and never
spoke of it without laughing until the tears came into his eyes. It ran
all through the Court and all over the town, and the marvellous thing
was, that the King was not angry at this. It was a testimony of his
attachment to the good doctrine which withdrew him further and further
from Jansenism. The majority of people laughed with all their heart.
Others, more wise, felt rather disposed to weep than to laugh, in
considering to what excess of blindness the King had reached.

For a long time a most important project had knocked at every door,
without being able to obtain a hearing anywhere. The project was this:--
Hough, an English gentleman full of talent and knowledge, and who, above
all, knew profoundly the laws of his country, had filled various posts in
England. As first a minister by profession, and furious against King
James; afterwards a Catholic and King James's spy, he had been delivered
up to King William, who pardoned him. He profited by this only to
continue his services to James. He was taken several times, and always
escaped from the Tower of London and other prisons. Being no longer able
to dwell in England he came to France, where he occupied himself always
with the same line of business, and was paid for that by the King (Louis
XIV.) and by King James, the latter of whom he unceasingly sought to re-
establish. The union of Scotland with England appeared to him a
favourable conjuncture, by the despair of that ancient kingdom at seeing
itself reduced into a province under the yoke of the English. The
Jacobite party remained there; the vexation caused by this forced union
had increased it, by the desire felt to break that union with the aid of
a King that they would have reestablished. Hough, who was aware of the
fermentation going on, made several secret journeys to Scotland, and
planned an invasion of that country; but, as I have said, for a long time
could get no one to listen to him.

The King, indeed, was so tired of such enterprises, that nobody dared to
speak to him upon this. All drew back. No one liked to bell the cat.
At last, however, Madame de Maintenon being gained over, the King was
induced to listen to the project. As soon as his consent was gained to
it, another scheme was added to the first. This was to profit by the
disorder in which the Spanish Low Countries were thrown, and to make them
revolt against the Imperialists at the very moment when the affair of
Scotland would bewilder the allies, and deprive them of all support from
England. Bergheyck, a man well acquainted with the state of those
countries, was consulted, and thought the scheme good. He and the Duc de
Vendome conferred upon it in presence of the King.

After talking over various matters, the discussion fell, upon the Meuse,
and its position with reference to Maastricht. Vendome held that the
Meuse flowed in a certain direction. Bergheyck opposed him. Vendome,
indignant that a civilian should dare to dispute military movements with
him, grew warm. The other remained respectful and cool, but firm.
Vendome laughed at Bergheyck, as at an ignorant fellow who did not know
the position of places. Bergheyck maintained his point. Vendome grew
more and more hot. If he was right, what he proposed was easy enough; if
wrong, it was impossible. It was in vain that Vendome pretended to treat
with disdain his opponent; Bergheyck was not to be put down, and the
King, tired out at last with a discussion upon a simple question of fact,
examined the maps. He found at once that Bergheyck was right. Any other
than the King would have felt by this what manner of man was this general
of his taste, of his heart, and of his confidence; any other than Vendome
would have been confounded; but it was Bergheyck in reality who was so,
to see the army in such hands and the blindness of the King for him! He
was immediately sent into Flanders to work up a revolt, and he did it so
well, that success seemed certain, dependent, of course, upon success in

The preparations for the invasion of that country were at once commenced.
Thirty vessels were armed at Dunkerque and in the neighbouring ports.
The Chevalier de Forbin was chosen to command the squadron. Four
thousand men were brought from Flanders to Dunkerque; and it was given
out that this movement was a mere change of garrison. The secret of the
expedition was well kept; but the misfortune was that things were done
too slowly. The fleet, which depended upon Pontchartrain, was not ready
in time, and that which depended upon Chamillart, was still more
behindhand. The two ministers threw the fault upon each other; but the
truth is, both were to blame. Pontchartrain was more than accused of
delaying matters from unwillingness; the other from powerlessness.

Great care was taken that no movement should be seen at Saint Germain.
The affair, however, began in time to get noised abroad. A prodigious
quantity of arms and clothing for the Scotch had been embarked; the
movements by sea and land became only too visible upon the coast. At
last, on Wednesday, the 6th of March, the King of England set out from
Saint Germain. He was attended by the Duke of Perth, who had been his
sub-preceptor; by the two Hamiltons, by Middleton, and a very few others.
But his departure had been postponed too long. At the moment when all
were ready to start, people learned with surprise that the English fleet
had appeared in sight, and was blockading Dunkerque. Our troops, who
were already on board ship, were at once landed. The King of England
cried out so loudly against this, and proposed so eagerly that an attempt
should be made to pass the enemy at all risks, that a fleet was sent out
to reconnoitre the enemy, and the troops were re-embarked. But then a
fresh mischance happened. The Princess of England had had the measles,
and was barely growing convalescent at the time of the departure of the
King, her brother. She had been prevented from seeing him, lest he
should be attacked by the same complaint. In spite of this precaution,
however, it declared itself upon him at Dunkerque, just as the troops
were re-embarked. He was in despair, and wished to be wrapped up in
blankets and carried on board. The doctors said that it would kill him;
and he was obliged to remain. The worst of it was, that two of five
Scotch deputies who had been hidden at Montrouge near Paris, had been
sent into Scotland a fortnight before, to announce the immediate arrival
of the King with arms and troops. The movement which it was felt this
announcement would create, increased the impatience for departure. At
last, on Saturday, the 19th of March, the King of England, half cured and
very weak, determined to embark in spite of his physicians, and did so.
The enemy's vessels hats retired; so, at six o'clock in the morning, our
ships set sail with a good breeze, and in the midst of a mist, which hid
them from view in about an hour.

Forty-eight hours after the departure of our squadron, twenty-seven
English ships of war appeared before Dunkerque. But our fleet was away.
The very first night it experienced a furious tempest. The ship in which
was the King of England took shelter afterwards behind the works of
Ostend. During the storm, another ship was separated from the squadron,
and was obliged to take refuge on the coast of Picardy. This vessel, a
frigate, was commanded by Rambure, a lieutenant. As, soon as he was able
he sailed after the squadron that he believed already in Scotland. He
directed his course towards Edinburgh, and found no vessel during all the
voyage. As he approached the mouth of the river, he saw around him a
number of barques and small vessels that he could not avoid, and that he
determined in consequence to approach with as good a grace as possible.
The masters of these ships' told him that the King was expected with
impatience, but that they had no news of him, that they had come out to
meet him, and that they would send pilots to Rambure, to conduct him up
the river to Edinburgh, where all was hope and joy. Rambure, equally
surprised that the squadron which bore the King of England had not
appeared, and by the publicity of his forthcoming arrival, went up
towards Edinburgh more and more surrounded by barques, which addressed to
him the same language. A gentleman of the country passed from one of
these barques upon the frigate. He told Rambure that the principal
noblemen of Scotland had resolved to act together, that these noblemen
could count upon more than twenty thousand men ready to take up arms, and
that all the towns awaited only the arrival of the King to proclaim him.

More and more troubled that the squadron did not appear, Rambure, after a
time, turned back and went in search of it. As he approached the mouth
of the river, which he had so lately entered, he heard a great noise of
cannon out at sea, and a short time afterwards he saw many vessels of war
there. Approaching more and more, and quitting the river, he
distinguished our squadron, chased by twenty-six large ships of war and a
number of other vessels, all of which he soon lost sight of, so much was
our squadron in advance. He continued on his course in order to join
them; but he could not do so until all had passed by the mouth of the
river. Then steering clear of the rear-guard of the English ships, he
remarked that the English fleet was hotly chasing the ship of the King of
England, which ran along the coast, however, amid the fire of cannon and
oftentimes of musketry. Rambure tried, for a long time, to profit by the
lightness of his frigate to get ahead; but, always cut off by the enemy's
vessels, and continually in danger of being taken, he returned to
Dunkerque, where he immediately despatched to the Court this sad and
disturbing news. He was followed, five or six days after, by the King of
England, who returned to Dunkerque on the 7th of April, with his vessels
badly knocked about.

It seems that the ship in which was the Prince, after experiencing the
storm I have already alluded to, set sail again with its squadron, but
twice got out of its reckoning within forty-eight hours; a fact not easy
to understand in a voyage from Ostend to Edinburgh. This circumstance
gave time to the English to join them; thereupon the King held a council,
and much time was lost in deliberations. When the squadron drew near the
river, the enemy was so close upon us, that to enter, without fighting
either inside or out, seemed impossible. In this emergency it was
suggested that our ships should go on to Inverness, about eighteen or
twenty leagues further off. But this was objected to by Middleton and
the Chevalier Forbin, who declared that the King of England was expected
only at Edinburgh, and that it was useless to go elsewhere; and
accordingly the project was given up, and the ships returned to France.

This return, however, was not accomplished without some difficulty. The
enemy's fleet attacked the rear guard of ours, and after an obstinate
combat, took two vessels of war and some other vessels. Among the
prisoners made by the English were the Marquis de Levi, Lord Griffin, and
the two sons of Middleton; who all, after suffering some little bad
treatment, were conducted to London.

Lord Griffin was an old Englishman, who deserves a word of special
mention. A firm Protestant, but much attached to the King of England, he
knew nothing of this expedition until after the King's departure. He
went immediately in quest of the Queen. With English freedom he
reproached her for the little confidence she had had in him, in spite of
his services and his constant fidelity, and finished by assuring her that
neither his age nor his religion would hinder him from serving the King
to the last drop of his blood. He spoke so feelingly that the Queen was
ashamed. After this he went to Versailles, asked M. de Toulouse for a
hundred Louis and a horse, and without delay rode off to Dunkerque, where
he embarked with the others. In London he was condemned to death; but
he showed so much firmness and such disdain of death, that his judges
were too much ashamed to avow the execution to be carried out. The Queen
sent him one respite, then another, although he had never asked for
either, and finally he was allowed to remain at liberty in London on
parole. He always received fresh respites, and lived in London as if it
his own country, well received everywhere. Being informed that these
respites would never cease, he lived thus several years, and died very
old, a natural death. The other prisoners were equally well treated. It
was in this expedition that the King of England first assumed the title
of the Chevalier de Saint George, and that his enemies gave him that of
the Pretender; both of which have remained to him. He showed much will
and firmness, which he spoiled by a docility, the result of a bad
education, austere and confined, that devotion, ill understood, together
with the desire of maintaining him in fear and dependence, caused the
Queen (who, with all her sanctity, always wished to dominate) to give
him. He asked to serve in the next campaign in Flanders, and wished to
go there at once, or remain near Dunkerque. Service was promised him,
but he was made to return to Saint Germain. Hough, who had been made a
peer of Ireland before starting, preceded him with the journals of the
voyage, and that of Forbin, to whom the King gave a thousand crowns
pension and ten thousand as a recompense.

The King of England arrived at Saint Germain on Friday, the 20th of
April, and came with the Queen, the following Sunday, to Marly, where our
King was. The two Kings embraced each other several times, in the
presence of the two Courts. But the visit altogether was a sad one. The
Courts, which met in the garden, returned towards the Chateau, exchanging
indifferent words in an indifferent way.

Middleton was strongly suspected of having acquainted the English with
our project. They acted, at all events, as if they had been informed of
everything, and wished to appear to know nothing. They made a semblance
of sending their fleet to escort a convoy to Portugal; they got in
readiness the few troops they had in England and sent them towards
Scotland; and the Queen, under various pretexts, detained in London,
until the affair had failed, the Duke of Hamilton, the most powerful
Scotch lord; and the life and soul of the expedition. When all was over,
she made no arrests, and wisely avoided throwing Scotland into despair.
This conduct much augmented her authority in England, attached all hearts
to her, and took away all desire of stirring again by taking away all
hope of success. Thus failed a project so well and so secretly conducted
until the end, which was pitiable; and with this project failed that of
the Low Countries, which was no longer thought of.

The allies uttered loud cries against this attempt on the part of a power
they believed at its last gasp, and which, while pretending to seek
peace, thought of nothing less than the invasion of Great Britain. The
effect of our failure was to bind closer, and to irritate more and more
this formidable alliance.


Brissac, Major of the Body-guards, died of age and ennui about this time,
more than eighty years old, at his country-house, to which he had not
long retired. The King had made use of him to put the Guards upon that
grand military footing they have reached. He had acquired the confidence
of the King by his inexorable exactitude, his honesty, and his aptitude.
He was a sort of wild boar, who had all the appearance of a bad man,
without being so in reality; but his manners were, it must be admitted,
harsh and disagreeable. The King, speaking one day of the majors of the
troops, said that if they were good, they were sure to be hated.

"If it is necessary to be perfectly hated in order to be a good major,"
replied M. de Duras, who was behind the King with the baton, "behold,
Sire, the best major in France!" and he took Brissac, all confusion, by
the arm. The King laughed, though he would have thought such a sally
very bad in any other; but M. de Duras had put himself on such a free
footing, that he stopped at nothing before the King, and often said the
sharpest things. This major had very robust health, and laughed at the
doctors--very often, even before the King, at Fagon, whom nobody else
would have dared to attack. Fagon replied by disdain, often by anger,
and with all his wit was embarrassed. These short scenes were sometimes
very amusing.

Brissac, a few years before his retirement, served the Court ladies a
nice turn. All through the winter they attended evening prayers on
Thursdays and Sundays, because the King went there; and, under the
pretence of reading their prayer-books, had little tapers before them,
which cast a light on their faces, and enabled the King to recognise them
as he passed. On the evenings when they knew he would not go, scarcely
one of them went. One evening, when the King was expected, all the
ladies had arrived, and were in their places, and the guards were at
their doors. Suddenly, Brissac appeared in the King's place, lifted his
baton, and cried aloud, "Guards of the King, withdraw, return to your
quarters; the King is not coming this evening." The guards withdrew; but
after they had proceeded a short distance, were stopped by brigadiers
posted for the purpose, and told to return in a few minutes. What
Brissac had said was a joke. The ladies at once began to murmur one to
another. In a moment or two all the candles were put out, and the
ladies, with but few exceptions, left the chapel. Soon after the King
arrived, and, much astonished to see so few ladies present, asked how it
was that nobody was there. At the conclusion of the prayers Brissac
related what he had done, not without dwelling on the piety of the Court
ladies. The King and all who accompanied him laughed heartily. The
story soon spread, and these ladies would have strangled Brissac if they
had been able.

The Duchesse de Bourgogne being in the family way this spring, was much
inconvenienced. The King wished to go to Fontainebleau at the
commencement of the fine season, contrary to his usual custom; and had
declared this wish. In the mean time he desired to pay visits to Marly.
Madame de Bourgogne much amused him; he could not do without her, yet so
much movement was not suitable to her state. Madame de Maintenon was
uneasy, and Fagon gently intimated his opinion. This annoyed the King,
accustomed to restrain himself for nothing, and spoiled by having seen
his mistresses travel when big with child, or when just recovering from
their confinement, and always in full dress. The hints against going to
Marly bothered him, but did not make him give them up. All he would
consent to was, that the journey should put off from the day after
Quasimodo to the Wednesday of the following week; but nothing could make
him delay his amusement, beyond that time, or induce him to allow the
Princess to remain at Versailles.

On the following Saturday, as the King was taking a walk after mass, and
amusing himself at the carp basin between the Chateau and the
Perspective, we saw the Duchesse de Lude coming towards him on foot and
all alone, which, as no lady was with the King, was a rarity in the
morning. We understood that she had something important to say to him,
and when he was a short distance from her, we stopped so as to allow him
to join her alone. The interview was not long. She went away again, and
the King came back towards us and near the carps without saying a word.
Each saw clearly what was in the wind, and nobody was eager to speak. At
last the King, when quite close to the basin, looked at the principal
people around, and without addressing anybody, said, with an air of
vexation, these few words:

"The Duchesse de Bourgogne is hurt."

M. de la Rochefoucauld at once uttered an exclamation. M. de Bouillon,
the Duc de Tresmes, and Marechal de Boufflers repeated in a, low tone the
words I have named; and M. de la Rochefoucauld returning to the charge,
declared emphatically that it was the greatest misfortune in the world,
and that as she had already wounded herself on other occasions, she might
never, perhaps, have any more children.

"And if so," interrupted the King all on a sudden, with anger, "what is
that to me? Has she not already a son; and if he should die, is not the
Duc de Berry old enough to marry and have one? What matters it to the
who succeeds me,--the one or the other? Are the not all equally my
grandchildren?" And immediately, with impetuosity he added, "Thank God,
she is wounded, since she was to be so; and I shall no longer be annoyed
in my journeys and in everything I wish to do, by the representations of
doctors, and the reasonings of matrons. I shall go and come at my
pleasure, and shall be left in peace."

A silence so deep that an ant might be heard to walk, succeeded this
strange outburst. All eyes were lowered; no one hardly dared to breathe.
All remained stupefied. Even the domestics and the gardeners stood

This silence lasted more than a quarter of an hour. The King broke it as
he leaned upon a balustrade to speak of a carp. Nobody replied. He
addressed himself afterwards on the subject of these carps to domestics,
who did not ordinarily join in the conversation. Nothing but carps was
spoken of with them. All was languishing, and the King went away some
time after. As soon as we dared look at each other--out of his sight,
our eyes met and told all. Everybody there was for the moment the
confidant of his neighbour. We admired--we marvelled--we grieved, we
shrugged our shoulders. However distant may be that scene, it is always
equally present to me. M. de la Rochefoucauld was in a fury, and this
time without being wrong. The chief ecuyer was ready to faint with
affright; I myself examined everybody with my eyes and ears, and was
satisfied with myself for having long since thought that the King loved
and cared for himself alone, and was himself his only object in life.

This strange discourse sounded far and wide-much beyond Marly.

Let me here relate another anecdote of the King--a trifle I was witness
of. It was on the 7th of May, of this year, and at Marly. The King
walking round the gardens, showing them to Bergheyck, and talking with
him upon the approaching campaign in Flanders, stopped before one of the
pavilions. It was that occupied by Desmarets, who had recently succeeded
Chamillart in the direction of the finances, and who was at work within
with Samuel Bernard, the famous banker, the richest man in Europe, and
whose money dealings were the largest. The King observed to Desmarets
that he was very glad to see him with M. Bernard; then immediately said
to this latter:

"You are just the man never to have seen Marly--come and see it now; I
will give you up afterwards to Desmarets."

Bernard followed, and while the walk lasted the King spoke only to
Bergheyck and to Bernard, leading them everywhere, and showing them
everything with the grace he so well knew how to employ when he desired
to overwhelm. I admired, and I was not the only one, this species of
prostitution of the King, so niggard of his words, to a man of Bernard's
degree. I was not long in learning the cause of it, and I admired to see
how low the greatest kings sometimes find themselves reduced.

Our finances just then were exhausted. Desmarets no longer knew of what
wood to make a crutch. He had been to Paris knocking at every door. But
the most exact engagements had been so often broken that he found nothing
but excuses and closed doors. Bernard, like the rest, would advance
nothing. Much was due to him. In vain Desmarets represented to him the
pressing necessity for money, and the enormous gains he had made out of
the King. Bernard remained unshakeable. The King and the minister were
cruelly embarrassed. Desmarets said to the King that, after all was said
and done, only Samuel Bernard could draw them out of the mess, because it
was not doubtful that he had plenty of money everywhere; that the only
thing needed was to vanquish his determination and the obstinacy--even
insolence--he had shown; that he was a man crazy with vanity, and capable
of opening his purse if the King deigned to flatter him.

It was agreed, therefore, that Desmarets should invite Bernard to dinner
--should walk with him--and that the King should come and disturb them as
I have related. Bernard was the dupe of this scheme; he returned from
his walk with the King enchanted to such an extent that he said he would
prefer ruining himself rather than leave in embarrassment a Prince who
had just treated him so graciously, and whose eulogiums he uttered with
enthusiasm! Desmarets profited by this trick immediately, and drew much
more from it than he had proposed to himself..

The Prince de Leon had an adventure just about this time, which made much
noise. He was a great, ugly, idle, mischievous fellow, son of the Duc de
Rohan, who had given him the title I have just named. He had served in
one campaign very indolently, and then quitted the army, under pretence
of ill-health, to serve no more. Glib in speech, and with the manners of
the great world, he was full of caprices and fancies; although a great
gambler and spendthrift, he was miserly, and cared only for himself. He
had been enamoured of Florence, an actress, whom M. d'Orleans had for a
long time kept, and by whom he had children, one of whom is now
Archbishop of Cambrai. M. de Leon also had several children by this
creature, and spent large sums upon her. When he went in place of his
father to open the States of Brittany, she accompanied him in a coach and
six horses, with a ridiculous scandal. His father was in agony lest he
should marry her. He offered to insure her five thousand francs a-year
pension, and to take care of their children, if M. de Leon would quit
her. But M. de Leon would not hear of this, and his father accordingly
complained to the King. The King summoned M. de Leon into his cabinet;
but the young man pleaded his cause so well there, that he gained pity
rather than condemnation. Nevertheless, La Florence was carried away
from a pretty little house at the Ternes, near Paris, where M. de Leon
kept her, and was put in a convent. M. de Leon became furious; for some
time he would neither see nor speak of his father or mother, and repulsed
all idea of marriage.

At last, however, no longer hoping to see his actress, he not only
consented, but wished to marry. His parents were delighted at this, and
at once looked about for a wife for him. Their choice, fell upon the
eldest daughter of the Duc de Roquelaure, who, although humpbacked and
extremely ugly, she was to be very rich some day, and was, in fact, a
very good match. The affair had been arranged and concluded up to a
certain point, when all was broken off, in consequence of the haughty
obstinacy with which the Duchesse de Roquelaure demanded a larger sum
with M. de Leon than M. de Rohan chose to give.

The young couple were in despair: M. de Leon, lest his father should
always act in this way, as an excuse for giving him nothing; the young
lady, because she, feared she should rot in a convent, through the
avarice of her mother, and never marry. She was more than twenty-four
years, of age; he was more than eight-and-twenty. She was in the convent
of the Daughters of the Cross in the Faubourg Saint Antoine.

As soon as M. de Leon learnt that the marriage was broken off, he
hastened to the convent; and told all to Mademoiselle de Roquelaure;
played the passionate, the despairing; said that if they waited for their
parents' consent they would never marry; and that she would rot in her
convent. He proposed, therefore, that, in spite of their parents, they
should marry and be their own guardians. She agreed to this project; and
he went away in order to execute it.

One of the most intimate friends of Madame de Roquelaure was Madame de la
Vieuville, and she was the only person (excepting Madame de Roquelaure
herself) to whom the Superior of the convent had permission to confide
Mademoiselle de Roquelaure. Madame de la Vieuville often came to see
Mademoiselle de Roquelaure to take her out, and sometimes sent for her.
M. de Leon was made acquainted with this, and took his measures
accordingly. He procured a coach of the same size, shape, and fittings
as that of Madame de la Vieuville, with her arms upon it, and with three
servants in her livery; he counterfeited a letter in her handwriting and
with her seal, and sent this coach with a lackey well instructed to carry
the letter to the convent, on Tuesday morning, the 29th of May, at the
hour Madame de la Vieuville was accustomed to send for her.

Mademoiselle de Roquelaure, who had been let into the scheme, carried the
letter to the Superior of the convent, and said Madame de la Vieuville
had sent for her. Had the Superior any message to send?

The Superior, accustomed to these invitations; did not even look at the
letter, but gave her consent at once. Mademoiselle de Roquelaure,
accompanied solely by her governess, left the convent immediately, and
entered the coach, which drove off directly. At the first turning it
stopped, and the Prince de Leon, who had been in waiting, jumped-in. The
governess at this began to cry out with all her might; but at the very
first sound M. de Leon thrust a handkerchief into her mouth and stifled
the noise. The coachman meanwhile lashed his horses, and the vehicle
went off at full speed to Bruyeres near Menilmontant, the country-house
of the Duc de Lorges, my brother-in-law, and friend of the Prince de
Leon, and who, with the Comte de Rieux, awaited the runaway pair.

An interdicted and wandering priest was in waiting, and as soon as they
arrived married them. My brother-in-law then led these nice young people
into a fine chamber, where they were undressed, put to bed, and left
alone for two or three hours. A good meal was then given to them, after
which the bride was put into the coach, with her attendant, who was in
despair, and driven back to the convent.

Mademoiselle de Roquelaure at once went deliberately to the Superior,
told her all that happened, and then calmly went into her chamber, and
wrote a fine letter to her mother, giving her an account of her marriage,
and asking for pardon; the Superior of the convent, the attendants, and
all the household being, meanwhile, in the utmost emotion at what had

The rage of the Duchesse de Roquelaure at this incident may be imagined.
In her first unreasoning fury, she went to Madame de la Vieuville, who,
all in ignorance of what had happened, was utterly at a loss to
understand her stormy and insulting reproaches. At last Madame de
Roquelaure saw that her friend was innocent of all connection with the
matter; and turned the current of her wrath upon M. de Leon, against whom
she felt the more indignant, inasmuch as he had treated her with much
respect and attention since the rupture, and had thus, to some extent,
gained her heart. Against her daughter she was also indignant, not only
for what she had done, but because she had exhibited much gaiety and
freedom of spirit at the marriage repast, and had diverted the company by
some songs.

The Duc and Duchesse de Rohan were on their side equally furious,
although less to be pitied, and made a strange uproar. Their son,
troubled to know how to extricate himself from this affair, had recourse
to his aunt, Soubise, so as to assure himself of the King. She sent him
to Pontchartrain to see the chancellor. M. de Leon saw him the day after
this fine marriage, at five o'clock in the morning, as he was dressing.
The chancellor advised him to do all he could to gain the pardon of his
father and of Madame de Roquelaure. But he had scarcely begun to speak,
when Madame de Roquelaure sent word to say, that she was close at hand,
and wished the chancellor to come and see her. He did so, and she
immediately poured out all her griefs to him, saying that she came not to
ask, his advice, but to state her complaint as to a friend (they were
very intimate), and as to the chief officer of justice to demand justice
of him. When he attempted to put in a word on behalf of M. de Leon, her
fury burst out anew; she would not listen to his words, but drove off to
Marly, where she had an interview with Madame de Maintenon, and by her
was presented to the King.

As soon as she was in his presence, she fell down on her knees before
him, and demanded justice in its fullest extent against M. de Leon. The
King raised her with the gallantry of a prince to whom she had not been
indifferent, and sought to console her; but as she still insisted upon
justice, he asked her if she knew fully what she asked for, which was
nothing less than the head of M. de Leon. She redoubled her entreaties
notwithstanding this information, so that the King at last promised her
that she should have complete justice. With that, and many compliments,
he quitted her, and passed into his own rooms with a very serious air,
and without stopping for anybody.

The news of this interview, and of what had taken place, soon spread
through the chamber. Scarcely had people begun to pity Madame de
Roquelaure, than some, by aversion for the grand imperial airs of this
poor mother,--the majority, seized by mirth at the idea of a creature,
well known to be very ugly and humpbacked, being carried off by such an
ugly gallant,--burst out laughing, even to tears, and with an uproar
completely scandalous. Madame de Maintenon abandoned herself to mirth,
like the rest, and corrected the others at last, by saying it was not
very charitable, in a tone that could impose upon no one.

Madame de Saint-Simon and I were at Paris. We knew with all Paris of
this affair, but were ignorant of the place of the marriage and the part
M. de Lorges had had in it, when the third day after the adventure I was
startled out of my sleep at five o'clock in the morning, and saw my
curtains and my windows open at the same time, and Madame de Saint-Simon
and her brother (M. de Lorges) before me. They related to me all that
had occurred, and then went away to consult with a skilful person what
course to adopt, leaving me to dress. I never saw a man so crestfallen
as M. de Lorges. He had confessed what he had done to a clever lawyer,
who had much frightened him. After quitting him, he had hastened to us
to make us go and see Pontchartrain. The most serious things are
sometimes accompanied with the most ridiculous. M. de Lorges upon
arriving knocked at the door of a little room which preceded the chamber
of Madame de Saint-Simon. My daughter was rather unwell. Madame de
Saint-Simon thought she was worse, and supposing it was I who had
knocked, ran and opened the door. At the sight of her brother she ran
back to her bed, to which he followed her, in order to relate his
disaster. She rang for the windows to be opened, in order that she might
see better. It so happened that she had taken the evening before a new
servant, a country girl of sixteen, who slept in the little room. M. de
Lorges, in a hurry to be off, told this girl to make haste in opening the
windows, and then to go away and close the door. At this, the simple
girl, all amazed, took her robe and her cotillon, and went upstairs to an
old chambermaid, awoke her, and with much hesitation told her what had
just happened, and that she had left by the bedside of Madame de Saint
Simon a fine gentleman, very young, all powdered, curled, and decorated,
who had driven her very quickly out of the chamber. She was all of a
tremble, and much astonished. She soon learnt who he was. The story was
told to us, and in spite of our disquietude, much diverted us.

We hurried away to the chancellor, and he advised the priest, the
witnesses to the signatures of the marriage, and, in fact, all concerned,
to keep out of the way, except M. de Lorges, who he assured us had
nothing to fear. We went afterwards to Chamillart, whom we found much
displeased, but in little alarm. The King had ordered an account to be
drawn up of the whole affair. Nevertheless, in spite of the uproar made
on all sides, people began to see that the King would not abandon to
public dishonour the daughter of Madame de Roquelaure, nor doom to the
scaffold or to civil death in foreign countries the nephew of Madame de

Friends of M. and Madame de Roquelaure tried to arrange matters. They
represented that it would be better to accept the marriage as it was than
to expose a daughter to cruel dishonour. Strange enough, the Duc and
Duchesse de Rohan were the most stormy. They wished to drive a very hard
bargain in the matter, and made proposals so out of the way, that nothing
could have been arranged but for the King. He did what he had never done
before in all his life; he entered into all the details; he begged, then
commanded as master; he had separate interviews with the parties
concerned; and finally appointed the Duc d'Aumont and the chancellor to
draw up the conditions of the marriage.

As Madame de Rohan, even after this, still refused to give her consent,
the King sent for her, and said that if she and her husband did not at
once give in, he would make the marriage valid by his own sovereign
authority. Finally, after so much noise, anguish, and trouble, the
contract was signed by the two families, assembled at the house of the
Duchesse de Roquelaure. The banns were published, and the marriage took
place at the church of the Convent of the Cross, where Mademoiselle de
Roquelaure had been confined since her beautiful marriage, guarded night
and day by five or six nuns. She entered the church by one door, Prince
de Leon by another; not a compliment or a word passed between them; the
curate said mass; married them; they mounted a coach, and drove off to
the house of a friend some leagues from Paris. They paid for their folly
by a cruel indigence which lasted all their lives, neither of them having
survived the Duc de Rohan, Monsieur de Roquelaure, or Madame de
Roquelaure. They left several children.


The war this year proceeded much as before. M. d'Orleans went to Spain
again. Before taking the field he stopped at Madrid to arrange matters.
There he found nothing prepared, and every thing in disorder. He was
compelled to work day after day, for many hours, in order to obtain the
most necessary supplies. This is what accounted for a delay which was
maliciously interpreted at Paris into love for the Queen. M. le Duc was
angry at the idleness in which he was kept; even Madame la Duchesse, who
hated him, because she had formerly loved him too well, industriously
circulated this report, which was believed at Court, in the city, even in
foreign countries, everywhere, save in Spain, where the truth was too
well known. It was while he was thus engaged that he gave utterance to a
pleasantry that made Madame de Maintenon and Madame des Ursins his two
most bitter enemies for ever afterwards.

One evening he was at table with several French and Spanish gentlemen,
all occupied with his vexation against Madame des Ursins, who governed
everything, and who had not thought of even the smallest thing for the
campaign. The supper and the wine somewhat affected M. d'Orleans. Still
full of his vexation, he took a glass, and, looking at the company, made
an allusion in a toast to the two women, one the captain, the other the
lieutenant, who governed France and Spain, and that in so coarse and yet
humorous a manner, that it struck at once the imagination of the guests.

No comment was made, but everybody burst out laughing, sense of drollery
overcoming prudence, for it was well known that the she-captain was
Madame de Maintenon, and the she-lieutenant Madame des Ursins. The
health was drunk, although the words were not repeated, and the scandal
was strange.

Half an hour at most after this, Madame des Ursins was informed of what
had taken place. She knew well who were meant by the toast, and was
transported with rage. She at once wrote an account of the circumstance
to Madame de Maintenon, who, for her part, was quite as furious. 'Inde
ira'. They never pardoned M. d'Orleans, and we shall see how very nearly
they succeeded in compassing his death. Until then, Madame de Maintenon
had neither liked nor disliked M. d'Orleans. Madame des Ursins had
omitted nothing in order to please him. From that moment they swore the
ruin of this prince. All the rest of the King's life M. d'Orleans did
not fail to find that Madame de Maintenon was an implacable and cruel
enemy. The sad state to which she succeeded in reducing him influenced
him during all the rest of his life. As for Madame des Ursins, he soon
found a change in her manner. She endeavoured that everything should
fail that passed through his hands. There are some wounds that can never
be healed; and it must be admitted that the Duke's toast inflicted one
especially of that sort. He felt this; did not attempt any
reconciliation; and followed his usual course. I know not if he ever,
repented of what he had said, whatever cause he may have had, so droll
did it seem to him, but he has many times spoken of it since to me,
laughing with all his might. I saw all the sad results which might arise
from his speech, and nevertheless, while reproaching M. d'Orleans, I
could not help laughing myself, so well, so simply; and so wittily
expressed was his ridicule of the government on this and the other side
of the Pyrenees.

At last, M. le Duc d'Orleans found means to enter upon his campaign, but
was so ill-provided, that he never was supplied with more than a
fortnight's subsistence in advance. He obtained several small successes;
but these were more than swallowed up by a fatal loss in another
direction. The island of Sardinia, which was then under the Spanish
Crown, was lost through the misconduct of the viceroy, the Duke of
Veragua, and taken possession of by the troops of the Archduke. In the
month of October, the island of Minorca also fell into the hands of the
Archduke. Port Mahon made but little resistance; so that with this
conquest and Gibraltar, the English found themselves able to rule in the
Mediterranean, to winter entire fleets there, and to blockade all the
ports of Spain upon that sea. Leaving Spain in this situation, let us
turn to Flanders.

Early in July, we took Ghent and Bruges by surprise, and the news of
these successes was received with the most unbridled joy at
Fontainebleau. It appeared easy to profit by these two conquests,
obtained without difficulty, by passing the Escaut, burning Oudenarde,
closing the country to the enemies, and cutting them off from all
supplies. Ours were very abundant, and came by water, with a camp that
could not be attacked. M. de Vendome agreed to all this; and alleged
nothing against it. There was only one difficulty in the way; his
idleness and unwillingness to move from quarters where he was
comfortable. He wished to enjoy those quarters as long as possible, and
maintained, therefore, that these movements would be just as good if
delayed. Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne maintained on the contrary,
with all the army--even the favourites of M. de Vendome--that it would be
better to execute the operation at once, that there was no reason for
delay, and that delay might prove disastrous. He argued in vain.
Vendome disliked fatigue and change of quarters. They interfered with
the daily life he was accustomed to lead, and which I have elsewhere
described. He would not move.

Marlborough clearly seeing that M. de Vendome did not at once take
advantage of his position, determined to put it out of his power to do
so. To reach Oudenarde, Marlborough had a journey to make of twenty-five
leagues. Vendome was so placed that he could have gained it in six
leagues at the most. Marlborough put himself in motion with so much
diligence that he stole three forced marches before Vendome had the
slightest suspicion or information of them. The news reached him in
time, but he treated it with contempt according to his custom, assuring
himself that he should outstrip the enemy by setting out the next
morning. Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne pressed him to start that
evening; such as dared represented to him the necessity and the
importance of doing so. All was vain--in spite of repeated information
of the enemy's march. The neglect was such that bridges had not been
thought of for a little brook at the head of the camp, which it was
necessary to cross.

On the next day, Wednesday, the 11th of July, a party of our troops,
under the command of Biron, which had been sent on in advance to the
Escaut, discovered, after passing it as they could, for the bridges were
not yet made, all the army of the enemy bending round towards them, the
rear of their columns touching at Oudenarde, where they also had crossed.
Biron at once despatched a messenger to the Princes and to M. de Vendome
to inform them of this, and to ask for orders. Vendome, annoyed by
information so different to what he expected, maintained that it could
not be true. As he was disputing, an officer arrived from Biron to
confirm the news; but this only irritated Vendome anew, and made him more
obstinate. A third messenger arrived, and then M. de Vendome, still
affecting disbelief of the news sent him, flew in a passion, but
nevertheless mounted his horse, saying that all this was the work of the
devil, and that such diligence was impossible. He sent orders to Biron
to attack the enemy, promising to support him immediately. He told the
Princes, at the same time, to gently follow with the whole of the army,
while he placed himself at the head of his columns, and pushed on briskly
to Biron.

Biron meanwhile placed his troops as well as he could, on ground very
unequal and much cut up. He wished to execute the order he had received,
less from any hopes of success in a combat so vastly disproportioned than
to secure himself from the blame of a general so ready to censure those
who did not follow his instructions. But he was advised so strongly not
to take so hazardous a step, that he refrained. Marechal Matignon, who
arrived soon after, indeed specially prohibited him from acting.

While this was passing, Biron heard sharp firing on his left, beyond the
village. He hastened there, and found an encounter of infantry going on.
He sustained it as well as he could, whilst the enemy were gaining ground
on the left, and, the ground being difficult (there was a ravine there),
the enemy were kept at bay until M. de Vendome came up. The troops he
brought were all out of breath. As soon as they arrived, they threw
themselves amidst the hedges, nearly all in columns, and sustained thus
the attacks of the enemies, and an engagement which every moment grew
hotter, without having the means to arranging themselves in any order.
The columns that arrived from time to time to the relief of these were as
out of breath as the others; and were at once sharply charged by the
enemies; who, being extended in lines and in order, knew well how to
profit by our disorder. The confusion was very great: the new-comers had
no time to rally; there was a long interval between the platoons engaged
and those meant to sustain them; the cavalry and the household troops
were mixed up pell-mell with the infantry, which increased the disorder
to such a point that our troops no longer recognised each other. This
enabled the enemy to fill up the ravine with fascines sufficient to
enable them to pass it, and allowed the rear of their army to make a
grand tour by our right to gain the head of the ravine, and take us in
flank there.

Towards this same right were the Princes, who for some time had been
looking from a mill at so strange a combat, so disadvantageously
commenced. As soon as our troops saw pouring down upon them others much
more numerous, they gave way towards their left with so much promptitude
that the attendants of the Princes became mixed up with their masters,--
and all were hurried away towards the thick of the fight, with a rapidity
and confusion that were indecent. The Princes showed themselves
everywhere, and in places the most exposed, displaying much valour and
coolness, encouraging the men, praising the officers, asking the
principal officers what was to be done, and telling M. de Vendome what
they thought.

The inequality of the ground that the enemies found in advancing, after
having driven in our right, enabled our them to rally and to resist. But
this resistance was of short duration. Every one had been engaged in
hand-to-hand combats; every one was worn out with lassitude and despair
of success, and a confusion so general and so unheard-of. The household
troops owed their escape to the mistake of one of the enemy's officers,
who carried an order to the red coats, thinking them his own men. He was
taken, and seeing that he was about to share the peril with our troops,
warned them that they were going to be surrounded. They retired in some
disorder, and so avoided this.

The disorder increased, however, every moment. Nobody recognised his
troop. All were pell-mell, cavalry, infantry, dragoons; not a battalion,
not a squadron together, and all in confusion, one upon the other.

Night came. We had lost much ground, one-half of the army had not
finished arriving. In this sad situation the Princes consulted with M.
de Vendome as to what was to be done. He, furious at being so terribly
out of his reckoning, affronted everybody. Monseigneur le Duc de
Bourgogne wished to speak; but Vendome intoxicated with choler and
authority; closed his mouth, by saying to him in an imperious voice
before everybody, "That he came to the army only on condition of obeying
him." These enormous words, pronounced at a moment in which everybody
felt so terribly the weight of the obedience rendered to his idleness and
obstinacy, made everybody tremble with indignation. The young Prince to
whom they were addressed, hesitated, mastered himself, and kept silence.
Vendome went on declaring that the battle was not lost--that it could be
recommenced the next morning, when the rest of the army had arrived, and
so on. No one of consequence cared to reply.

From every side soon came information, however, that the disorder was
extreme. Pursegur, Matignon, Sousternon, Cheladet, Purguyon, all brought
the same news. Vendome, seeing that it was useless to resist, all this
testimony, and beside himself with rage, cried, "Oh, very well,
gentlemen! I see clearly what you wish. We must retire, then;" and
looking at Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne, he added, "I know you have
long wished to do so, Monseigneur."

These words, which could not fail to be taken in a double sense, were
pronounced exactly as I relate them, and were emphasized in a manner to
leave no doubt as to their signification. Monseigneur le Duc de
Bourgogne remained silent as before, and for some time the silence was
unbroken. At last, Pursegur interrupted it, by asking how the retreat
was to be executed. Each, then, spoke confusedly. Vendome, in his turn,
kept silence from vexation or embarrassment; then he said they must march
to Ghent, without adding how, or anything else.

The day had been very fatiguing; the retreat was long and perilous. The
Princes mounted their horses, and took the road to Ghent. Vendome set
out without giving any orders, or seeing to anything. The general
officers returned to their posts, and of themselves gave the order to
retreat. Yet so great was the confusion, that the Chevalier Rosel,
lieutenant-general, at the head of a hundred squadrons, received no
orders. In the morning he found himself with his hundred squadrons,
which had been utterly forgotten. He at once commenced his march; but to
retreat in full daylight was very difficult, as he soon found. He had to
sustain the attacks of the enemy during several hours of his march.

Elsewhere, also, the difficulty of retreating was great. Fighting went
on at various points all night, and the enemy were on the alert. Some of
the troops of our right, while debating as to the means of retreat, found
they were about to be surrounded by the enemy. The Vidame of Amiens saw
that not a moment was to be lost. He cried to the light horse, of which
he was captain, "Follow me," and pierced his way through a line of the
enemy's cavalry. He then found himself in front of a line of infantry,
which fired upon him, but opened to give him passage. At the same
moment, the household troops and others, profiting by a movement so bold,
followed the Vidame and his men, and all escaped together to Ghent, led
on by the Vidame, to whose sense and courage the safety of these troops
was owing.

M. de Vendome arrived at Ghent, between seven and eight o'clock in the
morning. Even at this moment he did not forget his disgusting habits,
and as soon as he set foot to ground.... in sight of all the troops as
they came by,--then at once went to bed, without giving any orders, or
seeing to anything, and remained more than thirty hours without rising,
in order to repose himself after his fatigues. He learnt that
Monseigneur de Bourgogne and the army had pushed on to Lawendeghem; but
he paid no attention to it, and continued to sup and to sleep at Ghent
several days running, without attending to anything.


As soon as Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne arrived at Lawendeghem, he
wrote a short letter to the King, and referred him for details to M. de
Vendome. But at the same time he wrote to the Duchess, very clearly
expressing to her where the fault lay. M. de Vendome, on his side, wrote
to the King, and tried to persuade him that the battle had not been
disadvantageous to us. A short time afterwards, he wrote again, telling
the King that he could have beaten the enemies had he been sustained; and
that, if, contrary to his advice, retreat had not been determined on, he
would certainly have beaten them the next day. For the details he
referred to Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne.

I had always feared that some ill-fortune would fall to the lot of
Monseigneur, le Duc de Bourgogne if he served under M. de Vendome at the
army. When I first learned that he was going to Flanders with M. de
Vendome, I expressed my apprehensions to M. de Beauvilliers, who treated
them as unreasonable and ridiculous. He soon had good cause to admit
that I had not spoken without justice. Our disasters at Oudenarde were
very great. We had many men and officers killed and wounded, four
thousand men and seven hundred officers taken prisoners, and a prodigious
quantity missing and dispersed. All these losses were, as I have shown,
entirely due to the laziness and inattention of M. de Vendome. Yet the
friends of that general--and he had many at the Court and in the army--
actually had the audacity to lay the blame upon Monseigneur le Duc de
Bourgogne. This was what I had foreseen, viz., M. de Vendome, in case
any misfortune occurred, would be sure to throw the burden of it upon
Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne.

Alberoni, who, as I have said, was one of M. de Vendome's creatures,
published a deceitful and impudent letter, in which he endeavoured to
prove that M. de Vendome had acted throughout like a good general, but
that he had been thwarted by Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne. This
letter was distributed everywhere, and well served the purpose for which
it was intended. Another writer, Campistron---a poor, starving poet,
ready to do anything to live--went further. He wrote a letter, in which
Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne was personally attacked in the tenderest
points, and in which Marechal Matignon was said to merit a court-martial
for having counselled retreat. This letter, like the other, although
circulated with more precaution, was shown even in the cafes and in the
theatres; in the public places of gambling and debauchery; on the
promenades, and amongst the news-vendors. Copies of it were even shown
in the provinces, and in foreign countries; but always with much
circumspection. Another letter soon afterwards appeared, apologising for
M. de Vendome. This was written by Comte d'Evreux, and was of much the
same tone as the two others.

A powerful cabal was in fact got up against Monseigneur de Bourgogne.
Vaudeville, verses, atrocious songs against him, ran all over Paris and
the provinces with a licence and a rapidity that no one checked; while at
the Court, the libertines and the fashionables applauded; so that in six
days it was thought disgraceful to speak with any measure of this Prince,
even in his father's house.

Madame de Bourgogne could not witness all this uproar against her
husband, without feeling sensibly affected by it. She had been made
acquainted by Monseigneur de Bourgogne with the true state of the case.
She saw her own happiness and reputation at stake. Though very gentle,
and still more timid, the grandeur of the occasion raised her above
herself. She was cruelly wounded by the insults of Vendome to her
husband, and by all the atrocities and falsehoods his emissaries
published. She gained Madame de Maintenon, and the first result of this
step was, that the King censured Chamillart for not speaking of the
letters in circulation, and ordered him to write to Alberoni and D'Evreux
(Campistron, strangely enough, was forgotten), commanding them to keep
silence for the future.

The cabal was amazed to see Madame de Maintenon on the side of Madame de
Bourgogne, while M. du Maine (who was generally in accord with Madame de
Maintenon) was for M. de Vendome. They concluded that the King had been
led away, but that if they held firm, his partiality for M. de Vendome,
for M. du Maine, and for bastardy in general, would bring him round to
them. In point of fact, the King was led now one way, and now another,
with a leaning always towards M. de Vendome.

Soon after this, Chamillart, who was completely of the party of M. de
Vendome, thought fit to write a letter to Monseigneur le Duc de
Bourgogne, in which he counselled him to live on good terms with his
general. Madame de Bourgogne never forgave Chamillart this letter, and
was always annoyed with her husband that he acted upon it. His religious
sentiments induced him to do so. Vendome so profited by the advances
made to him by the young Prince, that he audaciously brought Alberoni
with him when he visited Monseigneur de Bourgogne. This weakness of
Monseigneur de Bourgogne lost him many friends, and made his enemies more
bold than ever: Madame de Bourgogne, however, did not despair. She wrote
to her husband that for M. de Vendome she had more aversion and contempt
than for any one else in the world, and that nothing would make her
forget what he had done. We shall see with what courage she knew how to
keep her word.

While the discussions upon the battle of Oudenarde were yet proceeding,
a league was formed with France against the Emperor by all the states of
Italy. The King (Louis XIV.) accepted, however, too late, a project he
himself ought to have proposed and executed. He lost perhaps the most
precious opportunity he had had during all his reign. The step he at
last took was so apparent that it alarmed the allies, and put them on
their guard. Except Flanders, they did nothing in any other spot, and
turned all their attention to Italy.

Let us return, however, to Flanders.

Prince Eugene, with a large booty gathered in Artois and elsewhere, had
fixed himself at Brussels. He wished to bear off his spoils, which
required more than five thousand waggons to carry it, and which consisted
in great part of provisions, worth three million five hundred thousand
francs, and set out with them to join the army of the Duke of
Marlborough. Our troops could not, of course, be in ignorance of this.
M. de Vendome wished to attack the convoy with half his troops. The
project seemed good, and, in case of success, would have brought results
equally honourable and useful. Monseigneur de Bourgogne, however,
opposed the attack, I know not why; and M. de Vendome, so obstinate until
then, gave in to him in this case. His object was to ruin the Prince
utterly, for allowing such a good chance to escape, the blame resting
entirely upon him. Obstinacy and audacity had served M. de Vendome at
Oudenarde: he expected no less a success now from his deference.

Some anxiety was felt just about this time for Lille, which it was feared
the enemy would lay siege to. Boufflers went to command there, at his
own request, end found the place very ill-garrisoned with raw troops,
many of whom had never smelt powder. M. de Vendome, however, laughed at
the idea of the siege of Lille, as something mad and ridiculous.
Nevertheless, the town was invested on the 12th of August, as the King
duly learned on the 14th. Even then, flattery did its work. The friends
of Vendome declared that such an enterprise was the best, thing that
could happen to France, as the besiegers, inferior in numbers to our
army, were sure to be miserably beaten. M. de Vendome, in the mean time,
did not budge from the post he had taken up near Ghent. The King wrote
to him to go with his army to the relief of Lille. M. de Vendome still
delayed; another courier was sent, with the same result. At this, the
King, losing temper, despatched another courier, with orders to
Monseigneur de Bourgogne, to lead the army to Lille, if M. de Vendome
refused to do so. At this, M. de Vendome awoke from his lethargy. He
set out for Lille, but took the longest road, and dawdled as long as he
could on the way, stopping five days at Mons Puenelle, amongst other

The agitation, meanwhile, in Paris, was extreme. The King demanded news
of the siege from his courtiers, and could not understand why no couriers
arrived. It was generally expected that some decisive battle had been
fought. Each day increased the uneasiness. The Princes and the
principal noblemen of the Court were at the army. Every one at
Versailles feared for the safety of a relative or friend. Prayers were
offered everywhere. Madame de Bourgogne passed whole nights in the
chapel, when people thought her in bed, and drove her women to despair.
Following her example, ladies who had husbands at the army stirred not
from the churches. Gaming, conversation ceased. Fear was painted upon
every face, and seen in every speech, without shame. If a horse passed a
little quickly, everybody ran without knowing where. The apartments of
Chamillart were crowded with lackeys, even into the street, sent by
people desiring to be informed of the moment that a courier arrived; and
this terror and uncertainty lasted nearly a month. The provinces were
even more troubled than Paris. The King wrote to the Bishop, in order
that they should offer up prayers in terms which suited with the danger
of the time. It may be judged what was the general impression and alarm.

It is true, that in the midst of this trepidation, the partisans of M. de
Vendome affected to pity that poor Prince Eugene, and to declare that he
must inevitably fail in his undertaking; but these discourses did not
impose upon me. I knew what kind of enemies we had to deal with, and I
foresaw the worst results from the idleness and inattention of M. de
Vendome. One evening, in the presence of Chamillart and five or six
others, annoyed by the conversation which passed, I offered to bet four
pistoles that there would be no general battle, and that Lille would be
taken without being relieved. This strange proposition excited much
surprise, and caused many questions to be addressed to me. I would
explain nothing at all; but sustained my proposal in the English manner,
and my bet was taken; Cani, who accepted it, thanking me for the present
of four pistoles I was making him, as he said. The stakes were placed in
the hand of Chamillart.

By the next day, the news of my bet had spread a frightful uproar. The
partisans of M. de Vendome, knowing I was no friend to them, took this
opportunity to damage me in the eyes of the King. They so far succeeded
that I entirely lost favour with him, without however suspecting it, for
more than two months. All that I could do then, was to let the storm
pass over my head and keep silent, so as not to make matters worse.
Meanwhile, M. de Vendome continued the inactive policy he had hitherto
followed. In despite of reiterated advice from the King, he took no
steps to attack the enemy. Monseigneur de Bourgogne was for doing so,
but Vendome would make no movement. As before, too, he contrived to
throw all the blame of his inactivity upon Monseigneur de Bourgogne. He
succeeded so well in making this believed, that his followers in the army
cried out against the followers of Monseigneur de Bourgogne wherever they
appeared. Chamillart was sent by the King to report upon the state and
position of our troops, and if a battle had taken place and proved
unfavourable to us, to prevent such sad results as had taken place after
Ramillies. Chamillart came back on the 18th of September. No battle had
been fought, but M. de Vendome felt sure, he said, of cutting off all
supplies from the enemy, and thus compelling them to raise the siege.
The King had need of these intervals of consolation and hope. Master as
he might be of his words and of his features, he profoundly felt the
powerlessness to resist his enemies that he fell into day by day. What I
have related, about Samuel Bernard, the banker, to whom he almost did the
honours of his gardens at Marly, in order to draw from him the assistance
he had refused, is a great proof of this. It was much remarked at
Fontainebleau, just as Lille was invested, that, the city of Paris coming
to harangue him on the occasion of the oath taken by Bignon, new Prevot
des Marchand, he replied, not only with kindness, but that he made use of
the term "gratitude for his good city," and that in doing so he lost
countenance,--two things which during all his reign had never escaped
him. On the other hand, he sometimes had intervals of firmness which
edificed less than they surprised. When everybody at the Court was in
the anxiety I have already described, he offended them by going out every
day hunting or walking, so that they could not know, until after his
return, the news which might arrive when he was out.

As for Monseigneur, he seemed altogether exempt from anxiety. After
Ramillies, when everybody was waiting for the return of Chamillart, to
learn the truth, Monseigneur went away to dine at Meudon, saying he
should learn the news soon enough. From this time he showed no more
interest in what was passing. When news was brought that Lille was
invested, he turned on his heel before the letter announcing it had been
read to the end. The King called him back to hear the rest. He returned
and heard it. The reading finished, he went away, without offering a
word. Entering the apartments of the Princesse de Conti, he found there
Madame d'Espinoy, who had much property in Flanders, and who had wished
to take a trip there.

"Madame," said he, smiling, as he arrived, "how would you do just now to
get to Lille?" And at once made them acquainted with the investment.
These things really wounded the Princesse de Conti. Arriving at
Fontainebleau one day, during the movements of the army, Monseigneur set
to work reciting, for amusement, a long list of strange names of places
in the forest.

"Dear me, Monseigneur," cried she, "what a good memory you have. What a
pity it is loaded with such things only!" If he felt the reproach, he
did not profit by it.

As for Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne, Monseigneur (his father) was ill-
disposed towards him, and readily swallowed all that was said in his
dispraise. Monseigneur had no sympathy with the piety of his son; it
constrained and bothered him. The cabal well profited by this. They
succeeded to such an extent in alienating the father from the son, that
it is only strict truth to say that no one dared to speak well of
Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne in the presence of Monseigneur. From
this it may be imagined what was the licence and freedom of speech
elsewhere against this Prince. They reached such a point, indeed, that
the King, not daring to complain publicly against the Prince de Conti,
who hated Vendome, for speaking in favour of Monseigneur de Bourgogne,
reprimanded him sharply in reality for having done so, but ostensibly
because he had talked about the affairs of Flanders at his sister's.
Madame de Bourgogne did all she could to turn the current that was
setting in against her husband; and in this she was assisted by Madame de
Maintenon, who was annoyed to the last degree to see that other people
had more influence over the King than she had.

The siege of Lille meanwhile continued, and at last it began to be seen
that, instead of attempting to fight a grand battle, the wisest course
would be to throw assistance into the place. An attempt was made to do
so, but it was now too late.

The besieged, under the guidance of Marechal Boufflers, who watched over
all, and attended to all, in a manner that gained him all hearts, made a
gallant and determined resistance. A volume would be necessary in order
to relate all the marvels of capacity and valour displayed in this
defence. Our troops disputed the ground inch by inch. They repulsed,
three times running, the enemy from a mill, took it the third time, and
burnt it. They sustained an attack, in three places at once, of ten
thousand men, from nine o'clock in the evening to three o'clock in the
morning, without giving way. They re-captured the sole traverse the
enemy had been able to take from them. They drove out the besiegers from
the projecting angles of the counterscarp, which they had kept possession
of for eight days. They twice repulsed seven thousand men who attacked
their covered way and an outwork; at the third attack they lost an angle
of the outwork; but remained masters of all the rest.

So many attacks and engagements terribly weakened the garrison. On the
28th of September some assistance was sent to the besieged by the daring
of the Chevalier de Luxembourg. It enabled them to sustain with vigour
the fresh attacks that were directed against them, to repulse the enemy,
and, by a grand sortie, to damage some of their works, and kill many of
their men. But all was in vain. The enemy returned again and again to
the attack. Every attempt to cut off their supplies failed. Finally, on
the 23rd of October, a capitulation was signed. The place had become
untenable; three new breaches had been made on the 20th and 21st; powder
and ammunition were failing; the provisions were almost all eaten up
there was nothing for it but to give in.

Marechal Boufflers obtained all he asked, and retired into the citadel
with all the prisoners of war, after two months of resistance. He
offered discharge to all the soldiers who did not wish to enter the
citadel. But not one of the six thousand he had left to him accepted it.
They were all ready for a new resistance, and when their chief appeared
among them their joy burst out in the most flattering praises of him. It
was on Friday, the 26th of October, that they shut themselves up in the

The enemy opened their trenches before the citadel on the 29th of
October. On the 7th of November they made a grand attack, but were
repulsed with considerable loss. But they did not flinch from their
work, and Boufflers began to see that he could not long hold out. By the
commencement of December he had only twenty thousand pounds of powder
left; very little of other munitions, and still less food. In the town
and the citadel they had eaten eight hundred horses. Boufflers, as soon
as the others were reduced to this food, had it served upon his own
table, and ate of it like the rest. The King, learning in what state
these soldiers were, personally sent word to Boufflers to surrender, but
the Marechal, even after he had received this order, delayed many days to
obey it.

At last, in want of the commonest necessaries, and able to protract his
defence no longer, he beat a parley, signed a capitulation on the 9th of
December, obtaining all he asked, and retired from Lille. Prince Eugene,
to whom he surrendered, treated him with much distinction and friendship,
invited him to dinner several times,--overwhelmed him, in fact, with
attention and civilities. The Prince was glad indeed to have brought to
a successful issue such a difficult siege.


The position of Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne at the army continued to
be equivocal. He was constantly in collision with M. de Vendome. The
latter, after the loss of Lille, wished to defend the Escaut, without any
regard to its extent of forty miles. The Duc de Bourgogne, as far as he
dared, took the part of Berwick, who maintained that the defence was
impossible. The King, hearing of all these disputes, actually sent
Chamillart to the army to compose them; and it was a curious sight to
behold this penman, this financier, acting as arbiter between generals on
the most delicate operations of war. Chamillart continued to admire
Vendome, and treated the Duc de Bourgogne with little respect, both at
the army, and, after his return, in conversation with the King. His
report was given in presence of Madame de Maintenon, who listened without
daring to say a word, and repeated everything to the Duchesse de
Bourgogne. We may imagine what passed between them, and the anger of the
Princess against the minister. For the present, however, nothing could
be done. Berwick was soon afterwards almost disgraced. As soon as he
was gone, M. de Vendome wrote to the King, saying, that he was sure of
preventing the enemy from passing the Escaut--that he answered for it on
his head. With such a guarantee from a man in such favour at Court, who
could doubt? Yet, shortly after, Marlborough crossed the Escaut in four
places, and Vendome actually wrote to the King, begging him to remember
that he had always declared the defence of the Escaut to be, impossible!

The cabal made a great noise to cover this monstrous audacity, and
endeavoured to renew the attack against the Duc de Bourgogne. We shall
see what success attended their efforts. The army was at Soissons, near
Tournai, in a profound tranquillity, the opium of which had gained the
Duc de Bourgogne when news of the approach of the enemy was brought.
M. de Vendome advanced in that direction, and sent word to the Duke, that
he thought he ought to advance on the morrow with all his army. The Duke
was going to bed when he received the letter; and although it was too
late to repulse the enemy, was much blamed for continuing to undress
himself, and putting off action till the morrow.

To this fault he added another. He had eaten; it was very early; and it
was no longer proper to march. It was necessary to wait fresh orders
from M. de Vendome. Tournai was near. The Duc de Bourgogne went there
to have a game at tennis. This sudden party of pleasure strongly
scandalized the army, and raised all manner of unpleasant talk.
Advantage was taken of the young Prince's imprudence to throw upon him
the blame of what was caused by the negligence of M. de Vendome.

A serious and disastrous action that took place during these operations
was actually kept a secret from the King, until the Duc de la Tremoille,
whose son was engaged there, let out the truth. Annoyed that the King
said nothing to him on the way in which his son had distinguished
himself, he took the opportunity, whilst he was serving the King, to talk
of the passage of the Escaut, and said that his son's regiment had much
suffered. "How, suffered?" cried the King; "nothing has happened."
Whereupon the Duke related all to him. The King listened with the
greatest attention, and questioned him, and admitted before everybody
that he knew nothing of all this. His surprise, and the surprise it
occasioned, may be imagined. It happened that when the King left table,
Chamillart unexpectedly came into his cabinet. He was soon asked about
the action of the Escaut, and why it had not been reported. The
minister, embarrassed, said that it was a thing of no consequence. The
king continued to press him, mentioned details, and talked of the
regiment of the Prince of Tarento. Chamillart then admitted that what
happened at the passage was so disagreeable, and the combat so
disagreeable, but so little important, that Madame de Maintenon, to whom
he had reported all, had thought it best not to trouble the King upon the
matter, and it had accordingly been agreed not to trouble him. Upon this
singular answer the King stopped short in his questions, and said not a
word more.

The Escaut being forced, the citadel of Lille on the point of being
taken, our army exhausted with fatigue was at last dispersed, to the
scandal of everybody; for it was known that Ghent was about to be
besieged. The Princes received orders to return to Court, but they
insisted on the propriety of remaining with the army. M. de Vendome, who
began to fear the effect of his rashness and insolence, tried to obtain
permission to pass the winter with the army on the frontier.

He was not listened to. The Princes received orders most positively to
return to Court, and accordingly set out.

The Duchesse de Bourgogne was very anxious about the way in which the
Duke was to be received, and eager to talk to him and explain how matters
stood, before he saw the King or anybody else. I sent a message to him
that he ought to contrive to arrive after midnight, in order to pass two
or three hours with the Duchess, and perhaps see Madame de Maintenon
early in the morning. My message was not received; at any rate not
followed. The Duc de Bourgogne arrived on the 11th of December, a little
after seven o'clock in the evening, just as Monseigneur had gone to the
play, whither the Duchess had not gone, in order to wait for her husband.
I know not why he alighted in the Cour des Princes, instead of the Great
Court. I was put then in the apartments of the Comtesse de Roncy, from
which I could see all that passed. I came down, and saw the Prince
ascending the steps between the Ducs de Beauvilliers and De la
Rocheguyon, who happened to be there. He looked quite satisfied, was
gay, and laughing, and spoke right and left. I bowed to him. He did me
the honour to embrace me in a way that showed me he knew better what was
going on than how to maintain his dignity. He then talked only to me,
and whispered that he knew what I had said. A troop of courtiers met
him. In their midst he passed the Great Hall of the Guards, and instead
of going to Madame de Maintenon's by the private door, though the nearest
way, went to the great public entrance. There was no one there but the
King and Madame de Maintenon, with Pontchartrain; for I do not count the
Duchesse de Bourgogne. Pontchartrain noted well what passed at the
interview, and related it all to me that very evening.

As soon as in Madame de Maintenon's apartment was heard the rumour which
usually precedes such an arrival, the King became sufficiently
embarrassed to change countenance several times. The Duchesse de
Bourgogne appeared somewhat tremulous, and fluttered about the room to
hide her trouble, pretending not to know exactly by which door the Prince
would arrive. Madame de Maintenon was thoughtful. Suddenly all the
doors flew open: the young Prince advanced towards the King, who, master
of himself, more than any one ever was, lost at once all embarrassment,
took two or three steps towards his grandson, embraced him with some
demonstration of tenderness, spoke of his voyage, and then pointing to
the Princess, said, with a smiling countenance: "Do you say nothing to
her?" The Prince turned a moment towards her, and answered respectfully,
as if he dared not turn away from the King, and did not move. He then
saluted Madame de Maintenon, who received him well. Talk of travel,
beds, roads, and so forth, lasted, all standing, some half-quarter of an
hour; then the King said it would not be fair to deprive him any longer
of the pleasure of being alone with Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, and
that they would have time enough to see each other. The Prince made a
bow to the King, another to Madame de Maintenon, passed before the few
ladies of the palace who had taken courage to put their heads into the
room, entered the neighbouring cabinet, where he embraced the Duchess,
saluted the ladies who were there, that is, kissed them; remained a few
moments, and then went into his apartment, where he shut himself up with
the Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Their tete-a-tete lasted two hours and more: just towards the end, Madame
d'O was let in; soon after the Marechal d'Estrees entered, and soon after
that the Duchesse de Bourgogne came out with them, and returned into the
great cabinet of Madame de Maintenon. Monseigneur came there as usual,
on returning from the comedy. Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, troubled
that the Duke did not hurry himself to come and salute his father, went
to fetch him, and came back saying that he was putting on his powder; but
observing that Monseigneur was little satisfied with this want of
eagerness, sent again to hurry him. Just then the Marechale d'Estrees,
hair-brained and light, and free to say just what came into her head,
began to attack Monseigneur for waiting so tranquilly for his son,
instead of going himself to embrace him. This random expression did not
succeed. Monseigneur replied stiffly that it was not for him to seek the
Duc de Bourgogne; but the duty of the Duc de Bourgogne to seek him. He
came at last. The reception was pretty good, but did not by any means
equal that of the King. Almost immediately the King rang, and everybody
went to the supper-room.

During the supper, M. le Duc de Berry arrived, and came to salute the
King at table. To greet him all hearts opened. The King embraced him
very tenderly. Monseigneur only looked at him tenderly, not daring to
embrace his (youngest) son in presence of the King. All present courted
him. He remained standing near the King all the rest of the supper, and
there was no talk save of post-horses, of roads, and such like trifles.
The King spoke sufficiently at table to Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne;
but to the Duc de Berry, he assumed a very different air. Afterwards,
there was a supper for the Duc de Berry in the apartments of the Duchesse
de Bourgogne; but the conjugal impatience of the Duc de Bourgogne cut it
rather too short.

I expressed to the Duc de Beauvilliers, with my accustomed freedom, that
the Duc de Bourgogne seemed to me very gay on returning from so sad a
campaign. He could not deny this, and made up his mind to give a hint on
the subject. Everybody indeed blamed so misplaced a gaiety. Two or
three days after his arrival the Duc de Bourgogne passed three hours with
the King in the apartments of Madame de Maintenon. I was afraid that,
his piety would withhold him from letting out on the subject of M. de
Vendome, but I heard that he spoke on that subject without restraint,
impelled by the advice of the Duchesse de Bourgogne, and also by the Duc
de Beauvilliers, who set his conscience at ease. His account of the
campaign, of affairs, of things, of advices, of proceedings, was
complete. Another, perhaps, less virtuous, might have used weightier
terms; but at any rate everything was said with a completeness beyond all
hope, if we consider who spoke and who listened. The Duke concluded with
an eager prayer to be given an army in the next campaign, and with the
promise of the King to that effect. Soon after an explanation took place
with Monseigneur at Meudon, Mademoiselle Choin being present. With the
latter he spoke much more in private: she had taken his part with
Monseigneur. The Duchesse de Bourgogne had gained her over. The
connection of this girl with Madame de Maintenon was beginning to grow
very close indeed.

Gamaches had been to the army with the Duc do Bourgogne, and being a
free-tongued man had often spoken out very sharply on the puerilities in
which he indulged in company with the Duc de Berry, influenced by his
example. One day returning from mass, in company with the Duke on a
critical day, when he would rather have seen him on horseback; he said
aloud, "You will certainly win the kingdom of heaven; but as for the
kingdom of the earth, Prince Eugene and Marlborough know how to seek it
better than you." What he said quite as publicly to the two Princes on
their treatment of the King of England, was admirable. That Prince
(known as the Chevalier de Saint George) served incognito, with a modesty
that the Princes took advantage of to treat him with the greatest
indifference and contempt. Towards the end of the campaign, Gamaches,
exasperated with their conduct, exclaimed to them in the presence of
everybody: "Is this a wager? speak frankly; if so, you have won, there
can be no doubt of that; but now, speak a little to the Chevalier de
Saint George, and treat him more politely." These sallies, however, were
too public to produce any good effect. They were suffered, but not
attended to.

The citadel of Lille capitulated as we have seen, with the consent of the
King, who was obliged to acknowledge that the Marechal de Boufflers had
done all he could, and that further defence was impossible. Prince
Eugene treated Boufflers with the greatest possible consideration. The
enemy at this time made no secret of their intention to invest Ghent,
which made the dispersal of our army the more shameful; but necessity
commanded, for no more provisions were to be got.

M. de Vendome arrived at Versailles on the morning of December 15th, and
saluted the King as he left table. The King embraced him with a sort of
enthusiasm that made his cabal triumph. He monopolised all conversation
during the dinner, but only trifles were talked of. The King said he
would talk to him next day at Madame de Maintenon's. This delay, which
was new to him, did not seem of good augury. He went to pay his respects
to M. de Bourgogne, who received him well in spite of all that had
passed. Then Vendome went to wait on Monseigneur at the Princesse de
Coriti's: here he thought himself in his stronghold. He was received
excellently, and the conversation turned on nothings. He wished to take
advantage of this, and proposed a visit to Anet. His surprise and that
of those present were great at the uncertain reply of Monseigneur, who
caused it to be understood, and rather stiffly too, that he would not go.
Vendome appeared embarrassed, and abridged his visit. I met him at the
end of the gallery of the new wing, as I was coming from M. de
Beauvilliers, turning towards the steps in the middle of the gallery. He
was alone, without torches or valets, with Alberoni, followed by a man I
did not know. I saw him by the light of my torches; we saluted each
other politely, though we had not much acquaintance one with the other.
He seemed chagrined, and was going to M. du Maine, his counsel and
principal support.

Next day he passed an hour with the King at Madame de Maintenon's. He
remained eight or ten days at Versailles or at Meudon, and never went to
the Duchesse de Bourgogne's. This was nothing new for him. The mixture
of grandeur and irregularity which he had long affected seemed to him to
have freed him from the most indispensable duties. His Abbe Alberoni
showed himself at the King's mass in the character of a courtier with
unparalleled effrontery. At last they went to Anet. Even before he went
he perceived some diminution in his position, since he lowered himself so
far as to invite people to come and see him, he, who in former years made
it a favour to receive the most distinguished persons. He soon perceived
the falling-off in the number of his visitors. Some excused themselves
from going; others promised to go and did not. Every one made a
difficulty about a journey of fifteen leagues, which, the year before,
was considered as easy and as necessary as that of Marly. Vendome
remained at Anet until the first voyage to Marly, when he came; and he
always came to Marly and Meudon, never to Versailles, until the change of
which I shall soon have occasion to speak.

The Marechal de Boufflers returned to Court from his first but
unsuccessful defence of Lille, and was received in a triumphant manner,
and overwhelmed with honours and rewards. This contrast with Vendome was
remarkable: the one raised by force of trickery, heaping up mountains
like the giants, leaning on vice, lies, audacity, on a cabal inimical to
the state and its heirs, a factitious hero, made such by will in despite
of truth;--the other, without cabal, with no support but virtue and
modesty, was inundated with favours, and the applause of enemies was
followed by the acclamations of the public, so that the nature of even
courtiers changed, and they were happy in the recompenses showered upon

Some days after the return of the Duc de Bourgogne Cheverny had an
interview with him, on leaving which he told me what I cannot refrain
from relating here, though it is necessarily with confusion that I write
it. He said that, speaking freely with him on what had been circulated
during the campaign, the Prince observed that he knew how and with what
vivacity I had expressed myself, and that he was informed of the manner
in which the Prince de Conti had given his opinion, and added that with
the approval of two such men, that of others might be dispensed with.
Cheverny, a very truthful man, came full of this to tell it to me at
once. I was filled with confusion at being placed beside a man as
superior to me in knowledge of war as he was in rank and birth; but I
felt with gratitude how well M. de Beauvilliers had kept his word and
spoken in my favour.

The last evening of this year (1708) was very remarkable, because there
had not yet been an example of any such thing. The King having retired
after supper to his cabinet with his family, as usual, Chamillart came
without being sent for. He whispered in the King's ear that he had a
long despatch from the Marechal de Boufflers. Immediately the King said
good-night to Monseigneur and the Princesses, who went out with every one
else; and the King actually worked for an hour with his minister before
going to bed, so excited was he by the great project for retaking Lille!

Since the fall of Lille, in fact, Chamillart, impressed with the
importance of the place being in our possession, had laid out a plan by
which he were to lay siege to it and recapture it. One part of his plan
was, that the King should conduct the siege in person. Another was that,
as money was so difficult to obtain, the ladies of the Court should not
accompany the King, as their presence caused a large increase of expense
for carriages, servants, and so on. He confided his project to the King,
under a strict promise that it would be kept secret from Madame de
Maintenon. He feared, and with reason, that if she heard of it she would
object to being separated from the King for such a long time as would be
necessary for the siege: Chamillart was warned that if he acted thus,
hiding his plant from Madame de Maintenon, to whom he owed everything,
she would assuredly ruin him, but he paid no attention to the warning.
He felt all the danger he ran, but he was courageous; he loved the State,
and, if I may say so, he loved the King as a mistress. He followed his
own counsels then, and made the King acquainted with his project.

The King was at once delighted with it. He entered into the details
submitted to him by Chamillart with the liveliest interest, and promised
to carry out all that was proposed. He sent for Boufflers, who had
returned from Lille, and having, as I have said, recompensed him for his
brave defence of that place with a peerage and other marks of favour,
despatched him privately into Flanders to make preparations for the
siege. The abandonment of Ghent by our troop, after a short and
miserable defence, made him more than ever anxious to carry out this

But the King had been so unused to keep a secret from Madame de
Maintenon, that he felt himself constrained in attempting to do so now.
He confided to her, therefore, the admirable plan of Chamillart. She had
the address to hide her surprise, and the strength to dissimulate
perfectly her vexation; she praised the project; she appeared charmed
with it; she entered into the details; she spoke of them to Chamillart;
admired his zeal, his labour, his diligence, and, above all, his ability,
in having conceived and rendered possible so fine and grand a project.

From that moment, however, she forgot nothing in order to ensure its
failure. The first sight of it had made her tremble. To be separated
from the King during a long siege; to abandon him to a minister to whom
he would be grateful for all the success of that siege; a minister, too,
who, although her creature, had dared to submit this project to the King
without informing her; who, moreover, had recently offended her by
marrying his son into a family she considered inimical to her, and by
supporting M. de Vendome against Monseigneur de Bourgogne! These were
considerations that determined her to bring about the failure of
Chamillart's project and the disgrace of Chamillart himself.

She employed her art so well, that after a time the project upon Lille
did not appear so easy to the King as at first. Soon after, it seemed
difficult; then too hazardous and ruinous; so that at last it was
abandoned, and Boufflers had orders to cease his preparations and return
to France! She succeeded thus in an affair she considered the most
important she had undertaken during all her life. Chamillart was much
touched, but little surprised: As soon as he knew his secret had been
confided to Madame de Maintenon he had feeble hope for it. Now he began
to fear for himself.


One of the reasons Madame de Maintenon had brought forward, which much
assisted her in opposing the siege of Lille, was the excessive cold of
this winter. The winter was, in fact, terrible; the memory of man could
find no parallel to it. The frost came suddenly on Twelfth Night, and
lasted nearly two months, beyond all recollection. In four days the
Seine and all the other rivers were frozen, and,--what had never been
seen before,--the sea froze all along the coasts, so as to bear carts,
even heavily laden, upon it. Curious observers pretended that this cold
surpassed what had ever been felt in Sweden and Denmark. The tribunals
were closed a considerable time. The worst thing was, that it completely
thawed for seven or eight days, and then froze again as rudely as before.
This caused the complete destruction of all kinds of vegetation--even
fruit-trees; and others of the most hardy kind, were destroyed. The
violence of the cold was such, that the strongest elixirs and the most
spirituous liquors broke their bottles in cupboards of rooms with fires
in them, and surrounded by chimneys, in several parts of the chateau of
Versailles. As I myself was one evening supping with the Duc de
Villeroy, in his little bedroom, I saw bottles that had come from a well-
heated kitchen, and that had been put on the chimney-piece of this bed-
room (which was close to the kitchen), so frozen, that pieces of ice fell
into our glasses as we poured out from them. The second frost ruined
everything. There were no walnut-trees, no olive-trees, no apple-trees,
no vines left, none worth speaking of, at least. The other trees died in
great numbers; the gardens perished, and all the grain in the earth. It
is impossible to imagine the desolation of this general ruin. Everybody
held tight his old grain. The price of bread increased in proportion to
the despair for the next harvest. The most knowing resowed barley where
there had been wheat, and were imitated by the majority. They were the
most successful, and saved all; but the police bethought themselves of
prohibiting this, and repented too late! Divers edicts were published
respecting grain, researches were made and granaries filled;
commissioners were appointed to scour the provinces, and all these steps
contributed to increase the general dearness and poverty, and that, too,
at a time when, as was afterwards proved, there was enough corn in the
country to feed all France for two years, without a fresh ear being

Many people believed that the finance gentlemen had clutched at this
occasion to seize upon all the corn in the kingdom, by emissaries they
sent about, in order to sell it at whatever price they wished for the
profit of the King, not forgetting their own. The fact that a large
quantity of corn that the King had bought, and that had spoiled upon the
Loire, was thrown into the water in consequence, did not shake this
opinion, as the accident could not be hidden. It is certain that the
price of corn was equal in all the markets of the realm; that at Paris,
commissioners fixed the price by force, and often obliged the vendors to
raise it in spite of themselves; that when people cried out, "How long
will this scarcity last?" some commissioners in a market, close to my
house, near Saint Germain-des-Pres, replied openly, "As long as you
please," moved by compassion and indignation, meaning thereby, as long as
the people chose to submit to the regulation, according to which no corn
entered Paris, except on an order of D'Argenson. D'Argenson was the
lieutenant of police. The bakers were treated with the utmost rigour in
order to keep up the price of bread all over France. In the provinces,
officers called intendents did what D'Argenson did at Paris. On all the
markets, the corn that was not sold at the hour fixed for closing was
forcibly carried off; those who, from pity, sold their corn lower than
the fixed rate were punished with cruelty!

Marechal, the King's surgeon, had the courage and the probity to tell all
these things to the King, and to state the sinister opinions it gave rise
to among all classes, even the most enlightened. The King appeared
touched, was not offended with Marechal, but did nothing.

In several places large stores of corn were collected; by the government
authorities, but with the greatest possible secrecy. Private people were
expressly forbidden to do this, and informers were encouraged to; betray
them. A poor fellow, having bethought himself of informing against one
of the stores alluded to above, was severely punished for his pains. The
Parliament assembled to debate upon these disorders. It came to the
resolution of submitting various proposals to the King, which it deemed
likely to improve the condition of the country, and offered to send its
Conseillers to examine into the conduct of the monopolists. As soon as
the King heard of this, he flew into a strange passion, and his first
intention was to send a harsh message to the Parliament to attend to law
trials, and not to mix with matters that did not concern it. The
chancellor did not dare to represent to, the King that what the
Parliament wished to do belonged to its province, but calmed him by
representing the respect and affection with which the Parliament regarded
him, and that he was master either to accept or refuse its offers. No
reprimand was given, therefore, to the Parliament, but it was informed
that the King prohibited it from meddling with the corn question.
However accustomed the Parliament, as well as all the other public
bodies, might be to humiliations, it was exceedingly vexed by this
treatment, and obeyed with the greatest grief. The public was,
nevertheless, much affected by the conduct of the Parliament, and felt
that if the Finance Ministry had been innocent in the matter, the King
would have been pleased with what had taken place, which was in no
respect an attack on the absolute and unbounded authority of which he was
so vilely jealous.

In the country a somewhat similar incident occurred. The Parliament of
Burgundy, seeing the province in the direst necessity, wrote to the
Intendant, who did not bestir himself the least in the world. In this
pressing danger of a murderous famine, the members assembled to debate
upon the course to adopt. Nothing was said or done more than was
necessary, and all with infinite discretion, yet the King was no sooner
informed of it than he grew extremely irritated. He sent a severe
reprimand to this Parliament; prohibited it from meddling again in the
matter; and ordered the President, who had conducted the assembly, to
come at once to Court to explain his conduct. He came, and but for the
intervention of M. le Duc would have been deprived of his post,
irreproachable as his conduct had been. He received a sharp scolding
from the King, and was then allowed to depart. At the end of a few weeks
he returned to Dijon, where it had been resolved to receive him in
triumph; but, like a wise and experienced man, he shunned these
attentions, arranging so that he arrived at Dijon at four o'clock in the
morning. The other Parliaments, with these examples before them, were
afraid to act, and allowed the Intendants and their emissaries to have it
all their own way. It was at this time that those commissioners were
appointed, to whom I have already alluded, who acted under the authority
of the Intendants, and without dependence of any kind upon the
Parliaments. True, a court of appeal against their decisions was
established, but it was a mere mockery. The members who composed it did
not set out to fulfil their duties until three months after having been

Then, matters had been so arranged that they received no appeals, and
found no cases to judge. All this dark work remained, therefore, in the
hands of D'Argenson and the Intendants, and it continued to be done with
the same harshness as ever.

Without passing a more definite judgment on those who invented and
profited by this scheme, it may be said that there has scarcely been a
century which has produced one more mysterious, more daring, better
arranged, and resulting in an oppression so enduring, so sure, so cruel.
The sums it produced were innumerable; and innumerable were the people
who died literally of hunger, and those who perished afterwards of the
maladies caused by the extremity of misery; innumerable also were the
families who were ruined, whose ruin brought down a torrent of other

Despite all this, payments hitherto most strictly made began to cease.
Those of the customs, those of the divers loans, the dividends upon the
Hotel de Ville--in all times so sacred--all were suspended; these last
alone continued, but with delays, then with retrenchments, which
desolated nearly all the families of Paris and many others. At the same
time the taxes--increased, multiplied, and exacted with the most extreme
rigour--completed the devastation of France.

Everything rose incredibly in price, while nothing was left to buy with,
even at the cheapest rate; and although--the majority of the cattle had
perished for want of food, and by the misery of those who kept them, a
new monopoly was established upon, horned beasts. A great number of
people who, in preceding years, used to relieve the poor, found,
themselves so reduced as to be able to subsist only with great
difficulty, and many of them received alms in secret. It is impossible
to say how many others laid siege to the hospitals, until then the ,
shame and punishment of the poor; how many ruined hospitals revomited
forth their inmates to the public charge--that is to say, sent them away
to die actually of hunger; and how many decent families shut themselves
up in garrets to die of want.

It is impossible to say, moreover, how all this misery warmed up zeal and
charity, or how immense were the alms distributed. But want increasing
each instant, an indiscreet and tyrannical charity imagined new taxes for
the benefit of the poor. They were imposed, and, added to so many
others, vexed numbers of people, who were annoyed at being compelled to
pay, who would have preferred giving voluntarily. Thus, these new taxes,
instead of helping the poor, really took away assistance from them, and
left them worse off than before. The strangest thing of all is, that
these taxes in favour of the poor were, perpetuated and appropriated by
the King, and are received by the financiers on his account to this day
as a branch of the revenue, the name of them not having even been
changed. The same thing has happened with respect to the annual tax for
keeping up the highways and thoroughfares of the kingdom. The majority
of the bridges were broken, and the high roads had become impracticable.
Trade, which suffered by this, awakened attention. The Intendant of
Champagne determined to mend the roads by parties of men, whom he
compelled to work for nothing, not even giving them bread. He was
imitated everywhere, and was made Counsellor of State. The people died
of hunger and misery at this work, while those who overlooked them made
fortunes. In the end the thing was found to be impracticable, and was
abandoned, and so were the roads. But the impost for making them and
keeping them up did not in the least stop during this experiment or
since, nor has it ceased to be appropriated as a branch of the King's

But to return to the year 1709. People never ceased wondering what had
become of all the money of the realm. Nobody could any longer pay,
because nobody was paid: the country-people, overwhelmed with exactions
and with valueless property, had become insolvent: trade no longer
yielded anything--good faith and confidence were at an end. Thus the
King had no resources, except in terror and in his unlimited power,
which, boundless as it was, failed also for want of having something to
take and to exercise itself upon. There was no more circulation, no
means of re-establishing it. All was perishing step by step; the realm
was entirely exhausted; the troops, even, were not paid, although no one
could imagine what was done with the millions that came into the King's
coffers. The unfed soldiers, disheartened too at being so badly
commanded, were always unsuccessful; there was no capacity in generals or
ministers; no appointment except by whim or intrigue; nothing was
punished, nothing examined, nothing weighed: there was equal impotence to
sustain the war and bring about peace: all suffered, yet none dared to
put the hand to this arch, tottering as it was and ready to fall.

This was the frightful state to which we were reduced, when envoys were
sent into Holland to try and bring about peace. The picture is exact,
faithful, and not overcharged. It was necessary to present it as it was,
in order to explain the extremity to which we were reduced, the enormity
of the concessions which the King made to obtain peace, and the visible
miracle of Him who sets bounds to the seas, by which France was allowed
to escape from the hands of Europe, resolved and ready to destroy her.

Meanwhile the money was re-coined; and its increase to a third more than
its intrinsic value, brought some profit to the King, but ruin to private
people, and a disorder to trade which completed its annihilation.

Samuel Bernard, the banker, overthrew all Lyons by his prodigious
bankruptcy, which caused the most terrible results. Desmarets assisted
him as much as possible. The discredit into which paper money had
fallen, was the cause of his failure. He had issued notes to the amount
of twenty millions, and owed almost as much at Lyons. Fourteen millions
were given to him in assignats, in order to draw him out of his
difficulties. It is pretended that he found means to gain much by his
bankruptcy, but this seems doubtful.

The winter at length passed away. In the spring so many disorders took
place in the market of Paris, that more guards than usual were kept in
the city. At Saint Roch there was a disturbance, on account of a poor
fellow who had fallen, and been trampled under foot; and the crowd, which
was very large, was very insolent to D'Argenson, Lieutenant of Police,
who had hastened there. M. de la Rochefoucauld, who had retired from the
Court to Chenil, on account of his loss of sight, received an atrocious
letter against the King, in which it was plainly intimated that there
were still Ravaillacs left in the world; and to this madness was added an
eulogy of Brutus. M. de la Rochefoucauld at once went in all haste to
the King with this letter. His sudden appearance showed that something
important had occurred, and the object of his visit, of course, soon
became known. He was very ill received for coming so publicly on such an

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