Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 9 out of 21

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

errand. The Ducs de Beauvilliers and de Bouillon, it seems, had received
similar letters, but had given them to the King privately. The King for
some days was much troubled, but after due reflection, he came to the
conclusion that people who menace and warn have less intention of
committing a crime than of causing alarm.

What annoyed the King more was, the inundation of placards, the most
daring and the most unmeasured, against his person, his conduct, and his
government--placards, which for a long time were found pasted upon the
gates of Paris, the churches, the public places; above all upon the
statues; which during the night were insulted in various fashions, the
marks being seen the next morning, and the inscriptions erased. There
were also, multitudes of verses and songs, in which nothing was spared.

We were in this state until the 16th of May. The procession of Saint
Genevieve took place. This procession never takes place except in times
of the direst necessity; and then, only in virtue of orders from the
King, the Parliament, or the Archbishop of Paris. On the one hand, it
was hoped that it would bring succour to the country; on the other, that
it would amuse the people.

It was shortly after this, when the news of the arrogant demands of the
allies, and the vain attempts of the King to obtain an honourable peace
became known, that the Duchesse de Grammont conceived the idea of
offering her plate to the King, to replenish his impoverished exchequer,
and to afford him means carry on the war. She hoped that her example
would be followed by all the Court, and that she alone would have the
merit and the profit of suggesting the idea. Unfortunately for this
hope, the Duke, her husband, spoke of the project to Marechal Boufflers,
who thought it so good, that he noised it abroad, and made such a stir,
exhorting everybody to adopt it, that he passed for the inventor, and; no
mention was made of the Duke or the old Duchesse de Grammont, the latter
of whom was much enraged at this.

The project made a great hubbub at the Court. Nobody dared to refuse to
offer his plate, yet each offered it with much regret. Some had been
keeping it as a last resource, which they; were very sorry to deprive
themselves of; others feared the dirtiness of copper and earthenware;
others again were annoyed at being obliged to imitate an ungrateful
fashion, all the merit of which would go to the inventor. It was in vain
that Pontchartrain objected to the project, as one from which only
trifling benefit could be derived, and which would do great injury to
France by acting as a proclamation of its embarrassed state to all the
world, at home and abroad. The King would not listen to his reasonings,
but declared himself willing to receive all the plate that was sent to
him as a free-will offering. He announced this; and two means were
indicated at the same time, which all good citizens might follow. One
was, to send their plate to the King's goldsmith; the other, to send it
to the Mint. Those who made an unconditional gift of their plate, sent
it to the former, who kept a register of the names and of the number of
marks he received. The King regularly looked over this list; at least at
first, and promised in general terms to restore to everybody the weight
of metal they gave when his affairs permitted--a promise nobody believed
in or hoped to see executed. Those who wished to be paid for their plate
sent it to the Mint. It was weighed on arrival; the names were written,
the marks and the date; payment was made according as money could be
found. Many people were not sorry thus to sell, their plate without
shame. But the loss and the damage were inestimable in admirable
ornaments of all kinds, with which much of the plate of the rich was
embellished. When an account came to be drawn up, it was found that not
a hundred people were upon the list of Launay, the goldsmith; and the
total product of the gift did not amount to three millions. I confess
that I was very late in sending any plate. When I found that I was
almost the only one of my rank using silver, I sent plate to the value of
a thousand pistoles to the Mint, and locked up the rest. All the great
people turned to earthenware, exhausted the shops where it was sold, and
set the trade in it on fire, while common folks continued to use their
silver. Even the King thought of using earthenware, having sent his gold
vessels to the Mint, but afterwards decided upon plated metal and silver;
the Princes and Princesses of the blood used crockery.

Ere three months were over his head the King felt all the shame and the
weakness of having consented to this surrendering of plate, and avowed
that he repented of it. The inundations of the Loire, which happened at
the same time, and caused the utmost disorder, did not restore the Court
or the public to good humour. The losses they caused, and the damage
they did, were very considerable, and ruined many private people, and
desolated home trade.

Summer came. The dearness of all things, and of bread in particular,
continued to cause frequent commotions all over the realm. Although, as
I have said, the guards of Paris were much increased, above all in the
markets and the suspected places, they were unable to hinder disturbances
from breaking out. In many of these D'Argenson nearly lost his life.

Monseigneur arriving and returning from the Opera, was assailed by the
populace and by women in great numbers crying, "Bread! Bread!" so that
he was afraid, even in the midst of his guards, who did not dare to
disperse the crowd for fear of worse happening. He got away by throwing
money to the people, and promising wonders; but as the wonders did not
follow, he no longer dared to go to Paris.

The King himself from his windows heard the people of Versailles crying
aloud in the street. The discourses they held were daring and continual
in the streets and public places; they uttered complaints, sharp, and but
little measured, against the government, and even against the King's
person; and even exhorted each other no longer to be so enduring, saying
that nothing worse could happen to them than what they suffered, dying as
they were of starvation.

To amuse the people, the idle and the poor were employed to level a
rather large hillock which remained upon the Boulevard, between the
Portes Saint Denis and Saint Martin; and for all salary, bad bread in
small quantities was distributed to these workers. If happened that on
Tuesday morning, the 20th of August, there was no bread for a large
number of these people. A woman amongst others cried out at this, which
excited the rest to do likewise. The archers appointed to watch over
these labourers, threatened the woman; she only cried the louder;
thereupon the archers seized her and indiscreetly put her in an adjoining
pillory. In a moment all her companions ran to her aid, pulled down the
pillory, and scoured the streets, pillaging the bakers and pastrycooks.
One by one the shops closed. The disorder increased and spread through
the neighbouring streets; no harm was done anybody, but the cry was
"Bread! Bread!" and bread was seized everywhere.

It so fell out that Marechal Boufflers, who little thought what was
happening, was in the neighbourhood, calling upon his notary. Surprised
at the fright he saw everywhere, and learning, the cause, he wished of
himself to appease it. Accompanied by the Duc de Gramont, he directed
himself towards the scene of the disturbance, although advised not to do
so. When he arrived at the top of the Rue Saint Denis, the crowd and the
tumult made him judge that it would be best to alight from his coach. He
advanced, therefore, on foot with the Duc de Grammont among the furious
and infinite crowd of people, of whom he asked the cause of this uproar,
promised them bread, spoke his best with gentleness but firmness, and
remonstrated with them. He was listened to. Cries, several times
repeated, of "Vive M. le Marechal de Boufflers!" burst from the crowd.
M. de Boufflers walked thus with M. de Grammont all along the Rue aux
Ours and the neighbouring streets, into the very centre of the sedition,
in fact. The people begged him to represent their misery to the King,
and to obtain for them some food. He promised this, and upon his word
being given all were appeased and all dispersed with thanks and fresh
acclamations of "Vive M. le Marechal de Boufflers!" He did a real service
that day. D'Argenson had marched to the spot with troops; and had it not
been for the Marechal, blood would have been spilt, and things might have
gone very far.

The Marechal had scarcely reached his own house in the Place Royale than
he was informed that the sedition had broken out with even greater force
in the Faubourg Saint Antoine. He ran there immediately, with the Duc de
Grammont, and appeased it as he had appeased the other. He returned to
his own home to eat a mouthful or two, and then set out for Versailles.
Scarcely had he left the Place Royale than the people in the streets and
the shopkeepers cried to him to have pity on them, and to get them some
bread, always with "Vive M. le Marechal de Boufflers!" He was conducted
thus as far as the quay of the Louvre.

On arriving at Versailles he went straight to the King, told him what had
occurred, and was much thanked. He was even offered by the King the
command of Paris,--troops, citizens, police, and all; but this he
declined, Paris, as he said, having already a governor and proper
officers to conduct its affairs. He afterwards, however, willingly lent
his aid to them in office, and the modesty with which he acted brought
him new glory.

Immediately after, the supply of bread was carefully looked to. Paris
was filled with patrols, perhaps with too many, but they succeeded so
well that no fresh disturbances took place.


After his return from the campaign, M. de Vendome continued to be paid
like a general serving in winter, and to enjoy many other advantages.
From all this, people inferred that he would serve during the following
campaign; nobody dared to doubt as much, and the cabal derived new
strength therefrom. But their little triumph was not of long
continuance. M. de Vendome came to Versailles for the ceremony of the
Order on Candlemas-Day. He then learned that he was not to serve, and
that he was no longer to receive general's pay. The blow was violent,
and he felt it to its fullest extent; but, with a prudence that equalled
his former imprudence, he swallowed the pill without making a face,
because he feared other more bitter ones, which he felt he had deserved.
This it was that, for the first time in his life, made him moderate. He
did not affect to conceal what had taken place, but did not say whether
it was in consequence of any request of his, or whether he was glad or
sorry,--giving it out as an indifferent piece of news; and changed
nothing but his language, the audacity of which he diminished as no
longer suited to the times. He sold his equipages.

M. le Prince de Conti died February 22, aged not quite forty-five. His
face had been charming; even the defects of his body and mind had
infinite graces. His shoulders were too high; his head was a little on
one side; his laugh would have seemed a bray in any one else; his mind
was strangely absent. He was gallant with the women, in love with many,
well treated by several; he was even coquettish with men. He endeavoured
to please the cobbler, the lackey, the porter, as well as the Minister of
State, the Grand Seigneur, the General, all so naturally that success was
certain. He was consequently the constant delight of every one, of the
Court, the armies; the divinity of the people, the idol of the soldiers,
the hero of the officers, the hope of whatever was most distinguished,
the love of the Parliament, the friend of the learned, and often the
admiration of the historian, of jurisconsults, of astronomers, and
mathematicians, the most profound. He was especially learned in
genealogies, and knew their chimeras and their realities. With him the
useful and the polite, the agreeable and the deep, all was distinct and
in its place. He had friends, knew how to choose them, cultivate them,
visit them, live with them, put himself on their level without
haughtiness or baseness. But this man, so amiable, so charming, so
delicious, loved nothing. He had and desired friends, as other people
have and desire articles of furniture. Although with much self-respect
he was a humble courtier, and showed too much how greatly he was in want
of support and assistance from all sides; he was avaricious, greedy of
fortune, ardent and unjust. The King could not bear him, and was grieved
with the respect he was obliged to show him, and which he was careful
never to trespass over by a single jot. Certain intercepted letters had
excited a hatred against him in Madame de Maintenon, and an indignation
in the King which nothing could efface. The riches, the talents, the
agreeable qualities, the great reputation which this Prince had acquired,
the general love of all, became crimes in him. The contrast with M. du
Maine excited daily irritation and jealousy. The very purity of his
blood was a reproach to him. Even his friends were odious, and felt that
this was so. At last, however, various causes made him to be chosen, in
the midst of a very marked disgrace, to command the army in Flanders. He
was delighted, and gave himself up to the most agreeable hopes. But it
was no longer time: he had sought to drown his sorrow at wearing out his
life unoccupied in wine and other pleasures, for which his age and his
already enfeebled body were no longer suited. His health gave way. He
felt it soon. The tardy return to favour which he had enjoyed made him
regret life more. He perished slowly, regretting to have been brought to
death's door by disgrace, and the impossibility of being restored by the
unexpected opening of a brilliant career.

The Prince, against the custom of those of his rank, had been very well
educated. He was full of instruction. The disorders of his life had
clouded his knowledge but not extinguished it, and he often read to brush
up his learning. He chose M. de la Tour to prepare him, and help him to
die well. He was so attached to life that all his courage was required.
For three months crowds of visitors filled his palace, and the people
even collected in the place before it. The churches echoed with prayers
for his life. The members of his family often went to pay for masses for
him; and found that others had already done so. All questions were about
his health. People stopped each other in the street to inquire; passers-
by were called to by shopmen, anxious to know whether the Prince de Conti
was to live or to die. Amidst all this, Monseigneur never visited him;
and, to the indignation of all Paris, passed along the quay near the
Louvre going to the Opera, whilst the sacraments were being carried to
the Prince on the other side. He was compelled by public opinion to make
a short visit after this. The Prince died at last in his arm-chair,
surrounded by a few worthy people. Regrets were universal; but perhaps
he gained by his disgrace. His heart was firmer than his head. He might
have been timid at the head of an army or in the Council of the King if
he had entered it. The King was much relieved by his death; Madame de
Maintenon also; M. le Duc much more; for M. du Maine it was a
deliverance, and for M. de Vendome a consolation. Monseigneur learned it
at Meudon as he was going out to hunt, and showed no feeling of any kind.

The death of M. le Prince de Conti seemed to the Duc de Vendome a
considerable advantage, because he was thus delivered from a rival most
embarrassing by the superiority of his birth, just when he was about to
be placed in a high military position. I have already mentioned
Vendome's exclusion from command. The fall of this Prince of the Proud
had been begun we have now reached the second step, between which and the
third there was a space of between two and three months; but as the third
had no connection with any other event, I will relate it at once.

Whatever reasons existed to induce the King to take from M. de Vendome
the command of his armies, I know not if all the art and credit of Madame
de Maintenon would not have been employed in vain, together with the
intrigues of M. du Maine, without an adventure, which I must at once
explain, to set before the reader's eyes the issue of the terrible
struggle, pushed to such extremes, between Vendome, seconded by his
formidable cabal, and the necessary, heir of the Crown, supported by his
wife, the favourite of the King, and Madame de Maintenon, which last; to
speak clearly, as all the Court saw, for thirty years governed him

When M. de Vendome returned from Flanders, he had a short interview with
the King, in which he made many bitter complaints against Pursegur, one
of his lieutenant-generals, whose sole offence was that he was much
attached to M. de Bourgogne. Pursegur was a great favourite with the
King, and often, on account of the business of the infantry regiment, of
which the thought himself the private colonel, had private interviews
with him, and was held in high estimation for his capacity and virtue.
He, in his turn, came back from Flanders, and had a private audience of
the King. The complaints that had been made against him by M. de Vendome
were repeated to him by the King, who, however, did not mention from whom
they came. Pursegur defended himself so well, that the King in his
surprise mentioned this latter fact. At the name of Vendome, Pursegur
lost all patience. He described, to the King all the faults, the
impertinences; the obstinacy, the insolence of M. de Vendome, with a
precision and clearness which made his listener very attentive and very
fruitful in questions. Pursegur, seeing that he might go on, gave
himself rein, unmasked M. de Vendome from top to toe, described his
ordinary life at the army, the incapacity of his body, the incapacity of
his judgment, the prejudice of his mind, the absurdity and crudity of his
maxims, his utter ignorance of the art of war, and showed to
demonstration, that it was only by a profusion of miracles France had not
been ruined by him--lost a hundred times over.

The conversation lasted more than two hours. The' King, long since
convinced of the capacity, fidelity, and truthfulness of Pursegur, at
last opened his eyes to the truth respecting this Vendome, hidden with so
much art until then, and regarded as a hero and the tutelary genius of
France. He was vexed and ashamed of his credulity, and from the date of
this conversation Vendome fell at once from his favour.

Pursegur, naturally humble, gentle, and modest, but truthful, and on this
occasion piqued, went out into the gallery after his conversation, and
made a general report of it to all, virtuously, braving Vendome and all
his cabal. This cabal trembled with rage; Vendome still more so. They
answered by miserable reasonings, which nobody cared for. This was what
led to the suppression of his pay, and his retirement to Anet, where he
affected a philosophical indifference.

Crestfallen as he was, he continued to sustain at Meudon and Marly the
grand manners he had usurped at the time of his prosperity. After having
got over the first embarrassment, he put on again his haughty air, and
ruled the roast. To see him at Meudon you would have said he was
certainly the master of the saloon, and by his free and easy manner to
Monseigneur, and, when he dared, to the King, he would have been thought
the principal person there. Monseigneur de Bourgogne supported this--his
piety made him do so--but Madame de Bourgogne was grievously offended,
and watched her opportunity to get rid of M. de Vendome altogether.

It came, the first journey the King made to Marly after Easter. 'Brelan'
was then the fashion. Monseigneur, playing at it one day with Madame de
Bourgogne and others, and being in want of a fifth player, sent for M. de
Vendome from the other end of the saloon, to come and join the party.
That instant Madame de Bourgogne said modestly, but very intelligibly, to
Monseigneur, that the presence of M. de Vendome at Marly was sufficiently
painful to her, without having him at play with her, and that she begged
he might be dispensed with. Monseigneur, who had sent for Vendome
without the slightest reflection, looked round the room, and sent for
somebody else. When Vendome arrived, his place was taken, and he had to
suffer this annoyance before all the company. It may be imagined to what
an extent this superb gentleman was stung by the affront. He served no
longer; he commanded no longer; he was no longer the adored idol; he
found himself in the paternal mansion of the Prince he had so cruelly
offended, and the outraged wife of that Prince was more than a match for
him. He turned upon his heel, absented himself from the room as soon as
he could, and retired to his own chamber, there to storm at his leisure.

Other and more cruel annoyances were yet in store for him, however.
Madame de Bourgogne reflected on what had just taken place. The facility
with which she had succeeded in one respect encouraged her, but she was a
little troubled to know how the King would take what she had done, and
accordingly, whilst playing, she resolved to push matters still further,
both to ruin her guest utterly and to get out of her embarrassment; for,
despite her extreme familiarity, she was easily embarrassed, being gentle
and timid. The 'brelan' over, she ran to Madame de Maintenon; told her
what had just occurred; said that the presence of M. de Vendome at Marly
was a continual insult to her; and begged her to solicit the King to
forbid M. de Vendome to come there. Madame de Maintenon, only too glad.
to have an opportunity of revenging herself upon an enemy who had set her
at defiance, and against whom all her batteries had at one time failed,
consented to this request. She spoke out to the King, who, completely
weary of M. de Vendome, and troubled to have under his eyes a man whom he
could not doubt was discontented, at once granted what was asked. Before
going to bed, he charged one of his valets to tell M. de Vendome the next
morning, that henceforth he was to absent himself from Marly, his
presence there being disagreeable to Madame de Bourgogne.

It may be imagined into what an excess of despair M. de Vendome fell, at
a message so unexpected, and which sapped the foundations of all his
hopes. He kept silent, however, for fear of making matters worse, did
not venture attempting, to speak to the King, and hastily retired to
Clichy to hide his rage and shame. The news of his banishment from Marly
soon spread abroad, and made so much stir, that to show it was not worth
attention, he returned two days before the end of the visit, and stopped
until the end in a continual shame and embarrassment. He set out for
Anet at the same time that the King set out for Versailles, and has never
since put his foot in Marly.

But another bitter draught was to be mixed for him. Banished from Marly,
he had yet the privilege of going to Meudon. He did not fail to avail
himself of this every time Monseigneur was there, and stopped as long as
he stopped, although in the times of his splendour he had never stayed
more than one or two days. It was seldom that Monseigneur visited Meudon
without Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne going to see him. And yet M. de
Vendome never failed audaciously to present himself before her, as if to
make her feel that at all events in Monseigneur's house he was a match
for her. Guided by former experience, the Princess gently suffered this
in silence, and watched her opportunity. It soon came.

Two months afterwards it happened that, while Monseigneur was at Meudon,
the King, Madame de Maintenon; and Madame de Bourgogne, came to dine with
him. Madame de Maintenon wished to talk with Mademoiselle Choin without
sending for her to Versailles, and the King, as may be believed, was in
the secret. I mention this to account for the King's visit.
M. de Vendome;: who was at Meudon as usual, was stupid enough to present
himself at the coach door as the King and his companions descended.
Madame de Bourgogne was much offended, constrained herself less than
usual, and turned away her head with affectation, after a sort of sham
salute. He felt the sting, but had the folly to approach her again after
dinner, while she was playing. He experienced the same treatment, but
this time in a still more marked manner. Stung to the quick and out of
countenance, he went up to his chamber, and did not descend until very
late. During this time Madame de Bourgogne spoke to Monseigneur of the
conduct of M. de Vendorne, and the same evening she addressed herself to
Madame de Maintenon, and openly complained to the King. She represented
to him how hard it was to her to be treated by Monseigneur with less
respect than by the King: for while the latter had banished M. de Vendome
from Marly, the former continued to grant him an asylum at Meudon.

M. de Vendome, on his side, complained bitterly to Monseigneur of the
strange persecution that he suffered everywhere from Madame de Bourgogne;
but Monseigneur replied to him so coldly that he withdrew with tears in
his eyes, determined, however, not to give up until he had obtained some
sort of satisfaction. He set his friends to work to speak to
Monseigneur; all they could draw from him was, that M. de Vendome must
avoid Madame de Bourgogne whenever she came to Meudon, and that it was
the smallest respect he owed her until she was reconciled to him. A
reply so dry and so precise was cruelly felt; but M. de Vendome was not
at the end of the chastisement he had more than merited. The next day
put an end to all discussion upon the matter.

He was card-playing after dinner in a private cabinet, when D'Antin
arrived from Versailles. He approached the players, and asked what was
the position of the game, with an eagerness which made M. de Vendome
inquire the reason. D'Antin said he had to render an account to him of
the matter he had entrusted him with.

"I!" exclaimed Vendome, with surprise, "I have entrusted you with

"Pardon me," replied D'Antin; "you do not recollect, then, that I have an
answer to make to you?"

From this perseverance M. de Vendome comprehended that something was
amiss, quitted his game, and went into an obscure wardrobe with D'Antin,
who told him that he had been ordered by the King to beg Monseigneur not
to invite M. de Vendome to Meudon any more; that his presence there was
as unpleasant to Madame de Bourgogne as it had been at Marly. Upon this,
Vendome, transported with fury, vomited forth all that his rage inspired
him with. He spoke to Monseigneur in the evening, but was listened to as
coldly as before. Vendome passed the rest of his visit in a rage and
embarrassment easy to conceive, and on the day Monseigneur returned to
Versailles he hurried straight to Anet.

But he was unable to remain quiet anywhere; so went off with his dogs,
under pretence of going a hunting, to pass a month in his estate of La
Ferme-Aleps, where he had no proper lodging and no society, and gave
there free vent to his rage. Thence he returned again to Anet, where he
remained abandoned by every one. Into this solitude, into this startling
and public seclusion, incapable of sustaining a fall so complete, after a
long habit of attaining everything, and doing everything he pleased, of
being the idol of the world, of the Court, of the armies, of making his
very vices adored, and his greatest faults admired, his defects
commended, so that he dared to conceive the prodigious design of ruining
and destroying the necessary heir of the Crown, though he had never
received anything but evidences of tenderness from him, and triumphed
over him for eight months with the most scandalous success; it was, I
say, thus that this Colossus was overthrown by the breath of a prudent
and courageous princess, who earned by this act merited applause. All
who were concerned with her, were charmed to see of what she was capable;
and all who were opposed to her and her husband trembled. The cabal, so
formidable, so lofty, so accredited, so closely united to overthrow them,
and reign, after the King, under Monseigneur in their place--these
chiefs, male and female, so enterprising and audacious, fell now into
mortal discouragement and fear. It was a pleasure to see them work their
way back with art and extreme humility, and turn round those of the
opposite party who remained influential, and whom they had hitherto
despised; and especially to see with what embarrassment, what fear, what
terror, they began to crawl before the young Princess, and wretchedly
court the Duc de Bourgogne and his friends, and bend to them in the most
extraordinary manner.

As for M. de Vendome, without any resource, save what he found in his
vices and his valets, he did not refrain from bragging among them of the
friendship of Monseigneur for him, of which he said he was well assured.
Violence had been done to Monseigneur's feelings. He was reduced to this
misery of hoping that his words would be spread about by these valets,
and would procure him some consideration from those who thought of the
future. But the present was insupportable to him. To escape from it, he
thought of serving in Spain, and wrote to Madame des Ursins asking
employment. The King was annoyed at this step, and flatly refused to let
him go to Spain. His intrigue, therefore, came to an end at once.

Nobody gained more by the fall of M. de Vendome than Madame de Maintenon.
Besides the joy she felt in overthrowing a man who, through M. du Maine,
owed everything to her, and yet dared to resist her so long and
successfully, she felt, also, that her credit became still more the
terror of the Court; for no one doubted that what had occurred was a
great example of her power. We shall presently see how she furnished
another, which startled no less.


It is time now to retrace my steps to the point from which I have been
led away in relating all the incidents which arose out of the terrible
winter and the scarcity it caused.

The Court at that time beheld the renewal of a ministry; which from the
time it had lasted was worn down to its very roots, and which was on
that account only the more agreeable to the King. On the 20th of
January, the Pere La Chaise, the confessor of the King, died at a very
advanced age. He was of good family, and his father would have been rich
had he not had a dozen children. Pere La Chaise succeeded in 1675 to
Pere Ferrier as confessor of the King, and occupied that post thirty-two
years. The festival of Easter often caused him politic absences during
the attachment of the King for Madame de Montespan. On one occasion he
sent in his place the Pere Deschamps, who bravely refused absolution.
The Pere La Chaise was of mediocre mind but of good character, just,
upright, sensible, prudent, gentle, and moderate, an enemy of informers,
and of violence of every kind. He kept clear of many scandalous
transactions, befriended the Archbishop of Cambrai as much as he could,
refused to push the Port Royal des Champs to its destruction, and always
had on his table a copy of the New Testament of Pere Quesnel, saying that
he liked what was good wherever he found it. When near his eightieth
year, with his head and his health still good, he wished to retire, but
the King would not hear of it. Soon after, his faculties became worn
out, and feeling this, he repeated his wish. The Jesuits, who perceived
his failing more than he did himself, and felt the diminution of his
credit, exhorted him to make way for another who should have the grace
and zeal of novelty. For his part he sincerely desired repose, and he
pressed the King to allow him to take it, but all in vain. He was
obliged to bear his burthen to the very end. Even the infirmities and
the decrepitude that afflicted could not deliver him. Decaying legs,
memory extinguished, judgment collapsed, all his faculties confused,
strange inconveniences for a confessor--nothing could disgust the King,
and he persisted in having this corpse brought to him and carrying on
customary business with it. At last, two days after a return from
Versailles, he grew much weaker, received the sacrament, wrote with his
own hand a long letter to the King, received a very rapid and hurried one
in reply, and soon after died at five o'clock in the morning very
peaceably. His confessor asked him two things, whether he had acted
according to his conscience, and whether he had thought of the interests
and honour of the company of Jesuits; and to both these questions he
answered satisfactorily.

The news was brought to the King as he came out of his cabinet. He
received it like a Prince accustomed to losses, praised the Pere La
Chaise for his goodness, and then said smilingly, before all the
courtiers, and quite aloud, to the two fathers who had come to announce
the death: "He was so good that I sometimes reproached him for it, and he
used to reply to me: 'It is not I who am good; it is you who are hard.'"

Truly the fathers and all the auditors were so surprised at this that
they lowered their eyes. The remark spread directly; nobody was able to
blame the Pere La Chaise. He was generally regretted, for he had done
much good and never harm except in self-defence. Marechal, first surgeon
of the King, and possessed of his confidence, related once to me and
Madame de Saint-Simon, a very important anecdote referring to this time.
He said that the King, talking to him privately of the Pere La Chaise,
and praising him for his attachment, related one of the great proofs he
had given of it. A few years before his death the Pere said that he felt
getting old, and that the King might soon have to choose a new confessor;
he begged that that confessor might be chosen from among the Jesuits,
that he knew them well, that they were far from deserving all that had
been said against them, but still--he knew them well--and that attachment
for the King and desire for his safety induced him to conjure him to act
as he requested; because the company contained many sorts of minds and
characters which could not be answered for, and must not be reduced to
despair, and that the King must not incur a risk--that in fact an unlucky
blow is soon given, and had been given before then. Marechal turned pale
at this recital of the King, and concealed as well as he could the
disorder it caused in him. We must remember that Henry IV. recalled the
Jesuits, and loaded them with gifts merely from fear of them. The King
was not superior to Henry IV. He took care not to forget the
communication of the Pere La Chaise, or expose himself to the vengeance
of the company by choosing a confessor out of their limits. He wanted to
live, and to live in safety. He requested the Ducs de Chevreuse and de
Beauvilliers to make secret inquiries for a proper person. They fell
into a trap made, were dupes themselves, and the Church and State the

The Pere Tellier, in fact, was chosen as successor of Pere La Chaise, and
a terrible successor he made. Harsh, exact, laborious, enemy of all
dissipation, of all amusement, of all society, incapable of associating
even with his colleagues, he demanded no leniency for himself and
accorded none to others. His brain and his health were of iron; his
conduct was so also; his nature was savage and cruel. He was profoundly
false, deceitful, hidden under a thousand folds; and when he could show
himself and make himself feared, he yielded nothing, laughed at the most
express promises when he no longer cared to keep to them, and pursued
with fury those who had trusted to them. He was the terror even of the
Jesuits, and was so violent to them that they scarcely dared approach
him. His exterior kept faith with his interior. He would have been
terrible to meet in a dark lane. His physiognomy was cloudy, false,
terrible; his eyes were burning, evil, extremely squinting; his aspect
struck all with dismay. The whole aim of his life was to advance the
interests of his Society; that was his god; his life had been absorbed in
that study: surprisingly ignorant, insolent, impudent, impetuous, without
measure and without discretion, all means were good that furthered his

The first time Pere Tellier saw the King in his cabinet, after having
been presented to him, there was nobody but Bloin and Fagon in a corner.
Fagon, bent double and leaning on his stick, watched the interview and
studied the physiognomy of this new personage his duckings, and
scrapings, and his words. The King asked him if he were a relation of
MM. le Tellier. The good father humbled himself in the dust. "I, Sire!"
answered he, "a relative of MM. le Tellier! I am very different from
that. I am a poor peasant of Lower Normandy, where my father was a
farmer." Fagon, who watched him in every movement, twisted himself up to
look at Bloin, and said, pointing to the Jesuit: "Monsieur, what a cursed
--------!" Then shrugging his shoulders, he curved over his stick again.

It turned out that he was not mistaken in his strange judgment of a
confessor. This Tellier made all the grimaces, not to say the
hypocritical monkey-tricks of a man who was afraid of his place, and only
took it out of, deference to his company.

I have dwelt thus upon this new confessor, because from him have come the
incredible tempests under, which the Church, the State, knowledge, and
doctrine, and many good people of all kinds, are still groaning; and,
because I had a more intimate acquaintance with this terrible personage
than had any man at the Court. He introduced himself to me in fact, to
my surprise; and although I did all in my power to shun his acquaintance,
I could not succeed. He was too dangerous a man to be treated with
anything but great prudence.

During the autumn of this year, he gave a sample of his quality in the
part he took in the destruction of the celebrated monastery of Port Royal
des Champs. I need not dwell at any great length upon the origin and
progress of the two religious parties, the Jansenists and the Molinists;
enough has been written on both sides to form a whole library. It is
enough for me to say that the Molinists were so called because they
adopted the views expounded by, the Pere Molina in a book he wrote
against the doctrines of St. Augustine and of the Church of Rome, upon
the subject of spiritual grace. The Pere Molina was a Jesuit, and it was
by the Jesuits his book was brought forward and supported. Finding,
however, that the views it expounded met with general opposition, not
only throughout France, but at Rome, they had recourse to their usual
artifices on feeling themselves embarrassed, turned themselves into
accusers instead of defendants, and invented a heresy that had neither
author nor follower, which they attributed to Cornelius Jansenius, Bishop
of Ypres. Many and long were the discussions at Rome upon this ideal
heresy, invented by the Jesuits solely for the purpose of weakening the
adversaries of Molina. To oppose his doctrines was to be a Jansenist.
That in substance was what was meant by Jansenism.

At the monastery of Port Royal des Champs, a number of holy and learned
personages lived in retirement. Some wrote, some gathered youths around
them, and instructed them in science and piety. The finest moral works,
works which have thrown the most light upon the science and practice, of
religion, and have been found so by everybody, issued from their hands.
These men entered into the quarrel against Molinism. This was enough to
excite against them the hatred of the Jesuits and to determine that body
to attempt their destruction.

They were accused of Jansenism, and defended themselves perfectly; but at
the same time they carried the war into the enemy's camp, especially by
the ingenious "Provincial Letters" of the famous Pascal.

The quarrel grew more hot between the Jesuits and Port Royal, and was
telling against the former, when the Pere Tellier brought all his
influence to bear, to change the current of success. He was, as I have
said, an ardent man, whose divinity was his Molinism, and the company to
which he belonged. Confessor to the King, he saw himself in a good
position to exercise unlimited authority. He saw that the King was very
ignorant, and prejudiced upon all religious matters; that he was
surrounded by people as ignorant and as prejudiced as himself, Madame de
Maintenon, M. de Beauvilliers, M. de Chevreuse, and others, and he
determined to take good advantage of this state of things.

Step by step he gained over the King to his views, and convinced him that
the destruction of the monastery of Port Royal des Champs was a duty
which he owed to his conscience, and the cause of religion. This point
gained, the means to destroy the establishment were soon resolved on.

There was another monastery called Port Royal, at Paws, in addition to
the one in question. It was now pretended that the latter had only been
allowed to exist by tolerance, and that it was necessary one should cease
to exist. Of the two, it was alleged that it was better to preserve the
one, at Paris. A decree in council was, therefore, rendered, in virtue
of which, on the night from the 28th to the 29th of October, the abbey of
Port Royal des Champs was secretly invested by troops, and, on the next
morning, the officer in command made all the inmates assemble, showed
them a 'lettre de cachet', and, without giving them more than a quarter
of an hour's warning, carried off everybody and everything. He had
brought with him many coaches, with an elderly woman in each; he put the
nuns in these coaches, and sent them away to their destinations, which
were different monasteries, at ten, twenty, thirty, forty, and even fifty
leagues distant, each coach accompanied by mounted archers, just as
public women are carried away from a house of ill-fame! I pass in
silence all the accompaniments of this scene, so touching and so
strangely new. There have been entire volumes written upon it.

The treatment that these nuns received in their various prisons, in order
to force them to sign a condemnation of themselves, is the matter of
other volumes, which, in spite of the vigilance of the oppressors, were
soon in everybody's hands; public indignation so burst out, that the
Court and the Jesuits even were embarrassed with it. But the Pere
Tellier was not a man to stop half-way anywhere. He finished this matter
directly; decree followed decree, 'Lettres de cachet' followed 'lettres
de cachet'. The families who had relatives buried in the cemetery of
Port Royal des Champs were ordered to exhume and carry them elsewhere.
All the others were thrown into the cemetery of an adjoining parish, with
the indecency that may: be imagined. Afterwards, the house, the church,
and all the buildings were razed to the ground, so that not one stone was
left upon another. All the materials were sold, the ground was ploughed
up, and sown--not with salt, it is true, but that was all the favour it
received! The scandal at this reached even to Rome. I have restricted
myself to this simple and short recital of an expedition so military and
so odious.


Compelled to pay, who would have preferred giving voluntarily
Conjugal impatience of the Duc de Bourgogne
Desmarets no longer knew of what wood to make a crutch
He was so good that I sometimes reproached him for it
Indiscreet and tyrannical charity
Jesuits: all means were good that furthered his designs
Said that if they were good, they were sure to be hated





Death of D'Avaux.--A Quarrel about a Window.--Louvois and the King.--
Anecdote of Boisseuil.--Madame de Maintenon and M. de Beauvilliers.--
Harcourt Proposed for the Council.--His Disappointment.--Death of M. le
Prince.--His Character.--Treatment of His Wife.--His Love Adventures.--
His Madness.--A Confessor Brought.--Nobody Regrets Him.


Progress of the War.--Simplicity of Chamillart.--The Imperialists and the
Pope.--Spanish Affairs.--Duc d'Orleans and Madame des Ursins.--Arrest of
Flotte in Spain.--Discovery of the Intrigues of the Duc d'Orleans.--Cabal
against Him.--His Disgrace and Its Consequences.


Danger of Chamillart.--Witticism of D'Harcourt.--Faults of Chamillart.--
Court Intrigues against Him.--Behaviour of the Courtiers.--Influence of
Madame de Maintenon.--Dignified Fall of Chamillart.--He is Succeeded by
Voysin.--First Experience of the New Minister.--The Campaign in
Flanders.--Battle of Malplaquet.


Disgrace of the Duc d'Orleans.--I Endeavor to Separate Him from Madame
d'Argenton.--Extraordinary Reports.--My Various Colloquies with Him.--The
Separation.--Conduct of Madame d'Argenton.--Death and Character of M. le
Duc.--The After-suppers of the King.


Proposed Marriage of Mademoiselle.--My Intrigues to Bring It About.--The
Duchesse de Bourgogne and Other Allies.--The Attack Begun.--Progress of
the Intrigue.--Economy at Marly.--The Marriage Agreed Upon.--Scene at
Saint-Cloud.--Horrible Reports.--The Marriage.--Madame de Saint-Simon.--
Strange Character of the Duchesse de Berry


Birth of Louis XV.--The Marechale de la Meilleraye.--Saint-Ruth's
Cudgel.--The Cardinal de Bouillon's Desertion from France.--Anecdotes of
His Audacity.


Imprudence of Villars.--The Danger of Truthfulness.--Military Mistakes.--
The Fortunes of Berwick.--The Son of James.--Berwick's Report on the
Army.--Imprudent Saying of Villars.--"The Good Little Fellow" in a
Scrape.--What Happens to Him.


Duchesse de Berry Drunk.--Operations in Spain.--Vendome Demanded by
Spain.--His Affront by the Duchesse de Bourgogne.--His Arrival.--
Staremberg and Stanhope.--The Flag of Spain Leaves Madrid.--Entry of the
Archduke.--Enthusiasm of the Spaniards--The King Returns.--Strategy, of
Staremberg.--Affair of Brighuega.--Battle of Villavciosa.--Its
Consequences to Vendome and to Spain.


The death of D'Avaux, who had formerly been our ambassador in Holland,
occurred in the early part of this year (1709). D'Avaux was one of the
first to hear of the project of William of Orange upon England, when that
project was still only in embryo, and kept profoundly secret. He
apprised the King (Louis XIV.) of it, but was laughed at. Barillon, then
our ambassador in England, was listened to in preference. He, deceived
by Sunderland and the other perfidious ministers of James II.; assured
our Court that D'Avaux's reports were mere chimeras. It was not until it
was impossible any longer to doubt that credit was given to them. The
steps that we then took, instead of disconcerting all the measures of the
conspirators, as we could have done, did not interfere with the working
out of any one of their plans. All liberty was left, in fact, to William
to carry out his scheme. The anecdote which explains how this happened
is so curious, that it deserves to be mentioned here.

Louvois, who was then Minister of War, was also superintendent of the
buildings. The King, who liked building, and who had cast off all his
mistresses, had pulled down the little porcelain Trianon he had made for
Madame de Montespan, and was rebuilding it in the form it still retains.
One day he perceived, for his glance was most searching, that one window
was a trifle narrower than the others. He showed it to Louvois, in order
that it might be altered, which, as it was not then finished, was easy to
do. Louvois sustained that the window was all right. The King insisted
then, and on the morrow also, but Louvois, pigheaded and inflated with
his authority, would not yield.

The next day the King saw Le Notre in the gallery. Although his trade
was gardens rather than houses, the King did not fail to consult him upon
the latter. He asked him if he had been to Trianon. Le Notre replied
that he had not. The King ordered him to go. On the morrow he saw Le
Notre again; same question, same answer. The King comprehended the
reason of this, and a little annoyed, commanded him to be there that
afternoon at a given time. Le Notre did not dare to disobey this time.
The King arrived, and Louvois being present, they returned to the subject
of the window, which Louvois obstinately said was as broad as the rest.
The King wished Le Notre to measure it, for he knew that, upright and
true, he would openly say what he found. Louvois, piqued, grew angry.
The King, who was not less so, allowed him to say his say. Le Notre,
meanwhile, did not stir. At last, the King made him go, Louvois still
grumbling, and maintaining his assertion with audacity and little
measure. Le Notre measured the window, and said that the King was right
by several inches. Louvois still wished to argue, but the King silenced
him, and commanded him to see that the window was altered at once,
contrary to custom abusing him most harshly.

What annoyed Louvois most was, that this scene passed not only before all
the officers of the buildings, but in presence of all who followed the
King in his promenades, nobles, courtiers, officers of the guard, and
others, even all the rolete. The dressing given to Louvois was smart and
long, mixed with reflections upon the fault of this window, which, not
noticed so soon, might have spoiled all the facade, and compelled it to
be re-built.

Louvois, who was not accustomed to be thus treated, returned home in
fury, and like a man in despair. His familiars were frightened, and in
their disquietude angled to learn what had happened. At last he told
them, said he was lost, and that for a few inches the King forgot all his
services, which had led to so many conquests; he declared that henceforth
he would leave the trowel to the King, bring about a war, and so arrange
matters that the King should have good need of him!

He soon kept his word. He caused a war to grow out of the affair of the
double election of Cologne, of the Prince of Bavaria, and of the Cardinal
of Furstenberg; he confirmed it in carrying the flames into the
Palatinate, and in leaving, as I have said, all liberty to the project
upon England; he put the finishing touch to his work by forcing the Duke
of Savoy into the arms of his enemies, and making him become, by the
position of his country, our enemy, the most difficult and the most
ruinous. All that I have here related was clearly brought to light in
due time.

Boisseuil died shortly after D'Avaux. He was a tall, big man, warm and
violent, a great gambler, bad tempered,--who often treated M. le Grand
and Madame d'Armagnac, great people as they were, so that the company
were ashamed,--and who swore in the saloon of Marly as if he had been in
a tap-room. He was feared; and he said to women whatever came uppermost
when the fury of a cut-throat seized him. During a journey the King and
Court made to Nancy, Boisseuil one evening sat down to play in the house
of one of the courtiers. A player happened to be there who played very
high. Boisseuil lost a good deal, and was very angry. He thought he
perceived that this gentleman, who was only permitted on account of his
play, was cheating, and made such good use of his eyes that he soon found
this was the case, and all on a sudden stretched across the table and
seized the gambler's hand, which he held upon the table, with the cards
he was going to deal. The gentleman, very much astonished, wished to
withdraw his hand, and was angry. Boisseuil, stronger than he, said that
he was a rogue, and that the company should see it, and immediately
shaking his hand with fury put in evidence his deceit. The player,
confounded, rose and went away. The game went on, and lasted long into
the night. When finished, Boisseuil went away. As he was leaving the
door he found a man stuck against the wall--it was the player--who called
him to account for the insult he had received. Boisseuil replied that he
should give him no satisfaction, and that he was a rogue.

"That may be," said the player, "but I don't like to be told so."

They went away directly and fought. Boisseuil received two wounds, from
one of which he was like to die. The other escaped without injury.

I have said, that after the affair of M. de Cambrai, Madame de Maintenon
had taken a rooted dislike to M. de Beauvilliers. She had become
reconciled to him in appearance during the time that Monseigneur de
Bourgogne was a victim to the calumnies of M. de Vendome, because she had
need of him. Now that Monseigneur de Bourgogne was brought back to
favour, and M. de Vendome was disgraced, her antipathy for M, de
Beauvilliers burst out anew, and she set her wits to work to get rid of
him from the Council of State, of which he was a member. The witch
wished to introduce her favourite Harcourt there in his place, and worked
so well to bring about this result that the King promised he should be

His word given, or rather snatched from him, the King was embarrassed as
to how, to keep it, for he did not wish openly to proclaim Harcourt
minister. It was agreed, therefore, that at the next Council Harcourt
should be present, as though by accident, in the King's ante-chamber;
that, Spanish matters being brought up, the King should propose to
consult Harcourt, and immediately after should direct search to be made
far him, to see if, by chance, he was close at hand; that upon finding
him, he should be conducted to the Council, made to enter and seat
himself, and ever afterwards be regarded as a Minister of State.

This arrangement was kept extremely secret, according to the express
commands of the King: I knew it, however, just before it was to be
executed, and I saw at once that the day of Harcourt's entry into the
Council would be the day of M. de Beauvilliers' disgrace. I sent,
therefore, at once for M. de Beauvilliers, begging him to come to my
house immediately, and that I would then tell him why I could not come to
him. Without great precaution everything becomes known at Court.

In less than half an hour M. de Beauvilliers arrived, tolerably disturbed
at my message. I asked him if he knew anything, and I turned him about,
less to pump him than to make him ashamed of his ignorance, and to
persuade him the better afterwards to do what I wished. When I had well
trotted out his ignorance, I apprised him of what I had just learnt. He
was astounded; he so little expected it! I had not much trouble to
persuade him that, although his expulsion might not yet be determined on,
the intrusion of Harcourt must pave the way for it. He admitted to me
that for some days he had found, the King cold and embarrassed with him,
but that he had paid little attention to the circumstance, the reason of
which was now clear. There was no time to lose. In twenty-four hours
all would be over. I therefore took the liberty in the first instance of
scolding him for his profound ignorance of what passed at the Court, and
was bold enough to say to him that he had only to thank himself for the
situation he found himself in. He let me say to the end without growing
angry, then smiled, and said, "Well! what do you think I ought to do?"

That was just what I wanted. I replied that there was only one course
open to him, and that was to have an interview with the King early the
next morning; to say to him, that he had been informed Harcourt was about
to enter the Council; that he thought the affairs of State would suffer
rather than otherwise if Harcourt did so; and finally, to allude to the
change that had taken place in the King's manner towards him lately, and
to say, with all respect, affection, and submission, that he was equally
ready to continue serving the King or to give up his appointments, as his
Majesty might desire.

M. de Beauvilliers took pleasure in listening to me. He embraced me
closely, and promised to follow the course I had marked out.

The next morning I went straight to him, and learned that he had
perfectly succeeded. He had spoken exactly as I had suggested. The King
appeared astonished and piqued that the secret of Harcourt's entry into
the Council was discovered. He would not hear a word as to resignation
of office on the part of M. de Beauvilliers, and appeared more satisfied
with him than ever. Whether, without this interview, he would have been
lost, I know not, but by the coldness and embarrassment of the King
before that interview, and during the first part of it, I am nearly
persuaded that he would. M. de Beauvilliers embraced me again very
tenderly--more than once.

As for Harcourt, sure of his good fortune, and scarcely able to contain
his joy, he arrived at the meeting place. Time ran on. During the
Council there are only the most subaltern people in the antechambers and
a few courtiers who pass that way to go from one wing to another. Each
of these subalterns eagerly asked M. d'Harcourt what he wanted, if he
wished for anything, and importuned him strongly. He was obliged to
remain there, although he had no pretext. He went and came, limping with
his stick, not knowing what to reply to the passers-by, or the attendants
by whom he was remarked. At last, after waiting long, he returned as he
came, much disturbed at not having been called. He sent word so to
Madame de Maintenon, who, in her turn, was as much disturbed, the King
not having said a word to her, and she not having dared to say a word to
him. She consoled Harcourt, hoping that at the next Council he would be
called. At her wish he waited again, as before, during another Council,
but with as little success. He was very much annoyed, comprehending that
the affair had fallen through.

Madame de Maintenon did not, however, like to be defeated in this way.
After waiting some time she spoke to the King, reminding him what he had
promised to do. The King replied in confusion that he had thought better
of it; that Harcourt was on bad terms with all the Ministers, and might,
if admitted to the Council, cause them much embarrassment; he preferred,
therefore, things to remain as they were. This was said in a manner that
admitted of no reply.

Madame de Maintenon felt herself beaten; Harcourt was in despair. M. de
Beauvilliers was quite reestablished in the favour of the King. I
pretended to have known nothing of this affair, and innocent asked many
questions about it when all was over. I was happy to the last degree
that everything had turned out so well.

M. le Prince, who for more than two years had not appeared at the Court,
died at Paris a little after midnight on the night between Easter Sunday
and Monday, the last of March and first of April, and in his seventy-
sixth year. No man had ever more ability of all kinds, extending even to
the arts and mechanics more valour, and, when it pleased him, more
discernment, grace, politeness, and nobility. But then no man had ever
before so many useless talents, so much genius of no avail, or an
imagination so calculated to be a bugbear to itself and a plague to
others. Abjectly and vilely servile even to lackeys, he scrupled not to
use the lowest and paltriest means to gain his ends. Unnatural son,
cruel father, terrible husband, detestable master, pernicious neighbour;
without friendship, without friends--incapable of having any jealous,
suspicious, ever restless, full of slyness and artifices to discover and
to scrutinise all, (in which he was unceasingly occupied, aided by an
extreme vivacity and a surprising penetration,) choleric and headstrong
to excess even for trifles, difficult of access, never in accord with
himself, and keeping all around him in a tremble; to conclude,
impetuosity and avarice were his masters, which monopolised him always.
With all this he was a man difficult to be proof against when he put in
play the pleasing qualities he possessed.

Madame la Princesse, his wife, was his continual victim. She was
disgustingly ugly, virtuous, and foolish, a little humpbacked, and stunk
like a skunk, even from a distance. All these things did not hinder M.
le Prince from being jealous of her even to fury up to the very last.
The piety, the indefatigable attention of Madame la Princesse, her
sweetness, her novice-like submission, could not guarantee her from
frequent injuries, or from kicks, and blows with the fist, which were not
rare. She was not mistress even of the most trifling things; she did not
dare to propose or ask anything. He made her set out from one place to
another the moment the fancy took him. Often when seated in their coach
he made her descend, or return from the end of the street, then
recommence the journey after dinner, or the next day. This see-sawing
lasted once fifteen days running, before a trip to Fontainebleau. At
other times he sent for her from church, made her quit high mass, and
sometimes sent for her the moment she was going to receive the sacrament;
she was obliged to return at once and put off her communion to another
occasion. It was not that he wanted her, but it was merely to gratify
his whim that he thus troubled her.

He was always of, uncertain habits, and had four dinners ready for him
every day; one at Paris, one at Ecouen, one at Chantilly, and one where
the Court was. But the expense of this arrangement was not great; he
dined on soup, and the half of a fowl roasted upon a crust of bread; the
other half serving for the next day. He rarely invited anybody to
dinner, but when he did, no man could be more polite or attentive to his

Formerly he had been in love with several ladies of the Court; then,
nothing cost too much. He was grace, magnificence, gallantry in person--
a Jupiter transformed into a shower of gold. Now he disguised himself as
a lackey, another time as a female broker in articles for the toilette;
and now in another fashion. He was the most ingenious man in the world.
He once gave a grand fete solely for the purpose of retarding the journey
into Italy of a lady with whom he was enamoured, with whom he was on good
terms, and whose husband he amused by making verses. He hired all the
houses on one side of a street near Saint Sulpice, furnished them, and
pierced the connecting walls, in order to be able thus to reach the place
of rendezvous without being suspected.

Jealous and cruel to his mistresses, he had, amongst others, the Marquise
de Richelieu; whom I name, because she is not worth the trouble of being
silent upon. He was hopelessly smitten and spent millions upon her and
to learn her movements. He knew that the Comte de Roucy shared her
favours (it was for her that sagacious Count proposed to put straw before
the house in order to guarantee her against the sound of the church
bells, of which she complained). M. le Prince reproached her for
favouring the Count. She defended herself; but he watched her so
closely, that he brought home the offence to her without her being able
to deny it. The fear of losing a lover so rich as was M. le Prince
furnished her on the spot with an excellent suggestion for putting him at
ease. She proposed to make an appointment at her own house with the
Comte de Roucy, M. le Prince's people to lie in wait, and when the Count
appeared, to make away with him. Instead of the success she expected
from a proposition so humane and ingenious, M. le Prince was so horror-
struck, that he warned the Comte de Roucy, and never saw the Marquise de
Richelieu again all his life.

The most surprising thing was, that with so much ability, penetration,
activity, and valour, as had M. le Prince, with the desire to be as great
a warrior as the Great Conde, his father, he could never succeed in
understanding even the first elements of the military art. Instructed as
he was by his father, he never acquired the least aptitude in war. It
was a profession was not born for, and for which he could not qualify
himself by study. During the last fifteen or twenty years of his life,
he was accused of something more than fierceness and ferocity.
Wanderings were noticed in his conduct, which were not exhibited in his
own house alone. Entering one morning into the apartment of the
Marechale de Noailles (she herself has related this to me) as her bed was
being made, and there being only the counterpane to put on, he stopped
short at the door, crying with transport, "Oh, the nice bed, the nice
bed!" took a spring, leaped upon the bed, rolled himself upon it seven
or eight times, then descended and made his excuses to the Marechale,
saying that her bed was so clean and so well-made, that he could not
hinder himself from jumping upon it; and this, although there had never
been anything between them; and when the Marechale, who all her life had
been above suspicion, was at an age at which she could not give birth to
any. Her servants remained stupefied, and she as much as they. She got
out of the difficulty by laughing and treating it as a joke. It was
whispered that there were times when M. le Prince believed himself a dog,
or some other beast, whose manners he imitated; and I have known people
very worthy of faith who have assured me they have seen him at the going
to bed of the King suddenly throw his head into the air several times
running, and open his mouth quite wide, like a dog while barking, yet
without making a noise. It is certain, that for a long time nobody saw
him except a single valet, who had control over him, and who did not
annoy him.

In the latter part of his life he attended in a ridiculously minute
manner to his diet and its results, and entered into discussions which
drove his doctors to despair. Fever and gout at last attacked him, and
he augmented them by the course he pursued. Finot, our physician and
his, at times knew not what to do with him. What embarrassed Finot most,
as he related to us more than once, was that M. le Prince would eat
nothing, for the simple reason, as he alleged, that he was dead, and that
dead men did not eat! It was necessary, however, that he should take
something, or he would have really died. Finot, and another doctor who
attended him, determined to agree with him that he was dead, but to
maintain that dead men sometimes eat. They offered to produce dead men
of this kind; and, in point of fact, led to M. le Prince some persons
unknown to him, who pretended to be dead, but who ate nevertheless. This
trick succeeded, but he would never eat except with these men and Finot.
On that condition he ate well, and this jealousy lasted a long time, and
drove Finot to despair by its duration; who, nevertheless, sometimes
nearly died of laughter in relating to us what passed at these repasts,
and the conversation from the other world heard there.

M. le Prince's malady augmenting, Madame la Princesse grew bold enough to
ask him if he did not wish to think of his conscience, and to see a
confessor. He amused himself tolerably long in refusing to do so. Some
months before he had seen in secret Pere de la Tour. He had sent to the
reverend father asking him to, come by night and disguised. Pere de la
Tour, surprised to the last degree at so wild a proposition, replied that
the respect he owed to the cloth would prevent him visiting M. le Prince
in disguise; but that he would come in his ordinary attire. M. le Prince
agreed to this last imposed condition. He made the Pere de la Tour enter
at night by a little back door, at which an attendant was in waiting to
receive him. He was led by this attendant, who had a lantern in one hand
and a key in the other, through many long and obscure passages; and
through many doors, which were opened and closed upon him as he passed.
Having arrived at last at the sick-chamber, he confessed M. le Prince,
and was conducted out of the house in the same manner and by the same way
as before. These visits were repeated during several months.

The Prince's malady rapidly increased and became extreme. The doctors
found him so ill on the night of Easter Sunday that they proposed to him
the sacrament for the next day. He disputed with them, and said that if
he was so very bad it would be better to take the sacraments at once, and
have done with them. They in their turn opposed this, saying there was
no need of so much hurry. At last, for fear of incensing him, they
consented, and he received all hurriedly the last sacraments. A little
while after he called M. le Duc to him, and spoke of the honours he
wished at his funeral, mentioning those which had been omitted at the
funeral of his father, but which he did not wish to be omitted from his.
He talked of nothing but this and of the sums he had spent at Chantilly,
until his reason began to wander.

Not a soul regretted him; neither servants, nor friends, neither child
nor wife. Indeed the Princess was so ashamed of her tears that she made
excuses for them. This was scarcely to be wondered at.


It is time now that I should speak of our military operations this year
and of the progress of the war. Let me commence by stating the
disposition of our armies at the beginning of the campaign.

Marechal Boufflers, having become dangerously ill, was unable to take
command in Flanders. Marechal de Villars was accordingly appointed in
his stead under Monseigneur, and with him served the King of England,
under his incognito of the previous year, and M. le Duc de Berry, as
volunteers. The Marechal d'Harcourt was appointed to command upon the
Rhine under Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne. M. d'Orleans commanded in
Spain; Marechal Berwick in Dauphiny; and the Duc de Noailles in
Roussillon, as usual. The generals went to their destinations, but the
Princes remained at the Court.

Before I relate what we did in war, let me here state the strange
opposition of our ministers in their attempts to bring about peace.
Since Villars had introduced Chamillart to Court, he had heard it said
that M. de Louvois did everybody's business as much as he could; and took
it into his head that having succeeded to M. de Louvois he ought to act
exactly like him. For some time past, accordingly, Chamillart, with the
knowledge of the King, had sent people to Holland and elsewhere to
negotiate for peace, although he had no right to do so, Torcy being the
minister to whose department this business belonged. Torcy likewise sent
people to Holland and elsewhere with a similar object, and these
ambassadors of the two ministers, instead of working in common, did all
in their power thwart each other. They succeeded so well that it was
said they seemed in foreign countries ministers of different powers,
whose interests were quite opposed. This manner of conducting business
gave a most injurious idea of our government, and tended very much to
bring it into ridicule. Those who sincerely wished to treat with us,
found themselves so embarrassed between the rival factions, that they did
not know what to do; and others made our disagreements a plausible
pretext for not listening to our propositions.

At last Torcy was so annoyed with the interference of Chamillart, that he
called the latter to account for it, and made him sign an agreement by
which he bound himself to enter into no negotiations for peace and to mix
himself in no foreign affairs; and so this absurdity came to an end.

In Italy, early this year, we received a check of no small importance. I
have mentioned that we were invited to join in an Italian league, having
for its object to oppose the Emperor. We joined this league, but not
before its existence had been noised abroad, and put the allies on their,
guard as to the danger they ran of losing Italy. Therefore the
Imperialists entered the Papal States, laid them under contribution,
ravaged them, lived there in true Tartar style, and snapped their fingers
at the Pope, who cried aloud as he could obtain no redress and no
assistance. Pushed at last to extremity by the military occupation which
desolated his States, he yielded to all the rashes of the Emperor, and
recognised the Archduke as King of Spain. Philip V. immediately ceased
all intercourse with Rome, and dismissed the nuncio from Madrid. The
Imperialists, even after the Pope had ceded to their wishes, treated him
with the utmost disdain, and continued to ravage, his territories. The
Imperialist minister at Rome actually gave a comedy and a ball in his
palace there, contrary to the express orders of the Pope, who had
forbidden all kinds of amusement in this period of calamity. When
remonstrated with by the Pope, this minister said that he had promised a
fete to the ladies, and could not break his word, The strangest thing is,
that after this public instance of contempt the nephews of the Pope went
to the fete, and the Pope had the weakness to suffer it.

In Spain, everything went wrong, and people began to think it would be
best to give up that country to the house of Austria, under the hope that
by this means the war would be terminated. It was therefore seriously
resolved to recall all our troops from Spain, and to give orders to
Madame des Ursins to quit the country. Instructions were accordingly
sent to this effect. The King and Queen of Spain, in the greatest alarm
at such a violent determination, cried aloud against it, and begged that
the execution of it might at least be suspended for a while.

At this, our King paused and called a Council to discuss the subject.
It was ultimately agreed to leave sixty-six battalions of our troops to
the King of Spain, but to withdraw all the rest. This compromise
satisfied nobody. Those who wished to support Spain said this assistance
was not enough. The other party said it was too much.

This determination being arrived at, it seemed as though the only thing
to be done was to send M. d'Orleans to Spain to take command there. But
now will be seen the effect of that mischievous pleasantry of his upon
Madame de Maintenon and Madame des Ursins, the "she-captain," and the
"she-lieutenant"--as he called them, in the gross language to which I
have before alluded. Those two ladies had not forgiven him his
witticism, and had determined to accomplish his disgrace. His own
thoughtless conduct assisted them it bringing about this result.

The King one day asked him if he had much desire to return into Spain.
He replied in a manner evidencing his willingness to serve, marking no
eagerness. He did not notice that there might be a secret meaning,
hidden under this question. When he related to me what had passed
between him and the King, I blamed the feebleness of his reply, and
represented to him the ill effect it would create if at such a time he
evinced any desire to keep out of the campaign. He appeared convinced by
my arguments, and to wish with more eagerness than before to return to

A few days after, the King asked him, on what terms he believed himself
with the Princesse des Ursins; and when M. d'Orleans replied that he
believed himself to be on good terms with her, as he had done all in his
power to be so, the King said that he feared it was not thus, since she
had asked that he should not be again sent to Spain, saying that he had
leagued himself with all her enemies there, and that a secretary of his,
named Renaut, whom he had left behind him, kept up such strict and secret
intercourse with those enemies, that she was obliged to demand his recall
lest he might do wrong to the name of his master.

Upon this, M. d'Orleans replied that he was infinitely surprised at these
complaints of Madame des Ursins, since he had done nothing to deserve
them. The King, after reflecting for a moment, said he thought, all
things considered, that M. d'Orleans had better not return to Spain.
In a few days it was publicly known that he would not go. The withdrawal
of so many of our troops from Spain was the reason alleged. At the same
time the King gave orders to M. d'Orleans to send for his equipages from
Spain, and added in his ear, that he had better send some one of sense
for them, who might be the bearer of a protest, if Philip V. quitted his
throne. At least this is what M. d'Orleans told me, although few people
believed him in the end.

M. d'Orleans chose for this errand a man named Flotte, very skilful in
intrigue, in which he had, so to speak, been always brought up. He went
straight to Madrid, and one of his first employments when he arrived
there was to look for Renaut, the secretary just alluded to. But Renaut
was nowhere to be found, nor could any news be heard of him. Flotte
stayed some time in Madrid, and then went to the army, which was still in
quarters. He remained there three weeks, idling from quarter to quarter,
saluting the Marechal in command, who was much surprised at his long
stay, and who pressed him to return into France. At last Flotte took
leave of the Marechal, asking him for an escort for himself and a
commissary, with whom he meant to go in company across the Pyrenees.
Twenty dragoons were given him as escort, and he and the commissary set
out in a chaise.

They had not proceeded far before Flotte perceived that they were
followed by other troops besides those guarding them. Flotte fearing
that something was meant by this, slipped a pocket-book into the hands of
the commissary, requesting him to take care of it. Shortly afterwards
the chaise was surrounded by troops, and stopped; the two travellers were
made to alight. The commissary was ordered to give up the pocket-book,
an order that he complied with very rapidly, and Flotte was made
prisoner, and escorted back to the spot he had just left.

The news of this occurrence reached the King on the 12th of July, by the
ordinary courier from Madrid.

The King informed M. d'Orleans of it, who, having learnt it by a private
courier six days before, affected nevertheless surprise, and said it was
strange that one of his people should have been thus arrested, and that
as his Majesty was concerned, it was for him to demand the reason. The
King replied, that in fact the injury regarded him more than M.
d'Orleans, and that he would give orders to Torcy to write as was
necessary to Spain.

It is not difficult to believe that such an explosion made a great noise,
both in France and Spain; but the noise it made at first was nothing to
that which followed. A cabal was formed against Monsieur le Duc
d'Orleans. It was said that he had plotted to place himself upon the
Spanish throne, by driving out Philip V., under pretext of his
incapacity, of the domination of Madame des Ursins, and of the
abandonment of the country by France; that he had treated with Stanhope,
commander of the English troops in Spain, and with whom he was known to
be on friendly terms, in order to be protected by the Archduke. This was
the report most widely spread. Others went further. In these M.
d'Orleans was accused of nothing less than of intending to divorce
himself from Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, as having been married to her
by force; of intending to marry the sister of the Empress (widow of
Charles II.), and of mounting with her upon the Spanish throne; to marry
Madame d'Argenton, as the Queen Dowager was sure to have no children, and
finally, to poison Madame d'Orleans.

Meanwhile the reply from Spain came not. The King and Monseigneur
treated M. d'Orleans with a coldness which made him sorely ill at ease;
the majority of the courtiers, following this example, withdrew from him.
He was left almost alone.

I learnt at last from M. d'Orleans how far he was deserving of public
censure, and what had given colouring to the reports spread against him.
He admitted to me, that several of the Spanish grandees had persuaded him
that it was not possible the King of Spain could stand, and had proposed
to him to hasten his fall, and take his place; that he had rejected this
proposition with indignation, but had been induced to promise, that if
Philip V. fell of himself, without hope of rising, he would not object to
mounting the vacant throne, believing that by so doing he would be doing
good to our King, by preserving Spain to his house.

As soon as I heard this, I advised him to make a clean breast of it to
the King, and to ask his pardon for having acted in this matter without
his orders and without his knowledge. He thought my advice good, and
acted upon it. But the King was too much under the influence of the
enemies of M. d'Orleans, to listen favourably to what was said to him.
The facts of the case, too, were much against M. d'Orleans. Both Renaut
and Flotte had been entrusted with his secret. The former had openly
leagued himself with the enemies of Madame des Ursins, and acted with the
utmost imprudence. He had been privately arrested just before the
arrival of Flotte. When this latter was arrested, papers were found upon
him which brought everything to light. The views of M. d'Orleans and of
those who supported him were clearly shown. The King would not listen to
anything in favour of his nephew.

The whole Court cried out against M. d'Orleans; never was such an uproar
heard. He was accused of plotting to overthrow the King of Spain, he, a
Prince of the blood, and so closely allied to the two crowns!
Monseigneur, usually so plunged in apathy, roused himself to fury against
M. d'Orleans, and insisted upon nothing less than a criminal prosecution.
He insisted so strongly upon this, that the King at last consented that
it should take place, and gave orders to the chancellor to examine the
forms requisite in such a case. While the chancellor was about this
work, I went to see him one day, and represented to him so strongly, that
M. d'Orleans' misdemeanour did not concern us at all, and could only be
judged before a Spanish tribunal, that the idea of a criminal trial was
altogether abandoned almost immediately after. M. d'Orleans was allowed
to remain in peace.

Madame des Ursins and Madame de Maintenon had so far triumphed, however,
that M. d'Orleans found himself plunged in the deepest disgrace. He was
universally shunned. Whenever he appeared, people flew away, so that
they might not be seen in communication with him. His solitude was so
great, that for a whole month only one friend entered his house. In the
midst of this desertion, he had no resource but debauchery, and the
society of his mistress, Madame d'Argenton. The disorder and scandal of
his life had for a long time offended the King, the Court, and the
public. They now unhappily confirmed everybody in the bad opinion they
had formed of him. That the long disgrace he suffered continued to
confirm him in his bad habits, and that it explains to some extent his
after-conduct, there can be no doubt. But I must leave him now, and
return to other matters.


But, meanwhile, a great change had taken place at Court. Chamillart had
committed the mistake of allowing the advancement of D'Harcourt to the
head of an army. The poor man did not see the danger; and when warned of
it, thought his cleverness would preserve him. Reports of his fall had
already begun to circulate, and D'Antin had been spoken of in his place.
I warned his daughter Dreux, the only one of the family to whom it was
possible to speak with profit. The mother, with little wit and knowledge
of the Court, full of apparent confidence and sham cunning, received all
advice ill. The, brothers were imbecile, the son was a child and a
simpleton, the two other daughters too light-headed. I had often warned
Madame de Dreux of the enmity of the Duchesse de Bourgogne; and she had
spoken to her on the subject. The Princess had answered very coldly that
she was mistaken, that she had no such enmity. At last I succeeded, in
this indirect way, in forcing Chamillart to speak to the King on the
reports that were abroad; but he did so in a half-and-half way, and
committed the capital mistake of not naming the successor which public
rumour mentioned. The King appeared touched, and gave him all sorts of
assurances of friendship, and made as if he liked him better than ever.
I do not know if Chamillart was then near his destruction, and whether
this conversation set him up again; but from the day it took place all
reports died away, and the Court thought him perfectly re-established.

But his enemies continued to work against him. Madame de Maintenon and
the Duchesse de Bourgogne abated not a jot in their enmity. The Marechal
d'Harcourt lost no opportunity of pulling him to pieces. One day, among
others, he was declaiming violently against him at Madame de Maintenon's,
whom he knew he should thus please. She asked him whom he would put in
his place. "M. Fagon, Madame," he replied coldly. She laughed, but said
this was not a thing to joke about; but he maintained seriously that the
old doctor would make a much better minister than Chamillart, for he had
some intelligence, which would make up for his ignorance of many matters;
but what could be expected of a man who was ignorant and stupid too? The
cunning Norman knew well the effect this strange parallel would have; and
it is indeed inconceivable how damaging his sarcasm proved. A short time
afterwards, D'Antin, wishing also to please, but more imprudent, insulted
the son of Chamillart so grossly, and abused the father so publicly, that
he was obliged afterwards to excuse himself.

The King held, for the first time in his life, a real council of war.
He told the Duc de Bourgogne of it, saying rather sharply: "Come, unless
you prefer going to vespers." The council lasted nearly three hours; and
was stormy. The Marechals were freer in their, language than usual, and
complained of the ministers. All fell upon Chamillart, who was accused,
among other things, of matters that concerned Desmarets, on whom, he
finished by turning off the King's anger. Chamillart defended himself
with so much anger that his voice was heard by people outside.

But he had of late heaped fault on fault. Besides setting Madame de
Maintenon and the Duchesse de Bourgogne against him, he rather wantonly
irritated Monseigneur, at that time more than ever under the government
of Mademoiselle Choin. The latter had asked him a favour, and had been
refused even with contempt. Various advances at reconciliation she made
were also repulsed with contumely. Yet every one, even the Duchesse de
Bourgogne, crawled before this creature--the favourite of the heir to the
throne. Madame de Maintenon actually caused the King to offer her
apartments at Versailles, which she refused, for fear of losing the
liberty she enjoyed at Meudon. D'Antin, who saw all that was going on,
became the soul of a conspiracy against Chamillart. It was infinitely
well managed. Everything moved in order and harmony--always prudently,
always knowingly.

The King, quietly attacked on all hands, was shaken; but he had many
reasons for sticking to Chamillart. He was his own choice. No minister
had stood aside so completely, and allowed the King to receive all the
praise of whatever was done. Though the King's reason way, therefore,
soon influenced, his heart was not so easily. But Madame de Maintenon
was not discouraged. Monseigneur, urged by Mademoiselle Choin, had
already spoken out to the King. She laboured to make him speak again;
for, on the previous occasion, he had been listened to attentively.

So many machines could not be set in motion without some noise being
heard abroad. There rose in the Court, I know not what confused murmurs,
the origin of which could not be pointed out, publishing that either the
State or Chamillart must perish; that already his ignorance had brought
the kingdom within an ace of destruction; that it was a miracle this
destruction had not yet come to pass; and that it would be madness to
tempt Providence any longer. Some did not blush to abuse him; others
praised his intentions, and spoke with moderation of faults that many
people reproached him bitterly with. All admitted his rectitude, but
maintained that a successor of some kind or other was absolutely
necessary. Some, believing or trying to persuade others that they
carried friendship to as far a point as was possible, protested that they
should ever preserve this friendship, and would never forget the pleasure
and the services that they had received from Chamillart; but delicately
confessed that they preferred the interests of the State to their own
personal advantage and the support they would lose; that, even if
Chamillart were their brother, they would sorrowfully admit the necessity
of removing him! At last, nobody could understand either how such a man
could ever have been chosen, or how he could have remained so long in his
place! All his faults and all his ridicules formed the staple of Court
conversation. If anybody referred to the great things he had done, to
the rapid gathering of armies after our disasters, people turned on their
heels and walked away. Such were the presages of the fall of Chamillart.

The Marechal de Boufflers, who had never forgiven the causes that led to
the loss of Lille, joined in the attack on Chamillart; and assisted in
exciting the King against him. Chamillart has since related to me that
up to the last moment he had always been received equally graciously by
the King--that is, up to two days before his fall. Then, indeed, he
noticed that the King's countenance was embarrassed; and felt inclined to
ask if he was displeasing to him, and to offer to retire. Had he done
so, he might, if we may judge from what transpired subsequently, have
remained in office. But now Madame de Maintenon had come personally into
the field, and, believing herself sure of success, only attacked
Chamillart. What passed between her and the King was quite private and
never related; but there seems reason to believe that she did not succeed
without difficulty.

On Sunday morning, November 9, the King, on entering the Council of
State, called the Duc de Beauvilliers to him, and requested him to go in
the afternoon and tell Chamillart that he was obliged, for motives of
public interest, to ask him to resign his office; but that, in order to
give him a mark of his esteem and satisfaction with his services, he
continued his pension of Minister--that is to say, twenty thousand
francs--and added as much more, with one to his son of twenty thousand
francs likewise. He added that he should have liked to see Chamillart,
but that at first it would grieve him too much: he was not to come till
sent for; he might live in Paris, and go where he liked. The Duc de
Beauvilliers did all he could to escape from carrying so harsh a message,
but could only obtain permission to let the Duc de Chevreuse accompany

They went to Chamillart, and found him alone, working in his cabinet.
The air of consternation with which they entered, told the unfortunate
Minister that something disagreeable had happened; and without giving
them time to speak, he said, with a serene and tranquil countenance,
"What is the matter, gentlemen? If what you have to say concerns only
me, you may speak: I have long been prepared for everything." This
gentle firmness touched them still more. They could scarcely explain
what they came about. Chamillart listened without any change of
countenance, and said, with the same air and tone as at first: "The King
is the master. I have endeavoured to serve him to the best of my
ability. I hope some one else will please him better, and be more
lucky." He then asked if he had been forbidden to write to the King, and
being told not, he wrote a letter of respect and thanks, and sent it by
the two Dukes, with a memoir which he had just finished. He also wrote
to Madame de Maintenon. He sent a verbal message to his wife; and,
without complaint, murmur, or sighs, got into his carriage, and drove to
L'Etang. Both then and afterwards he showed the greatest magnanimity.
Every one went, from a sort of fashion, to visit him. When I went, the
house looked as if a death had taken place; and it was frightful to see,
in the midst of cries and tears, the dead man walking, speaking with a
quiet, gentle air, and serene brow,--unconstrained, unaffected, attentive
to every one, not at all or scarcely different from what he was
accustomed to be.

Chamillart, as I have said, had received permission to live at Paris, if
he liked; but soon afterwards he innocently gave umbrage to Madame de
Maintenon, who was annoyed that his disgrace was not followed by general
abandonment. She caused him to be threatened secretly, and he prudently
left Paris, and went far away, under pretence of seeking for an estate to

Next day after the fall of Chamillart, it became known that the triumph
of Madame de Maintenon was completed, and that Voysin, her creature, was
the succeeding Secretary of State. This Voysin had the one indispensable
quality for admission into the counsels of Louis XIV.--not a drop of
noble blood in his veins. He had married, in 1683, the daughter of
Trudaine. She had a very agreeable countenance, without any affectation.
She appeared simple and modest, and occupied with her household and good
works; but in reality, had sense, wit, cleverness, above all, a natural
insinuation, and the art of bringing things to pass without being
perceived. She kept with great tact a magnificent house. It was she who
received Madame de Maintenon at Dinan, when the King was besieging Namur;
and, as she had been instructed by M. de Luxembourg in the way to please
that lady, succeeded most effectually. Among her arts was her modesty,
which led her prudently to avoid pressing herself on Madame de Maintenon,
or showing herself more than was absolutely necessary. She was sometimes
two whole days without seeing her. A trifle, luckily contrived, finished
the conquest of Madame de Maintenon. It happened that the weather passed
suddenly from excessive heat to a damp cold, which lasted a long time.
Immediately, an excellent dressing-gown, simple, and well lined, appeared
in the corner of the chamber. This present, by so much the more
agreeable, as Madame de Maintenon had not brought any warm clothing,
touched her also by its suddenness, and by its simple appearance, as if
of its own accord.

In this way, the taste of Madame de Maintenon for Madame Voysin was
formed and increased. Madame Voysin obtained an appointment for her
husband, and coming to Paris, at last grew extremely familiar with Madame
de Maintenon. Voysin himself had much need of the wife that Providence
had given him. He was perfectly ignorant of everything but the duties of
an Intendant. He was, moreover, rough and uncivil, as the courtiers soon
found. He was never unjust for the sake of being so, nor was he bad
naturally; but he knew nothing but authority, the King and Madame de
Maintenon, whose will was unanswerable--his sovereign law and reason.
The choice was settled between the King and Madame de Maintenon after
supper, the day of Chamillart's fall. Voysin was conducted to the King
by Bloin, after having received the orders and instructions of his
benefactress. In the evening of that day, the King found Madame Voysin
with Madame de Maintenon, and kissed her several times to please his

Voysin's first experience of the duties of his office was unpleasant.
He was foolish enough, feeling his ignorance, to tell the King, that at
the outset he should be obliged to leave everything to his Majesty, but
that when he knew better, he would take more on himself. The King, to
whom Chamillart used himself to leave everything, was much offended by
this language; and drawing himself up, in the tone of a master, told
Voysin to learn, once for all, that his duties were to receive, and
expedite orders, nothing else. He then took the projects brought to him,
examined them, prescribed the measures he thought fit, and very stiffly
sent away Voysin, who did not know where he was, and had great want of
his wife to set his head to rights, and of Madame de Maintenon to give
him completer lessons than she had yet been able to do. Shortly
afterwards he was forbidden to send any orders without submitting them to
the Marechal de Boufflers. He was supple, and sure of Madame de
Maintenon, and through her of the Marechal, waited for time to release
him from this state of tutelage and showed nothing of his annoyance,
especially to Boufflers himself.

Events soon happened to alter the position of the Marechal de Boufflers.

Flanders, ever since the opening of the campaign, had been the principal
object of attention. Prince Eugene and Marlborough, joined together,
continued their vast designs, and disdained to hide them. Their
prodigious preparations spoke of sieges. Shall I say that we desired
them, and that we thought of nothing but how to preserve, not use our

Tournai was the first place towards which the enemies directed their
arms. After a short resistance it fell into their hands. Villars, as I
have said, was coriander in Flanders. Boufflers feeling that, in the
position of affairs, such a post must weigh very heavily upon one man,
and that in case of his death there was no one to take his place, offered
to go to assist him. The King, after some little hesitation, accepted
this magnanimous offer, and Boufflers set out. I say magnanimous offer,
because Boufflers, loaded with honours and glory, might well have hoped
to pass the rest of his life in repose. It was hardly possible, do what
he might, that he could add to his reputation; while, on the other hand,
it was not unlikely that he might be made answerable for the faults or
shortcomings of others, and return to Paris stripped of some of the
laurels that adorned his brow. But he thought only of the welfare of the
State, and pressed the King to allow him to depart to Flanders. The
King, as I have said, at last consented.

The surprise was great in the army when he arrived there. The general
impression was that he was the bearer of news of peace. Villars received
him with an air of joy and respect, and at once showed every willingness
to act in concert with him. The two generals accordingly worked
harmoniously together, taking no steps without consulting each other, and
showing great deference for each other's opinions. They were like one

After the fall of Tournai, our army took up position at Malplaquet, the
right and the left supported by two woods, with hedges and woods before
the centre, so that the plain was, as it were, cut in two. Marlborough
and Prince Eugene marched in their turn, fearing lest Villars should
embarrass them as they went towards Mons, which place they had resolved
to besiege. They sent on a large detachment of their army, under the
command of the Prince of Hesse, to watch ours. He arrived in sight of
the camp at Malpladuet at the same time that we entered it, and was
quickly warned of our existence by, three cannon shots that Villars, out
of braggadocio, fired by way of appeal to Marlborough and Prince Eugene.
Some little firing took place this day and the next, the 10th of
September, but without doing much harm on either side.

Marlborough and Prince Eugene, warned of the perilous state in which the
Prince of Hesse was placed--he would have been lost if attacked hastened
at once to join him, and arrived in the middle of the morning of the
10th. Their first care was to examine the position of our army, and to
do so, while waiting for their rear-guard, they employed a stratagem
which succeeded admirably.

They sent several officers, who had the look of subalterns, to our lines,
and asked to be allowed to speak to our officers. Their request was
granted. Albergotti came down to them, and discoursed with them a long
time. They pretended they came to see whether peace could not be
arranged, but they, in reality, spoke of little but compliments, which
signified nothing. They stayed so long, under various pretexts, that at
last we were obliged to threaten them in order to get rid of them. All
this time a few of their best general officers on horseback, and a larger
number of engineers and designers on foot, profited by these ridiculous
colloquies to put upon paper drawings of our position, thus being able to
see the best positions for their cannon, and the best mode, in fact, in
which all their disposition might be made. We learnt this artifice
afterwards from the prisoners.

It was decided that evening to give us battle on the morrow, although the
deputies of the States-General, content with the advantages that had been
already gained, and not liking to run the risk of failure, were, opposed
to an action taking place. They were, however, persuaded to agree, and
on the following morning the battle began.

The struggle lasted many hours. But our position had been badly chosen,
and, in spite of every effort, we were unable to maintain it. Villars,
in the early part of the action, received a wound which incapacitated him
from duty. All the burden of command fell upon Boufflers. He bore it
well; but after a time finding his army dispersed, his infantry
overwhelmed, the ground slipping from under his feet, he thought only of
beating a good and honourable retreat. He led away his army in such good
order, that the enemy were unable to interfere with it in the slightest
degree. During all the march, which lasted until night, we did not lose
a hundred stragglers, and carried off all the cannon with the exception
of a few pieces. The enemy passed the night upon the battle-field, in
the midst of twenty-five thousand dead, and marched towards Mons the next
evening. They frankly admitted that in men killed and wounded, in
general officers and privates, in flags and standards, they had lost more
than we. The battle cost them, in fact, seven lieutenant-generals, five
other generals, about eighteen hundred officers killed or wounded, and
more than fifteen thousand men killed or rendered unfit for service.
They openly avowed, also, how much they had been surprised by the valour
of the majority of our troops, above all of the cavalry, and did not
dissimulate that we should have gained the day, had we been better led.

Why the Marechal Villars waited ten days to be attacked in a position so
disadvantageous, instead of at once marching upon the enemies and
overcoming, as he might at first easily have done, it is difficult to
understand. He threw all the blame upon his wound, although it was well
known that the fate of the day was decided long before he was hurt.

Although forced to retire, our men burned with eagerness to engage the
enemies again. Mons had been laid siege to. Boufflers tried to make the
besiegers give up the undertaking. But his men were without bread and
without pay: the subaltern officers were compelled to eat the regulation
bread, the general-officers were reduced to the most miserable shifts,
and were like the privates, without pay, oftentimes for seven or eight
days running. There was no meat and no bread for the army. The common
soldiers were reduced to herbs and roots for all sustenance. Under
these circumstances it was found impossible to persevere in trying to
save Mons. Nothing but subsistence could be thought of.

The Court had now become so accustomed to defeats that a battle lost as
was Malplaquet seemed half a victory. Boufflers sent a courier to the
King with an account of the event, and spoke so favourably of Villars,
that all the blame of the defeat fell upon himself. Villars was
everywhere pitied and applauded, although he had lost an important
battle: when it was in his power to beat the enemies in detail, and
render them unable to undertake the siege of Mons, or any other siege.
If Boufflers was indignant at this, he was still more indignant at what
happened afterwards. In the first dispatch he sent to the King he
promised to send another as soon as possible giving full details, with
propositions as to how the vacancies which had occurred in the army might
be filled up. On the very evening he sent off his second dispatch, he
received intelligence that the King had already taken his dispositions
with respect to these vacancies, without having consulted him upon a
single point. This was the first reward Boufflers received for the
services he had just rendered, and that, too, from a King who had said in
public that without Boufflers all was lost, and that assuredly it was God
who had inspired him with the idea of going to the army. From that time
Boufflers fell into a disgrace from which he never recovered. He had the
courage to appear as usual at the Court; but a worm was gnawing him
within and destroyed him. Oftentimes he opened his heart to me without
rashness, and without passing the strict limits of his virtue; but the
poniard was in his heart, and neither time nor reflection could dull its
edge. He did nothing but languish afterwards, yet without being confined
to his bed or to his chamber, but did not live more than two years.
Villars, on the contrary, was in greater favour than ever. He arrived at
Court triumphant. The King made him occupy an apartment at Versailles,
so that his wound might be well attended to.

What a contrast! What a difference between the services, the merit, the
condition, the virtue, the situation of these two men! What
inexhaustible funds of reflection.


I have described in its proper place the profound fall of M. le Duc
d'Orleans and the neglect in which he lived, out of all favour with the
King, hated by Madame de Maintenon and Monseigneur, and regarded with an
unfavourable eye by the public, on account of the scandals of his private
life. I had long seen that the only way in which he could hope to
recover his position would be to give up his mistress, Madame d'Argenton,
with whom he had been on terms of intimacy for many years past, to the
knowledge and the scandal of all the world. I knew it would be a bold
and dangerous game to play, to try to persuade him to separate himself
from a woman he had known and loved so long; but I determined to engage
in it, nevertheless, and I looked about for some one to assist me in this
enterprise. At once I cast my eyes upon the Marechal de Besons, who for
many long years had been the bosom friend of M. d'Orleans. He applauded
the undertaking, but doubted, he said, its success; nevertheless he
promised to aid me to the utmost of his power, and, it will be seen, was
as good as his word. For some time I had no opportunity of accosting M.
d'Orleans, and was obliged to keep my project in abeyance, but I did not
lose sight of it; and when I saw my way clear, I took the matter in hand,
determined to strain every nerve in order to succeed.

It was just at the commencement of the year 1710, that I first spoke to
M. d'Orleans. I began by extracting from him an admission of the neglect
into which he had fallen--the dislike of the King, the hatred of
Monseigneur, who accused him of wishing to replace his son in Spain; that
of Madame de Maintenon, whom he had offended by his bon mot; the
suspicions of the public, who talked of his chemical experiments--and
then, throwing off all fear of consequences, I said that before he could
hope to draw back his friends and the world to him, he must reinstate
himself in the favour of the King. He appeared struck with what I had
said, rose after a profound silence, paced to and fro, and then asked,
"But how?" Seeing the opportunity so good, I replied in a firm and
significant tone, "How? I know well enough, but I will never tell you;
and yet it is the only thing to do."--"Ah, I understand you," said he, as
though struck with a thunderbolt; "I understand you perfectly;" and he
threw himself upon the chair at the end of the room. There he remained
some time, without speaking a word, yet agitated and sighing, and with
his eyes lowered. I broke silence at last, by saying that the state
which he was in had touched me to the quick, and that I had determined in
conjunction with the Marechal de Besons to speak to him upon the subject,
and to propose the only means by which he could hope to bring about a
change in his position. He considered some time, and then giving me
encouragement to proceed, I entered at some length upon the proposal I
had to make to him and left him evidently affected by what I had said,
when I thought I had for the time gone far enough.

The next day, Thursday, January 2nd, Besons, to whom I had written,
joined me; and after I had communicated to him what had passed the
previous evening, we hastened to M. d'Orleans. He received us well, and
we at once commenced an attack. In order to aid my purpose as much as
possible, I repeated to M. d'Orleans, at this meeting, the odious reports
that were in circulation against him, viz., that he intended to repudiate
his wife forced upon him by the King, in order to marry the Queen Dowager
of Spain, and by means of her gold to open up a path for himself to the
Spanish throne; that he intended to wait for his new wife's death, and
then marry Madame D'ARGENSON, to whom the genii had promised a throne;
and I added, that it was very fortunate that the Duchesse d'Orleans had
safely passed through the dangers of her confinement, for already some
wretches had begun to spread the saying, that he was not the son of
Monsieur for nothing. (An allusion to the death of Henriette

On hearing these words, the Duke was seized with a terror that cannot be
described, and at the same time with a grief that is above expression.
I took advantage of the effect my discourse had had upon him to show how
necessary it was he should make a great effort in order to win back the
favour of the King and of the public. I represented to him that the only
way to do this was to give up Madame d'Argenton, at once and for ever,
and to announce to the King that he had done so. At first he would not
hear of such a step, and I was obliged to employ all my eloquence, and
all my firmness too, to make him listen to reason. One great obstacle in
our way was the repugnance of M. d'Orleans for his wife. He had been
married, as I have described in the early part of these memoirs, against
his will, and with no sort of affection for the woman he was given to.
It was natural that he should look upon her with dislike ever since she
had become his wife. I did what I could to speak in praise of Madame la
Duchesse d'Orleans, and Besons aided me; but we did little else than
waste our breath for sometime. Our praises in fact irritated
M. d'Orleans, and to such a point, that no longer screening things or
names, he told us what we should have wished not to hear, but what it was
very lucky we did hear. He had suspicions, in fact, of his wife's
honour; but fortunately I was able to prove clearly and decisively that
those suspicions were unfounded, and I did so. The joy of M. d'Orleans
upon finding he had been deceived was great indeed; and when we separated
from him after mid-day, in order to go to dinner, I saw that a point was

A little before three o'clock I returned to M. d'Orleans, whom I found
alone in his cabinet with Besons. He received me with pleasure, and made
me seat myself between him and the Marechal, whom he complimented upon
his diligence. Our conversation recommenced. I returned to the attack
with all the arguments I could muster, and the Marechal supported me; but
I saw with affright that M. d'Orleans was less reduced than when we had
quitted him in the morning, and that he had sadly taken breath during our
short absence. I saw that, if we were to succeed, we must make the best
use we could of our time, and accordingly I brought all my powers into
play in order to gain over M. d'Orleans.

Feeling that everything was now to be lost or gained, I spoke out with
all the force of which I was capable, surprising and terrifying Marechal
Besons to such a point, with my hardihood, that he had not a word to say
in order to aid me. When I had finished, M. d'Orleans thanked me in a
piteous tone, by which I knew the profound impression I had made upon his
mind. I proposed, while he was still shaken, that he should at once send
to Madame de Maintenon, to know when she, would grant him an audience;
for he had determined to speak to her first of his intention to give up
Madame d'Argenton. Besons seconded me; and while we were talking
together, not daring to push our point farther, M. d'Orleans much
astonished us by rising, running with impetuosity to the door, and
calling aloud for his servants. One ran to him, whom he ordered in a
whisper to go to Madame de Maintenon, to ask at what hour she would see
him on the morrow. He returned immediately, and threw himself into a
chair like a man whose strength fails him and who is at his last gasp.
Uncertain as to what he had just done, I asked him if he had sent to
Madame de Maintenon. "Yes, Monsieur," said he, in a tone of despair.
Instantly I started towards him, and thanked him with all the contentment
and all the joy imaginable. This terrible interview, for the struggle we
had all gone through was very great, was soon after brought to a close,
and Besons and myself went our way, congratulating each other on the
success of this day's labour.

On the next day, Friday, the 3rd of January, I saw M. d'Orleans as he
preceded the King to mass, and in my impatience I approached him, and
speaking in a low tone, asked him if he had seen "that woman." I did not
dare to mention names just then. He replied "yes," but in so
lackadaisical a tone that I feared he had seen her to effect, and I asked
him if he had spoken to her. Upon receiving another "yes," like the
other, my emotion redoubled. "But have you told her all?" I said.
"Yes," he replied," I have told her all."--" And are you content?" said
I." Nobody could be more so," he replied; "I was nearly an hour with
her, she was very much surprised and ravished."

I saw M. d'Orleans under better circumstances at another period of the
day, and then I learnt from him that since meeting me he had spoken to
the King also, and told him all. "Ah, Monsieur," cried I with transport,
"how I love you!" and advancing warmly toward him, I added, "How glad I
am to see you at last delivered; how did you bring this to pass?"--
"I mistrusted myself so much," replied he, "and was so violently
agitated after speaking to Madame de Maintenon, that I feared to run the
risk of pausing all the morning; so, immediately after mass I spoke to
the King, and--" here, overcome by his grief, his voice faltered, and he
burst into sighs, into tears, and into sobs. I retired into a corner. A
moment after Besons entered: the spectacle and the profound silence
astonished him. He lowered his eyes, and advanced but little. At last
we gently approached each other. I told him that M. d'Orleans had
conquered himself, and had spoken to the King. The Marechal was so
bewildered with surprise and joy that he remained for some moments
speechless and motionless: then running towards M. d'Orleans, he thanked
him, felicitated him, and wept for very joy. M. d'Orleans was cruelly
agitated, now maintaining a ferocious silence, and now bursting into a
torrent of sighs, sobs, and tears. He said at last that Madame de
Maintenon had been extremely surprised with the resolution he had taken,
and at the same time delighted. She assured him that it would put him on
better terms than ever with the King, and that Madame d'Argenton should
be treated with every consideration. I pressed M. d'Orleans to let us
know how the King had received him. He replied that the King had
appeared very much surprised, but had spoken coldly. I comforted him for
this disappointment by assuring him that the King's coldness arose only
from his astonishment, and that in the end all would be well.

It would be impossible to describe the joy felt by Besons and myself at
seeing our labours brought to this satisfactory point. I knew I should
make many enemies when the part I had taken in influencing M. d'Orleans
to give up Madame d'Argenton came to be known, as it necessarily would;
but I felt I had done rightly, and left the consequences to Providence.
Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans showed me the utmost gratitude for what I
had done. She exhibited, too, so much intelligence, good sense, and
ability, in the conversation I had with her, that I determined to spare
no pains to unite her husband to her more closely; being firmly persuaded
that he would nowhere find a better counsellor than in her. The surprise
of the whole Court, when it became known that M. d'Orleans had at last
separated himself from Madame d'Argenton, was great indeed. It was only
equalled by the vexation of those who were opposed to him. Of course in
this matter I was not spared. For several days nothing was spoken of but
this rupture, and everywhere I was pointed out as the author of it,

Besons being scarcely alluded to. I parried the thrust made at me as
well as I could, as much for the purpose of leaving all the honour to
M. d'Orleans, as for the purpose of avoiding the anger of those who
were annoyed with me; and also from a just fear of showing that I had too
much influence over the mind of a Prince not without faults, and who
could not always be led.

As for Madame d'Argenton, she received the news that her reign was over
with all the consternation, rage, and despair that might have been
expected. Mademoiselle de Chausseraye was sent by Madame de Maintenon to
announce the ill news to her. When Mademoiselle de Chausseraye arrived
at Madame l'Argenton's house, Madame d'Argenton was out she had gone to
supper with the Princesse de Rohan. Mademoiselle de Chausseraye waited
until she returned, and then broke the matter to her gently, and after
much preamble and circumlocution, as though she were about to announce
the death of some one.

The tears, the cries, the howlings of Madame d'Argenton filled the house,
and announced to all the domestics that the reign of felicity was at an
end there. After a long silence on the part of Mademoiselle de
Chausseraye, she spoke her best in order to appease the poor lady. She
represented to her the delicacy and liberality of the arrangements M.
d'Orleans had made in her behalf. In the first place she was free to
live in any part of the, realm except Paris and its appanages. In the
next place he assured to her forty-five thousand livres a year, nearly
all the capital of which would belong to the son he had had by her, whom
he had recognised and made legitimate, and who has since become Grandee
of Spain, Grand Prieur of France, and General of the Galleys (for the
best of all conditions in France is to have none at all, and to be a
bastard). Lastly he undertook to pay all her debts up to the day of the
rupture, so that she should not be importuned by any creditor, and
allowed her to retain her jewellery, her plate, her furniture--worth
altogether about four hundred thousand livres. His liberality amounted
to a total of about two million livres, which I thought prodigious.

Madame d'Argenton, in despair at first, became more tractable as she
learnt the provisions which had been made for her, and the delicacy with
which she was treated. She remained four days in Paris, and then
returned to her father's house near Port-Sainte-Maxence, the Chevalier
d'Orleans, her son, remaining at the Palais Royal. The King after his
first surprise had worn away, was in the greatest joy at the rupture; and
testified his gratification to M. d'Orleans, whom he treated better and
better every day. Madame de Maintenon did not dare not to contribute a
little at first; and in this the Prince felt the friendship of the
Jesuits, whom he had contrived to attach to him.

The Duchesse de Bourgogne did marvels of her own accord; and the Duc de
Bourgogne, also, being urged by M. de Beauvilliers. Monseigneur alone
remained irritated, on account of the Spanish affair.

I must here mention the death of M. le Duc. He was engaged in a trial
which was just about to be pleaded. He had for some time suffered from a
strange disease, a mixture of apoplexy and epilepsy, which he concealed
so carefully, that he drove away one of his servants for speaking of it
to his fellows.

For some time he had had a continual headache. This state troubled the
gladness he felt at being delivered from his troublesome father and
brother-in-law. One evening he was riding in his carriage, returning
from a visit to the Hotel de Coislin, without torches, and with only one
servant behind, when he felt so ill that he drew the string, and made his
lackey get up to tell him whether his mouth was not all on one side.
This was not the case, but he soon lost speech and consciousness after
having requested to be taken in privately to the Hotel de Conde. They
there put him in bed. Priests and doctors came. But he only made
horrible faces, and died about four o'clock in the morning.

Madame la Duchesse did not lose her presence of mind, and, whilst her
husband was dying, took steps to secure her future fortune. Meanwhile
she managed to cry a little, but nobody believed in her grief. As for M.
le Duc, I have already mentioned some anecdotes of him that exhibit his
cruel character. He was a marvellously little man, short, without being

Book of the day: