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The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette

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THE PRINCESS OF CLEVES by Madame de Lafayette


Grandeur and gallantry never appeared with more lustre in France,
than in the last years of Henry the Second's reign. This Prince
was amorous and handsome, and though his passion for Diana of
Poitiers Duchess of Valentinois, was of above twenty years
standing, it was not the less violent, nor did he give less
distinguishing proofs of it.

As he was happily turned to excel in bodily exercises, he took a
particular delight in them, such as hunting, tennis, running at
the ring, and the like diversions. Madam de Valentinois gave
spirit to all entertainments of this sort, and appeared at them
with grace and beauty equal to that of her grand-daughter, Madam
de la Marke, who was then unmarried; the Queen's presence seemed
to authorise hers.

The Queen was handsome, though not young; she loved grandeur,
magnificence and pleasure; she was married to the King while he
was Duke of Orleans, during the life of his elder brother the
Dauphin, a prince whose great qualities promised in him a worthy
successor of his father Francis the First.

The Queen's ambitious temper made her taste the sweets of
reigning, and she seemed to bear with perfect ease the King's
passion for the Duchess of Valentinois, nor did she express the
least jealousy of it; but she was so skilful a dissembler, that
it was hard to judge of her real sentiments, and policy obliged
her to keep the duchess about her person, that she might draw the
King to her at the same time. This Prince took great delight in
the conversation of women, even of such as he had no passion for;
for he was every day at the Queen's court, when she held her
assembly, which was a concourse of all that was beautiful and
excellent in either sex.

Never were finer women or more accomplished men seen in any
Court, and Nature seemed to have taken pleasure in lavishing her
greatest graces on the greatest persons. The Princess Elizabeth,
since Queen of Spain, began now to manifest an uncommon wit, and
to display those beauties, which proved afterwards so fatal to
her. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, who had just married the
Dauphin, and was called the Queen-Dauphin, had all the
perfections of mind and body; she had been educated in the Court
of France, and had imbibed all the politeness of it; she was by
nature so well formed to shine in everything that was polite,
that notwithstanding her youth, none surpassed her in the most
refined accomplishments. The Queen, her mother-in-law, and the
King's sister, were also extreme lovers of music, plays and
poetry; for the taste which Francis the First had for the Belles
Lettres was not yet extinguished in France; and as his son was
addicted to exercises, no kind of pleasure was wanting at Court.
But what rendered this Court so splendid, was the presence of so
many great Princes, and persons of the highest quality and merit:
those I shall name, in their different characters, were the
admiration and ornament of their age.

The King of Navarre drew to himself the respect of all the world
both by the greatness of his birth, and by the dignity that
appeared in his person; he was remarkable for his skill and
courage in war. The Duke of Guise had also given proofs of
extraordinary valour, and had, been so successful, that there was
not a general who did not look upon him with envy; to his valour
he added a most exquisite genius and understanding, grandeur of
mind, and a capacity equally turned for military or civil
affairs. His brother, the Cardinal of Loraine, was a man of
boundless ambition, and of extraordinary wit and eloquence, and
had besides acquired a vast variety of learning, which enabled
him to make himself very considerable by defending the Catholic
religion, which began to be attacked at that time. The Chevalier
de Guise, afterwards called Grand Prior, was a prince beloved by
all the world, of a comely person, full of wit and address, and
distinguished through all Europe for his valour. The Prince of
Conde, though little indebted to Nature in his person, had a
noble soul, and the liveliness of his wit made him amiable even
in the eyes of the finest women. The Duke of Nevers,
distinguished by the high employments he had possessed, and by
the glory he had gained in war, though in an advanced age, was
yet the delight of the Court: he had three sons very
accomplished; the second, called the Prince of Cleves, was worthy
to support the honour of his house; he was brave and generous,
and showed a prudence above his years. The Viscount de Chartres,
descended of the illustrious family of Vendome, whose name the
Princes of the blood have thought it no dishonour to wear, was
equally distinguished for gallantry; he was genteel, of a fine
mien, valiant, generous, and all these qualities he possessed in
a very uncommon degree; in short, if anyone could be compared to
the Duke de Nemours, it was he. The Duke de Nemours was a
masterpiece of Nature; the beauty of his person, inimitable as it
was, was his least perfection; what placed him above other men,
was a certain agreeableness in his discourse, his actions, his
looks, which was observable in none beside himself: he had in his
behaviour a gaiety that was equally pleasing to men and women; in
his exercises he was very expert; and in dress he had a peculiar
manner, which was followed by all the world, but could never be
imitated: in fine, such was the air of his whole person, that it
was impossible to fix one's eye on anything else, wherever he
was. There was not a lady at Court, whose vanity would not have
been gratified by his address; few of those whom he addressed,
could boast of having resisted him; and even those for whom he
expressed no passion, could not forbear expressing one for him:
his natural gaiety and disposition to gallantry was so great,
that he could not refuse some part of his cares and attention to
those who made it their endeavour to please him; and accordingly
he had several mistresses, but it was hard to guess which of them
was in possession of his heart: he made frequent visits to the
Queen-Dauphin; the beauty of this princess, the sweetness of her
temper, the care she took to oblige everybody, and the particular
esteem she expressed for the Duke de Nemours, gave ground to
believe that he had raised his views even to her. Messieurs de
Guise, whose niece she was, had so far increased their authority
and reputation by this match, that their ambition prompted them
to aspire at an equality with the Princes of the blood, and to
share in power with the Constable Montmorency. The King
entrusted the Constable with the chief share in the
administration of the Government, and treated the Duke of Guise
and the Mareschal de St. Andre as his favourites; but whether
favour or business admitted men to his presence, they could not
preserve that privilege without the good-liking of the Duchess of
Valentinois; for though she was no longer in possession of either
of youth or beauty, she yet reigned so absolutely in his heart,
that his person and state seemed entirely at her disposal.

The King had such an affection for the Constable, that he was no
sooner possessed of the Government, but he recalled him from the
banishment he had been sent into by Francis the First: thus was
the Court divided between Messieurs de Guise, and the Constable,
who was supported by the Princes of the blood, and both parties
made it their care to gain the Duchess of Valentinois. The Duke
d'Aumale, the Duke of Guise's brother, had married one of her
daughters, and the Constable aspired to the fame alliance; he was
not contented with having married his eldest son with Madam
Diana, the King's daughter by a Piemontese lady, who turned nun
as soon as she was brought to bed. This marriage had met with a
great many obstacles from the promises which Monsieur Montmorency
had made to Madam de Piennes, one of the maids of honour to the
Queen; and though the King had surmounted them with extreme
patience and goodness, the Constable did not think himself
sufficiently established, unless he secured Madam de Valentinois
in his interest, and separated her from Messieurs de Guise, whose
greatness began to give her uneasiness. The Duchess had
obstructed as much as she could the marriage of the Dauphin with
the Queen of Scotland; the beauty and forward wit of that young
Queen, and the credit which her marriage gave to Messieurs de
Guise, were insupportable to her; she in particular hated the
Cardinal of Loraine, who had spoken to her with severity, and
even with contempt; she was sensible he took the party of the
Queen, so that the Constable found her very well disposed to
unite her interests with his and to enter into alliance with him,
by marrying her granddaughter Madam de la Marke with Monsieur
d'Anville, his second son, who succeeded him in his employment
under the reign of Charles the Ninth. The Constable did not
expect to find the same disinclination to marriage in his second
son which he had found in his eldest, but he proved mistaken.
The Duke d'Anville was desperately in love with the
Dauphin-Queen, and how little hope soever he might have of
succeeding in his passion, he could not prevail with himself to
enter into an engagement that would divide his cares. The
Mareschal de St. Andre was the only person in the Court that had
not listed in either party: he was a particular favourite, and
the King had a personal affection for him; he had taken a liking
to him ever since he was Dauphin, and created him a Mareschal of
France at an age in which others rarely obtain the least
dignities. His favour with the King gave him a lustre which he
supported by his merit and the agreeableness of his person, by a
splendour in his table and furniture, and by the most profuse
magnificence that ever was known in a private person, the King's
liberality enabling him to bear such an expense. This Prince was
bounteous even to prodigality to those he favoured, and though he
had not all the great qualities, he had very many; particularly
he took delight and had great skill in military affairs; he was
also successful, and excepting the Battle of St. Quintin, his
reign had been a continued series of victory; he won in person
the Battle of Renti, Piemont was conquered, the English were
driven out of France, and the Emperor Charles V found his good
fortune decline before the walls of Mets, which he besieged in
vain with all the forces of the Empire, and of Spain: but the
disgrace received at St. Quintin lessened the hopes we had of
extending our conquests, and as fortune seemed to divide herself
between two Kings, they both found themselves insensibly disposed
to peace.

The Duchess Dowager of Loraine had made some overtures about the
time of the Dauphin's marriage, since which a secret negotiation
had been constantly carried on; in fine, Coran in Artois was the
place appointed for the treaty; the Cardinal of Loraine, the
Constable Montmorency, and the Mareschal de St. Andre were
plenipotentaries for the King; the Duke of Alva, and the Prince
of Orange for Philip the II, and the Duke and Duchess of Loraine
were mediators. The principal articles were the marriage of the
Princess Elizabeth of France with Don Carlos the Infanta of
Spain, and that of his majesty's sister with the Duke of Savoy.

The King, during the Treaty, continued on the frontiers, where he
received the news of the death of Queen Mary of England; his
Majesty dispatched forthwith the Count de Randan to Queen
Elizabeth, to congratulate her on her accession to the Crown, and
they received him with great distinction; for her affairs were so
precarious at that time, that nothing could be more advantageous
to her, than to see her title acknowledged by the King. The
Count found she had a thorough knowledge of the interests of the
French Court, and of the characters of those who composed it; but
in particular, she had a great idea of the Duke of Nemours: she
spoke to him so often, and with so much ernestness concerning
him, that the Ambassador upon his return declared to the King,
that there was nothing which the Duke of Nemours might not expect
from that Princess, and that he made no question she might even
be brought to marry him. The King communicated it to the Duke
the same evening, and caused the Count de Randan to relate to him
all the conversations he had had with Queen Elizabeth, and in
conclusion advised him to push his fortune: the Duke of Nemours
imagined at first that the King was not in earnest, but when he
found to the contrary, "If, by your advice, Sir," said he, "I
engage in this chimerical undertaking for your Majesty's service,
I must entreat your Majesty to keep the affair secret, till the
success of it shall justify me to the public; I would not be
thought guilty of the intolerable vanity, to think that a Queen,
who has never seen me, would marry me for love." The King
promised to let nobody into the design but the Constable, secrecy
being necessary, he knew, to the success of it. The Count de
Randan advised the Duke to go to England under pretence of
travelling; but the Duke disapproving this proposal, sent Mr.
Lignerol, a sprightly young gentleman, his favourite, to sound
the Queen's inclinations, and to endeavour to make some steps
towards advancing that affair: in the meantime, he paid a visit
to the Duke of Savoy, who was then at Brussels with the King of
Spain. The death of Queen Mary brought great obstructions to the
Treaty; the Congress broke up at the end of November, and the
King returned to Paris.

There appeared at this time a lady at Court, who drew the eyes of
the whole world; and one may imagine she was a perfect beauty, to
gain admiration in a place where there were so many fine women;
she was of the same family with the Viscount of Chartres, and one
of the greatest heiresses of France, her father died young, and
left her to the guardianship of Madam de Chartres his wife, whose
wealth, virtue, and merit were uncommon. After the loss of her
husband she retired from Court, and lived many years in the
country; during this retreat, her chief care was bestowed in the
education of her daughter; but she did not make it her business
to cultivate her wit and beauty only, she took care also to
inculcate virtue into her tender mind, and to make it amiable to
her. The generality of mothers imagine, that it is sufficient to
forbear talking of gallantries before young people, to prevent
their engaging in them; but Madam de Chartres was of a different
opinion, she often entertained her daughter with descriptions of
love; she showed her what there was agreeable in it, that she
might the more easily persuade her wherein it was dangerous; she
related to her the insincerity, the faithlessness, and want of
candour in men, and the domestic misfortunes that flow from
engagements with them; on the other hand she made her sensible,
what tranquillity attends the life of a virtuous woman, and what
lustre modesty gives to a person who possesses birth and beauty;
at the same time she informed her, how difficult it was to
perserve this virtue, except by an extreme distrust of one's
self, and by a constant attachment to the only thing which
constitutes a woman's happiness, to love and to be loved by her

This heiress was, at that time, one of the greatest matches in
France, and though she was very young several marriages had been
proposed to her mother; but Madam de Chartres being ambitious,
hardly thought anything worthy of her daughter, and when she was
sixteen years of age she brought her to Court. The Viscount of
Chartres, who went to meet her, was with reason surprised at the
beauty of the young lady; her fine hair and lovely complexion
gave her a lustre that was peculiar to herself; all her features
were regular, and her whole person was full of grace.

The day after her arrival, she went to choose some jewels at a
famous Italian's; this man came from Florence with the Queen, and
had acquired such immense riches by his trade, that his house
seemed rather fit for a Prince than a merchant; while she was
there, the Prince of Cleves came in, and was so touched with her
beauty, that he could not dissemble his surprise, nor could
Mademoiselle de Chartres forbear blushing upon observing the
astonishment he was in; nevertheless, she recollected herself,
without taking any further notice of him than she was obliged to
do in civility to a person of his seeming rank; the Prince of
Cleves viewed her with admiration, and could not comprehend who
that fine lady was, whom he did not know. He found by her air,
and her retinue, that she was of the first quality; by her youth
he should have taken her to be a maid, but not seeing her mother,
and hearing the Italian call her madam, he did not know what to
think; and all the while he kept his eyes fixed upon her, he
found that his behaviour embarrassed her, unlike to most young
ladies, who always behold with pleasure the effect of their
beauty; he found too, that he had made her impatient to be going,
and in truth she went away immediately: the Prince of Cleves was
not uneasy at himself on having lost the view of her, in hopes of
being informed who she was; but when he found she was not known,
he was under the utmost surprise; her beauty, and the modest air
he had observed in her actions, affected him so, that from that
moment he entertained a passion for her. In the evening he
waited on his Majesty's sister.

This Princess was in great consideration by reason of her
interest with the King her brother; and her authority was so
great, that the King, on concluding the peace, consented to
restore Piemont, in order to marry her with the Duke of Savoy.
Though she had always had a disposition to marry, yet would she
never accept of anything beneath a sovereign, and for this reason
she refused the King of Navarre, when he was Duke of Vendome, and
always had a liking for the Duke of Savoy; which inclination for
him she had preserved ever since she saw him at Nice, at the
interview between Francis I, and Pope Paul III. As she had a
great deal of wit, and a fine taste of polite learning, men of
ingenuity were always about her, and at certain times the whole
Court resorted to her apartments.

The Prince of Cleves went there according to his custom; he was
so touched with the wit and beauty of Mademoiselle de Chartres,
that he could talk of nothing else; he related his adventure
aloud, and was never tired with the praises of this lady, whom he
had seen, but did not know; Madame told him, that there was
nobody like her he described, and that if there were, she would
be known by the whole world. Madam de Dampiere, one of the
Princess's ladies of honour, and a friend of Madam de Chartres,
overhearing the conversation, came up to her Highness, and
whispered her in the ear, that it was certainly Mademoiselle de
Chartres whom the Prince had seen. Madame, returning to her
discourse with the Prince, told him, if he would give her his
company again the next morning, he should see the beauty he was
so much touched with. Accordingly Mademoiselle de Chartres came
the next day to Court, and was received by both Queens in the
most obliging manner that can be imagined, and with such
admiration by everybody else, that nothing was to be heard at
Court but her praises, which she received with so agreeable a
modesty, that she seemed not to have heard them, or at least not
to be moved with them. She afterwards went to wait upon Madame;
that Princess, after having commended her beauty, informed her of
the surprise she had given the Prince of Cleves; the Prince came
in immediately after; "Come hither," said she to him, "see, if
I have not kept my word with you, and if at the same time that I
show you Mademoiselle de Chartres, I don't show you the lady you
are in search of. You ought to thank me, at least, for having
acquainted her how much you are her admirer."

The Prince of Cleves was overjoyed to find that the lady he
admired was of quality equal to her beauty; he addressed her, and
entreated her to remember that he was her first lover, and had
conceived the highest honour and respect for her, before he knew

The Chevalier de Guise, and the Prince, who were two bosom
friends, took their leave of Madame together. They were no
sooner gone but they began to launch out into the praises of
Mademoiselle de Chartres, without bounds; they were sensible at
length that they had run into excess in her commendation, and so
both gave over for that time; but they were obliged the next day
to renew the subject, for this new-risen beauty long continued to
supply discourse to the whole Court; the Queen herself was lavish
in her praise, and showed her particular marks of favour; the
Queen-Dauphin made her one of her favourites, and begged her
mother to bring her often to her Court; the Princesses, the
King's daughters, made her a party in all their diversions; in
short, she had the love and admiration of the whole Court, except
that of the Duchess of Valentinois: not that this young beauty
gave her umbrage; long experience convinced her she had nothing
to fear on the part of the King, and she had to great a hatred
for the Viscount of Chartres, whom she had endeavoured to bring
into her interest by marrying him with one of her daughters, and
who had joined himself to the Queen's party, that she could not
have the least favourable thought of a person who bore his name,
and was a great object of his friendship.

The Prince of Cleves became passionately in love with
Mademoiselle de Chartres, and ardently wished to marry her, but
he was afraid the haughtiness of her mother would not stoop to
match her with one who was not the head of his family:
nevertheless his birth was illustrious, and his elder brother,
the Count d'En, had just married a lady so nearly related to the
Royal family, that this apprehension was rather the effect of his
love, than grounded on any substantial reason. He had a great
number of rivals; the most formidable among them, for his birth,
his merit, and the lustre which Royal favour cast upon his house,
was the Chevalier de Guise; this gentleman fell in love with
Mademoiselle de Chartres the first day he saw her, and he
discovered the Prince of Cleves's passion as the Prince of Cleves
discovered his. Though they were intimate friends, their having
the same pretentions gradually created a coolness between them,
and their friendship grew into an indifference, without their
being able to come to an explanation on the matter. The Prince
of Cleves's good fortune in having seen Mademoiselle de Chartres
first seemed to be a happy presage, and gave him some advantage
over his rivals, but he foresaw great obstructions on the part of
the Duke of Nevers his father: the Duke was strictly attached to
the Duchess of Valentinois, and the Viscount de Chartres was her
enemy, which was a sufficient reason to hinder the Duke from
consenting to the marriage of his son, with a niece of the

Madam de Chartres, who had taken so much care to inspire virtue
into her daughter, did not fail to continue the same care in a
place where it was so necessary, and where there were so many
dangerous examples. Ambition and gallantry were the soul of the
Court, and employed both sexes equally; there were so many
different interests and so many cabals, and the ladies had so
great a share in them, that love was always mixed with business,
and business with love: nobody was easy, or indifferent; their
business was to raise themselves, to be agreeable, to serve or
disserve; and intrigue and pleasure took up their whole time.
The care of the ladies was to recommend themselves either to the
Queen, the Dauphin-Queen, or the Queen of Navarre, or to Madame,
or the Duchess of Valentinois. Inclination, reasons of decorum,
resemblance of temper made their applications different; those
who found the bloom worn off, and who professed an austerity of
virtue, were attached to the Queen; the younger sort, who loved
pleasure and gallantry, made their Court to the Queen-Dauphin;
the Queen of Navarre too had her favourites, she was young, and
had great power with the King her husband, who was in the
interest of the Constable, and by that means increased his
authority; Madame was still very beautiful, and drew many ladies
into her party. And as for the Duchess of Valentinois, she could
command as many as she would condescend to smile upon; but very
few women were agreeable to her, and excepting some with whom she
lived in confidence and familiarity, and whose humour was
agreeable to her own, she admitted none but on days when she
gratified her vanity in having a Court in the same manner the
Queen had.

All these different cabals were full of emulation and envy
towards one another; the ladies, who composed them, had their
jealousies also among themselves, either as to favour or lovers:
the interests of ambition were often blended with concerns of
less importance, but which did not affect less sensibly; so that
in this Court there was a sort of tumult without disorder, which
made it very agreeable, but at the same time very dangerous for a
young lady. Madam de Chartres perceived the danger, and was
careful to guard her daughter from it; she entreated her, not as
a mother, but as her friend, to impart to her all the gallantry
she should meet withal, promising her in return to assist her in
forming her conduct right, as to things in which young people are
oftentimes embarrassed.

The Chevalier de Guise was so open and unguarded with respect to
his passion for Mademoiselle de Chartres, that nobody was
ignorant of it: nevertheless he saw nothing but impossibilities
in what he desired; he was sensible that he was not a proper
match for Mademoiselle de Chartres, by reason of the narrowness
of his fortune, which was not sufficient to support his dignity;
and he was sensible besides, that his brothers would not approve
of his marrying, the marriages of younger brothers being looked
upon as what tends to the lessening great families; the Cardinal
of Loraine soon convinced him, that he was not mistaken; he
condemned his attachment to Mademoiselle de Chartres with warmth,
but did not inform him of his true reasons for so doing; the
Cardinal, it seems, had a hatred to the Viscount, which was not
known at that time, but afterwards discovered itself; he would
rather have consented to any other alliance for his brother than
to that of the Viscount; and he declared his aversion to it in so
public a manner, that Madam de Chartres was sensibly disgusted at
it. She took a world of pains to show that the Cardinal of
Loraine had nothing to fear, and that she herself had no thoughts
of this marriage; the Viscount observed the same conduct, and
resented that of the Cardinal more than Madam de Chartres did,
being better apprised of the cause of it.

The Prince of Cleves had not given less public proofs of his
love, than the Chevalier de Guise had done, which made the Duke
of Nevers very uneasy; however he thought that he needed only to
speak to his son, to make him change his conduct; but he was very
much surprised to find him in a settled design of marrying
Mademoiselle de Chartres, and flew out into such excesses of
passion on that subject, that the occasion of it was soon known
to the whole Court, and among others to Madam de Chartres: she
never imagined that the Duke of Nevers would not think her
daughter a very advantageous match for his son, nor was she a
little astonished to find that the houses both of Cleves and
Guise avoided her alliance, instead of courting it. Her
resentment on this account put her upon finding out a match for
her daughter, which would raise her above those that imagined
themselves above her; after having looked about, she fixed upon
the Prince Dauphin, son of the Duke de Montpensier, one of the
most considerable persons then at Court. As Madam de Chartres
abounded in wit, and was assisted by the Viscount, who was in
great consideration, and as her daughter herself was a very
considerable match, she managed the matter with so much dexterity
and success, that Monsieur de Montpensier appeared to desire the
marriage, and there was no appearance of any difficulties in it.

The Viscount, knowing the power the Dauphin-Queen had over
Monsieur d'Anville, thought it not amiss to employ the interest
of that Princess to engage him to serve Mademoiselle de Chartres,
both with the King and the Prince de Montpensier, whose intimate
friend he was: he spoke to the Dauphin-Queen about it, and she
entered with joy into an affair which concerned the promotion of
a lady for whom she had a great affection; she expressed as much
to the Viscount, and assured him, that though she knew she should
do what was disagreeable to the Cardinal of Loraine her uncle,
she would pass over that consideration with pleasure, because she
had reasons of complaint against him, since he every day more and
more espoused the interest of the Queen against hers.

Persons of gallantry are always glad of an opportunity of
speaking to those who love them. No sooner was the Viscount
gone, but the Queen-Dauphin sent Chatelart to Monsieur d'Anville,
to desire him from her to be at Court that evening. Chatelart
was his favourite, and acquainted with his passion for this
Princess, and therefore received her commands with great pleasure
and respect. He was a gentleman of a good family in Dauphiny;
but his wit and merit distinguished him more than his birth: he
was well received at Court. He was graceful in his person,
perfect at all sorts of exercises; he sung agreeably, he wrote
verses, and was of so amorous and gallant a temper, as endeared
him to Monsieur d'Anville in such a degree, that he made him the
confidant of his amours between the Queen-Dauphin and him; this
confidence gave him access to that Princess, and it was owing to
the frequent opportunities he had of seeing her, that he
commenced that unhappy passion which deprived him of his reason,
and at last cost him his life.

Monsieur d'Anville did not fail to be at Court in the evening; he
thought himself very happy, that the Queen-Dauphin had made
choice of him to manage an affair she had at heart, and he
promised to obey her commands with the greatest exactness. But
the Duchess of Valentinois being warned of the design in view,
had traversed it with so much care, and prepossessed the King so
much against it, that when Monsieur d'Anville came to speak to
his Majesty about it, he plainly showed he did not approve of it,
and commanded him to signify as much to the Prince de
Montpensier. One may easily judge what the sentiments of Madam
de Chartres were, upon the breaking off of an affair which she
had set her mind so much upon, and the ill success of which gave
such an advantage to her enemies, and was so great a prejudice to
her daughter.

The Queen-Dauphin declared to Mademoiselle de Chartres, in a very
friendly manner, the uneasiness she was in for not having been
able to serve her: "You see, Madam," said she to her, "that
my interest is small; I am upon so ill terms with the Queen and
the Duchess of Valentinois, that it is no wonder if they or their
dependents still succeed in disappointing my desires;
nevertheless, I have constantly used my endeavours to please
them. Indeed, they hate me not for my own sake, but for my
mother's; she formerly gave them some jealousy and uneasiness;
the King was in love with her before he was in love with the
Duchess; and in the first years of his marriage, when he had no
issue, he appeared almost resolved to be divorced from the Queen,
in order to make room for my mother, though at the same time he
had some affection for the Duchess. Madam de Valentinois being
jealous of a lady whom he had formerly loved, and whose wit and
beauty were capable of lessening her interest, joined herself to
the Constable, who was no more desirous than herself that the
King should marry a sister of the Duke of Guise; they possessed
the deceased King with their sentiments; and though he mortally
hated the Duchess of Valentinois, and loved the Queen, he joined
his endeavours with theirs to prevent the divorce; but in order
to take from the King all thoughts of marrying the Queen my
mother, they struck up a marriage between her and the King of
Scotland, who had had for his first wife the King's sister, and
they did this because it was the easiest to be brought to a
conclusion, though they failed in their engagements to the King
of England, who was very desirous of marrying her; and that
failure wanted but little of occasioning a rupture between the
two Crowns: for Henry the Eighth was inconsolable, when he found
himself disappointed in his expectations of marrying my mother;
and whatever other Princess of France was proposed to him, he
always said, nothing could make him amends for her he had been
deprived of. It is certainly true, that my mother was a perfect
beauty; and what is very remarkable, is, that being the widow of
the Duke of Longueville, three Kings should court her in
marriage. Her ill fortune gave her to the least of them, and
placed her in a kingdom where she meets with nothing but trouble.
They say I resemble her, but I fear I shall resemble her only in
her unhappy destiny; and whatever fortune may seem to promise me
at present, I can never think I shall enjoy it."

Mademoiselle de Chartres answered the Queen, that these
melancholy presages were so ill-grounded, that they would not
disturb her long, and that she ought not to doubt but her good
fortune would accomplish whatever it promised.

No one now entertained any further thoughts of Mademoiselle de
Chartres, either fearing to incur the King's displeasure, or
despairing to succeed with a lady, who aspired to an alliance
with a Prince of the blood. The Prince of Cleves alone was not
disheartened at either of these considerations; the death of the
Duke of Nevers his father, which happened at that time, set him
at entire liberty to follow his inclination, and no sooner was
the time of mourning expired, but he wholly applied himself to
the gaining of Mademoiselle de Chartres. It was lucky for him
that he addressed her at a time when what had happened had
discouraged the approaches of others. What allayed his joy was
his fear of not being the most agreeable to her, and he would
have preferred the happiness of pleasing to the certainty of
marrying her without being beloved.

The Chevalier de Guise had given him some jealousy, but as it was
rather grounded on the merit of that Prince than on any action of
Mademoiselle de Chartres, he made it his whole endeavour to
discover, if he was so happy as to have his addresses admitted
and approved: he had no opportunity of seeing her but at Court or
public assemblies, so that it was very difficult for him to get a
private conversation with her; at last he found means to do it,
and informed her of his intention and of his love, with all the
respect imaginable. He urged her to acquaint him what the
sentiments were which she had for him, assuring her, that those
which he had for her were of such a nature as would render him
eternally miserable, if she resigned herself wholly up to the
will of her mother.

As Mademoiselle de Chartres had a noble and generous heart, she
was sincerely touched with gratitude for the Prince of Cleves's
behaviour; this gratitude gave a certain sweetness to her words
and answers, sufficient to furnish hopes to a man so desperately
enamoured as the Prince was, so that he flattered himself in some
measure that he should succeed in what he so much wished for.

She gave her mother an account of this conversation; and Madam de
Chartres told her, that the Prince of Cleves had so many good
qualities, and discovered a discretion so much above his years,
that if her inclination led her to marry him, she would consent
to it with pleasure. Mademoiselle de Chartres made answer, that
she observed in him the same good qualities; that she should have
less reluctance in marrying him than any other man, but that she
had no particular affection to his person.

The next day the Prince caused his thoughts to be communicated to
Madam de Chartres, who gave her consent to what was proposed to
her; nor had she the least distrust but that in the Prince of
Cleves she provided her daughter a husband capable of securing
her affections. The articles were concluded; the King was
acquainted with it, and the marriage made public.

The Prince of Cleves found himself happy, but yet not entirely
contented: he saw with a great deal of regret, that the
sentiments of Mademoiselle de Chartres did not exceed those of
esteem and respect, and he could not flatter himself that she
concealed more obliging thoughts of him, since the situation they
were in permitted her to discover them without the least violence
done to modesty. It was not long before he expostulated with her
on this subject: "Is it possible," says he, "that I should
not be happy in marrying you? and yet it is certain, I am not.
You only show me a sort of civility which is far from giving me
satisfaction; you express none of those pretty inquietudes, the
concern, and impatience, which are the soul of love; you are no
further affected with my passion, than you would be with one
which flowed only from the advantage of your fortune, and not
from the beauty of your person." "It is unjust in you to
complain," replied the Princess, "I don't know what you can
desire of me more; I think decency will not allow me to go
further than I do." "It's true," replied he, "you show some
appearances I should be satisfied with, were there anything
beyond; but instead of being restrained by decency, it is that
only which makes you act as you do; I am not in your heart and
inclinations, and my presence neither gives you pain nor
pleasure." "You can't doubt," replied she, "but it is a
sensible pleasure to me to see you, and when I do see you, I
blush so often, that you can't doubt, but the seeing you gives me
pain also." "Your blushes, Madam," replied he, "cannot
deceive me; they are signs of modesty, but do not prove the heart
to be affected, and I shall conclude nothing more from hence than
what I ought."

Mademoiselle de Chartres did not know what to answer; these
distinctions were above her comprehension. The Prince of Cleves
plainly saw she was far from having that tenderness of affection
for him, which was requisite to his happiness; it was manifest
she could not feel a passion which she did not understand.

The Chevalier de Guise returned from a journey a few days before
the marriage. He saw so many insuperable difficulties in his
design of marrying Mademoiselle de Chartres, that he gave over
all hopes of succeeding in it; and yet he was extremely afflicted
to see her become the wife of another: his grief however did not
extinguish his passion; and his love was as great as ever.
Mademoiselle de Chartres was not ignorant of it; and he made her
sensible at his return, that she was the cause of that deep
melancholy which appeared in his countenance. He had so much
merit and so much agreeableness, that it was almost impossible to
make him unhappy without pitying him, nor could she forbear
pitying him; but her pity did not lead to love. She acquainted
her mother with the uneasiness which the Chevalier's passion gave

Madam de Chartres admired the honour of her daughter, and she
admired it with reason, for never was anyone more naturally
sincere; but she was surprised, at the same time, at the
insensibility of her heart, and the more so, when she found that
the Prince of Cleves had not been able to affect her any more
than others: for this reason, she took great pains to endear her
husband to her, and to make her sensible how much she owed to the
affection he had for her before he knew her, and to the
tenderness he since expressed for her, by preferring her to all
other matches, at a time when no one else durst entertain the
least thoughts of her.

The marriage was solemnised at the Louvre; and in the evening the
King and the two Queens, with the whole Court, supped at Madam de
Chartres's house, where they were entertained with the utmost
magnificence. The, Chevalier de Guise durst not distinguish
himself by being absent from the ceremony, but he was so little
master of himself that it was easy to observe his concern.

The Prince of Cleves did not find that Mademoiselle de Chartres
had changed her mind by changing her name; his quality of a
husband entitled him to the largest privileges, but gave him no
greater share in the affections of his wife: hence it was, that
though he was her husband, he did not cease to be her lover,
because he had always something to wish beyond what he possessed;
and though she lived perfectly easy with him, yet he was not
perfectly happy. He preserved for her a passion full of violence
and inquietude, but without jealousy, which had no share in his
griefs. Never was husband less inclined to it, and never was
wife farther from giving the least occasion for it. She was
nevertheless constantly in view of the Court; she frequented the
Courts of the two Queens, and of Madame: all the people of
gallantry saw her both there and at her brother-in-law the Duke
of Never's, whose house was open to the whole world; but she had
an air which inspired so great respect, and had in it something
so distant from gallantry, that the Mareschal de St. Andre, a
bold man and supported by the King's favour, became her lover
without daring to let her know it any otherwise than by his cares
and assiduities. A great many others were in the same condition:
and Madam de Chartres had added to her daughter's discretion so
exact a conduct with regard to everything of decorum, that
everybody was satisfied she was not be be come at.

The Duchess of Loraine, while she was employed in negotiating the
peace, had applied herself to settle the marriage of the Duke her
son: a marriage was agreed upon between him and Madam Claude of
France, the King's second daughter; and the month of February was
appointed for the nuptials.

In the meantime the Duke of Nemours continued at Brussels, his
thoughts being wholly employed on his design in England; he was
continually sending or receiving couriers from thence; his hopes
increased every day, and at last Lignerolly sent him word that it
was time to finish by his presence what was so well begun; he
received this news with all the joy a young ambitious man is
capable of, who sees himself advanced to a throne merely by the
force of his personal merit; his mind insensibly accustomed
itself to the grandeur of a Royal State; and whereas he had at
first rejected this undertaking as an impracticable thing, the
difficulties of it were now worn out of his imagination, and he
no longer saw anything to obstruct his way.

He sent away in haste to Paris to give the necessary orders for
providing a magnificent equipage, that he might make his
appearance in England with a splendour suitable to the design he
was to conduct; and soon after he followed himself, to assist at
the marriage of the Duke of Loraine.

He arrived the evening before the espousals, and that very
evening waited on the King to give him an account of his affair,
and to receive his orders and advice how to govern himself in it.
Afterwards he waited on the Queens; but the Princess of Cleves
was not there, so that she did not see him, nor so much as know
of his arrival. She had heard everybody speak of this celebrated
Prince, as of the handsomest and most agreeable man at Court; and
the Queen-Dauphin had described him in such a manner, and spoke
of him to her so often, that she had raised in her a curiosity
and even impatience to see him.

The Princess employed the day of the wedding in dressing herself,
that she might appear with the greater advantage at the ball and
royal banquet that were to be at the Louvre. When she came,
everyone admired both her beauty and her dress. The ball began,
and while she was dancing with the Duke of Guise, a noise was
heard at the door of the hall, as if way was making for some
person of uncommon distinction. She had finished her dance, and
as she was casting her eyes round to single out some other
person, the King desired her to take him who came in last; she
turned about, and viewing him as he was passing over the seats to
come to the place where they danced, she immediately concluded he
was the Duke of Nemours. The Duke's person was turned in so
delicate a manner, that it was impossible not to express surprise
at the first sight of him, particularly that evening, when the
care he had taken to adorn himself added much to the fine air of
his carriage. It was as impossible to behold the Princess of
Cleves without equal admiration.

The Duke de Nemours was struck with such surprise at her beauty,
that when they approached and paid their respects to each other,
he could not forbear showing some tokens of his admiration. When
they begun to dance, a soft murmur of praises ran through the
whole company. The King and the two Queens, remembering that the
Duke and Princess had never seen one another before, found
something very particular in seeing them dance together without
knowing each other; they called them, as soon as they had ended
their dance, without giving them time to speak to anybody, and
asked them if they had not a desire to know each other, and if
they were not at some loss about it. "As for me, Madam," said
the Duke to the Queen, "I am under no uncertainty in this
matter; but as the Princess of Cleves has not the same reasons to
lead her to guess who I am, as I have to direct me to know her, I
should be glad if your Majesty would be pleased to let her know
my name." "I believe," said the Queen-Dauphin, "that she
knows your name as well as you know hers." "I assure you,
Madam," replied the Princess a little embarrassed, "that I am
not so good a guesser as you imagine." "Yes, you guess very
well," answered the Queen-Dauphin; "and your unwillingness to
acknowledge that you know the Duke of Nemours, without having
seen him before, carries in it something very obliging to him."
The Queen interrupted them, that the ball might go on; and the
Duke de Nemours took out the Queen-Dauphin. This Princess was a
perfect beauty, and such she appeared in the eyes of the Duke de
Nemours, before he went to Flanders; but all this evening he
could admire nothing but Madam de Cleves.

The Chevalier de Guise, whose idol she still was, sat at her
feet, and what had passed filled him with the utmost grief; he
looked upon it as ominous for him, that fortune had destined the
Duke of Nemours to be in love with the Princess of Cleves. And
whether there appeared in reality any concern in the Princess's
face, or whether the Chevalier's jealousy only led him to suspect
it, he believed that she was touched with the sight of the Duke,
and could not forbear telling her, that Monsieur de Nemours was
very happy to commence an acquaintance with her by an incident
which had something very gallant and extraordinary in it.

Madam de Cleves returned home with her thoughts full of what had
passed at the ball; and though it was very late, she went into
her mother's room to give her a relation of it; in doing which
she praised the Duke of Nemours with a certain air, that gave
Madam de Chartres the same suspicion the Chevalier de Guise had
entertained before.

The day following the ceremony of the Duke of Loraine's marriage
was performed; and there the Princess of Cleves observed so
inimitable a grace, and so fine a mien in the Duke of Nemours,
that she was yet more surprised.

She afterwards saw him at the Court of the Queen-Dauphin; she saw
him play at tennis with the King; she saw him run the ring; she
heard him discourse; still she found he far excelled everybody
else, and drew the attention of the company to him wherever he
was; in short, the gracefulness of his person, and the
agreeableness of his wit soon made a considerable impression on
her heart.

The Duke de Nemours had an inclination no less violent for her;
and hence flowed all that gaiety and sweetness of behaviour,
which the first desires of pleasing ordinarily inspire a man
with: hence he became more amiable than ever he was before; so
that by often seeing one another, and by seeing in each other
whatever was most accomplished at Court, it could not be but that
they must mutually receive the greatest pleasure from such a

The Duchess of Valentinois made one in all parties of pleasure;
and the King was still as passionately fond of her as in the
beginning of his love. The Princess of Cleves being at those
years, wherein people think a woman is incapable of inciting love
after the age of twenty-five, beheld with the utmost astonishment
the King's passion for the Duchess, who was a grandmother, and
had lately married her granddaughter: she often spoke on this
subject to Madam de Chartres. "Is it possible, Madam," said
she, "that the King should still continue to love? How could he
take a fancy to one, who was so much older than himself, who had
been his father's mistress, and who, as I have heard, is still
such to many others?" " 'Tis certain," answered Madam de
Chartres," it was neither the merit nor the fidelity of the
Duchess of Valentinois, which gave birth to the King's passion,
or preserved it; and this is what he can't be justified in; for
if this lady had had beauty and youth suitable to her birth; and
the merit of having had no other lover; if she had been exactly
true and faithful to the King; if she had loved him with respect
only to his person, without the interested views of greatness and
fortune, and without using her power but for honourable purposes
and for his Majesty's interest; in this case it must be
confessed, one could have hardly forbore praising his passion for
her. If I was not afraid," continued Madam de Chartres, "that
you would say the same thing of me which is said of most women of
my years, that they love to recount the history of their own
times, I would inform you how the King's passion for this Duchess
began, and of several particulars of the Court of the late King,
which have a great relation to things that are acted at
present." "Far from blaming you," replied the Princess of
Cleves, "for repeating the histories of past times, I lament,
Madam, that you have not instructed me in those of the present,
nor informed me as to the different interests and parties of the
Court. I am so entirely ignorant of them, that I thought a few
days ago, the Constable was very well with the Queen." "You
was extremely mistaken," answered Madam de Chartres, "the Queen
hates the Constable, and if ever she has power, he'll be but too
sensible of it; she knows, he has often told the King, that of
all his children none resembled him but his natural ones." "I
should never have suspected this hatred," said the Princess of
Cleves, "after having seen her assiduity in writing to the
Constable during his imprisonment, the joy she expressed at his
return, and how she always calls him Compere, as well as the
King." "If you judge from appearances in a Court," replied
Madam de Chartres, "you will often be deceived; truth and
appearances seldom go together.

"But to return to the Duchess of Valentinois, you know her name
is Diana de Poitiers; her family is very illustrious, she is
descended from the ancient Dukes of Aquitaine, her grandmother
was a natural daughter of Lewis the XI, and in short she
possesses everything that is great in respect of birth. St.
Valier, her father, had the unhappiness to be involved in the
affair of the Constable of Bourbon, which you have heard of; he
was condemned to lose his head, and accordingly was conducted to
the scaffold: his daughter, viz., the Duchess, who was extremely
beautiful, and who had already charmed the late King, managed so
well, I don't know by what means, that she obtained her father's
life; the pardon was brought him at the moment he was expecting
the fatal blow; but the pardon availed little, for fear had
seized him so deeply, that it bereft him of his senses, and he
died a few days after. His daughter appeared at Court as the
King's mistress; but the Italian expedition, and the imprisonment
of the present Prince, were interruptions to his love affair.
When the late King returned from Spain, and Madam the Regent went
to meet him at Bayonne, she brought all her maids of honour with
her, among whom was Mademoiselle de Pisselen, who was since
Duchess d'Etampes; the King fell in love with her, though she was
inferior in birth, wit and beauty to the Duchess of Valentinois,
and had no advantage above her but that of being very young. I
have heard her say several times, that she was born the same day
Diana de Poitiers was married, but she spoke this in the malice
of her heart, and not as what she knew to be true; for I am much
mistaken, if the Duchess of Valentinois did not marry Monsieur de
Breze, at the same time that the King fell in love with Madam
d'Etampes. Never was a greater hatred than that between these
two ladies; the Duchess could not pardon Madam d'Etampes for
having taken from her the title of the King's mistress; and Madam
d'Etampes was violently jealous of the Duchess, because the King
still kept correspondence with her. That Prince was by no means
constant to his mistresses; there was always one among them that
had the title and honours of mistress, but the ladies of the
small band, as they were styled, shared his favour by turns. The
loss of the Dauphin, his son, who died at Tournon, and was
thought to be poisoned, extremely afflicted him; he had not the
same affection and tenderness for his second son, the present
King; he imagined he did not see in him spirit and vivacity
enough, and complained of it one day to the Duchess of
Valentinois, who told him she would endeavour to raise a passion
in him for her, in order to make him more sprightly and
agreeable. She succeeded in it, as you see, and this passion is
now of above twenty years' duration, without being changed either
by time or incidents.

"The late King at first opposed it; and whether he had still
love enough left for the Duchess of Valentinois to be jealous, or
whether he was urged on by the Duchess d'Etampes, who was in
despair upon seeing the Dauphin so much attached to her enemy, it
is certain he beheld this passion with an indignation and
resentment, that showed itself every day by something or other.
The Dauphin neither valued his anger or his hatred, nor could
anything oblige him either to abate or conceal his flame, so that
the King was forced to accustom himself to bear it with patience.

This opposition of his to his father's will, withdrew his
affections from him more and more, and transferred them to his
third son, the Duke of Orleans, who was a Prince of a fine person
full of fire and ambition, and of a youthful heat which wanted to
be moderated; however, he would have made a very great Prince,
had he arrived to a more ripened age.

"The rank of eldest, which the Dauphin held, and the King's
favour which the Duke of Orleans was possessed of, created
between them a sort of emulation, that grew by degrees to hatred.
This emulation began from their infancy, and was still kept up in
its height. When the Emperor passed through France, he gave the
preference entirely to the Duke of Orleans, which the Dauphin
resented so bitterly, that while the Emperor was at Chantilli, he
endeavoured to prevail with the Constable to arrest him without
waiting for the King's orders, but the Constable refused to do
it: however, the King afterwards blamed him for not following his
son's advice, and when he banished him the Court, that was one of
the principal reasons for it.

"The discord between the two brothers put Madam d'Etampes upon
the thought of strengthening herself with the Duke of Orleans, in
order to support her power with the King against the Duchess of
Valentinois; accordingly she succeeded in it, and that young
Prince, though he felt no emotions of love for her, entered no
less into her interest, than the Dauphin was in that of Madam de
Valentinois. Hence rose two factions at Court, of such a nature
as you may imagine, but the intrigues of them were not confined
to the quarrels of women.

The Emperor, who continued to have a great friendship for the
Duke of Orleans, had offered several times to make over to him
the Duchy of Milan. In the propositions which were since made
for the peace, he gave hopes of assigning him the seventeen
provinces, with his daughter in marriage. The Dauphin neither
approved of the peace or the marriage, and in order to defeat
both he made use of the Constable, for whom he always had an
affection, to remonstrate to the King of what importance it was
not to give his successor a brother so powerful as the Duke of
Orleans would be with the alliance of the Emperor and those
countries; the Constable came the more easily into the Dauphin's
sentiments, as they were opposite to those of Madam d'Etampes,
who was his declared enemy, and who vehemently wished for the
promotion of the Duke of Orleans.

"The Dauphin commanded at that time the King's Army in
Champaign, and had reduced that of the Emperor to such
extremities, that it must have entirely perished, had not the
Duchess d'Etampes, for fear too great successes should make us
refuse peace, and the Emperor's alliance in favour of the Duke of
Orleans, secretly advised the enemy to surprise Espemai and
Cheteau-Thieni, in which places were great magazines of
provisions; they succeeded in the attempt, and by that means
saved their whole army.

"This Duchess did not long enjoy the success of her treason. A
little after the Duke of Orleans died at Farmontiers of a kind of
contagious distemper: he was in love with one of the finest women
of the Court, and was beloved by her. I will not mention her
name, because she has since lived with so much discretion, and
has so carefully concealed the passion she had for that Prince,
that one ought to be tender of her reputation. It happened she
received the news of her husband's death at the same time as she
heard of the Duke's, so that she had that pretext to enable her
to conceal her real sorrow, without being at the trouble of
putting any constraint upon herself.

"The King did not long survive the Prince his son; he died two
years after; he recommended to the Dauphin to make use of the
Cardinal de Tournon and the Admiral d'Annebault, but said nothing
at all of the Constable, who was then in banishment at Chantilli.

Nevertheless the first thing the King his son did was to recall
him, and make him his Prime Minister.

"Madam d'Etampes was discarded, and received all the ill
treatment she could possibly expect from an enemy so very
powerful; the Duchess of Valentinois amply revenged herself both
of that lady, and all those who had disobliged her; she seemed to
reign more absolute in the King's heart than she did even when he
was Dauphin. During the twelve years' reign of this Prince she
has been absolute in everything; she disposes of all governments
and offices of trust and power; she has disgraced the Cardinal de
Tournon, the Chancellor, and Villeroy; those who have endeavoured
to open the King's mind with respect to her conduct, have been
undone in the attempt; the Count de Taix, great Master of the
Ordnance, who had no kindness for her, could not forbear speaking
of her gallantries, and particularly of that with the Count de
Brissac, of whom the King was already very jealous. Nevertheless
she contrived things so well, that the Count de Taix was
disgraced, and his employment taken from him; and what is almost
incredible, she procured it to be given to the Count de Brissac,
and afterwards made him a Mareschal of France. Notwithstanding,
the King's jealousy increased to such a height, that lie could no
longer suffer him to continue at Court: this passion of jealousy,
which is fierce and violent in other men, is gentle and moderate
in him through the great respect he has for his mistress, and
therefore he did not go about to remove his rival, but under the
pretext of giving him the Government of Piemont. He has lived
there several years; last winter he returned to Paris, under
pretence of demanding troops and other necessaries for the Army
he commands; the desire of seeing the Duchess of Valentinois
again, and the fear of being forgotten by her, was perhaps the
principal motive of this journey. The King received him very
coldly; Messieurs de Guise, who have no kindness for him, but
dare not show it on account of the Duchess, made use of Monsieur
the Viscount, her declared enemy, to prevent his obtaining what
he came to demand. It was no difficult matter to do him hurt.
The King hated him, and was uneasy at his presence, so that he
was obliged to return to Piemont without any benefit from his
journey, except perhaps that of rekindling in the heart of the
Duchess the flame which absence began to extinguish.

The King has had a great many other subjects of jealousy, but
either he has not been informed of them, or has not dared to
complain of them.

"I don't know, daughter," added Madam de Chartres, "if I have
not already told you more of these things, than you desired to
know." "I am far, Madam, from complaining of that," replied
the Princess of Cleves, "and if it was not for fear of being
importunate, I should yet desire to be informed of several
circumstances I am ignorant of."

The Duke de Nemours' passion for Madam de Cleves was at first so
violent, that he had no relish left for any of the ladies he paid
his addresses to before, and with whom he kept a correspondence
during his absence; he even lost all remembrance of his
engagements with them, and not only made it his business to find
out excuses to break with them, but had not the patience to hear
their complaints, or make any answer to the reproaches they laid
upon him. The Queen-Dauphin herself, for whom his regards had
been very tender, could no longer preserve a place in that heart
which was now devoted to the Princess of Cleves. His impatience
of making a tour to England began to abate, and he showed no
earnestness in hastening his equipage. He frequently went to the
Queen-Dauphin's Court, because the Princess of Cleves was often
there, and he was very easy in leaving people in the opinion they
had of his passion for that Queen; he put so great a value on
Madam de Cleves, that he resolved to be rather wanting in giving
proofs of his love, than to hazard its being publicly known; he
did not so much as speak of it to the Viscount de Chartres, who
was his intimate friend, and from whom he concealed nothing; the
truth is, he conducted this affair with so much discretion, that
nobody suspected he was in love with Madam de Cleves, except the
Chevalier de Guise; and she would scarcely have perceived it
herself, if the inclination she had for him had not led her into
a particular attention to all his actions, but which she was
convinced of it.

She no longer continued to have the same disposition to
communicate to her mother what she thought concerning the Duke de
Nemours, as she had to talk to her about her other lovers; though
she had no settled design of concealing it from her, yet she did
not speak of it. Madam de Chartres, however, plainly perceived
the Duke's attachment to her daughter, as well as her daughter's
inclination for him; the knowledge of this could not but sensibly
afflict her, nor could she be ignorant of the danger this young
lady was in, in being beloved by, and loving so accomplished a
person as the Duke de Nemours: she was entirely confirmed in the
suspicion she had of this business, by an incident which fell out
a few days after.

The Mareschal de St. Andre, who took all opportunities to show
his magnificence, desired the King, under pretence of showing him
his house which was just finished, to do him the honour to sup
there with the two Queens. The Mareschal was also very glad to
display, in the sight of the Princess of Cleves, that splendid
and expensive manner of life, which he carried to so great a

Some days before that appointed for the entertainment, the
Dauphin, who had an ill state of health, found himself
indisposed, and saw nobody; the Queen-Dauphin had spent all that
day with him; and in the evening, upon his growing better, all
the persons of quality that were in the anti-chamber were
admitted; the Queen-Dauphin returned to her own apartment, where
she found Madam de Cleves and some other ladies, with whom she
lived in familiarity.

It being already very late, and not being dressed, she did not
wait upon the Queen, but gave out that she was not to be seen,
and ordered her jewels to be brought, in order to choose out some
for the Mareschal de St. Andre's Ball, and present the Princess
of Cleves with some, as she had promised her. While they were
thus employed, the Prince of Conde entered; his great quality
gave him free access everywhere. "Doubtless," said the
Queen-Dauphin, "you come from the King my husband, what are they
doing there?"

"Madam," said he, "they are maintaining a dispute against the
Duke of Nemours, and he defends the argument he undertook with so
much warmth, that he must needs be very much interested in it; I
believe he has some mistress that gives him uneasiness by going
to balls, so well satisfied he is that it is a vexatious thing to
a lover to see the person he loves in those places."

"How," replied the Queen-Dauphin, "would not the Duke de
Nemours have his mistress go to a ball? I thought that husbands
might wish their wives would not go there; but as for lovers, I
never imagined they were of that opinion." "The Duke de
Nemours finds," answered the Prince of Conde, "that nothing is
so insupportable to lovers as balls, whether they are beloved
again, or whether they are not. He says, if they are beloved
they have the chagrin to be loved the less on this account for
several days; that there is no woman, whom her anxiety for dress
does not divert from thinking on her lover; that they are
entirely taken up with that one circumstance, that this care to
adorn themselves is for the whole world, as well as for the man
they favour; that when they are at a ball, they are desirous to
please all who look at them; and that when they triumph in their
beauty, they experience a joy to which their lovers very little
contribute. He argues further, that if one is not beloved, it is
a yet greater torment to see one's mistress at an assembly; that
the more she is admired by the public, the more unhappy one is
not to be beloved, and that the lover is in continual fear lest
her beauty should raise a more successful passion than his own;
lastly he finds, there is no torment equal to that of seeing
one's mistress at a ball, unless it be to know that she is there,
and not to be there one's self."

Madam de Cleves pretended not to hear what the Prince of Conde
said, though she listened very attentively; she easily saw what
part she had in the Duke of Nemours's opinion, and particularly
as to what he said of the uneasiness of not being at a ball where
his mistress was, because he was not to be at that of the
Mareschal de St. Andre, the King having sent him to meet the Duke
of Ferrara.

The Queen-Dauphin, and the Prince of Conde, not going into the
Duke's opinion, were very merry upon the subject. "There is but
one occasion, Madam," said the Prince to her, "in which the
Duke will consent his mistress should go to a ball, and that is
when he himself gives it. He says, that when he gave your
Majesty one last year, his mistress was so kind as to come to it,
though seemingly only to attend you; that it is always a favour
done to a lover, to partake of an entertainment which he gives;
that it is an agreeable circumstance for him to have his mistress
see him preside in a place where the whole Court is, and see him
acquit himself well in doing the honours of it." "The Duke de
Nemours was in the right," said the Queen-Dauphin, smiling, "to
approve of his mistress's being at his own ball; there was then
so great a number of ladies, whom he honoured with the
distinction of that name, that if they had not come, the assembly
would have been very thin."

The Prince of Conde had no sooner begun to relate the Duke de
Nemours's sentiments concerning assemblies, but Madam de Cleves
felt in herself a strong aversion to go to that of the Mareschal
de St. Andre. She easily came into the opinion, that a woman
ought not to be at an entertainment given by one that professed
love to her, and she was very glad to find out a reason of
reservedness for doing a thing which would oblige the Duke of
Nemours. However, she carried away with her the ornaments which
the Queen-Dauphin had given her; but when she showed them her
mother, she told her that she did not design to make use of them;
that the Mareschal de St. Andre took a great deal of pains to
show his attachment to her, and she did not doubt he would be
glad to have it believed that a compliment was designed her in
the entertainment he gave the King, and that under the pretence
of doing the honours of his house, he would show her civilities
which would be uneasy to her.

Madam de Chartres for some time opposed her daughter's opinion,
as thinking it very singular; but when she saw she was obstinate
in it, she gave way, and told her, that in that case she ought to
pretend an indisposition as an excuse for not going to the ball,
because the real reasons which hindered her would not be approved
of; and care ought to be taken that they should not be suspected.

Madam de Cleves voluntarily consented to pass some days at her
mother's, in order not to go to any place where the Duke of
Nemours was not to be. However the Duke set out, without the
pleasure of knowing she would not be at the ball.

The day after the ball he returned, and was informed that she was
not there; but as he did not know the conversation he had at the
Dauphin's Court had been repeated to her, he was far from
thinking himself happy enough to have been the reason of her not

The day after, while he was at the Queen's apartments, and
talking to the Queen-Dauphin, Madam de Chartres and Madam de
Cleves came in. Madam de Cleves was dressed a little
negligently, as a person who had been indisposed, but her
countenance did not at all correspond with her dress. "You look
so pretty," says the Queen-Dauphin to her, "that I can't
believe you have been ill; I think the Prince of Conde, when he
told us the Duke de Nemours's opinion of the ball, persuaded you,
that to go there would be doing a favour to the Mareschal de St.
Andre, and that that's the reason which hindered you from
going." Madam de Cleves blushed, both because the Queen-Dauphin
had conjectured right, and because she spoke her conjecture in
the presence of the Duke de Nemours.

Madam de Chartres immediately perceived the true reason, why her
daughter refused to go to the ball; and to prevent the Duke de
Nemours discovering it, as well as herself, she took up the
discourse after a manner that gave what she said an air of truth.

"I assure you, Madam," said she to the Queen-Dauphin, "that
your Majesty has done my daughter more honour than she deserves;
she was really indisposed, but I believe, if I had not hindered
her, she would not have failed to wait on you, and to show
herself under any disadvantages, for the pleasure of seeing what
there was extraordinary at yesterday's entertainment." The
Queen-Dauphin gave credit to what Madam de Chartres said but the
Duke de Nemours was sorry to find so much probability in it
nevertheless, the blushes of the Princess of Cleves made him
suspect, that what the Queen-Dauphin had said was not altogether
false. The Princess of Cleves at first was concerned the Duke
had any room to believe it was he who had hindered her from going
to the Mareschal de St. Andre; but afterwards she was a little
chagrined that her mother had entirely taken off the suspicion of

Though the Congress of Cercamp had been broken off, the
negotiations for the peace were continued, and things were so
disposed, that towards the latter end of February the conferences
were reassumed at Chateau-Cambresis; the same plenipotentiaries
were sent as before, and the Mareschal de St. Andre being one,
his absence freed the Duke de Nemours from a rival, who was
formidable rather from his curiosity in observing those who
addressed to Madam de Cleves, than from any advances he was
capable of making himself in her favour.

Madam de Chartres was not willing to let her daughter see that
she knew her sentiments for the Duke, for fear of making herself
suspected in some things which she was very desirous to tell her.

One day she set herself to talk about him, and a great deal of
good she said of him, but mixed with it abundance of sham
praises, as the prudence he showed in never falling in love, and
how wise he was to make the affair of women and love an amusement
instead of a serious business: "It is not," added she, "that
he is not suspected to have a very uncommon passion for the
Queen-Dauphin; I observe he visits her very often; and I advise
you to avoid, as much as possible, speaking to him, and
especially in private; because, since the Queen-Dauphin treats
you as she does, it would be said, that you are their confidant;
and you know how disagreeable that sort of reputation is: I'm of
opinion, if this report continues, that you should not visit the
Queen-Dauphin so often, in order to avoid involving yourself in
adventures of gallantry."

The Princess of Cleves had never heard before of the amour
between the Duke de Nemours and the Queen-Dauphin; she was so
much surprised at what her mother had told her, and seemed to see
so plainly how she had been mistaken in her thoughts about the
Duke, that she changed countenance. Madam de Chartres perceived
it. Visitors came in that moment; and the Princess of Cleves
retired to her own apartment, and shut herself up in her closet.

One can't express the grief she felt to discover, by what her
mother had been just saying, the interest her heart had in the
Duke de Nemours; she had not dared as yet to acknowledge it to
her secret thoughts; she then found, that the sentiments she had
for him were such as the Prince of Cleves had required of her;
she perceived how shameful it was to entertain them for another,
and not for a husband that deserved them; she found herself under
the utmost embarrassment, and was dreadfully afraid lest the Duke
should make use of her only as a means to come at the
Queen-Dauphin, and it was this thought determined her to impart
to her mother something she had not yet told her.

The next morning she went into her mother's chamber to put her
resolves in execution, but she found Madam de Chartres had some
touches of a fever, and therefore did not think proper to speak
to her: this indisposition however appeared to insignificant,
that Madam de Cleves made no scruple after dinner to visit the
Queen-Dauphin; she was in her closet with two or three ladies of
her most familiar acquaintance. "We were speaking," said she
to her, as soon as she saw her, "of the Duke de Nemours, and
were admiring how much he's changed since his return from
Brussels; before he went there, he had an infinite number of
mistresses, and it was his own fault, for he showed an equal
regard to those who had merit, and to those who had none; since
his return he neither knows the one nor the other; there never
was so great a change; I find his humour is changed too, and that
he is less gay than he used to be."

The Princess of Cleves made no answer; and it shocked her to
think she should have taken all that they said of the change in
the Duke for proofs of his passion for her, had she not been
undeceived; she felt in herself some little resentment against
the Queen-Dauphin, for endeavouring to find out reasons, and
seeming surprised at a thing, which she probably knew more of
than anyone else; she could not forbear showing something of it;
and when the other ladies withdrew, she came up and told her in a
low voice, "And is it I, Madam, you have been pointing at, and
have you a mind to conceal, that you are she who has made such an
alteration in the conduct of the Duke of Nemours?" "You do me
injustice," answered the Queen-Dauphin, "you know I conceal
nothing from you; it is true the Duke of Nemours, before he went
to Brussels, had, I believe, an intention to let me know he did
not hate me; but since his return, it has not so much as appeared
that he remembers anything of what he has done; and I acknowledge
I have a curiosity to know what it is has changed him so: it
would not be very difficult for me to unravel this affair,"
added she; "the Viscount de Chartres, his intimate friend, is in
love with a lady with whom I have some power, and I'll know by
that means the occasion of this alteration." The Queen-Dauphin
spoke with an air of sincerity which convinced the Princess of
Cleves, and in spite of herself she found her mind in a more calm
and pleasing situation than it had been in before.

When she returned to her mother, she heard she was a great deal
worse than she had left her; her fever was redoubled, and the
days following it increased to so great a degree, that she was
thought to be in danger. Madam de Cleves was in extreme grief on
this occasion, and never stirred out of her mother's chamber.
The Prince of Cleves was there too almost every day and all day
long, partly out of affection to Madam de Chartres, and partly to
hinder his lady from abandoning herself to sorrow, but chiefly
that he might have the pleasure of seeing her, his passion not
being at all diminished.

The Duke de Nemours, who had always had a great friendship for
the Prince of Cleves, had not failed to show it since his return
from Brussels; during the illness of Madam de Chartres he
frequently found means to see the Princess of Cleves, pretending
to want her husband, or to come to take him out to walk; he
enquired for him at such hours as he knew very well he was not at
home, and under pretence of waiting for him stayed in Madam de
Cleves's anti-chamber, where there were always a great many
people of quality; Madam de Cleves often came there, and her
grief did not make her seem less handsome in the eyes of the Duke
de Nemours; he made her sensible what interest he had in her
affliction, and spoke to her with so submissive an air, that he
easily convinced her, that the Queen-Dauphin was not the person
he was in love with.

The seeing him at once gave her grief and pleasure; but when she
no longer saw him, and reflected that the charm he carried about
him when present, was an introduction to love, she was very near
imagining she hated him, out of the excessive grief which that
thought gave her.

Madam de Chartres still grew worse and worse, so that they began
to despair of her life; she heard what the physicians told her
concerning the danger she was in with a courage worthy her
virtue, and her piety. After they were gone, she caused
everybody to retire, and sent for Madam de Cleves.

"We must part, my dear daughter," said she, stretching out her
hand to her; "the danger I leave you in, and the occasion you
have for me, adds to the regret I have to leave you: you have a
passion for the Duke de Nemours; I do not desire you to confess
it; I am no longer in a condition to make use of that sincerity
for your good; I have perceived this inclination a great while,
but was not willing to speak to you of it at first, for fear of
making you discover it yourself; you know it at present but too
well; you are upon the brink of a precipice; great efforts must
be used, and you must do great violence to your heart to save
yourself: reflect what you owe to your husband; reflect what you
owe to yourself, and think that you are going to lose that
reputation which you have gained, and which I have so much at
heart; call up, my dear daughter, all your courage and constancy;
retire from Court; oblige your husband to carry you away; do not
be afraid of taking such resolutions, as being too harsh and
difficult; however frightful they may appear at first, they will
become more pleasant in time, than the misfortunes that follow
gallantry: if any other motives than those of duty and virtue
could have weight with you, I should tell you that if anything
were capable of disturbing the happiness I hope for in the next
world, it would be to see you fall like other women; but if this
calamity must necessarily happen, I shall meet death with joy, as
it will hinder me from being a witness of it."

Madam de Cleves bathed with tears her mother's hand, which she
held fast locked in her own; nor was Madam de Chartres less
moved. "Adieu, dear daughter," said she, "let us put an end
to a conversation which melts us both; and remember, if you are
able, all that I have been saying to you."

When she had spoke this, she turned herself on the other side,
and ordered her daughter to call her women, being unwilling
either to hear her reply, or to speak any more. Madam de Cleves
went out of her presence in a condition one need not describe;
and Madam de Chartres thought of nothing but preparing herself
for death: she lived two days longer, during which she would not
see her daughter again; her daughter was the only thing she had
reluctance to part with.

Madam de Cleves was in the utmost affliction; her husband did not
leave her, and no sooner was her mother expired, but he carried
her into the country, that she might not have in her eye a place
which could serve only to sharpen her sorrow, which was scarce to
be equalled. Though tenderness and gratitude had the greatest
share in her griefs, yet the need which she found she had of her
mother to guard her against the Duke of Nemours added no small
weight to them; she found she was unhappy in being left to
herself, at a time when she was so little mistress of her own
affections, and when she so much wished for somebody to pity and
encourage her. The Prince of Cleves's behaviour to her on this
occasion, made her wish more ardently than ever, never to fail in
her duty to him; she also expressed more friendship and affection
for him than she had done before; she would not suffer him to
leave her, and she seemed to think that his being constantly with
her could defend her against the Duke of Nemours.

The Duke came to see the Prince of Cleves in the country; he did
what he could to pay a visit also to Madam de Cleves, but she
refused to receive him; and being persuaded she could not help
finding something dangerously lovely in him, she made a strong
resolution to forbear seeing him, and to avoid all occasions of
it that were in her power.

The Prince of Cleves went to Paris to make his Court, and
promised his lady to return the next day, but however he did not
return till the day after. "I expected you yesterday," said
Madam de Cleves to him on his arrival, "and I ought to chide you
for not having come as you promised; you know, if I was capable
of feeling a new affliction in the condition I am in, it would be
the death of Madam de Tournon, and I have heard of it this
morning; I should have been concerned, though I had not known
her; it is a melting consideration to think that a lady so young
and handsome as she, should be dead in two days; but besides, she
was the person in the world that pleased me most, and who
appeared to have discretion equal to her beauty."

"I am sorry I could not return yesterday," replied the Prince
of Cleves, "but my presence was so necessary to the consolation
of an unhappy man, that it was impossible for me to leave him.
As for Madam de Tournon, I do not advise you not to be concerned
for her, if you lament her as a woman full of discretion, and
worthy of your esteem." "You surprise me," answered Madam de
Cleves, "I have heard you say several times, that there was not
a lady at Court you had a greater respect for." "It is
true," replied he, "but women are incomprehensible, and when I
have seen them all, I think myself so happy in having you, that I
cannot enough admire my good fortune." "You esteem me more
than I deserve," answered Madam de Cleves, "you have not had
experience enough yet to pronounce me worthy of you; but tell me,
I beseech you, what it is has undeceived you with respect to
Madam de Tournon." "I have been undeceived a great while,"
replied he, "and I know that she was in love with the Count de
Sancerre, and that she gave him room to hope she would marry
him." "I can't believe," said Madam de Cleves, "that Madam
de Tournon, after so extraordinary an aversion as she has shown
to marriage from the time she became a widow, and after the
public declarations she has made that she would never marry
again, should give hopes to Sancerre." "If she had given hopes
to him only," replied the Prince of Cleves, "the wonder had not
been so great; but what is surprising is, that she gave hopes
likewise to Etouteville at the same time: I'll let you know the
whole history of this matter."


"You know the friendship, there is betwixt Sancerre and me.
Nevertheless about two years ago he fell in love with Madam de
Tournon, and concealed it from me with as much care as from the
rest of the world; I had not the least suspicion of it. Madam de
Tournon as yet appeared inconsolable for the death of her
husband, and lived in retirement with great austerity.
Sancerre's sister was in a manner the only person she saw, and it
was at her lodgings he became in love with her.

"One evening there was to be play at the Louvre, and the actors
only waited for the coming of the King and Madam de Valentinois,
when word was brought that she was indisposed, and that the King
would not come. It was easy to see that the Duchess's
indisposition was nothing but some quarrel with the King;
everyone knew the jealousy he had had of the Mareschal de Brisac
during his continuance at Court, but he had been set out some
days on his return to Piemont, and one could not imagine what was
the occasion of this falling out.

"While I was speaking of this to Sancerre, Monsieur d'Anville
came into the room, and told me in a whisper, that the King was
so exasperated and so afflicted at the same time, that one would
pity him; that upon a late reconciliation between him and the
Duchess, after the quarrel they had had about the Mareschal de
Brisac, he had given her a ring, and desired her to wear it; and
that as she was dressing herself to come to the play, he had
missed it on her finger, and asked what was become of it; upon
which she seemed in surprise that she had it not, and called to
her women for it, who unfortunately, or for want of being better
instructed, made answer they had not seen it four or five days.

"It was," continued Monsieur d'Anville, "precisely so long,
since the Mareschal de Brisac left the Court, and the King made
no doubt but she gave him the ring when she took her leave of
him. The thought of this awaked in so lively a manner that
jealousy which was not yet extinguished, that he fell into
uncommon transports, and loaded her with a thousand reproaches;
he is just gone into her apartment again in great concern, but
whether the reason is a more confirmed opinion that the Duchess
had made a sacrifice of the ring, or for fear of having
disobliged her by his anger, I can't tell.

"As soon as Monsieur d'Anville had told me this news, I
acquainted Sancerre with it; I told it him as a secret newly
entrusted with me, and charged him to say nothing of it.

"The next day I went early in the morning to my sister-in-law's,
and found Madam de Tournon at her bedside, who had no great
kindness for the Duchess of Valentinois, and knew very well that
my sister-in-law had no reason to be satisfied with her.
Sancerre had been with her, after he went from the play, and had
acquainted her with the quarrel between the King and the Duchess;
and Madam de Tournon was come to tell it to my sister-in-law,
without knowing or suspecting that it was I from whom her lover
had it.

"As soon as I advanced toward my sister-in-law, she told Madam
de Tournon, that they might trust me with what she had been
telling her; and without waiting Madam de Tournon's leave she
related to me word by word all I had told Sancerre the night
before. You may judge what surprise I was in; I looked hard at
Madam de Tournon, and she seemed disordered; her disorder gave me
a suspicion. I had told the thing to nobody but Sancerre; he
left me when the comedy was done, without giving any reason for
it; I remembered to have heard him speak much in praise of Madam
de Tournon; all these things opened my eyes, and I easily
discerned there was an intrigue between them, and that he had
seen her since he left me.

"I was so stung to find he had concealed this adventure from me,
that I said several things which made Madam de Tournon sensible
of the imprudence she had been guilty of; I led her back to her
coach, and assured her, I envied the happiness of him who
informed her of the King's quarrel with the Duchess of

"I went immediately in search of Sancerre, and severely
reproached him; I told him I knew of his passion for Madam de
Tournon, without saying how I came by the discovery; he was
forced to acknowledge it; I afterwards informed him what led me
into the knowledge of it, and he acquainted me with the detail of
the whole affair; he told me, that though he was a younger
brother, and far from being able to pretend to so good a match,
nevertheless she was determined to marry him. I can't express
the surprise I was in; I told Sancerre he would do well to hasten
the conclusion of the marriage, and that there was nothing he had
not to fear from a woman who had the artifice to support, in the
eye of the public, appearances so distant from truth; he gave me
in answer that she was really concerned for the loss of her
husband, but that the inclination she had for him had surmounted
that affliction, and that she could not help discovering all on a
sudden so great a change; he mentioned besides several other
reasons in her excuse, which convinced me how desperately he was
in love; he assured me he would bring her to consent that I
should know his passion for her, especially since it was she
herself who had made me suspect it; in a word, he did oblige her
to it, though with a great deal of difficulty, and I grew
afterwards very deep in their confidence.

"I never knew a lady behave herself in so genteel and agreeable
a manner to her lover, but yet I was always shocked at the
affectation she showed in appearing so concerned for the loss of
her husband. Sancerre was so much in love, and so well pleased
with the treatment he received from her, that he scarce durst
press her to conclude the marriage, for fear she should think he
desired it rather out of interest than love; however he spoke to
her of it, and she seemed fully bent on marrying him; she began
also to abandon her reserved manner of life, and to appear again
in public; she visited my sister-in-law at hours when some of the
Court were usually there; Sancerre came there but seldom, but
those who came every night, and frequently saw her there, thought
her extremely beautiful.

"She had not long quitted her solitude, when Sancerre imagined
that her passion for him was cooled; he spoke of it several times
to me: but I laid no great stress on the matter; but at last,
when he told me, that instead of forwarding the marriage, she
seemed to put it off, I began to think he was not to blame for
being uneasy: I remonstrated to him, that if Madam de Tournon's
passion was abated after having continued two years, he ought not
to be surprised at it, and that even supposing it was not abated,
possibly it might not be strong enough to induce her to marry
him; that he ought not to complain of it; that such a marriage in
the judgment of the public would draw censures upon her, not only
because he was not a suitable match for her, but also on account
of the prejudice it would do her reputation; that therefore all
he could desire was, that she might not deceive him, nor lead him
into false expectations; I told him further, that if she had not
resolution enough to marry him, or if she confessed she liked
some other person better, he ought not to resent or be angry at
it, but still continue his esteem and regard for her.

"I give you," said I, "the advice which I would take myself;
for sincerity has such charms to me, that I believe if my
mistress, or even my wife ingenuously confessed, she had a
greater affection for another than for me, I might be troubled,
but not exasperated; I would lay aside the character of a lover
or a husband, to bestow my advice and my pity."

This discourse made Madam de Cleves blush, and she found in it a
certain similitude of her own condition, which very much
surprised her, and gave her a concern, from which she could not
recover in a great while.

"Sancerre spoke to Madam de Tournon," continued Monsieur de
Cleves, "and told her all I had advised him; but she encouraged
him with so many fresh assurances, and seemed so displeased at
his suspicions, that she entirely removed them; nevertheless she
deferred the marriage until after a pretty long journey he was to
make; but she behaved herself so well until his departure, and
appeared so concerned at it, that I believed as well as he, that
she sincerely loved him. He set out about three months ago;
during his absence I have seldom seen Madam de Tournon; you have
entirely taken me up, and I only knew that he was speedily

"The day before yesterday, on my arrival at Paris, I heard she
was dead; I sent to his lodgings to enquire if they had any news
of him, and word was brought me he came to town the night before,
which was precisely the day that Madam de Tournon died; I
immediately went to see him, concluding in what condition I
should find him, but his affliction far surpassed what I had

"Never did I see a sorrow so deep and so tender; the moment he
saw me he embraced me with tears; `I shall never see her more,'
said he, `I shall never see her more, she is dead, I was not
worthy of her, but I shall soon follow her.'

"After this he was silent; and then, from time to time,
continually repeating `She is dead, I shall never see her more,'
he returned to lamentations and tears, and continued as a man
bereft of reason. He told me he had not often received letters
from her during his absence, but that he knew her too well to be
surprised at it, and was sensible how shy and timorous she was of
writing; he made no doubt but she would have married him upon his
return; he considered her as the most amiable and constant of her
sex; he thought himself tenderly beloved by her; he lost her the
moment he expected to be united to her for ever; all these
thoughts threw him into so violent an affliction, that I own I
was deeply touched with it.

"Nevertheless I was obliged to leave him to go to the King, but
promised to return immediately; accordingly I did, and I was
never so surprised as I was to find him entirely changed from
what I had left him; he was standing in his chamber, his face
full of fury, sometimes walking, sometimes stopping short, as if
he had been distracted; `Come,' says he, `and see the most
forlorn wretch in the world; I am a thousand times more unhappy
than I was a while ago, and what I have just heard of Madam de
Tournon is worse than her death.'

"I took what he said to be wholly the effect of grief, and could
not imagine that there could be anything worse than the death of
a mistress one loves and is beloved by; I told him, that so far
as he kept his grief within bounds, I approved of it, and bore a
part in it; but that I should no longer pity him, if he abandoned
himself to despair and flew from reason. `I should be too happy
if I had lost both my reason and my life,' cried he; `Madam de
Tournon was false to me, and I am informed of her unfaithfulness
and treachery the very day after I was informed of her death; I
am informed of it at a time when my soul is filled with the most
tender love, and pierced with the sharpest grief that ever was;
at a time when the idea of her in my heart, is that of the most
perfect woman who ever lived, and the most perfect with respect
to me; I find I am mistaken, and that she does not deserve to be
lamented by me; nevertheless I have the same concern for her
death, as if she had been true to me, and I have the same
sensibility of her falsehood, as if she were yet living; had I
heard of her falsehood before her death, jealousy, anger, and
rage would have possessed me, and in some measure hardened me
against the grief for her loss; but now my condition is such,
that I am incapable of receiving comfort, and yet know not how to
hate her.'

"You may judge of the surprise I was in at what Sancerre told
me; I asked him how he came by the knowledge of it, and he told
me that the minute I went away from him, Etouteville, who is his
intimate friend, but who nevertheless knew nothing of his love
for Madam de Tournon, came to see him; that as soon as he was sat
down, he fell a-weeping, and asked his pardon for having
concealed from him what he was going to tell him, that he begged
him to have compassion of him, that he was come to open his heart
to him, and that he was the person in the world the most
afflicted for the death of Madam de Tournon.

"`That name,' said Sancerre, `so astonished me, that though my
first intention was to tell him I was more afflicted than he, I
had not the power to speak: he continued to inform me, that he
had been in love with her six months, that he was always desirous
to let me know it, but she had expressly forbid him; and in so
authoritative a manner, that he durst not disobey her; that he
gained her in a manner as soon as he courted her, that they
concealed their mutual passion for each other from the whole
world, that he never visited her publicly, that he had the
pleasure to remove her sorrow for her husband's death, and that
lastly he was to have married her at the very juncture in which
she died; but that this marriage, which was an effect of love,
would have appeared in her an effect of duty and obedience, she
having prevailed upon her father to lay his commands on her to
marry him, in order to avoid the appearance of too great an
alteration in her conduct, which had seemed so averse to a second

"`While Etouteville was speaking to me,' said Sancerre, `I
believed all he said, because I found so much probability in it,
and because the time when he told me his passion for Madam de
Tournon commenced, is precisely the same with that when she
appeared changed towards me; but the next morning I thought him a
liar, or at least an enthusiast, and was upon the point of
telling him so. Afterwards I came into an inclination of
clearing up the matter, and proposed several questions, and laid
my doubts before him, in a word, I proceeded so far to convince
myself of my misfortune, that he asked me if I knew Madam de
Tournon's handwriting, and with that threw upon my bed four
letters of hers and her picture; my brother came in that minute;
Etouteville's face was so full of tears, that he was forced to
withdraw to avoid being observed, and said he would come again in
the evening to fetch what he left with me; and as for me, I sent
my brother away under pretence of being indisposed, so impatient
was I to see the letters he had left, and so full of hopes to
find something there that might make me disbelieve what
Etouteville had been telling me; but alas! What did I not find
there? What tenderness! what assurances of marriage! what
letters! She never wrote the like to me. Thus,' continued he,
`am I at once pierced with anguish for her death and for her
falsehood, two evils which have been often compared, but never
felt before by the same person at the same time; I confess, to my
shame, that still I am more grieved for her loss than for her
change; I cannot think her guilty enough, to consent to her
death: were she living, I should have the satisfaction to
reproach her, and to revenge myself on her by making her sensible
of her injustice; but I shall see her no more, I shall see her no
more; this is the greatest misfortune of all others; would I
could restore her to life, though with the loss of my own! Yet
what do I wish! If she were restored to life, she would live for
Etouteville: how happy was I yesterday,' cried he, `how happy! I
was the most afflicted man in the world; but my affliction was
reasonable, and there was something pleasing in the very thought
that I was inconsolable; today all my sentiments are unjust; I
pay to a feigned passion the tribute of my grief, which I thought
I owed to a real one; I can neither hate nor love her memory; I
am incapable of consolation, and yet don't know how to grieve for
her; take care, I conjure you, that I never see Etouteville; his
very name raises horror in me; I know very well I have no reason
of complaint against him; I was to blame in concealing from him
my love for Madam de Tournon; if he had known it, perhaps he
would not have pursued her, perhaps she would not have been false
to me; he came to me to impart his sorrows, and I cannot but pity
him; alas! he had reason to love Madam de Tournon, he was beloved
by her, and will never see her more: notwithstanding I perceive I
can't help hating him; once more I conjure you take care I may
not see him.'

"Sancerre burst afterwards into tears, began again to regret
Madam de Tournon, and to speak to her, as if she were present,
and say the softest things in the world; from these transports he
passed to hatred, to complaints, to reproaches and imprecations
against her. When I saw him in so desperate a condition, I found
I should want somebody to assist me in appeasing his mind;
accordingly I sent for his brother, whom I had left with the
King; I met him in the anti-chamber, and acquainted him with
Sancerre's condition: we gave the necessary orders to prevent his
seeing Etouteville, and employed part of the night in
endeavouring to make him capable of reason; this morning I found
him yet more afflicted; his brother continued with him, and I
returned to you."

"'Tis impossible to be more surprised than I am," said Madam de
Cleves; "I thought Madam de Tournon equally incapable of love
and falsehood." "Address and dissimulation," replied Monsieur
de Cleves, "cannot go further than she carried them; observe,
that when Sancerre thought her love to him was abated, it really
was, and she began to love Etouteville; she told the last that he
removed her sorrow for her husband's death, and that he was the
cause of her quitting her retirement; Sancerre believed the cause
was nothing but a resolution she had taken not to seem any longer
to be in such deep affliction; she made a merit to Etouteville of
concealing her correspondence with him, and of seeming forced to
marry him by her father's command, as if it was an effect of the
care she had of her reputation; whereas it was only an artifice
to forsake Sancerre, without his having reason to resent it: I
must return," continued Monsieur de Cleves, "to see this
unhappy man, and I believe you would do well to go to Paris too;
it is time for you to appear in the world again, and receive the
numerous visits which you can't well dispense with."

Madam de Cleves agreed to the proposal, and returned to Paris the
next day; she found herself much more easy with respect to the
Duke de Nemours than she had been; what her mother had told her
on her death-bed, and her grief for her death, created a sort of
suspension in her mind as to her passion for the Duke, which made
her believe it was quite effaced.

The evening of her arrival the Queen-Dauphin made her a visit,
and after having condoled with her, told her that in order to
divert her from melancholy thoughts, she would let her know all
that had passed at Court in her absence; upon which she related
to her a great many extraordinary things; "but what I have the
greatest desire to inform you of," added she, "is that it is
certain the Duke de Nemours is passionately in love; and that his
most intimate friends are not only not entrusted in it, but can't
so much as guess who the person is he is in love with;
nevertheless this passion of his is so strong as to make him
neglect, or to speak more properly, abandon the hopes of a

The Queen-Dauphin afterwards related whatever had passed in
England; "What I have just told you," continued she, "I had
from Monsieur d'Anville; and this morning he informed me, that
last night the King sent for the Duke de Nemours upon the subject
of Lignerol's letters, who desires to return, and wrote to his
Majesty that he could no longer excuse to the Queen of England
the Duke of Nemours's delay; that she begins to be displeased at
it; and though she has not positively given her promise, she has
said enough to encourage him to come over; the King showed this
letter to the Duke of Nemours, who instead of speaking seriously
as he had done at the beginning of this affair, only laughed and
trifled, and made a jest of Lignerol's expectations: He said,
`The whole world would censure his imprudence, if he ventured to
go to England, with the pretensions of marrying the Queen,
without being secure of success; I think,' added he, `I should
time my business very ill to go to England now, when the King of
Spain uses such pressing instances to obtain the Queen in
marriage; the Spanish King perhaps would not be a very formidable
rival in matters of gallantry, but in a treaty of marriage I
believe your Majesty would not advise me to be his competitor.'
`I would advise you to it upon this occasion,' replied the King;
`but however you will have no competitor in him; I know he has
quite other thoughts; and though he had not, Queen Mary found
herself so uneasy under the weight of the Spanish Crown, that I
can't believe her sister will be very desirous of it.' `If she
should not,' replied the Duke of Nemours, `it is probable she
will seek her happiness in love; she has been in love with my
Lord Courtenay for several years; Queen Mary too was in love with
him, and would have married him with consent of the states of her
kingdom, had not she known that the youth and beauty of her
sister Elizabeth had more charms for him than her crown; your
Majesty knows, that the violence of her jealousy carried her so
far, as to imprison them both, and afterwards to banish my Lord
Courtenay, and at last determined her to marry the King of Spain;
I believe Queen Elizabeth will soon recall that Lord, and make
choice of a man whom she loves, who deserves her love, and who
has suffered so much for her, in preference to another whom she
never saw.' `I should be of that opinion,' replied the King, `if
my Lord Courtenay were living, but I received advice some days
ago, that he died at Padua, whither he was banished: I plainly
see,' added the King, as he left the Duke, `that your marriage
must be concluded the same way the Dauphin's was, and that
ambassadors must be sent to marry the Queen of England for you.'

"Monsieur d'Anville and the Viscount, who were with the King
when he spoke to the Duke of Nemours, are persuaded that it is
the passion he is so deeply engaged in, which diverts him from so
great a design; the Viscount, who sees deeper into him than
anybody, told Madam de Martigny that he was so changed he did not
know him again; and what astonishes him more is, that he does not
find he has any private interviews, or that he is ever missing at
particular times, so that he believes he has no correspondence
with the person he is in love with; and that which surprises him
in the Duke is to see him in love with a woman who does not
return his love."

What poison did this discourse of the Queen-Dauphin carry in it
for Madam de Cleves? How could she but know herself to be the
person whose name was not known, and how could she help being
filled with tenderness and gratitude, when she learned, by a way
not in the least liable to suspicion, that the Duke, who had
already touched her heart, concealed his passion from the whole
world, and neglected for her sake the hopes of a Crown? It is
impossible to express what she felt, or to describe the tumult
that was raised in her soul. Had the Queen-Dauphin observed her
closely, she might easily have discerned, that what she had been
saying was not indifferent to her; but as she had not the least
suspicion of the truth, she continued her discourse without
minding her: "Monsieur d'Anville," added she, "from whom, as
I just told you, I had all this, believes I know more of it than
himself, and he has so great an opinion of my beauty, that he is
satisfied I am the only person capable of creating so great a
change in the Duke of Nemours."

These last words of the Queen-Dauphin gave Madam de Cleves a sort
of uneasiness very different from that which she had a few
minutes before. "I can easily come into Monsieur d'Anville's
opinion," answered she; "and 'tis very probable, Madam, that
nothing less than a Princess of your merit could make him despise
the Queen of England." "I would own it to you, if I knew it,"
replied the Queen-Dauphin, "and I should know it, if it were
true; such passions as these never escape the sight of those who
occasion them; they are the first to discern them; the Duke of
Nemours has never showed me anything but slight complaisances;
and yet I find so great a difference betwixt his present and
former behaviour to me, that I can assure you, I am not the cause
of the indifference he expresses for the Crown of England.

"But I forget myself in your company," added the Queen-Dauphin,
"and don't remember that I am to wait upon Madame: you know the
peace is as good as concluded, but perhaps you don't know that
the King of Spain has refused to sign it, but on condition of
marrying this Princess, instead of the Prince Don Carlos, his
son: the King was with great difficulty brought to allow it, but
at last he has consented, and is gone to carry the news to
Madame; I believe she will be inconsolable. To marry a man of
the King of Spain's age and temper can never be pleasing,
especially to her who has all the gaiety which the bloom of youth
joined with beauty inspires, and was in expectation of marrying a
young Prince for whom she has an inclination without having seen
him. I do not know whether the King will find in her all the
obedience he desires; he has charged me to see her, because he
knows she loves me, and believes I shall be able to influence
her. From thence I shall make a visit of a very different
nature, to congratulate the King's sister. All things are ready
for her marriage with the Prince of Savoy, who is expected in a
few days. Never was a woman of her age so entirely pleased to be
married; the Court will be more numerous and splendid than ever,
and notwithstanding your grief, you must come among us, in order
to make strangers see that we are furnished with no mean

Having said this, the Queen-Dauphin took her leave of Madam de
Cleves, and the next day Madame's marriage was publicly known;
some days after the King and the Queens went to visit the
Princess of Cleves; the Duke de Nemours, who had expected her
return with the utmost impatience, and languished for an
opportunity of speaking to her in private, contrived to wait upon
her at an hour, when the company would probably be withdrawing,
and nobody else come in; he succeeded in his design, and came in
when the last visitors were going away.

The Princess was sitting on her bed, and the hot weather,
together with the sight of the Duke de Nemours, gave her a blush
that added to her beauty; he sat over against her with a certain
timorous respect, that flows from a real love; he continued some
minutes without speaking; nor was she the less at a loss, so that
they were both silent a good while: at last the Duke condoled
with her for her mother's death; Madam de Cleves was glad to give
the conversation that turn, spoke a considerable time of the
great loss she had had, and at last said, that though time had
taken off from the violence of her grief, yet the impression
would always remain so strong, that it would entirely change her
humour. "Great troubles and excessive passions," replied the
Duke, "make great alterations in the mind; as for me, I am quite
another man since my return from Flanders; abundance of people
have taken notice of this change, and the Queen-Dauphin herself
spoke to me of it yesterday." "It is true," replied the
Princess, "she has observed it, and I think I remember to have
heard her say something about it." "I'm not sorry, Madam,"
replied the Duke, "that she has discerned it, but I could wish
some others in particular had discerned it too; there are persons
to whom we dare give no other evidences of the passion we have
for them, but by things which do not concern them; and when we
dare not let them know we love them, we should be glad at least
to have them see we are not desirous of being loved by any other;
we should be glad to convince them, that no other beauty, though
of the highest rank, has any charms for us, and that a Crown
would be too dear, if purchased with no less a price than absence
from her we adore: women ordinarily," continued he, "judge of
the passion one has for them, by the care one takes to oblige,

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