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to be left there, and sensible that he should be well treated by L’Archant, called out to him, as he was leaving the room, in his droll manner:

“What, papa, are you going without me? Don’t you think I am as great a rogue as that Simier?”

“Ah, son,” replied L’Archant, “I would much rather have lost my arm than have met with you!”

Bussi, being a man devoid of all fear, observed that it was a sign that things went well with him; then, turning to Simier, who stood trembling with fear, he jeered him upon his pusillanimity. L’Archant removed them both, and set a guard over them; and, in the next place, proceeded to arrest M. de la Chastre, whom he took to the Bastille.

Meanwhile M. de l’Oste was appointed to the command of the guard which was set over my brother. This was a good sort of old man, who had been appointed governor to the King my husband, and loved me as if I had been his own child. Sensible of the injustice done to my brother and me, and lamenting the bad counsel by which the King was guided, and being, moreover, willing to serve us, he resolved to deliver my brother from arrest. In order to make his intention known to us he ordered the Scottish archers to wait on the stairs without, keeping only two whom he could trust in the room. Then taking me aside, he said:

“There is not a good Frenchman living who does not bleed at his heart to see what we see. I have served the King your father, and I am ready to lay down my life to serve his children. I expect to have the guard of the Prince your brother, wherever he shall chance to be confined; and, depend upon it, at the hazard of my life, I will restore him to his liberty. But,” added he, “that no suspicions may arise that such is my design, it will be proper that we be not seen together in conversation; however, you may rely upon my word.”

This afforded me great consolation; and, assuming a degree of courage hereupon, I observed to my brother that we ought not to remain there without knowing for what reason we were detained, as if we were in the Inquisition; and that to treat us in such a manner was to consider us as persons of no account. I then begged M. de l’Oste to entreat the King, in our name, if the Queen our mother was not permitted to come to us, to send some one to acquaint us with the crime for which we were kept in confinement.

M. de Combaut, who was at the head of the young counsellors, was accordingly sent to us; and he, with a great deal of gravity, informed us that he came from the King to inquire what it was we wished to communicate to his Majesty. We answered that we wished to speak to some one near the King’s person, in order to our being informed what we were kept in confinement for, as we were unable to assign any reason for it ourselves. He answered, with great solemnity, that we ought not to ask of God or the King reasons for what they did; as all their actions emanated from wisdom and justice. We replied that we were not persons to be treated like those shut up in the Inquisition, who are left to guess at the cause of their being there.

We could obtain from him, after all we said, no other satisfaction than his promise to interest himself in our behalf, and to do us all the service in his power. At this my brother broke out into a fit of laughter; but I confess I was too much alarmed to treat his message with such indifference, and could scarcely refrain from talking to this messenger as he deserved.

Whilst he was making his report to the King, the Queen my mother kept her chamber, being under great concern, as may well be supposed, to witness such proceedings. She plainly foresaw, in her prudence, that these excesses would end fatally, should the mildness of my brother’s disposition, and his regard for the welfare of the State, be once wearied out with submitting to such repeated acts of injustice. She therefore sent for the senior members of the Council, the chancellor, princes, nobles, and marshals of France, who all were greatly scandalised at the bad counsel which had been given to the King, and told the Queen my mother that she ought to remonstrate with the King upon the injustice of his proceedings. They observed that what had been done could not now be recalled, but matters might yet be set upon a right footing. The Queen my mother hereupon went to the King, followed by these counsellors, and represented to him the ill consequences which might proceed from the steps he had taken.

The King’s eyes were by this time opened, and he saw that he had been ill advised. He therefore begged the Queen my mother to set things to rights, and to prevail on my brother to forget all that had happened, and to bear no resentment against these young men, but to make up the breach betwixt Bussi and Quelus.

Things being thus set to rights again, the guard which had been placed over my brother was dismissed, and the Queen my mother, coming to his apartment, told him he ought to return thanks to God for his deliverance, for that there had been a moment when even she herself despaired of saving his life; that since he must now have discovered that the King’s temper of mind was such that he took the alarm at the very imagination of danger, and that, when once he was resolved upon a measure, no advice that she or any other could give would prevent him from putting it into execution, she would recommend it to him to submit himself to the King’s pleasure in everything, in order to prevent the like in future; and, for the present, to take the earliest opportunity of seeing the King, and to appear as if he thought no more about the past.

We replied that we were both of us sensible of God’s great mercy in delivering us from the injustice of our enemies, and that, next to God, our greatest obligation was to her; but that my brother’s rank did not admit of his being put in confinement without cause, and released from it again without the formality of an acknowledgment. Upon this, the Queen observed that it was not in the power even of God himself to undo what had been done; that what could be effected to save his honour, and give him satisfaction for the irregularity of the arrest, should have place. My brother, therefore, she observed, ought to strive to mollify the King by addressing him with expressions of regard to his person and attachment to his service; and, in the meantime, use his influence over Bussi to reconcile him to Quelus, and to end all disputes betwixt them. She then declared that the principal motive for putting my brother and his servants under arrest was to prevent the combat for which old Bussi, the brave father of a brave son, had solicited the King’s leave, wherein he proposed to be his son’s second, whilst the father of Quelus was to be his. These four had agreed in this way to determine the matter in dispute, and give the Court no further disturbance.

My brother now engaged himself to the Queen that, as Bussi would see he could not be permitted to decide his quarrel by combat, he should, in order to deliver himself from his arrest, do as she had commanded.

The Queen my mother, going down to the King, prevailed with him to restore my brother to liberty with every honour. In order to which the King came to her apartment, followed by the princes, noblemen, and other members of the Council, and sent for us by M. de Villequier. As we went along we found all the rooms crowded with people, who, with tears in their eyes, blessed God for our deliverance. Coming into the apartments of the Queen my mother, we found the King attended as I before related. The King desired my brother not to take anything ill that had been done, as the motive for it was his concern for the good of his kingdom, and not any bad intention towards himself. My brother replied that he had, as he ought, devoted his life to his service, and, therefore, was governed by his pleasure; but that he most humbly begged him to consider that his fidelity and attachment did not merit the return he had met with; that, notwithstanding, he should impute it entirely to his own ill-fortune, and should be perfectly satisfied if the King acknowledged his innocence. Hereupon the King said that he entertained not the least doubt of his innocence, and only desired him to believe he held the same place in his esteem he ever had. The Queen my mother then, taking both of them by the hand, made them embrace each other.

Afterwards the King commanded Bussi to be brought forth, to make a reconciliation betwixt him and Quelus, giving orders, at the same time, for the release of Simier and M. de la Chastre. Bussi coming into the room with his usual grace, the King told him he must be reconciled with Quelus, and forbade him to say a word more concerning their quarrel. He then commanded them to embrace. “Sire,” said Bussi, “if it is your pleasure that we kiss and are friends again, I am ready to obey your command;” then, putting himself in the attitude of Pantaloon, he went up to Quelus and gave him a hug, which set all present in a titter, notwithstanding they had been seriously affected by the scene which had passed just before.

Many persons of discretion thought what had been done was too slight a reparation for the injuries my brother had received. When all was over, the King and the Queen my mother, coming up to me, said it would be incumbent on me to use my utmost endeavours to prevent my brother from calling to mind anything past which should make him swerve from the duty and affection he owed the King. I replied that my brother was so prudent, and so strongly attached to the King’s service, that he needed no admonition on that head from me or anyone else; and that, with respect to myself, I had never given him any other advice than to conform himself to the King’s pleasure and the duty he owed him.

LETTER XIX

It was now three o’clock in the afternoon, and no one present had yet dined. The Queen my mother was desirous that we should eat together, and, after dinner, she ordered my brother and me to change our dress (as the clothes we had on were suitable only to our late melancholy situation) and come to the King’s supper and ball. We complied with her orders as far as a change of dress, but our countenances still retained the impressions of grief and resentment which we inwardly felt.

I must inform you that when the tragi-comedy I have given you an account of was over, the Queen my mother turned round to the Chevalier de Seurre, whom she recommended to my brother to sleep in his bedchamber, and in whose conversation she sometimes took delight because he was a man of some humour, but rather inclined to be cynical.

“Well,” said she, “M. de Seurre, what do you think of all this?”

“Madame, I think there is too much of it for earnest, and not enough for jest.”

Then addressing himself to me, he said, but not loud enough for the Queen to hear him: “I do not believe all is over yet; I am very much mistaken if this young man” (meaning my brother) “rests satisfied with this.”

This day having passed in the manner before related, the wound being only skinned over and far from healed, the young men about the King’s person set themselves to operate in order to break it out afresh.

These persons, judging of my brother by themselves, and not having sufficient experience to know the power of duty over the minds of personages of exalted rank and high birth, persuaded the King, still connecting his case with their own, that it was impossible my brother should ever forgive the affront he had received, and not seek to avenge himself with the first opportunity. The King, forgetting the ill-judged steps these young men had so lately induced him to take, hereupon receives this new impression, and gives orders to the officers of the guard to keep strict watch at the gates that his brother go not out, and that his people be made to leave the Louvre every evening, except such of them as usually slept in his bedchamber or wardrobe.

My brother, seeing himself thus exposed to the caprices of these headstrong young fellows, who led the King according to their own fancies, and fearing something worse might happen than what he had yet experienced, at the end of three days, during which time he laboured under apprehensions of this kind, came to a determination to leave the Court, and never more return to it, but retire to his principality and make preparations with all haste for his expedition to Flanders.

He communicated his design to me, and I approved of it, as I considered he had no other view in it than providing for his own safety, and that neither the King nor his government were likely to sustain any injury by it.

When we consulted upon the means of its accomplishment, we could find no other than his descending from my window, which was on the second story and opened to the ditch, for the gates were so closely watched that it was impossible to pass them, the face of everyone going out of the Louvre being curiously examined. He begged of me, therefore, to procure for him a rope of sufficient strength and long enough for the purpose. This I set about immediately, for, having the sacking of a bed that wanted mending, I sent it out of the palace by a lad whom I could trust, with orders to bring it back repaired, and to wrap up the proper length of rope inside.

When all was prepared, one evening, at supper time, I went to the Queen my mother, who supped alone in her own apartment, it being fast-day and the King eating no supper. My brother, who on most occasions was patient and discreet, spurred on by the indignities he had received, and anxious to extricate himself from danger and regain his liberty, came to me as I was rising from table, and whispered to me to make haste and come to him in my own apartment. M. de Matignon, at that time a marshal, a sly, cunning Norman, and one who had no love for my brother, whether he had some knowledge of his design from some one who could not keep a secret, or only guessed at it, observed to the Queen my mother as she left the room (which I overheard, being near her, and circumspectly watching every word and motion, as may well be imagined, situated as I was betwixt fear and hope, and involved in perplexity) that my brother had undoubtedly an intention of withdrawing himself, and would not be there the next day; adding that he was assured of it, and she might take her measures accordingly.

I observed that she was much disconcerted by this observation, and I had my fears lest we should be discovered. When we came into her closet, she drew me aside and asked if I heard what Matignon had said.

I replied: “I did not hear it, Madame, but I observe that it has given you uneasiness.”

“Yes,” said she, “a great deal of uneasiness, for you know I have pledged myself to the King that your brother shall not depart hence, and Matignon has declared that he knows very well he will not be here to-morrow.”

I now found myself under a great embarrassment; I was in danger either of proving unfaithful to my brother, and thereby bringing his life into jeopardy, or of being obliged to declare that to be truth which I knew to be false, and this I would have died rather than be guilty of.

In this extremity, if I had not been aided by God, my countenance, without speaking, would plainly have discovered what I wished to conceal. But God, who assists those who mean well, and whose divine goodness was discoverable in my brother’s escape, enabled me to compose my looks and suggested to me such a reply as gave her to understand no more than I wished her to know, and cleared my conscience from making any declaration contrary to the truth. I answered her in these words:

“You cannot, Madame, but be sensible that M. de Matignon is not one of my brother’s friends, and that he is, besides, a busy, meddling kind of man, who is sorry to find a reconciliation has taken place with us; and, as to my brother, I will answer for him with my life in case he goes hence, of which, if he had any design, I should, as I am well assured, not be ignorant, he never having yet concealed anything he meant to do from me.”

All this was said by me with the assurance that, after my brother’s escape, they would not dare to do me any injury; and in case of the worst, and when we should be discovered, I had much rather pledge my life than hazard my soul by a false declaration, and endanger my brother’s life. Without scrutinising the import of my speech, she replied: “Remember what you now say,–you will be bound for him on the penalty of your life.”

I smiled and answered that such was my intention. Then, wishing her a good night, I retired to my own bedchamber, where, undressing myself in haste and getting into bed, in order to dismiss the ladies and maids of honour, and there then remaining only my chamber-women, my brother came in, accompanied by Simier and Cange. Rising from my bed, we made the cord fast, and having looked out at the window to discover if anyone was in the ditch, with the assistance of three of my women, who slept in my room, and the lad who had brought in the rope, we let down my brother, who laughed and joked upon the occasion without the least apprehension, notwithstanding the height was considerable. We next lowered Simier into the ditch, who was in such a fright that he had scarcely strength to hold the rope fast; and lastly descended my brother’s _valet de chambre_, Cange.

Through God’s providence my brother got off undiscovered, and going to Ste. Genevieve, he found Bussi waiting there for him. By consent of the abbot, a hole had been made in the city wall, through which they passed, and horses being provided and in waiting, they mounted, and reached Angers without the least accident.

Whilst we were lowering down Cange, who, as I mentioned before, was the last, we observed a man rising out of the ditch, who ran towards the lodge adjoining to the tennis-court, in the direct way leading to the guard-house. I had no apprehensions on my own account, all my fears being absorbed by those I entertained for my brother; and now I was almost dead with alarm, supposing this might be a spy placed there by M. de Matignon, and that my brother would be taken. Whilst I was in this cruel state of anxiety, which can be judged of only by those who have experienced a similar situation, my women took a precaution for my safety and their own, which did not suggest itself to me. This was to burn the rope, that it might not appear to our conviction in case the man in question had been placed there to watch us. This rope occasioned so great a flame in burning, that it set fire to the chimney, which, being seen from without, alarmed the guard, who ran to us, knocking violently at the door, calling for it to be opened.

I now concluded that my brother was stopped, and that we were both undone. However, as, by the blessing of God and through his divine mercy alone, I have, amidst every danger with which I have been repeatedly surrounded, constantly preserved a presence of mind which directed what was best to be done, and observing that the rope was not more than half consumed, I told my women to go to the door, and speaking softly, as if I was asleep, to ask the men what they wanted. They did so, and the archers replied that the chimney was on fire, and they came to extinguish it. My women answered it was of no consequence, and they could put it out themselves, begging them not to awake me. This alarm thus passed off quietly, and they went away; but, in two hours afterward, M. de Cosse came for me to go to the King and the Queen my mother, to give an account of my brother’s escape, of which they had received intelligence by the Abbot of Ste. Genevieve.

It seems it had been concerted betwixt my brother and the abbot, in order to prevent the latter from falling under disgrace, that, when my brother might be supposed to have reached a sufficient distance, the abbot should go to Court, and say that he had been put into confinement whilst the hole was being made, and that he came to inform the King as soon as he had released himself.

I was in bed, for it was yet night; and rising hastily, I put on my night-clothes. One of my women was indiscreet enough to hold me round the waist, and exclaim aloud, shedding a flood of tears, that she should never see me more. M. de Cosse, pushing her away, said to me: “If I were not a person thoroughly devoted to your service, this woman has said enough to bring you into trouble. But,” continued he, “fear nothing. God be praised, by this time the Prince your brother is out of danger.”

These words were very necessary, in the present state of my mind, to fortify it against the reproaches and threats I had reason to expect from the King. I found him sitting at the foot of the Queen my mother’s bed, in such a violent rage that I am inclined to believe I should have felt the effects of it, had he not been restrained by the absence of my brother and my mother’s presence. They both told me that I had assured them my brother would not leave the Court, and that I pledged myself for his stay. I replied that it was true that he had deceived me, as he had them; however, I was ready still to pledge my life that his departure would not operate to the prejudice of the King’s service, and that it would appear he was only gone to his own principality to give orders and forward his expedition to Flanders.

The King appeared to be somewhat mollified by this declaration, and now gave me permission to return to my own apartments. Soon afterwards he received letters from my brother, containing assurances of his attachment, in the terms I had before expressed. This caused a cessation of complaints, but by no means removed the King’s dissatisfaction, who made a show of affording assistance to his expedition, but was secretly using every means to frustrate and defeat it.

LETTER XX

I now renewed my application for leave to go to the King my husband, which I continued to press on every opportunity. The King, perceiving that he could not refuse my leave any longer, was willing I should depart satisfied. He had this further view in complying with my wishes, that by this means he should withdraw me from my attachment to my brother. He therefore strove to oblige me in every way he could think of, and, to fulfil the promise made by the Queen my mother at the Peace of Sens, he gave me an assignment of my portion in territory, with the power of nomination to all vacant benefices and all offices; and, over and above the customary pension to the daughters of France, he gave another out of his privy purse.

He daily paid me a visit in my apartment, in which he took occasion to represent to me how useful his friendship would be to me; whereas that of my brother could be only injurious,–with arguments of the like kind.

However, all he could say was insufficient to prevail on me to swerve from the fidelity I had vowed to observe to my brother. The King was able to draw from me no other declaration than this: that it ever was, and should be, my earnest wish to see my brother firmly established in his gracious favour, which he had never appeared to me to have forfeited; that I was well assured he would exert himself to the utmost to regain it by every act of duty and meritorious service; that, with respect to myself, I thought I was so much obliged to him for the great honour he did me by repeated acts of generosity, that he might be assured, when I was with the King my husband I should consider myself bound in duty to obey all such commands as he should be pleased to give me; and that it would be my whole study to maintain the King my husband in a submission to his pleasure.

My brother was now on the point of leaving Alencon to go to Flanders; the Queen my mother was desirous to see him before his departure. I begged the King to permit me to take the opportunity of accompanying her to take leave of my brother, which he granted; but, as it seemed, with great unwillingness. When we returned from Alencon, I solicited the King to permit me to take leave of himself, as I had everything prepared for my journey. The Queen my mother being desirous to go to Gascony, where her presence was necessary for the King’s service, was unwilling that I should depart without her. When we left Paris, the King accompanied us on the way as far as his palace of Dolinville. There we stayed with him a few days, and there we took our leave, and in a little time reached Guienne, which belonging to, and being under the government of the King my husband, I was everywhere received as Queen. My husband gave the Queen my mother a meeting at Reolle, which was held by the Huguenots as a cautionary town; and the country not being sufficiently quieted, she was permitted to go no further.

It was the intention of the Queen my mother to make but a short stay; but so many accidents arose from disputes betwixt the Huguenots and Catholics, that she was under the necessity of stopping there eighteen months. As this was very much against her inclination, she was sometimes inclined to think there was a design to keep her, in order to have the company of her maids of honour. For my husband had been greatly smitten with Dayelle, and M. de Thurene was in love with La Vergne. However, I received every mark of honour and attention from the King that I could expect or desire. He related to me, as soon as we met, the artifices which had been put in practice whilst he remained at Court to create a misunderstanding betwixt him and me; all this, he said, he knew was with a design to cause a rupture betwixt my brother and him, and thereby ruin us all three, as there was an exceeding great jealousy entertained of the friendship which existed betwixt us.

We remained in the disagreeable situation I have before described all the time the Queen my mother stayed in Gascony; but, as soon as she could reestablish peace, she, by desire of the King my husband, removed the King’s lieutenant, the Marquis de Villars, putting in his place the Marechal de Biron. She then departed for Languedoc, and we conducted her to Castelnaudary; where, taking our leave, we returned to Pau, in Bearn; in which place, the Catholic religion not being tolerated, I was only allowed to have mass celebrated in a chapel of about three or four feet in length, and so narrow that it could scarcely hold seven or eight persons. During the celebration of mass, the bridge of the castle was drawn up to prevent the Catholics of the town and country from coming to assist at it; who having been, for some years, deprived of the benefit of following their own mode of worship, would have gladly been present. Actuated by so holy and laudable a desire, some of the inhabitants of Pau, on Whit-sunday, found means to get into the castle before the bridge was drawn up, and were present at the celebration of mass, not being discovered until it was nearly over. At length the Huguenots espied them, and ran to acquaint Le Pin, secretary to the King my husband, who was greatly in his favour, and who conducted the whole business relating to the new religion. Upon receiving this intelligence, Le Pin ordered the guard to arrest these poor people, who were severely beaten in my presence, and afterwards locked up in prison, whence they were not released without paying a considerable fine.

This indignity gave me great offence, as I never expected anything of the kind. Accordingly, I complained of it to the King my husband, begging him to give orders for the release of these poor Catholics, who did not deserve to be punished for coming to my chapel to hear mass, a celebration of which they had been so long deprived of the benefit. Le Pin, with the greatest disrespect to his master, took upon him to reply, without waiting to hear what the King had to say. He told me that I ought not to trouble the King my husband about such matters; that what had been done was very right and proper; that those people had justly merited the treatment they met with, and all I could say would go for nothing, for it must be so; and that I ought to rest satisfied with being permitted to have mass said to me and my servants. This insolent speech from a person of his inferior condition incensed me greatly, and I entreated the King my husband, if I had the least share in his good graces, to do me justice, and avenge the insult offered me by this low man.

The King my husband, perceiving that I was offended, as I had reason to be, with this gross indignity, ordered Le Pin to quit our presence immediately; and, expressing his concern at his secretary’s behaviour, who, he said, was overzealous in the cause of religion, he promised that he would make an example of him. As to the Catholic prisoners, he said he would advise with his parliament what ought to be done for my satisfaction.

Having said this, he went to his closet, where he found Le Pin, who, by dint of persuasion, made him change his resolution; insomuch that, fearing I should insist upon his dismissing his secretary, he avoided meeting me. At last, finding that I was firmly resolved to leave him, unless he dismissed Le Pin, he took advice of some persons, who, having themselves a dislike to the secretary, represented that he ought not to give me cause of displeasure for the sake of a man of his small importance,–especially one who, like him, had given me just reason to be offended; that, when it became known to the King my brother and the Queen my mother, they would certainly take it ill that he had not only not resented it, but, on the contrary, still kept him near his person.

This counsel prevailed with him, and he at length discarded his secretary. The King, however, continued to behave to me with great coolness, being influenced, as he afterwards confessed, by the counsel of M. de Pibrac, who acted the part of a double dealer, telling me that I ought not to pardon an affront offered by such a mean fellow, but insist upon his being dismissed; whilst he persuaded the King my husband that there was no reason for parting with a man so useful to him, for such a trivial cause. This was done by M. de Pibrac, thinking I might be induced, from such mortifications, to return to France, where he enjoyed the offices of president and King’s counsellor.

I now met with a fresh cause for disquietude in my present situation, for, Dayelle being gone, the King my husband placed his affections on Rebours. She was an artful young person, and had no regard for me; accordingly, she did me all the ill offices in her power with him. In the midst of these trials, I put my trust in God, and he, moved with pity by my tears, gave permission for our leaving Pau, that “little Geneva;” and, fortunately for me, Rebours was taken ill and stayed behind. The King my husband no sooner lost sight of her than he forgot her; he now turned his eyes and attention towards Fosseuse. She was much handsomer than the other, and was at that time young, and really a very amiable person.

Pursuing the road to Montauban, we stopped at a little town called Eause, where, in the night, the King my husband was attacked with a high fever, accompanied with most violent pains in his head. This fever lasted for seventeen days, during which time he had no rest night or day, but was continually removed from one bed to another. I nursed him the whole time, never stirring from his bedside, and never putting off my clothes. He took notice of my extraordinary tenderness, and spoke of it to several persons, and particularly to my cousin M—-, who, acting the part of an affectionate relation, restored me to his favour, insomuch that I never stood so highly in it before. This happiness I had the good fortune to enjoy during the four or five years that I remained with him in Gascony.

Our residence, for the most part of the time I have mentioned, was at Nerac, where our Court was so brilliant that we had no cause to regret our absence from the Court of France. We had with us the Princesse de Navarre, my husband’s sister, since married to the Duc de Bar; there were besides a number of ladies belonging to myself. The King my husband was attended by a numerous body of lords and gentlemen, all as gallant persons as I have seen in any Court; and we had only to lament that they were Huguenots. This difference of religion, however, caused no dispute among us; the King my husband and the Princess his sister heard a sermon, whilst I and my servants heard mass. I had a chapel in the park for the purpose, and, as soon as the service of both religions was over, we joined company in a beautiful garden, ornamented with long walks shaded with laurel and cypress trees. Sometimes we took a walk in the park on the banks of the river, bordered by an avenue of trees three thousand yards in length. The rest of the day was passed in innocent amusements; and in the afternoon, or at night, we commonly had a ball.

The King was very assiduous with Fosseuse, who, being dependent on me, kept herself within the strict bounds of honour and virtue. Had she always done so, she had not brought upon herself a misfortune which has proved of such fatal consequence to myself as well as to her.

But our happiness was too great to be of long continuance, and fresh troubles broke out betwixt the King my husband and the Catholics, and gave rise to a new war. The King my husband and the Marechal de Biron, who was the King’s lieutenant in Guienne, had a difference, which was aggravated by the Huguenots. This breach became in a short time so wide that all my efforts to close it were useless. They made their separate complaints to the King. The King my husband insisted on the removal of the Marechal de Biron, and the Marshal charged the King my husband, and the rest of those who were of the pretended reformed religion, with designs contrary to peace. I saw, with great concern, that affairs were likely soon to come to an open rupture; and I had no power to prevent it.

The Marshal advised the King to come to Guienne himself, saying that in his presence matters might be settled. The Huguenots, hearing of this proposal, supposed the King would take possession of their towns, and, thereupon, came to a resolution to take up arms. This was what I feared; I was become a sharer in the King my husband’s fortune, and was now to be in opposition to the King my brother and the religion I had been bred up in. I gave my opinion upon this war to the King my husband and his Council, and strove to dissuade them from engaging in it. I represented to them the hazards of carrying on a war when they were to be opposed against so able a general as the Marechal de Biron, who would not spare them, as other generals had done, he being their private enemy. I begged them to consider that, if the King brought his whole force against them, with intention to exterminate their religion, it would not be in their power to oppose or prevent it. But they were so headstrong, and so blinded with the hope of succeeding in the surprise of certain towns in Languedoc and Gascony, that, though the King did me the honour, upon all occasions, to listen to my advice, as did most of the Huguenots, yet I could not prevail on them to follow it in the present situation of affairs, until it was too late, and after they had found, to their cost, that my counsel was good. The torrent was now burst forth, and there was no possibility of stopping its course until it had spent its utmost strength.

Before that period arrived, foreseeing the consequences, I had often written to the King and the Queen my mother, to offer something to the King my husband by way of accommodating matters. But they were bent against it, and seemed to be pleased that matters had taken such a turn, being assured by Marechal de Biron that he had it in his power to crush the Huguenots whenever he pleased. In this crisis my advice was not attended to, the dissensions increased, and recourse was had to arms.

The Huguenots had reckoned upon a force more considerable than they were able to collect together, and the King my husband found himself outnumbered by Marechal de Biron. In consequence, those of the pretended reformed religion failed in all their plans, except their attack upon Cahors, which they took with petards, after having lost a great number of men,–M. de Vezins, who commanded in the town, disputing their entrance for two or three days, from street to street, and even from house to house. The King my husband displayed great valour and conduct upon the occasion, and showed himself to be a gallant and brave general. Though the Huguenots succeeded in this attempt, their loss was so great that they gained nothing from it. Marechal de Biron kept the field, and took every place that declared for the Huguenots, putting all that opposed him to the sword.

From the commencement of this war, the King my husband doing me the honour to love me, and commanding me not to leave him, I had resolved to share his fortune, not without extreme regret, in observing that this war was of such a nature that I could not, in conscience, wish success to either side; for if the Huguenots got the upper hand, the religion which I cherished as much as my life was lost, and if the Catholics prevailed, the King my husband was undone. But, being thus attached to my husband, by the duty I owed him, and obliged by the attentions he was pleased to show me, I could only acquaint the King and the Queen my mother with the situation to which I was reduced, occasioned by my advice to them not having been attended to. I, therefore, prayed them, if they could not extinguish the flames of war in the midst of which I was placed, at least to give orders to Marechal de Biron to consider the town I resided in, and three leagues round it, as neutral ground, and that I would get the King my husband to do the same. This the King granted me for Nerac, provided my husband was not there; but if he should enter it, the neutrality was to cease, and so to remain as long as he continued there. This convention was observed, on both sides, with all the exactness I could desire. However, the King my husband was not to be prevented from often visiting Nerac, which was the residence of his sister and me. He was fond of the society of ladies, and, moreover, was at that time greatly enamoured with Fosseuse, who held the place in his affections which Rebours had lately occupied. Fosseuse did me no ill offices, so that the King my husband and I continued to live on very good terms, especially as he perceived me unwilling to oppose his inclinations.

Led by such inducements, he came to Nerac, once, with a body of troops, and stayed three days, not being able to leave the agreeable company he found there. Marechal de Biron, who wished for nothing so much as such an opportunity, was apprised of it, and, under pretence of joining M. de Cornusson, the seneschal of Toulouse, who was expected with a reinforcement for his army, he began his march; but, instead of pursuing the road, according to the orders he had issued, he suddenly ordered his troops to file off towards Nerac, and, before nine in the morning, his whole force was drawn up within sight of the town, and within cannonshot of it.

The King my husband had received intelligence, the evening before, of the expected arrival of M. de Cornusson, and was desirous of preventing the junction, for which purpose he resolved to attack him and the Marshal separately. As he had been lately joined by M. de La Rochefoucauld, with a corps of cavalry consisting of eight hundred men, formed from the nobility of Saintonge, he found himself sufficiently strong to undertake such a plan. He, therefore, set out before break of day to make his attack as they crossed the river. But his intelligence did not prove to be correct, for De Cornusson passed it the evening before. My husband, being thus disappointed in his design, returned to Nerac, and entered at one gate just as Marechal de Biron drew up his troops before the other. There fell so heavy a rain at that moment that the musketry was of no use. The King my husband, however, threw a body of his troops into a vineyard to stop the Marshal’s progress, not being able to do more on account of the unfavourableness of the weather.

In the meantime, the Marshal continued with his troops drawn up in order of battle, permitting only two or three of his men to advance, who challenged a like number to break lances in honour of their mistresses. The rest of the army kept their ground, to mask their artillery, which, being ready to play, they opened to the right and left, and fired seven or eight shots upon the town, one of which struck the palace. The Marshal, having done this, marched off, despatching a trumpeter to me with his excuse. He acquainted me that, had I been alone, he would on no account have fired on the town; but the terms of neutrality for the town, agreed upon by the King, were, as I well knew, in case the King my husband should not be found in it, and, if otherwise, they were void. Besides which, his orders were to attack the King my husband wherever he should find him.

I must acknowledge on every other occasion the Marshal showed me the greatest respect, and appeared to be much my friend. During the war my letters have frequently fallen into his hands, when he as constantly forwarded them to me unopened. And whenever my people have happened to be taken prisoners by his army, they were always well treated as soon as they mentioned to whom they belonged.

I answered his message by the trumpeter, saying that I well knew what he had done was strictly agreeable to the convention made and the orders he had received, but that a gallant officer like him would know how to do his duty without giving his friends cause of offence; that he might have permitted me the enjoyment of the King my husband’s company in Nerac for three days, adding, that he could not attack him, in my presence, without attacking me; and concluding that, certainly, I was greatly offended by his conduct, and would take the first opportunity of making my complaint to the King my brother.

LETTER XXI

The war lasted some time longer, but with disadvantage to the Huguenots. The King my husband at length became desirous to make a peace. I wrote on the subject to the King and the Queen my mother; but so elated were they both with Marechal de Biron’s success that they would not agree to any terms.

About the time this war broke out, Cambray, which had been delivered up to my brother by M. d’Ainsi, according to his engagement with me, as I have before related, was besieged by the forces of Spain. My brother received the news of this siege at his castle of Plessis-les-Tours, whither he had retired after his return from Flanders, where, by the assistance of the Comte de Lalain, he had been invested with the government of Mons, Valenciennes, and their dependencies.

My brother, being anxious to relieve Cambray, set about raising an army with all the expedition possible; but, finding it could not be accomplished very speedily, he sent forward a reinforcement under the command of M. de Balagny, to succour the place until he arrived himself with a sufficient force to raise the siege. Whilst he was in the midst of these preparations this Huguenot war broke out, and the men he had raised left him to incorporate themselves with the King’s army, which had reached Gascony.

My brother was now without hope of raising the siege, and to lose Cambray would be attended with the loss of the other countries he had just obtained. Besides, what he should regret more, such losses would reduce to great straits M. de Balagny and the gallant troops so nobly defending the place.

His grief on this occasion was poignant, and, as his excellent judgment furnished him with expedients under all his difficulties, he resolved to endeavour to bring about a peace. Accordingly he despatched a gentleman to the King with his advice to accede to terms, offering to undertake the treaty himself. His design in offering himself as negotiator was to prevent the treaty being drawn out to too great a length, as might be the case if confided to others. It was necessary that he should speedily relieve Cambray, for M. de Balagny, who had thrown himself into the city as I have before mentioned, had written to him that he should be able to defend the place for six months; but, if he received no succours within that time, his provisions would be all expended, and he should be obliged to give way to the clamours of the inhabitants, and surrender the town.

By God’s favour, the King was induced to listen to my brother’s proposal of undertaking a negotiation for a peace. The King hoped thereby to disappoint him in his expectations in Flanders, which he never had approved. Accordingly he sent word back to my brother that he should accept his proffer of negotiating a peace, and would send him for his coadjutors, M. de Villeroy and M. de Bellievre. The commission my brother was charged with succeeded, and, after a stay of seven months in Gascony, he settled a peace and left us, his thoughts being employed during the whole time on the means of relieving Cambray, which the satisfaction he found in being with us could not altogether abate.

The peace my brother made, as I have just mentioned, was so judiciously framed that it gave equal satisfaction to the King and the Catholics, and to the King my husband and the Huguenots, and obtained him the affections of both parties. He likewise acquired from it the assistance of that able general, Marechal de Biron, who undertook the command of the army destined to raise the siege of Cambray. The King my husband was equally gratified in the Marshal’s removal from Gascony and having Marechal de Matignon in his place.

Before my brother set off he was desirous to bring about a reconciliation betwixt the King my husband and Marechal de Biron, provided the latter should make his apologies to me for his conduct at Nerac. My brother had desired me to treat him with all disdain, but I used this hasty advice with discretion, considering that my brother might one day or other repent having given it, as he had everything to hope, in his present situation, from the bravery of this officer.

My brother returned to France accompanied by Marechal de Biron. By his negotiation of a peace he had acquired to himself great credit with both parties, and secured a powerful force for the purpose of raising the siege of Cambray. But honours and success are followed by envy. The King beheld this accession of glory to his brother with great dissatisfaction. He had been for seven months, while my brother and I were together in Gascony, brooding over his malice, and produced the strangest invention that can be imagined. He pretended to believe (what the King my husband can easily prove to be false) that I instigated him to go to war that I might procure for my brother the credit of making peace. This is not at all probable when it is considered the prejudice my brother’s affairs in Flanders sustained by the war. But envy and malice are self-deceivers, and pretend to discover what no one else can perceive. On this frail foundation the King raised an altar of hatred, on which he swore never to cease till he had accomplished my brother’s ruin and mine. He had never forgiven me for the attachment I had discovered for my brother’s interest during the time he was in Poland and since.

Fortune chose to favour the King’s animosity; for, during the seven months that my brother stayed in Gascony, he conceived a passion for Fosseuse, who was become the doting piece of the King my husband, as I have already mentioned, since he had quitted Rebours. This new passion in my brother had induced the King my husband to treat me with coldness, supposing that I countenanced my brother’s addresses. I no sooner discovered this than I remonstrated with my brother, as I knew he would make every sacrifice for my repose. I begged him to give over his pursuit, and not to speak to her again. I succeeded this way to defeat the malice of my ill-fortune; but there was still behind another secret ambush, and that of a more fatal nature; for Fosseuse, who was passionately fond of the King my husband, but had hitherto granted no favours inconsistent with prudence and modesty, piqued by his jealousy of my brother, gave herself up suddenly to his will, and unfortunately became pregnant. She no sooner made this discovery, than she altered her conduct towards me entirely from what it was before. She now shunned my presence as much as she had been accustomed to seek it, and whereas before she strove to do me every good office with the King my husband, she now endeavoured to make all the mischief she was able betwixt us. For his part, he avoided me; he grew cold and indifferent, and since Fosseuse ceased to conduct herself with discretion, the happy moments that we experienced during the four or five years we were together in Gascony were no more.

Peace being restored, and my brother departed for France, as I have already related, the King my husband and I returned to Nerac. We were no sooner there than Fosseuse persuaded the King my husband to make a journey to the waters of Aigues-Caudes, in Bearn, perhaps with a design to rid herself of her burden there. I begged the King my husband to excuse my accompanying him, as, since the affront that I had received at Pau, I had made a vow never to set foot in Bearn until the Catholic religion was reestablished there. He pressed me much to go with him, and grew angry at my persisting to refuse his request. He told me that his _little girl_ (for so he affected to call Fosseuse) was desirous to go there on account of a colic, which she felt frequent returns of. I answered that I had no objection to his taking her with him. He then said that she could not go unless I went; that it would occasion scandal, which might as well be avoided. He continued to press me to accompany him, but at length I prevailed with him to consent to go without me, and to take her with him, and, with her, two of her companions, Rebours and Ville-Savin, together with the governess. They set out accordingly, and I waited their return at Baviere.

I had every day news from Rebours, informing me how matters went. This Rebours I have mentioned before to have been the object of my husband’s passion, but she was now cast off, and, consequently, was no friend to Fosseuse, who had gained that place in his affection she had before held. She, therefore, strove all she could to circumvent her; and, indeed, she was fully qualified for such a purpose, as she was a cunning, deceitful young person. She gave me to understand that Fosseuse laboured to do me every ill office in her power; that she spoke of me with the greatest disrespect on all occasions, and expressed her expectations of marrying the King herself, in case she should be delivered of a son, when I was to be divorced. She had said, further, that when the King my husband returned to Baviere, he had resolved to go to Pau, and that I should go with him, whether I would or not.

This intelligence was far from being agreeable to me, and I knew not what to think of it. I trusted in the goodness of God, and I had a reliance on the generosity of the King my husband; yet I passed the time I waited for his return but uncomfortably, and often thought I shed more tears than they drank water. The Catholic nobility of the neighbourhood of Baviere used their utmost endeavours to divert my chagrin, for the month or five weeks that the King my husband and Fosseuse stayed at Aigues-Caudes.

On his return, a certain nobleman acquainted the King my husband with the concern I was under lest he should go to Pau, whereupon he did not press me on the subject, but only said he should have been glad if I had consented to go with him. Perceiving, by my tears and the expressions I made use of, that I should prefer even death to such a journey, he altered his intentions and we returned to Nerac.

The pregnancy of Fosseuse was now no longer a secret. The whole Court talked of it, and not only the Court, but all the country. I was willing to prevent the scandal from spreading, and accordingly resolved to talk to her on the subject. With this resolution, I took her into my closet, and spoke to her thus: “Though you have for some time estranged yourself from me, and, as it has been reported to me, striven to do me many ill offices with the King my husband, yet the regard I once had for you, and the esteem which I still entertain for those honourable persons to whose family you belong, do not admit of my neglecting to afford you all the assistance in my power in your present unhappy situation. I beg you, therefore, not to conceal the truth, it being both for your interest and mine, under whose protection you are, to declare it. Tell me the truth, and I will act towards you as a mother. You know that a contagious disorder has broken out in the place, and, under pretence of avoiding it, I will go to Mas-d’Agenois, which is a house belonging to the King my husband, in a very retired situation. I will take you with me, and such other persons as you shall name. Whilst we are there, the King will take the diversion of hunting in some other part of the country, and I shall not stir thence before your delivery. By this means we shall put a stop to the scandalous reports which are now current, and which concern you more than myself.”

So far from showing any contrition, or returning thanks for my kindness, she replied, with the utmost arrogance, that she would prove all those to be liars who had reported such things of her; that, for my part, I had ceased for a long time to show her any marks of regard, and she saw that I was determined upon her ruin. These words she delivered in as loud a tone as mine had been mildly expressed; and, leaving me abruptly, she flew in a rage to the King my husband, to relate to him what I had said to her. He was very angry upon the occasion, and declared he would make them all liars who had laid such things to her charge. From that moment until the hour of her delivery, which was a few months after, he never spoke to me.

She found the pains of labour come upon her about daybreak, whilst she was in bed in the chamber where the maids of honour slept. She sent for my physician, and begged him to go and acquaint the King my husband that she was taken ill. We slept in separate beds in the same chamber, and had done so for some time.

The physician delivered the message as he was directed, which greatly embarrassed my husband. What to do he did not know. On the one hand, he was fearful of a discovery; on the other, he foresaw that, without proper assistance, there was danger of losing one he so much loved. In this dilemma, he resolved to apply to me, confess all, and implore my aid and advice, well knowing that, notwithstanding what had passed, I should be ready to do him a pleasure. Having come to this resolution, he withdrew my curtains, and spoke to me thus: “My dear, I have concealed a matter from you which I now confess. I beg you to forgive me, and to think no more about what I have said to you on the subject. Will you oblige me so far as to rise and go to Fosseuse, who is taken very ill? I am well assured that, in her present situation, you will forget everything and resent nothing. You know how dearly I love her, and I hope you will comply with my request.” I answered that I had too great a respect for him to be offended at anything he should do, and that I would go to her immediately, and do as much for her as if she were a child of my own. I advised him, in the meantime, to go out and hunt, by which means he would draw away all his people, and prevent tattling.

I removed Fosseuse, with all convenient haste, from the chamber in which the maids of honours were, to one in a more retired part of the palace, got a physician and some women about her, and saw that she wanted for nothing that was proper in her situation. It pleased God that she should bring forth a daughter, since dead. As soon as she was delivered I ordered her to be taken back to the chamber from which she had been brought. Notwithstanding these precautions, it was not possible to prevent the story from circulating through the palace. When the King my husband returned from hunting he paid her a visit, according to custom. She begged that I might come and see her, as was usual with me when anyone of my maids of honour was taken ill. By this means she expected to put a stop to stories to her prejudice. The King my husband came from her into my bedchamber, and found me in bed, as I was fatigued and required rest, after having been called up so early. He begged me to get up and pay her a visit. I told him I went according to his desire before, when she stood in need of assistance, but now she wanted no help; that to visit her at this time would be only exposing her more, and cause myself to be pointed at by all the world. He seemed to be greatly displeased at what I said, which vexed me the more as I thought I did not deserve such treatment after what I had done at his request in the morning; she likewise contributed all in her power to aggravate matters betwixt him and me.

In the meantime, the King my brother, always well informed of what is passing in the families of the nobility of his kingdom, was not ignorant of the transactions of our Court. He was particularly curious to learn everything that happened with us, and knew every minute circumstance that I have now related. Thinking this a favourable occasion to wreak his vengeance on me for having been the means of my brother acquiring so much reputation by the peace he had brought about, he made use of the accident that happened in our Court to withdraw me from the King my husband, and thereby reduce me to the state of misery he wished to plunge me in. To this purpose he prevailed on the Queen my mother to write to me, and express her anxious desire to see me after an absence of five or six years. She added that a journey of this sort to Court would be serviceable to the affairs of the King my husband as well as my own; that the King my brother himself was desirous of seeing me, and that if I wanted money for the journey he would send it me. The King wrote to the same purpose, and despatched Manique, the steward of his household, with instructions to use every persuasion with me to undertake the journey. The length of time I had been absent in Gascony, and the unkind usage I received on account of Fosseuse, contributed to induce me to listen to the proposal made me.

The King and the Queen both wrote to me. I received three letters, in quick succession; and, that I might have no pretence for staying, I had the sum of fifteen hundred crowns paid me to defray the expenses of my journey. The Queen my mother wrote that she would give me the meeting in Saintonge, and that, if the King my husband would accompany me so far, she would treat with him there, and give him every satisfaction with respect to the King. But the King and she were desirous to have him at their Court, as he had been before with my brother; and the Marechal de Matignon had pressed the matter with the King, that he might have no one to interfere with him in Gascony. I had had too long experience of what was to be expected at their Court to hope much from all the fine promises that were made to me. I had resolved, however, to avail myself of the opportunity of an absence of a few months, thinking it might prove the means of setting matters to rights. Besides which, I thought that, as I should take Fosseuse with me, it was possible that the King’s passion for her might cool when she was no longer in his sight, or he might attach himself to some other that was less inclined to do me mischief.

It was with some difficulty that the King my husband would consent to a removal, so unwilling was he to leave his Fosseuse. He paid more attention to me, in hopes that I should refuse to set out on this journey to France; but, as I had given my word in my letters to the King and the Queen my mother that I would go, and as I had even received money for the purpose, I could not do otherwise.

And herein my ill-fortune prevailed over the reluctance I had to leave the King my husband, after the instances of renewed love and regard which he had begun to show me.

THE MEMOIRS OF LOUIS XV. AND OF MADAME DE POMPADOUR

ON MADAME DE POMPADOUR

“Madame de Pompadour was not merely a grisette, as her enemies attempted to say, and as Voltaire repeated in one of his malicious days. She was the prettiest woman in Paris, spirituelle, elegant, adorned with a thousand gifts and a thousand talents, but with a sort of sentiment which had not the grandeur of an aristocratic ambition. She loved the king for himself, as the finest man in the kingdom, as the person who appeared to her the most admirable. She loved him sincerely, with a degree of sentimentalism, if not with a profound passion. Her ideal had been on arriving at the court to fascinate him, to keep him amused by a thousand diversions suggested by art or intellect, to make him happy and contented in a circle of ever-changing enchantments and pleasures. A Watteau-like country, plays, comedies, pastorals in the shade, a continual embarking for Cytherea, that would have been the setting she preferred. But once she had set foot on the shifting soil of the court, she could only realize her ideal imperfectly. Naturally obliging and good-hearted, she had to face enmity open and concealed, and to take the offensive to avoid her downfall. Necessity drove her into politics, and to become a minister of state. Madame de Pompadour can be considered as the last king’s mistress, deserving of the name. The race of the royal mistresses can then be said, if not ended, to have been at least greatly broken. And Madame de Pompadour remains in our eyes the last in our history, and the most brilliant.”

SAINTE-BEUVE.

INTRODUCTION

It is one of the oldest of truisms that truth is stranger than fiction. The present volume is but another striking example in point. The legend of King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid palls before the historic story of a certain Jeanne Poisson, an obscure French girl who won a king’s favor and wielded his sceptre for twenty years. We do not hear anything further from the Beggar Maid, after she became queen; but the famous Pompadour became the most powerful figure of her day in all France, not excepting the king himself.

These veritable _Memoirs_ of her reign are ascribed to her attendant, Madame du Hausset, a woman of good family and, above all, of good memory, who has here given us a faithful account of her remarkable subject. Her opportunities for exact knowledge may be gathered from her mistress’s own words: “The king and I trust you so completely that we look upon you as we might a cat or a dog, and talk ahead with as much freedom as though you were not there.” And the critic, Sainte-Beuve, adds: “When the destiny of a nation is in a woman’s bedroom, the best place for the historian is in the ante-chamber. Madame du Hausset seemed created for this role of a Suetonius by her position and her character…. A good woman, furthermore, incapable of lying, and remaining on the whole quite respectable.”

After the death of Madame de Pompadour, the journal of this waiting-woman fell into the hands of M. de Marigny, brother of the favorite, with whom it remained in manuscript form for some years. It was finally published, in 1802, ostensibly as “Drawn from the Portfolio of the Marechale D—- by Soulavie”; but the French editors, MM. Vitrac and Galopin, assert that Soulavie only lent his name to the work. They also call attention to the fact that a _History of Madame de Pompadour_, by Mlle. Fouque, was published in London, as early as 1759. But no such general history, or biography, could possibly have the intimate value of a document written at the closest range of its subject. “These _Memoirs_,” say the French editors, “give a faithful portrait of Madame de Pompadour…. They are clearly hostile, as are nearly all documents preserved about her; for it was one of the evil fortunes of Madame de Pompadour to be made known to us chiefly through her enemies, D’Argenson, the Duc de Luynes, and Richelieu.”

The above opinion sums up neatly the consensus of historical opinion concerning this famous woman. She has, indeed, been in the hands of her enemies, ever since the day of her death, in 1764. But this fact is not surprising. The mistress of a weak monarch, she made use of her large influence over him to further her own ends and appoint her own ministers to power. She was, in fact, “the King.” Michelet, the historian, asserts in so many words that she “reigned twenty years,” and he admits that “although of mean birth, she had some patriotic ideas.” However, leaving the question of her political career aside, for the moment, the reader will be interested to make the acquaintance of this remarkable woman, herself. Who was she? What was the secret of her long continued hold upon the King? Louis XV. was a notoriously fickle monarch, whose many amours have become a part of history. But none exercised the influence over him–and over all France, through him–as did this person of “mean birth.” Even her enemies have had to admit her wonderful executive ability, in addition to her womanly charms. These _Memoirs_, though rambling and without strict sequence, answer our many questions interestingly. They have been written, very evidently, by an inmate of the household. They give, in addition, much of the secret history of the Court at this important period, and point out, to the discerning reader, a few of the chief causes which were to make possible the French Revolution, at the century’s close.

Madame de Pompadour’s elevation to power was the result neither of chance nor of romance. It was brought about by a carefully laid plan, on the part of her parents and certain scheming politicians, to make use of a beautiful girl to advance their own interests. Jeanne Poisson was born in 1722, and at an early age gave evidence of such unusual qualities, that her mother and her guardian, M. Le Normant de Tournehem (who also is believed to be her father), devoted their energies to making her worthy of a place at court. She had a fine natural talent for music, drawing, and engraving–some excellent examples of her work in the latter field still being preserved–and she united with these a rare physical beauty. M. Leroy, Keeper of the Park of Versailles, thus describes her at the time of her meeting with the King: “She was taller than the average, graceful, supple, and elegant. Her features comported well with her stature, a perfect oval face, framed by beautiful hair of a light shade, large eyes marked by eyebrows of the same hue, a perfect nose, a charming mouth, teeth of exceptional beauty displayed in a delicious smile, the rarest of complexions,” etc., etc. He continues his superlative adjectives, indicating that the King was not the only susceptible person in the Park, finally adding: “The features of the Marquise were lighted by the play of infinite variety, but never could one perceive any discordance. All was harmony and grace.” Truly, a worthy portrait of a famous beauty!

At the age of nineteen, Mlle. Poisson gave her hand to a kinsman of her guardian, M. Le Normant d’Etoiles. The marriage seems to have been the result of a sincere passion on his part, but was looked upon merely as a matter of convenience by everybody else; for not long thereafter we find her luring the King with her “delicious smile,” while he was hunting in the forest of Senart; and in 1745 she was formally installed at Court, under the title of the Marquise de Pompadour. This story, unadorned, may sound paltry, even commercial, but we should not fall into the error of judging it by twentieth century standards. The morals of the French Court, never austere, were especially lax in the reign of Louis XV., and _galanteries_ were the fashion, rather than the exception; while for the post of King’s favorite there was a continual rivalry among high-born dames.

Once in this coveted position, the Marquise devoted her energies to two things, and these she kept ever before her,–the pleasing of her royal master, and the furthering of her party’s interests. How well she succeeded, this book shows. She entertained and amused the King by elaborate pageants, in the various chateaux which she built, or remodelled. Bellevue, Choisy, the Hermitage at Versailles, Menars, La Celle, Montretout,–these are among the monuments of her lavish career, and in these palaces she accumulated costly art objects, such as the Saxe porcelains, the Boulle marbles, and the sumptuous hangings and fittings which have later been known as “Pompadour.” Herself an artist and connoisseur, she “set the pace” during a period of unbridled luxury. She was patroness of the famous Sevres ware. She drew around her such painters and litterateurs as Bouchardon, Carle Van Loo, Marmontel, Bernis, Crebillon, and Duclos. To her Voltaire dedicated his _Tancrede_.

This was her brilliant side; but upon the deplorable side must be reckoned her extravagance and her meddling in statecraft. Ambitious for power, she surrounded the doting monarch with her “creatures”–Rouille, Saint Florentin, Puisieux, Machault. With the exception of the Duc de Choiseul, her appointees were notoriously weak–and this at a time when the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War called for strong government. Won over by the cajoleries of Maria Theresa, who called her “cousin,” she induced the King to accept the Austrian Alliance; and again, in 1758, despite Bernis and other ministers, she prevailed upon him to maintain it throughout the disastrous war which was only ended by the Treaty of Paris. In addition to this, she became embroiled with the Church party, being especially bitter against the Jesuits. It is no wonder, therefore, that she left her memory in the hands of her enemies. It is no wonder that the seeds of her folly and extravagance, as well as those of her successor, Du Barry, resulted in the bloody harvest of the Revolution. “Apres nous le deluge!” (“After us the deluge”) was her sinister motto, now famous in history, and it carried with it the weight of prophecy.

To the end she remained, exteriorally, in full power. In 1752 the Marquise was made Duchesse de Pompadour; and four years later “Dame d’Honneur” to the Queen, a title of charmingly unconscious irony! The day of her demise (1764) was stormy, and the King is said to have been genuinely grieved over the loss, remarking: “Madame la Marquise has ill weather for her journey.”

But to the last she herself was charming, debonnaire, masterful. She had smiled her way into power, and she smiled even in the face of death. “She felt it a duty to maintain to the end the pose of elegance which she had established for herself,” say her French critics. “For the last time she applied the touch of rouge to her cheeks, by which she had hidden, for several years, the slow ravages of decay; set her lips in a final smile; and with the air of a coquette uttered to the priest, who extended to her the last rites of religion, this laughing quip (mot d’elegance): “Attendez-moi, monsieur le cure, nous partirons ensemble” (“Wait a moment, monsieur, and we will set forth together”).

THE MEMOIRS OF LOUIS XV.

AND OF

MADAME DE POMPADOUR

SECTION I

An early friend of mine, who married well at Paris, and who has the reputation of being a very clever woman, has often asked me to write down what daily passed under my notice; to please her, I made little notes, of three or four lines each, to recall to my memory the most singular or interesting facts; as, for instance–_attempt to assassinate the King; he orders Madame de Pompadour to leave the Court; M. de Machault’s ingratitude_, etc. I always promised my friend that I would, some time or other, reduce all these materials into the form of a regular narrative. She mentioned the “Recollections of Madame de Caylus,” which were, however, not then printed; and pressed me so much to produce a similar work, that I have taken advantage of a few leisure moments to write this, which I intend to give her, in order that she may arrange it and correct the style. I was for a long time about the person of Madame de Pompadour, and my birth procured for me respectful treatment from herself, and from some distinguished persons who conceived a regard for me. I soon became the intimate friend of Doctor Quesnay, who frequently came to pass two or three hours with me.

His house was frequented by people of all parties, but the number was small, and restricted to those who were on terms of greatest intimacy with him. All subjects were handled with the utmost freedom; and it is infinitely to his honour and theirs that nothing was ever repeated.

The Countess D—- also visited me. She was a frank and lively woman, and much liked by Madame de Pompadour. The Baschi family paid me great attention. M. de Marigny had received some little services from me, in the course of the frequent quarrels between him and his sister, and he had a great friendship for me. The King was in the constant habit of seeing me; and an accident, which I shall have occasion to relate, rendered him very familiar with me. He talked without any constraint when I was in the room. During Madame de Pompadour’s illness I scarcely ever left her chamber, and passed the night there. Sometimes, though rarely, I accompanied her in her carriage with Doctor Quesnay, to whom she scarcely spoke a word, though he was a man of great talents. When I was alone with her, she talked of many affairs which nearly concerned her, and she once said to me, “The King and I have such implicit confidence in you, that we look upon you as a cat, or a dog, and go on talking as if you were not there.” There was a little nook, adjoining her chamber, which has since been altered, where she knew I usually sat when I was alone, and where I heard everything that was said in the room, unless it was spoken in a low voice. But when the King wanted to speak to her in private, or in the presence of any of his Ministers, he went with her into a closet, by the side of the chamber, whither she also retired when she had secret business with the Ministers, or with other important persons; as, for instance, the Lieutenant of Police, the Postmaster-General, etc. All these circumstances brought to my knowledge a great many things which probity will neither allow me to tell or to record. I generally wrote without order of time, so that a fact may be related before others which preceded it. Madame de Pompadour had a great friendship for three Ministers; the first was M. de Machault, to whom she was indebted for the regulation of her income, and the payment of her debts. She gave him the seals, and he retained the first place in her regard till the attempt to assassinate the King. Many people said that his conduct on that occasion was not attributable to bad intentions; that he thought it his duty to obey the King without making himself in any way a party to the affair, and that his cold manners gave him the appearance of an indifference which he did not feel. Madame de Pompadour regarded him in the light of a faithless friend; and, perhaps, there was some justice on both sides. But for the Abbe de Bernis, M. de Machault might, probably, have retained his place.

The second Minister, whom Madame de Pompadour liked, was the Abbe de Bernis. She was soon disgusted with him when she saw the absurdity of his conduct. He gave a singular specimen of this on the very day of his dismissal. He had invited a great many people of distinction to a splendid entertainment, which was to have taken place on the very day when he received his order of banishment, and had written in the notes of invitation–_M. Le Comte de Lusace will be there_. This Count was the brother of the Dauphine, and this mention of him was deservedly thought impertinent. The King said, wittily enough, “_Lambert and Moliere will be there_.” She scarcely ever spoke of the Cardinal de Bernis after his dismissal from the Court.

He was extremely ridiculous, but he was a good sort of man. Madame, the Infanta, died a little time before, and, by the way, of such a complication of putrid and malignant diseases, that the Capuchins who bore the body, and the men who committed it to the grave, were overcome by the effluvia. Her papers appeared no less impure in the eyes of the King. He discovered that the Abbe de Bernis had been intriguing with her, and that they had deceived him, and had obtained the Cardinal’s hat by making use of his name. The King was so indignant that he was very near refusing him the _barrette_. He did grant it–but just as he would have thrown a bone to a dog. The Abbe had always the air of a protege when he was in the company of Madame de Pompadour. She had known him in positive distress. The Duc de Choiseul was very differently situated; his birth, his air, his manners, gave him claims to consideration, and he far exceeded every other man in the art of ingratiating himself with Madame de Pompadour. She looked upon him as one of the most illustrious nobles of the Court, as the most able Minister, and the most agreeable man. M. de Choiseul had a sister and a wife, whom he had introduced to her, and who sedulously cultivated her favourable sentiments towards him. From the time he was Minister, she saw only with his eyes; he had the talent of amusing her, and his manners to women, generally, were extremely agreeable.

Two persons–the Lieutenant of Police and the Postmaster-General–were very much in Madame de Pompadour’s confidence; the latter, however, became less necessary to her from the time that the King communicated to M. de Choiseul the secret of the post-office, that is to say, the system of opening letters and extracting matter from them: this had never been imparted to M. d’Argenson, in spite of the high favour he enjoyed. I have heard that M. de Choiseul abused the confidence reposed in him, and related to his friends the ludicrous stories, and the love affairs contained in the letters which were broken open. The plan they pursued, as I have heard, was very simple. Six or seven clerks of the post-office picked out the letters they were ordered to break open, and took the impression of the seals with a ball of quicksilver. Then they put each letter, with the seal downwards, over a glass of hot water, which melted the wax without injuring the paper. It was then opened, the desired matter extracted, and it was sealed again, by means of the impression. This is the account of the matter I have heard. The Postmaster-General carried the extracts to the King on Sundays. He was seen coming and going on this noble errand as openly as the Ministers. Doctor Quesnay often, in my presence, flew in such a rage about that _infamous_ Minister, as he called him, that he foamed at the mouth. “I would as soon dine with the hangman as with the Postmaster-General,” said the Doctor. It must be acknowledged that this was astonishing language to be uttered in the apartments of the King’s mistress; yet it went on for twenty years without being talked of. “It was probity speaking with earnestness,” said M. de Marigny, “and not a mere burst of spite or malignity.”

The Duc de Gontaut was the brother-in-law and friend of M. de Choiseul, and was assiduous in his attendance on Madame de Pompadour. The sister of M. de Choiseul, Madame de Grammont, and his wife were equally constant in their attentions. This will sufficiently account for the ascendency of M. de Choiseul, whom nobody would have ventured to attack. Chance, however, discovered to me a secret correspondence of the King, with a man in a very obscure station. This man, who had a place in the Farmers General, of from two to three hundred a year, was related to one of the young ladies of the Parc-aux-cerfs, by whom he was recommended to the King. He was also connected in some way with M. de Broglie, in whom the King placed great confidence. Wearied with finding that this correspondence procured him no advancement, he took the resolution of writing to me, and requesting an interview, which I granted, after acquainting Madame de Pompadour with the circumstance. After a great deal of preamble and of flattery, he said to me, “Can you give me your word of hour, and that of Madame de Pompadour, that no mention whatever of what I am going to tell you will be made to the King?” “I think I can assure you that, if you require such a promise from Madame de Pompadour, and if it can produce no ill consequence to the King’s service, she will give it you.” He gave me his word that what he requested would have no bad effect; upon which I listened to what he had to say. He shewed me several memorials, containing accusations of M. de Choiseul, and revealed some curious circumstances relative to the secret functions of the Comte de Broglie. These, however, led rather to conjectures than to certainty, as to the nature of the services he rendered to the King. Lastly, he shewed me several letters in the King’s handwriting. “I request,” said he, “that the Marquise de Pompadour will procure for me the place of Receiver-General of Finances; I will give her information of whatever I send the King; I will write according to her instructions, and I will send her his answers.” As I did not choose to take liberties with the King’s papers, I only undertook to deliver the memorials. Madame de Pompadour having given me her word according to the conditions on which I had received the communication, I revealed to her everything I had heard. She sent the memorials to M. de Choiseul, who thought them very maliciously and very cleverly written. Madame de Pompadour and he had a long conference as to the reply that was to be given to the person by whom those disclosures were made. What I was commissioned to say was this: that the place of Receiver-General was at present too important, and would occasion too much surprise and speculation; that it would not do to go beyond a place worth fifteen thousand to twenty thousand francs a year; that they had no desire to pry into the King’s secrets; and that his correspondence ought not to be communicated to anyone; that this did not apply to papers like those of which I was the bearer, which might fall into his hands; that he would confer an obligation by communicating them, in order that blows aimed in the dark, and directed by malignity and imposture, might be parried. The answer was respectful and proper, in what related to the King; it was, however, calculated to counteract the schemes of the Comte de Broglie, by making M. de Choiseul acquainted with his attacks, and with the nature of the weapons he employed. It was from the Count that he received statements relating to the war and to the navy; but he had no communication with him concerning foreign affairs, which the Count, as it was said, transacted immediately with the King. The Duc de Choiseul got the man who spoke to me recommended to the Controller-General, without his appearing in the business; he had the place which was agreed upon, and the hope of a still better, and he entrusted to me the King’s correspondence, which I told him I should not mention to Madame de Pompadour, according to her injunctions. He sent several memorials to M. de Choiseul, containing accusations of him, addressed to the King. This timely information enabled him to refute them triumphantly.

The King was very fond of having little private correspondences, very often unknown to Madame de Pompadour: she knew, however, of the existence of some, for he passed part of his mornings in writing to his family, to the King of Spain, to Cardinal Tencin, to the Abbe de Broglie, and also to some obscure persons. “It is, doubtless, from such people as these,” said she to me, one day, “that the King learns expressions which perfectly surprise me. For instance, he said to me yesterday, when he saw a man pass with an old coat on, ‘_il y a la un habit bien examine._’ He once said to me, when he meant to express that a thing was probable, ‘_il y a gros_’; I am told this is a saying of the common people, meaning, _il y a gros a parier_.” I took the liberty to say, “But is it not more likely from his young ladies at the Parc, that he learns these elegant expressions?” She laughed, and said, “You are right; _il y a gros_.” The King, however, used these expressions designedly, and with a laugh.

The King knew a great many anecdotes, and there were people enough who furnished him with such as were likely to mortify the self-love of others. One day, at Choisy, he went into a room where some people were employed about embroidered furniture, to see how they were going on; and looking out of the window, he saw at the end of a long avenue two men in the Choisy uniform. “Who are those two noblemen?” said he. Madame de Pompadour took up her glass, and said, “They are the Duc d’Aumont, and —-.” “Ah!” said the King; “the Duc d’Aumont’s grandfather would be greatly astonished if he could see his grandson arm in arm with the grandson of his _valet de Chambre_, L—-, in a dress which may be called a patent of nobility!” He went on to tell Madame de Pompadour a long history, to prove the truth of what he said. The King went out to accompany her into the garden; and, soon after, Quesnay and M. de Marigny came in. I spoke with contempt of some one who was very fond of money. At this the Doctor laughed, and said, “I had a curious dream last night: I was in the country of the ancient Germans; I had a large house, stacks of corn, herds of cattle, a great number of horses, and huge barrels of ale; but I suffered dreadfully from rheumatism, and knew not how to manage to go to a fountain, at fifty leagues’ distance, the waters of which would cure me. I was to go among a strange people. An enchanter appeared before me, and said to me, ‘I pity your distress; here, I will give you a little packet of the powder of _prelinpinpin_; whoever receives a little of this from you will lodge you, feed you, and pay you all sorts of civilities.’ I took the powder, and thanked him.” “Ah!” said I, “how I should like to have some powder of _prelinpinpin!_ I wish I had a chest full.” “Well,” said the Doctor, “that powder is _money_, for which you have so great a contempt. Tell me who, of all the men who come hither, receives the greatest attentions?” “I do not know,” said I. “Why,” said he, “it is M. de Monmartel, who comes four or five times a year.” “Why does he enjoy so much consideration?” “Because his coffers are full of the powder of _prelinpinpin_. Everything in existence,” said he, taking a handful of louis from his pocket, “is contained in these little pieces of metal, which will convey you commodiously from one end of the world to the other. All men obey those who possess this powder, and eagerly tender them their services. To despise money, is to despise happiness, liberty, in short, enjoyments of every kind.” A _cordon bleu_ passed under the window. “That nobleman,” said I, “is much more delighted with his _cordon bleu_ than he would be with ten thousand of your pieces of metal.” “When I ask the King for a pension,” replied Quesnay, “I say to him, ‘Give me the means of having a better dinner, a warmer coat, a carriage to shelter me from the weather, and to transport me from place to place without fatigue.’ But the man who asks him for that fine blue ribbon would say, if he had the courage and the honesty to speak as he feels, ‘I am vain, and it will give me great satisfaction to see people look at me, as I pass, with an eye of stupid admiration, and make way for me; I wish, when I enter a room, to produce an effect, and to excite the attention of those who may, perhaps, laugh at me when I am gone; I wish to be called _Monseigneur_ by the multitude.’ Is not all this mere empty air? In scarcely any country will this ribbon be of the slightest use to him; it will give him no power. My pieces of metal will give me the power of assisting the unfortunate everywhere. Long live the omnipotent powder of _prelinpinpin!_” At these last words, we heard a burst of laughter from the adjoining room, which was only separated by a door from the one we were in. The door opened, and in came the King, Madame de Pompadour, and M. de Gontaut. “Long live the powder of _prelinpinpin!_” said the King. “Doctor, can you get me any of it?” It happened that, when the King returned from his walk, he was struck with a fancy to listen to our conversation. Madame de Pompadour was extremely kind to the Doctor, and the King went out laughing, and talking with great admiration of the powder. I went away, and so did the Doctor. I immediately sat down to commit this conversation to writing. I was afterwards told that M. Quesnay was very learned in certain matters relating to finance, and that he was a great _economiste_. But I do not know very well what that means. What I do know for certain is, that he was very clever, very gay and witty, and a very able physician.

[Illustration: Madame de Pompadour learns of the likelihood of her success in meeting her admirer, the King. _From the painting by Casanova y Estorach._]

The illness of the little Duke of Burgundy, whose intelligence was much talked of, for a long time occupied the attention of the Court. Great endeavours were made to find out the cause of his malady, and ill-nature went so far as to assert that his nurse, who had an excellent situation at Versailles, had communicated to him a nasty disease. The King shewed Madame de Pompadour the information he had procured from the province she came from, as to her conduct. A silly Bishop thought proper to say she had been very licentious in her youth. The poor nurse was told of this, and begged that he might be made to explain himself. The Bishop replied, that she had been at several balls in the town in which she lived, and that she had gone with her neck uncovered. The poor man actually thought this the height of licentiousness. The King, who had been at first uneasy, when he came to this, called out, “_What a fool!_” After having long been a source of anxiety to the Court, the Duke died. Nothing produces a stronger impression upon Princes, than the spectacle of their equals dying. Everybody is occupied about them while ill–but as soon as they are dead, nobody mentions them. The King frequently talked about death–and about funerals, and places of burial. Nobody could be of a more melancholy temperament. Madame de Pompadour once told me that he experienced a painful sensation whenever he was forced to laugh, and that he had often begged her to break off a droll story. He smiled, and that was all. In general, he had the most gloomy ideas concerning almost all events. When there was a new Minister, he used to say, “_He displays his wares like all the rest, and promises the finest things in the world, not one of which will be fulfilled. He does not know this country–he will see._” When new projects for reinforcing the navy were laid before him, he said, “This is the twentieth time I have heard this talked of–France never will have a navy, I think.” This I heard from M. de Marigny.

I never saw Madame de Pompadour so rejoiced as at the taking of Mahon. The King was very glad, too, but he had no belief in the merit of his courtiers–he looked upon their success as the effect of chance. Marechal Saxe was, as I have been told, the only man who inspired him with great esteem. But he had scarcely ever seen him in his closet, or playing the courtier.

M. d’Argenson picked a quarrel with M. de Richelieu, after his victory, about his return to Paris. This was intended to prevent his coming to enjoy his triumph. He tried to throw the thing upon Madame de Pompadour, who was enthusiastic about him, and called him by no other name than the “_Minorcan_.” The Chevalier de Montaign was the favourite of the Dauphin, and much beloved by him for his great devotion. He fell ill, and underwent an operation called _l’empieme_, which is performed by making an incision between the ribs, in order to let out the pus; it had, to all appearance, a favourable result, but the patient grew worse, and could not breathe. His medical attendants could not conceive what occasioned this accident and retarded his cure. He died almost in the arms of the Dauphin, who went every day to see him. The singularity of his disease determined the surgeons to open the body, and they found, in his chest, part of the leaden syringe with which decoctions had, as was usual, been injected into the part in a state of suppuration. The surgeon, who committed this act of negligence, took care not to boast of his feat, and his patient was the victim. This incident was much talked of by the King, who related it, I believe, not less than thirty times, according to his custom; but what occasioned still more conversation about the Chevalier de Montaign, was a box, found by his bed’s side, containing haircloths, and shirts, and whips, stained with blood. This circumstance was spoken of one evening at supper, at Madame de Pompadour’s, and not one of the guests seemed at all tempted to imitate the Chevalier. Eight or ten days afterwards, the following tale was sent to the King, to Madame de Pompadour, to the Baschi, and to the Duc d’Ayen. At first nobody could understand to what it referred: at last, the Duc d’Ayen exclaimed. “How stupid we are; this is a joke on the austerities of the Chevalier de Montaign!” This appeared clear enough–so much the more so, as the copies were sent to the Dauphin, the Dauphine, the Abbe de St. Cyr, and to the Duc de V—-. The latter had the character of a pretender to devotion, and, in his copy, there was this addition, “_You would not be such a fool, my dear Duke, as to be a faquir–confess that you would be very glad to be one of those good monks who lead such a jolly life._” The Duc de Richelieu was suspected of having employed one of his wits to write the story. The King was scandalised at it, and ordered the Lieutenant of Police to endeavour to find out the author, but either he could not succeed or he would not betray him.

_Japanese Tale._

At a distance of three leagues from the capital of Japan, there is a temple celebrated for the concourse of persons, of both sexes, and of all ranks, who crowd thither to worship an idol believed to work miracles. Three hundred men consecrated to the service of religion, and who can give proofs of ancient and illustrious descent, serve this temple, and present to the idol the offerings which are brought from all the provinces of the empire. They inhabit a vast and magnificent edifice, belonging to the temple, and surrounded with gardens where art has combined with nature to produce enchantment. I obtained permission to see the temple, and to walk in the gardens. A monk advanced in years, but still full of vigour and vivacity, accompanied me. I saw several others, of different ages, who were walking there. But what surprised me was to see a great many of them amusing themselves by various agreeable and sportive games with young girls elegantly dressed, listening to their songs, and joining in their dances. The monk, who accompanied me, listened with great civility and kindness to the questions I put to him concerning his order. The following is the sum of his answers to my numerous interrogations. The God Faraki, whom we worship, is so called from a word which signifies the _fabricator_. He made all that we behold–the earth, the stars, the sun, etc. He has endowed men with senses, which are so many sources of pleasure, and we think the only way of shewing our gratitude is to use them. This opinion will, doubtless, appear to you much more rational than that of the faquirs of India, who pass their lives in thwarting nature, and who inflict upon themselves the most melancholy privations and the most severe sufferings.

As soon as the sun rises, we repair to the mountain you see before us, at the foot of which flows a stream of the most limpid water, which meanders in graceful windings through that meadow–enamelled with the loveliest flowers. We gather the most fragrant of them, which we carry and lay upon the altar, together with various fruits, which we receive from the bounty of Faraki. We then sing his praises, and execute dances expressive of our thankfulness, and of all the enjoyments we owe to this beneficent deity. The highest of these is that which love produces, and we testify our ardent gratitude by the manner in which we avail ourselves of this inestimable gift of Faraki. Having left the temple, we go into several shady thickets, where we take a light repast; after which, each of us employs himself in some unoppressive labour. Some embroider, others apply themselves to painting, others cultivate flowers or fruits, others turn little implements for our use. Many of these little works are sold to the people, who purchase them with eagerness. The money arising from this sale forms a considerable part of our revenue. Our morning is thus devoted to the worship of God and to the exercise of the sense of Sight, which begins with the first rays of the sun. The sense of Taste is gratified by our dinner, and we add to it the pleasure of Smell. The most delicious viands are spread for us in apartments strewed with flowers. The table is adorned with them, and the most exquisite wines are handed to us in crystal goblets. When we have glorified God, by the agreeable use of the palate, and the olfactory nerve, we enjoy a delightful sleep of two hours, in bowers of orange trees, roses, and myrtles. Having acquired a fresh store of strength and spirits, we return to our occupations, that we may thus mingle labour with pleasure, which would lose its zest by long continuance. After our work, we return to the temple, to thank God, and to offer him incense. From thence we go to the most delightful part of the garden, where we find three hundred young girls, some of whom form lively dances with the younger of our monks; the others execute serious dances, which require neither strength nor agility, and which only keep time to the sound of musical instruments.

We talk and laugh with our companions, who are dressed in a light gauze, and whose tresses are adorned with flowers; we press them to partake of exquisite sherbets, differently prepared. The hour of supper being arrived, we repair to rooms illuminated with the lustre of a thousand tapers fragrant with amber. The supper-room is surrounded by three vast galleries, in which are placed musicians, whose various instruments fill the mind with the most pleasurable and the softest emotions. The young girls are seated at table with us, and, towards the conclusion of the repast, they sing songs, which are hymns in honour of the God who has endowed us with senses which shed such a charm over existence, and which promise us new pleasure from every fresh exercise of them. After the repast is ended, we return to the dance, and, when the hour of repose arrives, we draw from a kind of lottery, in which every one is sure of a prize that is a sumptuously decorated sleeping room for the night. These rooms are allotted to each by chance to avoid jealousy, since some rooms are handsomer than others. Thus ends the day and gives place to a night of exquisite repose in which we enjoy well-earned sleep, that most divine of earthly gifts.

We admire the wisdom and the goodness of Faraki, who has implanted an unconscious mutual attraction between the sexes that constantly draws them towards each other. It is this mutual love, these invisible ties, that make the world brighter, cheerier, happier. It has been truly said that those who selfishly cut themselves away from these ties, those that lead narrow, lonely, morbid lives, lose most of life’s joys. What should we say to the favourite of a King from whom he had received a beautiful house, and fine estates, and who chose to spoil the house, to let it fall in ruins, to abandon the cultivation of the land, and let it become sterile, and covered with thorns? Such is the conduct of the faquirs of India, who condemn themselves to the most melancholy privations, and to the most severe sufferings. Is not this insulting Faraki? Is it not saying to him, I despise your gifts? Is it not misrepresenting him and saying, You are malevolent and cruel, and I know that I can no otherwise please you than by offering you the spectacle of my miseries? “I am told,” added he, “that you have, in your country, faquirs not less insane, not less cruel to themselves.” I thought, with some reason, that he meant the fathers of La Trappe. The recital of the matter afforded me much matter for reflection, and I admired how strange are the systems to which perverted reason gives birth.

The Duc de V—- was a nobleman of high rank and great wealth. He said to the King one evening at supper, “Your Majesty does me the favour to treat me with great kindness: I should be inconsolable if I had the misfortune to fall under your displeasure. If such a calamity were to befall me, I should endeavour to divert my grief by improving some beautiful estates of mine in such and such a province;” and he thereupon gave a description of three or four fine seats. About a month after, talking of the disgrace of a Minister, he said, “I hope your Majesty will not withdraw your favour from me; but if I had the misfortune to lose it, I should be more to be pitied than anybody, for I have no asylum in which to hide my head.” All those present, who had heard the description of the beautiful country houses, looked at each other and laughed. The King said to Madame de Pompadour, who sat next to him at table, “_People are very right in saying that a liar ought to have a good memory._”

An event, which made me tremble, as well as Madame, procured me the familiarity of the King. In the middle of the night, Madame came into my chamber, _en chemise_, and in a state of distraction. “Here! Here!” said she, “the King is dying.” My alarm may be easily imagined. I put on a petticoat, and found the King in her bed, panting. What was to be done?–it was an indigestion. We threw water upon him, and he came to himself. I made him swallow some Hoffman’s drops, and he said to me, “Do not make any noise, but go to Quesnay; say that your mistress is ill; and tell the Doctor’s servants to say nothing about it.” Quesnay, who lodged close by, came immediately, and was much astonished to see the King in that state. He felt his pulse, and said, “The crisis is over; but, if the King were sixty years old, this might have been serious.” He went to seek some drug, and, on his return, set about inundating the King with perfumed water. I forget the name of the medicine he made him take, but the effect was wonderful. I believe it was the _drops of General Lamotte_. I called up one of the girls of the wardrobe to make tea, as if for myself. The King took three cups, put on his _robe de chambre_ and his stockings, and went to his own room, leaning upon the Doctor. What a sight it was to see us all three half naked! Madame put on a robe as soon as possible, and I did the same, and the King changed his clothes behind the curtains, which were very decently closed. He afterwards spoke of this short attack, and expressed his sense of the attentions shown him. An hour after, I felt the greatest possible terror in thinking that the King might have died in our hands. Happily, he quickly recovered himself, and none of the domestics perceived what had taken place. I merely told the girl of the wardrobe to put everything to rights, and she thought it was Madame who had been indisposed. The King, the next morning, gave secretly to Quesnay a little note for Madame, in which he said, _Ma chere amie must have had a great fright, but let her reassure herself–I am now well, which the Doctor will certify to you._ From that moment the King became accustomed to me, and, touched by the interest I had shown for him, he often gave me one of his peculiarly gracious glances, and made me little presents, and, on every New Year’s Day, sent me porcelain to the amount of twenty louis d’or. He told Madame that he looked upon me in the apartment as a picture or statue, and never put any constraint upon himself on account of my presence. Doctor Quesnay received a pension of a thousand crowns for his attention and silence, and the promise of a place for his son. The King gave me an order upon the Treasury for four thousand francs, and Madame had presented to her a very handsome chiming-clock and the King’s portrait in a snuffbox.

The King was habitually melancholy, and liked everything which recalled the idea of death, in spite of the strongest fears of it. Of this, the following is an instance: Madame de Pompadour was on her way to Crecy, when one of the King’s grooms made a sign to her coachman to stop, and told him that the King’s carriage had broken down, and that, knowing her to be at no great distance, His Majesty had sent him forward to beg her to wait for him. He soon overtook us, and seated himself in Madame de Pompadour’s carriage, in which were, I think, Madame de Chateau-Renaud, and Madame de Mirepoix. The lords in attendance placed themselves in some other carriages. I was behind, in a chaise, with Gourbillon, Madame de Pompadour’s _valet de chambre_. We were surprised in a short time by the King stopping his carriage. Those which followed, of course stopped also. The King called a groom, and said to him, “You see that little eminence; there are crosses; it must certainly be a burying-ground; go and see whether there are any graves newly dug.” The groom galloped up to it, returned, and said to the King, “There are three quite freshly made.” Madame de Pompadour, as she told me, turned away her head with horror; and the little Marechale gaily said, “_This is indeed enough to make one’s mouth water._” Madame de Pompadour spoke of it when I was undressing her in the evening. “What a strange pleasure,” said she, “to endeavour to fill one’s mind with images which one ought to endeavour to banish, especially when one is surrounded by so many sources of happiness! But that is the King’s way; he loves to talk about death. He said, some days ago, to M. de Fontanieu, who was seized with a bleeding at the nose, at the levee, ‘Take care of yourself; at your age it is a forerunner of apoplexy.’ The poor man went home frightened, and absolutely ill.”

I never saw the King so agitated as during the illness of the Dauphin. The physicians came incessantly to the apartments of Madame de Pompadour, where the King interrogated them. There was one from Paris, a very odd man, called Pousse, who once said to him, “You are a good papa; I like you for that. But you know we are all your children, and share your distress. Take courage, however; your son will recover.” Everybody’s eyes were upon the Duc d’Orleans, who knew not how to look. He would have become heir to the crown, the Queen being past the age to have children. Madame de —- said to me, one day, when I was expressing my surprise at the King’s grief, “It would annoy him beyond measure to have a Prince of the blood heir apparent. He does not like them, and looks upon their relationship to him as so remote, that he would feel humiliated by it.” And, in fact, when his son recovered, he said, “The King of Spain would have had a fine chance.” It was thought that he was right in this, and that it would have been agreeable to justice; but that, if the Duc d’Orleans had been supported by a party, he might have supported his pretensions to the crown. It was, doubtless, to remove this impression that he gave a magnificent fete at St. Cloud on the occasion of the Dauphin’s recovery. Madame de Pompadour said to Madame de Brancas, speaking of this fete, “He wishes to make us forget the _chateau en Espagne_ he has been dreaming of; in _Spain_, however, they build them of solider materials.” The people did not shew so much joy at the Dauphin’s recovery. They looked upon him as a devotee, who did nothing but sing psalms. They loved the Duc d’Orleans, who lived in the capital, and had acquired the name of the _King of Paris_. These sentiments were not just; the Dauphin only sang psalms when imitating the tones of one of the choristers of the chapel. The people afterwards acknowledged their error, and did justice to his virtues. The Duc d’Orleans paid the most assiduous court to Madame de Pompadour: the Duchess, on the contrary, detested her. It is possible that words were put into the Duchess’s mouth which she never uttered; but she, certainly, often said most cutting things. The King would have sent her into exile, had he listened only to his resentment; but he feared the eclat of such a proceeding, and he knew that she would only be the more malicious. The Duc d’Orleans was, just then, extremely jealous of the Comte de Melfort; and the Lieutenant of Police told the King he had strong reasons for believing that the Duke would stick at nothing to rid himself of this gallant, and that he thought it his duty to give the Count notice, that he ought to be upon his guard. The King said, “He would not dare to attempt any such violence as you seem to apprehend; but there is a better way: let him try to surprise them, and he will find me very well inclined to have his cursed wife shut up; but if he got rid of this lover, she would have another to-morrow. Nay, she has others at this moment; for instance, the Chevalier de Colbert, and the Comte de l’Aigle.” Madame de Pompadour, however, told me these two last affairs were not certain.

An adventure happened about the same time, which the Lieutenant of Police reported to the King. The Duchesse d’Orleans had amused herself one evening, about eight o’clock, with ogling a handsome young Dutchman, whom she took a fancy to, from a window of the Palais Royal. The young man, taking her for a woman of the town, wanted to make short work, at which she was very much shocked. She called a Swiss, and made herself known. The stranger was arrested; but he defended himself by affirming that she had talked very loosely to him. He was dismissed, and the Duc d’Orleans gave his wife a severe reprimand.

The King (who hated her so much that he spoke of her without the slightest restraint) one day said to Madame de Pompadour, in my presence, “Her mother knew what she was, for, before her marriage, she never suffered her to say more than yes and no. Do you know her joke on the nomination of Moras? She sent to congratulate him upon it: two minutes after, she called back the messenger she had sent, and said, before everybody present, ‘Before you speak to him, ask the Swiss if he still has the place.'” Madame de Pompadour was not vindictive, and, in spite of the malicious speeches of the Duchesse d’Orleans, she tried to excuse her conduct. “Almost all women,” she said, “have lovers; she has not all that are imputed to her: but her free manners, and her conversation, which is beyond all bounds, have brought her into general disrepute.”

My companion came into my room the other day, quite delighted. She had been with M. de Chenevieres, first Clerk in the War-office, and a constant correspondent of Voltaire, whom she looks upon as a god. She was, by the bye, put into a great rage one day, lately, by a print-seller in the street, who was crying, “Here is Voltaire, the famous Prussian; here you see him, with a great bear-skin cap, to keep him from the cold! Here is the famous Prussian, for six sous!” “What a profanation!” said she. To return to my story: M. de Chenevieres had shewn her some letters from Voltaire, and M. Marmontel had read an _Epistle to his Library_.

M. Quesnay came in for a moment; she told him all this: and, as he did not appear to take any great interest in it, she asked him if he did not admire great poets. “Oh, yes; just as I admire great bilboquet players,” said he, in that tone of his, which rendered everything he said diverting. “I have written some verses, however,” said he, “and I will repeat them to you; they are upon a certain M. Rodot, an Intendant of the Marine, who was very fond of abusing medicine and medical men. I made these verses to revenge AEsculapius and Hippocrates.

Antoine se medicina
En decriant ta medicine,
Et de ses propres mains mina