Infomotions, Inc.— Volume 03 / Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy, duc de, 1675-1755

Author: Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy, duc de, 1675-1755
Title: — Volume 03
Date: 2004-12-03
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Memoirs of Louis XIV., Volume 3
by Duc de Saint-Simon

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Title: The Memoirs of Louis XIV., Volume 3
       And His Court and of The Regency

Author: Duc de Saint-Simon

Release Date: December 3, 2004 [EBook #3862]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by David Widger


                        BY THE DUKE OF SAINT-SIMON



For the last two or three years the King of Spain had been in very weak
health, and in danger of his life several times.  He had no children, and
no hope of having any.  The question, therefore, of the succession to his
vast empire began now to agitate every European Court.  The King of
England (William III.), who since his usurpation had much augmented his
credit by the grand alliance he had formed against France, and of which
he had been the soul and the chief up to the Peace of Ryswick, undertook
to arrange this question in a manner that should prevent war when the
King of Spain died.  His plan was to give Spain, the Indies, the Low
Countries, and the title of King of Spain to the Archduke, second son of
the Emperor; Guipuscoa, Naples, Sicily, and Lorraine to France; and the
Milanese to M. de Lorraine, as compensation for taking away from him his

The King of England made this proposition first of all to our King; who,
tired of war, and anxious for repose, as was natural at his age, made few
difficulties, and soon accepted.  M. de Lorraine was not in a position to
refuse his consent to a change recommended by England, France, and
Holland.  Thus much being settled, the Emperor was next applied to.  But
he was not so easy to persuade: he wished to inherit the entire
succession, and would not brook the idea of seeing the House of Austria
driven from Italy, as it would have been if the King of England's
proposal had been carried out.  He therefore declared it was altogether
unheard of and unnatural to divide a succession under such circumstances,
and that he would hear nothing upon the subject until after the death of
the King of Spain.  The resistance he made caused the whole scheme to
come to the ears of the King of Spain, instead of remaining a secret, as
was intended.

The King of Spain made a great stir in consequence of what had taken
place, as though the project had been formed to strip him, during his
lifetime, of his realm.  His ambassador in England spoke so insolently
that he was ordered to leave the country by William, and retired to
Flanders.  The Emperor, who did not wish to quarrel with England,
intervened at this point, and brought about a reconciliation between the
two powers.  The Spanish ambassador returned to London.

The Emperor next endeavoured to strengthen his party in Spain.  The
reigning Queen was his sister-in-law and was all-powerful.  Such of the
nobility and of the ministers who would not bend before her she caused to
be dismissed; and none were favoured by her who were not partisans of the
House of Austria.  The Emperor had, therefore, a powerful ally at the
Court of Madrid to aid him in carrying out his plans; and the King was so
much in his favour, that he had made a will bequeathing his succession to
the Archduke.  Everything therefore seemed to promise success to the

But just at this time, a small party arose in Spain, equally opposed to
the Emperor, and to the propositions of the King of England.  This party
consisted at first of only five persons: namely, Villafranca, Medina-
Sidonia, Villagarcias, Villena, and San Estevan, all of them nobles, and
well instructed in the affairs of government.  Their wish was to prevent
the dismemberment of the Spanish kingdom by conferring the whole
succession upon the son of the only son of the Queen of France, Maria
Theresa, sister of the King of Spain.  There were, however, two great
obstacles in their path.  Maria Theresa, upon her marriage with our King,
had solemnly renounced all claim to the Spanish throne, and these
renunciations had been repeated at the Peace of the Pyrenees.  The other
obstacle was the affection the King of Spain bore to the House of
Austria,--an affection which naturally would render him opposed to any
project by which a rival house would be aggrandised at its expense.

As to the first obstacle, these politicians were of opinion that the
renunciations made by Maria Theresa held good only as far as they applied
to the object for which they were made.  That object was to prevent the
crowns of France and Spain from being united upon one head, as might have
happened in the person of the Dauphin.  But now that the Dauphin had
three sons, the second of whom could be called to the throne of Spain,
the renunciations of the Queen became of no import.  As to the second
obstacle, it was only to be removed by great perseverance and exertions;
but they determined to leave no stone unturned to achieve their ends.

One of the first resolutions of this little party was to bind one another
to secrecy.  Their next was to admit into their confidence Cardinal
Portocarrero, a determined enemy to the Queen.  Then they commenced an
attack upon the Queen in the council; and being supported by the popular
voice, succeeded in driving out of the country Madame Berlips, a German
favourite of hers, who was much hated on account of the undue influence
she exerted, and the rapacity she displayed.  The next measure was of
equal importance.  Madrid and its environs groaned under the weight of
a regiment of Germans commanded by the Prince of Darmstadt.  The council
decreed that this regiment should be disbanded, and the Prince thanked
for his assistance.  These two blows following upon each other so
closely, frightened the Queen, isolated her, and put it out of her power
to act during the rest of the life of the King.

There was yet one of the preliminary steps to take, without which it was
thought that success would not be certain.  This was to dismiss the
King's Confessor, who had been given to him by the Queen, and who was a
zealous Austrian.

Cardinal Portocarrero was charged with this duty, and he succeeded so
well, that two birds were killed with one stone.  The Confessor was
dismissed, and another was put in his place, who could be relied upon to
do and say exactly as he was requested.  Thus, the King of Spain was
influenced in his conscience, which had over him so much the more power,
because he was beginning to look upon the things of this world by the
glare of that terrible flambeau that is lighted for the dying.  The
Confessor and the Cardinal, after a short time, began unceasingly to
attack the King upon the subject of the succession.  The King, enfeebled
by illness, and by a lifetime of weak health, had little power of
resistance.  Pressed by the many temporal, and affrighted by the many
spiritual reasons which were brought forward by the two ecclesiastics,
with no friend near whose opinion he could consult, no Austrian at hand
to confer with, and no Spaniard who was not opposed to Austria;--the King
fell into a profound perplexity, and in this strait, proposed to consult
the Pope, as an authority whose decision would be infallible.  The
Cardinal, who felt persuaded that the Pope was sufficiently enlightened
and sufficiently impartial to declare in favour of France, assented to
this step; and the King of Spain accordingly wrote a long letter to Rome,
feeling much relieved by the course he had adopted.

The Pope replied at once and in the most decided manner.  He said he saw
clearly that the children of the Dauphin were the next heirs to the
Spanish throne, and that the House of Austria had not the smallest right
to it.  He recommended therefore the King of Spain to render justice to
whom justice was due, and to assign the succession of his monarchy to a
son of France.  This reply, and the letter which had given rise to it,
were kept so profoundly secret that they were not known in Spain until
after the King's death.

Directly the Pope's answer had been received the King was pressed to make
a fresh will, and to destroy that which he had previously made in favour
of the Archduke.  The new will accordingly was at once drawn up and
signed; and the old one burned in the presence, of several witnesses.
Matters having arrived at this point, it was thought opportune to admit
others to the knowledge of what had taken place.  The council of state,
consisting of eight members, four of whom were already in the secret, was
made acquainted with the movements of the new party; and, after a little
hesitation, were gained over.

The King, meantime, was drawing near to his end.  A few days after he had
signed the new will he was at the last extremity, and in a few days more
he died.  In his last moments the Queen had been kept from him as much as
possible, and was unable in any way to interfere with the plans that had
been so deeply laid.  As soon as the King was dead the first thing to be
done was to open his will.  The council of state assembled for that
purpose, and all the grandees of Spain who were in the capital took part
in it, The singularity and the importance of such an event, interesting
many millions of men, drew all Madrid to the palace, and the rooms
adjoining that in which the council assembled were filled to suffocation.
All the foreign ministers besieged the door.  Every one sought to be the
first to know the choice of the King who had just died, in order to be
the first to inform his court.  Blecourt, our ambassador, was there with
the others, without knowing more than they; and Count d'Harrach,
ambassador from the Emperor, who counted upon the will in favour of the
Archduke, was there also, with a triumphant look, just opposite the door,
and close by it.

At last the door opened, and immediately closed again.  The Duc
d'Abrantes, a man of much wit and humour, but not to be trifled with,
came out.  He wished to have the pleasure of announcing upon whom the
successorship had fallen, and was surrounded as soon as he appeared.
Keeping silence, and turning his eyes on all sides, he fixed them for a
moment on Blecourt, then looked in another direction, as if seeking some
one else.  Blecourt interpreted this action as a bad omen.  The Duc
d'Abrantes feigning at last to discover the Count d'Harrach, assumed a
gratified look, flew to him, embraced him, and said aloud in Spanish,
"Sir, it is with much pleasure;" then pausing, as though to embrace him
better, he added: "Yes, sir, it is with an extreme joy that for all my
life," here the embraces were redoubled as an excuse for a second pause,
after which he went on--"and with the greatest contentment that I part
from you, and take leave of the very august House of Austria."  So saying
he clove the crowd, and every one ran after him to know the name of the
real heir.

The astonishment and indignation of Count d'Harrach disabled him from
speaking, but showed themselves upon his face in all their extent.  He
remained motionless some moments, and then went away in the greatest
confusion at the manner in which he had been duped.

Blecourt, on the other hand, ran home without asking other information,
and at once despatched to the King a courier, who fell ill at Bayonne,
and was replaced by one named by Harcourt, then at Bayonne getting ready
for the occupation of Guipuscoa.  The news arrived at Court
(Fontainebleau) in the month of November.  The King was going out
shooting that day; but, upon learning what had taken place, at once
countermanded the sport, announced the death of the King of Spain, and at
three o'clock held a council of the ministers in the apartments of Madame
de Maintenon.  This council lasted until past seven o'clock in the
evening.  Monseigneur, who had been out wolf-hunting, returned in time to
attend it.  On the next morning, Wednesday, another council was held, and
in the evening a third, in the apartments of Madame de Maintenon.
However accustomed persons were at the Court to the favour Madame de
Maintenon enjoyed there, they were extremely surprised to see two
councils assembled in her rooms for the greatest and most important
deliberation that had taken place during this long reign, or indeed
during many others.

The King, Monseigneur, the Chancellor, the Duc de Brinvilliers, Torcy,
and Madame de Maintenon, were the only persons who deliberated upon this
affair.  Madame de Maintenon preserved at first a modest silence; but the
King forced her to give her opinion after everybody had spoken except
herself.  The council was divided.  Two were for keeping to the treaty
that had been signed with King William, two for accepting the will.
Monseigneur, drowned as he was in fat and sloth, appeared in quite
another character from his usual ones at these councils.  To the great
surprise of the King and his assistants, when it was his turn to speak he
expressed himself with force in favour of accepting the testament.  Then,
turning towards the King in a respectful but firm manner, he said that he
took the liberty of asking for his inheritance, that the monarchy of
Spain belonged to the Queen his mother, and consequently to him; that he
surrendered it willingly to his second son for the tranquillity of
Europe; but that to none other would he yield an inch of ground.  These
words, spoken with an inflamed countenance, caused excessive surprise,
The King listened very attentively, and then said to Madame de Maintenon,
"And you, Madame, what do you think upon all this?"  She began by
affecting modesty; but pressed, and even commanded to speak, she
expressed herself with becoming confusion; briefly sang the praises of
Monseigneur, whom she feared and liked but little--sentiments perfectly
reciprocated--and at last was for accepting the will.

[Illustration: Madame Maintenon In Conferance--Painted by Sir John Gilbert--front1]

The King did not yet declare himself.  He said that the affair might well
be allowed to sleep for four-and-twenty hours, in order that they might
ascertain if the Spaniards approved the choice of their King.  He
dismissed the council, but ordered it to meet again the next evening at
the same hour and place.  Next day, several couriers arrived from Spain,
and the news they brought left no doubt upon the King's mind as to the
wishes of the Spanish nobles and people upon the subject of the will.
When therefore the council reassembled in the apartments of Madame de
Maintenon, the King, after fully discussing the matter, resolved to
accept the will.

At the first receipt of the news the King and his ministers had been
overwhelmed with a surprise that they could not recover from for several
days.  When the news was spread abroad, the Court was equally surprised.
The foreign ministers passed whole nights deliberating upon the course
the King would adopt.  Nothing else was spoken of but this matter.  The
King one evening, to divert himself, asked the princesses their opinion.
They replied that he should send M. le Duc d'Anjou (the second son of
Monseigneur), into Spain, and that this was the general sentiment.
"I am sure," replied the King, "that whatever course I adopt many people
will condemn me."

At last, on Tuesday, the 16th of November, the King publicly declared
himself.  The Spanish ambassador had received intelligence which proved
the eagerness of Spain to welcome the Duc d'Anjou as its King.  There
seemed to be no doubt of the matter.  The King, immediately after getting
up, called the ambassador into his cabinet, where M. le Duc d'Anjou had
already arrived.  Then, pointing to the Duke, he told the ambassador he
might salute him as King of Spain.  The ambassador threw himself upon his
knees after the fashion of his country, and addressed to the Duke a
tolerably long compliment in the Spanish language.  Immediately
afterwards, the King, contrary to all custom, opened the two folding
doors of his cabinet, and commanded everybody to enter.  It was a very
full Court that day.  The King, majestically turning his eyes towards the
numerous company, and showing them M. le Duc d'Anjou said--"Gentlemen,
behold the King of Spain.  His birth called him to that crown: the late
King also has called him to it by his will; the whole nation wished for
him, and has asked me for him eagerly; it is the will of heaven: I have
obeyed it with pleasure."  And then, turning towards his grandson, he
said, "Be a good Spaniard, that is your first duty; but remember that you
are a Frenchman born, in order that the union between the two nations may
be preserved; it will be the means of rendering both happy, and of
preserving the peace of Europe."  Pointing afterwards with his finger to
the Duc d'Anjou, to indicate him to the ambassador, the King added, "If
he follows my counsels you will be a grandee, and soon; he cannot do
better than follow your advice."

When the hubbub of the courtiers had subsided, the two other sons of
France, brothers of M. d'Anjou, arrived, and all three embraced one
another tenderly several times, with tears in their eyes.  The ambassador
of the Emperor immediately entered, little suspecting what had taken
place, and was confounded when he learned the news.  The King afterwards
went to mass, during which at his right hand was the new King of Spain,
who during the rest of his stay in France, was publicly treated in every
respect as a sovereign, by the King and all the Court.

The joy of Monseigneur at all this was very great.  He seemed beside
himself, and continually repeated that no man had ever found himself in a
condition to say as he could, "The King my father, and the King my son."
If he had known the prophecy which from his birth had been said of him,
"A King's son, a King's father, and never a King," which everybody had
heard repeated a thousand times, I think he would not have so much
rejoiced, however vain may be such prophecies.  The King himself was so
overcome, that at supper he turned to the Spanish ambassador and said
that the whole affair seemed to him like a dream.  In public, as I have
observed, the new King of Spain was treated in every respect as a
sovereign, but in private he was still the Duc d'Anjou.  He passed his
evenings in the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, where he played at all
sorts of children's games, scampering to and fro with Messeigneurs his
brothers, with Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, and with the few ladies
to whom access was permitted.

On Friday, the 19th of November, the new King of Spain put on mourning.
Two days after, the King did the same.  On Monday, the 22nd, letters were
received from the Elector of Bavaria, stating that the King of Spain had
been proclaimed at Brussels with much rejoicing and illuminations.  On
Sunday, the 28th, M. Vaudemont, governor of the Milanese, sent word that
he had been proclaimed in that territory, and with the same
demonstrations of joy as at Brussels.

On Saturday, the 4th of December, the King of Spain set out for his
dominions.  The King rode with him in his coach as far as Sceaux,
surrounded in pomp by many more guards than usual, gendarmes and light
horse, all the road covered with coaches and people; and Sceaux, where
they arrived a little after midday, full of ladies and courtiers, guarded
by two companies of Musketeers.  There was a good deal of leave-taking,
and all the family was collected alone in the last room of the apartment;
but as the doors were left open, the tears they shed so bitterly could be
seen.  In presenting the King of Spain to the Princes of the blood, the
King said--"Behold the Princes of my blood and of yours; the two nations
from this time ought to regard themselves as one nation; they ought to
have the same interests; therefore I wish these Princes to be attached to
you as to me; you cannot have friends more faithful or more certain."
All this lasted a good hour and a half.  But the time of separation at
last came.  The King conducted the King of Spain to the end of the
apartment, and embraced him several times, holding him a long while in.
his arms.  Monseigneur did the same.  The spectacle was extremely

The King returned into the palace for some time, in order to recover
himself.  Monseigneur got into a caleche alone, and went to Meudon; and
the King of Spain, with his brother, M. de Noailles, and a large number
of courtiers, set out on his journey.  The King gave to his grandson
twenty-one purses of a thousand louis each, for pocket-money, and much
money besides for presents.  Let us leave them on their journey, and
admire the Providence which sports with the thoughts of men and disposes
of states.  What would have said Ferdinand and Isabella, Charles V.  and
Philip II., who so many times attempted to conquer France, and who have
been so frequently accused of aspiring to universal monarchy, and Philip
IV., even, with all his precautions at the marriage of the King and at
the Peace of the Pyrenees,--what would they have said, to see a son of
France become King of Spain, by the will and testament of the last of
their blood in Spain, and by the universal wish of all the Spaniards--
without plot, without intrigue, without a shot being fired on our part,
and without the sanction of our King, nay even to his extreme surprise
and that of all his ministers, who had only the trouble of making up
their minds and of accepting?  What great and wise reflections might be
made thereon!  But they would be out of place in these Memoirs.

The King of Spain arrived in Madrid on the 19th February.  From his first
entrance into the country he had everywhere been most warmly welcomed.
Acclamations were uttered when he appeared; fetes and bull-fights were
given in his honour; the nobles and ladies pressed around him.  He had
been proclaimed in Madrid some time before, in the midst of
demonstrations of joy.  Now that he had arrived among his subjects there,
that joy burst out anew.  There was such a crowd in the streets that
sixty people were stifled!  All along the line of route were an infinity
of coaches filled with ladies richly decked.  The streets through which
he passed were hung in the Spanish fashion; stands were placed, adorned
with fine pictures and a vast number of silver vessels; triumphal arches
were built from side to side.  It is impossible to conceive a greater or
more general demonstration of joy.  The Buen-Retiro, where the new King
took up his quarters, was filled with the Court and the nobility.  The
junta and a number of great men received him at the door, and the
Cardinal Portocarrero, who was there, threw himself on his knees, and
wished to kiss the King's hand.  But the King would not permit this;
raised the Cardinal, embraced him, and treated him as his father.  The
Cardinal wept with joy, and could not take his eyes off the King.  He was
just then in the flower of his first youth--fair like the late King
Charles, and the Queen his grandmother; grave, silent, measured, self-
contained, formed exactly to live among Spaniards.  With all this, very
attentive in his demeanour, and paying everybody the attention due to
him, having taken lessons from d'Harcourt on the way.  Indeed he took off
his hat or raised it to nearly everybody, so that the Spaniards spoke on
the subject to the Duc d'Harcourt, who replied to them that the King in
all essential things would conform himself to usage, but that in others
he must be allowed to act according to French politeness.  It cannot be
imagined how much these trifling external attentions attached all hearts
to this Prince.

He was, indeed, completely triumphant in Spain, and the Austrian party as
completely routed.  The Queen of Spain was sent away from Madrid, and
banished to Toledo, where she remained with but a small suite, and still
less consideration.  Each day the nobles, the citizens, and the people
had given fresh proof of their hatred against the Germans and against the
Queen.  She had been almost entirely abandoned, and was refused the most
ordinary necessaries of her state.


Shortly after his arrival in Madrid, the new King of Spain began to look
about him for a wife, and his marriage with the second daughter of M. de
Savoie (younger sister of Madame de Bourgogne) was decided upon as an
alliance of much honour and importance to M. de Savoie, and, by binding
him to her interest, of much utility to France.  An extraordinary
ambassador (Homodei, brother of the Cardinal of that name) was sent to
Turin to sign the contract of marriage, and bring back the new Queen into
Spain.  He was also appointed her Ecuyer, and the Princesse des Ursins
was selected as her 'Camarera Mayor', a very important office.  The
Princesse des Ursins seemed just adapted for it.  A Spanish lady could
not have been relied upon: a lady of our court would not have been fit
for the post.  The Princesse des Ursins was, as it were, both French and
Spanish--French by birth, Spanish by marriage.  She had passed the
greater part of her life in Rome and Italy, and was a widow without
children.  I shall have more hereafter to say of this celebrated woman,
who so long and so publicly governed the Court and Crown of Spain, and
who has made so much stir in the world by her reign and by her fall; at
present let me finish with the new Queen of Spain.

She was married, then, at Turin, on the 11th of September, with but
little display, the King being represented by procuration, and set out on
the 13th for Nice, where she was to embark on board the Spanish galleys
for Barcelona.  The King of Spain, meanwhile, after hearing news that he
had been proclaimed with much unanimity and rejoicing in Peru and Mexico,
left Madrid on the 5th of September, to journey through Aragon and
Catalonia to Barcelona to meet his wife.  He was much welcomed on his
route, above all by Saragossa, which received him magnificently.

The new Queen of Spain, brought by the French galleys to Nice, was so
fatigued with the sea when she arrived there, that she determined to
finish the rest of the journey by land, through Provence and Languedoc.
Her graces, her presence of mind, the aptness and the politeness of her
short replies, and her judicious curiosity, remarkable at her age,
surprised everybody, and gave great hopes to the Princesse des Ursins.

When within two days' journey of Barcelona, the Queen was met by a
messenger, bearing presents and compliments from the King.  All her
household joined her at the same time, being sent on in advance for that
purpose, and her Piedmontese attendants were dismissed.  She appeared
more affected by this separation than Madame de Bourgogne had been when
parting from her attendants.  She wept bitterly, and seemed quite lost in
the midst of so many new faces, the most familiar of which (that of
Madame des Ursins) was quite fresh to her.  Upon arriving at Figueras,
the King, impatient to see her, went on before on horseback.  In this
first embarrassment Madame des Ursins, although completely unknown to the
King, and but little known to the Queen, was of great service to both.

Upon arriving at Figueras, the bishop diocesan married them anew, with
little ceremony, and soon after they sat down to supper, waited upon by
the Princesse des Ursins and the ladies of the palace, half the dishes
being French, half Spanish.  This mixture displeased the ladies of the
palace and several of the Spanish grandees, who plotted with the ladies
openly to mark their displeasure; and they did so in a scandalous manner.
Under one pretext or another--such as the weight or heat of the dishes--
not one of the French dishes arrived upon the table; all were upset;
while the Spanish dishes, on the contrary, were served without any
accident.  The affectation and air of chagrin, to say the least of it,
of the ladies of the palace, were too visible not to be perceived.  But
the King and Queen were wise enough to appear not to notice this; and
Madame des Ursins, much astonished, said not a word.

After a long and disagreeable supper, the King and Queen withdrew.  Then
feelings which had been kept in during supper overflowed.  The Queen wept
for her Piedmontese women.  Like a child, as she was, she thought herself
lost in the hands of ladies so insolent; and when it was time to go to
bed, she said flatly that she would not go, and that she wished to return
home.  Everything was done to console her; but the astonishment and
embarrassment were great indeed when it was found that all was of no
avail.  The King had undressed, and was awaiting her.  Madame des Ursins
was at length obliged to go and tell him the resolution the Queen had
taken.  He was piqued and annoyed.  He had until that time lived with the
completest regularity; which had contributed to make him find the
Princess more to his taste than he might otherwise have done.  He was
therefore affected by her 'fantaisie', and by the same reason easily
persuaded that she would not keep to it beyond the first night.  They did
not see each other therefore until the morrow, and after they were
dressed.  It was lucky that by the Spanish custom no one was permitted to
be present when the newly-married pair went to bed; or this affair, which
went no further than the young couple, Madame des Ursins, and one or two
domestics, might have made a very unpleasant noise.

Madame des Ursins consulted with two of the courtiers, as to the best
measures to be adopted with a child who showed so much force and
resolution.  The night was passed in exhortations and in promises upon
what had occurred at the supper; and the Queen consented at last to
remain Queen.  The Duke of Medina-Sidonia and Count San Estevan were
consulted on the morrow.  They were of opinion that in his turn the King,
in order to mortify her and reduce her to terms, should not visit the
Queen on the following night.  This opinion was acted upon.  The King and
Queen did not see each other in private that day.  In the evening the
Queen was very sorry.  Her pride and her little vanity were wounded;
perhaps also she had found the King to her taste.

The ladies and the grand seigneurs who had attended at the supper were
lectured for what had occurred there.  Excuses, promises, demands for
pardon, followed; all was put right; the third day was tranquil, and the
third night still more agreeable to the young people.  On the fourth day
they went to Barcelona, where only fetes and pleasures awaited them.
Soon after they set out for Madrid.

At the commencement of the following year (1702), it was resolved, after
much debate, at our court, that Philip V. should make a journey to Italy,
and on Easter-day he set out.  He went to Naples, Leghorn, Milan, and
Alessandria.  While at the first-named place a conspiracy which had been
hatching against his life was discovered, and put down.  But other things
which previously occurred in Italy ought to have been related before.  I
must therefore return to them now.

From the moment that Philip V. ascended the Spanish throne it was seen
that a war was certain.  England maintained for some time an obstinate
silence, refusing to acknowledge the new King; the Dutch secretly
murmured against him, and the Emperor openly prepared for battle.  Italy,
it was evident at once, would be the spot on which hostilities would
commence, and our King lost no time in taking measures to be ready for
events.  By land and by sea every preparation was made for the struggle
about to take place.

After some time the war, waited for and expected by all Europe, at last
broke out, by some Imperialist troops firing upon a handful of men near
Albaredo.  One Spaniard was killed, and all the rest of the men were
taken prisoners.  The Imperialists would not give them up until a cartel
was arranged.  The King, upon hearing this, at once despatched the
general officers to Italy.  Our troops were to be commanded by Catinat,
under M. de Savoie; and the Spanish troops by Vaudemont, who was
Governor-General of the Milanese, and to whom, and his dislike to our
King, I have before alluded.

Vaudemont at once began to plot to overthrow Catinat, in conjunction with
Tesse, who had expected the command, and who was irritated because it had
not been given to him.  They were in communication with Chamillart,
Minister of War, who aided them, as did other friends at Court, to be
hereafter named, in carrying out their object.  It was all the more easy
because they had to do with a man who depended for support solely upon
his own talent, and whose virtue and simplicity raised him above all
intrigue and scheming; and who, with much ability and intelligence, was
severe in command, very laconic, disinterested, and of exceeding pure

Prince Eugene commanded the army of the Emperor in Italy.  The first two
generals under him, in order of rank, were allied with Vaudemont: one, in
fact, was his only son; the other was the son of a friend of his.  The
least reflection ought to have opened all eyes to the conduct of
Vaudemont, and to have discerned it to be more than suspicious.  Catinat
soon found it out.  He could plan nothing against the enemy that they did
not learn immediately; and he never attempted any movement without
finding himself opposed by a force more than double his own; so gross was
this treachery.

Catinat often complained of this: he sent word of it to the Court, but
without daring to draw any conclusion from what happened.  Nobody
sustained him at Court, for Vaudemont had everybody in his favour.  He
captured our general officers by his politeness, his magnificence, and,
above all, by presenting them with abundant supplies.  All the useful,
and the agreeable, came from his side; all the dryness, all the
exactitude, came from Catinat.  It need not be asked which of the two had
all hearts.  In fine, Tesse and Vaudemont carried out their schemes so
well that Catinat could do nothing.

While these schemes were going on, the Imperialists were enabled to gain
time, to strengthen themselves, to cross the rivers without obstacle, to,
approach us; and, acquainted with everything as they were, to attack a
portion of our army on the 9th July, at Capri, with five regiments of
cavalry and dragoons.  Prince Eugene led this attack without his coming
being in the least degree suspected, and fell suddenly upon our troops.
Tesse, who was in the immediate neighbourhood with some dragoons,
advanced rapidly upon hearing this, but only with a few dragoons.  A long
resistance was made, but at last retreat became necessary.  It was
accomplished in excellent order, and without disturbance from the enemy;
but our loss was very great, many officers of rank being among the dead.

Such was our first exploit in Italy; all the fault of which was
attributed to Catinat.  Tesse and Vaudemont did everything in their power
to secure his disgrace.  The King, indeed, thus prejudiced against
Catinat, determined to take from him the command, and appointed the
Marechal de Villeroy as his successor.  The surprise of everybody at this
was very great, for no one expected that the Marechal de Villeroy would
repair the fault of Catinat.  On the evening of his appointment, this
general was exposed in a very straightforward and public manner by M. de
Duras.  He did not like the Marechal de Villeroy; and, while everybody
else was applauding, took the Marechal by the arm, and said, "Monsieur le
Marechal, everybody is paying you compliments upon your departure to
Italy, I keep mine until you return;" and then, bursting out laughing, he
looked round upon the company.  Villeroy remained confounded, without
offering a word.  Everybody smiled and looked down.  The King took no

Catinat, when the command was taken out of his hands by the Marechal de
Villeroy, made himself admired on every side by the moderation and
tranquillity with which he conducted himself.  If Vaudemont was satisfied
with the success of his schemes, it was far otherwise with Tesse, who had
merely intrigued against Catinat for the purpose of obtaining the command
of the army.  He did all in his power to ingratiate himself into the
favour of the Marechal de Villeroy; but the Marechal received these
advances very coldly.  Tesse's schemes against Catinat were beginning to
be scented out; he was accused of having wished the Imperialists to
succeed at Capri, and of indirectly aiding them by keeping back his
troops; his tirades against Catinat, too, made him suspected.  The
Marechal de Villeroy would have nothing to do with him.  His conduct was
contrasted with that of Catinat, who, free after his fall to retire from
the army, continued to remain there, with rare modesty, interfering in

The first campaign passed without notable incident, except an
unsuccessful attack upon Chiari, by our troops on the 1st of September.
M. de Savoie led the attack; but was so firmly met by Prince Eugene, who
was in an excellent position for defence, that he could do nothing, and
in the end was compelled to retire disgracefully.  We lost five or six
colonels and many men, and had a large number wounded.  This action much
astonished our army, and encouraged that of the enemy, who did almost as
they wished during the rest of the campaign.

Towards the end of this campaign, the grand airs of familiarity which the
Marechal de Villeroy gave himself with M. de Savoie drew upon him a cruel
rebuke, not to say an affront.  M. de Savoie being in the midst of all
the generals and of the flower of the army, opened, while talking, his
snuff-box, and was about to take a pinch of snuff, when M. de Villeroy,
who was standing near, stretched out his hand and put it into the box
without saying a word.  M. de Savoie flushed up, and instantly threw all
the snuff upon the ground, gave the box to one of his attendants, and
told him to fill it again.  The Marechal, not knowing what to do with
himself, swallowed his shame without daring to say a word, M. de Savoie
continuing the conversation that he had not interrupted, except to ask
for the fresh snuff.

The campaign passed away, our troops always retreating, the Imperialists
always gaining ground; they continually increasing in numbers; we
diminishing little by little every day.  The Marechal de Villeroy and
Prince Eugene each took up his winter quarters and crossed the frontier:
M. de Savoie returned to Turin, and Catinat went to Paris.  The King
received him well, but spoke of nothing but unimportant matters, and gave
him no private audience, nor did he ask for one.

Prince Eugene, who was more knowing than the Marechal de Villeroy, had
obliged him to winter in the midst of the Milanese, and kept him closely
pressed there, while his own troops enjoyed perfect liberty, by means of
which they much disturbed ours.  In this advantageous situation, Prince
Eugene conceived the design of surprising the centre of our quarters, and
by that blow to make himself master of our positions, and afterwards of
Milan, and other places of the country, all in very bad order; thus
finishing effectively and suddenly his conquest.

Cremona was our centre, and it was defended by a strong garrison.  Prince
Eugene ascertained that there was at Cremona an ancient aqueduct which
extended far out into the country, and which started from the town in the
vault of a house occupied by a priest.  He also learnt that this aqueduct
had been recently cleaned, but that it carried very little water, and
that in former times the town had been surprised by means of it.  He
caused the entrance of the aqueduct, in the country, to be reconnoitred,
he gained over the priest in whose vault it ended, and who lived close to
one of the gates of the city, which was walled up and but little guarded;
he sent into Cremona as many chosen soldiers as he could, disguised as
priests or peasants, and these hiding themselves in the house of the
friendly priest, obtained secretly as many axes as they could.  Then the
Prince despatched five hundred picked men and officers to march by the
aqueduct to the priest's vault; he put Thomas de Vaudemont, son of the
Governor General of the Milanese, at the head of a large detachment of
troops, with orders to occupy a redoubt that defended the Po, and to come
by the bridge to his assistance, when the struggle commenced in the town;
and he charged the soldiers secreted in the priest's house to break down
the walled-up gate, so as to admit the troops whom he would lead there.

Everything, thus concerted with exactness, was executed with precision,
and with all possible secrecy and success.  It was on the 1st of
February, 1702, at break of day, that the surprise was attempted.  The
Marechal de Villeroy had only arrived in the town on the previous night.
The first person who got scent of what was going forward was the cook of
the Lieutenant-General Crenan, who going out in the early morning to buy
provisions, saw the streets full of soldiers, whose uniforms were unknown
to him.  He ran back and awakened his master.  Neither he nor his valets
would believe what the cook said, but nevertheless Crenan hurriedly
dressed himself, went out, and was only too soon convinced that it was

At the same time, by a piece of good luck, which proved the saving of
Cremona, a regiment under the command of D'Entragues, drew up in battle
array in one of the public places.  D'Entragues was a bold and skilful
soldier, with a great desire to distinguish himself.  He wished to review
this regiment, and had commenced business before the dawn.  While the
light was still uncertain and feeble, and his battalions were under arms,
he indistinctly perceived infantry troops forming at the end of the
street, in front of him.  He knew by the order's given on the previous
evening that no other review was to take place except his own.  He
immediately feared, therefore, some surprise, marched at once to these
troops, whom he found to be Imperialists, charged them, overthrew them,
sustained the shock of the fresh troops which arrived, and kept up a
defence so obstinate, that he gave time to all the town to awake, and to
the majority of the troops to take up arms.  Without him, all would have
been slaughtered as they slept.

Just at dawn the Marechal de Villeroy, already up and dressed, was
writing in his chamber.  He heard a noise, called for a horse, and
followed by a single aide-de-camp and a page, threaded his way through
the streets to the grand place, which is always the rendezvous in case of
alarm.  At the turning of one of the streets he fell into the midst of an
Imperialist corps de garde, who surrounded him and arrested him.  Feeling
that it was impossible to defend himself, the Marechal de Villeroy
whispered his name to the officer, and promised him ten thousand
pistoles, a regiment, and the grandest recompenses from the King, to be
allowed to escape.  The officer was, however, above all bribes, said he
had not served the Emperor so long in order to end by betraying him, and
conducted the Marechal de Villeroy to Prince Eugene, who did not receive
him so well as he himself would have been received, under similar
circumstances, by the Marechal.  While in the suite of Prince Eugene,
Villeroy saw Crenan led in prisoner, and wounded to the death, and
exclaimed that he should like to be in his place.  A moment after they
were both sent out of the town, and passed the day, guarded, in the coach
of Prince Eugene.

Revel, become commander-in-chief by the capture of the Marechal de
Villeroy, tried to rally the troops.  There was a fight in every street;
the troops dispersed about, some in detachments, several scarcely armed;
some only in their shirts fought with the greatest bravery.  They were
driven at last to the ramparts, where they had time to look about them,
to rally and form themselves.  If the enemy had not allowed our troops
time to gain the ramparts, or if they had driven them beyond this
position, when they reached it, the town could never have held out.  But
the imperialists kept themselves entirely towards the centre of the town,
and made no effort to fall upon our men, or to drive them from the

Praslin, who had the command of our cavalry, put himself at the head of
some Irish battalions which under him did wonders.  Although continually
occupied in defending and attacking, Praslin conceived the idea that the
safety of Cremona depended upon the destruction of the bridge of the Po,
so that the Imperialists could not receive reinforcements from that
point.  He repeated this so many times, that Revel was informed of it,
and ordered Praslin to do what he thought most advisable in the matter.
Thereupon, Praslin instantly commanded the bridge to be broken down:
There was not a moment to lose.  Thomas de Vaudemont was already
approaching the bridge at the head of his troops.  But the bridge,
nevertheless, was destroyed before his eyes, and with all his musketeers
he was not able to prevent it.

It was now three o'clock in the afternoon.  Prince Eugene was at the
Hotel de Ville, swearing in the magistrates.  Leaving that place, and
finding that his troops were giving way, he ascended the cathedral
steeple to see what was passing in different parts of the town, and to
discover why the troops of Thomas de Vaudemont did not arrive.  He had
scarcely reached the top of the steeple, when he saw his detachments on
the banks of the Po, and the bridge broken, thus rendering their
assistance useless.  He was not more satisfied with what he discovered in
every other direction.  Furious at seeing his enterprise in such bad
case, after having been so nearly successful, he descended, tearing his
hair and yelling.  From that time, although superior in force, he thought
of nothing but retreat.

Revel, who saw that his troops were overwhelmed by hunger, fatigue, and
wounds, for since the break of day they had had no repose or leisure,
thought on his side of withdrawing his men into the castle of Cremona,
in order, at least, to defend himself under cover, and to obtain a
capitulation.  So that the two opposing chiefs each thought at one and
the same time of retreat.

Towards the evening therefore the combat slackened on both sides, until
our troops made a last effort to drive the enemy from one of the gates of
the town; so as to have that gate free and open during the night to let
in assistance.  The Irish seconded so well this attack, that it was at
length successful.  A tolerably long calm succeeded this last struggle.
Revel, nevertheless, thought of withdrawing his troops to the castle,
when Mahony, an Irish officer who had fought bravely as a lion all day,
proposed to go and see what was passing all around.  It was already
growing dark; the reconnoiterers profited by this.  They saw that
everything was tranquil, and understood that the enemy had retreated.
This grand news was carried to Revel, who, with many around him, was a
long time in believing it.  Persuaded at last, he left everything as it
was then, until broad daylight, when he found that the enemy had gone,
and that the streets and public places were filled with the wounded, the
dying, and the dead.  He made arrangements for everything, and dispatched
Mahony to the King.

Prince Eugene retreated all that night with the detachment he had led,
and made the Marechal de Villeroy, disarmed and badly mounted, follow
him, very indecently.  The Marechal was afterwards sent to Gratz in
Styria.  Crenan died in the coach of the Marechal de Villeroy.
D'Entragues, to whose valour the safety of Cremona was owing, did not
survive this glorious day.  Our loss was great; that of the enemy

The news of this, the most surprising event that has been heard of in
recent ages, was brought to the King at Marly on the 9th of February,
1702, by Mahony.  Soon after it arrived I heard of it, and at once
hastened to the chateau, where I found a great buzzing and several groups
of people talking.  Mahony was closeted a long time with the King.  At
the end of an hour the King came out of his cabinet, and spoke strongly
in praise of what had occurred.  He took pleasure in dwelling at great
length upon Mahony, and declared that he had never heard anybody give
such a clear and good account of an occurrence as he.  The King kindly
added that he should bestow a thousand francs a year upon Mahony, and a
brevet of Colonel.

In the evening M. le Prince de Conti told me that the King had decorated
Revel, and made Praslin Lieutenant-General.  As the latter was one of my
particular friends, this intelligence gave me much joy.  I asked again to
be more sure of the news.  The other principal officers were advanced in
proportion to their grades, and many received pensions.

As for the Marechal de Villeroy he was treated as those who excite envy
and then become unfortunate are always treated.  The King, however,
openly took his part; and in truth it was no fault of the Marechal, who
had arrived at Cremona the day before the surprise, that he was taken
prisoner directly he set his foot in the street.--How could he know of
the aqueduct, the barred-up gate, and the concealed soldiers?
Nevertheless, his friends were plunged into the greatest grief, and his
wife, who had not been duped by the eclat which accompanied her husband
upon his departure for Italy, but who feared for the result, was
completely overwhelmed, and for a long time could not be prevailed upon
to see anybody.

M. de Vendome was appointed successor to M. de Villeroy, in command of
the army in Italy.


But it is time now for me to go back to other matters, and to start again
from the commencement of 1701, from which I have been led by reciting, in
a continuous story, the particulars of our first campaign in Italy.

Barbezieux had viewed with discontent the elevation of Chamillart.  His
pride and presumption rose in arms against it; but as there was no remedy
he gave himself up to debauch, to dissipate his annoyance.  He had built
between Versailles and Vaucresson, at the end of the park of Saint Cloud,
a house in the open fields, called l'Etang, which though in the dismalest
position in the world had cost him millions.  He went there to feast and
riot with his friends; and committing excesses above his strength, was
seized with a fever, and died in a few days, looking death steadily in
the face.  He was told of his approaching end by the Archbishop of
Rheims; for he would not believe Fagon.

He was thirty-three years of age, with a striking and expressive
countenance, and much wit and aptitude for labour.  He was remarkable for
grace, fine manners, and winning ways; but his pride and ambition were
excessive, and when his fits of ill-temper came, nothing could repress
them.  Resistance always excited and irritated him.  He had accustomed
the King--whenever he had drunk too much, or when a party of pleasure was
toward--to put off work to another time.  It was a great question,
whether the State gained or lost most by his death?

As soon as he was dead, Saint-Pouange went to Marly to tell the news to
the King, who was so prepared for it that two hours before, starting from
Versailles, he had left La Vrilliere behind to put the seals everywhere.
Fagon, who had condemned him at once, had never loved him or his father,
and was accused of over-bleeding him on purpose.  At any rate he allowed,
at one of his last visits, expressions of joy to escape him because
recovery was impossible.  Barbezieux used to annoy people very much by
answering aloud when they spoke to him in whispers, and by keeping
visitors waiting whilst he was playing with his dogs or some base

Many people, especially divers beautiful ladies, lost much by his death.
Some of the latter looked very disconsolate in the salon at Marly; but
when they had gone to table, and the cake had been cut (it was Twelfth
Night), the King manifested a joy which seemed to command imitation.
He was not content with exclaiming "The Queen drinks," but as in a common
wine-shop, he clattered his spoon and fork on his plate, and made others
do so likewise, which caused a strange din, that lasted at intervals all
through the supper.  The snivellers made more noise than the others, and
uttered louder screams of laughter; and the nearest relatives and best
friends were still more riotous.  On the morrow all signs of grief had

Chamillart was appointed in the place of Barbezieux, as Secretary of
State; and wanted to give up the Finance, but the King, remembering the
disputes of Louvois and Colbert, insisted on his occupying both posts.
Chamillart was a very worthy man, with clean hands and the best
intentions; polite, patient, obliging, a good friend, and a moderate
enemy, loving his country, but his King better; and on very good terms
with him and Madame de Maintenon.  His mind was limited and; like all
persons of little wit and knowledge, he was obstinate and pig-headed--
smiling affectedly with a gentle compassion on whoever opposed reasons to
his, but utterly incapable of understanding them--consequently a dupe in
friendship, in business, in everything; governed by all who could manage
to win his admiration, or on very slight grounds could claim his
affection.  His capacity was small, and yet he believed he knew
everything, which was the more pitiable, as all this came to him with his
places, and arose more from stupidity than presumption--not at all from
vanity, of which he was divested.  The most remarkable thing is that the
chief origin of the King's tender regard for him was this very
incapacity.  He used to confess it to the King at every opportunity; and
the King took pleasure in directing and instructing him, so that he was
interested in his successes as if they had been his own, and always
excused him.  The world and the Court excused him also, charmed by the
facility with which he received people, the pleasure he felt in granting
requests and rendering services, the gentleness and regretfulness of his
refusals, and his indefatigable patience as a listener.  His memory was
so great that he remembered all matters submitted to him, which gave
pleasure to people who were afraid of being forgotten.  He wrote
excellently; and his clear, flowing, and precise style was extremely
pleasing to the King and Madame de Maintenon, who were never weary of
praising him, encouraging him, and congratulating themselves for having
placed upon such weak shoulders two burdens, each of which was sufficient
to overwhelm the most sturdy.

Rose, secretary in the King's cabinet, died, aged about eighty-six, at
the commencement of the year 1701.  For nearly fifty years he had held
the office of the "pen," as it is called.  To have the "pen," is to be a
public forger, and to do what would cost anybody else his life.  This
office consists in imitating so exactly the handwriting of the King; that
the real cannot be distinguished from the counterfeit.  In this manner
are written all the letters that the King ought or wishes to write with
his own hand, but which, nevertheless, he will not take the trouble to
write.  Sovereigns and people of high rank, even generals and others of
importance, employ a secretary of this kind.  It is not possible to make
a great King speak with more dignity than did Rose; nor with more fitness
to each person, and upon every subject.  The King signed all the letters
Rose wrote, and the characters were so alike it was impossible to find
the smallest difference.  Many important things had passed through the
hands of Rose: He was extremely faithful and secret, and the King put
entire trust in him.

Rose was artful, scheming, adroit, and dangerous.  There are stories
without number of him; and I will relate one or two solely because they
characterise him, and those to whom they also relate.

He had, near Chantilly, a nice house and grounds that he much liked, and
that he often visited.  This little property bordered the estate of M. le
Prince, who, not liking so close a neighbour, wished to get rid of him.
M. le Prince endeavoured to induce Rose to give up his house and grounds,
but all to no effect; and at last tried to annoy him in various ways into
acquiescence.  Among other of his tricks, he put about four hundred
foxes, old and young, into Rose's park.  It may be imagined what disorder
this company made there, and the surprise of Rose and his servants at an
inexhaustible ant-hill of foxes come to one night!

The worthy fellow, who was anger and vehemence itself, knew only too well
who had treated him thus scurvily, and straightway went to the King,
requesting to be allowed to ask him rather a rough question.  The King,
quite accustomed to him and to his jokes,--for he was pleasant and very
witty, demanded what was the matter.

"What is the matter, Sire?" replied Rose, with a face all flushed.
"Why, I beg you will tell me if we have two Kings in France?"

"What do you mean?" said the King, surprised, and flushing in his turn.

"What I mean, Sire, is, that if M. le Prince is King like you, folks must
weep and lower their heads before that tyrant.  If he is only Prince of
the blood, I ask justice from you, Sire, for you owe it to all your
subjects, and you ought not to suffer them to be the prey of M. le
Prince," said Rose; and he related everything that had taken place,
concluding with the adventure of the foxes.

The King promised that he would speak to M. le Prince in a manner to
insure the future repose of Rose; and, indeed, he ordered all the foxes
to be removed from the worthy man's park, all the damages they had made
to be repaired, and all the expenses incurred to be paid by M. le Prince.
M. le Prince was too good a courtier to fail in obeying this order, and
never afterwards troubled Rose in the least thing; but, on the contrary,
made all the advances towards a reconciliation.  Rose was obliged to
receive them, but held himself aloof, nevertheless, and continually let
slip some raillery against M. le Prince.  I and fifty others were one day
witnesses of this.

M. le Prince was accustomed to pay his court to the ministers as they
stood waiting to attend the council in the King's chamber; and although
he had nothing to say, spoke to them with the mien of a client obliged to
fawn.  One morning, when there was a large assembly of the Court in this
chamber, and M. le Prince had been cajoling the ministers with much
suppleness and flattery, Secretary Rose, who saw what had been going on,
went up to him on a sudden, and said aloud, putting one finger under his
closed eye, as was sometimes his habit, "Sir, I have seen your scheming
here with all these gentlemen, and for several days; it is not for
nothing.  I have known the Court and mankind many years; and am not to be
imposed upon: I see clearly where matters point:" and this with turns and
inflections of voice which thoroughly embarrassed M. le Prince, who
defended himself as he could.  Every one crowded to hear what was going
on; and at last Rose, taking M. le Prince respectfully by his arm, said,
with a cunning and meaning smile; "Is it not that you wish to be made
first Prince of the blood royal?"  Then he turned on his heel, and
slipped off.  The Prince was stupefied; and all present tried in vain to
restrain their laughter.

Rose had never pardoned M. de Duras an ill turn the latter had served
him.  During one of the Court journeys, the carriage in which Rose was
riding broke down.  He took a horse; but, not being a good equestrian,
was very soon pitched into a hole full of mud.  While there M. de Duras
passed, and Rose from the midst of the mire cried for help.  But M. de
Duras, instead of giving assistance, looked from his coach-window, burst
out laughing, and cried out: "What a luxurious horse thus to roll upon
Roses!"--and with this witticism passed gently on through the mud.  The
next comer, the Duc de Coislin, was more charitable; he picked up the
worthy man, who was so furious, so carried away by anger, that it was
some time before he could say who he was.  But the worst was to come; for
M. de Duras, who feared nobody, and whose tongue was accustomed to wag as
freely as that of Rose, told the story to the King and to all the Court,
who much laughed at it.  This outraged Rose to such a point, that he
never afterwards approached M. de Duras, and only spoke of him in fury.
Whenever he hazarded some joke upon M. de Duras, the King began to laugh,
and reminded him of the mud-ducking he had received.

Towards the end of his life, Rose married his granddaughter, who was to
be his heiress, to Portail, since Chief President of the Parliament.
The marriage was not a happy one; the young spouse despised her husband;
and said that instead of entering into a good house, she had remained at
the portal.  At last her husband and his father complained to Rose.  He
paid no attention at first; but, tired out at last, said if his
granddaughter persisted in her bad conduct, he would disinherit her.
There were no complaints after this.

Rose was a little man, neither fat nor lean, with a tolerably handsome
face, keen expression, piercing eyes sparkling with cleverness; a little
cloak, a satin skull-cap over his grey hairs, a smooth collar, almost
like an Abbe's, and his pocket-handkerchief always between his coat and
his vest.  He used to say that it was nearer his nose there.  He had
taken me into his friendship.  He laughed very freely at the foreign
princes; and always called the Dukes with whom he was familiar, "Your
Ducal Highness," in ridicule of the sham Highnesses.  He was extremely
neat and brisk, and full of sense to the last; he was a sort of


On Saturday, the 19th of March, in the evening, the King was about to
undress himself, when he heard cries in his chamber, which was full of
courtiers; everybody calling for Fagon and Felix.  Monseigneur had been
taken very ill.  He had passed the day at Meudon, where he had eaten only
a collation; at the King's supper he had made amends by gorging himself
nigh to bursting with fish.  He was a great eater, like the King, and
like the Queens his mother and grandmother.  He had not appeared after
supper, but had jest gone down to his own room from the King's cabinet,
and was about to undress himself, when all at once he lost consciousness.
His valets, frightened out of their wits, and some courtiers who were
near, ran to the King's chambers, to his chief physician and his chief
surgeon with the hubbub which I have mentioned above.  The King, all
unbuttoned, started to his feet immediately, and descended by a little
dark, narrow, and steep staircase towards the chamber of Monseigneur.
Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne arrived at the same time, and in an
instant the chamber, which was vast, was filled.

They found Monseigneur half naked: his servants endeavouring to make him
walk erect, and dragging rather than leading him about.  He did not know
the King, who spoke to him, nor anybody else; and defended himself as
long as he could against Felix, who, in this pressing necessity, hazarded
bleeding him, and succeeded.  Consciousness returned.  Monseigneur asked
for a confessor; the King had already sent for, the cure.  Many emetics
were given to him: but two hours passed before they operated.  At half-
past two in the morning, no further danger appearing, the King, who had
shed tears, went to bed, leaving orders that he was to be awakened if any
fresh accident happened.  At five o'clock, however, all the effect having
passed, the doctors went away, and made everybody leave the sick chamber.
During the night all Paris hastened hither.  Monseigneur was compelled to
keep his room for eight or ten days; and took care in future not to gorge
himself so much with food.  Had this accident happened a quarter of an
hour later, the chief valet de chambre, who slept in his room, would have
found him dead in his bed.

Paris loved Monseigneur, perhaps because he often went to the opera.
The fish-fags of the Halles thought it would be proper to exhibit their
affection, and deputed four stout gossips to wait upon him: they were
admitted.  One of them took him round the neck and kissed him on both
cheeks; the others kissed his hand.  They were all very well received.
Bontems showed them over the apartments, and treated them to a dinner.
Monseigneur gave them some money, and the King did so also.  They
determined not to remain in debt, and had a fine Te Deum sung at Saint
Eustache, and then feasted.

For some time past Monsieur had been sorely grieved that his son, M. le
Duc de Chartres, had not been appointed to the command of an army.  When
M. de Chartres married, the King, who had converted his nephew by force
into a son-in-law, promised him all kinds of favours; but except those
which were written down in black and white had not given him any.  M. de
Chartres, annoyed at this, and at the manner m which the illegitimate
children were promoted over his head, had given himself up to all kinds
of youthful follies and excesses.  The King was surprised to find
Monsieur agree with his son's ambition; but gave a flat refusal when
overtures were made to him on the subject.  All hope of rising to a high
command was thus forbidden to the Duc de Chartres; so that Madame had a
fine excuse for sneering at the weakness which had been shown by
Monsieur, who, on his part, had long before repented of it.  He winked,
therefore, at all the escapades performed or threatened by his son, and
said nothing, not being sorry that the King should become uneasy, which
was soon the case.

The King at last spoke to Monsieur; and being coldly received, reproached
him for not knowing how to exercise authority over his son.  Upon this
Monsieur fired up; and, quite as much from foregone decision as from
anger, in his turn asked the King what was to be done with a son at such
an age: who was sick of treading the galleries of Versailles and the
pavement of the Court; of being married as he was, and of remaining, as
it were, naked, whilst his brothers-in-law were clothed in dignities,
governments, establishments, and offices,--against all policy and all
example.  His son, he said, was worse off than any one in the King's
service, for all others could earn distinction; added, that idleness was
the mother of all vice, and that it gave him much pain to see his only
son abandon himself to debauchery and bad company; but that it would be
cruel to blame a young man, forced as it were into these follies, and to
say nothing against him by whom he was thus forced.

Who was astonished to hear this straightforward language?  Why, the King.
Monsieur had never let out to within a thousand leagues of this tone,
which was only the more annoying because supported by unanswerable
reasons that did not convince.  Mastering his embarrassments however, the
King answered as a brother rather than as a sovereign; endeavouring, by
gentle words, to calm the excitement of Monsieur.  But Monsieur was stung
to the quick by the King's neglect of M. de Chartres, and would not be
pacified; yet the real subject of the annoyance was never once alluded
to, whilst the one kept it steadily in his mind; and the other was
determined not to yield.  The conversation lasted very long, and was
pushed very far; Monsieur throughout taking the high tone, the King very
gentle.  They separated in this manner,--Monsieur frowning, but not
daring to burst out; the King annoyed, but not wishing to estrange his
brother, much less to let their squabble be known.

As Monsieur passed most of his summers at Saint Cloud, the separation
which this occasioned put them at their ease whilst waiting for a
reconciliation; and Monsieur came less often than before, but when he did
filled all their private interviews with bitter talk.  In public little
or nothing appeared, except that familiar people remarked politeness and
attention on the King's part, coldness on that of Monsieur--moods not
common to either.  Nevertheless, being advised not to push matters too
far, he read a lecture to his son, and made him change his conduct by
degrees.  But Monsieur still remained irritated against the King; and
this completely upset him, accustomed as he always had been to live on
the best of terms with his brother, and to be treated by him in every
respect as such--except that the King would not allow Monsieur to become
a great personage.

Ordinarily, whenever Monsieur or Madame were unwell, even if their little
finger ached, the King visited them at once; and continued his visits if
the sickness lasted.  But now, Madame had been laid up for six weeks with
a tertian fever, for which she would do nothing, because she treated
herself in her German fashion, and despised physic and doctors.  The
King, who, besides the affair of M. le Duc de Chartres, was secretly
angered with her, as will presently be seen, had not been to see her,
although Monsieur had urged him to do so during those flying visits which
he made to Versailles without sleeping there.  This was taken by
Monsieur, who was ignorant of the private cause of indignation alluded
to, for a public mark of extreme disrespect; and being proud and
sensitive he was piqued thereby to the last degree.

He had other mental troubles to torment him.  For some time past he had
had a confessor who, although a Jesuit, kept as tight a hand over him as
he could.  He was a gentleman of good birth, and of Brittany, by name le
Pere du Trevoux.  He forbade Monsieur not only certain strange pleasures,
but many which he thought he could innocently indulge in as a penance for
his past life.  He often told him that he had no mind to be damned on his
account; and that if he was thought too harsh let another confessor be
appointed.  He also told him to take great care of himself, as he was
old, worn out with debauchery, fat, short-necked, and, according to all
appearance, likely to die soon of apoplexy.  These were terrible words to
a prince the most voluptuous and the most attached to life that had been
seen for a long time; who had always passed his days in the most
luxurious idleness and who was the most incapable by nature of all
serious application, of all serious reading, and of all self-examination.
He was afraid of the devil; and he remembered that his former confessor
had resigned for similar reasons as this new one was actuated by.  He was
forced now, therefore, to look a little into himself, and to live in a
manner that, for him, might be considered rigid.  From time to time he
said many prayers; he obeyed his confessor, and rendered an account to
him of the conduct he had prescribed in respect to play and many other
things, and patiently suffered his confessor's long discourses.  He
became sad, dejected, and spoke less than usual--that is to say, only
about as much as three or four women--so that everybody soon saw this
great change.  It would have been strange if all these troubles together
had not made a great revolution in a man like Monsieur, full-bodied, and
a great eater, not only at meals, but all the day.

On Thursday, the 8th of June, he went from Saint Cloud to dine with the
King at Marly; and, as was his custom, entered the cabinet as soon as the
Council of State went out.  He found the King angry with M. de Chartres
for neglecting his wife, and allowing her to seek consolation for this
neglect in the society of others.  M. de Chartres was at that time
enamoured of Mademoiselle de Sary, maid of honour to Madame, and carried
on his suit in the most open and flagrant manner.  The King took this for
his theme, and very stiffly reproached Monsieur for the conduct of his
son.  Monsieur, who needed little to exasperate him, tartly replied, that
fathers who had led certain lives had little authority over their
children, and little right to blame them.  The King, who felt the point
of the answer, fell back on the patience of his daughter, and said that
at least she ought not to be allowed to see the truth so clearly.  But
Monsieur was resolved to have his fling, and recalled, in the most
aggravating manner, the conduct the King had adopted towards his Queen,
with respect to his mistresses, even allowing the latter to accompany him
in his journeys--the Queen at his side, and all in the same coach.  This
last remark drove the King beyond all patience, and he redoubled his
reproaches, so that presently both were shouting to each other at the top
of their voices.  The door of the room in which they wrangled was open,
and only covered by a curtain, as was the custom at Marly, and the
adjoining room was full of courtiers, waiting to see the King go by to
dinner.  On the other side was a little salon, devoted to very private
purposes, and filled with valets, who could hear distinctly every word of
what passed.  The attendant without, upon hearing this noise, entered,
and told the King how many people were within hearing, and immediately
retired.  The conversation did not stop, however; it was simply carried
on in a lower tone.  Monsieur continued his reproaches; said that the
King, in marrying his daughter to M. de Chartres, had promised marvels,
and had done nothing; that for his part he had wished his son to serve,
to keep him out of the way of these intrigues, but that his demands had
been vain; that it was no wonder M. de Chartres amused himself, by way of
consolation, for the neglect he had been treated with.  Monsieur added,
that he saw only too plainly the truth of what had been predicted,
namely, that he would have all the shame and dishonour of the marriage
without ever deriving any profit from it.  The King, more and more
carried away by anger, replied, that the war would soon oblige him to
make some retrenchments, and that he would commence by cutting down the
pensions of Monsieur, since he showed himself so little accommodating.

At this moment the King was informed that his dinner was ready, and both
he and Monsieur left the room and went to table, Monsieur, all fury,
flushed, and with eyes inflamed by anger.  His face thus crimsoned
induced some ladies who were at table, and some courtiers behind--but
more for the purpose of saying something than anything else--to make the
remark, that Monsieur, by his appearance, had great need of bleeding.
The same thing had been said some time before at Saint Cloud; he was
absolutely too full; and, indeed, he had himself admitted that it was
true.  Even the King, in spite of their squabbles, had more than once
pressed him to consent.  But Tancrede, his head surgeon, was old, and an
unskilful bleeder: he had missed fire once.  Monsieur would not be bled
by him; and not to vex him was good enough to refuse being bled by
another, and to die in consequence.

Upon hearing this observation about bleeding, the King spoke to him again
on the subject; and said that he did not know what prevented him from
having him at once taken to his room, and bled by force.  The dinner
passed in the ordinary manner; and Monsieur ate extremely, as he did at
all his meals, to say nothing of an abundant supply of chocolate in the
morning, and what he swallowed all day in the shape of fruit, pastry,
preserves, and every kind of dainties, with which indeed the tables of
his cabinets and his pockets were always filled.

Upon rising from the table, the King, in his carriage, alone went to
Saint Germain, to visit the King and Queen of England.  Other members of
the family went there likewise separately; and Monsieur, after going
there also, returned to Saint Cloud.

In the evening, after supper, the King was in his cabinet, with
Monseigneur and the Princesses, as at Versailles, when a messenger came
from Saint Cloud, and asked to see the King in the name of the Duc de
Chartres.  He was admitted into the cabinet, and said that Monsieur had
been taken very ill while at supper; that he had been bled, that he was
better, but that an emetic had been given to him.  The fact was, Monsieur
had supped as usual with the ladies, who were at Saint Cloud.  During the
meal, as he poured out a glass of liqueur for Madame de Bouillon, it was
perceived that he stammered, and pointed at something with his hand.  As
it was customary with him sometimes to speak Spanish, some of the ladies
asked what he said, others cried aloud.  All this was the work of an
instant, and immediately afterwards Monsieur fell in a fit of apoplexy
upon M. de Chartres, who supported him.  He was taken into his room,
shaken, moved about, bled considerably, and had strong emetics
administered to him, but scarcely any signs of life did he show.

Upon hearing this news, the King, who had been accustomed to fly to visit
Monsieur for a mere nothing, went to Madame de Maintenon's, and had her
waked up.  He passed a quarter of an hour with her, and then, towards
midnight, returning to his room, ordered his coach to be got ready, and
sent the Marquis de Gesvres to Saint Cloud, to see if Monsieur was worse,
in which case he was to return and wake him; and they went quickly to
bed.  Besides the particular relations in which they were at that time, I
think that the King suspected some artifice; that he went in consequence
to consult Madame de Maintenon, and preferred sinning against all laws of
propriety to running the chance of being duped.  Madame de Maintenon did
not like Monsieur.  She feared him.  He paid her very little court, and
despite all his timidity and his more than deference, observations
escaped him at times, when he was with the King, which marked his disdain
of her, and the shame that he felt of public opinion.  She was not eager,
therefore, to advise the King to go and visit him, still less to commence
a journey by night, the loss of rest, and the witnessing a spectacle so
sad, and so likely to touch him, and make him make reflections on
himself; for she hoped that if things went quietly he might be spared the
trouble altogether.

A moment after the King had got into bed, a page came to say that
Monsieur was better, and that he had just asked for some Schaffhausen
water, which is excellent for apoplexy.  An hour and a half later,
another messenger came, awakened the King, and told him that the emetic
had no effect, and that Monsieur was very ill.  At this the King rose and
set out at once.  On the way he met the Marquis de Gesvres, who was
coming to fetch him, and brought similar news.  It may be imagined what a
hubbub and disorder there was this night at Marly, and what horror at
Saint Cloud, that palace of delight!  Everybody who was at Marly hastened
as he was best able to Saint Cloud.  Whoever was first ready started
together.  Men and women jostled each other, and then threw themselves
into the coaches without order and without regard to etiquette.
Monseigneur was with Madame la Duchesse.  He was so struck by what had
occurred, and its resemblance to what he himself had experienced, that he
could scarcely stand, and was dragged, almost carried, to the carriage,
all trembling.

The King arrived at Saint Cloud before three o'clock in the morning.
Monsieur had not had a moment's consciousness since his attack.  A ray of
intelligence came to him for an instant, while his confessor, Pere du
Trevoux, went to say mass, but it returned no more.  The most horrible
sights have often ridiculous contrasts.  When the said confessor came
back, he cried, "Monsieur, do you not know your confessor?  Do you not
know the good little Pere du Trevoux, who is speaking to you?" and thus
caused the less afflicted to laugh indecently.

The King appeared much moved; naturally he wept with great facility; he
was, therefore, all tears.  He had never had cause not to love his
brother tenderly; although on bad terms with him for the last two months,
these sad moments recalled all his tenderness; perhaps, too, he
reproached himself for having hastened death by the scene of the morning.
And finally, Monsieur was younger than he by two years, and all his life
had enjoyed as good health as he, and better!  The King heard mass at
Saint Cloud;  and, towards eight o'clock in the morning, Monsieur being
past all hope, Madame de Maintenon and Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne
persuaded the King to stay no longer, and accordingly returned with him
in his carriage to Marly.  As he was going out and was showing some sign
of affection to M. de Chartres--both weeping very much--that young Prince
did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity.  "Oh Sire!" he
exclaimed, embracing the King's thighs, "what will become of me?  I lose
Monsieur, and I know that you do not like me."  The King, surprised and
much touched, embraced him, and said all the tender things he could.

On arriving at Marly, the King went with the Duchesse de Bourgogne to
Madame de Maintenon.  Three hours after came M. Fagon, who had been
ordered not to leave Monsieur until he was dead or better--which could
not be but by miracle.  The King said, as soon as he saw him: "Well!
M. Fagon, my brother is dead?"--"Yes, Sire," said Fagon, "no remedy has
taken effect."

The King wept a good deal.  He was pressed to dine with Madame de
Maintenon; but he would not do so, and had his dinner, as usual, with the
ladies.  The tears often ran down his cheek, during the meal, which was
short.  After this, he shut himself up in Madame de Maintenon's rooms
until seven o'clock, and then took a turn in his garden.  Afterwards he
worked with Chamillart and Pontchartrain; and arranged all the funeral
ceremonies of Monsieur.  He supped an hour before his customary time, and
went to bed soon afterwards.

At the departure from St. Cloud of the King, all the crowd assembled
there little by little withdrew, so that Monsieur dying, stretched upon a
couch in his cabinet, remained exposed to the scullions and the lower
officers of the household, the majority of whom, either by affection or
interest, were much afflicted.  The chief officers and others who lost
posts and pensions filled the air with their cries; whilst all the women
who were at Saint Cloud, and who lost their consideration and their
amusement, ran here and there, crying, with dishevelled hair, like
Bacchantes.  The Duchesse de la Ferme, who had basely married her
daughter to one of Monsieur's minions, named La Carte, came into the
cabinet; and, whilst gazing on the Prince, who still palpitated there,
exclaimed, giving vent to her profound reflections, "Pardi!  Here is a
daughter well married!"

"A very important matter!" cried Chatillon, who himself lost everything
by this death.  "Is this a moment to consider whether your daughter is
well married or not?"

Madame, who had never had great affection or great esteem for Monsieur,
but who felt her loss and her fall, meanwhile remained in her cabinet,
and in the midst of her grief cried out, with all her might, "No convent!
Let no one talk of a convent!  I will have nothing to do with a convent!"
The good Princess had not lost her judgment.  She knew that, by her
compact of marriage, she had to choose, on becoming a widow, between a
convent and the chateau of Montargis.  She liked neither alternative; but
she had greater fear of the convent than of Montargis; and perhaps
thought it would be easier to escape from the latter than the former.
She knew she had much to fear from the King, although she did not yet
know all, and although he had been properly polite to her, considering
the occasion.

Next morning, Friday, M. de Chartres, came to the King, who was still in
bed, and who spoke to him in a very friendly manner.  He said that the
Duke must for the future regard him as his father; that he would take
care of his position and his interests; that he had forgotten all the
little causes of anger he had had against him; that he hoped the Duke
would also forget them; that he begged that the advances of friendship he
made, might serve to attach him to him, and make their two hearts belong
to one another again.  It may easily be conceived how well M. de Chartres
answered all this.


After such a frightful spectacle as had been witnessed, so many tears and
so much tenderness, nobody doubted that the three, days which remained of
the stay at Marly would be exceedingly sad.  But, on the very morrow of
the day on which Monsieur died, some ladies of the palace, upon entering
the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, where was the King with the
Duchesse de Bourgogne, about twelve o'clock, heard her from the chamber
where they were, next to hers, singing opera tunes.  A little while
after, the King, seeing the Duchesse de Bourgogne very sad in a corner of
the room, asked Madame de Maintenon, with surprise, why the said Duchess
was so melancholy; set himself to work to rouse her; then played with her
and some ladies of the palace he had called in to join in the sport.
This was not all.  Before rising from the dinner table, at a little after
two o'clock, and twenty-six hours after the death of Monsieur,
Monseigneur the Duc de Bourgogne asked the Duc de Montfort if he would
play at brelan.

"At brelan!" cried Montfort, in extreme astonishment; "you cannot mean
it!  Monsieur is still warm."

"Pardon me," replied the Prince, "I do mean it though.  The King does not
wish that we should be dull here at Marly, and has ordered me to make
everybody play; and, for fear that nobody should dare to begin, to set,
myself, the example;" and with this he began to play at brelan; and the
salon was soon filled with gaming tables.

Such was the affection of the King: such that of Madame de Maintenon!
She felt the loss of Monsieur as a deliverance, and could scarcely
restrain her joy; and it was with the greatest difficulty she succeeded
in putting on a mournful countenance.  She saw that the King was already
consoled; nothing could therefore be more becoming than for her to divert
him, and nothing suited her better than to bring things back into their
usual course, so that there might be no more talk of Monsieur nor of
affliction.  For propriety of appearance she cared nothing.  The thing
could not fail, however, to be scandalous; and in whispers was found so.
Monseigneur, though he had appeared to like Monsieur, who had given him
all sorts of balls and amusements, and shown him every kind of attention
and complaisance, went out wolf hunting the very day after his death;
and, upon his return, finding play going on in the salons, went without
hesitation and played himself like the rest.  Monseigneur le Duc de
Bourgogne and M. le Duc de Berry only saw Monsieur on public occasions,
and therefore could not be much moved by his loss.  But Madame la
Duchesse was extremely touched by this event.  He was her grandfather;
and she tenderly loved her mother, who loved Monsieur; and Monsieur had
always been very kind to her, and provided all kinds of diversion for
her.  Although not very loving to anybody, she loved Monsieur; and was
much affected not to dare to show her grief, which she indulged a long
time in private.  What the grief of Madame was has already been seen.

As for M. de Chartres, he was much affected by his loss.  The father and
son loved each other extremely.  Monsieur was a gentle and indulgent
parent, who had never constrained his son.  But if the Duke's heart was
touched, his reason also was.  Besides the great assistance it was to him
to have a father, brother of the King, that father was, as it were,
a barrier between him and the King, under whose hand he now found himself
directly placed.  His greatness, his consideration, the comfort of his
house and his life, would, therefore, depend on him alone.  Assiduity,
propriety of conduct, a certain manner, and, above all, a very different
deportment towards his wife, would now become the price of everything he
could expect to obtain from the King.  Madame la Duchesse de Chartres,
although well treated by Monsieur, was glad to be delivered from him; for
he was a barrier betwixt her and the King, that left her at the mercy of
her husband.  She was charmed to be quit of the duty of following
Monsieur to Paris or Saint Cloud, where she found herself, as it were, in
a foreign country, with faces which she never saw anywhere else, which
did not make her welcome; and where she was exposed to the contempt and
humour of Madame, who little spared her.  She expected for the future
never to leave the Court, and to be not only exempt from paying her court
to Monsieur, but that Madame and her husband would for the future be
obliged to treat her in quite another manner.

The bulk of the Court regretted Monsieur, for it was he who set all
pleasure a-going; and when he left it, life and merriment seemed to have
disappeared likewise.  Setting aside his obstinacy with regard to the
Princes, he loved the order of rank; preferences, and distinctions: he
caused them to be observed as much as possible, and himself set the
example.  He loved great people; and was so affable and polite, that
crowds came to him.  The difference which he knew how to make, and which
he never failed to make, between every one according to his position,
contributed greatly to his popularity.  In his receptions, by his greater
or less, or more neglectful attention, and by his words, he always marked
in a flattering manner the differences made by birth and dignity, by age
and merit, and by profession; and all this with a dignity natural to him,
and a constant facility which he had acquired.  His familiarity obliged,
and yet no rash people ever ventured to take advantage of it.  He visited
or sent exactly when it was proper; and under his roof he allowed a
complete liberty, without injury to the respect shown him, or to a
perfect court air.

He had learned from the Queen his mother, and well remembered this art.
The crowd, therefore, constantly flocked towards the Palais Royal.

At Saint Cloud, where all his numerous household used to assemble, there
were many ladies who, to speak the truth, would scarcely have been
received elsewhere, but many also of a higher set, and great store of
gamblers.  The pleasures of all kinds of games, and the singular beauty
of the place, where a thousand caleches were always ready to whirl even
the most lazy ladies through the walks, soft music and good cheer, made
it a palace of delight, grace, and magnificence.

All this without any assistance from Madame, who dined and supped with
the ladies and Monsieur, rode out sometimes in a caleche with one of
them, often sulked with the company, made herself feared for her harsh
and surly temper--frequently even for her words; and passed her days in a
little cabinet she had chosen, where the windows were ten feet from the
ground, gazing perpetually on the portraits of Paladins and other German
princes, with which she had tapestried the walls; and writing every day
with her own hand whole volumes of letters, of which she always kept
autograph copies.  Monsieur had never been able to bend her to a more
human way of life; and lived decently with her, without caring for her
person in any way.

For his part, Monsieur, who had very gallantly won the battle of Cassel,
and who had always shown courage in the sieges where he had served, had
only the bad qualities that distinguish women.  With more knowledge of
the world than wit, with no reading, though he had a vast and exact
acquaintance with noble houses, their births and marriages, he was good
for nothing.  Nobody was so flabby in body and mind, no one so weak,
so timid, so open to deception, so led by the nose, so despised by his
favourites, often so roughly treated by them.  He was quarrelsome in
small matters, incapable of keeping any secret, suspicious, mistrustful;
fond of spreading reports in his Court to make mischief, to learn what
was really going on or just to amuse himself: he fetched and carried from
one to the other.  With so many defects, unrelated to any virtue, he had
such an abominable taste, that his gifts and the fortunes that he gave to
those he took into favour had rendered him publicly scandalous.  He
neither respected times nor places.  His minions, who owed him
everything, sometimes treated him most insolently; and he had often much
to do to appease horrible jealousies.  He lived in continual hot water
with his favourites, to say nothing of the quarrels of that troop of
ladies of a very decided character--many of whom were very malicious,
and, most, more than malicious--with whom Monsieur used to divert
himself, entering into all their wretched squabbles.

The Chevaliers de Lorraine and Chatillon had both made a large fortune by
their good looks, with which he was more smitten than with those of any
other of his favourites.  Chatillon, who had neither head, nor sense, nor
wit, got on in this way, and acquired fortune.  The other behaved like a
Guisard, who blushes at nothing provided he succeeds; and governed
Monsieur with a high hand all his life, was overwhelmed with money and
benefices, did what he liked for his family, lived always publicly as the
master with Monsieur; and as he had, with the pride of the Guises, their
art and cleverness, he contrived to get between the King and Monsieur,
to be dealt with gingerly, if not feared by both, and was almost as
important a man with the one as with the other.  He had the finest
apartments in the Palais Royal and Saint Cloud, and a pension of ten
thousand crowns.  He remained in his apartments after the death of
Monsieur, but would not from pride continue to receive the pension, which
from pride was offered him.  Although it would have been difficult to be
more timid and submissive than was Monsieur with the King--for he
flattered both his ministers and his mistresses--he, nevertheless,
mingled with his respectful demeanour the demeanour of a brother, and the
free and easy ways of one.  In private, he was yet more unconstrained;
always taking an armed chair, and never waiting until the King told him
to sit.  In the Cabinet, after the King appeared, no other Prince sat
besides him, not even Monseigneur.  But in what regarded his service, and
his manner of approaching and leaving the King, no private person could
behave with more respect; and he naturally did everything with grace and
dignity.  He never, however, was able to bend to Madame de Maintenon
completely, nor avoid making small attacks on her to the King, nor avoid
satirising her pretty broadly in person.  It was not her success that
annoyed him; but simply the idea that La Scarron had become his sister-
in-law; this was insupportable to him.  Monsieur was extremely vain, but
not haughty, very sensitive, and a great stickler for what was due to
him.  Upon one occasion he complained to the King that M. le Duc had for
some time neglected to attend upon him, as he was bound, and had boasted
that he would not do it.  The King replied, that it was not a thing to be
angry about, that he ought to seek an opportunity to be served by M. le
Duc, and if he would not, to affront him.  Accordingly, one morning at
Marly, as he was dressing, seeing M. le Duc walking in the garden,
Monsieur opened the window and called to him.  Monsieur le Duc came up,
and entered the room.  Then, while one remark was leading to another,
Monsieur slipped off his dressing-gown, and then his shirt.  A valet de
chambre standing by, at once slipped a clean shirt into the hands of M.
le Duc, who, caught thus in a trap, was compelled to offer the garment to
Monsieur, as it was his duty to do.  As soon as Monsieur had received it,
he burst out laughing, and said--"Good-bye, cousin, go away.  I do not
want to delay you longer."  M. le Duc felt the point of this, and went
away very angry, and continued so in consequence of the high tone
Monsieur afterwards kept up on the subject.

Monsieur was a little round-bellied man, who wore such high-heeled shoes
that he seemed mounted always upon stilts; was always decked out like a
woman, covered everywhere with rings, bracelets, jewels; with a long
black wig, powdered, and curled in front; with ribbons wherever he could
put them; steeped in perfumes, and in fine a model of cleanliness.  He
was accused of putting on an imperceptible touch of rouge.  He had a long
nose, good eyes and mouth, a full but very long face.  All his portraits
resembled him.  I was piqued to see that his features recalled those of
Louis XIII., to whom; except in matters of courage, he was so completely

On Saturday, the 11th of June, the Court returned to Versailles.  On
arriving there the King went to visit Madame and her son and daughter-in-
law separately.  Madame, very much troubled by reflection on her position
with regard to the King, had sent the Duchesse de Ventadour to Madame de
Maintenon.  The latter replied to the message only in general terms; said
she would visit Madame after dinner, and requested that the Duchess might
be present at the interview.  It was Sunday, the morning after the return
from Marly.  After the first compliments, every one went out except
Madame de Ventadour.  Then Madame requested Madame de Maintenon to sit
down; and she must have felt her position keenly to bring her to this.

She began the conversation by complaining of the indifference with which
the King had treated her during her illness.  Madame de Maintenon allowed
her to talk on; and when she had finished, said that the King had
commanded her to say that their common loss effaced all the past,
provided that he had reason to be better satisfied for the future, not
only as regarded M. le Duc de Chartres, but other matters also.  Upon
this Madame exclaimed and protested that, except in as far as regarded
her son, she had never given cause for displeasure; and went on
alternating complaints and justifications.  Precisely at the point when
she was most emphatic, Madame de Maintenon drew forth a letter from her
pocket and asked if the handwriting was known to her.  It was a letter
from Madame to the Duchess of Hanover, in which she said, after giving
news of the Court, that no one knew what to say of the intercourse
between the King and Madame de Maintenon, whether it was that of marriage
or of concubinage; and then, touching upon other matters, launched out
upon the misery of the realm: that, she said, was too great to be
relieved.  This letter had been opened at the post--as almost all letters
were at that time, and are indeed still--and sent to the King.  It may be
imagined that this was a thunderstroke to Madame: it nearly killed her.
She burst into tears; and Madame de Maintenon very quietly and demurely
began to represent to her the contents of the letter in all its parts,
especially as it was addressed to a foreign country.  Madame de Ventadour
interposed with some twaddle, to give Madame time to breathe and recover
sufficiently to say something.  The best excuse was the admission of what
could not be denied, with supplications for pardon, expressions of
repentance, prayers, promises.  But Madame de Maintenon had not finished
yet.  Having got rid of the commission she had been charged with by the
King, she next turned to her own business: she asked Madame how it was,
that after being so friendly with her a long time ago, she had suddenly
ceased to bestow any regard upon her, and had continued to treat her with
coldness ever since.  At this, Madame thinking herself quite safe, said
that the coldness was on the part of Madame de Maintenon, who had all on
a sudden discontinued the friendly intercourse which formerly existed
between them.  As before, Madame de Maintenon allowed Madame to talk her
fill before she replied.  She then said she was about to divulge a secret
which had never escaped her mouth, although she had for ten years been at
liberty to tell it; and she forthwith related a thousand most offensive
things which had been uttered against her by Madame to the late Madame la
Dauphine.  This latter, falling out with Madame, had related all these
things to Madame de Maintenon, who now brought them forward triumphantly.

At this new blow, Madame was thunderstruck, and stood like a statue.
There was nothing for it but to behave as before--that is to say, shed
tears, cry, ask pardon, humble herself, and beg for mercy.  Madame de
Maintenon triumphed coldly over her for a long time,--allowing her to
excite herself in talking, and weeping, and taking her hands, which she
did with increasing energy and humility.  This was a terrible humiliation
for such a haughty German.  Madame de Maintenon at last gave way, as she
had always meant to do after having satiated her vengeance.  They
embraced, promised forgetfulness on both sides, and a new friendship from
that time.  The King, who was not ignorant of what had occurred, took
back Madame into favour.  She went neither to a convent nor to Montargis,
but was allowed to remain in Paris, and her pension was augmented.  As
for M. le Duc de Chartres, he was prodigiously well treated.  The King
gave him all the pensions Monsieur had enjoyed, besides allowing him to
retain his own; so that he had one million eight hundred thousand livres
a year; added to the Palais Royal, Saint Cloud, and other mansions.  He
had a Swiss guard, which none but the sons of France had ever had before;
in fact he retained all the privileges his father had enjoyed, and he
took the name of Duc d'Orleans.  The pensions of Madame de Chartres were
augmented.  All these honours so great and so unheard of bestowed on M.
de Chartres, and an income of a hundred thousand crowns more than his
father, were due solely to the quarrel which had recently taken place
between Monsieur and the King, as to the marriage M. de Chartres had
made.  People accustom themselves to everything, but this prodigious good
fortune infinitely surprised everybody.  The Princes of the blood were
extremely mortified.  To console them, the King immediately gave to M. le
Prince all the advantages of a first Prince of the blood, and added ten
thousand crowns to his pension.

Madame wore deep mourning for forty days, after which she threw it almost
entirely aside, with the King's permission.  He did not like to see such
sad-looking things before his eyes every day.  Madame went about in
public, and with the Court, in her half-mourning, under pretence that
being with the King, and living under his roof, she was of the family.
But her conduct was not the less thought strange in spite of this excuse.
During the winter, as the King could not well go to the theatre, the
theatre cane to him, in the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, where
comedies with music were played.  The King wore mourning for six months,
and paid all the expenses of the superb funeral which took place on the
13th of June.

While upon the subject of Monsieur, I will relate an anecdote known to
but few people, concerning the death of his first wife, Henriette
d'Angleterre, whom nobody doubts was poisoned.  Her gallantries made
Monsieur jealous; and his tastes made her furious.  His favourites, whom
she hated, did all in their power to sow discord between them, in order
to dispose of Monsieur at their will.  The Chevalier de Lorraine, then in
the prime of his first youth (having been born in 1643) completely ruled
over Monsieur, and made Madame feel that he had this power.  She,
charming and young, could not suffer this, and complained to the King,
so that M. de Lorraine was exiled.  When Monsieur heard this, he swooned,
then melted into tears, and throwing himself at the feet of the King,
implored him to recall M. de Lorraine.  But his prayers were useless,
and, rushing away in fury, he retired into the country and remained there
until, ashamed of a thing so publicly disgraceful, he returned to Paris
and lived with Madame as before.

Although M. de Lorraine was banished, two of his intimate friends,
D'Effiat and the Count de Beuvron, remained in the household of Monsieur.
The absence of M. de Lorraine nipped all their hopes of success, and made
them fear that some other favourite might arrive from whom they could
hope for nothing.  They saw no chance that M. de Lorraine's exile would
speedily terminate; for Madame (Henriette d'Angleterre) was in greater
favour with the King than ever, and had just been sent by him into
England on a mysterious errand in which she had perfectly succeeded.
She returned triumphant and very well in health.  This gave the last blow
to the hopes of D'Effiat and Beuvron, as to the return of M. de Lorraine,
who had gone to Italy to try to get rid of his vexation.  I know not
which of the three thought of it first, but the Chevalier de Lorraine
sent a sure and rapid poison to his two friends by a messenger who did
not probably know what he carried.

At Saint Cloud, Madame was in the habit of taking a glass of endive-
water, at about seven o'clock in the evening.  A servant of hers used to
make it, and then put it away in a cupboard where there was some ordinary
water for the use of Madame if she found the other too bitter.  The
cupboard was in an antechamber which served as the public passage by
which the apartments of Madame were reached.  D'Effiat took notice of all
these things, and on the 29th of June, 1670, he went to the ante-chamber;
saw that he was unobserved and that nobody was near, and threw the poison
into the endive-water; then hearing some one approaching, he seized the
jug of common water and feigned to be putting it back in its place just
as the servant, before alluded to, entered and asked him sharply what he
was doing in that cupboard.  D'Effiat, without losing countenance, asked
his pardon, and said, that being thirsty, and knowing there was some
water in the cupboard, he could not resist drinking.  The servant
grumbled; and D'Effiat, trying to appease him, entered the apartments of
Madame, like the other courtiers, and began talking without the slightest

What followed an hour afterwards does not belong to my subject, and has
made only too much stir throughout all Europe.  Madame died on the
morrow, June 30, at three o'clock in the morning; and the King was
profoundly prostrated with grief.  Apparently during the day, some
indications showed him that Purnon, chief steward of Madame, was in the
secret of her decease.  Purnon was brought before him privately, and was
threatened with instant death, unless he disclosed all; full pardon being
on the contrary promised him if he did.  Purnon, thus pressed, admitted
that Madame had been poisoned, and under the circumstance I have just
related.  "And my brother," said the King, "did he know of this?"--
"No, Sire, not one of us was stupid enough to tell him; he has no
secrecy, he would have betrayed us."  On hearing this answer the King
uttered a great "ah!" like a man oppressed, who suddenly breathes again.

Purnon was immediately set at liberty; and years afterwards related this
narrative to M. Joly de Fleury, procureur-general of the Parliament, by
which magistrate it was related to me.  From this same magistrate I
learned that, a few days before the second marriage of Monsieur, the King
took Madame aside and told her that circumstance, assuring her that he
was too honest a man to wish her to marry his brother, if that brother
could be capable of such a crime.  Madame profited by what she heard.
Purnon remained in her service; but after a time she pretended to find
faults in him, and made him resign; he sold his post accordingly, towards
the end of 1674, to Maurel de Vaulonne, and quitted her service.


A the breaking out of the war in Italy this year Segur bought the
government of the Foix country from Tallard, one of the generals called
away to serve in that war.  Segur had been in his youth a very handsome
fellow; he was at that time in the Black Musketeers, and this company was
always quartered at Nemours while the Court was at Fontainebleau.  Segur
played very well upon the lute; but found life dull, nevertheless, at
Nemours, made the acquaintance of the Abbesse de la Joye, a place hard
by, and charmed her ears and eyes so much that she became with child by
him.  After some months the Abbess pleaded illness, left the convent, and
set out for the waters, as she said.  Putting off her journey too long,
she was obliged to stop a night at Fontainebleau; and in consequence of
the Court being there, could find no accommodation, except in a wretched
little inn already full of company.  She had delayed so long that the
pangs of labour seized her in the night, and the cries she uttered
brought all the house to her assistance.  She was delivered of a child
then and there; and the next morning this fact was the talk of the town.

The Duc de Saint Aignan, one of the first of the courtiers who learned
it, went straight to the King, who was brisk and free enough in those
days, and related to him what had occurred; the King laughed heartily at
the poor Abbess, who, while trying to hide her shame, had come into the
very midst of the Court.  Nobody knew then that her abbey was only four
leagues distant, but everybody learned it soon, and the Duc de Saint
Aignan among the first.

When he returned to his house, he found long faces on every side.  His
servants made signs one to another, but nobody said a word.  He perceived
this, and asked what was the matter; but, for some time, no one dared to
reply.  At last a valet-de-chambre grew bold enough to say to Saint
Aignan, that the Abbess, whose adventure had afforded so much mirth, was
his own daughter; and that, after he had gone to the King, she had sent
for assistance, in order to get out of the place where she was staying.

It was now the Duke's turn to be confused.  After having made the King
and all the Court laugh at this adventure, he became himself the
laughing-stock of everybody.  He bore the affair as well as he could;
carried away the Abbess and her baggage; and, as the scandal was public,
made her send in her resignation and hide herself in another convent,
where she lived more than forty years.

That worthy man, Saint-Herem, died this year at his house in Auvergne, to
which he had retired.  Everybody liked him; and M. de Rochefoucauld had
reproached the King for not making him Chevalier of the Order.  The King
had confounded him with Courtine, his brother-in-law, for they had
married two sisters; but when put right had not given the favour.

Madame de Saint-Herem was the most singular creature in the world, not
only in face but in manners.  She half boiled her thigh one day in the
Seine, near Fontainebleau, where she was bathing.  The river was too
cold; she wished to warm it, and had a quantity of water heated and
thrown into the stream just above her.  The water reaching her before it
could grow cold, scalded her so much that she was forced to keep her bed.

When it thundered, she used to squat herself under a couch and make all
her servants lie above, one upon the other, so that if the thunderbolt
fell, it might have its effect upon them before penetrating to her.  She
had ruined herself and her husband, though they were rich, through sheer
imbecility; and it is incredible the amount of money she spent in her

The best adventure which happened to her, among a thousand others, was at
her house in the Place Royale, where she was one day attacked by a
madman, who, finding her alone in her chamber, was very enterprising.
The good lady, hideous at eighteen, but who was at this time eighty and a
widow, cried aloud as well as she could.  Her servants heard her at last,
ran to her assistance, and found her all disordered, struggling in the
hands of this raging madman.  The man was found to be really out of his
senses when brought before the tribunal, and the story amused everybody.

The health of the King of England (James II.), which had for some time
been very languishing, grew weaker towards the middle of August of this
year, and by the 8th of September completely gave way.  There was no
longer any hope.  The King, Madame de Maintenon, and all the royal
persons, visited him often.  He received the last sacrament with a piety
in keeping with his past life, and his death was expected every instant.
In this conjuncture the King made a resolve more worthy of Louis XII., or
Francis I., than of his own wisdom.  On Tuesday, the 13th of September,
he went from Marly to Saint Germain.  The King of England was so ill that
when the King was announced to him he scarcely opened his eyes for an
instant.  The King told him that he might die in peace respecting the
Prince of Wales, whom he would recognise as King of England, Scotland,
and Ireland.

The few English who were there threw themselves upon their knees, but the
King of England gave no signs of life.  The gratitude of the Prince of
Wales and of his mother, when they heard what the King had said, may be
imagined.  Returned to Marly, the King repeated to all the Court what he
had said.  Nothing was heard but praises and applause.

Yet reflections did not fail to be made promptly, if not publicly.  It
was seen, that to recognise the Prince of Wales was to act in direct
opposition to the recognition of the Prince of Orange as King of England,
that the King had declared at the Peace of Ryswick.  It was to wound the
Prince of Orange in the tenderest point, and to invite England and
Holland to become allies of the Emperor against France.  As for the
Prince of Wales, this recognition was no solid advantage to him, but was
calculated to make the party opposed to him in England only more bitter
and vigilant in their opposition.

The King of England, in the few intervals of intelligence he had,
appeared much impressed by what the King had done.  He died about three
o'clock in the afternoon of the 16th September of this year, 1701.
He had requested that there might he no display at his funeral, and his
wish was faithfully observed.  He was buried on the Saturday, at seven
o'clock in the evening, in the church of the English Benedictines at
Paris, Rue St. Jacques, without pomp, and attended by but few mourners.
His body rests in the chapel, like that of the simplest private person,
until the time, apparently very distant, when it shall be transported to
England.  His heart is at the Filles de Sainte Marie, of Chaillot.

Immediately afterwards, the Prince of Wales was received by the King as
King of England, with all the formalities and state with which his father
before him had been received.  Soon afterwards he was recognised by the
new King of Spain.

The Count of Manchester, English ambassador in France, ceased to appear
at Versailles after this recognition of the Prince of Wales by the King,
and immediately quitted his post and left the country without any leave-
taking.  King William heard, while in Holland, of the death of James II.
and of this recognition.  He was at table with some German princes and
other lords when the news arrived; did not utter a word, except to
announce the death; but blushed, pulled down his hat, and could not keep
his countenance.  He sent orders to London, to drive out Poussin, acting
as French ambassador, immediately; and Poussin directly crossed the sea
and arrived at Calais.

This event was itself followed by the signing of the great treaty of
alliance, offensive and defensive, against France and Spain, by Austria,
England, and Holland; in which they afterwards succeeded in engaging
other powers, which compelled the King to increase the number of his

Just after the return of the Court from Fontainebleau, a strange scene
happened at St. Maur, in a pretty house there which M. le Duc possessed.
He was at this house one night with five or six intimate friends, whom he
had invited to pass the night there.  One of these friends was the Comte
de Fiesque.  At table, and before the wine had begun to circulate, a
dispute upon some historical point arose between him and M. le Duc.  The
Comte de Fiesque, who had some intellect and learning, strongly sustained
his opinion.  M. le Duc sustained his; and for want of better reasons,
threw a plate at the head of Fiesque, drove him from the table and out of
the house.  So sudden and strange a scene frightened the guests.  The
Comte de Fiesque, who had gone to M. le Duc's house with the intention of
passing the night there, had not retained a carriage, went to ask shelter
of the cure, and got back to Paris the next day as early in the morning
as he could.  It may be imagined that the rest of the supper and of the
evening was terribly dull.  M. le Duc remained fuming (perhaps against
himself, but without saying so), and could not be induced to apologise
for the affront.  It made a great stir in society, and things remained
thus several months.  After a while, friends mixed themselves in the
matter; M. le Duc, completely himself again, made all the advances
towards a reconciliation.  The Comte de Fiesque received them, and the
reconciliation took place.  The most surprising thing is, that after this
they continued on as good terms as though nothing had passed between

The year 1702 commenced with balls at Versailles, many of which were
masquerades.  Madame du Maine gave several in her chamber, always keeping
her bed because she was in the family-way; which made rather a singular
spectacle.  There were several balls at Marly, but the majority were not
masquerades.  The King often witnessed, but in strict privacy, and always
in the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, sacred dramas such as
"Absalon," "Athalie," &c.  Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, M. le Duc
d'Orleans, the Comte and Comtesse d'Anjou, the young Comte de Noailles,
Mademoiselle de Melun, urged by the Noailles, played the principal
characters in very magnificent stage dresses.  Baron, the excellent old
actor, instructed them and played with them.  M. de Noailles and his
clever wife were the inventors and promoters of these interior pleasures,
for the purpose of intruding themselves more and more into the society of
the King, in support of the alliance of Madame de Maintenon.

Only forty spectators were admitted to the representations.  Madame was
sometimes invited by the King, because she liked plays.  This favour was
much sought after.  Madame de Maintenon wished to show that she had
forgotten the past.

Longepierre had written a very singular piece called "Electra," which was
played on a magnificent stage erected in Madame de Conti's house, and all
the Court flocked several times to see it.  This piece was without love,
but full of other passions and of most interesting situations.  I think
it had been written in the hopes that the King would go and see it.  But
he contented himself with hearing it talked about, and the representation
was confined to the Hotel de Conti.  Longepierre would not allow it to be
given elsewhere.  He was an intriguing fellow of much wit, gentle,
insinuating, and who, under a tranquillity and indifference and a very
deceitful philosophy, thrust himself everywhere, and meddled with
everything in order to make his fortune.  He succeeded in intruding
himself into favour with the Duc d'Orleans, but behaved so badly that he
was driven away.

The death of the Abbe de Vatteville occurred at the commencement of this
year, and made some noise, on account of the prodigies of the Abbe's
life.  This Vatteville was the younger son of a Franche-Comte family;
early in life he joined the Order of the Chartreux monks, and was
ordained priest.  He had much intellect, but was of an impetuous spirit,
and soon began to chafe under the yoke of a religious life.  He
determined, therefore, to set himself free from it, and procured some
secular habits, pistols, and a horse.  Just as he was about to escape
over the walls of the monastery by means of a ladder, the prior entered
his cell.

Vatteville made no to-do, but at once drew a pistol, shot the prior dead,
and effected his escape.

Two or three days afterwards, travelling over the country and avoiding
as much as possible the frequented places, he arrived at a wretched
roadside inn, and asked what there was in the house.  The landlord
replied--"A leg of mutton and a capon."--"Good!" replied our unfrocked
monk; "put them down to roast."

The landlord replied that they were too much for a single person, and
that he had nothing else for the whole house.  The monk upon this flew
into a passion, and declared that the least the landlord could do was to
give him what he would pay for; and that he had sufficient appetite to
eat both leg of mutton and capon.  They were accordingly put down to the
fire, the landlord not daring to say another word.  While they were
cooking, a traveller on horseback arrived at the inn, and learning that
they were for one person, was much astonished.  He offered to pay his
share to be allowed to dine off them with the stranger who had ordered
this dinner; but the landlord told him he was afraid the gentleman would
not consent to the arrangement.  Thereupon the traveller went upstairs,
and civilly asked Vatteville if he might dine with him on paying half of
the expense.  Vatteville would not consent, and a dispute soon arose
between the two; to be brief, the monk served this traveller as he had
served the prior, killed him with a pistol shot.  After this he went
downstairs tranquilly, and in the midst of the fright of the landlord and
of the whole house, had the leg of mutton and capon served up to him,
picked both to the very bone, paid his score, remounted his horse, and
went his way.

Not knowing what course to take, he went to Turkey, and in order to
succeed there, had himself circumcised, put on the turban, and entered
into the militia.  His blasphemy advanced him, his talents and his colour
distinguished him; he became Bacha, and the confidential man in the
Morea, where the Turks were making war against the Venetians.  He
determined to make use of this position in order to advance his own
interests, and entering into communication with the generalissimo of the
Republic, promised to betray into his hands several secret places
belonging to the Turks, but on certain conditions.  These were,
absolution from the Pope for all crimes of his life, his murders and his
apostasy included; security against the Chartreux and against being
placed in any other Order; full restitution of his civil rights, and
liberty to exercise his profession of priest with the right of possessing
all benefices of every kind.  The Venetians thought the bargain too good
to be refused, and the Pope, in the interest of the Church, accorded all
the demands of the Bacha.  When Vatteville was quite assured that his
conditions would be complied with, he took his measures so well that he
executed perfectly all he had undertaken.  Immediately after he threw
himself into the Venetian army, and passed into Italy.  He was well
received at Rome by the Pope, and returned to his family in Franche-
Comte, and amused himself by braving the Chartreux.

At the first conquest of the Franche-Comte, he intrigued so well with the
Queen-mother and the ministry, that he was promised the Archbishopric of
Besancon; but the Pope cried out against this on account of his murders,
circumcision, and apostasy.  The King sided with the Pope, and Vatteville
was obliged to be contented with the abbey of Baume, another good abbey
in Picardy, and divers other advantages.

Except when he came to the Court, where he was always received with great
distinction, he remained at his abbey of Baume, living there like a grand
seigneur, keeping a fine pack of hounds, a good table, entertaining
jovial company, keeping mistresses very freely; tyrannising over his
tenants and his neighbours in the most absolute manner.  The intendants
gave way to him, and by express orders of the Court allowed him to act
much as he pleased, even with the taxes, which he regulated at his will,
and in his conduct was oftentimes very violent.  With these manners and
this bearing, which caused him to be both feared and respected, he would
often amuse himself by going to see the Chartreux, in order to plume
himself on having quitted their frock.  He played much at hombre, and
frequently gained 'codille' (a term of the game), so that the name of the
Abbe Codille was given to him.  He lived in this manner always with the
same licence and in the same consideration, until nearly ninety years of


The changes which took place in the army after the Peace of Ryswick, were
very great and very strange.  The excellence of the regiments, the merits
of the officers, those who commanded, all were forgotten by Barbezieux,
young and impetuous, whom the King allowed to act as he liked.  My
regiment was disbanded, and my company was incorporated with that of
Count d'Uzes, brother-in-law of Duras, who looked well after the
interests of his relative.  I was thus deprived of command, without
regiment, without company, and the only opportunity offered me was to
serve in a regiment commanded by Saint Morris, where I should have been,
as it were, at the lowest step of the ladder, with my whole military
career to begin over again.

I had served at the head of my regiment during four campaigns, with
applause and reputation, I am bold enough to say it.  I thought therefore
I was entitled to better treatment than this.  Promotions were made; five
officers, all my juniors, were placed over my head.  I resolved then to
leave the service, but not to take a rash step.  I consulted first with
several friends before sending in my resignation.  All whom I consulted
advised me to quit the service, but for a long time I could not resolve
to do so.  Nearly three months passed, during which I suffered cruel
anguish of mind from my irresolution.  I knew that if I left the army I
should be certain to incur the anger of the King, and I do not hesitate
to say that this was not a matter of indifference to me.  The King was
always annoyed when anybody ceased to serve; he called it "quitting him;"
and made his anger felt for a long time.  At last, however, I determined
on my course of action.

I wrote a short letter to the King, in which, without making any
complaints, I said that as my health was not good (it had given me some
trouble on different occasions) I begged to be allowed to quit his
service, and said that I hoped I should be permitted to console myself
for leaving the army by assiduously attending upon him at the Court:
After despatching this letter I went away immediately to Paris.

I learnt afterwards from my friends, that upon receiving my letter the
King called Chamillart to him, and said with emotion: "Well!  Monsieur,
here is another man who quits us!--" and he read my letter word for word.
I did not learn that anything else escaped him.

As for me, I did not return to Versailles for a whole week, or see the
King again until Easter Monday.  After his supper that evening, and when
about to undress himself, he paid me a distinction, a mere trifle I
admit, and which I should be ashamed to mention if it did not under the
circumstances serve as a characteristic of him.

Although the place he undressed in was very well illuminated, the
chaplain at the evening prayers there held in his hand a lighted candle,
which he gave afterwards to the chief valet-de-chambre, who carried it
before the King until he reached his arm-chair, and then handed it to
whomever the King ordered him to give it to.  On this evening the King,
glancing all around him, cast his eye upon me, and told the valet to give
the candle to me.  It was an honour which he bestowed sometimes upon one,
sometimes upon another, according to his whim, but which, by his manner
of bestowing it, was always coveted, as a great distinction.  My surprise
may be imagined when I heard myself named aloud for this office, not only
on this but on many other occasions.  It was not that there was any lack
of people of consideration to hold the candle; but the King was
sufficiently piqued by my retirement not to wish everybody to see that
he was so.

For three years he failed not to make me feel to what extent he was angry
with me.  He spoke to me no longer; he scarcely bestowed a glance upon
me, and never once alluded to my letter.  To show that his annoyance did
not extend to my wife, but that it was solely and wholly directed against
me, he bestowed, about eight months after, several marks of favour upon
Madame de Saint-Simon.  She was continually invited to the suppers at
Trianon--an honour which had never before been granted her.  I only
laughed at this.  Madame de Saint-Simon was not invited to Marly; because
the husbands always, by right, accompanied their wives there, apartments
being given for both.  At Trianon it was different.  Nobody was allowed
to sleep there except those absolutely in attendance.  The King wished,
therefore, the better to mark by this distinction that the exclusion was
intended for me alone, and that my wife had no part in it.

Notwithstanding this; I persevered in my ordinary assiduity, without ever
asking to be invited to Marly, and lived agreeably with my wife and my
friends.  I have thought it best to finish with this subject at once--now
I must go back to my starting point.

At the commencement of this year (1702) it seemed as though the
flatterers of the King foresaw that the prosperity of his reign was at
an end, and that henceforth they would only have to praise him for his
constancy.  The great number of medals that had been struck on all
occasions--the most ordinary not having been forgotten--were collected,
engraved, and destined for a medallic history.  The Abbes Tallemant,
Toureil, and Dacier, three learned members of the Academy, were charged
with the explanation to be placed opposite each of these medals, in a
large volume of the most magnificent impression of the Louvre.  As the
history commenced at the death of Louis XIII., his medal was placed at
the head of the book, and thus it became necessary to say something of
him in the preface.

As it was known that I had a correct knowledge of Louis XIII., I was
asked to write that portion of the preface which related to him.  I
consented to this, but on condition that I should be spared the ridicule
of it in society, and that the matter should be faithfully kept secret.
I wrote my theme then, which cost me little more than a morning, being of
small extent.  I had the fate of authors: my writing was praised, and
appeared to answer all expectations.  I congratulated myself, delighted
at having devoted two or three hours to a grateful duty--for so I
considered it.

But when my essay was examined, the three gentlemen above-named were
affrighted.  There are truths the unstudied simplicity of which emits a
lustre which obscures all the results of an eloquence which exaggerates
or extenuates; Louis XIII. furnished such proofs in abundance.  I had
contented myself by showing them forth; but this picture tarnished those
which followed--so at least it appeared to those who had gilded the
latter.  They applied themselves, therefore, to cut out, or weaken,
everything that might, by comparison, obscure their hero.  But as they
found at last that it was not me they had to correct, but the thing
itself, they gave up the task altogether, threw aside my writing, and
printed the history without any notice whatever of Louis XIII. under his
portrait--except to note that his death caused his son to ascend the

Reflections upon this kind of iniquity would carry me too far.

In the early part of this year (1702), King William (of England), worn
out before his time with labours and business, in which he had been
engaged all his life, and which he had carried on with a capacity, an
address, a superiority of genius that acquired for him supreme authority
in Holland, the crown of England, the confidence, and, to speak the
truth, the complete dictatorship of all Europe--except France;--King
William, I say, had fallen into a wasting of strength and of health
which, without attacking or diminishing his intellect, or causing him to
relax the infinite labours of his cabinet, was accompanied by a
deficiency of breath, which aggravated the asthma he had had for several
years.  He felt his condition, and his powerful genius did not disavow
it.  Under forged names he consulted the most eminent physicians of
Europe, among others, Fagon; who, having to do, as he thought, with a
cure, replied in all sincerity, and with out dissimulation, that he must
prepare for a speedy death.  His illness increasing, William consulted
Fagon, anew, but this time openly.  The physician recognised the malady
of the cure--he did not change his opinion, but expressed it in a less
decided manner, and prescribed with much feeling the remedies most likely
if not to cure, at least to prolong.  These remedies were followed and
gave relief; but at last the time had arrived when William was to feel
that the greatest men finish like the humblest and to see the nothingness
of what the world calls great destinies.

He rode out as often as he could; but no longer having the strength to
hold himself on horseback, received a fall, which hastened his end by the
shock it gave him.  He occupied himself with religion as little as he had
all his life.  He ordered everything, and spoke to his ministers and his
familiars with a surprising tranquillity, which did not abandon him until
the last moment.  Although crushed with pain, he had the satisfaction of
thinking that he had consummated a great alliance, which would last after
his death, and that it would strike the great blow against France, which
he had projected.  This thought, which flattered him even in the hour of
death, stood in place of all other consolation,--a consolation frivolous
and cruelly deceitful, which left him soon the prey to eternal truths!
For two days he was sustained by strong waters and spirituous liquors.
His last nourishment was a cup of chocolate.  He died the 19th March,
1702, at ten o'clock in the morning.

The Princess Anne, his sister-in-law, wife of Prince George of Denmark,
was at the same time proclaimed queen.  A few days after, she declared
her husband Grand Admiral and Commander-in-Chief (generalissimo),
recalled the Earl of Rochester, her maternal uncle, and the Earl of
Sunderland, and sent the Count of Marlborough, afterwards so well known,
to Holland to follow out there all the plans of his predecessor.

The King did not learn this death until the Saturday morning following,
by a courier from Calais.  A boat had escaped, in spite of the vigilance
which had closed the ports.  The King was silent upon the news, except to
Monseigneur and to Madame de Maintenon.  On the next day confirmation of
the intelligence arrived from all parts.  The King no longer made a
secret of it, but spoke little on the subject, and affected much
indifference respecting it.  With the recollection of all the indecent
follies committed in Paris during the last war, when it was believed that
William had been killed at the battle of the Boyne in Ireland, the
necessary precautions against falling into the same error were taken by
the King's orders.

The King simply declared that he would not wear mourning, and prohibited
the Duc de Bouillon, the Marechal de Duras and the Marechal de Lorges,
who were all related to William, from doing so--an act probably without
example.  Nearly all England and the United Provinces mourned the loss of
William.  Some good republicans alone breathed again with joy in secret,
at having recovered their liberty.  The grand alliance was very sensibly
touched by this loss, but found itself so well cemented, that the spirit
of William continued to animate it; and Heinsius, his confidant,
perpetuated it, and inspired all the chiefs of the republic, their allies
and their generals, with it, so that it scarcely appeared that William
was no more.

I have related, in its proper place, all that happened to Catinat in
Italy, when the schemes of Tesse and M. de Vaudemont caused him to be
dismissed from the command of the army.  After the signing of the
alliance against France by the Emperor, England, and Holland, the war
took a more extended field.  It became necessary to send an army to the
Rhine.  There was nothing for it but to have recourse to Catinat.

Since his return from Italy, he had almost always lived at his little
house of Saint Gratien, beyond Saint Denis, where he bore with wisdom the
injury that had been done him and the neglect he had experienced upon his
return, surrounded by his family and a small number of friends.
Chamillart one day sent for him, saying that he had the King's order to
talk with him.  Catinat went accordingly to Chamillart, from whom he
learned that he was destined for the Rhine; he refused the command, and
only accepted it after a long dispute, by the necessity of obedience.

On the morrow, the 11th of March, the King called Catinat into his
cabinet.  The conversation was amiable on the part of the King, serious
and respectful on the part of Catinat.  The King, who perceived this,
wished to make him speak about Italy, and pressed him to explain what had
really passed there.  Catinat excused himself, saying that everything
belonged to the past, and that it was useless now to rake up matters
which would give him a bad opinion of the people who served him, and
nourish eternal enmity.  The King admired the sagacity and virtue of
Catinat, but, wishing to sound the depths of certain things, and discover
who was really to blame, pressed him more and more to speak out;
mentioning certain things which Catinat had not rendered an account of,
and others he had been silent upon, all of which had come to him from
other sources.

Catinat, who, by his conversation of the previous evening with
Chamillart, suspected that the King would say something to him, had
brought his papers to Versailles.  Sure of his position, he declared that
he had not in any way failed to render account to Chamillart or to the
King, and detailed the very things that had just been mentioned to him.
He begged that a messenger might be despatched in order to search his
cassette, in which the proofs of what he had advanced could be seen,
truths that Chamillart, if present, he said, would not dare to disavow.
The King took him at his word, and sent in search of Chamillart.

When he arrived, the King related to him the conversation that had just
taken place.  Chamillart replied with an embarrassed voice, that there
was no necessity to wait for the cassette of Catinat, for he admitted
that the accusation against him was true in every respect.  The King,
much astonished, reproved him for his infidelity in keeping silence upon
these comments, whereby Catinat had lost his favour.

Chamillart, his eyes lowered, allowed the King to say on; but as he felt
that his anger was rising; said.  "Sire, you are right; but it is not my

"And whose is it, then?" replied the King warmly.  "Is it mine?"

"Certainly not, Sire," said Chamillart, trembling; "but I am bold enough
to tell you, with the most exact truth, that it is not mine."

The King insisting, Chamillart was obliged to explain, that having shown
the letters of Catinat to Madame de Maintenon, she had commanded him to
keep them from his Majesty, and to say not a syllable about them.
Chamillart added, that Madame de Maintenon was not far off, and
supplicated the King to ask her the truth of this matter.

In his turn, the King was now more embarrassed than Chamillart; lowering
his voice, he said that it was inconceivable how Madame de Maintenon felt
interested in his comfort, and endeavoured to keep from him everything
that might vex him, and without showing any more displeasure, turned to
Marshal Catinat, said he was delighted with an explanation which showed
that nobody was wrong; addressed several gracious remarks to the Marshal;
begged him to remain on good terms with Chamillart, and hastened to quit
them and enter into his private cabinet.

Catinat, more ashamed of what he had just heard and seen than pleased
with a justification so complete, paid some compliments to Chamillart,
who, out of his wits at the perilous explanation he had given, received
them, and returned them as well as he could.  They left the cabinet soon
after, and the selection of Catinat by the King for the command of the
army of the Rhine was declared.

Reflections upon this affair present themselves of their, own accord.
The King verified what had been said that very evening with Madame de
Maintenon.  They were only on better terms than ever in consequence.  She
approved of Chamillart for avowing all; and this minister was only the
better treated afterwards by the King and by Madame de Maintenon.

As for Catinat, he took the command he had been called to, but did not
remain long in it.  The explanations that had passed, all the more
dangerous because in his favour, were not of a kind to prove otherwise
than hurtful to him.  He soon resigned his command, finding himself too
much obstructed to do anything, and retired to his house of Saint
Gratien, near Saint Denis, which he scarcely ever left, and where he saw
only a few private friends, sorry that he had ever left it, and that he
had listened to the cajoleries of the King.


A King's son, a King's father, and never a King
Capacity was small, and yet he believed he knew everything
He was accused of putting on an imperceptible touch of rouge
Monseigneur, who had been out wolf-hunting
Never been able to bend her to a more human way of life
Spoke only about as much as three or four women
Supported by unanswerable reasons that did not convince
The most horrible sights have often ridiculous contrasts
The nothingness of what the world calls great destinies
Whatever course I adopt many people will condemn me

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by Duc de Saint-Simon


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