Infomotions, Inc.— Volume 01 / Hamilton, Anthony, Count, 1646-1720

Author: Hamilton, Anthony, Count, 1646-1720
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by Anthony Hamilton

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Title: The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Volume 1

Author: Anthony Hamilton

Release Date: December 4, 2004 [EBook #5409]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK COUNT GRAMMONT ***




Produced by David Widger





            MEMOIRS OF COUNT GRAMMONT

             By Anthony Hamilton

        EDITED, WITH NOTES, BY SIR WALTER SCOTT




CONTENTS:

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ANTHONY HAMILTON

CHAPTER FIRST.
   INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER SECOND.
   ARRIVAL OF THE CHEVALIER GRAMMONT AT THE SIEGE OF TRINO,
   AND THE LIFE HE LED THERE

CHAPTER THIRD.
   EDUCATION AND ADVENTURES OF THE CHEVALIER GRAMMONT BEFORE
   HIS COMING TO THE SIEGE OF TRINO

CHAPTER FOURTH.
   HIS ARRIVAL AT THE COURT OF TURIN, AND HOW HE SPENT HIS TIME THERE

CHAPTER FIFTH.
   HE RETURNS TO THE COURT OF FRANCE--HIS ADVENTURES AT THE SIEGE OF
   ARRAS--HIS REPLY TO CARDINAL MAZARIN--HE IS BANISHED THE COURT

CHAPTER SIXTH.
   HIS ARRIVAL AT THE ENGLISH COURT--THE VARIOUS PERSONAGES OF
   THIS COURT

CHAPTER SEVENTH.
   HE FALLS IN LOVE WITH MISS HAMILTON--VARIOUS ADVENTURES AT THE BALL
   IN THE QUEEN'S DRAWING-ROOM--CURIOUS VOYAGE OF HIS VALET-DE-CHAMBRE
   TO AND FROM PARIS

CHAPTER EIGHTH.
   FUNNY ADVENTURE OF THE CHAPLAIN POUSSATIN--THE STORY OF THE SIEGE OF
   LERIDA--MARRIAGE OF THE DUKE OF YORK, AND OTHER DETAILS ABOUT THE
   ENGLISH COURT

CHAPTER NINTH.
   VARIOUS LOVE INTRIGUES AT THE ENGLISH COURT

CHAPTER TENTH.
   OTHER LOVE INTRIGUES AT THE ENGLISH COURT

CHAPTER ELEVENTH.
   RETURN OF THE CHEVALIER GRAMMONT TO FRANCE--HE IS SENT BACK TO
   ENGLAND--VARIOUS LOVE INTRIGUES AT THIS COURT, AND MARRIAGE OF MOST
   OF THE HEROES OF THESE MEMOIRS




             BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
                  OF
              ANTHONY HAMILTON.


Anthony Hamilton, the celebrated author of the Grammont Memoirs, much
cannot now be with certainty known.

   [For uniformity's sake the writer of this sketch has followed the
   Memoirs in the spelling of this name; but he thinks it necessary to
   observe that it should be Gramont, not Grammont.]

The accounts prefixed to the different editions of his works, down to the
year 1805, are very imperfect; in that year a new, and, in general, far
better edition than any of the preceding ones, was published in Paris,
to which a sketch of his life was also added; but it contains rather just
criticisms on his works, than any very novel or satisfactory anecdote
concerning himself. It is not pretended here to gratify literary
curiosity as fully as it ought to be, with regard to this singular and
very ingenious man; some effort, however, may be made to communicate a
few more particulars relative to him, than the public has hitherto,
perhaps, been acquainted with.

Anthony Hamilton was of the noble family of that name: Sir George
Hamilton, his father, was a younger son of James, Earl of Abercorn, a
native of Scotland. His mother was daughter of Lord Thurles, and sister
to James, the first Duke of Ormond; his family and connections therefore,
on the maternal side, were entirely Irish. He was, as well as his
brothers and sisters, born in Ireland, it is generally said, about the
year 1646; but there is some reason to imagine that it was three or four
years earlier. The place of his birth, according to the best family
accounts, was Roscrea, in the county of Tipperary, the usual residence of
his father when not engaged by military or public business.

   [In September, 1646, Owen O'Neale took Roscrea, and, as Carte says,
   "put man, woman, and child to the sword, except Sir George
   Hamilton's lady, sister to the Marquis of Ormond, and some few
   gentlewomen whom he kept prisoners." No family suffered more in
   those disastrous times than the house of Ormond. Lady Hamilton died
   in August, 1680, as appears from an interesting and affecting letter
   of her brother, the Duke of Ormond, dated Carrick, August 25th. He
   had lost his noble son, Lord Ossory, not three weeks before.]

It has been always said, that the family migrated to France when Anthony
was an infant; but this is not the fact: "Sir George Hamilton," says
Carte, "would have accompanied his brother-in-law, the Marquis of Ormond,
to France, in December, 1650: but, as he was receiver-general in Ireland,
he stayed to pass his accounts, which he did to the satisfaction of all
parties, notwithstanding much clamour had been raised against him." When
that business was settled, he, in the spring of 1651, took Lady Hamilton
and all his family to France, and resided with Lord and Lady Ormond, near
Caen, in Normandy,

   [Hence possibly Voltaire's mistake in stating that Hamilton was born
   at Caen, in his Catalogue des Ecrivains du Siecle de Louis XIV.]

in great poverty and distress, till the Marchioness of Ormond, a lady
whose mind was as exalted as her birth, went over to England, and, after
much solicitation obtained two thousand pounds a-year from her own and,
her husband's different estates in Ireland. This favour was granted her
by Cromwell, who always professed the greatest respect for her. The
Marchioness resided in Ireland, with the younger part of her family, from
1655 till after the Restoration; while the Marquis of Ormond continued
for a considerable part of that period with his two sisters, Lady
Clancarty and Lady Hamilton, at the Feuillatines, in the Faubourg St.
Jacques, in Paris.

It appears from a letter of the Marquis to Sir Robert Southwell, that,
although he himself was educated in the Protestant religion, not only his
father and mother, but all his brothers and sisters, were bred, and
always continued, Roman Catholics. Sir George Hamilton also, according
to Carte,

   [That historian states that the king (Charles I.) deprived several
   papists of their military commissions, and, among others, Sir George
   Hamilton, who, notwithstanding, served him with loyalty and
   unvarying fidelity.]

was a Roman Catholic; Anthony, therefore, was bred in the religion of his
family, and conscientiously adhered to it through life. He entered early
into the army of Louis XIV., as did his brothers George, Richard, and
John, the former of whom introduced the company of English gens d'armes
into France, in 1667, according to Le Pere Daniel, author of the History
of the French Army, who adds the following short account of its
establishment: Charles II., being restored to his throne, brought over to
England several catholic officers and soldiers, who had served abroad
with him and his brother, the Duke of York, and incorporated them with
his guards; but the parliament having obliged him to dismiss all officers
who were Catholics, the king permitted George Hamilton to take such as
were willing to accompany him to France, where Louis XIV. formed them
into a company of gens d'armes, and being highly pleased with them,
became himself their captain, and made George Hamilton their
captain-lieutenant:--[They were composed of English, Scotch, and Irish.]
Whether Anthony belonged to this corps I know not; but this is certain,
that he distinguished himself particularly in his profession, and was
advanced to considerable posts in the French service.

Anthony Hamilton's residence was now almost constantly in France. Some
years previous to this he had been much in England, and, towards the
close of Charles II.'s reign, in Ireland, where so many of his
connections remained. When James II. succeeded to the throne, the door
being then opened to the Roman Catholics, he entered into the Irish army,
where we find him, in 1686, a lieutenant-colonel in Sir Thomas Newcomen's
regiment. That he did not immediately hold a higher rank there, may
perhaps be attributed to the recent accession of the king, his general
absence from Ireland, the advanced age of his uncle, the Duke of Ormond,
and, more than all, perhaps, to his Grace's early disapprobation of
James's conduct in Ireland, which displayed itself more fully afterwards,
especially in the ecclesiastical promotions.

Henry, Earl of Clarendon, son to the lord-chancellor, was at that time
lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and appears, notwithstanding his general
distrust and dislike of the Catholics, to have held Anthony Hamilton in
much estimation: he speaks of his knowledge of, and constant attention
to, the duties of his profession; his probity, and the dependance that
was to be placed on him, in preference to others of the same religious
persuasion, and, in October, 1686, wrote to the Earl of Sunderland
respecting him, as follows: "I have only this one thing more to trouble
your lordship with at present, concerning Colonel Anthony Hamilton, to
get him a commission to command as colonel, though he is but
lieutenant-colonel to Sir Thomas Newcomen, in regard of the commands he
has had abroad: and I am told it is often done in France, which makes me
hope it will not be counted an unreasonable request. I would likewise
humbly recommend to make Colonel Anthony Hamilton a privy-councillor
here." Lord Clarendon's recommendations were ultimately successful:
Hamilton was made a privy-councillor in Ireland, and had a pension of
L200 a year on the Irish establishment; and was appointed governor of
Limerick, in the room of Sir William King, notwithstanding he had
strongly opposed the new-modelling of the army by the furious Tyrconnel.
In the brief accounts which have been given of his life, it is said that
he had a regiment of infantry; but, though this is very probable, there
is no mention whatever of his commanding a regiment in the lists
published of King James's army, which are supposed to be very accurate:
he is indeed set down among the general officers. Lord Clarendon, in one
of his letters to the lord-treasurer, states, "That the news of the day
was, that Colonel Russell was to be lieutenant-colonel to the Duke of
Ormond's regiment, and that Colonel Anthony Hamilton was to have
Russell's regiment, and that Mr. Luttrell was to be lieutenant-colonel to
Sir Thomas Newcomen, in the place of Anthony Hamilton." It is not known
whether Anthony was present at the battle of the Boyne, or of Aughrim:
his brother John was killed at the latter; and Richard, who was a
lieutenant-general, led on the cavalry with uncommon gallantry and spirit
at the Boyne it is to be wished that his candour and integrity had
equalled his courage; but, he acted with great duplicity; and King
William's contemptuous echoing back his word to him, when he declared
something on his honour, is well known: He is frequently mentioned by
Lord Clarendon, but by no means with the same approbation as his brother.
After the total overthrow of James's affairs in Ireland, the two brothers
finally quitted these kingdoms, and retired to France. Richard lived
much with the Cardinal de Bouillon, who was the great protector of the
Irish in France, and kept (what must have been indeed highly consolatory
to many an emigrant of condition) a magnificent table, which has been
recorded in the most glowing and grateful terms, by that gay companion,
and celebrated lover of good cheer, Philippe de Coulanges, who
occasionally mentions the "amiable Richard Hamilton" as one of the
cardinal's particular intimates. Anthony, who was regarded particularly
as a man of letters and elegant talents, resided almost entirely at St.
Germain: solitary walks in the forest of that place occupied his leisure
hours in the morning; and poetical pursuits, or agreeable society,
engaged the evening: but much of his time seems to have rolled heavily
along; his sister, Madame de Grammont, living more at court, or in Paris,
than always suited his inclinations or his convenience. His great
resource at St. Germain was the family of the Duke of Berwick (son of
James II.): that nobleman appears to have been amiable in private life,
and his attachment to Hamilton was steady and sincere. The Duchess of
Berwick was also his friend. It is necessary to mention this lady
particularly, as well as her sisters: they were the daughters of Henry
Bulkeley, son to the first viscount of that name: their father had been
master of the household to Charles: their mother was Lady Sophia Stewart,
sister to the beautiful Duchess of Richmond, so conspicuous in the
Grammont Memoirs. The sisters of the Duchess of Berwick were Charlotte,
married to Lord Clare, Henrietta, and Laura. They all occupy a
considerable space in Hamilton's correspondence, and the two last are the
ladies so often addressed as the Mademoiselles B.; they are almost the
constant subjects of Hamilton's verses; and it is recorded that he was a
particular admirer of Henrietta Bulkeley; but their union would have been
that of hunger and thirst, for both were very poor and very illustrious:
their junction would, of course, have militated against every rule of
common prudence. To the influence of this lady, particularly, we are
indebted for one or two of Hamilton's agreeable novels: she had taste
enough to laugh at the extravagant stories then so much in fashion, "plus
arabes qu'en Arabie,"

   [They were wretched imitations of some of the Persian and Arabian
   tales, in which everything was distorted, and rendered absurd and
   preposterous.]

as Hamilton says; and he, in compliance with her taste, and his own, soon
put the fashionable tales to flight, by the publication of the 'Quatre
Facardins', and, more especially, 'La Fleur d'Epine'. Some of the
introductory verses to these productions are written with peculiar ease
and grace; and are highly extolled, and even imitated, by Voltaire. La
Harpe praises the Fleur d'Epine, as the work of an original genius: I do
not think, however, that they are much relished in England, probably
because very ill translated. Another of his literary productions was the
novel called Le Belier, which he wrote on the following occasion: Louis
XIV. had presented to the Countess of Grammont (whom he highly esteemed)
a remarkably elegant small country house in the park of Versailles: this
house became so fashionable a resort, and brought such constant visitors,
that the Count de Grammont said, in his usual way, he would present the
king with a list of all the persons he was obliged to entertain there, as
more suited to his Majesty's purse than his own: the countess wished to
change the name of the place from the vulgar appellation of Le Moulineau
into that of Pentalie: and Hamilton, in his novel, wrote a history of a
giant, an enchantment, and a princess, to commemorate her resolution.
It has however happened that the giant Moulineau has had the advantage in
the course of time; for the estate, which is situated near Meudon, upon
the Seine, retains its original and popular designation.

About the year 1704, Hamilton turned his attention to collecting the
memoirs of his brother-in-law, the Count de Grammont, as we may
conjecture, from the epistle beginning "Honneur des rives eloignees"
being written towards the close of the above year: it is dated, or
supposed to be so, from the banks of the Garonne. Among other authors
whom Hamilton at first proposes to Grammont, as capable of writing his
life (though, on reflection, he thinks them not suited to it),
is Boileau, whose genius he professes to admire; but adds that his muse
has somewhat of malignity; and that such a muse might caress with one
hand and satirize him with the other. This letter was sent by Hamilton
to Boileau, who answered him with great politeness; but, at the same time
that he highly extolled the epistle to Grammont, he, very naturally,
seemed anxious to efface any impression which such a representation of
his satiric vein might make on the Count's mind, and accordingly added a
few complimentary verses to him: this letter is dated, Paris, 8th
February, 1705. About the same time, another letter was written to
Hamilton on the subject of the Epistle to Grammont, by La Chapelle, who
also seemed desirous that his life should be given to the public, but was
much perplexed which of the most celebrated ancients to compare the count
to. Mecaenas first presented himself to his imagination: absurdly
enough, in my opinion; for there was not a trace of similitude between
the two characters. This, however, afforded him some opportunity, as he
thought, of discovering a resemblance between Horace and Hamilton, in
which he equally failed. Petronius is then brought forward, as affording
some comparison to the Count;--a man of pleasure, giving up the day to
sleep, and the night to entertainment; but then, adds La Chapelle, it
will be suggested that, such is the perpetual activity of the Count of
Grammont's mind, he may be said to sleep neither night nor day; and if
Petronius died, the Count seems determined never to die at all. (He was
at this time about eighty-five years of age.) It may well be supposed
that all this, though now perfectly vapid and uninteresting, was
extremely flattering to Grammont; and the result was, that he very much
wished to have his life, or part of it, at least, given to the public.
Hamilton, who had been so long connected with him, and with whose
agreeable talents he was now so familiarized, was, on every account,
singled out by him as the person who could best introduce him
historically to the public. It is ridiculous to mention Grammont as the
author of his own Memoirs: his excellence, as a man of wit, was entirely
limited to conversation. Bussy Rabutin, who knew him perfectly, states
that he wrote almost worse than any one. If this was said, and very
truly, of him in his early days, it can hardly be imagined that he would,
when between eighty and ninety years of age, commence a regular, and,
in point of style, most finished composition. Besides, independent of
everything else, what man would so outrage all decorum as to call himself
the admiration of the age? for so is Grammont extolled in the Memoirs,
with a variety of other encomiastic expressions; although, perhaps, such
vanity has not been without example. Hamilton, it is true, says that he
acts as Grammont's secretary, and only holds the pen, whilst the Count
dictates to him such particulars of his life as were the most singular,
and least known. This is said with great modesty, and, as to part of the
work, perhaps with great truth: it requires, however, some explanation.
Grammont was more than twenty years older than Hamilton; consequently,
the earlier part of his life could only have been known, or was best
known, to the latter from repeated conversations, and the long intimacy
which subsisted between them. Whether Grammont formally dictated the
events of his younger days, or not, is of little consequence from his
general character, it is probable that he did not. However, the whole
account of such adventures as he was engaged in, from his leaving home to
his interview with Cardinal Mazarin (excepting the character of Monsieur
de Senantes, and Matta, who was well known to Hamilton), the relation of
the siege of Lerida, the description of Gregorio Brice, and the
inimitable discovery of his own magnificent suit of clothes on the
ridiculous bridegroom at Abbeville; all such particulars must have been
again and again repeated to Hamilton by Grammont, and may therefore be
fairly grounded on the count's authority. The characters of the court of
Charles II., and its history, are to be ascribed to Hamilton: from his
residence, at various times, in the court of London, his connection with
the Ormond family, not to mention others, he must have been well
acquainted with them. Lady Chesterfield, who may be regarded almost as
the heroine of the work, was his cousin-german.

   [She was born at the castle of Kilkenny, July, 1640, as appears from
   Carte's life of her father, the Duke of Ormond.]

But, although the history altogether was written by Hamilton, it may
not perhaps be known to every reader that Grammont himself sold the
manuscript for fifteen hundred livres; and when it was brought to
Fontenelle, then censor of the press, he refused to license it, from
respect to the character of the Count, which, he thought, was represented
as that of a gambler, and an unprincipled one too. In fact, Grammont,
like many an old gentleman, seems to have recollected the gaieties of his
youth with more complaisance than was necessary, and has drawn them in
pretty strong colours in that part of the work which is more particularly
his own. He laughed at poor Fontenelle's scruples, and complained to the
chancellor, who forced the censor to acquiesce: the license was granted,
and the Count put the whole of the money, or the best part of it, in his
pocket, though he acknowledged the work to be Hamilton's. This is
exactly correspondent to his general character: when money was his
object, he had little, or rather no delicacy.

The History of Grammont may be considered as unique there is nothing like
it in any language. For drollery, knowledge of the world, various
satire, general utility, united with great vivacity of composition, Gil
Blas is unrivalled: but, as a merely agreeable book, the Memoirs of
Grammont perhaps deserve that character more than any which was ever
written: it is pleasantry throughout, pleasantry of the best sort,
unforced, graceful, and engaging. Some French critic has justly
observed, that, if any book were to be selected as affording the truest
specimen of perfect French gaiety, the Memoirs of Grammont would be
selected in preference to all others. This has a Frenchman said of the
work of a foreigner: but that foreigner possessed much genius, had lived
from his youth, not only in the best society of France, but with the most
singular and agreeable man that France could produce. Still, however,
though Grammont and Hamilton were of dispositions very different, the
latter must have possessed talents peculiarly brilliant, and admirably
adapted to coincide with, and display those of his brother-in-law to the
utmost advantage. Gibbon extols the "ease and purity of Hamilton's
inimitable style;" and in this he is supported by Voltaire, although he
adds the censure, that the Grammont Memoirs are, in point of materials,
the most trifling; he might also in truth have said, the most improper.
The manners of the court of Charles II. were, to the utmost, profligate
and abandoned: yet in what colours have they been drawn by Hamilton? The
elegance of his pencil has rendered them more seductive and dangerous,
than if it had more faithfully copied the originals. From such a mingled
mass of grossness of language, and of conduct, one would have turned away
with disgust and abhorrence; but Hamilton was, to use the words of his
admirer, Lord Orford, "superior to the indelicacy of the court," whose
vices he has so agreeably depicted; and that superiority has sheltered
such vices from more than half the oblivion which would now have for ever
concealed them.

The Count de Grammont died in 1707. Some years after the publication of
his Memoirs, Hamilton was engaged in a very different work: he
translated Pope's Essay on Criticism into French, and, as it should seem,
so much to that great poet's satisfaction, that he wrote a very polite
letter of thanks to him, which is inserted in Pope's Correspondence.
Hamilton's Essay was, I believe, never printed, though Pope warmly
requested to have that permission: the reign of Louis XIV. had now
ceased; and, for several years before his death, the character of the old
court of that prince had ceased also: profligacy and gaiety had given way
to devotion and austerity. Of Hamilton's friends and literary
acquaintance few were left: the Duke of Berwick was employed in the
field, or at Versailles: some of the ladies, however, continued at St.
Germain; and in their society, particularly that of his niece, the
Countess of Stafford (in whose name he carried on a lively correspondence
with Lady Mary Wortley Montague), he passed much of his time. He
occasionally indulged in poetical compositions, of a style suited to his
age and character; and when he was past seventy, he wrote that excellent
copy of verses, 'Sur l' Usage de la Vie dans la Vieillesse'; which, for
grace of style, justness, and purity of sentiment, does honour to his
memory.

Hamilton died at St. Germain, in April, 1720, aged about seventy-four.
His death was pious and resigned. From his poem, entitled Reflections,
he appears, like some other authors, to have turned his mind, in old age,
entirely to those objects of sacred regard, which, sooner or later, must
engage the attention of every rational mind. To poetry he bids an
eternal adieu, in language which breathes no diminution of genius,
at the moment that he for ever recedes from the poetical character.
But he aspired to a better.

Whatever were Hamilton's errors, his general character was respectable.
He has been represented as grave, and even dull, in society; the very
reverse, in short, of what he appears in his Memoirs: but this is
probably exaggerated. Unquestionably, he had not the unequalled vivacity
of the Count de Grammont in conversation; as Grammont was, on the other
hand, inferior, in all respects, to Hamilton when the pen was in his
hand; the latter was, however, though reserved in a large society,
particularly agreeable in a more select one. Some of his letters
remain, in which he alludes to his want of that facility at impromptu
which gave such brilliancy to the conversation of some of his brother
wits and contemporaries. But, while we admit the truth of this, let it
be remembered, at the same time, that when he wrote this, he was by no
means young; that he criticised his own defects with severity; that he
was poor, and living in a court which itself subsisted on the alms of
another. Amidst such circumstances, extemporary gaiety cannot always be
found. I can suppose, that the Duchess of Maine, who laid claim to the
character of a patroness of wit, and, like many who assert such claims,
was very troublesome, very self-sufficient, and very 'exigeante', might
not always have found that general superiority, or even transient lustre,
which she expected in Hamilton's society: yet, considering the great
difference of their age and situation, this circumstance will not greatly
impeach his talents for conversation. But the work of real genius must
for ever remain; and of Hamilton's genius, the Grammont Memoirs will
always continue a beauteous and graceful monument. To that monument may
also be added, the candour, integrity, and unassuming virtues of the
amiable author.




             CHAPTER FIRST.

             INTRODUCTION


As those who read only for amusement are, in my opinion, more worthy of
attention than those who open a book merely to find fault, to the former
I address myself, and for their entertainment commit the following pages
to press, without being in the least concerned about the severe
criticisms of the latter. I further declare, that the order of time
and disposition of the facts, which give more trouble to the writer than
pleasure to the reader, shall not much embarrass me in these Memoirs.
It being my design to convey a just idea of my hero, those circumstances
which most tend to illustrate and distinguish his character shall find
a place in these fragments just as they present themselves to my
imagination, without paying any particular attention to their
arrangement. For, after all, what does it signify where the portrait is
begun, provided the assemblage of the parts forms a whole which perfectly
expresses the original? The celebrated Plutarch, who treats his heroes
as he does his readers, commences the life of the one just as he thinks
fit, and diverts the attention of the other with digressions into
antiquity, or agreeable passages of literature, which frequently have
no reference to the subject; for instance, he tells us that Demetrius
Poliorcetes was far from being so tall as his father, Antigonus; and
afterwards, that his reputed father, Antigonus, was only his uncle; but
this is not until he has begun his life with a short account of his
death, his various exploits, his good and bad qualities; and at last,
out of compassion to his failings, brings forward a comparison between
him and the unfortunate Mark Antony.

What I have said upon this subject is not meant to reflect upon this
historian, to whom, of all the ancients, we are most obliged; it is only
intended to authorize the manner in which I have treated a life far more
extraordinary than any of those he has transmitted to us. It is my part
to describe a man whose inimitable character casts a veil over those
faults which I shall neither palliate nor disguise; a man distinguished
by a mixture of virtues and vices so closely linked together as in
appearance to form a necessary dependence, glowing with the greatest
beauty when united, shining with the brightest lustre when opposed.

It is this indefinable brilliancy, which, in war, in love, in gaming, and
in the various stages of a long life, has rendered the Count de Grammont
the admiration of his age, and the delight of every country wherein
he has displayed his engaging wit, dispensed his generosity and
magnificence, or practised his inconstancy: it is owing to this that the
sallies of a sprightly imagination have produced those admirable
bons-mots which have been with universal applause transmitted to
posterity. It is owing to this that he preserved his judgment free and
unembarrassed in the most trying situations, and enjoyed an uncommon
presence of mind and facetiousness of temper in the most imminent dangers
of war. I shall not attempt to draw his portrait: his person has been
described by Bussi and St. Evremond, authors more entertaining than
faithful.

   [Voltaire, in the age of Louis XIV., ch. 24, speaking of that
   monarch, says, "even at the same time when he began to encourage
   genius by his liberality, the Count de Bussi was severely punished
   for the use he made of his: he was sent to the Bastile in 1664.
   'The Amours of the Gauls' was the pretence of his imprisonment; but
   the true cause was the song in which the king was treated with too
   much freedom, and which, upon this occasion, was brought to
   remembrance to ruin Bussi, the reputed author of it.

          Que Deodatus est heureux,
          De baiser ce bec amoureux,
          Qui d'une oreille a l'autre va!

     See Deodatus with his billing dear,
     Whose amorous mouth breathes love from ear to ear!

   "His works were not good enough to compensate for the mischief they
   did him. He spoke his own language with purity: he had some merit,
   but more conceit: and he made no use of the merit he had, but to
   make himself enemies." Voltaire adds, "Bussi was released at the
   end of eighteen months; but he was in disgrace all the rest of his
   life, in vain protesting a regard for Louis XIV." Bussi died 1693.
   Of St. Evremond, see note, postea.]

The former has represented the Chevalier Grammont as artful, fickle, and
even somewhat treacherous in his amours, and indefatigable and cruel in
his jealousies. St. Evremond has used other colours to express the
genius and describe the general manners of the Count; whilst both, in
their different pictures, have done greater honour to themselves than
justice to their hero.

It is, therefore, to the Count we must listen, in the agreeable relation
of the sieges and battles wherein he distinguished himself under another
hero; and it is on him we must rely for the truth of passages the least
glorious of his life, and for the sincerity with which he relates his
address, vivacity, frauds, and the various stratagems he practised either
in love or gaming. These express his true character, and to himself we
owe these memoirs, since I only hold the pen, while he directs it to the
most remarkable and secret passages of his life.




               CHAPTER SECOND.

    ARRIVAL OF THE CHEVALIER GRAMMONT AT THE SIEGE OF TRINO,
    AND THE LIFE HE LED THERE.


In those days affairs were not managed in France as at present. Louis
XIII.--[Son and successor of Henry IV. He began to reign 14th May, 1610,
and died 14th May, 1643.]--then sat upon the throne, but the Cardinal de
Richelieu, governed the kingdom;

   [Of this great minister Mr. Hume gives the following character:--

   "Undaunted, Undaunted and implacable, prudent and active, he braved
   all the opposition of the French princes and nobles in the
   prosecution of his vengeance; he discovered and dissipated all their
   secret cabals and conspiracies. His sovereign himself he held in
   subjection, while he exalted the throne. The people, while they
   lost their liberties, acquired, by means of his administration,
   learning, order, discipline, and renown."]

great men commanded little armies, and little armies did great things;
the fortune of great men depended solely upon ministerial favour, and
blind devotion to the will of the minister was the only sure method of
advancement. Vast designs were then laying in the heart of neighbouring
states the foundation of that formidable greatness to which France has
now risen: the police was somewhat neglected; the highways were
impassable by day, and the streets by night; but robberies were committed
elsewhere with greater impunity. Young men, on their first entrance into
the world, took what course they thought proper. Whoever would, was a
chevalier, and whoever could, an abbe: I mean a beneficed abbe: dress
made no distinction between them; and I believe the Chevalier Grammont
was both the one and the other at the siege of Trino.--[Trino was taken
4th May, 1639.]--This was his first campaign, and here he displayed those
attractive graces which so favourably prepossess, and require neither
friends nor recommendations in any company to procure a favourable
reception. The siege was already formed when he arrived, which saved him
some needless risks; for a volunteer cannot rest at ease until he has
stood the first fire: he went therefore to reconnoitre the generals,
having no occasion to reconnoitre the place. Prince Thomas commanded the
army; and as the post of lieutenant-general was not then known, Du
Plessis Pralin and the famous Viscount Turenne were his majors general.
Fortified places were treated with some respect, before a power which
nothing can withstand had found means to destroy them by dreadful showers
of bombs, and by destructive batteries of hundreds of pieces of cannon.
Before these furious storms which drive governors underground and reduce
their garrisons to powder, repeated sallies bravely repulsed, and
vigorous attacks nobly sustained, signalized both the art of the
besiegers and the courage of the besieged; consequently, sieges were of
some length, and young men had an opportunity of gaining some knowledge.
Many brave actions were performed on each side during the siege of Trino;
a great deal of fatigue was endured, and considerable losses sustained;
but fatigue was no more considered, hardships were no more felt in the
trenches, gravity was at an end with the generals, and the troops were no
longer dispirited after the arrival of the Chevalier Grammont. Pleasure
was his pursuit, and he made it universal.

Among the officers in the army, as in all other places, there are men of
real merit, or pretenders to it. The latter endeavoured to imitate the
Chevalier Grammont in his most shining qualities, but without success;
the former admired his talents and courted his friendship. Of this
number was Matta:

   [Matta, or Matha, of whom Hamilton has drawn so striking a picture,
   is said to have been of the house of Bourdeille, which had the
   honour to produce Brautome and Montresor. The combination of
   indolence and talent, of wit and simplicity, of bluntness and irony,
   with which he is represented, may have been derived from tradition,
   but could only have been united into the inimitable whole by the pen
   of Hamilton. Several of his bons-mots have been preserved; but the
   spirit evaporates in translation. "Where could I get this nose,"
   said Madame D'Albret, observing a slight tendency to a flush in that
   feature. "At the side board, Madame," answered Matta. When the
   same lady, in despair at her brother's death, refused all
   nourishment, Matta administered this blunt consolation: "If you are
   resolved, madame, never again to swallow food, you do well; but if
   ever you mean to eat upon any future occasion, believe me, you may
   as well begin just now." Madame Caylus, in her Souvenirs,
   commemorates the simple and natural humour of Matta as rendering him
   the most delightful society in the world. Mademoiselle, in her
   Memoirs, alludes to his pleasantry in conversation, and turn for
   deep gaming. When the Memoirs of Grammont were subjected to the
   examination of Fontenelle, then censor of the Parisian press, he
   refused to license them, or account of the scandalous conduct
   imputed to Grammont in this party at quinze. The count no sooner
   heard of this than he hastened to Fontenelle, and having joked him
   for being more tender of his reputation than he was himself, the
   license was instantly issued. The censor might have retorted upon
   Grammont the answer which the count made to a widow who received
   coldly his compliments of condolence on her husband's death: "Nay,
   madame, if that is the way you take it, I care as little about it as
   you do." He died in 1674. "Matta est mort sans confession," says
   Madame Maintenon, in a letter to her brother. Tome I., p. 67.]

He was agreeable in his person, but still more by the natural turn of his
wit; he was plain and simple in his manners, but endued with a quick
discernment and refined delicacy, and full of candour and integrity in
all his actions. The Chevalier Grammont was not long in discovering his
amiable qualities; an acquaintance was soon formed, and was succeeded by
the strictest intimacy.

Matta insisted that the Chevalier should take up his quarters with him;
to which he only consented on condition of equally contributing to the
expense. As they were both liberal and magnificent, at their common cost
they gave the best designed and most luxurious entertainments that had
ever yet been seen. Play was wonderfully productive at first, and the
Chevalier restored by a hundred different ways that which he obtained
only by one. The generals, being entertained by turns, admired their
magnificence, and were dissatisfied with their own officers for not
keeping such good tables and attendance. The Chevalier had the talent
of setting off the most indifferent things to advantage; and his wit was
so generally acknowledged, that it was a kind of disgrace not to submit
to his taste. To him Matta resigned the care of furnishing the table and
doing its honours; and, charmed with the general applause, persuaded
himself that nothing could be more honourable than their way of living,
and nothing more easy than to continue it; but he soon perceived that the
greatest prosperity is not the most lasting. Good living, bad economy,
dishonest servants, and ill-luck, all uniting together to disconcert
their housekeeping, their table was going to be gradually laid aside,
when the Chevalier's genius, fertile in resources, undertook to support
his former credit by the following expedient.

They had never yet conferred about the state of their finances, although
the steward had acquainted each, separately, that he must either receive
money to continue the expenses, or give in his accounts. One day, when
the Chevalier came home sooner than usual, he found Matta fast asleep in
an easy chair, and, being unwilling to disturb his rest, he began musing
on his project. Matta awoke without his perceiving it; and having, for a
short time, observed the deep contemplation he seemed involved in, and
the profound silence between two persons who had never held their tongues
for a moment when together before, he broke it by a sudden fit of
laughter, which increased in proportion as the other stared at him.
"A merry way of waking, and ludicrous enough," said the Chevalier;
"what is the matter, and whom do you laugh at!" "Faith, Chevalier," said
Matta, "I am laughing at a dream I had just now, which is so natural and
diverting, that I must make you laugh at it also. I was dreaming that we
had dismissed our maitre-d'hotel, our cook, and our confectioner, having
resolved, for the remainder of the campaign, to live upon others as
others have lived upon us: this was my dream. Now tell me, Chevalier,
on what were you musing?" "Poor fellow!" said the Chevalier, shrugging
up his shoulders, "you are knocked down at once, and thrown into the
utmost consternation and despair at some silly stories which the
maitre-d'hotel has been telling you as well as me. What! after the
figure we have made in the face of the nobility and foreigners in the
army, shall we give it up, and like fools and beggars sneak off, upon the
first failure of our money! Have you no sentiments of honour? Where is
the dignity of France?" "And where is the money?" said Matta; "for my
men say, the devil may take them, if there be ten crowns in the house,
and I believe you have not much more, for it is above a week since I have
seen you pull out your purse, or count your money, an amusement you were
very fond of in prosperity." "I own all this," said the Chevalier, "but
yet I will force you to confess, that you are but a mean-spirited fellow
upon this occasion. What would have become of you if you had been
reduced to the situation I was in at Lyons, four days before I arrived
here? I will tell you the story."




               CHAPTER THIRD.

     EDUCATION AND ADVENTURES OF THE CHEVALIER GRAMMONT
     BEFORE HIS COMING TO THE SIEGE OF TRINO.


"This," said Matta, "smells strongly of romance, except that it should
have been your squire's part to tell your adventures."

"True," said the Chevalier; "however, I may acquaint you with my first
exploits without offending my modesty; besides, my squire's style borders
too much upon the burlesque for an heroic narrative.

"You must know, then, that upon my arrival at Lyons--"

"Is it thus you begin?" said Matta. "Pray give us your history a little
further back. The most minute particulars of a life like yours are
worthy of relation; but above all, the manner in which you first paid
your respects to Cardinal Richelieu: I have often laughed at it.
However, you may pass over the unlucky pranks of your infancy, your
genealogy, name and quality of your ancestors, for that is a subject
with which you must be utterly unacquainted."

"Pooh!" said the Chevalier; "you think that all the world is as
ignorant as yourself; you think that I am a stranger to the Mendores and
the Corisandes. So, perhaps I don't know that it was my father's own
fault that he was not the son of Henry IV. The king would by all means
have acknowledged him for his son, but the traitor would never consent
to it. See what the Grammonts would have been now, but for this
cross-grained fellow! They would have had precedence of the Caesars
de Vendome. You may laugh if you like, yet it is as true as the gospel:
but let us come to the point.

"I was sent to the college of Pau, with the intention of being brought
up to the church; but as I had quite different views, I made no manner
of improvement: gaming was so much in my head, that both my tutor and the
master lost their labour in endeavouring to teach me Latin. Old Brinon,
who served me both as valet-de-chambre and governor, in vain threatened
to acquaint my mother. I only studied when I pleased, that is to say,
seldom or never: however, they treated me as is customary with scholars
of my quality; I was raised to all the dignities of the forms, without
having merited them, and left college nearly in the same state in which I
entered it; nevertheless, I was thought to have more knowledge than was
requisite for the abbacy which my brother had solicited for me. He had
just married the niece of a minister, to whom every one cringed: he was
desirous to present me to him. I felt but little regret to quit the
country, and great impatience to see Paris. My brother having kept me
some time with him, in order to polish me, let me loose upon the town
to shake off my rustic air, and learn the manners of the world. I so
thoroughly gained them, that I could not be persuaded to lay them aside
when I was introduced at court in the character of an Abby. You know
what kind of dress was then the fashion. All that they could obtain of
me was to put a cassock over my other clothes, and my brother, ready to
die with laughing at my ecclesiastical habit, made others laugh too. I
had the finest head of hair in the world, well curled and powdered, above
my cassock, and below were white buskins and gilt spurs. The Cardinal,
who had a quick discernment, could not help laughing. This elevation of
sentiment gave him umbrage; and he foresaw what might be expected from a
genius that already laughed at the shaven crown and cowl.

"When my brother had taken me home, 'Well, my little parson,' said he,
'you have acted your part to admiration, and your parti-coloured dress of
the ecclesiastic and soldier has greatly diverted the court; but this is
not all: you must now choose, my little knight. Consider then, whether,
by sticking to the church, you will possess great revenues, and have
nothing to do; or, with a small portion, you will risk the loss of a leg
or arm, and be the fructus belli of an insensible court, to arrive in
your old age at the dignity of a major-general, with a glass eye and a
wooden leg.' 'I know,' said I, 'that there is no comparison between
these two situations, with regard to the conveniences of life; but,
as a man ought to secure his future state in preference to all other
considerations, I am resolved to renounce the church for the salvation of
my soul, upon condition, however, that I keep my abbacy.' Neither the
remonstrances nor authority of my brother could induce me to change my
resolution; and he was forced to agree to this last article in order to
keep me at the academy. You know that I am the most adroit man in
France, so that I soon learned all that is taught at such places, and,
at the same time, I also learnt that which gives the finishing stroke to
a young fellow's education, and makes him a gentleman, viz. all sorts of
games, both at cards and dice; but the truth is, I thought, at first,
that I had more skill in them than I really had, as experience proved.
When my mother knew the choice I had made, she was inconsolable; for she
reckoned, that had I been a clergyman I should have been a saint; but now
she was certain that I should either be a devil in the world, or be
killed in the wars. And indeed I burned with impatience to be a soldier;
but being yet too young, I was forced to make a campaign at Bidache
--[A principality belonging to the family of the Grammonts, in the
Province of Gascony.]--before I made one in the army. When I returned to
my mother's house, I had so much the air of a courtier and a man of the
world, that she began to respect me, instead of chiding me for my
infatuation towards the army. I became her favourite, and finding me
inflexible, she only thought of keeping me with her as long as she could,
while my little equipage was preparing. The faithful Brinon, who was to
attend me as valet-de-chambre, was likewise to discharge the office of
governor and equerry, being, perhaps, the only Gascon who was ever
possessed of so much gravity and ill-temper. He passed his word for my
good behaviour and morality, and promised my mother that he would give a
good account of my person in the dangers of the war; but I hope he will
keep his word better as to this last article than he has done as to the
former.

"My equipage was sent away a week before me. This was so much time
gained by my mother to give me good advice. At length, after having
solemnly enjoined me to have the fear of God before my eyes, and to love
my neighbour as myself, she suffered me to depart, under the protection
of the Lord and the sage Brinon. At the second stage we quarrelled. He
had received four hundred louis d'or for the expenses of the campaign: I
wished to have the keeping of them myself, which he strenuously opposed.
'Thou old scoundrel,' said I, 'is the money thine, or was it given thee
for me? You suppose I must have a treasurer, and receive no money
without his order. I know not whether it was from a presentiment of what
afterwards happened that he grew melancholy; however, it was with the
greatest reluctance, and the most poignant anguish, that he found himself
obliged to yield. One would have thought that I had wrested his very
soul from him. I found myself more light and merry after I had eased him
of his trust; he, on the contrary, appeared so overwhelmed with grief,
that it seemed as if I had laid four hundred pounds of lead upon his
back, instead of taking away these four hundred louis. He went on so
heavily, that I was forced to whip his horse myself, and turning to me,
now and then, 'Ah! sir,' said he, my lady did not think it would be so.
'His reflections and sorrows were renewed at every stage; for, instead of
giving a shilling to the post-boy, I gave him half-a-crown.

"Having at last reached Lyons, two soldiers stopped us at the gate of the
city, to carry us before the governor. I took one of them to conduct me
to the best inn, and delivered Brinon into the hands of the other, to
acquaint the commandant with the particulars of my journey, and my future
intentions.

"There are as good taverns at Lyons as at Paris; but my soldier,
according to custom, carried me to a friend of his own, whose house he
extolled as having the best accommodations, and the greatest resort of
good company, in the whole town. The master of this hotel was as big as
a hogshead, his name Cerise; a Swiss by birth, a poisoner by profession,
and a thief by custom. He showed me into a tolerably neat room, and
desired to know whether I pleased to sup by myself or at the ordinary.
I chose the latter, on account of the beau monde which the soldier had
boasted of.

"Brinon, who was quite out of temper at the many questions which the
governor had asked him, returned more surly than an old ape; and seeing
that I was dressing my hair, in order to go downstairs: 'What are you
about now, sir?' said he. 'Are you going to tramp about the town? No,
no; have we not had tramping enough ever since the morning? Eat a bit of
supper, and go to bed betimes, that you may get on horseback by
day-break.' 'Mr. Comptroller,' said I, 'I shall neither tramp about the
town, nor eat alone, nor go to bed early. I intend to sup with the
company below.' 'At the ordinary!' cried he; 'I beseech you, sir, do not
think of it! Devil take me, if there be not a dozen brawling fellows
playing at cards and dice, who make noise enough to drown the loudest
thunder!'

"I was grown insolent since I had seized the money; and being desirous to
shake off the yoke of a governor, 'Do you know, Mr. Brinon,' said I,
'that I don't like a blockhead to set up for a reasoner? Do you go to
supper, if you please; but take care that I have post-horses ready before
daybreak.' The moment he mentioned cards and dice, I felt the money burn
in my pocket. I was somewhat surprised, however, to find the room where
the ordinary was served filled with odd-looking creatures. My host,
after presenting me to the company, assured me that there were but
eighteen or twenty of those gentlemen who would have the honour to sup
with me. I approached one of the tables where they were playing, and
thought I should have died with laughing: I expected to have seen good
company and deep play; but I only met with two Germans playing at
backgammon. Never did two country boobies play like them; but their
figures beggared all description. The fellow near whom I stood was
short, thick, and fat, and as round as a ball, with a ruff, and
prodigious high crowned hat. Any one, at a moderate distance, would have
taken him for the dome of a church, with the steeple on the top of it.
I inquired of the host who he was. 'A merchant from Basle,' said he,
'who comes hither to sell horses; but from the method he pursues, I think
he will not dispose of many; for he does nothing but play.' 'Does he
play deep?' said I. 'Not now,' said he; 'they are only playing for their
reckoning, while supper is getting ready; but he has no objection to
play as deep as any one.' 'Has he money?' said I. 'As for that,'
replied the treacherous Cerise, 'would to God you had won a thousand
pistoles of him, and I went your halves; we should not be long without
our money.' I wanted no further encouragement to meditate the ruin of
the high-crowned hat. I went nearer to him, in order to take a closer
survey; never was such a bungler; he made blots upon blots; God knows, I
began to feel some remorse at winning of such an ignoramus, who knew so
little of the game. He lost his reckoning; supper was served up; and I
desired him to sit next me. It was a long table, and there were at least
five-and-twenty in company, notwithstanding the landlord's promise. The
most execrable repast that ever was begun being finished, all the crowd
insensibly dispersed, except the little Swiss, who still kept near me,
and the landlord, who placed himself on the other side of me. They both
smoked like dragoons; and the Swiss was continually saying, in bad
French, 'I ask your pardon, sir, for my great freedom,' at the same time
blowing such whiffs of tobacco in my face as almost suffocated me. Mr.
Cerise, on the other hand, desired he might take the liberty of asking me
whether I had ever been in his country? and seemed surprised I had so
genteel an air, without having travelled in Switzerland.

"The little chub I had to encounter was full as inquisitive as the other.
He desired to know whether I came from the army in Piedmont; and having
told him I was going thither, he asked me, whether I had a mind to buy
any horses; that he had about two hundred to dispose of, and that he
would sell them cheap. I began to be smoked like a gammon of bacon;
and being quite wearied out, both with their tobacco and their questions,
I asked my companion if he would play for a single pistole at backgammon,
while our men were supping; it was not without great ceremony that he
consented, at the same time asking my pardon for his great freedom.

"I won the game; I gave him his revenge, and won again. We then played
double or quit; I won that too, and all in the twinkling of an eye; for
he grew vexed, and suffered himself to be taken in so that I began to
bless my stars for my good fortune. Brinon came in about the end of the
third game, to put me to bed, he made a great sign of the cross, but paid
no attention to the signs I made him to retire. I was forced to rise to
give him that order in private. He began to reprimand me for disgracing
myself by keeping company with such a low-bred wretch. It was in vain
that I told him he was a great merchant, that he had a great deal of
money, and that he played like a child. 'He a merchant,' cried Brinon.
'Do not believe that, sir! May the devil take me, if he is not some
conjurer.' 'Hold your tongue, old fool,' said I; 'he is no more a
conjurer than you are, and that is decisive; and, to prove it to you, I
am resolved to win four or five hundred pistoles of him before I go to
bed. With these words I turned him out, strictly enjoining him not to
return, or in any manner to disturb us.

"The game being done, the little Swiss unbuttoned his pockets, to pull
out a new four-pistole piece, and presenting it to me, he asked my pardon
for his great freedom, and seemed as if he wished to retire. This was
not what I wanted. I told him we only played for amusement; that I had
no design upon his money; and that, if he pleased, I would play him a
single game for his four pistoles. He raised some objections; but
consented at last, and won back his money. I was piqued at it. I played
another game; fortune changed sides; the dice ran for him, he made no
more blots. I lost the game; another game, and double or quit; we
doubled the stake, and played double or quit again. I was vexed; he,
like a true gamester, took every bet I offered, and won all before him,
without my getting more than six points in eight or ten games. I asked
him to play a single game for one hundred pistoles; but as he saw I did
not stake, he told me it was late; that he must go and look after his
horses; and went away, still asking my pardon for his great freedom. The
cool manner of his refusal, and the politeness with which he took his
leave, provoked me to such a degree, that I could almost have killed him.
I was so confounded at losing my money so fast, even to the last pistole,
that I did not immediately consider the miserable situation to which I
was reduced.

"I durst not go up to my chamber for fear of Brinon. By good luck,
however, he was tired with waiting for me, and had gone to bed. This was
some consolation, though but of short continuance. As soon as I was laid
down, all the fatal consequences of my adventure presented themselves to
my imagination. I could not sleep. I saw all the horrors of my
misfortune, without being able to find any remedy; in vain did I rack my
brain; it supplied me with no expedient. I feared nothing so much as
daybreak; however, it did come, and the cruel Brinon along with it. He
was booted up to the middle, and cracking a cursed whip, which he held in
his hand, 'Up, Monsieur le Chevalier,' cried he, opening the curtains;
'the horses are at the door, and you are still asleep. We ought by this
time to have ridden two stages; give me money to pay the reckoning.'
'Brinon,' said I, in a dejected tone, 'draw the curtains.' 'What!' cried
he, 'draw the curtains! Do you intend, then, to make your campaign at
Lyons? you seem to have taken a liking to the place. And for the great
merchant, you have stripped him, I suppose? No, no, Monsieur le
Chevalier, this money will never do you any good. This wretch has,
perhaps, a family; and it is his children's bread that he has been
playing with, and that you have won. Was this an object to sit up all
night for? What would my lady say, if she knew what a life you lead?'
'M. Brinon,' said I, 'pray draw the curtains.' But instead of obeying
me, one would have thought that the devil had prompted him to use the
most pointed and galling terms to a person under such misfortunes. 'And
how much have you won?' said he; 'five hundred pistoles? what must the
poor man do?

"'Recollect, Monsieur le Chevalier, what I have said, this money will never
thrive with you. It is, perhaps, but four hundred? three? two? well
if it be but one hundred louis d'or, continued he, seeing that I shook my
head at every sum which he had named, there is no great mischief done;
one hundred pistoles will not ruin him, provided you have won them
fairly.' 'Friend Brinon,' said I, fetching a deep sigh, 'draw the
curtains; I am unworthy to see daylight' Brinon was much affected at
these melancholy words, but I thought he would have fainted, when I told
him the whole adventure. He tore his hair, made grievous lamentations,
the burden of which still was, 'What will my lady say?' And, after
having exhausted his unprofitable complaints, 'What will become of you
now, Monsieur le Chevalier?' said he, 'what do you intend to do?'
'Nothing,' said I, 'for I am fit for no thing. After this, being
somewhat eased after making him my confession, I thought upon several
projects, to none of which could I gain his approbation. I would have
had him post after my equipage, to have sold some of my clothes. I was
for proposing to the horse-dealer to buy some horses of him at a high
price on credit, to sell again cheap. Brinon laughed at all these
schemes, and after having had the cruelty of keeping me upon the rack for
a long time, he at last extricated me. Parents are always stingy towards
their poor children; my mother intended to have given me five hundred
louis d'or, but she had kept back fifty, as well for some little repairs
in the abbey, as to pay for praying for me. Brinon had the charge of the
other fifty, with strict injunctions not to speak of them, unless upon
some urgent necessity. And this you see soon happened.

"Thus you have a brief account of my first adventure. Play has hitherto
favoured me; for, since my arrival, I have had, at one time, after paying
all my expenses, fifteen hundred louis d'or. Fortune is now again become
unfavourable: we must mend her. Our cash runs low; we must, therefore,
endeavour to recruit."

"Nothing is more easy," said Matta; "it is only to find out such another
dupe as the horse-dealer at Lyons; but now I think on it, has not the
faithful Brinon some reserve for the last extremity? Faith, the time is
now come, and we cannot do better than to make use of it!"

"Your raillery would be very seasonable," said the Chevalier, "if you
knew how to extricate us out of this difficulty. You must certainly have
an overflow of wit, to be throwing it away upon every occasion as at
present. What the devil! will you always be bantering, without
considering what a serious situation we are reduced to. Mind what I say,
I will go tomorrow to the head-quarters, I will dine with the Count de
Cameran, and I will invite him to supper." "Where?" said Matta.
"Here," said the Chevalier. "You are mad, my poor friend," replied
Matta. "This is some such project as you formed at Lyons: you know we
have neither money nor credit; and, to re-establish our circumstances,
you intend to give a supper."

"Stupid fellow!" said the Chevalier, "is it possible, that, so long as
we have been acquainted, you should have learned no more invention? The
Count de Cameran plays at quinze, and so do I; we want money; he has more
than he knows what to do with; I will bespeak a splendid supper, he shall
pay for it. Send your maitre-d'hotel to me, and trouble yourself no
further, except in some precautions, which it is necessary to take on
such an occasion." "What are they?" said Matta. "I will tell you,"
said the Chevalier; "for I find one must explain to you things that are
as clear as noon-day."

"You command the guards that are here, don't you? As soon as night comes
on, you shall order fifteen or twenty men, under the command of your
sergeant La Place, to be under arms, and to lay themselves flat on the
ground, between this place and the head-quarters." "What the devil!"
cried Matta, "an ambuscade? God forgive me, I believe you intend to rob
the poor Savoyard. If that be your intention, I declare I will have
nothing to say to it" "Poor devil!" said the Chevalier, "the matter is
this; it is very likely that we shall win his money. The Piedmontese,
though otherwise good fellows, are apt to be suspicious and distrustful.
He commands the horse; you know you cannot hold your tongue, and are very
likely to let slip some jest or other that may vex him. Should he take
it into his head that he is cheated, and resent it, who knows what the
consequences might be? for he is commonly attended by eight or ten
horsemen. Therefore, however he may be provoked at his loss, it is
proper to be in such a situation as not to dread his resentment"

"Embrace me, my dear Chevalier," said Matta, holding his sides and
laughing; "embrace me, for thou art not to be matched. What a fool I was
to think, when you talked to me of taking precautions, that nothing more
was necessary than to prepare a table and cards, or perhaps to provide
some false dice! I should never have thought of supporting a man who
plays at quinze by a detachment of foot: I must, indeed, confess that you
are already a great soldier."

The next day everything happened as the Chevalier Grammont had planned
it; the unfortunate Cameran fell into the snare. They supped in the most
agreeable manner possible Matta drank five or six bumpers to drown a few
scruples which made him somewhat uneasy. The Chevalier de Grammont shone
as usual, and almost made his guest die with laughing, whom he was soon
after to make very serious; and the good-natured Cameran ate like a man
whose affections were divided between good cheer and a love of play; that
is to say, he hurried down his victuals, that he might not lose any of
the precious time which he had devoted to quinze.

Supper being done, the sergeant La Place posted his ambuscade, and the
Chevalier de Grammont engaged his man. The perfidy of Cerise, and the
high-crowned hat, were still fresh in remembrance, and enabled him to get
the better of a few grains of remorse, and conquer some scruples which
arose in his mind. Matta, unwilling to be a spectator of violated
hospitality, sat down in an easy chair, in order to fall asleep, while
the Chevalier was stripping the poor Count of his money.

They only staked three or four pistoles at first, just for amusement; but
Cameran having lost three or four times, he staked high, and the game
became serious. He still lost, and became outrageous; the cards flew
about the room, and the exclamations awoke Matta.

As his head was heavy with sleep, and hot with wine, he began to laugh
at the passion of the Piedmontese, instead of consoling him. "Faith, my
poor Count," said he, "if I were in your place, I would play no more."
"Why so?" said the other. "I don't know," said he, "but my heart tells
me that your ill-luck will continue." "I will try that," said Cameran,
calling for fresh cards. "Do so," said Matta, and fell asleep again.
It was but for a short time. All cards were equally unfortunate for
the loser. He held none but tens or court-cards; and if by chance he had
quinze, he was sure to be the younger hand, and therefore lost it. Again
he stormed. "Did not I tell you so?" said Matta, starting out of his
sleep. "All your storming is in vain; as long as you play you will lose.
Believe me, the shortest follies are the best. Leave off, for the devil
take me if it is possible for you to win." "Why?" said Cameran, who
began to be impatient. "Do you wish to know?" said Matta; "why, faith,
it is because we are cheating you."

The Chevalier de Grammont was provoked at so ill-timed a jest, more
especially as it carried along with it some appearance of truth. "Mr.
Matta," said he, "do you think it can be very agreeable for a man who
plays with such ill-luck as the Count to be pestered with your insipid
jests? For my part, I am so weary of the game, that I would desist
immediately, if he was not so great a loser." Nothing is more dreaded by
a losing gamester, than such a threat; and the Count, in a softened tone,
told the Chevalier that Mr. Matta might say what he pleased, if he did
not offend him; that, as to himself, it did not give him the smallest
uneasiness.

The Chevalier de Grammont gave the Count far better treatment than he
himself had experienced from the Swiss at Lyons; for he played upon
credit as long as he pleased; which Cameran took so kindly, that he lost
fifteen hundred pistoles, and paid them the next morning. As for Matta,
he was severely reprimanded for the intemperance of his tongue. All the
reason he gave for his conduct was, that he made it a point of conscience
not to suffer the poor Savoyard to be cheated without informing him of
it. "Besides," said he, "it would have given me pleasure to have seen my
infantry engaged with his horse, if he had been inclined to mischief."

This adventure having recruited their finances, fortune favoured them the
remainder of the campaign, and the Chevalier de Grammont, to prove that
he had only seized upon the Count's effects by way of reprisal, and to
indemnify himself for the losses he had sustained at Lyons, began from
this time to make the same use of his money, that he has been known to
do since upon all occasions. He found out the distressed, in order to
relieve them; officers who had lost their equipage in the war, or their
money at play; soldiers who were disabled in the trenches; in short,
every one felt the influence of his benevolence: but his manner of
conferring a favour exceeded even the favour itself.

Every man possessed of such amiable qualities must meet with success in
all his undertakings. The soldiers knew his person, and adored him. The
generals were sure to meet him in every scene of action, and sought his
company at other times. As soon as fortune declared for him, his first
care was to make restitution, by desiring Cameran to go his halves in all
parties where the odds were in his favour.

An inexhaustible fund of vivacity and good humour gave a certain air of
novelty to whatever he either said or did. I know not on what occasion
it was that Monsieur de Turenne towards the end of the siege, commanded a
separate body. The Chevalier de Grammont went to visit him at his new
quarters, where he found fifteen or twenty officers. M. de Turenne was
naturally fond of merriment, and the Chevalier's presence was sure to
inspire it. He was much pleased with this visit, and, by way of
acknowledgment, would have engaged him to play. The Chevalier de
Grammont, in returning him thanks, said, that he had learned from his
tutor, that when a man went to see his friends, it was neither prudent to
leave his own money behind him, nor civil to carry off theirs. "Truly,"
said Monsieur de Turenne, "you will find neither deep play nor much money
among us; but, that it may not be said that we suffered you to depart
without playing, let us stake every one a horse."

The Chevalier de Grammont agreed. Fortune, who had followed him to a
place where he did not think he should have any need of her, made him win
fifteen or sixteen horses, by way of joke; but, seeing some countenances
disconcerted at the loss, "Gentlemen," said he, "I should be sorry to see
you return on foot from your general's quarters; it will be enough for me
if you send me your horses to-morrow, except one, which I give for the
cards."

The valet-de-chambre thought he was bantering. "I speak seriously," said
the Chevalier, "I give you a horse for the cards; and, what is more, take
whichever you please, except my own." "Truly," said Monsieur de Turenne,
"I am vastly pleased with the novelty of the thing; for I don't believe
that a horse was ever before given for the cards."


Trino surrendered at last. The Baron de Batteville, who had defended it
valiantly, and for a long time, obtained a capitulation worthy of such a
resistance.

   [This officer appears to have been the same person who was
   afterwards ambassador from Spain to the court of Great Britain,
   where, in the summer of 1660, he offended the French court, by
   claiming precedence of their ambassador, Count d'Estrades, on the
   public entry of the Swedish ambassador into London. On this
   occasion the court of France compelled its rival of Spain to submit
   to the mortifying circumstance of acknowledging the French
   superiority. To commemorate this important victory, Louis XIV.
   caused a medal to be struck, representing the Spanish ambassador,
   the Marquis de Fuente, making the declaration to that king, "No
   concurrer con los ambassadores des de Francia," with this
   inscription, "Jus praecedendi assertum," and under it, "Hispaniorum
   excusatio coram xxx legatis principum, 1662." A very curious
   account of the fray occasioned by this dispute, drawn up by Evelyn,
   is to be seen in that gentleman's article in the Biographia
   Britannica.]

I do not know whether the Chevalier de Grammont had any share in the
capture of this place; but I know very well, that during a more glorious
reign, and with armies ever victorious, his intrepidity and address have
been the cause of taking others since, even under the eye of his master,
as we shall see in the sequel of these memoirs.




ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Resolved to renounce the church for the salvation of my soul
The shortest follies are the best
There are men of real merit, or pretenders to it
Those who open a book merely to find fault





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