Infomotions, Inc.— Volume 02 / Hamilton, Anthony, Count, 1646-1720

Author: Hamilton, Anthony, Count, 1646-1720
Title: — Volume 02
Date: 2004-12-04
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Volume 2
by Anthony Hamilton

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Title: The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Volume 2

Author: Anthony Hamilton

Release Date: December 4, 2004 [EBook #5410]

Language: English

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Produced by David Widger


             By Anthony Hamilton


               CHAPTER FOURTH.


Military glory is at most but one half of the accomplishments which
distinguish heroes. Love must give the finishing stroke, and adorn their
character by the difficulties they encounter, the temerity of their
enterprises, and finally, by the lustre of success. We have examples of
this, not only in romances, but also in the genuine histories of the most
famous warriors and the most celebrated conquerors.

The Chevalier de Grammont and Matta, who did not think much of these
examples, were, however, of opinion, that it would be very agreeable to
refresh themselves after the fatigues of the siege of Trino, by forming
some other sieges, at the expense of the beauties and the husbands of
Turin. As the campaign had finished early, they thought they should have
time to perform some exploits before the bad weather obliged them to
repass the mountains.

They sallied forth, therefore, not unlike Amadis de Gaul or Don Galaor
after they had been dubbed knights, eager in their search after
adventures in love, war and enchantments. They were greatly superior to
those two brothers, who only knew how to cleave in twain giants, to break
lances, and to carry off fair damsels behind them on horseback, without
saying a single word to them; whereas our heroes were adepts at cards and
dice, of which the others were totally ignorant.

They went to Turin, met with an agreeable reception, and were greatly
distinguished at court. Could it be otherwise? They were young and
handsome; they had wit at command, and spent their money liberally. In
what country will not a man succeed, possessing such advantages? As
Turin was at that time the seat of gallantry and of love, two strangers
of this description, who were always cheerful, brisk and lively, could
not fail to please the ladies of the court.

Though the men of Turin were extremely handsome, they were not, however,
possessed of the art of pleasing. They treated their wives with respect,
and were courteous to strangers. Their wives, still more handsome, were
full as courteous to strangers, and less respectful to their husbands.

Madame Royale, a worthy daughter of Henry IV., rendered her little court
the most agreeable in the world. She inherited such of her father's
virtues as compose the proper ornament of her sex; and with regard to
what are termed the foibles of great souls, her highness had in no wise

The Count de Tanes was her prime minister. It was not difficult to
conduct affairs of state during his administration. No complaints were
alleged against him; and the princess, satisfied with his conduct
herself, was, above all, glad to have her choice approved by her whole
court, where people lived nearly according to the manners and customs of
ancient chivalry.

The ladies had each a professed lover, for fashion's sake, besides
volunteers, whose numbers were unlimited. The declared admirers wore
their mistresses' liveries, their arms, and sometimes even took their
names. Their office was, never to quit them in public, and never to
approach them in private; to be their squires upon all occasions, and,
in jousts and tournaments, to adorn their lances, their housings, and
their coats, with the cyphers and the colours of their dulcineas.

Matta was far from being averse to gallantry; but would have liked it
more simple than as it was practised at Turin. The ordinary forms would
not have disgusted him; but he found here a sort of superstition in the
ceremonies and worship of love, which he thought very inconsistent:
however, as he had submitted his conduct in that matter to the direction
of the Chevalier de Grammont, he was obliged to follow his example, and
to conform to the customs of the country.

They enlisted themselves at the same time in the service of two beauties,
whose former squires gave them up immediately from motives of politeness.
The Chevalier de Grammont chose Mademoiselle de Saint-Germain, and told
Matta to offer his services to Madame de Senantes. Matta consented,
though he liked the other better; but the Chevalier de Grammont persuaded
him that Madame de Senantes was more suitable for him. As he had reaped
advantage from the Chevalier's talents in the first projects they had
formed, he resolved to follow his instructions in love, as he had done
his advice in play.

Mademoiselle de Saint-Germain was in the bloom of youth; her eyes were
small, but very bright and sparkling, and, like her hair, were black; her
complexion was lively and clear, though not fair: she, had an agreeable
mouth, two fine rows of teeth, a neck as handsome as one could wish, and
a most delightful shape; she had a particular elegance in her elbows,
which, however, she did not show to advantage; her hands were rather
large and not very white; her feet, though not of the smallest, were well
shaped; she trusted to Providence, and used no art to set off those
graces which she had received from nature; but, notwithstanding her
negligence in the embellishment of her charms, there was something so
lively in her person, that the Chevalier de Grammont was caught at first
sight; her wit and humour corresponded with her other qualities, being
quite easy and perfectly charming; she was all mirth, all life, all
complaisance and politeness, and all was natural, and always the same
without any variation.

The Marchioness de Senantes was esteemed fair, and she might have
enjoyed, if she had pleased, the reputation of having red hair, had she
not rather chosen to conform to the taste of the age in which she lived
than to follow that of the ancients: she had all the advantages of red
hair without any of the inconveniences; a constant attention to her
person served as a corrective to the natural defects of her complexion.
After all, what does it signify, whether cleanliness be owing to nature
or to art? it argues an invidious temper to be very inquisitive about
it. She had a great deal of wit, a good memory, more reading, and a
still greater inclination towards tenderness.

She had a husband whom it would have been criminal even in chastity to
spare. He piqued himself upon being a Stoic, and gloried in being
slovenly and disgusting in honour of his profession. In this he
succeeded to admiration; for he was very fat, so that he perspired almost
as much in winter as in summer. Erudition and brutality seemed to be the
most conspicuous features of his character, and were displayed in his
conversation, sometimes together, sometimes alternately, but always
disagreeably: he was not jealous, and yet he was troublesome; he was very
well pleased to see attentions paid to his wife, provided more were paid
to him.

As soon as our adventurers had declared themselves, the Chevalier de
Grammont arrayed himself in green habiliments, and dressed Matta in blue,
these being the favourite colours of their new mistresses. They entered
immediately upon duty: the Chevalier learned and practised all the
ceremonies of this species of gallantry, as if he always had been
accustomed to them; but Matta commonly forgot one half, and was not over
perfect in practising the other. He never could remember that his office
was to promote the glory, and not the interest, of his mistress.

The Duchess of Savoy gave the very next day an entertainment at La
Venerie, where all the ladies were invited.

The Chevalier was so agreeable and diverting, that he made his mistress
almost die with laughing. Matta, in leading his lady to the coach,
squeezed her hand, and at their return from the promenade he begged
of her to pity his sufferings. Thus was proceeding rather too
precipitately, and although Madame de Senantes was not destitute of the
natural compassion of her sex, she nevertheless was shocked at the
familiarity of this treatment; she thought herself obliged to show some
degree of resentment, and pulling away her hand, which he had pressed
with still greater fervency upon this declaration, she went up to the
royal apartments without even looking at her new lover. Matta, never
thinking that he had offended her, suffered her to go, and went in search
of some company to sup with him: nothing was more easy for a man of his
disposition; he soon found what he wanted, sat a long time at table to
refresh himself after the fatigue, of love, and went to bed completely
satisfied that he had performed his part to perfection.

During all this time the Chevalier de Grammont acquitted himself towards
Mademoiselle de Saint Germain with universal applause; and without
remitting his assiduities, he found means to shine, as they went along,
in the relation of a thousand entertaining anecdotes, which he introduced
in the general conversation. Her Royal Highness heard them with
pleasure, and the solitary Senantes likewise attended to them. He
perceived this, and quitted his mistress to inquire what she had done
with Matta.

"I" said she, "I have done nothing with him; but I don't know what he
would have done with me if I had been obliging enough to listen to his
most humble solicitations."

She then told him in what manner his friend had treated her the very
second day of their acquaintance.

The Chevalier could not forbear laughing at it: he told her Matta was
rather too unceremonious, but yet she would like him better as their
intimacy more improved, and for her consolation he assured her that he
would have spoken in the same manner to her Royal Highness herself;
however, he would not fail to give him a severe reprimand. He went the
next morning into his room for that purpose; but Matta had gone out early
in the morning on a shooting party, in which he had been engaged by his
supper companions in the preceding evening. At his return he took a
brace of partridges and went to his mistress. Being asked whether he
wished to see the Marquis, he said no; and the Swiss telling him his lady
was not at home, he left his partridges, and desired him to present them
to his mistress from him.

The Marchioness was at her toilet, and was decorating her head with all
the grace she could devise to captivate Matta, at the moment he was
denied admittance: she knew nothing of the matter; but her husband knew
every particular. He had taken it in dudgeon that the first visit was
not paid to him, and as he was resolved that it should not be paid to his
wife, the Swiss had received his orders, and had almost been beaten for
receiving the present which had been left. The partridges, however, were
immediately sent back, and Matta, without examining into the cause, was
glad to have them again. He went to court without ever changing his
clothes, or in the least considering he ought not to appear there without
his lady's colours. He found her becomingly dressed; her eyes appeared
to him more than usually sparkling, and her whole person altogether
divine. He began from that day to be much pleased with himself for his
complaisance to the Chevalier de Grammont; however, he could not help
remarking that she looked but coldly upon him. This appeared to him a
very extraordinary return for his services, and, imagining that she was
unmindful of her weighty obligations to him, he entered into conversation
with her, and severely reprimanded her for having sent back his
partridges with so much indifference.

She did not understand what he meant; and highly offended that he did not
apologize, after the reprimand which she concluded him to have received,
told him that he certainly had met with ladies of very complying
dispositions in his travels, as he seemed to give to himself airs that
she was by no means accustomed to endure. Matta desired to know wherein
he could be said to have given himself any. "Wherein?" said she: "the
second day that you honoured me with your attentions, you treated me as
if I had been your humble servant for a thousand years; the first time
that I gave you my hand you squeezed it as violently as you were able.
After this commencement of your courtship, I got into my coach, and you
mounted your horse; but instead of riding by the side of the coach, as
any reasonable gallant would have done, no sooner did a hare start from
her form, than you immediately galloped full speed after her; having
regaled yourself, during the promenade, by taking snuff, without ever
deigning to bestow a thought on me, the only proof you gave me, on your
return, that you recollected me, was by soliciting me to surrender my
reputation in terms polite enough, but very explicit. And now you talk
to me of having been shooting of partridges and of some visit or other,
which, I suppose, you have been dreaming of, as well as of all the rest."

The Chevalier de Grammont now advanced, to the interruption of this
whimsical dialogue. Matta was rebuked for his forwardness, and his
friend took abundant pains to convince him that his conduct bordered more
upon insolence than familiarity. Matta endeavoured to exculpate himself,
but succeeded ill. His mistress took compassion upon him, and consented
to admit his excuses, for the manner, rather than his repentance for the
fact, and declared that it was the intention alone which could either
justify or condemn, in such cases; that it was very easy to pardon those
transgressions which arise from excess of tenderness, but not such as
proceeded from too great a presumption of success. Matta swore that he
only squeezed her hand from the violence of his passion, and that he had
been driven, by necessity, to ask her to relieve it; that he was yet a
novice in the arts of solicitation; that he could not possibly think her
more worthy of his affection, after a month's service, than at the
present moment; and that he entreated her to cast away an occasional
thought upon him when her leisure admitted. The Marchioness was not
offended, she saw very well that she must require an implicit conformity
to the established rule of decorum, when she had to deal with such a
character; and the Chevalier de Grammont, after this sort of
reconciliation, went to look after his own affair with Mademoiselle de
St. Germain.

His concern was not the offspring of mere good nature, nay, it was the
reverse; for no sooner did he perceive that the Marchioness looked with
an eye of favour upon him, than this conquest, appearing to him to be
more easy than the other, he thought it was prudent to take advantage of
it, for fear of losing the opportunity, and that he might not have spent
all his time to no purpose, in case he should prove unsuccessful with the
little St. Germain.

In the mean time, in order to maintain that authority which he had
usurped over the conduct of his friend, he, that very evening,
notwithstanding what had been already said, reprimanded him for presuming
to appear at court in his morning suit, and without his mistress's badge;
for not having had the wit or prudence to pay his first visit to the
Marquis de Senantes, instead of consuming his time, to no purpose, in
inquiries for the lady; and, to conclude, he asked him what the devil he
meant by presenting her with a brace of miserable red partridges. "And
why not?" said Matta: "ought they to have been blue, too, to match the
cockade and sword-knots you made me wear the other day? Plague not me
with your nonsensical whimsies: my life on it, in one fortnight your
equal in foppery and folly will not be found throughout the confines of
Turin; but, to reply to your questions, I did not call upon Monsieur de
Senantes, because I had nothing to do with him, and because he is of a
species of animals which I dislike, and always shall dislike: as for you,
you appear quite charmed with being decked out in green ribands, with
writing letters to your mistress, and filling your pockets with citrons,
pistachios, and such sort of stuff, with which you are always cramming
the poor girl's mouth, in spite of her teeth: you hope to succeed by
chanting ditties composed in the days of Corisande and of Henry IV.,
which you will swear yourself have made upon her: happy in practising the
ceremonials of gallantry, you have no ambition for the essentials. Very
well: every one has a particular way of acting, as well as a particular
taste: your's is to trifle in love; and, provided you can make
Mademoiselle de St. Germain laugh, you are satisfied: as for my part, I
am persuaded, that women here are made of the same materials as in other
places; and I do not think that they can be mightily offended, if one
sometimes leaves off trifling, to come to the point: however, if the
Marchioness is not of this way of thinking, she may e'en provide herself
elsewhere; for I can assure her, that I shall not long act the part of
her squire."

This was an unnecessary menace; for the Marchioness in reality liked him
very well, was nearly of the same way of thinking herself, and wished for
nothing more than to put his gallantry to the test. But Matta proceeded
upon a wrong plan; he had conceived such an aversion for her husband,
that he could not prevail upon himself to make the smallest advance
towards his good graces. He was given to understand that he ought to
begin by endeavouring to lull the dragon to sleep, before he could gain
possession of the treasure; but this was all to no purpose, though, at
the same time, he could never see his mistress but in public. This made
him impatient, and as he was lamenting his ill-fortune to her one day:
"Have the goodness, madam," said he, "to let me know where you live:
there is never a day that I do not call upon you, at least, three or four
times, without ever being blessed with a sight of you." "I generally
sleep at home," replied she, laughing; "but I must tell you, that you
will never find me there, if you do not first pay a visit to the Marquis:
I am not mistress of the house. I do not tell you," continued she, "that
he is a man whose acquaintance any one would very impatiently covet
for his conversation: on the contrary, I agree that his humour is
fantastical, and his manners not of the pleasing cast; but there is
nothing so savage and inhuman, which a little care, attention, and
complaisance may not tame into docility. I must repeat to you some
verses upon the subject: I have got them by heart, because they contain a
little advice, which you may accommodate, if you please, to your own


        Keep in mind these maxims rare,
        You who hope to win the fair;
        Who are, or would esteemed be,
        The quintessence of gallantry.

        That fopp'ry, grinning, and grimace,
        And fertile store of common-place;
        That oaths as false as dicers swear,
        And Wry teeth, and scented hair;
        That trinkets, and the pride of dress,
        Can only give your scheme success.
                       Keep in mind.

        Has thy charmer e'er an aunt?
        Then learn the rules of woman's cant,
        And forge a tale, and swear you read it,
        Such as, save woman, none would credit
        Win o'er her confidante and pages
        By gold, for this a golden age is;
        And should it be her wayward fate,
        To be encumbered with a mate,
        A dull, old dotard should he be,
        That dulness claims thy courtesy.
                       Keep in mind.

"Truly," said Matta, "the song may say what it pleases, but I cannot put
it in practice: your husband is far too exquisite a monster for me. Why,
what a plaguey odd ceremony do you require of us in this country, if we
cannot pay our compliments to the wife without being in love with the

The Marchioness was much offended at this answer; and as she thought she
had done enough in pointing out to him the path which would conduct him
to success, if he had deserved it, she did not think it worth while to
enter into any farther explanation; since he refused to cede, for her
salve, so trilling an objection: from this instant she resolved to have
done with him.

The Chevalier de Grammont had taken leave of his mistress nearly at the
same time: the ardour of his pursuit was extinguished. It was not that
Mademoiselle de Saint Germain was less worthy than hitherto of his
attentions: on the contrary her attractions visibly increased: she
retired to her pillow with a thousand charms, and ever rose from it with
additional beauty the phrase of increasing in beauty as she increased in
years seemed to have been purposely made for her. The Chevalier could
not deny these truths, but yet he could not find his account in them: a
little less merit, with a little less discretion, would have been more
agreeable. He perceived that she attended to him with pleasure, that
she was diverted with his stories as much as he could wish, and that
she received his billets and presents without scruple; but then he
also discovered that she did not wish to proceed any farther. He had
exhausted every species of address upon her, and all to no purpose: her
attendant was gained: her family, charmed with the music of his
conversation and his great attention, were never happy without him: in
short, he had reduced to practice the advice contained in the
Marchioness's song, and everything conspired to deliver the little Saint
Germain into his hands, if the little Saint Germain had herself been
willing: but alas! she was not inclined. It was in vain he told her the
favour he desired would cost her nothing; and that since these treasures
were rarely comprised in the fortune a lady brings with her in marriage,
she would never find any person, who, by unremitting tenderness,
unwearied attachment, and inviolable secrecy, would prove more worthy of
them than himself. He then told her no husband was ever able to convey
a proper idea of the sweets of love, and that nothing could be more
different than the passionate fondness of a lover, always tender, always
affectionate, yet always respectful, and the careless indifference of a

Mademoiselle de Saint Germain, not wishing to take the matter in a
serious light, that she might not be forced to resent it, answered, that
since it was generally the custom in her country to marry, she thought it
was right to conform to it, without entering into the knowledge of those
distinctions, and those marvellous particulars, which she did not very
well understand, and of which she did not wish to have any further
explanation; that she had submitted to listen to him this one time, but
desired he would never speak to her again in the same strain, since such
sort of conversation was neither entertaining to her, nor could be
serviceable to him. Though no one was ever more facetious than
Mademoiselle de Saint Germain, she yet knew how to assume a very serious
air, when ever occasion required it. The Chevalier de Grammont soon saw
that she was in earnest; and finding it would cost him a great deal of
time to effect a change in her sentiments, he was so far cooled in this
pursuit, that he only made use of it to hide the designs he had upon the
Marchioness de Senantes.

He found this lady much disgusted at Matta's want of complaisance; and
his seeming contempt for her erased every favourable impression which
she had once entertained for him. While she was in this humour, the
Chevalier told her that her resentment was just; he exaggerated the loss
which his friend had sustained; he told her that her charms were a
thousand times superior to those of the little Saint Germain, and
requested that favour for himself which his friend did not deserve. He
was soon favourably heard upon this topic; and as soon as they were
agreed, they consulted upon two measures necessary to be taken, the one
to deceive her husband, the other his friend, which was not very
difficult: Matta was not at all suspicious: and the stupid Senantes,
towards whom the Chevalier had already behaved as Matta had refused to
do, could not be easy without him. This was much more than was wanted;
for as soon as ever the Chevalier was with the Marchioness, her husband
immediately joined them out of politeness; and on no account would have
left them alone together, for fear they should grow weary of each other
without him.

Matta, who all this time was entirely ignorant that he was disgraced,
continued to serve his mistress in his own way. She had agreed with the
Chevalier de Grammont, that to all appearance everything should be
carried on as before; so that the court always believed that the
Marchioness only thought of Matta, and that the Chevalier was entirely
devoted to Mademoiselle de Saint Germain.

There were very frequently little lotteries for trinkets: the Chevalier
de Grammont always tried his fortune, and was sometimes fortunate; and
under pretence of the prizes he had won, he bought a thousand things
which he indiscreetly gave to the Marchioness, and which she still more
indiscreetly accepted: the little Saint Germain very seldom received any
thing. There are meddling whisperers everywhere: remarks were made upon
these proceedings; and the same person that made them communicated them
likewise to Mademoiselle de Saint Germain. She pretended to laugh, but
in reality was piqued. It is a maxim religiously observed by the fair
sex, to envy each other those indulgences which themselves refuse. She
took this very ill of the Marchioness. On the other hand, Matta was
asked if he was not old enough to make his own presents himself to the
Marchioness de Senantes, without sending them by the Chevalier de
Grammont. This roused him; for of himself, he would never have perceived
it: his suspicions, however, were but slight, and he was willing to have
them removed. "I must confess," said he to the Chevalier de Grammont,
"that they make love here quite in a new style; a man serves here without
reward: he addresses himself to the husband when he is in love with the
wife, and makes presents to another man's mistress, to get into the good
graces of his own. The Marchioness is much obliged to you for-----"

"It is you who are obliged," replied the Chevalier, "since thus was done
on your account: I was ashamed to find you had never yet thought of
presenting her with any trifling token of your attention: do you know
that the people of this court have such extraordinary notions, as to
think that it is rather owing to inadvertency that you never yet have had
the spirit to make your mistress the smallest present? For shame! how
ridiculous it is, that you can never think for yourself?"

Matta took this rebuke, without making any answer, being persuaded that
he had in some measure deserved it: besides, he was neither sufficiently
jealous, nor sufficiently amorous, to think any more of it; however, as
it was necessary for the Chevalier's affairs that Matta should be
acquainted with the Marquis de Senantes, he plagued him so much about it,
that at last he complied. His friend introduced him, and his mistress
seemed pleased with this proof of complaisance, though she was resolved
that he should gain nothing by it; and the husband, being gratified with
a piece of civility which he had long expected, determined, that very
evening, to give them a supper at a little country seat of his, on the
banks of the river, very near the city.

The Chevalier de Grammont answering for them both, accepted the offer;
and as this was the only one Matta would not have refused from the
Marquis, he likewise consented. The Marquis came to convey them in his
carriage at the hour appointed; but he found only Matta. The Chevalier
had engaged himself to play, on purpose that they might go without him:
Matta was for waiting for him, so great was his fear of being left alone
with the Marquis; but the Chevalier having sent to desire them to go on
before, and that he would be with them as soon as he had finished his
game, poor Matta was obliged to set out with the man who, of all the
world, was most offensive to him. It was not the Chevalier's intention
quickly to extricate Matta out of this embarrassment: he no sooner knew
that they were gone, than he waited on the Marchioness, under pretence of
still finding her husband, that they might all go together to supper.

The plot was in a fair way; and as the Marchioness was of opinion that
Matta's indifference merited no better treatment from her, she made no
scruple of acting her part in it: she therefore waited for the Chevalier
de Grammont with intentions so much the more favourable, as she had for
a long time expected him, and had some curiosity to receive a visit from
him in the absence of her husband. We may therefore suppose that this
first opportunity would not have been lost, if Mademoiselle de Saint
Germain had not unexpectedly come in, almost at the same time with the

She was more handsome and more entertaining that day than she had ever
been before; however, she appeared to them very ugly and very tiresome:
she soon perceived that her company was disagreeable, and being
determined that they should not be out of humour with her for nothing,
after having passed above a long half hour in diverting herself with
their uneasiness, and in playing a thousand monkey tricks, which she
plainly saw could never be more unseasonable, she pulled off her hood,
scarf, and all that part of her dress which ladies lay aside, when in a
familiar manner they intend to pass the day anywhere. The Chevalier de
Grammont cursed her in his heart, while she continued to torment him for
being in such ill-humour in such good company: at last the Marchioness,
who was as much vexed as he was, said rather drily that she was obliged
to wait on her Royal Highness: Mademoiselle de Saint Germain told her
that she would have the honour to accompany her, if it would not be
disagreeable: she took not the smallest notice of her offer; and the
Chevalier, finding that it would be entirely useless to prolong his visit
at that time, retired with a good grace.

As soon as he had left the house, he sent one of his scouts to desire the
Marquis to sit down to table with his company without waiting for him,
because the game might not perhaps be finished as soon as he expected,
but that he would be with him before supper was over. Having despatched
this messenger, he placed a sentinel at the Marchioness's door, in hopes
that the tedious Saint Germain might go out before her; but this was in
vain, for his spy came and told him, after an hour's impatience and
suspense, that they were gone out together. He found there was no chance
of seeing her again that day, everything falling out contrary to his
wishes; he was forced therefore to leave the Marchioness, and go in quest
of the Marquis.

While these things were going on in the city, Matta was not much diverted
in the country: as he was prejudiced against the Marquis, all that he
said displeased him: he cursed the Chevalier heartily for the tete-a-tete
which he had procured him; and he was upon the point of going away, when
he found that he was to sit down to supper without any other company.

However, as his host was very choice in his entertainments, and had the
best wine and the best cook in all Piedmont, the sight of the first
course appeased him; and eating most voraciously, without paying any
attention to the Marquis, he flattered himself that the supper would
end without any dispute; but he was mistaken.

When the Chevalier de Grammont was at first endeavouring to bring
about an intercourse between the Marquis and Matta, he had given a very
advantageous character of the latter, to make the former more desirous of
his acquaintance; and in the display of a thousand other accomplishments,
knowing what an infatuation the Marquis had for the very name of
erudition, he assured him that Matta was one of the most learned men in

The Marquis, therefore, from the moment they sat down to supper, had
expected some stroke of learning from Matta, to bring his own into play;
but he was much out in his reckoning; no one had read less, no one
thought less, and no one had ever spoken so little at an entertainment as
he had done as he did not wish to enter into conversation, he opened his
mouth only to eat, or ask for wine.

The other, being offended at a silence which appeared to him affected,
and wearied with having uselessly attacked him upon other subjects,
thought he might get something out of him by changing the discourse of
love and gallantry; and therefore, to begin the subject, he accosted him
in this manner:

"Since you are my wife's gallant--" "I!" said Matta who wished to carry
it discreetly: "those who told you so, told a damned lie." "Zounds,
sir," said the Marquis, "you speak in a tone which does not at all become
you; for I would have you to know, notwithstanding your contemptuous
airs, that the Marchioness de Senantes is perhaps as worthy of your
attentions as any of your French ladies, and that I have known some
greatly your superiors, who have thought it an honour to serve her."
"Very well," said Matta, "I think she is very deserving, and since you
insist upon it, I am her servant and gallant, to oblige you."

"You think, perhaps," continued the other, "that the same custom prevails
in this country as in your own, and that the ladies have lovers, with no
other intentions than to grant them favours: undeceive yourself if you
please, and know, likewise, that even if such events were frequent in
this court, I should not be at all uneasy." "Nothing can be more civil,"
said Matta; "but wherefore would you not?" "I will tell you why,"
replied he: "I am well acquainted with the affection my wife entertains
for me: I am acquainted with her discretion towards all the world; and,
what is more, I am acquainted with my own merit."

"You have a most uncommon acquaintance then," replied Matta;
"I congratulate you upon it; I have the honour to drink it in a bumper."
The Marquis pledged him; but seeing that the conversation dropped on
their ceasing to drink, after two or three healths, he wished to make a
second attempt, and attack Matta on his strong side, that is to say, on
his learning.

He desired him, therefore, to tell him, at what time he thought the
Allobroges came to settle in Piedmont. Matta, who wished him and his
Allobroges at the devil, said, that it must be in the time of the civil
wars. "I doubt that," said the other. "Just as you like," said Matta.
"Under what consulate?" replied the Marquis: "Under that of the League,"
said Matta, "when the Guises brought the Lansquenets into France; but
what the devil does that signify?"

The Marquis was tolerably warm, and naturally savage, so that God knows
how the conversation would have ended, if the Chevalier de Grammont had
not unexpectedly come in to appease them. It was some time before he
could find out what their debate was; for the one had forgotten the
questions, and the other the answers, which had disobliged him, in order
to reproach the Chevalier with his eternal passion for play, which made
him always uncertain. The Chevalier, who knew that he was still more
culpable than they thought, bore it all with patience, and condemned
himself more than they desired: this appeased them; and the entertainment
ended with greater tranquillity than it had begun. The conversation was
again reduced to order; but he could not enliven it as he usually did.
He was in very ill humour, and as he pressed them every minute to rise
from table, the Marquis was of opinion that he had lost a great deal.
Matta said, on the contrary, that he had won; but for want of precautions
had made perhaps an unfortunate retreat; and asked him if he had not
stood in need of Serjeant La Place, with his ambuscade.

This piece of history was beyond the comprehension of the Marquis, and
being afraid that Matta might explain it, the Chevalier changed the
discourse, and was for rising from table; but Matta would not consent
to it. This effected a reconciliation between him and the Marquis, who
thought this was a piece of civility intended for him; however, it was
not for him, but for his wine, to which Matta had taken a prodigious

The Duchess, who knew the character of the Marquis, was charmed with the
account which the Chevalier de Grammont gave her of the entertainment and
conversation: she sent for Matta to know the truth of it from himself: he
confessed, that before the Allobroges were mentioned the Marquis was
for quarrelling with him, because he was not in love with his wife.

Their acquaintance having begun in this manner, all the esteem which the
Marquis had formerly expressed for the Chevalier seemed now directed
towards Matta: he went every day to pay Matta a visit, and Matta was
every day with his wife. This did not at all suit the Chevalier: he
repented of his having chid Matta, whose assiduity now interrupted all
his schemes; and the Marchioness was still more embarrassed. Whatever
wit a man may have, it will never please where his company is disliked;
and she repented that she had been formerly guilty of some trifling
advances towards him.

Matta began to find charms in her person, and might have found the same
in her conversation, if she had been inclined to display them; but it
is impossible to be in good humour with persons who thwart our designs.
While his passion increased, the Chevalier de Grammont was solely
occupied in endeavouring to find out some method, by which he might
accomplish his intrigue; and this was the stratagem which he put in
execution to clear the coast, by removing, at one and the same time,
both the lover and the husband.

He told Matta, that they ought to invite the Marquis to supper at their
lodgings, and he would take upon himself to provide everything proper for
the occasion. Matta desired to know if it was to play at quinze, and
assured him that he should take care to render abortive any intention he
might have to engage in play, and leave him alone with the greatest
blockhead in all Europe. The Chevalier de Grammont did not entertain any
such thought, being persuaded that it would be impossible to take
advantage of any such opportunity, in whatever manner he might take his
measures, and that they would seek for him in every corner of the city
rather than allow him the least repose: his whole attention was therefore
employed in rendering the entertainment agreeable, in finding out means
of prolonging it, in order ultimately to kindle some dispute between the
Marquis and Matta. For this purpose he put himself in the best humour in
the world, and the wine produced the same effect on the rest of the

The Chevalier de Grammont expressed his concern, that he had not been
able to give the Marquis a little concert, as he had intended in the
morning; for the musicians had been all pre-engaged. Upon this the
Marquis undertook to have them at his country-house the following
evening, and invited the same company to sup with him there. Matta asked
what the devil they wanted with music, and maintained that it was of no
use on such occasions but for women who had something to say to their
lovers, while the fiddles prevented them from being overheard, or for
fools who had nothing to say when the music ended. They ridiculed all
his arguments: the party was fixed for the next day, and the music was
voted by the majority of voices. The Marquis, to console Matta, as well
as to do honour to the entertainment, toasted a great many healths: Matta
was more ready to listen to his arguments on this topic than in a
dispute; but the Chevalier, perceiving that a little would irritate them,
desired nothing more earnestly than to see them engaged in some new
controversy. It was in vain that he had from time to time started some
subject of discourse with this intention; but having luckily thought of
asking what was his lady's maiden name, Senantes, who was a great
genealogist, as all fools are who have good memories, immediately began
by tracing out her family, by an endless confused string of lineage. The
Chevalier seemed to listen to him with great attention; and perceiving
that Matta was almost out of patience, he desired him to attend to what
the Marquis was saying, for that nothing could be more entertaining.
"All this may be very true," said Matta; "but for my part, I must
confess, if I were married, I should rather choose to inform myself who
was the real father of my children, than who were my wife's grand
fathers." The Marquis, smiling at this rudeness, did not leave off until
he had traced back the ancestors of his spouse, from line to line, as far
as Yolande de Senantes: after this he offered to prove, in less than half
an hour, that the Grammonts came originally from Spain. "Very well,"
said Matta, "and pray what does it signify to us from whence the Grammonts
are descended? Do not you know, sir, that it is better to know nothing
at all, than to know too much?"

The Marquis maintained the contrary with great warmth, and was preparing
a formal argument to prove that an ignorant man is a fool; but the
Chevalier de Grammont, who was thoroughly acquainted with Matta saw very
clearly that he would send the logician to the devil before he should
arrive at the conclusion of his syllogism: for which reason, interposing
as soon as they began to raise their voices, he told them it was
ridiculous to quarrel about an affair in itself so trivial, and treated
the matter in a serious light, that it might make the greater impression.
Thus supper terminated peaceably, owing to the care he took to suppress
all disputes, and to substitute plenty of wine in their stead.

The next day Matta went to the chase, the Chevalier de Grammont to the
bagnio, and the Marquis to his country house. While the latter was
making the necessary preparations for his guests, not forgetting the
music, and Matta pursuing his game to get an appetite, the Chevalier was
meditating on the execution of his project.

As soon as he had regulated his plan of operations in his own mind, he
privately sent anonymous intelligence to the officer of the guard at the
palace that the Marquis de Senantes had had some words with Monsieur de
Matta the preceding night at supper; that the one had gone out in the
morning; and the other could not be found in the city.

Madame Royale, alarmed at this advice, immediately sent for the Chevalier
de Grammont: he appeared surprised when her highness mentioned the
affair: he confessed, indeed, that some high words had passed between
them, but that he did not believe either of them would have remembered
them the next day. He said that if no mischief had yet taken place, the
best way would be to secure them both until the morning, and that if they
could be found, he would undertake to reconcile them, and to obliterate
all grievances: in this there was no great difficulty. On inquiry at the
Marquis's they were informed that he was gone to his country-house: there
certainly he was, and there they found him; the officer put him under an
arrest, without assigning any reason for so doing, and left him in very
great surprise.

Immediately upon Matta's return from hunting, her Royal Highness sent the
same officer to desire him to give her his word that he would not stir
out that evening. This compliment very much surprised him, more
particularly as no reason was assigned for it. He was expected at a good
entertainment he was dying with hunger, and nothing appeared to him more
unreasonable than to oblige him to stay at home, in a situation like the
present; but he had given his word, and not knowing to what this might
tend, his only resource was to send for his friend; but his friend did
not come to him until his return from the country. He had there found
the Marquis in the midst of his fiddlers, and very much vexed to find
himself a prisoner in his own house on account of Matta, whom he was
waiting for in order to feast him: he complained of him bitterly to the
Chevalier de Grammont: he said that he did not believe that he had
offended him; but that, since he was very desirous of a quarrel, he
desired the Chevalier to acquaint him, if he felt the least displeasure
on the present occasion, he should, on the very first opportunity,
receive what is called satisfaction. The Chevalier de Grammont assured
him that no such thought had ever entered the mind of Matta; that on the
contrary, he knew that he very greatly esteemed him; that all this could
alone arise from the extreme tenderness of his lady, who, being alarmed
upon the report of the servants who waited at table, must have gone to
her Royal Highness, in order to prevent any unpleasant consequences; that
he thought this the more probable, as he had often told the Marchioness,
when speaking of Matta, that he was the best swordsman in France; for, in
truth, the poor gentleman had never fought without having the misfortune
of killing his man.

The Marquis, being a little pacified, said he was very much obliged to
him, that he would severely chide his wife for her unseasonable
tenderness, and that he was extremely desirous of again enjoying the
pleasure of his dear friend Matta's company.

The Chevalier de Grammont assured him that he would use all his
endeavours for that purpose, and at the same time gave strict charge to
his guard not to let him escape without orders from the Court, as he
seemed fully bent upon fighting, and they would be responsible for him:
there was no occasion to say more to have him strictly watched, though
there was no necessity for it.

One being thus safely lodged, his next step was to secure the other: he
returned immediately to town: and as soon as Matta saw him, "What the
devil," said he, "is the meaning of this farce which I am obliged to act?
for my part, I cannot understand the foolish customs of this country; how
comes it that they make me a prisoner upon my parole?" "How comes it?"
said the Chevalier de Grammont, "it is because you yourself are far more
unaccountable than all their customs; you cannot help disputing with a
peevish fellow, whom you ought only to laugh at; some officious footman
has no doubt been talking of your last night's dispute; you were seen to
go out of town in the morning, and the Marquis soon after; was not this
sufficient to make her Royal Highness think herself obliged to take these
precautions? The Marquis is in custody; they have only required your
parole; so far, therefore, from taking the affair in the sense you do, I
should send very humbly to thank her Highness for the kindness she has
manifested towards you in putting you under arrest, since it is only on
your account that she interests herself in the affair. I shall take a
walk to the palace, where I will endeavour to unravel this mystery; in
the mean time, as there is but little probability that the matter should
be settled this evening, you would do well to order supper; for I shall
come back to you immediately."

Matta charged him not to fail to express to her Royal Highness the
grateful sense he had of her favour, though in truth he as little feared
the Marquis as he loved him; and it is impossible to express the degree
of his fortitude in stronger terms.

The Chevalier de Grammont returned in about half an hour, with two or
three gentlemen whom Matta had got acquainted with at the chase, and who,
upon the report of the quarrel, waited upon him, and each offered him
separately his services against the unassisted and pacific Marquis.
Matta having returned them his thanks, insisted upon their staying
supper, and put on his robe de chambre.

As soon as the Chevalier de Grammont perceived that every thing coincided
with his wishes, and that towards the end of the entertainment the toasts
went merrily round, he knew he was sure of his man till next day: then
taking him aside with the permission of the company, and making use of a
false confidence in order to disguise a real treachery, he acquainted
him, after having sworn him several times to secrecy, that he had at last
prevailed upon the little Saint Germain to grant him an interview that
night; for which reason he would take his leave, under pretence of going
to play at Court; he therefore desired him fully to satisfy the company
that he would not have left them on any other account, as the Piedmontese
are naturally mistrustful. Matta promised he would manage this point
with discretion; that he would make an apology for him, and that there
was no occasion for his personally taking leave: then, after
congratulating him upon the happy posture of his affairs, he sent him
away with all the expedition and secrecy imaginable; so great was his
fear lest his friend should lose the present opportunity.

Matta then returned to the company, much pleased with the confidence
which had been placed in him, and with the share he had in the success of
this adventure. He put himself into the best humour imaginable in order
to divert the attention of his guests; he severely satirised those,
whose rage for gaming induced them to sacrifice to it every other
consideration; he loudly ridiculed the folly of the Chevalier upon this
article, and secretly laughed at the credulity of the Piedmontese, whom
he had deceived with so much ingenuity.

It was late at night before the company broke up, and Matta went to bed,
very well satisfied with what he had done for his friend; and, if we may
credit appearances, this friend enjoyed the fruit of his perfidy. The
amorous Marchioness received him like one who wished to enhance the value
of the favour she bestowed; her charms were far from being neglected; and
if there are any circumstances in which we may detest the traitor while
we profit by the treason, this was not one of them; and however
successful the Chevalier de Grammont was in his intrigues, it was not
owing to him that the contrary was not believed; but, be that as it may,
being convinced that in love whatever is gained by address is gained
fairly, it does not appear that he ever showed the smallest degree of
repentance for this trick. But it is now time for its to take him from
the court of Savoy, to see him shine in that of France.

              CHAPTER FIFTH.


The Chevalier de Grammont, upon his return to France, sustained, with the
greatest success, the reputation he had acquired abroad: alert in play,
active and vigilant in love; sometimes successful, and always feared, in
his intrigues; in war alike prepared for the events of good or ill
fortune; possessing an inexhaustible fund of pleasantry in the former,
and full of expedients and dexterity in the latter.

Zealously attached to the Prince de Conde from inclination, he was a
witness, and, if we may be allowed to say it, his companion, in the glory
he had acquired at the celebrated battles of Lens, Norlinguen, and
Fribourg; and the details he so frequently gave of them were far from
diminishing their lustre.

   [Louis of Bourbon, Duke d'Enghien, afterwards, by the death of his
   father in 1656, Prince de Conde. Of this great man Cardinal de Retz
   says, "He was born a general, which never happened but to Caesar, to
   Spinola, and to himself. He has equalled the first: he has
   surpassed the second. Intrepidity is one of the least shining
   strokes in his character. Nature had formed him with a mind as
   great as his courage. Fortune, in setting him out in a time of
   wars, has given this last a full extent to work in: his birth, or
   rather his education, in a family devoted and enslaved to the court,
   has kept the first within too straight bounds. He was not taught
   time enough the great and general maxims which alone are able to
   form men to think always consistently. He never had time to learn
   them of himself, because he was prevented from his youth, by the
   great affairs that fell unexpectedly to his share, and by the
   continual success he met with. This defect in him was the cause,
   that with the soul in the world the least inclined to evil, he has
   committed injuries; that with the heart of an Alexander, he has,
   like him, had his failings; that with a wonderful understanding, he
   has acted imprudently; that having all the qualities which the Duke
   Francis of Guise had, he has not served the state in some occasions
   so well as he ought; and that having likewise having all the
   qualities of the Duke Henry of Guise, he has not carried faction so
   far as he might. He could not come up to the height of his merit;
   which, though it be a defect, must yet be owned to be very uncommon,
   and only to be found in persons of the greatest abilities."]

So long as he had only some scruples of conscience, and a thousand
interests to sacrifice, he quitted all to follow a man, whom strong
motives and resentments, which in some manner appeared excusable, had
withdrawn from the paths of rectitude: he adhered to him in his first
disgrace, with a constancy of which there are few examples; but he could
not submit to the injuries which he afterwards received, and which such
an inviolable attachment so little merited. Therefore, without fearing
any reproach for a conduct which sufficiently justified itself, as he had
formerly deviated from his duty by entering into the service of the
Prince de Conde, he thought he had a right to leave him to return again
to his duty.

His peace was soon made at Court, where many, far more culpable than
himself, were immediately received into favour, when they desired it; for
the queen, still terrified at the dangers into which the civil wars had
plunged the State at the commencement of her regency, endeavoured by
lenient measures to conciliate the minds of the people.

   [Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III. of Spain, widow of Louis
   XIII., to whom she was married in 1615, and mother of Louis XIV.
   She died in 1666. Cardinal de Retz speaks of her in the following
   terms. "The queen had more than anybody whom I ever knew, of that
   sort of wit which was necessary for her not to appear a fool to
   those that did not know her. She had in her more of harshness than
   haughtiness; more of haughtiness than of greatness; more of outward
   appearance than reality; more regard to money than liberality; more
   of liberality than of self-interest; more of self-interest than
   disinterestedness: she was more tied to persons by habit than by
   affection; she had more of insensibility than of cruelty; she had a
   better memory for injuries than for benefits; her intention towards
   piety was greater than her piety; she had in her more of obstinacy
   than of firmness; and more incapacity than of all the rest which I
   mentioned before." Memoirs, vol. i., p. 247.]

The policy of the minister was neither sanguinary nor revengeful: his
favourite maxim was rather to appease the minds of the discontented by
lenity, than to have recourse to violent measures; to be content with
losing nothing by the war, without being at the expense of gaining any
advantage from the enemy; to suffer his character to be very severely
handled, provided he could amass much wealth, and to spin out the
minority to the greatest possible extent.

   [Cardinal Mazarin, who, during a few of the latter years of his
   life, governed France. He died at Vincennes the 9th of March 1661,
   aged 59 years, leaving as heir to his name and property the Alarquis
   de la Meilleray, who married his niece, and took the title of Duke
   of Mazarin. On his death, Louis XIV. and the court appeared in
   mourning, an honour not common, though Henry IV. had shewn it to the
   memory of Gabrielle d'Estrees. Voltaire, who appears unwilling to
   ascribe much ability to the cardinal, takes an opportunity, on
   occasion of his death, to make the following observation.
   --"We cannot refrain from combating the opinion, which supposes
   prodigious abilities, and a genius almost divine, in those who have
   governed empires with some degree of success. It is not a superior
   penetration that makes statesmen; it is their character. All men,
   how inconsiderable soever their share of sense may be, see their own
   interest nearly alike. A citizen of Bern or Amsterdam, in this
   respect, is equal to Sejanus, Ximenes, Buckingham, Richelieu, or
   Mazarin; but our conduct and our enterprises depend absolutely on
   our natural dispositions, and our success depends upon fortune."
   Age of Louis XIV., chap. 5.]

His avidity to heap up riches was not alone confined to the thousand
different means, with which he was furnished by his authority, and the
situation in which he was placed: his whole pursuit was gain: he was
naturally fond of gaming; but he only played to enrich himself, and
therefore, whenever he found an opportunity, he cheated.

As he found the Chevalier de Grammont possessed a great deal of wit, and
a great deal of money, he was a man according to his wishes, and soon
became one of his set. The Chevalier soon perceived the artfulness and
dishonesty of the Cardinal, and thought it was allowable in him to put in
practice those talents which he had received from nature, not only in his
own defence, but even to attack him whenever an opportunity offered.
This would certainly be the place to mention these particulars; but who
can describe them with such ease and elegance as maybe expected by those
who have heard his own relation of them? Vain is the attempt to
endeavour to transcribe these entertaining anecdotes: their spirit seems
to evaporate upon paper; and in whatever light they are exposed the
delicacy of their colouring and their beauty is lost.

It is, then, enough to say, that upon all occasions where address was
reciprocally employed, the Chevalier gained the advantage; and that if
he paid his court badly to the minister, he had the consolation to find,
that those who suffered themselves to be cheated, in the end gained no
great advantage from their complaisance; for they always continued in
an abject submission, while the Chevalier de Grammont, on a thousand
different occasions, never put himself under the least restraint. Of
which the following is one instance:

The Spanish army, commanded by the Prince de Conde and the archduke,
--[Leopold, brother of the Emperor Ferdinand the III.]--besieged Arras.
The Court was advanced as far as Peronne.--[A little bat strong town,
standing among marshes on the river Somme, in Picardy.]--The enemy, by
the capture of this place, would have procured a reputation for their
army of which they were in great need; as the French, for a considerable
time past, had evinced a superiority in every engagement.

The Prince supported a tottering party, as far as their usual inactivity
and irresolution permitted him; but as in the events of war it is
necessary to act independently on some occasions, which, if once suffered
to escape, can never be retrieved; for want of this power it frequently
happened that his great abilities were of no avail. The Spanish infantry
had never recovered itself since the battle of Rocroy;--[This famous
battle was fought and won 19th May, 1643, five days after the death of
Louis XIII.]--and he who had ruined them by that victory, by fighting
against them, was the only man who now, by commanding their army, was
capable of repairing the mischief he had done them. But the jealousy
of the generals, and the distrust attendant upon their counsels, tied up
his hands.

Nevertheless, the siege of Arras was vigorously carried on.

   [Voltaire observes, that it was the fortune of Turenne and Conde
   to be always victorious when they fought at the head of the French,
   and to be vanquished when they commanded the Spaniards. This was
   Conde's fate before Arras, August 25, 1654, when he and the archduke
   besieged that city. Turenne attacked them in their camp, and forced
   their lines: the troops of the archduke were cut to pieces; and
   Conde, with two regiments of French and Lorrainers, alone sustained
   the efforts of Turenne's army; and, while the archduke was flying,
   he defeated the Marshal de Hoquincourt, repulsed the Marshal de la
   Ferte, and retreated victoriously himself, by covering the retreat
   of the vanquished Spaniards. The king of Spain, in his letter to
   him after this engagement, had these words: "I have been informed
   that everything was lost, and that you have recovered everything."]

The Cardinal was very sensible how dishonourable it would be to suffer
this place to be taken under his nose, and almost in sight of the king.
On the other hand, it was very hazardous to attempt its relief, the
Prince de Conde being a man who never neglected the smallest precaution
for the security of his lines; and if lines are attacked and not forced,
the greatest danger threatens the assailants. For, the more furious the
assault, the greater is the disorder in the retreat; and no man in the
world knew so well as the Prince de Conde how to make the best use of an
advantage. The army, commanded by Monsieur de Turenne, was considerably
weaker than that of the enemy; it was, likewise, the only resource they
had to depend upon. If this army was defeated, the loss of Arras was not
the only misfortune to be dreaded.

The Cardinal, whose genius was happily adapted to such junctures, where
deceitful negotiations could extricate him out of difficulties, was
filled with terror at the sight of imminent danger, or of a decisive
event: he was of opinion to lay siege to some other place, the capture of
which might prove an indemnification for the loss of Arras; but Monsieur
de Turenne, who was altogether of a different opinion from the Cardinal,
resolved to march towards the enemy, and did not acquaint him with his
intentions until he was upon his march. The courier arrived in the midst
of his distress, and redoubled his apprehensions and alarms; but there
was then no remedy.

The Marshal, whose great reputation had gained him the confidence of the
troops, had determined upon his measures before an express order from the
Court could prevent him. This was one of those occasions in which the
difficulties you encounter heighten the glory of success. Though the
general's capacity, in some measure, afforded comfort to the Court, they
nevertheless were upon the eve of an event, which in one way or other
must terminate both their hopes and their fears while the rest of the
courtiers were giving various opinions concerning the issue, the
Chevalier de Grammont determined to be an eye-witness of it; a resolution
which greatly surprised the court; for those who had seen as many actions
as he had, seemed to be exempted from such eagerness; but it was in vain
that his friends opposed his resolutions.

The king was pleased with his intention; and the queen appeared no less
satisfied. He assured her that he would bring her good news; and she
promised to embrace him, if he was as good as his word. The Cardinal
made the same promise: to the latter, however, he did not pay much
attention; yet he believed it sincere, because the keeping of it would
cost him nothing.

He set out in the dusk of the evening with Caseau, whom Monsieur de
Turenne had sent express to their majesties. The Duke of York, and the
Marquis d'Humieres, commanded under the Marshal: the latter was upon duty
when the Chevalier arrived, it being scarce daylight. The Duke of York
did not at first recollect him; but the Marquis d'Humieres, running to
him with open arms, "I thought," said he, "if any man came from court to
pay us a visit upon such an occasion as this, it would be the Chevalier
de Grammont. Well," continued he, "what are they doing at Peronne?"

   [Louis de Crevans, Marechal of France. He died 1694. Voltaire says
   of him, that he was the first who, at the siege of Arras, in 1658,
   was served in silver in the trenches, and had ragouts and entremets
   served up to his table.]

"They are in great consternation," replied the Chevalier. "And what do
they think of us?" "They think," said he, "that if you beat the Prince,
you will do no more than your duty; if you are beaten, they will think
you fools and madmen, thus to have risked everything, without considering
the consequences." "Truly," said the Marquis, "you bring us very
comfortable news. Will you now go to Monsieur de Turenne's quarters,
to acquaint him with it; or will you choose rather to repose yourself in
mine? for you have been riding post all last night, and perhaps did not
experience much rest in the preceding." "Where have you heard that the
Chevalier de Grammont had ever any occasion for sleep?" replied he:
"Only order me a horse, that I may have the honour to attend the Duke of
York; for, most likely, he is not in the field so early, except to visit
some posts."

The advanced guard was only at cannon shot from that of the enemy. As
soon as they arrived there, "I should like," said the Chevalier de
Grammont, "to advance as far as the sentry which is posted on that
eminence: I have some friends and acquaintance in their army, whom I
should wish to inquire after: I hope the Duke of York will give me
permission." At these words he advanced. The sentry, seeing him come
forward directly to his post, stood upon his guard the Chevalier stopped
as soon as he was within shot of him. The sentry answered the sign which
was made to him, and made another to the officer, who had begun to
advance as soon as he had seen the Chevalier come forward, and was soon
up with him; but seeing the Chevalier de Grammont alone, he made no
difficulty to let him approach. He desired leave of this officer to
inquire after some relations he had in their army, and at the same time
asked if the Duke d'Arscot was at the siege. "Sir," said he, "there he
is, just alighted under those trees, which you see on the left of our
grand guard: it is hardly a minute since he was here with the Prince
d'Aremberg, his brother, the Baron de Limbec, and Louvigny." "May I see
them upon parole?" said the Chevalier. "Sir," said he, "if I were
allowed to quit my post, I would do myself the honour of accompanying you
thither; but I will send to acquaint them, that the Chevalier de Grammont
desires to speak to them:" and, after having despatched one of his guard
towards them, he returned. "Sir," said the Chevalier de Grammont, "may I
take the liberty to inquire how I came to be known to you?" "Is it
possible," said the other, "that the Chevalier de Grammont should forget
La Motte, who had the honour to serve so long in his regiment?" "What!
is it you, my good friend, La Motte? Truly, I was to blame for not
remembering you, though you are in a dress very different from that which
I first saw you in at Bruxelles, when you taught the Duchess of Guise to
dance the triolets: and I am afraid your affairs are not in so
flourishing a condition as they were the campaign after I had given you
the company you mention." They were talking in this manner, when the
Duke d'Arscot, followed by the gentlemen above mentioned, came up on
full gallop. The Chevalier de Grammont was saluted by the whole company
before he could say a word. Soon after arrived an immense number of
others of his acquaintance, with many people, out of curiosity, on both
sides, who, seeing him upon the eminence, assembled together with the
greatest eagerness; so that the two armies, without design, without
truce, and without fraud, were going to join in conversation, if, by
chance, Monsieur de Turenne had not perceived it at a distance. The
sight surprised him: he hastened that way; and the Marquis d'Humieres
acquainted him with the arrival of the Chevalier de Grammont, who wished
to speak to the sentry before he went to the headquarters: he added, that
he could not comprehend how the devil he had managed to assemble both
armies around him, for it was hardly a minute since he had left him.
"Truly," said Monsieur de Turenne, "he is a very extraordinary man; but
it is only reasonable that he should let us now have a little of his
company, since he has paid his first visit to the enemy." At these words
he despatched an aide-de-camp, to recal the officers of his army, and to
acquaint the Chevalier de Grammont with his impatience to see him.

This order arrived at the same time, with one of the same nature, to the
enemy's officers. The Prince de Conde, being informed of this peaceable
interview, was not the least surprised at it, when he heard that it was
occasioned by the arrival of the Chevalier de Grammont. He only gave
Lussan orders to recal the officers, and to desire the Chevalier to meet
him at the same place the next day; which the Chevalier promised to do,
provided Monsieur de Turenne should approve of it, as he made no doubt he

His reception in the king's army was equally agreeable as that which he
had experienced from the enemy. Monsieur de Turenne esteemed him no less
for his frankness than for the poignancy of his wit: he took it very
kindly that he was the only courtier who came to see him in a time so
critical as the present: the questions which he asked him about the court
were not so much for information, as to divert himself with his manner of
relating their different apprehensions and alarms. The Chevalier de
Grammont advised him to beat the enemy, if he did not choose to be
answerable for an enterprise which he had undertaken without consulting
the Cardinal. Monsieur de Turenne promised him he would exert himself to
the utmost to follow his advice, and assured him, that if he succeeded,
he would make the queen keep her word with him; and concluded with
saying, that he was not sorry the Prince de Conde had expressed a desire
to see him. His measures were taken for an attack upon the lines: on
this subject he discoursed in private with the Chevalier de Grammont, and
concealed nothing from him except the time of execution: but this was all
to no purpose; for the Chevalier had seen too much, not to judge, from
his own knowledge, and the observations he had made, that from the
situation of the army, the attack could be no longer deferred.

He set out the next day for his rendezvous, attended by a trumpet, and
found the Prince at the place which Monsieur de Lussan had described to
him the evening before. As soon as he alighted: "Is it possible," said
the Prince, embracing him, "that this can be the Chevalier de Grammont,
and that I should see him in the contrary party?" "It is you, my lord,
whom I see there," replied the Chevalier, "and I refer it to yourself,
whether it was the fault of the Chevalier de Grammont, or your own, that
we now embrace different interests." "I must confess," said the Prince,
"that if there are some who have abandoned me like base ungrateful
wretches, you have left me, as I left myself, like a man of honour, who
thinks himself in the right: but let us forget all cause of resentment,
and tell me what was your motive for coming here, you, whom I thought at
Peronne with the court." "Must I tell you?" said he: "why, faith then,
I came to save your life. I know that you cannot help being in the midst
of the enemy in a day of battle; it is only necessary for your horse to
be shot under you, and to be taken in arms, to meet with the same
treatment from this Cardinal, as your uncle Montmorency did from the

   [Henry, Duke of Montmorency, who was taken prisoner first September,
   1692, and had his head struck off at Toulouse in the month of
   November following.]

"I come, therefore, to hold a horse in readiness for you, in case of a
similar misfortune, that you may not lose your head." "It is not the
first time," said the Prince, smiling, "that you have rendered me this
service, though the being taken prisoner at that time could not have been
so dangerous to me as now."

From this conversation, they passed to more entertaining subjects. The
Prince asked him many questions concerning the court, the ladies, play,
and about his amours; and returning insensibly to the present situation
of affairs, the Chevalier having inquired after some officers of his
acquaintance, who had remained with him, the Prince told him that if he
chose, he might go to the lines, where he would have an opportunity not
only of seeing those whom he inquired after, but likewise the disposition
of the quarters and entrenchments. To this he consented, and the Prince
having shown him all the works and attended him back to their rendezvous,
"Well, Chevalier, said he, "when do you think we shall see you again?"
"Faith," replied he, "you have used me so handsomely, that I shall
conceal nothing from you. Hold yourself in readiness an hour before
daybreak; for, you may depend upon it, we shall attack you to-morrow
morning. I would not have acquainted you with this, perhaps, had I been
entrusted with the secret, but, nevertheless, in the present case you may
believe me." "You are still the same man," said the Prince, again
embracing him. The Chevalier returned to Monsieur de Turenne's camp
towards night; every preparation was then making for the attack of the
lines, and it was no longer a secret among the troops.

"Well, Monsieur le Chevalier, were they all very glad to see you?" said
Monsieur de Turenne; "the Prince, no doubt, received you with the
greatest kindness, and asked a great number of questions?" "He has shown
me all the civility imaginable," replied the Chevalier; "and, to convince
me he did not take me for a spy, he led me round the lines and
entrenchments, and showed me the preparations he had made for your
reception." "And what is his opinion?" said the Marshal. "He is
persuaded that you will attack him to-night, or to-morrow by daybreak;
for you great captains," continued the Chevalier, "see through each
other's designs in a wonderful manner."

Monsieur de Turenne, with pleasure, received this commendation from
a man who was not indiscriminately accustomed to bestow praise. He
communicated to him the disposition of the attack; and at the same time
acquainted him, that he was very happy that a man who had seen so many
actions was to be present at this; and that he esteemed it no small
advantage to have the benefit of his advice, but as he believed that the
remaining part of the night would be hardly sufficient for his repose,
after having passed the former without any refreshment, he consigned him
to the Marquis d'Humieres, who provided him with a supper and a lodging.

The next day the lines of Arras were attacked, wherein Monsieur de
Turenne, being victorious, added additional lustre to his former glory;
and the Prince de Conde, though vanquished, lost nothing of his former

There are so many accounts of this celebrated battle, that to mention it
here would be altogether superfluous. The Chevalier de Grammont, who,
as a volunteer, was permitted to go into every part, has given a better
description of it than any other person. Monsieur de Turenne reaped
great advantage from that activity which never forsook the Chevalier
either in peace or war; and that presence of mind which enabled him to
carry orders, as coming from the general, so very apropos, that Monsieur
de Turenne, otherwise very particular in such matters, thanked him, when
the battle was over, in the presence of all his officers, and despatched
him to court with the first news of his success.

All that is generally necessary in these expeditions, is to be accustomed
to hard riding, and to be well provided with fresh horses, but he had a
great many other obstacles to surmount. In the first place, the parties
of the enemy were dispersed over all the country, and obstructed his
passage. Then he had to prepare against greedy and officious courtiers,
who, on such occasions, post themselves in all the avenues, in order to
cheat the poor courier out of his news. However, his address preserved
him from the one, and deceived the others.

He had taken eight or ten troopers, commanded by an officer of his
acquaintance, to escort him half way to Bapaume, being persuaded that the
greatest danger would lie between the camp and the first stage. He had
not proceeded a league before he was convinced of the truth of what he
suspected, and turning to the officer who followed him closely, "If you
are not well mounted," said he, "I would advise you to return to the
camp; for my part, I shall set spurs to my horse, and make the best of
my way." "Sir," said the officer, "I hope I shall be able to keep you
company, at whatever rate you go, until you are out of all danger."
"I doubt that," replied the Chevalier, "for those gentlemen there seem
prepared to pay us a visit." "Don't you see," said the officer, "they
are some of our own people who are grazing their horses?" "No," said the
Chevalier; "but I see very well that they are some of the enemy's
troopers." Upon which, observing to him that they were mounting, he
ordered the horsemen that escorted him to prepare themselves to make a
diversion, and he himself set off full speed towards Bapaume.

He was mounted upon a very swift English horse; but having entangled
himself in a hollow way where the ground was deep and miry, he soon had
the troopers at his heels, who, supposing him to be some officer of rank,
would not be deceived, but continued to pursue him without paying any
attention to the others. The best mounted of the party began to draw
near him; for the English horses, swift as the wind on even ground,
proceeded but very indifferently in bad roads; the trooper presented his
carbine, and cried out to him, at some distance, "Good quarter." The
Chevalier de Grammont, who perceived that they gained upon him, and that
whatever efforts his horse made in such heavy ground, he must be
overtaken at last, immediately quitted the road to Bapaume, and took a
causeway to the left, which led quite a different way; as soon as he had
gained it, he drew up, as if to hear the proposal of the trooper, which
afforded his horse an opportunity of recovering himself; while his enemy,
mistaking his intention, and thinking that he only waited to surrender,
immediately exerted every effort, that he might take him before the rest
of his companions, who were following, could arrive, and by this means
almost killed his horse.

One minute's reflection made the Chevalier consider what a disagreeable
adventure it would be, thus coming from so glorious a victory, and the
dangers of a battle so warmly disputed, to be taken by a set of
scoundrels who had not been in it, and, instead of being received in
triumph, and embraced by a great queen, for the important news with
which he was charged, to see himself stripped by the vanquished.

During this short meditation, the trooper who followed him was arrived
within shot, and still presenting his carbine, offered him good quarter,
but the Chevalier de Grammont, to whom this offer, and the manner in
which it was made, were equally displeasing, made a sign to him to lower
his piece; and perceiving his horse to be in wind, he lowered his hand,
rode off like lightning, and left the trooper in such astonishment that
he even forgot to fire at him.

As soon as he arrived at Bapaume, he changed horses; the commander of
this place showed him the greatest respect, assuring him that no person
had yet passed; that he would keep the secret, and that he would retain
all that followed him, except the couriers of Monsieur de Turenne.

He now had only to guard against those who would be watching for him
about the environs of Peronne, to return as soon as they saw him, and
carry his news to court, without being acquainted with any of the
particulars. He knew very well that Marshal du Plessis, Marshal de
Villeroy, and Gaboury, had boasted of this to the Cardinal before his
departure. Wherefore, to elude this snare, he hired two well-mounted
horsemen at Bapaume, and as soon as he had got a league from that place,
and after giving them each two louis d'ors, to secure their fidelity,
he ordered them to ride on before, to appear very much terrified, and to
tell all those who should ask them any questions, "that all was lost,
that the Chevalier de Grammont had stopped at Bapaume, having no great
inclination to be the messenger of ill news; and that as for themselves,
they had been pursued by the enemy's troopers, who were spread over the
whole country since the defeat."

Everything succeeded to his wish: the horsemen were intercepted by
Gaboury, whose eagerness had outstripped the two marshals'; but whatever
questions were asked them, they acted their parts so well, that Peronne
was already in consternation, and rumours of the defeat were whispered
among the courtiers, when the Chevalier de Grammont arrived.

Nothing so enhances the value of good news, as when a false alarm of
bad has preceded; yet, though the Chevalier's was accompanied with this
advantage, none but their Majesties received it with that transport of
joy it deserved.

The queen kept her promise to him in the most fascinating manner: she
embraced him before the whole court; the king appeared no less delighted;
but the Cardinal, whether with the view of lessening the merit of an
action which deserved a handsome reward, or whether it was from a return
of that insolence which always accompanied him in prosperity, appeared at
first not to pay any attention to what he said, and being afterwards
informed that the lines had been forced, that the Spanish army was
beaten, and that Arras was relieved, "Is the Prince de Conde taken?"
said he. "No," replied the Chevalier de Grammont. "He is dead then, I
suppose?" said the Cardinal. "Not so, neither," answered the Chevalier.
"Fine news indeed!" said the Cardinal, with an air of contempt; and at
these words he went into the queen's cabinet with their majesties. And
happy it was for the Chevalier that he did so, for without doubt he would
have given him some severe reply, in resentment for those two fine
questions, and the conclusion he had drawn from them.

The court was filled with the Cardinal's spies: the Chevalier, as is
usual on such an occasion, was surrounded by a crowd of courtiers and
inquisitive people, and he was very glad to ease himself of some part
of the load which laid heavy on his heart, within the hearing of the
Cardinal's creatures, and which he would perhaps have told him to his
face. "Faith, gentlemen," said he, with a sneer, "there is nothing like
being zealous and eager in the service of kings and great princes: you
have seen what a gracious reception his Majesty has given me; you are
likewise witnesses in what an obliging manner the queen kept her promise
with me; but as for the Cardinal, he has received my news as if he gained
no more by it than he did by the death of Peter Mazarin."

   [Peter Mazarin was father to the Cardinal. He was a native of
   Palermo in Sicily, which place he left in order to settle at Rome,
   where he died in the year 1654.]

This was sufficient to terrify all those who were sincerely attached to
him; and the best established fortune would have been ruined at some
period by a jest much less severe: for it was delivered in the presence
of witnesses, who were only desirous of having an opportunity of
representing it in its utmost malignancy, to make a merit of their
vigilance with a powerful and absolute minister. Of this the Chevalier
de Grammont was thoroughly convinced; yet whatever detriment he foresaw
might arise from it, he could not help being much pleased with what he
had said.

The spies very faithfully discharged their duty: however, the affair took
a very different turn from what they expected. The next day, when the
Chevalier de Grammont was present while their Majesties were at dinner,
the Cardinal came in, and coming up to him, everybody making way for him
out of respect: "Chevalier," said he, "the news which you have brought
is very good, their Majesties are very well satisfied with it; and to
convince you it is more advantageous to me than the death of Peter
Mazarin, if you will come and dine with me we will have some play
together; for the queen will give us something to play for, over and
above her first promise."

In this manner did the Chevalier de Grammont dare to provoke a powerful
minister, and this was all the resentment which the least vindictive of
all statesmen expressed on the occasion. It was indeed very unusual for
so young a man to reverence the authority of ministers no farther, than
as they were themselves respectable by their merit; for this, his own
breast, as well as the whole court, applauded him, and he enjoyed the
satisfaction of being the only man who durst preserve the least shadow of
liberty, in a general state of servitude; but it was perhaps owing to the
Cardinal's passing over this insult with impunity, that he afterwards
drew upon himself some difficulties, by other rash expressions less
fortunate in the event.

In the mean time the court returned: the Cardinal, who was sensible that
he could no longer keep his master in a state of tutelage, being himself
worn out with cares and sickness, and having amassed treasures he knew
not what to do with, and being sufficiently loaded with the weight of
public odium, he turned all his thoughts towards terminating, in a manner
the most advantageous for France, a ministry which had so cruelly shaken
that kingdom. Thus, while he was earnestly laying the foundations of a
peace so ardently wished for, pleasure and plenty began to reign at

The Chevalier de Grammont experienced for a long time a variety of
fortune in love and gaming: he was esteemed by the courtiers, beloved by
beauties whom he neglected, and a dangerous favourite of those whom he
admired; more successful in play than in his amours; but the one
indemnifying him for want of success in the other, he was always full of
life and spirits; and in all transactions of importance, always a man of

It is a pity that we must be forced here to interrupt the course of his
history, by an interval of some years, as has been already done at the
commencement of these memoirs. In a life where the most minute
circumstances are always singular and diverting, we can meet with no
chasm which does not afford regret; but whether he did not think them
worthy of holding a place among his other adventures, or that he has only
preserved a confused idea of them, we must pass to the parts of these
fragments which are better ascertained, that we may arrive at the subject
of his journey to England.

The peace of the Pyrenees, the king's marriage,--the return of the
Prince de Conde, and the death of the Cardinal, gave a new face to the

   [Louis XIV. married Maria Theresa of Austria. She was born 20th
   September, 1638, married 1st June, 1660, and entered Paris 26th
   August following. She died at Versailles 30th July, 1683, and was
   buried at St. Denis.]

The eyes of the whole nation were fixed upon their king, who, for
nobleness of mien, and gracefulness of person, had no equal; but it was
not then known that he was possessed of those superior abilities, which,
filling his subjects with admiration, in the end made him so formidable
to Europe. Love and ambition, the invisible springs of the intrigues and
cabals of all courts, attentively observed his first steps: pleasure
promised herself an absolute empire over a prince who had been kept in
ignorance of the necessary rules of government, and ambition had no hopes
of reigning in the court except in the minds of those who were able to
dispute the management of affairs; when men were surprised to see the
king on a sudden display such brilliant abilities, which prudence, in
some measure necessary, had so long obliged him to conceal.

An application, inimical to the pleasures which generally attract that
age, and which unlimited power very seldom refuses, attached him solely
to the cares of government: all admired this wonderful change, but all
did not find their account in it: the great lost their consequence before
an absolute master, and the courtiers approached with reverential awe the
sole object of their respects and the sole master of their fortunes:
those who had conducted themselves like petty tyrants in their provinces,
and on the frontiers, were now no more than governors: favours, according
to the king's pleasure, were sometimes conferred on merit, and sometimes
for services done the state; but to importune, or to menace the court,
was no longer the method to obtain them.

The Chevalier de Grammont regarded his master's attention to the affairs
of state as a prodigy: he could not conceive how he could submit at his
age to the rules he prescribed himself, or that he should give up so many
hours of pleasure, to devote them to the tiresome duties, and laborious
functions of government; but he blessed the Lord that henceforward no
more homage was to be paid, no more court to be made, but to him alone,
to whom they were justly due. Disdaining as he did the servile adoration
usually paid to a minister, he could never crouch before the power of the
two Cardinals who succeeded each other: he neither worshipped the
arbitrary power of the one, nor gave his approbation to the artifices of
the other; he had never received anything from Cardinal Richelieu but an
abbey, which, on account of his rank, could not be refused him; and he
never acquired anything from Mazarin but what he won of him at play.

By many years' experience under an able general he had acquired a talent
for war; but this during a general peace was of no further service to
him. He therefore thought that, in the midst of a court flourishing in
beauties and abounding in wealth, he could not employ himself better than
in endeavouring to gain the good opinion of his master, in making the
best use of those advantages which nature had given him for play, and in
putting in practice new stratagems in love.

He succeeded very well in the two first of these projects, and as he had
from that time laid it down as the rule of his conduct to attach himself
solely to the king in all his views of preferment, to have no regard for
favour unless when it was supported by merit, to make himself beloved by
the courtiers and feared by the minister, to dare to undertake anything
in order to do good, and to engage in nothing at the expense of
innocence, he soon became one in all the king's parties of pleasure,
without gaining the ill will of the courtiers. In play he was
successful, in love unfortunate; or, to speak more properly, his
restlessness and jealousy overcame his natural prudence, in a situation
wherein he had most occasion for it. La Motte Agencourt was one of the
maids of honour to the queen dowager, and, though no sparkling beauty,
she had drawn away lovers from the celebrated Meneville.

   [These two ladies at this period seem to have made a distinguished
   figure in the annals of gallantry. One of their contemporaries
   mentions them in these terms: "In this case, perhaps, I can give a
   better account than most people; as, for instance, they had raised a
   report, when the queen-mother expelled Mademoiselle de la Motte
   Agencourt, that it was on his score, when I am assured, upon very
   good grounds, that it was for entertaining the Marquis de Richelieu
   against her majesty's express command. This lady, who was one of
   her maids of honour, was a person whom I was particularly acquainted
   with; and that so much, as I was supposed to have a passion for her:
   she was counted one of the finest women of the court, and therefore
   I was not at all displeased to have it thought so; for except
   Mademoiselle de Meneville, (who had her admirers,) there was none
   that could pretend to dispute it" Memoirs of the Comte de Rochfort,
   1696, p. 210. See also Anquetil, Louis XVI. sa Cour et le Regent,
   tome i. p. 46.]

It was sufficient in those days for the king to cast his eye upon a
young lady of the court to inspire her with hopes, and often with tender
sentiments; but if he spoke to her more than once, the courtiers took it
for granted, and those who had either pretensions to, or love for her,
respectfully withdrew both the one and the other, and afterwards only
paid her respect; but the Chevalier de Grammont thought fit to act quite
otherwise, perhaps to preserve a singularity of character, which upon the
present occasion was of no avail.

He had never before thought of her, but as soon as he found that she
was honoured with the king's attention, he was of opinion that she was
likewise deserving of his. Having attached himself to her, he soon
became very troublesome, without convincing her he was much in love.
She grew weary of his persecutions, but he would not desist, neither on
account of her ill-treatment nor of her threats. This conduct of his at
first made no great noise, because she was in hopes that he would change
his behaviour; but finding him rashly persist in it, she complained of
him: and then it was that he perceived that if love renders all
conditions equal, it is not so between rivals. He was banished the
court, and not finding any place in France which could console him for
what he most regretted--the presence and sight of his prince--after
having made some slight reflections upon his disgrace, and bestowed
a few imprecations against her who was the cause of it, he at last
formed the resolution of visiting England.


As all fools are who have good memories
Better memory for injuries than for benefits
Better to know nothing at all, than to know too much
Envy each other those indulgences which themselves refuse
He as little feared the Marquis as he loved him
Would have been criminal even in chastity to spare (her husband)

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Volume 2
by Anthony Hamilton


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