The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete
Duc de Saint-Simon

Part 18 out of 20

feel his low origin, and still more the debauchery and scandal of his
life. Dubois was, however, too far advanced to stop on the road, and
cited examples; unfortunately these were only too many.

M. le Duc d'Orleans, less touched by such bad reasoning than embarrassed
how to resist the ardor of a man whom for a long time he had not dated to
contradict, tried to get out of the difficulty, by saying, "But you being
such a scoundrel, where will you find another to consecrate you?"

"Oh, if it's only that!" exclaimed Dubois, "the thing is done. I know
very well who will consecrate me; he is not far from here."

"And who the devil is he who will dare to do so?" asked the Regent.

"Would you like to know?" replied the Abbe, "and does the matter rest
only upon that?"

"Well, who?" said the Regent.

"Your chief chaplain," replied Dubois, "who is close at hand. Nothing
will please him better; I will run and speak to him."

And thereupon he embraces the knees of M. le Duc d'Orleans (who, caught
thus in his own trap, had not the strength to refuse), runs to the Bishop
of Nantes, says that he is to have Cambrai, begs the Bishop to consecrate
him, and receives his promise to do so, returns, wheels round, tells M.
le Duc d'Orleans that his chief chaplain has agreed to the consecration;
thanks, praises, admires the Regent, fixes more and more firmly the
office by regarding it as settled, and by persuading M. le Duc d'Orleans,
who dares not say no; and in this manner was Dubois made Archbishop of

The extreme scandal of this nomination caused a strange, stir. Impudent
as was the Abbe Dubois, he was extremely embarrassed; and M. le Duc
d'Orleans so much ashamed, that it was soon remarked he was humbled if
you spoke to him upon the subject. The next question was, from whom
Dubois was to receive holy orders? The Cardinal de Noailles was applied
to, but he stoutly refused to assist in any way. It may be imagined what
an affront this was to Dubois. He never in his life pardoned the
Cardinal, who was nevertheless universally applauded for his refusal.
But the Abbe Dubois was not a man to be daunted by an ordinary obstacle;
he turned his glances elsewhere, and soon went through all the
formalities necessary.

The very day he took orders there was a Regency Council at the old
Louvre, because the measles, which were then very prevalent, even in the
Palais Royal, hindered us from meeting as usual in the Tuileries.
A Regency Council without the Abbe Dubois present was a thing to marvel
at, and yet his arrival to-day caused even more surprise than his absence
would have caused. But he was not a man to waste his time in
thanksgiving for what had just happened to him. This was a new scandal,
which revived and aggravated the first. Everybody had arrived in the
cabinet of the council, M. le Duc d'Orleans also; we were scattered about
and standing. I was in a corner of the lower end, when I saw Dubois
enter in a stout coat, with his ordinary bearing. We did not expect him
on such a day, and naturally enough cried out surprised. M. le Prince de
Conti, with his father's sneering manner, spoke to the Abbe Dubois, on
his appearance among us on the very day of taking orders, and expressed
his surprise at it with the most pathetic malignity imaginable.

Dubois, who had not had time to reply one word, let him say to the end;
then coldly observed, that if he had been a little more familiar with
ancient history, he would not have found what astonished him very
strange, since he (the Abbe) had only followed the example of Saint-
Ambrose, whose ordination he began to relate. I did not wait for his
recital; at the mere mention of Saint-Ambrose I flew to the other end of
the cabinet, horror-struck at the comparison Dubois had just made, and
fearing lest I should be tempted to say to him, that the ordination of
Saint-Ambrose had been forced upon him in spite of his resistance. This
impious citation of Saint-Ambrose ran all over the town with the effect
that may be imagined. The nomination and this ordination took place
towards the end of February.

I will finish at once all that relates to this matter, so as not to
separate it, or have to return to it. Dubois had his bulls at the
commencement of May, and the consecration was fixed for Sunday the 9th
of June. All Paris and the Court were invited to it, myself excepted.
I was on bad terms with Dubois, because I in no way spared him when with
M. le Duc d'Orleans. He on his side, fearing the power I had over the
Regent, the liberty I enjoyed with him, and the freedom with which I
spoke to him, did as much as he could to injure me, and to weaken the
confidence of M. le Duc d'Orleans in me. Dubois and I continued,
nevertheless, to be on good terms with each other in appearance, but it
was in appearance only.

This consecration was to be magnificent, and M. le Duc d'Orleans was to
be present at it. If the nomination and the ordination of the Abbe
Dubois had caused much stir, scandal, and horror, the superb preparations
for the consecration caused even more: Great was the indignation against
M. le Duc d'Orleans. I went, therefore, to him the evening before this
strange ceremony was to take place, to beg him not to attend it. I
represented to him that the nomination and ordination of the Abbe Dubois
had created frightful effect upon the public, and that the consecration
of a man of such low extraction, and whose manners and mode of life were
so notorious; would create more. I added, that if he attended this
ceremony, people would say it was simply for the purpose of mocking God,
and insulting His Church; that the effect of this would be terrible,
and always much to be feared; and that people would say the Abbe Dubois
abused the mastery he had over him, and that this was evidence of
dependence would draw down upon him hatred, disdain, and shame, the
results of which were to be dreaded. I concluded by saying, that I spoke
to him as his disinterested servitor; that his absence or his presence at
this consecration would change in, nothing the fortune of the Abbe
Dubois, who would be Archbishop of Cambrai all the same without
prostituting his master in the eyes of all France, and of all Europe,
by compelling him to be guilty of a measure to which it would be seen he
had been urged by force. I conjured him not to go; and to show him on
what terms I was with the Abbe Dubois, I explained to him I was the sole
man of rank he had not invited to his consecration; but that,
notwithstanding this circumstance, if he would give me his word that he
would not go, I on my side would agree to go, though my horror at doing
so would be very great.

My discourse, pronounced with warmth and developed with freedom, was
listened to from beginning to end. I was surprised to hear the Regent
say I was right, but I opened my eyes very wide when he embraced me, said
that I spoke like a true friend, and that he would give me his word, and
stick to it, he would not go. We parted upon this, I strengthening him
in his resolution, promising anew I would go, and he thanking me for this
effort. He showed no impatience, no desire that I should go; for I knew
him well, and I examined him to the very bottom of his soul, and quitted
him much pleased at having turned him from a measure so disgraceful and
so extraordinary. Who could have guessed that he would not keep his
word? But so it happened.

Although as I have said I felt sure of him, yet the extreme weakness of
this prince, and the empire the Abbe Dubois had acquired over him;
induced me to be quite certain of him before going to the consecration.
I sent therefore the next morning to the Palais Royal to inquire after M.
le Duc d'Orleans; keeping my carriage all ready for a start. But I was
much confused, accustomed as I might be to his miserable vacillation, to
hear from the person I had sent, that he had just seen the Regent jump
into his coach, surrounded by all the pomp usual on grand occasions,
and set out for the consecration. I had my horses put up at once, and
locked myself into my cabinet.

A day or two after I learnt from a friend of Madame de Parabere, then the
reigning Sultana, but not a faithful one, that M. le Duc d'Orleans had
been with her the previous night, and had spoken to her in praise of me,
saying he would not go to the ceremony, and that he was very grateful to
me for having dissuaded him from going. La Parabere praised me, admitted
I was right, but her conclusion was that he would go.

M. le Duc d'Orleans, surprised, said to her she was then mad.

"Be it so," replied she, "but you will go."

"But I tell you I will not go," he rejoined.

"Yes, yes, I tell you," said she; "you will go."

"But," replied he, "this is admirable. You say M. de Saint-Simon is
quite right, why then should I go?"

"Because I wish it," said she.

"Very good," replied he, "and why do you wish I should go--what madness
is this?"

"I wish it because--," said she.

"Oh, because," replied he, "that's no reason; say why you wish it."

(After some dispute) "You obstinately desire then to know? Are you not
aware that the Abbe Dubois and I quarreled four days ago, and that we
have not yet made it up. He mixes in everything. He will know that you
have been with me to-night. If to-morrow you do not go to his
consecration, he will not fail to believe it is I who have hindered you;
nothing will take this idea out of his head; he will never pardon me;
he will undermine in a hundred ways my credit with you, and finish by
embroiling us. But I don't wish such a thing to happen, and for that
reason you must go to his consecration, although M. de Saint-Simon is

Thereupon ensued a feeble debate, then resolution and promise to go,
which was very faithfully kept.

As for me I could only deplore the feebleness of the Regent, to whom I
never afterwards spoke of this consecration, or he to me; but he was very
much ashamed of himself, and much embarrassed with me afterwards. I do
not know whether he carried his weakness so far as to tell Dubois what I
had said to hinder him from going to the ceremony or whether the Abbe was
told by La Parabere, who thought thus to take credit to herself for
having changed the determination of M. le Duc d'Orleans, and to show her
credit over him. But Dubois was perfectly informed of it, and never
pardoned me.

The Val de Grace was chosen for the consecration as being a royal
monastery, the most magnificent of Paris, and the most singular church.
It was superbly decorated; all France was invited, and nobody dared to
stop away or to be out of sight during the whole ceremony.

There were tribunes with blinds prepared for the ambassadors and
Protestant ministers. There was another more magnificent for M. le Duc
d'Orleans and M. le Duc de Chartres, whom he took there. There were
places for the ladies, and as M. le Duc d'Orleans entered by the
monastery, and his tribune was within, it was open to all comers, so that
outside and inside were filled with refreshments of all kinds, which
officers distributed in profusion. This disorder continued all day, on
account of the large number of tables that were served without and within
for the subordinate people of the fete and all who liked to thrust
themselves in. The chief gentlemen of the chamber of M. le Duc
d'Orleans, and his chief officers did the business of the ceremony;
placed distinguished people in their seats, received them, conducted
them, and other of his officers paid similar attentions to less
considerable people, while, all the watch and all the police were
occupied in looking after the arrival and departure of the carriages
in proper and regular order.

During the consecration, which was but little decent as far as the
consecrated and the spectators were concerned, above all when leaving the
building, M. le Duc d'Orleans evinced his satisfaction at finding so many
considerable people present, and then went away to Asnieres to dine with
Madame Parabere--very glad that a ceremony was over upon which he had
bestowed only indirect attention, from the commencement to the end. All
the prelates, the distinguished Abbes, and a considerable number of the
laity, were invited during the consecration by the chief officers of M.
le Duc d'Orleans to dine at the Palais Royal. The same officers did the
honours of the feast, which was served with the most splendid abundance
and delicacy. There were two services of thirty covers each, in a large
room of the grand suite of apartments, filled with the most considerable
people of Paris, and several other tables equally well served in
adjoining rooms for people less distinguished. M. le Duc d'Orleans gave
to the new Archbishop a diamond of great price to serve him as ring.

All this day was given up to that sort of triumph which draws down
neither the approbation of man nor the blessing of God. I saw nothing of
it all, however, and M. le Duc d'Orleans and I never spoke of it.

The Comte de Horn had been in Paris for the last two months, leading an
obscure life of gaming and debauchery. He was a man of two-and-twenty,
tall and well made, of that ancient and grand family of Horn, known in
the eleventh century among the little dynasties of the Low Countries, and
afterwards by a long series of illustrious generations. The Comte de
Horn in question had been made captain in the Austrian army, less on
account of his youth than because he was such an ill-behaved dog, causing
vast trouble to his mother and brother. They heard so much of the
disorderly life he was leading in Paris, that they sent there a
confidential gentleman with money to pay his debts, to try and persuade
him to return, and failing in this, to implore the authority of the
Regent (to whom, through Madame, the Horns were related), in order to
compel him to do so. As ill-luck would have it, this gentleman arrived
the day after the Comte had committed the crime I am about to relate.

On Friday, the 22nd of March, 1720, he went to the Rue Quincampoix,
wishing, he said, to buy 100,000 ecus worth of shares, and for that
purpose made an appointment with a stockbroker in a cabaret. The stock-
broker came there with his pocket-book and his shares; the Comte de Horn
came also, accompanied, as he said, by two of his friends; a moment
after, they all three threw themselves upon this unfortunate stock-
broker; the Comte de Horn stabbed him several times with a poniard, and
seized his pocket-book; one of his pretended friends (a Piedmontese named
Mille), seeing that the stock-broker was not dead, finished the work.
At the noise they made the people of the house came, not sufficiently
quick to prevent the murder, but in time to render themselves masters of
the assassins, and to arrest them. In the midst of the scuffle, the
other cut-throat escaped, but the Comte de Horn and Mille were not so
fortunate. The cabaret people sent for the officers of justice, who
conducted the criminals to the Conciergerie. This horrible crime,
committed in broad daylight, immediately made an immense stir, and
several kinsmen of this illustrious family at once went to M. le Duc
d'Orleans to beg for mercy; but the Regent avoided speaking to them as
much as possible, and very rightly ordered full and prompt justice to be

At last, the relatives of Horn penetrated to the Regent: they tried to
make the Count pass for mad, saying even that he had an uncle confined in
an asylum, and begging that he might be confined also. But the reply
was, that madmen who carried their madness to fury could not be got rid
of too quickly. Repulsed in this manner, they represented what an infamy
it would be to their illustrious family, related to nearly all the
sovereigns of Europe, to have one of its members tried and condemned.
M. le Duc d'Orleans replied that the infamy was in the crime, and not in
the punishment. They pressed him upon the honour the family had in being
related to him. "Very well, gentlemen," said he, "I will divide the
shame with you."

The trial was neither long nor difficult. Law and the Abbe Dubois, so
interested in the safety of the stock-jobbers (without whom the paper
must have fallen at once), supported M. le Duc d'Orleans might and main,
in order to render him inexorable, and he, to avoid the persecutions he
unceasingly experienced on the other side, left nothing undone in order
to hurry the Parliament into a decision; the affair, therefore; went full
speed, and it seemed likely that the Comte de Horn would be broken on the

The relatives, no longer hoping to save the criminal, thought only of
obtaining a commutation of the sentence. Some of them came to me, asking
me to save them: though I was not related to the Horn family, they
explained to me, that death on the wheel would throw into despair all
that family, and everybody connected with it in the Low Countries,
and in Germany, because in those parts there was a great and important
difference between the punishments of persons of quality who had
committed crimes; that decapitation in no way influenced the family of
the decapitated, but that death on the wheel threw such infamy upon it,
that the uncles, aunts, brothers, and sisters, and the three next
generations, were excluded from entering into any noble chapter, which,
in addition to the shame, was a very injurious deprivation, annihilating
the family's chance of ecclesiastic preferment; this reason touched me,
and I promised to do my best with M. le Duc d'Orleans to obtain a
commutation of the sentence.

I was going off to La Ferme to profit by the leisure of Holy Week.
I went therefore to M. le Duc d'Orleans, and explained to him what I had
just learnt. I said that after the detestable crime the Comte de Horn
had committed, every one must feel that he was worthy of death; but that
every one could not admit it was necessary to break him on the wheel, in
order to satisfy the ends of justice. I showed him how the family would
suffer if this sentence were carried out, and I concluded by proposing to
the Regent a 'mezzo termine', such as he was so fond of.

I suggested that the decree ordering death by the wheel should be
pronounced. That another decree should at the same time be prepared and
kept ready signed and sealed, with only a date to fill in, revoking the
first, and changing the punishment into decapitation. That at the last
moment this second decree should be produced, and immediately afterwards
the head of the Comte de Horn be cut off. M. le Duc d'Orleans offered no
objection, but consented at once to my plan. I said to him, by way of
conclusion, that I was going to set out the next day, and that I begged
him not to be shaken in the determination he had just formed, by the
entreaties of Dubois or Law, both of whom were strongly in favour of
punishment by the wheel. He assured me he would keep firm; reiterated
the assurance; I took leave of him; and the next day went to La Ferme.

He was firm, however, in his usual manner. Dubois and Law besieged him,
and led the attack so well that he gave in, and the first thing I learnt
at La Ferme was that the Comte de Horn had been broken alive on the wheel
at the Greve, on Holy Friday; the 26th March, 1720, about 4 o'clock in
the afternoon, and the scoundrel Mille with him on the same scaffold,
after having both suffered torture.

The result of this was as I anticipated. The Horn family and all the
grand nobility of the Low Countries, many of Germany, were outraged, and
contained themselves neither in words nor in writings. Some of them even
talked of strange vengeance, and a long time after the death of M. le Duc
d'Orleans, I met with certain of the gentlemen upon whose hearts the
memory of this punishment still weighed heavily.



For a long time a species of war had been declared between the King of
England and his son, the Prince of Wales, which had caused much scandal;
and which had enlisted the Court on one side, and made much stir in the
Parliament. George had more than once broken out with indecency against
his son; he had long since driven him from the palace, and would not see
him. He had so cut down his income that he could scarcely subsist. The
father never could endure this son, because he did not believe him to be
his own. He had more than suspected the Duchess, his wife, to be in
relations with Count Konigsmarck. He surprised him one morning leaving
her chamber; threw him into a hot oven, and shut up his wife in a chateau
for the rest of her days. The Prince of Wales, who found himself ill-
treated for a cause of which he was personally innocent, had always borne
with impatience the presence of his mother and the aversion of his
father. The Princess of Wales, who had much sense, intelligence, grace,
and art, had softened things as much as possible; and the King was unable
to refuse her his esteem, or avoid loving her. She had conciliated all
England; and her Court, always large, boasted of the presence of the most
accredited and the most distinguished persons. The Prince of Wales
feeling his strength, no longer studied his father, and blamed the
ministers with words that at least alarmed them. They feared the credit
of the Princess of Wales; feared lest they should be attacked by the
Parliament, which often indulges in this pleasure. These considerations
became more and more pressing as they discovered what was brewing against
them; plans such as would necessarily have rebounded upon the King. They
communicated their fears to him, and indeed tried to make it up with his
son, on certain conditions, through the medium of the Princess of Wales,
who, on her side, felt all the consciousness of sustaining a party
against the King, and who always had sincerely desired peace in the royal
family. She profited by this conjuncture; made use of the ascendency she
had over her husband, and the reconciliation was concluded. The King
gave a large sum to the Prince of Wales, and consented to see him. The
ministers were saved, and all appeared forgotten.

The excess to which things had been carried between father and son had
not only kept the entire nation attentive to the intestine disorders
ready to arise, but had made a great stir all over Europe; each power
tried to blow this fire into a blaze, or to stifle it according as
interest suggested. The Archbishop of Cambrai, whom I shall continue to
call the Abbe Dubois, was just then very anxiously looking out for his
cardinal's hat, which he was to obtain through the favour of England,
acting upon that of the Emperor with the Court of Rome. Dubois,
overjoyed at the reconciliation which had taken place, wished to show
this in a striking manner, in order to pay his court to the King of
England. He named, therefore, the Duc de la Force to go to England, and
compliment King George on the happy event that had occurred.

The demonstration of joy that had been resolved on in France was soon
known in England. George, annoyed by the stir that his domestic
squabbles had made throughout all Europe, did not wish to see it
prolonged by the sensation that this solemn envoy would cause. He begged
the Regent, therefore, not to send him one. As the scheme had been
determined on only order to please him, the journey of the Duc de la
Force was abandoned almost as soon as declared. Dubois had the double
credit, with the King of England, of having arranged this demonstration
of joy, and of giving it up; in both cases solely for the purpose of
pleasing his Britannic Majesty.

Towards the end of this year, 1720, the Duc de Brissac married Mlle.
Pecoil, a very rich heiress, whose father was a 'maitre des requetes',
and whose mother was daughter of Le Gendre, a very wealthy merchant of
Rouen. The father of Mlle. Pecoil was a citizen of Lyons, a wholesale
dealer, and extremely avaricious. He had a large iron safe, or strong-
box, filled with money, in a cellar, shut in by an iron door, with a
secret lock, and to arrive at which other doors had to be passed through.
He disappeared so long one day, that his wife and two or three valets or
servants that he had sought him everywhere. They well knew that he had a
hiding-place, because they had sometimes seen him descending into his
cellar, flat-candlestick in hand, but no one had ever dared to follow

Wondering what had become of him, they descended to the cellar, broke
open the doors, and found at last the iron one. They were obliged to
send for workmen to break it open, by attacking the wall in which it was
fixed. After much labour they entered, and found the old miser dead in
his strong-box, the secret spring of which he had apparently not been
able to find, after having locked himself in; a horrible end in every

The Brissacs have not been very particular in their alliances for some
time, and yet appear no richer. The gold flies away; the dross remains.

I had almost forgotten to say that in the last day of this year, 1720, a
Prince of Wales was born at Rome.

The Prince was immediately baptised by the Bishop; of Montefiascone, and
named Charles. The event caused a great stir in the Holy City. The Pope
sent his compliments to their Britannic Majesties, and forwarded to the
King of England (the Pretender) 10,000 Roman crowns, gave him, for his
life, a country house at Albano, which until then, he had only lent him,
and 2000 crowns to furnish it. A Te Deum was sung in the chapel of the
Pope, in his presence, and there were rejoicings at Rome. When the Queen
of England was able to see company, Cardinal Tanora came in state, as
representative of the Sacred College, to congratulate her.

The birth of the Prince also made much stir at the Court of England, and
among the priests and Jacobites of that country. For very different
reasons, not only the Catholics and Protestants, enemies of the
government, were ravished at it, but nearly all the three realms showed
as much joy as they dared; not from any attachment to the dethroned
house, but for the satisfaction of seeing a line continue with which they
could always menace and oppose their kings and the royal family.

[Illustration: Jacobites Drinking To The Pretender--Painted by F. Willems--1208]

In France we were afraid to show any public feeling upon the event. We
were too much in the hands of England; the Regent and Dubois too much the
humble servants of the house of Hanover; Dubois especially, waiting, as
he was, so anxiously for his cardinal's hat. He did not, as will be
seen, have to wait much longer.

The new Pope had given, in writing, a promise to Dubois, that if elected
to the chair of St. Peter he would make him cardinal. Time had flown,
and the promise was not yet fulfilled. The impatience of Dubois
increased with his hopes, and gave him no repose. He was much bewildered
when he learnt that, on the 16th of June, 1721, the Pope had elevated to
the cardinalship; his brother, who for ten years had been Bishop of
Terracine and Benedictine monk of Mount Cassini. Dubois had expected
that no promotion would be made in which he was not included. But here
was a promotion of a single person only. He was furious; this fury did
not last long, however; a month after, that is to say, on the 16th of
July, the Pope made him cardinal with Dion Alexander Alboni, nephew of
the deceased Pope, and brother of the Cardinal Camarlingue.

Dubois received the news and the compliment that followed with extreme
joy, but managed to contain himself with some little decency, and to give
all the honour of his nomination to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who, sooth to
say, had had scarcely anything to do with it. But he could not prevent
himself from saying to everybody that what honoured him more than the
Roman purple was the unanimous eagerness of all the European powers to
procure him this distinction; to press the Pope to award it; to desire
that his promotion would be hastened without waiting for their
nominations. He incessantly blew these reports about everywhere without
ever being out of breath; but nobody was the dupe of them.

Shortly after this, that is, on the last day of July, the King, who had
until then been in perfect health, woke with headache and pain in the
throat; shivering followed, and towards afternoon, the pains in the head
and throat being augmented, he went to bed. I repaired the next day
about twelve to inquire after him. I found he had passed a bad night,
and that within the last two hours he had grown worse. I saw everywhere
consternation. I had the grandes entrees, therefore I went into his
chamber. I found it very empty. M. le Duc d'Orleans, seated in the
chimney corner, looked exceedingly downcast and solitary. I approached
him for a moment, then I went to the King's bed. At this moment Boulduc,
one of the apothecaries, gave him something to take. The Duchesse de la
Ferme, who, through the Duchesse de Ventadour, her sister, had all the
entrees as godmother to the King, was at the heels of Boulduc, and
turning round to see who was approaching, saw me, and immediately said in
a tone neither high nor low, "He is poisoned! he is poisoned!"

"Hold your tongue, Madame," said I. "This is terrible."

But she kept on, and spoke so loudly that I feared the King would hear
her. Boulduc and I looked at each other, and I immediately withdrew from
the bed and from this mad woman, with whom I was in no way familiar.
During this illness, which lasted only five days (but of which the first
three were violent) I was much troubled, but at the same time I was
exceedingly glad that I had refused to be the King's governor, though the
Regent had over and over again pressed me to accept the office. There
were too many evil reports in circulation against M. le Duc d'Orleans for
me to dream of filling this position. For was I not his bosom friend
known to have been on the most intimate terms with him ever since his
child hood--and if anything had happened to excite new suspicions against
him, what would not have been said? The thought of this so troubled me
during the King's illness, that I used to wake in the night with a start,
and, oh, what joy was mine when I remembered that I had not this duty on
my head!

The malady, as I have said, was not long, and the convalescence was
prompt, which restored tranquillity and joy, and caused an overflow of Te
Deums and rejoicing. Helvetius had all the honour of the cure; the
doctors had lost their heads, he preserved his, and obstinately proposed
bleeding at the foot, at a consultation at which M. le Duc d'Orleans was
present; his advice prevailed, change for the better immediately took
place, cure soon after.

The Marechal de Villeroy (the King's governor) did not let slip this
occasion for showing all his venom and his baseness; he forgot nothing,
left nothing undone in order to fix suspicion upon M. le Duc d'Orleans,
and thus pay his court to the robe. No magistrate, however unimportant,
could come to the Tuileries whom he did not himself go to with the news
of the King and caresses; whilst to the first nobles he was inaccessible.
The magistrates of higher standing he allowed to enter at all times into
the King's chamber, even to stand by his bed in order to see him, while
they who had the 'grandes entrees' with difficulty enjoyed a similar

He did the same during the first days of convalescence, which he
prolonged as much as possible, in order to give the same distinction to
the magistrates, come at what time they might, and privately to the great
people of the Court and the ambassadors. He fancied himself a tribune of
the people, and aspired to their favour and their dangerous power. From
this he turned to other affectations which had the same aim against M. le
Duc d'Orleans. He multiplied the Te Deums that he induced the various
ranks of petty officers of the King to have sung on different days and in
different churches; he attended all, took with him as many people as he
could, and for six weeks continued this game. A Te Deum was sung in
every church in Paris. He spoke of nothing else, and above the real joy
he felt at the King's recovery, he put on a false one which had a party
smell about it, and which avowed designs not to be mistaken.

The King went in state to Notre Dame and Saint Genevieve to thank God.
These mummeries, thus prolonged, extended to the end of August and the
fete Saint-Louis. Each year there, is on that day a concert in the
garden. The Marechal de Villeroy took care that on this occasion, the
concert should become a species of fete, to which he added a display of
fireworks. Less than this would have been enough to draw the crowd.
It was so great that a pin could not have fallen to the ground through
the mass of people wedged against each other in the garden. The windows
of the Tuileries were ornamented, and were filled with people. All the
roofs of the Carrousel, as well as the Place, were covered with

The Marechal de Villeroy was in; his element, and importuned the King,
who tried to hide himself in the corners at every moment. The Marechal
took him by the arm, and led him, now to the windows where he could see
the Carrousel, and the houses covered with people; now to those which
looked upon the garden, full of the innumerable crowd waiting for the
fete. Everybody cried 'Vive le Roi!' when he appeared, but had not the
Marechal detained him, he would have run away and hid himself.

"Look, my master," the Marechal would say, "all that crowd, all these
people are yours, all belong to you; you are the master of them: look at
them a little therefore, to please them, for they are all yours, they are
all devoted to you."

A nice lesson this for a governor to give to a young King, repeating it
every time he leads him to the windows, so fearful is he lest the boy-
sovereign shall forget it! I do not know whether he received similar
lessons from those who had the charge of his education. At last the
Marechal led him upon the terrace, where, beneath a dais, he heard the
end of the concert, and afterwards saw the fireworks. The lesson of the
Marechal de Villeroy, so often and so publicly repeated, made much stir,
and threw but little honour upon him. He himself experienced the first
effect of is fine instruction.

M. le Duc d'Orleans conducted himself in a manner simple, so prudent,
that he infinitely gained by it. His cares and his reasonable anxiety
were measured; there was much reserve in his conversation, an exact and
sustained attention in his language, and in his countenance, which
allowed nothing to escape him, and which showed as little as possible
that he was the successor to the crown; above all, he never gave cause
for people to believe that he thought the King's illness more or less
serious than it was, or that his hopes were stronger than his fears.

He could not but feel that in a conjuncture so critical, all eyes were
fixed upon him, and as in truth he never wished for the crown (however
unlikely the statement may seem), he had no need to constrain himself in
any way, but simply to be measured in his bearing. His conduct was, in
fact, much remarked, and the cabal opposed to him entirely reduced to
silence. Nobody spoke to him upon the event that might happen, not even
his most familiar friends and acquaintances, myself included; and at this
he was much pleased. He acted entirely upon the suggestions of his own
good sense.

This was not the first time, let me add, that the Marechal de Villeroy,
in his capacity of governor of the King, had tacitly insulted M. le Duc
d'Orleans. He always, in fact, affected, in the discharge of his duties,
a degree of care, vigilance, and scrutiny, the object of which was
evident. He was particularly watchful of the food of the King, taking it
up with his own hands, and making a great show of this precaution; as
though the King could not have been poisoned a thousand times over in
spite of such ridiculous care. 'Twas because M. le Duc d'Orleans was
vexed with this childish behaviour, so calculated to do him great injury,
that he wished me to supersede the Marechal de Villeroy as governor of
the King. This, as before said, I would never consent to. As for the
Marechal, his absurdities met with their just reward, but at a date I
have not yet come to.


Before this illness of the King, that is to say, at the commencement of
June, I went one day to work with M, le Duc d'Orleans, and found him
alone, walking up and down the grand apartment.

"Holloa! there," said he, as soon as he saw me; then, taking me by the
hand, "I cannot leave you in ignorance of a thing which I desire above
all others, which is of the utmost importance to me, and which will cause
you as much joy as me; but you must keep it profoundly secret." Then
bursting out laughing, "If M. de Cambrai knew that I had told it to you,
he would never pardon me." And he proceeded to state that perfect
reconciliation had been established between himself and the King and
Queen of Spain; that arrangements had been made by which our young King
was to marry the Infanta of Spain, as soon as he should be old enough;
and the Prince of the Asturias (the heir to the Spanish throne) was to
marry Mademoiselle de Chartres, the Regent's daughter.

If my joy at this was great, my astonishment was even greater; M. le Duc
d'Orleans embraced me, and the first surprise over, I asked him how he
had contrived to bring about these marriages; above all, that of his
daughter. He replied that it had all been done in a trice by the Abbe
Dubois, who was a regular devil when once he had set his mind upon
anything; that the King of Spain had been transported at the idea of the
King of France marrying the Infanta; and that the marriage of the Prince
of the Asturias had been the 'sine qua non' of the other.

After we had well talked over the matter and rejoiced thereon, I said to
the Regent that the proposed marriage of his daughter must be kept
profoundly secret until the moment of her departure for Spain; and that
of the King also, until the time for their execution arrived; so as to
prevent the jealousy of all Europe. At this union, so grand and so
intimate, of the two branches of the royal family, such a union having
always been the terror of Europe and disunion the object of all its
policy--this policy having only too well succeeded--I urged that the
sovereigns must be left as long as possible in the confidence they had
acquired, the Infanta above all, being but three years old (she was born
at Madrid on the morning of the 30th of March, 1718), by which means the
fears of Europe upon the marriage of Mademoiselle de Chartres with the
Prince of the Asturias would be coloured--the Prince could wait, he
having been born in August, 1707, and being accordingly only fourteen
years of age. "You are quite right," replied M. le Duc d'Orleans, "but
this can't be, because in Spain they wish to make public the declarations
of marriage at once, indeed, as soon as the demand is made and the
declaration can be signed."

"What madness!" cried I; "what end can this tocsin have except to arouse
all Europe and put it in movement! They must be made to understand this,
and we must stick to it; nothing is so important."

"All this is true," said M. le Duc d'Orleans. "I think exactly like you,
but they are obstinate in Spain; they have wished matters to be arranged
thus, and their wishes have been agreed to. Everything is arranged,
fixed, finished. I am so much interested in the matter that you surely
would not have advised me to break off for this condition."

I said of course not, shrugging my shoulders at his unseasonable

During the discussion which followed, I did not forget to think of
myself, the occasion being so opportune for making the fortunes of my
second son. I remembered then, that as matters were advanced to this
point, a special ambassador must be sent to Spain, to ask the hand of the
Infanta for the King, and to sign the compact of marriage; that the
ambassador must be a nobleman of mark and title, and thus I begged the
Duke to give me this commission, with a recommendation to the King of
Spain, so as to make my second son, the Marquis of Ruffec, grandee of

M. le Duc d'Orleans scarcely allowed me to finish, immediately accorded
me what I had asked, promised me the recommendation with many expressions
of friendship, and asked me to keep the whole matter secret, and make no
preparation that would disclose it.

I knew well enough why he enjoined me to secrecy. He wished to have the
time to make Dubois swallow this pill. My thanks expressed, I asked him
two favours; first, not to pay me as an ambassador, but to give me a
round sum sufficient to provide for all my expenses without ruining
myself; second, not to entrust any business to me which might necessitate
a long stay in Spain, inasmuch as I did not wish to quit him, and wanted
to go to Spain simply for the purpose of obtaining the honour above
alluded to for my second son. The fact is, I feared that Dubois, not
being able to hinder my embassy, might keep me in Spain in a sort of
exile, under pretence of business, in order to get rid of me altogether.
Events proved that my precaution was not altogether useless.

M. le Duc d'Orleans accorded both the favours I asked, with many obliging
remarks, and a hope that my absence would not be long. I thought I had
then done great things for my family, and went home much pleased. But,
mon Dieu! what are the projects and the successes of men!

Dubois, as I expected, was vexed beyond measure at my embassy, and
resolved to ruin me and throw me into disgrace. I was prepared for this,
and I soon saw it was so. At first, I received from him nothing but
professions of friendship and of attachment for me, congratulations that
M. le Duc d'Orleans had accorded to me an embassy my merit deserved, and
which would be productive of such useful results for my children. He
took care, however, in the midst of these fine phrases, to introduce not
one word upon my arrangements, so that he might be able to drive me into
a corner at the last moment, and cause me all the inconvenience possible.
He slipped through my hands like an eel until the moment for my departure
drew near. As he saw it approach, he began to preach to me of
magnificence, and wished to enter into details respecting my suite. I
described it to him, and everybody else would have been satisfied, but as
his design was to ruin me, he cried out against it, and augmented it by a
third. I represented to him the excessive expense this augmentation
would cause, the state of the finances, the loss upon the exchange: his
sole reply was that the dignity of the King necessitated this expense and
show; and that his Majesty would bear the charge. I spoke to M. le Duc
d'Orleans, who listened to me with attention, but being persuaded by the
Cardinal, held the same language.

This point settled, the Cardinal must needs know how many coats I should
take, and how many I should give to my sons.--in a word, there was not a
single detail of table or stable that he did not enter into, and that he
did not double. My friends exhorted me not to be obstinate with a man so
impetuous, so dangerous, so completely in possession of M. le Duc
d'Orleans, pointing out to me that when once I was away he might profit
by my absence, and that, meanwhile, everything relating to my embassy
must pass through his hands. All this was only too true. I was obliged,
therefore, to yield, although I felt that, once embarked, the King's
purse would be spared at the expense of mine.

As soon as the marriages were declared, I asked to be declared as
ambassador, so that I might openly make my preparations, which, it will
be remembered, I had been forbidden to do. Now that there was no secret
about the marriage, I fancied there need be no secret as to the
ambassador by whom they were to be conducted. I was deceived: Whatever I
might allege, the prohibition remained. The Cardinal wished to put me to
double the necessary expense, by compelling me to have my liveries,
dresses, etc., made in the utmost precipitation; and this happened. He
thought, too, I should not be able to provide myself with everything in
time; and that he might represent this to M. le Duc d'Orleans, and in
Spain, as a fault, and excite envious cries against me.

Nevertheless, I did not choose to press him: to announce my embassy, at
the same time trying to obtain from him the instructions I was to
receive, and which, passing through him and the Regent done, told nothing
to the public, as my preparations would have done. But I could not
obtain them. Dubois carelessly replied to me, that in one or two
conversations the matter would be exhausted. He wished me to know
nothing, except vaguely; to leave no time for reflection, for questions,
for explanations; and to throw me thus into embarrassments, and to cause
me to commit blunders which he intended to make the most of.

At last, tired of so many and such dangerous postponements, I went on
Tuesday, the 23rd of September, to M. le Duc d'Orleans, arranging my
visit so that it took place when he was in his apartments at the
Tuileries; there I spoke with such effect, that he said I had only to
show myself to the King. He led me to his Majesty at once, and there and
then my embassy was announced. Upon leaving the King's cabinet, M. le
Duc d'Orleans made me jump into his coach, which was waiting for him, and
took me to the Palais Royal, where we began to speak seriously upon the
affairs of my embassy.

I fancy that Cardinal Dubois was much annoyed at what had been done, and
that he would have liked to postpone the declaration yet a little longer.
But this now was impossible. The next day people were sent to work upon
my equipments, the Cardinal showing as much eagerness and impatience
respecting them, as he had before shown apathy and indifference. He
urged on the workmen; must needs see each livery and each coat as it was
finished; increased the magnificence of each; and had all my coats and
those of my children sent to him. At last, the hurry to make me set out
was so great, that such of the things as were ready he sent on by rapid
conveyance to Bayonne, at a cost by no means trifling to me.

The Cardinal next examined the list of persons I intended to have with
me, and approved it. To my extreme surprise he said, however, that I
must add forty officers of cavalry and infantry, from the regiments of my
sons. I cried out against the madness and the expense of such a numerous
military accompaniment. I represented that it was not usual for
ambassadors, with a peaceful mission, to take with them such an imposing
force by way of escort; I showed that these officers, being necessarily
gay men, might be led away into indiscreet gallantries, which would give
me more trouble than all the business of my embassy. Nothing could be
more evident, true, and reasonable than my representations, nothing more
useless or worse received.

The Cardinal had resolved to ruin me, and to leave me in Spain with all
the embarrassment, business, and annoyances he could. He rightly thought
that nothing was more likely to make him succeed than to charge me with
forty officers. Not finding them, I took only twenty-nine, and if the
Cardinal succeeded as far as concerned my purse, I was so fortunate, and
these gentlemen were so discreet, that he succeeded in no other way.

Let me add here, before I give the details of my journey to Spain, in
what manner the announcement of these two marriages was received by the
King and the public.

His Majesty was by no means gratified when he heard that a wife had been
provided for him. At the first mention of marriage he burst out crying.
The Regent, M. le Duc, and M. de Frejus, had all the trouble in the world
to extract a "yes" from him, and to induce him to attend the Regency
Council, in which it was necessary that he should announce his consent to
the proposed union, or be present while it was announced for him. The
council was held, and the King came to it, his eyes swollen and red, and
his look very serious.

Some moments of silence passed, during which M. le Duc d'Orleans threw
his eyes over all the company (who appeared deeply expectant), and then
fixed them on the King, and asked if he might announce to the council the
marriage of his Majesty. The King replied by a dry "yes," and in a
rather low tone, but which was heard by the four or five people on each
side of him, and the Regent immediately announced the marriage. Then,
after taking the opinions of the council, which were for the most part
favorable, he turned towards the King with a smiling air, as though
inviting him to assume the same, and said, "There, then, Sire, your
marriage is approved and passed, and a grand and fortunate matter
finished." The council then broke up.

The news of what had taken place immediately ran over all Paris. The
Tuileries and the Palais Royal were soon filled with people who came to
present themselves before the King to compliment him and the Regent on
the conclusion of this grand marriage, and the crowd continued the
following days. The King had much difficulty in assuming some little
gaiety the first day, but on the morrow he was less sombre, and by
degrees he quite recovered himself.

M. le Duc d'Orleans took care not to announce the marriage of his
daughter with the Prince of the Asturias at the same time that the other
marriage was announced. He declared it, however, the next day, and the
news was received with the utmost internal vexation by the cabal opposed
to him. Men, women, people of all conditions who belonged to that cabal,
lost all countenance. It was a pleasure to me, I admit, to look upon
them. They were utterly disconcerted. Nevertheless, after the first few
days of overthrow, they regained courage, and set to work in order to
break off both the marriages.


I have already said that Dubois looked most unfavourably upon my embassy
to Spain, and that I saw he was determined to do all in his power to
throw obstacles in its way. I had fresh proofs of this. First, before
my departure: when he gave me my written instructions, he told me that in
Spain I must take precedence of everybody during the signing of the
King's contract of marriage, and at the chapel, at the two ceremonies of
the marriage of the Prince of the Asturias, allowing no one to be before

I represented to him that the Pope's nuncio would be present, and that to
him the ambassadors of France gave place everywhere, and even the
ambassadors of the Emperor also, who, without opposition, preceded those
of the King. He replied that that was true, except in special cases like
the present, and that his instructions must be obeyed: My surprise was
great at so strange an order. I tried to move him by appealing to his
pride; asking him how I should manage with a cardinal, if one happened to
be present, and with the majordomo-major, who corresponds, but in a very
superior degree, with our grand master of France. He flew in a rage, and
declared that I must precede the majordomo-major also; that there would
be no difficulty in doing so; and that, as to the cardinals, I should
find none. I shrugged my shoulders, and begged him to think of the
matter. Instead of replying, to me, he said he had forgotten to acquaint
me with a most essential particular: it was, that I must take care not to
visit anybody until I had been first visited.

I replied that the visiting question had not been forgotten in my
instructions, and that those instructions were to the effect that I
should act in this respect as the Duc de Saint-Aignan had acted, and that
the usage he had followed was to pay the first visit to the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, and to the Councillors of State (when there were any),
who are the same as are known here under the name of ministers.
Thereupon he broke out afresh, prated, talked about the dignity of the
King, and did not allow me the opportunity of saying another word. I
abridged my visit, therefore, and went away.

However strange might appear to me these verbal orders of such a new
kind, I thought it best to speak to the Duc de Saint-Aignan and Amelot on
the subject, so as to convince myself of their novelty. Both these
ambassadors, as well as those who had preceded them, had visited in an
exactly opposite manner; and they thought it extravagant that I should
precede the nuncio, no matter where. Amelot told me, moreover, that I
should suffer all sorts of annoyances, and succeed in nothing, if I
refused the first visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; that as for
the Councillors of State, they existed only in name, the office having
fallen into desuetude; and that I must pay other visits to certain
officers he named (three in number), who would be justly offended and
piqued if I refused them what every one who had preceded me had rendered
them. He added that I had better take good care to do so, unless I
wished to remain alone in my house, and have the cold shoulder turned
upon me by every principal person of the Court.

By this explanation of Amelot I easily comprehended the reason of these
singular verbal orders. The Cardinal wished to secure my failure in
Spain, and my disgrace in France: in Spain by making me offend at the
outset all the greatest people and the minister through whose hands all
my business would pass; draw upon myself thus complaints here, which, as
I had no written orders to justify my conduct, he (Dubois) would
completely admit the justice of, and then disavow me, declaring he had
given me exactly opposite orders. If I did not execute what he had told
me, I felt that he would accuse me of sacrificing the King's honour and
the dignity of the Crown, in order to please in Spain, and obtain thus
honours for myself and my sons, and that he would prohibit the latter to.
accept them. There would have been less uproar respecting the nuncio;
but if I preceded him, Dubois felt persuaded that the Court of Rome would
demand justice; and this justice in his hands would have been a shameful

My position appeared so difficult, that I resolved to leave nothing
undone in order to change it. I thought M. le Duc d'Orleans would not
resist the evidence I should bring forward, in order to show the
extraordinary nature of Dubois' verbal instructions: I deceived myself.
It was in vain that I spoke to M. le Duc d'Orleans. I found nothing but
feebleness under the yoke of a master; by which I judged how much I could
hope for during my absence. Several times I argued with him and the
Cardinal; but in vain. They both declared that if preceding ambassadors
had paid the first visits, that was no example for me, in an embassy so
solemn and distinguished as that I was about to execute. I represented
that, however solemn and however distinguished might be my embassy, it
gave me no rank superior to that of extraordinary ambassadors, and that I
could claim none. Useless! useless! To my arguments there was no
reply, but obstinacy prevailed; and I clearly saw the extreme malignity
of the valet, and the unspeakable weakness of the master. It was for me
to manage as I could.

The Cardinal now began ardently to press my departure; and, in fact,
there was no more time to lose. He unceasingly hurried on the workmen
who were making all that I required,--vexed, perhaps, that being in such
prodigious number, he could not augment them. There was nothing more for
him to do but to give me the letters with which I was to be charged. He
delayed writing them until the last moment previous to my departure, that
is to say; the very evening before I started; the reason will soon be
seen. The letters were for their Catholic Majesties, for the Queen
Dowager at Bayonne, and for the Prince of the Asturias; letters from the
King and from the Duc d'Orleans. But before giving them to me, the
Regent said he would write two letters to the Prince of the Asturias,
both alike, except in this respect, that in the one he would address the
Prince as "nephew," and in the other as "brother and nephew," and that I
was to try and deliver the latter, which he passionately wished; but that
if I found too much difficulty in doing so, I must not persevere but
deliver the former instead.

I had reason to believe that here was another plot of Dubois, to cause me
trouble by embroiling me with M. le Duc d'Orleans. The Regent was the
last man in the world to care for these formalities. The Prince of the
Asturias was son of the King and heir to the Crown, and, in consequence,
of the rank of a son of France. In whatever way regarded, M. le Duc
d'Orleans was extremely inferior in rank to him; and it was something new
and adventurous to treat him on terms of equality. This, however, is
what I was charged with, and I believe, in the firm hope of Cardinal
Dubois that I should fail, and that he might profit by my failure.

Finally, on the morning of the day before my departure, all the papers
with which I was to be charged were brought to me. I will not give the
list of them. But among these letters there was none from the King to
the Infanta! I thought they had forgotten to put it with the others.
I said so to the persons who brought them to me. What was my surprise
when they told me that the letter was not written, but that I would have
it in the course of the day.

This appeared so strange to me, that my mind was filled with suspicion.
I spoke of the letter to the Cardinal and to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who
assured me that I should have it in the evening. At midnight it had not
arrived. I wrote to the Cardinal. Finally I set out without it. He
wrote to me, saying I should receive it before arriving at Bayonne; but
nothing less. I wrote him anew. He replied to me, saying that I should
have it before I arrived at Madrid. A letter from the King to the
Infanta was not difficult to write; I could not doubt, therefore, that
there was some design in this delay. Whatever it might be, I could not
understand it, unless the intention was to send the letter afterwards,
and make me pass for a heedless fellow who had lost the first.

Dubois served me another most impudent turn, seven or eight days before
my departure. He sent word to me, by his two devoted slaves, Le Blanc
and Belleisle, that as he had the foreign affairs under his charge, he
must have the post, which he would not and could not any longer do
without; that he knew I was the intimate friend of Torcy (who had the
post in his department), whose resignation he desired; that he begged me
to write to Torcy, and send my letter to him by an express courier to
Sable (where he had gone on an excursion); that he should see by my
conduct on this occasion, and its success, in what manner he could count
upon me, and that he should act towards me accordingly. To this his two
slaves added all they could to persuade me to comply, assuring me that
Dubois would break off my embassy if I did not do as he wished. I did
not for a moment doubt, after what I had seen of the inconceivable
feebleness of M. le Duc d'Orleans, that Dubois was really capable of thus
affronting and thwarting me, or that I should have no aid from the
Regent. At the same time I resolved to run all hazards rather than lend
myself to an act of violence against a friend, so sure; so sage, and so
virtuous, and who had served the state with such reputation, and deserved
so well of it.

I replied therefore to these gentlemen that I thought the commission very
strange, and much more so their reasoning of it; that Torcy was not a man
from whom an office of this importance could be taken unless he wished to
give it up; that all I could do was to ask him if he wished to resign,
and if so, on what conditions; that as to exhorting him to resign, I
could do nothing of the kind, although I was not ignorant of what this
refusal might cost me and my embassy. They tried in vain to reason with
me; all they could obtain was this firm resolution.

Castries and his brother, the Archbishop, were intimate friends of Torcy
and of myself. I sent for them to come to me in the midst of the tumult
of my departure. They immediately came, and I related to them what had
just happened. They were more indignant at the manner and the moment,
than at the thing itself; for Torcy knew that sooner or later the
Cardinal would strip him of the post for his own benefit. They extremely
praised my reply, exhorted me to send word to Torcy, who was on the point
of departing from Sable, or had departed, and who would make his own
terms with M. le Duc d'Orleans much more advantageously, present, than
absent. I read to them the letter I had written to Torcy, while waiting
for them, which they much approved, and which I at once despatched.

Torcy of himself, had hastened his return. My courier found him with his
wife in the Parc of Versailles, having passed by the Chartres route. He
read my letter, charged the courier with many compliments for me (his
wife did likewise), and told me to say he would see me the next day. I
informed M. Castries of his arrival. We all four met the next day.
Torcy warmly appreciated my conduct, and, to his death, we lived on terms
of the greatest intimacy, as may be imagined when I say that he committed
to me his memoirs (these he did not write until long after the death of
M. le Duc d'Orleans), with which I have connected mine. He did not seem
to care for the post, if assured of an honourable pension.

I announced then his return to Dubois, saying it would be for him and M.
le Duc d'Orleans to make their own terms with him, and get out of the.
matter in this way. Dubois, content at seeing by this that Torcy
consented to resign the post, cared not how, so that the latter made his
own arrangements, and all passed off with the best grace on both sides.
Torcy had some money and 60,000 livres pension during life, and 20,000
for his wife after him. This was arranged before my departure and was
very well carried out afterwards.

A little while after the declaration of the marriage, the Duchesse de
Ventadour and Madame de Soubise, her granddaughter, had been named, the
one governess of the Infanta, the other successor to the office; and they
were both to go and meet her at the frontier, and bring her to Paris to
the Louvre, where she was to be lodged a little while after the
declaration of my embassy: the Prince de Rohan, her son-in-law, had
orders to go and make the exchange of the Princesses upon the frontier,
with the people sent by the King of Spain to perform the same function.
I had never had any intimacy with them, though we were not on bad terms.
But these Spanish commissions caused us to visit each other with proper
politeness. I forgot to say so earlier and in the proper place.

At last, viz., on the 23rd of October, 1721, I set out, having with me
the Comte de Lorge, my children, the Abbe de Saint-Simon, and his
brother, and many others. The rest of the company joined me at Blaye.
We slept at Orleans, at Montrichard; and at Poictiers. On arriving at
Conte my berline broke down. This caused a delay of three hours, and I
did not arrive at Ruffec until nearly midnight. Many noblemen of the
neighbourhood were waiting for me there, and I entertained them at dinner
and supper during the two days I stayed. I experienced real pleasure in
embracing Puy-Robert, who was lieutenant-colonel of the Royal Roussillon
Regiment when I was captain.

From Ruffec I went in two days to La Cassine, a small house at four
leagues from Blaye, which my father had built on the borders of his
marshes of Blaye, and which I felt much pleasure in visiting; I stopped
there during All Saints' Day and the evening before, and the next day I
early betook myself to Blaye again, where I sojourned two days. I found
several persons of quality there, many of the nobility of the country and
of the adjoining provinces, and Boucher, Intendant of Bordeaux, brother-
in-law of Le Blanc, who was waiting for me, and whom I entertained with
good cheer morning and evening during this short stay.

We crossed to Bordeaux in the midst of such bad weather that everybody
pressed me to delay the trip; but I had so few, days at my command that I
did not accede to their representations. Boucher had brought his
brigantine magnificently equipped, and boats enough to carry over all my
company, most of whom went with us. The view of the port and the town of
Bordeaux surprised me, with more than three hundred ships of all nations
ranged in two lines upon my passage, decked out in all their finery, and
with a great noise from their cannons and those of the Chateau Trompette.

Bordeaux is too well known to need description at my hands: I will simply
say that after Constantinople it presents the finest view of any other
port. Upon landing we received many compliments, and found many
carriages, which conducted us to the Intendant's house, where the Jurats
came to compliment me in state dress. I invited them to supper with.
me, a politeness they did not expect, and which they appeared to highly
appreciate. I insisted upon going to see the Hotel de Ville, which is
amazingly ugly, saying to the Jurats that it was not to satisfy my
curiosity, but in order to pay a visit to them, that I went. This
extremely pleased.

After thanking M. and Madame Boucher for their attention, we set out
again, traversed the great Landes, and reached in due time Bayonne. The
day after my arrival there, I had an audience with the Queen Dowager of
Spain. I was astonished upon arriving at her house. It had only two
windows in front, looked upon a little court, and had but trifling depth.
The room I entered was very plainly furnished. I found the Queen, who
was waiting for me, accompanied by the Duchesse de Linorez and very few
other persons. I complimented her in the name of the King, and presented
to her his letter. Nothing could be more polite than her bearing towards

Passing the Pyrenees, I quitted with France, rain and bad weather, and
found a clear sky, a charming temperature, with views and perspectives
which changed at each moment, and which were not less charming. We were
all mounted upon mules, the pace of which is good but easy. I turned a
little out of my way to visit Loyola, famous by the birth of Saint
Ignatius, and situated all alone in a narrow valley. We found there four
or five Jesuits, very polite and instructed, who took care of the
prodigious building erected there for more than a hundred Jesuits and
numberless scholars. A church was there nearly finished, of rotunda
shape, of a grandeur and size which surprised me. Gold, painting,
sculpture, the richest ornaments of all kinds, are distributed everywhere
with prodigality but taste. The architecture is correct and admirable,
the marble is most exquisite; jasper, porphyry, lapis, polished,
wreathed, and fluted columns, with their capitals and their ornaments of
gilded bronze, a row of balconies between each altar with little steps of
marble to ascend them, and the cage encrusted; the altars and that which
accompanied them admirable. In a word, the church was one of the most
superb edifices in Europe, the best kept up, and the most magnificently
adorned. We took there the best chocolate I ever tasted, and, after some
hours of curiosity and admiration, we regained our road.

On the 15th, we arrived at Vittoria, where I found a deputation of the
province, whom I invited to supper, and the next day to breakfast. They
spoke French and I was surprised to see Spaniards so gay and such good
company at table. Joy on account of my journey burst out in every place
through which I passed in France and Spain, and obtained for me a good
reception. At Salinas, among other towns which I passed through without
stopping, ladies, who, to judge by their houses and by themselves,
appeared to me to be quality folks, asked me with such good grace to let
them see the man who was bringing happiness to Spain, that I thought it
would only be proper gallantry to enter their dwellings. They appeared
ravished, and I had all the trouble in the world to get rid of them, and
to continue my road.

I arrived on the 18th at Burgos, where I meant to stay at least one day,
to see what turn would take a rather strong fever which had seized my
eldest son; but I was so pressed to hasten on that I was obliged to leave
my son behind with nearly all his attendants.

I left Burgos therefore on the 19th. We found but few relays, and those
ill-established. We travelled night and day without going to bed, until
we reached Madrid, using such vehicles as we could obtain. I performed
the last twelve leagues on a posthorse, which cost twice as much as in
France. In this manner we arrived in Madrid on Friday, the 21st, at
eleven o'clock at night.

We found at the entrance of the town (which has neither gates nor walls,
neither barriers nor faubourgs,) people on guard, who asked us who we
were, and whence we came. They had been placed there expressly so as to
know the moment of my arrival. As I was much fatigued by travelling
incessantly from Burgos without stopping, I replied that we were the
people of the Ambassador of France, who would arrive the next day.

I learnt afterwards, that the minister had calculated that I could not
reach Madrid before the 22d.


Early the next morning I received a visit from Grimaldo, Minister of
Foreign Affairs, who, overjoyed at my arrival, had announced it to their
Catholic Majesties before coming to me. Upon his example, apparently,
the three other ministers, whom, according to usage, I ought to have
visited first, came also; so that one infamous difficulty which Cardinal
Dubois had placed in my path was happily overcome without effort on my

Grimaldo at once conducted me to the palace, and introduced me to the
King. I made a profound reverence to him; he testified to me his joy at
my arrival, and asked me for news of the King, of M. le Duc d'Orleans, of
my journey, and of my eldest son, whom, as he knew, I had left behind at
Burgos. He then entered alone into the Cabinet of the Mirrors. I was
instantly surrounded by all the Court with compliments and indications of
joy at the marriages and union of the crowns. Nearly all the seigneurs
spoke French, and I had great difficulty in replying to their numberless

A half quarter of an hour after the King had entered his cabinet, he sent
for me. I entered alone into the Hall of Mirrors, which is very vast,
but much less wide than long. The King, with the Queen on his left, was
nearly at the bottom of the salon, both their Majesties standing and
touching each other. I approached with three profound reverences, and I
will remark, once for all, that the King never covers himself except at
public audiences, and when he goes to and comes from his mass. The
audience lasted half an hour, and was principally occupied, on the part
of the King and Queen, with compliments and expressions of joy at the
marriages that were to take place. At its close, the Queen asked me if I
would like to see the children, and conducted me to them.

I never saw prettier boys than Don Carlos and Don Ferdinand, nor a
prettier babe than Don Philip. The King and Queen took pleasure in
making me look at them, and in making them turn and walk before me with
very good grace. Their Majesties entered afterwards into the Infanta's
chamber, where I tried to exhibit as much gallantry as possible. In
fact, the Infanta was charming-like a little woman--and not at all
embarrassed. The Queen said to me that she already had begun to learn
French, and the King that she would soon forget Spain.

"Oh!" cried the Queen, "not only Spain, but the King and me, so as to
attach herself to the King, her husband, alone." Upon this I tried not
to remain dumb, and to say what was appropriate. Their Majesties
dismissed me with much goodness, and I was again encircled by the crowd
with many compliments.

A few moments after the King recalled me, in order to see the Prince of
the Asturias, who was with their Majesties in the same Hall of Mirrors.
I found him tall, and really made to be painted; fine light-brown hair,
light fresh-coloured complexion, long face, but agreeable; good eyes, but
too near the nose. I found in him also much grace and politeness. He
particularly asked after the King, M. le Duc d'Orleans, and Mademoiselle
de Montpensier, to whom he was to be betrothed.

Their Catholic Majesties testified much satisfaction to me at the
diligence I had used; said that a single day would be sufficient for the
ceremonies that had to be gone through (demanding the hand of the
Infanta, according it, and signing the marriage contract). Afterwards
they asked me when all would be ready. I replied it would be any day
they pleased; because, as they wished to go into the country, I thought
it would be best to throw no delay in their path. They appeared much
pleased at this reply, but would not fix the day, upon which I proposed
the following Tuesday. Overjoyed at this promptness, they fixed the
Thursday for their departure, and left me with the best possible grace.

I had got over one difficulty, as I have shown, that connected with the
first visits, but I had others yet to grapple with. And first, there was
my embarrassment at finding no letter for the Infanta. I confided this
fact to Grimaldo, who burst out laughing, was to have my first audience
with the Infanta the next day, and it was then that the letter ought to
be produced. Grimaldo said he would arrange so that when I--went, the
governess should come into the antechamber, and say that the Infanta was
asleep, and upon offering to awake her, I should refuse to allow her,
take my leave, and wait until the letter from the King arrived before I
visited her again. Everything happened just as it had been planned, and
thus the second obstacle which the crafty and malicious Cardinal had put
in my path, for the sake of overturning me, was quietly got over.
Grimaldo's kindness encouraged me to open my heart under its influence.
I found that the Spanish minister knew, quite as, well as I did, what
manner of person Dubois was.

On Sunday, the 23rd, I had in the morning my first private audience of
the King and Queen, together, in the Hall of Mirrors, which is the place
where they usually give it. I was accompanied by Maulevrier, our
ambassador. I presented to their Catholic Majesties the Comte de Lorge,
the Comte de Cereste, my second son, and the Abbe de Saint-Simon and his
bother. I received many marks of goodness from the Queen in this

On Tuesday, the 25th of November, I had my solemn audience. I went to
the palace in a magnificent coach, belonging to the King, drawn by eight
grey horses, admirably dappled. There were no postillions, and the
coachman drove me, his hat under his arm. Five of my coaches filled with
my suite followed, and about twenty others (belonging to noblemen of the
Court, and sent by them in order to do me honour), with gentlemen in
each. The King's coach was surrounded by my musicians, liveried servants
on foot, and by officers of my household. On arriving at the open place
in front of the palace, I thought myself at the Tuileries. The regiments
of Spanish guards, clad, officers and soldiers, like the French guards,
and the regiment of the Walloon guards, clad, officers and, soldiers,
like the Swiss guards, were under arms; the flags waved, the drums beat,
and the officers saluted with the half-pike. On the way, the streets
were filled with people, the shops with dealers and artisans, all the
windows were crowded. Joy showed itself on every face, and we heard
nothing but benedictions.

The audience passed off admirably. I asked the hand of the Infanta in
marriage on the part of the King; my request was graciously complied
with, compliments passed on both sides, and I returned to my house, well
pleased with the reception I had met with from both their Catholic

There was still the marriage contract to be signed, and this was to take
place in the afternoon. Here was to be my great trial, for the
majordomo-major and the nuncio of the Pope were to be present at the
ceremony, and, according to the infamous and extraordinary instructions
I had received from Dubois, I was to precede them! How was this to be
done? I had to bring all my ingenuity to bear upon the subject in order
to determine. In the embarrassment I felt upon this position, I was
careful to affect the most marked attention to the nuncio and the
majordomo-major every time I met them and visited them; so as to take
from them all idea that I wished to precede them, when I should in
reality do so.

The place the majordomo-major was to occupy at this ceremony was behind
the King's armchair, a little to the right, so as to allow room for the
captain of the guards on duty; to put myself there would be to take his
place, and push the captain of the guards away, and those near him. The
place of the nuncio was at the side of the King, his face to the
armchair; to take it would have been to push him beyond the arm of the
chair, which assuredly he would no more have submitted to than the
majordomo-major on the other side. I resolved, therefore, to hazard a
middle term; to try and introduce myself at the top of the right arm of
the chair, a little sideways, so as to take the place of neither,
entirely; but, nevertheless, to drive them out, and to cover this with an
air of ignorance and of simplicity; and, at the same time, of eagerness,
of joy, of curiosity, of courtier-like desire to speak to the King as
much as possible: and all this I exactly executed, in appearance
stupidly, and in reality very successfully!

When the time for the audience arrived, I took up my position,
accordingly, in the manner I have indicated. The majordomo-major and the
nuncio entered, and finding me thus placed, and speaking to the King,
appeared much surprised. I heard Signor and Sefor repeated right and
left of me, and addressed to me--for both expressed themselves with
difficulty in French--and I replied with bows to one and to the other
with the smiling air of a man entirely absorbed in joy at his functions,
and who understands nothing of what is meant; then I recommenced my
conversation with the King, with a sort of liberty and enthusiasm, so
that the nuncio and majordomo-major: soon grew tired of appealing to a
man whose spirit was so transported that he no longer knew where he was,
or what was said to him. In this manner I defeated the craft, cunning,
and maliciousness of Dubois. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I
accompanied the King and Queen to the door of the Hall of Mirrors, taking
good care then to show every deference to the majordomo-major and the
nuncio, and yielding place to them, in order to remove any impression
from their minds that I had just acted in a contrary manner from design.
As soon as their Catholic Majesties had departed, and the door of the
salon was closed upon them, I was encircled and, so to speak, almost
stifled by the company present, who, one after the other, pressed upon me
with the greatest demonstrations of joy and a thousand compliments.
I returned home after the ceremony, which had lasted a long time. While
I occupied my stolen position I was obliged, in order to maintain it, to
keep up an incessant conversation with the King, and at last, no longer
knowing what to talk about, I asked him for an audience the next day,
which he readily accorded me. But this direct request was contrary to
the usage of the Court, where the ambassadors, the other foreign
ministers, and the subjects of the country of, whatever rank, address
their requests to an officer who is appointed to receive them, who
communicates with the King, and names the day and the hour when his
Majesty will grant the interview.

Grimaldo, a little after the end of ceremony, had gone to work with the
King and Queen, as was customary.--I was surprised, an hour after
returning home, to receive a letter from this minister, asking me if I
had anything to say to the King I did not wish the Queen to hear,
referring to the audience I had asked of the King for the morrow, and
begging me to tell him what it was for. I replied to him instantly, that
having found the opportunity good I had asked for this audience; but if I
had not mentioned the Queen, it was because I had imagined she was so
accustomed to be present that there was no necessity to allude to her:
but as to the rest, I had my thanks to offer to the King upon what had
just passed, and nothing to say to him that I should not wish to say to
the Queen, and that I should be very sorry if she were not present.

As I was writing this reply, Don Gaspard Giron invited me to go and see
the illuminations of the Place Mayor. I quickly finished my letter; we
jumped into a coach, and the principal people of my suite jumped into
others. We were conducted by detours to avoid the light of the
illuminations in approaching them, and we arrived at a fine house which
looks upon the middle of the Place, and which is that where the King and
Queen go to see the fetes that take place. We perceived no light in
descending or in ascending the staircase. Everything had been closed,
but on entering into the chamber which looks upon the Place, we were
dazzled, and immediately we entered the balcony speech failed me, from
surprise, for more than seven or eight minutes.

This Place is superficially much vaster than any I had ever seen in Paris
or elsewhere, and of greater length than breadth. The five stories of
the houses which surround it are all of the same level; each has windows
at equal distance, and of equal size, with balconies as deep as they are
long, guarded by iron balustrades, exactly alike in every case. Upon
each of these balconies two torches of white wax were placed, one at each
end of the balcony, supported upon the balustrade, slightly leaning
outwards, and attached to nothing. The light that this--gives is
incredible; it has a splendour and a majesty about it that astonish you
and impress you. The smallest type can be read in the middle of the
Place, and all about, though the ground-floor is not illuminated.

As soon as I appeared upon the balcony, all the people beneath gathered
round and began to cry, Senor! tauro! tauro! The people were asking me
to obtain for them a bull-fight, which is what they like best in the
world, and what the King had not permitted for several years from
conscientious principles. Therefore I contented myself the next day with
simply telling him of these cries, without asking any questions thereon,
while expressing to him my astonishment at an illumination so surprising
and so admirable.

Don Gaspard Giron and the Spaniards who were with me in the house from
which I saw the illumination, charmed with the astonishment I had
displayed at this spectacle, published it abroad with all the more
pleasure because they were not accustomed to the admiration of the
French, and many noblemen spoke of it to me with great pleasure.
Scarcely had I time to return home and sup after this fine illumination
than I was obliged to go to the palace for the ball that the King had
prepared there, and which lasted until past two in the morning.

The salon was very vast and splendid;'the dresses of the company were
sumptuous; the appearance of our finest fancy-dress balls did not
approach the appearance of this.

What seemed strange to me was to see three bishops in lawn sleeves and
cloaks in the ball-room, remaining, too, all the evening, and to see the
accoutrement of the camerara-mayor, who held exposed in her hand a great
chaplet, and who, while talking and criticising the ball and the dancers,
muttered her prayers, and continued to do so while the ball lasted. What
I found very strange was, that none of the men present (except six
special officers and Maulevrier and myself) were allowed to sit, not even
the dancers; in fact, there was not a single seat in the whole salon, not
even at the back, except those I have specified.

In Spain, men and women of all ages wear all sorts of colours, and dance
if they like, even when more than sixty years old, without exciting the
slightest ridicule or astonishment. I saw several examples of this among
men and women.

Amongst the company present was Madame Robecque, a Frenchwoman, one of
the Queen's ladies, whom I had known before she went to Spain. In former
days we had danced together at the Court. Apparently she said so to the
Queen, for after having danced with one of the children, she traversed
the whole length of the salon, made a fine curtsey to their Catholic
Majesties, and came to dislodge me from my retreat, asking me with a
curtsey and a smile to dance. I replied to her by saying she was
laughing at me; dispute, gallantries; finally, she went to the Queen, who
called me and told me that the King and she wished me to dance.

I took the liberty to represent to her that she wished to divert herself
at my expense; that this order could not be serious; I alleged my age, my
position, the number of years since I had danced; in a word, I did all I
could to back out. But all was useless. The King mixed himself in the
matter; both he and the Queen begged me to comply, tried to persuade me
I danced very well; at last commanded me, and in such a manner that I was
obliged to obey. I acquitted myself, therefore, as well as I could.

The ball being finished, the Marquis de Villagarcias, one of the
majordomos, and one of the most honest and most gracious of men I ever
saw (since appointed Viceroy of Peru), would not let me leave until I had
rested in the refreshment-room, where he made me drink a glass of
excellent neat wine, because I was all in a sweat from the minuets and
quadrilles I had gone through, under a very heavy coat.

This same evening and the next I illuminated my house within and without,
not having a moment's leisure to give any fete in the midst of the many
functions I had been so precipitately called upon to fulfil.


On Thursday, the 27th of November, the King and Queen were to depart from
Madrid to Lerma, a pretty hamlet six leagues from Burgos, where they had
a palace. On the same day, very early in the morning, our ambassador,
Maulevrier, came to me with despatches from Cardinal Dubois, announcing
that the Regent's daughter, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, had departed on
the 18th of November for Spain, and giving information as to the places
she would stop at, the people she would be accompanied by, the day she
would arrive at the frontier, and the persons charged with the exchange
of the Princesses.

Maulevrier and I thought this news so important that we felt there was no
time to lose, and at once hastened away to the palace to communicate it
to their Majesties, who we knew were waiting for it most impatiently. We
arrived at such an early hour that all was deserted in the palace, and
when we reached the door of the Hall of Mirrors, we were obliged to knock
loudly in order to be heard. A French valet opened the door, and told us
that their Catholic Majesties were still in bed. We did not doubt it,
and begged him to apprise them that we wished to have the honour of
speaking to them. Such an honour was unheard of, except under
extraordinary circumstances; nevertheless the valet quickly returned,
saying that their Majesties would receive us, though it was against all
rule and usage to do so while they were in bed.

We traversed therefore the long and grand Hall of Mirrors, turned to the
left at the end into a large and fine room, then short off to the left
again into a very little chamber, portioned off from the other, and
lighted by the door and by two little windows at the top of the partition
wall. There was a bed of four feet and a half at most, of crimson
damask, with gold fringe, four posts, the curtains open at the foot and
at the side the King occupied. The King was almost stretched out upon
pillows with a little bed-gown of white satin; the Queen sitting upright,
a piece of tapestry in her hand, at the left of the King, some skeins of
thread near her, papers scattered upon the rest of the bed and upon an
armchair at the side of it. She was quite close to the King, who was in
his night-cap, she also, and in her bed-gown, both between the sheets,
which were only very imperfectly hidden by the papers.

They made us abridge our reverences, and the King, raising himself a
little impatiently, asked us our business. We were alone, the valet
having retired after showing us the door.

"Good news, Sire," replied I. "Mademoiselle de Montpensier set out on
the 18th; the courier has this instant brought us the news, and we have
at once come to present ourselves to you and apprise your Majesties of

Joy instantly painted itself on their faces, and immediately they began
to question us at great length upon the details the courier had brought
us. After an animated conversation, in which Maulevrier took but little
part, their Catholic Majesties dismissed us, testifying to us the great
pleasure we had caused them by not losing a minute in acquainting them
with the departure of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, above all in not
having been stopped by the hour, and by the fact that they were in bed.

We went back to my house to dine and returned to the palace in order to
see the King and Queen depart. I again received from them a thousand
marks of favour. Both the King and Queen, but especially the latter,
several times insisted that I must not lose any time in following them to
Lerma; upon which I assured them they would find me there as they
alighted from their coach.

I set out, in fact, on the 2nd of December, from Madrid, to join the
Court, and was to sleep at the Escurial, with the Comtes de Lorges and de
Cereste, my second son, the Abbe de Saint-Simon and his brother, Pacquet,
and two principal officers of the King's troops, who remained with me as
long as I stayed in Spain. In addition to the orders of the King of
Spain and the letters of the Marquis de Grimaldo, I was also furnished
with those of the nuncio for the Prior of the Escurial, who is, at the
same time, governor, in order that I might he shown the marvels of this
superb and prodigious monastery, and that everything might be opened for
me that I wished to visit; for I had been warned that, without the
recommendation of the nuncio, neither that of the King and his minister,
nor any official character, would have much served me. It will be seen
that, after all, I did not fail to suffer from the churlishness and the
superstition of these coarse Jeronimites.

They are black and white monks, whose dress resembles that of the
Celestins; very idle, ignorant, and without austerity, who, by the number
of their monasteries and their riches, are in Spain much about what the
Benedictines are in France, and like them are a congregation. They elect
also, like the Benedictines, their superiors, local and general, except
the Prior of the Escurial, who is nominated by the King, remains in
office as long as the King likes and no more, and who is yet better
lodged at the Escurial than his Catholic Majesty. 'Tis a prodigy, this
building, of extent, of structure, of every kind of magnificence, and
contains an immense heap of riches, in pictures, in ornaments, in vases
of all kinds, in precious stones, everywhere strewn about, and the
description of which I will not undertake, since it does not belong to my
subject. Suffice it to say that a curious connoisseur of all these
different beauties might occupy himself there for three months without
cessation, and then would not have examined all. The gridiron (its form,
at least) has regulated all the ordonnance of this sumptuous edifice in
honour of Saint-Laurent, and of the battle of Saint-Quentin, gained by
Philippe II., who, seeing the action from a height, vowed he would erect
this monastery if his troops obtained the victory, and asked his
courtiers, if such were the pleasures of the Emperor, his father, who in
fact did not go so far for them as that.

There is not a door, a lock, or utensil of any kind, or a piece of plate,
that is not marked with a gridiron.

The distance from Madrid to the Escurial is much about the same as that
from Paris to Fontainebleau. The country is very flat and becomes a
wilderness on approaching the Escurial, which takes its name from a large
village you pass, a league off. It is upon an eminence which you ascend
imperceptibly, and upon which you see endless deserts on three sides; but
it is backed, as it were, by the mountain of Guadarama, which encircles
Madrid on three sides, at a distance of several leagues, more or less.
There is no village at the Escurial; the lodging of their Catholic
Majesties forms the handle of the gridiron. The principal grand
officers, and those most necessary, are lodged, as well as the Queen's
ladies, in the monastery; on the side by which you arrive all is very
badly built.

The church, the grand staircase, and the grand cloister, surprised me.
I admired the elegance of the surgery, and the pleasantness of the
gardens, which, however, are only a long and wide terrace. The Pantheon
frightened me by a sort of horror and majesty. The grand-altar and the
sacristy wearied my eyes, by their immense opulence. The library did not
satisfy me, and the librarians still less: I was received with much
civility, and invited to a good supper in the Spanish style, at which the
Prior and another monk did the honours. After this fast repast my people
prepared my meals, but this fat monk always supplied one or two things
that it would not have been civil to refuse, and always ate with me; for,
in order that he might conduct us everywhere, he never quitted our sides.
Bad Latin supplied the place of French, which he did not understand; nor
even Spanish.

In the sanctuary at the grand altar, there are windows behind the seats
of the priest and his assistants, who celebrate the grand mass. These
windows, which are nearly on a level with the sanctuary (very high),
belong to the apartment that Philippe II. had built for himself, and in
which he died. He heard service through these windows. I wished to see
this apartment, which was entered from behind. I was refused. It was in
vain that I insisted on the orders of the King and of the nuncio,
authorising me to see all I wished. I disputed uselessly. They told me
this apartment had been closed ever since the death of Philippe II., and
that nobody had entered it. I maintained that King Philippe V. and his
suite had seen it. They admitted the fact, but at the same time told me
that he had entered by force as a master, threatening to break in the
doors, that he was the only King who had entered since Philippe II., and
that they would not open the apartment to anybody. I understood nothing
of all this superstition, but I was forced to rest content in my
ignorance. Louville, who had entered with the King, had told me that the
place contained only five or six dark chambers, and some holes and
corners with wainscots plastered with mud; without tapestry, when he saw
it, or any kind of furniture; thus I did not lose much by not entering.

In the Rotting-Room, which I have elsewhere described, we read the
inscriptions near us, and the monk read others as we asked him. We
walked thus, all round, talking and discoursing thereon. Passing to the
bottom of the room, the coffin of the unhappy Don Carlos offered itself
to our sight.

"As for him," said I, "it is well known why, and of what he died." At
this remark, the fat monk turned rusty, maintained he had died a natural
death, and began to declaim against the stories which he said had been
spread abroad about him. I smiled, saying, I admitted it was not true
that his veins had been opened. This observation completed the
irritation of the monk, who began to babble in a sort of fury. I
diverted myself with it at first in silence; then I said to him, that the
King, shortly after arriving in Spain; had had the curiosity to open the
coffin of Don Carlos, and that I knew from a man who was present ('twas
Louville), that his head had been found between his legs; that Philippe
II., his father, had had it cut off before him in the prison.

"Very well!" cried the monk in fury, "apparently he had well deserved it;
for Philippe II., had permission from the Pope to do so!" and,
thereupon, he began to cry with all his might about the marvels of piety
and of justice of Philippe II., and about the boundless power of the
Pope, and to cry heresy against any one who doubted that he could not
order, decide, and dispose of all.

Such is the fanaticism of the countries of the Inquisition, where science
is a crime, ignorance and superstition the first of virtues. Though my
official character protected me, I did not care to dispute, and cause a
ridiculous scene with this bigot of a monk. I contented myself with
smiling, and by making a sign of silence as I did so to those who were
with me. The monk, therefore, had full swing, and preached a long time
without giving over. He perceived, perhaps, by our faces, that we were
laughing at him, although without gestures or words. At last he showed
us the rest of the chamber, still fuming; then we descended to the
Pantheon. They did me the singular favour to light about two-thirds of
the immense and admirable chandelier, suspended from the middle of the
roof, the lights of which dazzled us, and enabled us to distinguish in
every part of the Rotting-Room; not only the smallest details of the
smallest letter, but the minutest features of the place.

I passed three days in the Escurial, lodged in a large and fine
apartment, and all that were with me well lodged also. Our monk, who had
always been in an ill-humour since the day of the Rotting-Room, did not
recover himself until the parting breakfast came. We quitted him without
regret, but not the Escurial, which would pleasantly occupy a curious
connoisseur during more than a three months' stay. On the road we met
the Marquis de Montalegre, who invited, us to dinner with him. The meal
was so good that we little regretted the dinner my people had prepared
for us.

At last we arrived on the 9th, at our village of Villahalmanzo, where I
found most comfortable quarters for myself and all who were with me. I
found there, also, my eldest son, still merely, convalescent, with the
Abbe de Monthon, who came from Burgos. We supped very gaily, and I
reckoned upon taking a good excursion the next day, and upon amusing
myself in reconnoitring the village and the environs; but fever seized me
during the night, augmented during the day, became violent the following
night, so that there was no more talk of going on the 11th to meet the
King and Queen at Lerma, as they alighted from their coach, according to

The malady increased with such rapidity that I was found to be in great
danger, and immediately after, on the point of death. I was bled shortly
after. The small-pox, with which the whole country was filled, appeared.
The climate was such this year that it froze hard twelve or fourteen
hours every day, while from eleven o'clock in 'the morning till nearly
four, the sun shone as brightly as possible, and it was too hot about
mid-day for walking! Yet in the shade it did not thaw for an instant.
This cold weather was all the more sharp because the air was purer and
clearer, and the sky continually of the most perfect serenity.

The King of Spain, who was dreadfully afraid of the small-pox, and who
with reason had confidence only in his chief doctor, sent him to me as
soon as he was informed of my illness, with orders not to quit me until I
was cured. I had, therefore, five or six persons continually around me,
in addition to the domestics who served me, one of the best and most
skilful physicians in Europe, who, moreover, was capital company, and who
did not quit me night or day, and three very good surgeons. The small-
pox came out very abundantly all over me; it was of a good kind, and I
had no dangerous accident. Every one who waited upon me, master or man,
was cut off from all intercourse with the rest of the world; even those
who cooked for us, from those who did not.

The chief physician nearly every day provided new remedies in case of
need, and yet administered none to me, except in giving me, as my sole
beverage, water, in which, according to its quantity, oranges were
thrown, cut in two with their skins on, and which gently simmered before
my, fire; occasionally some spoonful of a gentle and agreeable cordial
during the height of the suppuration, and afterwards a little Rota wine,
and some broth, made of beef and partridge.

Nothing was wanting, then, on the part of those who had charge of me. I
was their only patient, and they had orders not to quit me, and nothing
was wanting for my amusement, when I was in a condition to take any, so
much good company being around me, and that at a time when convalescents
of this malady experience all the weariness and fretfulness of it. At
the end of my illness I was bled and purged once, after which I lived as
usual, but in a species of solitude.

During the long interval in which this illness shut me out from all
intercourse with the world, the Abbe de Saint-Simon corresponded for me
with Cardinal Dubois, Grimaldo, Sartine, and some others.

The King and Queen, not content with having sent me their chief
physician, M. Hyghens, to be with me night and day, wished to hear how I
was twice a day, and when I was better, unceasingly showed to me a
thousand favours, in which they were imitated by all the Court.

But I was six weeks ill in all.


Here I think will be the fitting place to introduce an account of the
daily life of the King and Queen of Spain, which in many respects was
entitled to be regarded as singular. During my stay at the Court I had
plenty of opportunity to mark it well, so that what I relate may be said
to have passed under my own eyes. This, then, was their daily life
wherever they were, and in all times and seasons.

The King and Queen never had more than one apartment, and one bed between
them, the latter exactly as I have described it when relating my visit
with Maulevrier to their Catholic Majesties to carry to them the news of
the departure from Paris of the future Princess of the Asturias. During
fevers, illness, no matter of what kind, or on whose side, childbirth
even,--never were they a single night apart, and even when the deceased
Queen was eaten up with the scrofula, the King continued to sleep with
her until a few nights before her death!

About nine o'clock in the morning the curtains were drawn by the Asafeta,
followed by a single valet carrying a basin full of caudle. Hyghens,
during my convalescence, explained to me how this caudle was made, and in
fact concocted some for me to taste. It is a light mixture of broth,
milk, wine (which is in the largest quantity), one or two yolks of eggs,
sugar, cinnamon, and a few cloves. It is white; has a very strong taste,
not unmixed with softness. I should not like to take it habitually,
nevertheless it is not disagreeable. You put in it, if you like, crusts
of bread, or, at times, toast, and then it becomes a species of soup;
otherwise it is drunk as broth; and, ordinarily, it was in this last
fashion the King took it. It is unctuous, but very warm, a restorative
singularly good for retrieving the past night, and, for preparing you for
the next.

While the King partook of this brief breakfast, the Asafeta brought the
Queen some tapestry to work at, passed bed-gowns to their Majesties, and
put upon the bed some of the papers she found upon the adjoining seats,
then withdrew with the valet and what he had brought. Their Majesties
then said their morning prayers. Grimaldo afterwards entered. Sometimes
they signalled to him to wait, as he came in, and called him when their
prayer was over, for there was nobody else, and the bedroom was very
small. Then Grimaldo displayed his papers, drew from his pocket an
inkstand, and worked with the King; the Queen not being hindered by her
tapestry from giving her opinion.

This work lasted more or less according to the business, or to the
conversation. Grimaldo, upon leaving with his papers, found the
adjoining room empty, and a valet in that beyond, who, seeing him pass,
entered into the empty room, crossed it, and summoned the Asafeta, who
immediately came and presented to the King his slippers and his dressing-
gown; he at once passed across the empty room and entered into a cabinet,
where he dressed himself, followed by three valets (never changed) and by
the Duc del Arco, or the Marquis de Santa Cruz, and after by both, nobody
else ever being present at the ceremony.

The Queen, as soon as the King had passed into his cabinet, put on her
stockings and shoes alone with the Asafeta, who gave her her dressing-
gown. It was the only moment in which this person could speak to the
Queen, or the Queen to her; but this moment did not stretch at the most
to more than half a quarter of an hour. Had they been longer together
the King would have known it, and would have wanted to hear what kept
them. The Queen passed through the empty chamber and entered into a fine
large cabinet, where her toilette awaited her. When the King had dressed
in his cabinet--where he often spoke to his confessor--he went to the
Queen's toilette, followed by the two seigneurs just named. A few of the
specially--privileged were also admitted there. This toilette lasted
about three-quarters of an hour, the King and all the rest of the company

When it was over, the King half opened the door of the Hall of Mirrors,
which leads into the salon where the Court assembled, and gave his
orders; then rejoined the Queen in that room which I have so often called
the empty room. There and then took place the private audiences of the
foreign ministers, and of, the seigneurs, or other subjects who obtained
them. Once a week, on Monday, there was a public audience, a practice
which cannot be too much praised where it is not abused. The King,
instead of half opening the door, threw it wide open, and admitted
whoever liked to enter. People spoke to the King as much as they liked,
how they liked, and gave him in writing what they liked. But the
Spaniards resemble in nothing the French; they are measured, discreet,
respectful, brief.

After the audiences, or after amusing himself with the Queen--if there
are none, the King went to dress. The Queen accompanied him, and they
took the communion together (never separately) about once a week, and
then they heard a second mass. The confession of the King was said after
he rose, and before he went to the Queen's toilette.

Upon returning from mass, or very shortly after, the dinner was served.
It was always in the Queen's apartment, as well as the supper, but the
King and Queen had each their dishes; the former, few, the latter, many,
for she liked eating, and ate of everything; the King always kept to the
same things--soup, capon, pigeons, boiled and roast, and always a roast
loin of veal--no fruit; or salad, or cheese; pastry, rarely, never
maigre; eggs, often cooked in various fashion; and he drank nothing but
champagne; the Queen the same. When the dinner was finished, they prayed
to God together. If anything pressing happened, Grimaldo came and gave
them a brief account of it.

About an hour after dinner, they left the apartment by a short passage
accessible to the court, and descended by a little staircase to their
coach, returning by the same way. The seigneurs who frequented the court
pretty constantly assembled, now one, now another, in this passage, or
followed their Majesties to their coaches. Very often I saw them in this
passage as they went or returned. The Queen always said something
pleasant to whoever was there. I will speak elsewhere of the hunting-
party their Majesties daily made.

Upon returning, the King gave his orders. If they had not partaken of a
collation in the coach, they partook of one upon arriving. It was for
the King, a morsel of bread, a big biscuit, some water and wine; and for
the Queen, pastry and fruit in season, sometimes cheese. The Prince and
the Princess of the Asturias, and the children, followed and waited for
them in the inner apartment. This company withdrew in less than half a
quarter of an hour. Grimaldo came and worked ordinarily for a long time;
it was the time for the real work of the day. When the Queen went to
confession this also was the time she selected. Except what related to
the confession, she and her confessor had no time to say anything to each
other. The cabinet in which she confessed to him was contiguous to the
room occupied by the King, and when the latter thought the confession too
long, he opened the door and called her. Grimaldo being gone, they
prayed together, or sometimes occupied themselves with spiritual reading
until supper. It was served like the dinner. At both meals there were
more dishes in the French style than in the Spanish, or even the Italian.

After supper, conversation or prayers conducted them to the hour for bed,
when nearly the same observances took place as in the morning. Finally,
their Catholic Majesties everywhere had but one wardrobe between them,
and were never in private one from another.

These uniform days were the same in all places, and even during the
journeys taken by their Majesties, who were thus never separated, except
for a few minutes at a time. They passed their lives in one long tete-a-
tete. When they travelled it was at the merest snail's pace, and they
slept on the road, night after night, in houses prepared for them. In
their coach they were always alone; when in the palace it was the same.

The King had been accustomed to this monotonous life by his first queen,
and he did not care for any other. The new Queen, upon arriving, soon
found this out, and found also that if she wished to rule him, she must
keep him in the same room, confined as he had been kept by her
predecessor. Alberoni was the only person admitted to their privacy.
This second marriage of the King of Spain, entirely brought about by
Madame des Ursins, was very distasteful to the Spaniards, who detested
that personage most warmly, and were in consequence predisposed to look
unfavourably upon anyone she favoured. It is true, the new Queen, on
arriving, drove out Madame des Ursins, but this showed her to be
possessed of as much power as the woman she displaced, and when she began
to exercise that power in other directions the popular dislike to her was
increased. She made no effort to mitigate it--hating the Spaniards as
much as they hated her--and it is incredible to what an extent this
reciprocal aversion stretched.

When the Queen went out with the King to the chase or to the atocha, the
people unceasingly cried, as well as the citizens in their shops, "Viva
el Re y la Savoyana, y la Savoyana," and incessantly repeated, with all
their lungs, "la Savoyana," which is the deceased Queen (I say this to
prevent mistake), no voice ever crying "Viva la Reina." The Queen
pretended to despise this, but inwardly raged (as people saw), she could
not habituate herself to it. She has said to me very frequently and more
than once: "The Spaniards do not like me, and in return I hate them,"
with an air of anger and of pique.

These long details upon the daily life of the King and Queen may appear
trivial, but they will not be judged so by those who know, as I do, what
valuable information is to be gained from similar particulars. I will
simply say in passing, that an experience of twenty years has convinced
me that the knowledge of such details is the key to many others, and that
it is always wanting in histories, often in memoirs the most interesting
and instructive, but which would be much more so if they had not
neglected this chapter, regarded by those who do not know its price, as a
bagatelle unworthy of entering into a serious recital. Nevertheless, I
am quite certain, that there is not a minister of state, a favourite, or
a single person of whatever rank, initiated by his office into the
domestic life of sovereigns, who will not echo my sentiments.

And now let me give a more distinct account of the King of Spain than I
have yet written.

Philip V. was not gifted with superior understanding or with any stock of
what is called imagination. He was cold, silent, sad, sober, fond of no
pleasure except the chase, fearing society, fearing himself, unexpansive,
a recluse by taste and habits, rarely touched by others, of good sense
nevertheless, and upright, with a tolerably good knowledge of things,
obstinate when he liked, and often then not to be moved; nevertheless,
easy at other times to govern and influence.

He was cold. In his campaigns he allowed himself to be led into any
position, even under a brisk fire, without budging in the slightest; nay,
amusing himself by seeing whether anybody was afraid. Secured and
removed from danger he was the same, without thinking that his glory
could suffer by it. He liked to make war, but was indifferent whether he
went there or not; and present or absent, left everything to the generals
without doing anything himself.

He was extremely vain; could bear no opposition in any of his
enterprises; and what made me judge he liked praise, was that the Queen
invariably praised him--even his face; and asked me one day, at the end
of an audience which had led us into conversation, if I did not think him
very handsome, and more so than any one I knew?--His piety was only
custom, scruples, fears, little observances, without knowing anything of
religion: the Pope a divinity when not opposed to him; in fact he had the
outside religion of the Jesuits, of whom he was passionately fond.

Although his health was very good, he always feared for it; he was always
looking after it. A physician, such as the one Louis XI. enriched so
much at the end of his life; a Maitre Coythier would have become a rich
and powerful personage by his side; fortunately his physician was a
thoroughly good and honourable man, and he who succeeded him devoted to
the Queen. Philip V. could speak well--very well, but was often hindered
by idleness and self-mistrust. To the audiences I had with him, however,
he astonished me by the precision, the grace, the easiness of his words.
He was good, easy to serve, familiar with a few. His love of France
showed itself in everything. He preserved much gratitude and veneration
for the deceased King, and tenderness for the late Monsieur; above all
for the Dauphin, his brother, for whose loss he was never consoled.
I noticed nothing in him towards any other of the royal family, except
the King; and he never asked me concerning anybody in the Court, except,
and then in a friendly manner, the Duchesse de Beauvilliers.

He had scruples respecting his crown, that can with difficulty be
reconciled with the desire he had to return, in case of misfortune, to
the throne of his fathers, which he had more than once so solemnly
renounced. He believed himself an usurper! and in this idea nourished
his desire to return to France, and abandon Spain and his scruples at one
and the same time. It cannot be disguised that all this was very ill-
arranged in his head, but there it was, and he would have abandoned Spain
had it been possible, because he felt compelled by duty to do so. It was
this feeling which principally induced him, after meditating upon it long
before I arrived in Spain, to abdicate his throne in favour of his son.
It was the same usurpation in his eyes, but not being able to obey his
scruples, he contented himself by doing all he could in abdicating. It
was still this feeling which, at the death of his son, troubled him so
much, when he saw himself compelled to reascend the throne; though,
during his abdication, that son had caused him not a little vexation.
As may well be imagined, Philip V. never spoke of these delicate matters
to me, but I was not less well informed of them elsewhere.

The Queen desired not less to abandon Spain, which she hated, and to
return into France and reign, where she hoped to lead a life of less
seclusion, and much more agreeable.

Notwithstanding all I have said, it is perfectly true that Philip V. was
but little troubled by the wars he made, that he was fond of enterprises,
and that his passion was to be respected and dreaded, and to figure
grandly in Europe.

But let me now more particularly describe the Queen.

This princess had much intellect and natural graces, which she knew how
to put to account. Her sense, her reflection, and her conduct, were
guided by that intellect, from which she drew all the charms and, all the
advantages possible. Whoever knew her was astonished to find how her
intelligence and natural capacity supplied the place of her want of
knowledge of the world, of persons, of affairs, upon all of which
subjects, her garret life in Parma, and afterwards her secluded life with
the King of Spain, hindered her from obtaining any real instruction. The
perspicuity she possessed, which enabled her to see the right side of
everything that came under her inspection, was undeniable, and this
singular gift would have become developed in her to perfection if its
growth had not been interrupted by the ill-humour she possessed; which it
must be admitted the life she led was more than enough to give her. She
felt her talent and her strength, but did not feel the fatuity and pride
which weakened them and rendered them ridiculous. The current of her
life was simple, smooth, with a natural gaiety even, which sparkled
through the eternal restraint of her existence; and despite the ill-
temper and the sharpness which this restraint without rest gave her, she
was a woman ordinarily without pretension, and really charming.

When she arrived in Spain she was sure, in the first place, of driving
away Madame des Ursins, and of filling-her place in the government at
once. She seized that place, and took possession also of the King's
mind, which she soon entirely ruled. As to public business, nothing
could be hidden from her. The King always worked in her presence, never
otherwise; all that he saw alone she read and discussed with him. She
was always present at all the private audiences that he gave, whether to
his subjects or to the foreign ministers; so that, as I have before
remarked, nothing possibly could escape her.

As for the King, the eternal night and day tete-a-tete she had with him
enabled her to sound him thoroughly, to know him by heart, so to speak.
She knew perfectly the time for preparatory insinuations, their success;
the resistance, when there was any, its course and how to overcome it;
the moments for yielding, in order to return afterwards to the charge,
and those for holding firm and carrying everything by force. She stood
in need of all these intrigues, notwithstanding her credit with the King.
If I may dare to say it, his temperament was her strong point, and she
sometimes had recourse to it. Then her coldness excited tempests. The


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