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

Part 3 out of 20

simple, very disinterested, and without anything of the pedant. I had
sufficiently known him to regret his death, and the works that might have
been hoped from him.

The command of the armies was distributed in the same manner as before,
with the exception that M. de Choiseul had the army of the Rhine in place
of M. de Lorges. Every one set out to take the field. The Duc de la
Feuillade in passing by Metz, to join the army in Germany, called upon
his uncle, who was very rich and in his second childhood. La Feuillade
thought fit to make sure of his uncle's money beforehand, demanded the
key of the cabinet and of the coffers, broke them open upon being refused
by the servants, and took away thirty thousand crowns in gold, and many
jewels, leaving untouched the silver. The King, who for a long time had
been much discontented with La Feuillade for his debauches and his
negligence, spoke very strongly and very openly upon this strange
forestalling of inheritance. It was only with great difficulty he could
be persuaded not to strip La Feuillade of his rank.

Our campaign was undistinguished by any striking event. From June to
September of this year (1696), we did little but subsist and observe,
after which we recrossed the Rhine at Philipsburg, where our rear guard
was slightly inconvenienced by the enemy. In Italy there was more
movement. The King sought to bring about peace by dividing the forces of
his enemies, and secretly entered into a treaty with Savoy. The
conditions were, that every place belonging to Savoy which had been taken
by our troops should be restored, and that a marriage should take place
between Monseigneur the Duc de Bourgogne and the daughter of the Duke of
Savoy, when she became twelve years of age. In the mean time she was to
be sent to the Court of France, and preparations were at once made there
to provide her with a suitable establishment.

The King was ill with an anthrax in the throat. The eyes of all Europe
were turned towards him, for his malady was not without danger;
nevertheless in his bed he affected to attend to affairs as usual; and he
arranged there with Madame de Maintenon, who scarcely ever quitted his
side, the household of the Savoy Princess. The persons selected for the
offices in that household were either entirely devoted to Madame de
Maintenon, or possessed of so little wit that she had nothing to fear
from them. A selection which excited much envy and great surprise was
that of the Duchesse de Lude to be lady of honour. The day before she
was appointed, Monsieur had mentioned her name in sport to the King.
"Yes," said the King, "she would be the best woman in the world to teach
the Princess to put rouge and patches on her cheek;" and then, being
more devout than usual, he said other things as bitter and marking strong
aversion on his part to the Duchess. In fact, she was no favourite of
his nor of Madame de Maintenon; and this was so well understood that the
surprise of Monsieur and of everybody else was great, upon finding, the
day after this discourse, that she had been appointed to the place.

The cause of this was soon learnt. The Duchesse de Lude coveted much to
be made lady of honour to the Princess, but knew she had but little
chance, so many others more in favour than herself being in the field.
Madame de Maintenon had an old servant named Nanon, who had been with her
from the time of her early days of misery, and who had such influence
with her, that this servant was made much of by everybody at Court, even
by the ministers and the daughters of the King. The Duchesse de Lude had
also an old servant who was on good terms with the other. The affair
therefore was not difficult. The Duchesse de Lude sent twenty thousand
crowns to Nanon, and on the very evening of the day on which the King had
spoken to Monsieur, she had the place. Thus it is! A Nanon sells the
most important and the most brilliant offices, and a Duchess of high
birth is silly enough to buy herself into servitude!

This appointment excited much envy. The Marechal de Rochefort, who had
expected to be named, made a great ado. Madame de Maintenon, who
despised her, was piqued, and said that she should have had it but for
the conduct of her daughter. This was a mere artifice; but the daughter
was, in truth, no sample of purity. She had acted in such a manner with
Blansac that he was sent for from the army to marry her, and on the very
night of their wedding she gave birth to a daughter. She was full of
wit, vivacity, intrigue, and sweetness; yet most wicked, false, and
artificial, and all this with a simplicity of manner, that imposed even
upon those who knew her best. More than gallant while her face lasted,
she afterwards was easier of access, and at last ruined herself for the
meanest valets. Yet, notwithstanding her vices, she was the prettiest
flower of the Court bunch, and had her chamber always full of the best
company: she was also much sought after by the three daughters of the
King. Driven away from the Court, she was after much supplication
recalled, and pleased the King so much that Madame de Maintenon, in fear
of her, sent her away again. But to go back again to the household of
the Princess of Savoy.

Dangeau was made chevalier d'honneur. He owed his success to his good
looks, to the court he paid to the King's mistresses, to his skilfulness
at play, and to a lucky stroke of fortune. The King had oftentimes been
importuned to give him a lodging, and one day, joking with him upon his
fancy of versifying; proposed to him some very hard rhymes, and promised
him a lodging if he filled them up upon the spot. Dangeau accepted,
thought but for a moment, performed the task, and thus gained his
lodging. He was an old friend of Madame de Maintenon, and it was to her
he was indebted for his post of chevalier d'honneur in the new household.

Madame d'O was appointed lady of the palace. Her father, named
Guilleragues, a gluttonous Gascon, had been one of the intimate friends
of Madame Scarron, who, as Madame de Maintenon, did not forget her old
acquaintance, but procured him the embassy to Constantinople. Dying
there, he left an only daughter, who, on the voyage home to France,
gained the heart of Villers, lieutenant of the vessel, and became his
wife in Asia-Minor, near the ruins of Troy. Villers claimed to be of the
house of d'O; hence the name his wife bore.

Established at the Court, the newly-married couple quickly worked
themselves into the favour of Madame de Maintenon, both being very clever
in intrigue. M. d'O was made governor of the Comte de Toulouse, and soon
gained his entire confidence. Madame d'O, too, infinitely pleased the,
young Count, just then entering upon manhood, by her gallantry, her wit,
and the facilities she allowed him. Both, in consequence, grew in great
esteem with the King. Had they been attendants upon Princes of the
blood, he would assuredly have slighted them. But he always showed great
indulgence to those who served his illegitimate children. Hence the
appointment of Madame d'O to be lady of the palace.

The household of the Princess of Savoy being completed, the members of it
were sent to the Pont Beauvosin to meet their young mistress. She
arrived early on the 16th of October, slept at the Pont Beauvosin that
night, and on the morrow parted with her Italian attendants without
shedding a single tear. On the 4th of November she arrived at Montargis,
and was received by the King, Monseigneur, and Monsieur. The King handed
her down from her coach, and conducted her to the apartment he had
prepared for her. Her respectful and flattering manners pleased him
highly. Her cajoleries, too, soon bewitched Madame de Maintenon, whom
she never addressed except as "Aunt;" whom she treated with a respect,
and yet with a freedom, that ravished everybody. She became the doll of
Madame de Maintenon and the King, pleased them infinitely by her
insinuating spirit, and took greater liberties with them than the
children of the King had ever dared to attempt.


Meanwhile our campaign upon the Rhine proceeded, and the enemy, having
had all their grand projects of victory defeated by the firmness and the
capacity of the Marechal de Choiseul, retired into winter-quarters, and
we prepared to do the same. The month of October was almost over when
Madame de Saint-Simon lost M. Fremont, father of the Marechal de Lorges.
She had happily given birth to a daughter on the 8th of September. I was
desirous accordingly to go to Paris, and having obtained permission from
the Marechal de Choiseul, who had treated me throughout the campaign with
much politeness and attention, I set out. Upon arriving at Paris I found
the Court at Fontainebleau. I had arrived from the army a little before
the rest, and did not wish that the King should know it without seeing
me, lest he might think I had returned in secret. I hastened at once
therefore to Fontainebleau, where the King received me with his usual
goodness,-saying, nevertheless, that I had returned a little too early,
but that it was of no consequence.

I had not long left his presence when I learned a report that made my
face burn again. It was affirmed that when the King remarked upon my
arriving a little early, I had replied that I preferred arriving at once
to see him, as my sole mistress, than to remain some days in Paris, as
did the other young men with their mistresses. I went at once to the
King, who had a numerous company around him; and I openly denied what had
been reported, offering a reward for the discovery of the knave who had
thus calumniated me, in order that I might give him a sound thrashing.
All day I sought to discover the scoundrel. My speech to the King and my
choler were the topic of the day, and I was blamed for having spoken so
loudly and in such terms. But of two evils I had chosen the least,--a
reprimand from the King, or a few days in the Bastille; and I had avoided
the greatest, which was to allow myself to be believed an infamous
libeller of our young men, in order to basely and miserably curry favour
at the Court. The course I took succeeded. The King said nothing of the
matter, and I went upon a little journey I wished particularly to take,
for reasons I will now relate.

I had, as I have already mentioned, conceived a strong attachment and
admiration for M. de La Trappe. I wished to secure a portrait of him,
but such was his modesty and humility that I feared to ask him to allow
himself to be painted. I went therefore to Rigault, then the first
portrait-painter in Europe. In consideration of a sum of a thousand
crowns, and all his expenses paid, he agreed to accompany me to La
Trappe, and to make a portrait of him from memory. The whole affair was
to be kept a profound secret, and only one copy of the picture was to be
made, and that for the artist himself.

My plan being fully arranged, I and Rigault set out. As soon as we
arrived at our journey's end, I sought M. de La Trappe, and begged to be
allowed to introduce to him a friend of mine, an officer, who much wished
to see him: I added, that my friend was a stammerer, and that therefore
he would be importuned merely with looks and not words. M. de La Trappe
smiled with goodness, thought the officer curious about little, and
consented to see him. The interview took place. Rigault excusing
himself on the ground of his infirmity, did little during three-quarters
of an hour but keep his eyes upon M. de La Trappe, and at the end went
into a room where materials were already provided for him, and covered
his canvas with the images and the ideas he had filled himself with.
On the morrow the same thing was repeated, although M. de La Trappe,
thinking that a man whom he knew not, and who could take no part in
conversation, had sufficiently seen him, agreed to the interview only out
of complaisance to me. Another sitting was needed in order to finish the
work; but it was with great difficulty M. de La Trappe could be persuaded
to consent to it. When the third and last interview was at an end, M. de
La Trappe testified to me his surprise at having been so much and so long
looked at by a species of mute. I made the best excuses I could, and
hastened to turn the conversation.

The portrait was at length finished, and was a most perfect likeness of
my venerable friend. Rigault admitted to me that he had worked so hard
to produce it from memory, that for several months afterwards he had been
unable to do anything to his other portraits. Notwithstanding the
thousand crowns I had paid him, he broke the engagement he had made by
showing the portrait before giving it up to me. Then, solicited for
copies, he made several, gaining thereby, according to his own admission,
more than twenty-five thousand francs, and thus gave publicity to the

I was very much annoyed at this, and with the noise it made in the world;
and I wrote to M. de La Trappe, relating the deception I had practised
upon him, and sued for pardon. He was pained to excess, hurt, and
afflicted; nevertheless he showed no anger. He wrote in return to me,
and said, I was not ignorant that a Roman Emperor had said, "I love
treason but not traitors;" but that, as for himself, he felt on the
contrary that he loved the traitor but could only hate his treason.
I made presents of three copies of the picture to the monastery of La
Trappe. On the back of the original I described the circumstance under
which the portrait had been taken, in order to show that M. de La Trappe
had not consented to it, and I pointed out that for some years he had
been unable to use his right hand, to acknowledge thus the error which
had been made in representing him as writing.

The King, about this time, set on foot negotiations for peace in Holland,
sending there two plenipotentiaries, Courtin and Harlay, and
acknowledging one of his agents, Caillieres, who had been for some little
time secretly in that country.

The year finished with the disgrace of Madame de Saint Geran. She was on
the best of terms with the Princesses, and as much a lover of good cheer
as Madame de Chartres and Madame la Duchesse. This latter had in the
park of Versailles a little house that she called the "Desert." There
she had received very doubtful company, giving such gay repasts that the
King, informed of her doings, was angry, and forbade her to continue
these parties or to receive certain guests. Madame de Saint Geran was
then in the first year of her mourning, so that the King did not think it
necessary to include her among the interdicted; but he intimated that he
did not approve of her. In spite of this, Madame la Duchesse invited her
to an early supper at the Desert a short time after, and the meal was
prolonged so far into the night, and with so much gaiety, that it came to
the ears of the King. He was in great anger, and learning that Madame de
Saint Geran had been of the party, sentenced her to be banished twenty
leagues from the Court. Like a clever woman, she retired into a convent
at Rouen, saying that as she had been unfortunate enough to displease the
King, a convent was the only place for her; and this was much approved.

At the commencement of the next year (1697) the eldest son of the Comte
d'Auvergne completed his dishonour by a duel he fought with the Chevalier
de Caylus, on account of a tavern broil, and a dispute about some
wenches. Caylus, who had fought well, fled from the kingdom; the other,
who had used his sword like a poltroon, and had run away dismayed into
the streets, was disinherited by his father, sent out of the country, and
returned no more. He was in every respect a wretch, who, on account of
his disgraceful adventures, was forced to allow himself to be
disinherited and to take the cross of Malta; he was hanged in effigy at
the Greve, to the great regret of his family, not on account of the
sentence, but because, in spite of every entreaty, he had been proceeded
against like the most obscure gentleman. The exile of Caylus afterwards
made his fortune.

We had another instance, about this time, of the perfidy of Harlay. He
had been entrusted with a valuable deposit by Ruvigny, a Huguenot
officer, who, quitting France, had entered the service of the Prince of
Orange, and who was, with the exception of Marshal Schomberg, the only
Huguenot to whom the King offered the permission of remaining at Court
with full liberty to practise his religion in secret. This, Ruvigny,
like Marshal Schomberg, refused. He was, nevertheless, allowed to retain
the property he possessed in France; but after his death his son, not
showing himself at all grateful for this favour, the King at last
confiscated the property, and publicly testified his anger. This was the
moment that Harlay seized to tell the King of the deposit he had. As a
recompense the King gave it to him as confiscated, and this hypocrite of
justice, of virtue, of disinterestedness, and of rigorism was not ashamed
to appropriate it to himself, and to close his ears and his eyes to the
noise this perfidy excited.

M. de Monaco, who had obtained for himself the title of foreign prince by
the marriage of his son with the Duchesse de Valentinois, daughter of M.
le Grand, and who enjoyed, as it were, the sovereignty of a rock--beyond
whose narrow limits anybody might spit, so to speak, whilst standing in
the middle--soon found, and his son still more so, that they had bought
the title very dearly. The Duchess was charming, gallant, and was
spoiled by the homage of the Court, in a house open night and day, and to
which her beauty attracted all that was young and brilliant. Her
husband, with much intelligence, was diffident; his face and figure had
acquired for him the name of Goliath; he suffered for a long time the
haughtiness and the disdain of his wife and her family. At last he and
his father grew tired and took away Madame de Valentinois to Monaco. She
grieved, and her parents also, as though she had been carried off to the
Indies. After two years of absence and repentance, she promised marvels,
and was allowed to return to Paris. I know not who counselled her, but,
without changing her conduct, she thought only how to prevent a return to
Monaco; and to insure herself against this, she accused her father-in-law
of having made vile proposals to her, and of attempting to take her by
force. This charge made a most scandalous uproar, but was believed by
nobody. M. de Monaco was no longer young; he was a very honest man, and
had always passed for such; besides, he was almost blind in both eyes,
and had a huge pointed belly, which absolutely excited fear, it jutted
out so far!

After some time, as Madame de Valentinois still continued to swim in the
pleasures of the Court under the shelter of her family, her husband
redemanded her; and though he was laughed at at first, she was at last
given up to him.

A marriage took place at this time between the son of Pontchartrain and
the daughter of the Comte de Roye. The Comte de Roye was a Huguenot,
and, at the revocation of the edict of Nantes, had taken refuge, with his
wife, in Denmark, where he had been made grand marshal and commander of
all the troops. One day, as the Comte de Roye was dining with his wife
and daughter at the King's table, the Comtesse de Roye asked her daughter
if she did not think the Queen of Denmark and Madame Panache resembled
each other like two drops of water? Although she spoke in French and in
a low tone, the Queen both heard and understood her, and inquired at once
who was Madame Panache. The Countess in her surprise replied, that she
was a very amiable woman at the French Court. The Queen, who had noticed
the surprise of the Countess, was not satisfied with this reply. She
wrote to the Danish minister at Paris, desiring to be informed of every
particular respecting Madame Panache, her face, her age, her condition,
and upon what footing she was at the French Court. The minister, all
astonished that the Queen should have heard of Madame Panache, wrote word
that she was a little and very old creature, with lips and eyes so
disfigured that they were painful to look upon; a species of beggar who
had obtained a footing at Court from being half-witted, who was now at
the supper of the King, now at the dinner of Monseigneur, or at other
places, where everybody amused themselves by tormenting her: She in turn
abused the company at these parties, in order to cause diversion, but
sometimes rated them very seriously and with strong words, which
delighted still more those princes and princesses, who emptied into her
pockets meat and ragouts, the sauces of which ran all down her
petticoats: at these parties some gave her a pistole or a crown, and
others a filip or a smack in the face, which put her in a fury, because
with her bleared eyes not being able to see the end of her nose, she
could not tell who had struck her;--she was, in a word, the pastime of
the Court!

Upon learning this, the Queen of Denmark was so piqued, that she could no
longer suffer the Comtesse de Roye near her; she complained to the King:
he was much offended that foreigners, whom he had loaded with favour,
should so repay him. The Comte de Roye was unable to stand up against
the storm, and withdrew to England, where he died a few years after.

The King at this time drove away the company of Italian actors, and would
not permit another in its place. So long as the Italians had simply
allowed their stage to overflow with filth or impiety they only caused
laughter; but they set about playing a piece called "The False Prude," in
which Madame de Maintenon was easily recognised. Everybody ran to see
the piece; but after three or four representations, given consecutively
on account of the gain it brought, the Italians received orders to close
their theatre and to quit the realm in a month. This affair made a great
noise; and if the comedians lost an establishment by their boldness and
folly, they who drove them away gained nothing--such was the licence with
which this ridiculous event was spoken of!


The disposition of the armies was the same this year as last, except that
the Princes did not serve. Towards the end of May I joined the army of
the Rhine, under the Marechal de Choiseul, as before. We made some
skilful manoeuvres, but did little in the way of fighting. For sixteen
days we encamped at Nieder-buhl, where we obtained a good supply of
forage. At the end of that time the Marechal de Choiseul determined to
change his position. Our army was so placed, that the enemy could see
almost all of it quite distinctly; yet, nevertheless, we succeeded in
decamping so quickly, that we disappeared from under their very eyes in
open daylight, and in a moment as it were. Such of the Imperial Generals
as were out riding ran from all parts to the banks of the Murg, to see
our retreat, but it was so promptly executed that there was no time for
them, to attempt to hinder us. When the Prince of Baden was told of our
departure he could not credit it. He had seen us so lately, quietly
resting in our position, that it seemed impossible to him we had left it
in such a short space of time. When his own eyes assured him of the
fact, he was filled with such astonishment and admiration, that he asked
those around him if they had ever seen such a retreat, adding, that he
could not have believed, until then, that an army so numerous and so
considerable should have been able to disappear thus in an instant.
This honourable and bold retreat was attended by a sad accident. One of
our officers, named Blansac, while leading a column of infantry through
the wood, was overtaken by night. A small party of his men heard some
cavalry near them. The cavalry belonged to the enemy, and had lost their
way. Instead of replying when challenged, they said to each other in
German, "Let us run for it." Nothing more was wanting to draw upon them
a discharge from the small body of our men, by whom they had been heard.
To this they replied with their pistols. Immediately, and without
orders, the whole column of infantry fired in that direction, and, before
Blansac could inquire the cause, fired again. Fortunately he was not
wounded; but five unhappy captains were killed, and some subalterns

Our campaign was brought to an end by the peace of Ryswick. The first
news of that event arrived at Fontainebleau on the 22nd of September.
Celi, son of Harlay, had been despatched with the intelligence; but he
did not arrive until five o'clock in the morning of the 26th of
September. He had amused himself by the way with a young girl who had
struck his fancy, and with some wine that he equally relished. He had
committed all the absurdities and impertinences which might be expected
of a debauched, hare-brained young fellow, completely spoiled by his
father, and he crowned all by this fine delay.

A little time before the signing of peace, the Prince de Conti, having
been elected King of Poland, set out to take possession of his throne.
The King, ravished with joy to see himself delivered from a Prince whom
he disliked, could not hide his satisfaction--his eagerness--to get rid
of a Prince whose only faults were that he had no bastard blood in his
veins, and that he was so much liked by all the nation that they wished
him at the head of the army, and murmured at the little favour he
received, as compared with that showered down upon the illegitimate

The King made all haste to treat the Prince to royal honours. After an
interview in the cabinet of Madame de Maintenon, he presented him to a
number of ladies, saying, "I bring you a king." The Prince was all along
doubtful of the validity of his election, and begged that the Princess
might not be treated as a queen, until he should have been crowned.
He received two millions in cash from the King, and other assistances.
Samuel Bernard undertook to make the necessary payments in Poland. The
Prince started by way of Dunkerque, and went to that place at such speed,
that an ill-closed chest opened, and two thousand Louis were scattered on
the road, a portion only of which was brought back to the Hotel Conti.
The celebrated Jean Bart pledged himself to take him safely, despite the
enemy's fleet; and kept his word. The convoy was of five frigates. The
Chevalier de Sillery, before starting, married Mademoiselle Bigot, rich
and witty, with whom he had been living for some time. Meanwhile the
best news arrived from our ambassador, the Abbe de Polignac, to the King;
but all answers were intercepted at Dantzic by the retired Queen of
Poland, who sent on only the envelopes! However, the Prince de Conti
passed up the Sound; and the King and Queen of Denmark watched them from
the windows of the Chateau de Cronenbourg. Jean Bart, against custom,
ordered a salute to be fired. It was returned; and as some light vessels
passing near the frigates said that the King and Queen were looking on,
the Prince ordered another salvo.

There was, however, another claimant to the throne of Poland; I mean the
Elector of Saxony, who had also been elected, and who had many partisans;
so many, indeed, that when the Prince de Conti arrived at Dantzic, he
found himself almost entirely unsupported. The people even refused
provision to his frigates. However, the Prince's partisans at length
arrived to salute him. The Bishop of Plosko gave him a grand repast,
near the Abbey of Oliva. Marege, a Gascon gentleman of the Prince's
suite, was present, but had been ill. There was drinking in the Polish
fashion, and he tried to be let off. The Prince pleaded for him; but
these Poles, who, in order to make themselves understood, spoke Latin--
and very bad Latin indeed--would not accept such an excuse, and forcing
him to drink, howled furiously 'Bibat et Moriatur! Marege, who was very
jocular and yet very choleric; used to tell this story in the same
spirit, and made everyone who heard it laugh.

However, the party of the Prince de Conti made no way, and at length he
was fain to make his way back to France with all speed. The King
received him very graciously, although at heart exceeding sorry to see
him again. A short time after, the Elector of Saxony mounted the throne
of Poland without opposition, and was publicly recognised by the King,
towards the commencement of August.

By the above-mentioned peace of Ryswick, the King acknowledged the Prince
of Orange as King of England. It was, however, a bitter draught for him
to swallow, and for these reasons: Some years before, the King had
offered his illegitimate daughter, the Princesse de Conti, in marriage to
the Prince of Orange, believing he did that Prince great honour by the
proposal. The Prince did not think in the same manner, and flatly
refused; saying, that the House of Orange was accustomed to marry the
legitimate daughters of great kings, and not their bastards. These words
sank so deeply into the heart of the King, that he never forgot them; and
often, against even his most palpable interest, showed how firmly the
indignation he felt at them had taken possession of his mind: Since then,
the Prince of Orange had done all in his power to efface the effect his
words had made, but every attempt was rejected with disdain. The King's
ministers in Holland had orders to do all they could to thwart the
projects of the Prince of Orange, to excite people against him, to
protect openly those opposed to him, and to be in no way niggard of money
in order to secure the election of magistrates unfavourable to him. The
Prince never ceased, until the breaking-out of this war, to use every
effort to appease the anger of the King. At last, growing tired, and
hoping soon to make his invasion into England, he said publicly, that he
had uselessly laboured all his life to gain the favours of the King, but
that he hoped to be more fortunate in meriting his esteem. It may be
imagined, therefore, what a triumph it was for him when he forced the
King to recognise him as monarch of England, and what that recognition
cost the King.

M. le Duc presided this year over the Assembly of the States of Burgundy,
in place of his father M. le Prince, who did not wish to go there. The
Duke gave on that occasion a striking example of the friendship of
princes, and a fine lesson to those who seek it. Santeuil, Canon of
Saint Victor, and the greatest Latin poet who has appeared for many
centuries, accompanied him. Santeuil was an excellent fellow, full of
wit and of life, and of pleasantries, which rendered him an admirable
boon-companion. Fond of wine and of good cheer, he was not debauched;
and with a disposition and talents so little fitted for the cloister,
was nevertheless, at bottom, as good a churchman as with such a character
he could be. He was a great favourite with all the house of Conde, and
was invited to their parties, where his witticisms, his verses, and his
pleasantries had afforded infinite amusement for many years.

M. le Duc wished to take him to Dijon. Santeuil tried to excuse himself,
but without effect; he was obliged to go, and was established at the
house of the Duke while the States were held. Every evening there was a
supper, and Santeuil was always the life of the company. One evening M.
le Duc diverted himself by forcing Santeuil to drink champagne, and
passing from pleasantry to pleasantry, thought it would be a good joke to
empty his snuff-box, full of Spanish snuff, into a large glass of wine,
and to make Santeuil drink it, in order to see what would happen. It was
not long before he was enlightened upon this point. Santeuil was seized
with vomiting and with fever, and in twice twenty-four hours the unhappy
man died-suffering the tortures of the damned, but with sentiments of
extreme penitence, in which he received the sacrament, and edified a
company little disposed towards edification, but who detested such a
cruel joke.

In consequence of the peace just concluded at Ryswick, many fresh
arrangements were made about this time in our embassies abroad. This
allusion to our foreign appointments brings to my mind an anecdote which
deserves to be remembered. When M. de Vendome took Barcelona, the
Montjoui (which is as it were its citadel) was commanded by the Prince of
Darmstadt. He was of the house of Hesse, and had gone into Spain to seek
employment; he was a relative of the Queen of Spain, and, being a very
well-made man, had not, it was said, displeased her. It was said also,
and by people whose word was not without weight, that the same council of
Vienna, which for reasons of state had made no scruple of poisoning the
late Queen of Spain (daughter of Monsieur), because she had no children,
and because she had, also, too much ascendancy over the heart of her
husband; it was said, I say, that this same council had no scruples upon
another point. After poisoning the first Queen, it had remarried the
King of Spain to a sister of the Empress. She was tall, majestic, not
without beauty and capacity, and, guided by the ministers of the Emperor,
soon acquired much influence over the King her husband. So far all was
well, but the most important thing was wanting--she had no children. The
council had hoped some from this second marriage, because it had lured
itself into the belief that previously the fault rested with the late
Queen. After some years, this same council, being no longer able to
disguise the fact that the King could have no children, sent the Prince
of Darmstadt into Spain, for the purpose of establishing himself there,
and of ingratiating himself into the favour of the Queen to such an
extent that this defect might be remedied. The Prince of Darmstadt was
well received; he obtained command in the army; defended, as I have said,
Barcelona; and obtained a good footing at the Court. But the object for
which he had been more especially sent he could not accomplish. I will
not say whether the Queen was inaccessible from her own fault or that of
others. Nor will I say, although I have been assured, but I believe by
persons without good knowledge of the subject, that naturally it was
impossible for her to become a mother. I will simply say that the Prince
of Darmstadt was on the best terms with the King and the Queen, and had
opportunities very rare in that country, without any fruit which could
put the succession of the monarchy in safety against the different
pretensions afloat, or reassure on that head the politic council of

But to return to France.

Madame de Maintenon, despite the height to which her insignificance had
risen, had yet her troubles. Her brother, who was called the Comte
d'Aubigne, was of but little worth, yet always spoke as though no man
were his equal, complained that he had not been made Marechal of France
--sometimes said that he had taken his baton in money, and constantly
bullied Madame de Maintenon because she did not make him a duke and a
peer. He spent his time running after girls in the Tuileries, always had
several on his hands, and lived and spent his money with their families
and friends of the same kidney. He was just fit for a strait-waistcoat,
but comical, full of wit and unexpected repartees. A good, humorous
fellow, and honest-polite, and not too impertinent on account of his
sister's fortune. Yet it was a pleasure to hear him talk of the time of
Scarron and the Hotel d'Albret, and of the gallantries and adventures of
his sister, which he contrasted with her present position and devotion.
He would talk in this manner, not before one or two, but in a
compromising manner, quite openly in the Tuileries gardens, or in the
galleries of Versailles, before everybody, and would often drolly speak
of the King as "the brother-in-law." I have frequently heard him talk in
this manner; above all, when he came (more often than was desired) to
dine with my father and mother, who were much embarrassed with him; at
which I used to laugh in my sleeve.

A brother like this was a great annoyance to Madame de Maintenon. His
wife, an obscure creature, more obscure, if possible, than her birth;
--foolish to the last degree, and of humble mien, was almost equally so.
Madame de Maintenon determined to rid herself of both. She persuaded her
brother to enter a society that had been established by a M. Doyen, at
St. Sulpice, for decayed gentlemen. His wife at the same time was
induced to retire into another community, where, however, she did not
fail to say to her companions that her fate was very hard, and that she
wished to be free. As for d'Aubigne he concealed from nobody that his
sister was putting a joke on him by trying to persuade him that he was
devout, declared that he was pestered by priests, and that he should give
up the ghost in M. Doyen's house. He could not stand it long, and went
back to his girls and to the Tuileries, and wherever he could; but they
caught him again, and placed him under the guardianship of one of the
stupidest priests of St. Sulpice, who followed him everywhere like his
shadow, and made him miserable. The fellow's name was Madot: he was good
for no other employment, but gained his pay in this one by an assiduity
of which perhaps no one else would have been capable. The only child of
this Comte d'Aubigne was a daughter, taken care of by Madame de
Maintenon, and educated under her eyes as though her own child.

Towards the end of the year, and not long after my return from the army,
the King fixed the day for the marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne to the
young Princesse de Savoy. He announced that on that occasion he should
be glad to see a magnificent Court; and he himself, who for a long time
had worn only the most simple habits, ordered the most superb. This was
enough; no one thought of consulting his purse or his state; everyone
tried to surpass his neighbour in richness and invention. Gold and
silver scarcely sufficed: the shops of the dealers were emptied in a few
days; in a word luxury the most unbridled reigned over Court and city,
for the fete had a huge crowd of spectators. Things went to such a
point, that the King almost repented of what he had said, and remarked,
that he could not understand how husbands could be such fools as to ruin
themselves by dresses for their wives; he might have added, by dresses
for themselves. But the impulse had been given; there was now no time to
remedy it, and I believe the King at heart was glad; for it pleased him
during the fetes to look at all the dresses. He loved passionately all
kinds of sumptuosity at his Court; and he who should have held only to
what had been said, as to the folly of expense, would have grown little
in favour. There was no means, therefore, of being wise among so many
fools. Several dresses were necessary. Those for Madame Saint-Simon and
myself cost us twenty thousand francs. Workmen were wanting to make up
so many rich habits. Madame la Duchesse actually sent her people to take
some by force who were working at the Duc de Rohan's! The King heard of
it, did not like it, and had the workmen sent back immediately to the
Hotel de Rohan, although the Duc de Rohan was one of the men he liked the
least in all France. The King did another thing, which showed that he
desired everybody to be magnificent: he himself chose the design for the
embroidery of the Princess. The embroiderer said he would leave all his
other designs for that. The King would not permit this, but caused him
to finish the work he had in hand, and to set himself afterwards at the
other; adding, that if it was not ready in time, the Princess could do
without it.

The marriage was fixed for Saturday, the 7th of December; and, to avoid
disputes and difficulties, the King suppressed all ceremonies. The day
arrived. At an early hour all the Court went to Monseigneur the Duc de
Bourgogne, who went afterwards to the Princess. A little before mid-day
the procession started from the salon, and proceeded to the chapel.

Cardinal de Coislin performed the marriage service.

As soon as the ceremony was finished, a courier, ready at the door of the
chapel, started for Turin. The day passed wearily. The King and Queen
of England came about seven o'clock in the evening, and some time
afterwards supper was served. Upon rising from the table, the Princess
was shown to her bed, none but ladies being allowed to remain in the
chamber. Her chemise was given her by the Queen of England through the
Duchesse de Lude. The Duc de Bourgogne undressed in another room, in the
midst of all the Court, and seated upon a folding-chair. The King of
England gave him his shirt, which was presented by the Duc de
Beauvilliers. As soon as the Duchesse de Bourgogne was in bed, the Duc
de Bourgogne entered, and placed himself at her side, in the presence of
all the Court. Immediately afterwards everybody went away from the
nuptial chamber, except Monseigneur, the ladies of the Princess, and the
Duc de Beauvilliers, who remained at the pillow by the side of his pupil,
with the Duchesse de Lude on the other side. Monseigneur stopped a
quarter of an hour talking with the newly-married couple, then he made
his son get up, after having told him to kiss the Princess, in spite of
the opposition of the Duchesse de Lude. As it proved, too, her
opposition was not wrong. The King said he did not wish that his
grandson should kiss the end of the Princess's finger until they were
completely on the footing of man and wife. Monsieur le Duc de Bourgogne
after this re-dressed himself in the ante-chamber, and went to his own
bed as usual. The little Duc de Berry, spirited and resolute, did not
approve of the docility of his brother, and declared that he would have
remained in bed. The young couple were not, indeed, allowed to live
together as man and wife until nearly two years afterwards. The first
night that this privilege was granted them, the King repaired to their
chamber hoping to surprise them as they went to bed; but he found the
doors closed, and would not allow them to be opened. The marriage-fetes
spread over several days. On the Sunday there was an assembly in the
apartments of the new Duchesse de Bourgogne. It was magnificent by the
prodigious number of ladies seated in a circle, or standing behind the
stools, gentlemen in turn behind them, and the dresses of all beautiful.
It commenced at six o'clock. The King came at the end, and led all the
ladies into the saloon near the chapel, where was a fine collation, and
the music. At nine o'clock he conducted Monsieur and Madame la Duchesse
de Bourgogne to the apartment of the latter, and all was finished for the
day. The Princess continued to live just as before, and the ladies had
strict orders never to leave her alone with her husband.

On the Wednesday there was a grand ball in the gallery, superbly
ornamented for the occasion. There was such a crowd, and such disorder,
that even the King was inconvenienced, and Monsieur was pushed and
knocked about in the crush. How other people fared may be imagined. No
place was kept--strength or chance decided everything--people squeezed in
where they could. This spoiled all the fete. About nine o'clock
refreshments were handed round, and at half-past ten supper was served.
Only the Princesses of the blood and the royal family were admitted to
it. On the following Sunday there was another ball, but this time
matters were so arranged that no crowding or inconvenience occurred. The
ball commenced at seven o'clock and was admirable; everybody appeared in
dresses that had not previously been seen. The King found that of Madame
de Saint-Simon much to his taste, and gave it the palm over all the

Madame de Maintenon did not appear at these balls, at least only for half
an hour at each. On the following Tuesday all the Court went at four
o'clock in the afternoon to Trianon, where all gambled until the arrival
of the King and Queen of England. The King took them into the theatre,
where Destouches's opera of Isse was very well performed. The opera
being finished, everybody went his way, and thus these marriage-fetes
were brought to an end.

Tesse had married his eldest daughter to La Varenne last year, and now
married his second daughter to Maulevrier, son of a brother of Colbert.
This mention of La Varenne brings to my recollection a very pleasant
anecdote of his ancestor, the La Varenne so known in all the memoirs of
the time as having risen from the position of scullion to that of cook,
and then to that of cloak-bearer to Henry IV., whom he served in his
pleasures, and afterwards in his state-affairs. At the death of the
King, La Varenne retired, very old and very rich, into the country.
Birds were much in vogue at that time, and he often amused himself with
falconry. One day a magpie perched on one of his trees, and neither
sticks nor stones could dislodge it. La Varenne and a number of
sportsmen gathered around the tree and tried to drive away the magpie.
Importuned with all this noise, the bird at last began to cry repeatedly
with all its might, "Pandar! Pandar!"

Now La Varenne had gained all he possessed by that trade. Hearing the
magpie repeat again and again the same word, he took it into his head
that by a miracle, like the observation Balaam's ass made to his master,
the bird was reproaching him for his sins. He was so troubled that he
could not help showing it; then, more and more agitated, he told the
cause of his disturbance to the company, who laughed at him in the first
place, but, upon finding that he was growing really ill, they endeavoured
to convince him that the magpie belonged to a neighbouring village, where
it had learned the word. It was all in vain: La Varenne was so ill that
he was obliged to be carried home; fever seized him and in four days he


Here perhaps is the place to speak of Charles IV., Duc de Lorraine, so
well known by his genius, and the extremities to which he was urged. He
was married in 1621 to the Duchesse Nicole, his cousin-german, but after
a time ceased to live with her. Being at Brussels he fell in love with
Madame de Cantecroix, a widow. He bribed a courier to bring him news of
the death of the Duchesse Nicole; he circulated the report throughout the
town, wore mourning, and fourteen days afterwards, in April, 1637,
married Madame de Cantecroix. In a short time it was discovered that the
Duchesse Nicole was full of life and health, and had not even been ill.
Madame de Cantecroix made believe that she had been duped, but still
lived with the Duke. They continued to repute the Duchesse Nicole as
dead, and lived together in the face of the world as though effectually
married, although there had never been any question either before or
since of dissolving the first marriage. The Duc Charles had by this fine
marriage a daughter and then a son, both perfectly illegitimate, and
universally regarded as such. Of these the daughter married Comte de
Lislebonne, by whom she had four children. The son, educated under his
father's eye as legitimate, was called Prince de Vaudemont, and by that
name has ever since been known. He entered the service of Spain,
distinguished himself in the army, obtained the support of the Prince of
Orange, and ultimately rose to the very highest influence and prosperity.
People were astonished this year, that while the Princess of Savoy was at
Fontainebleau, just before her marriage, she was taken several times by
Madame de Maintenon to a little unknown convent at Moret, where there was
nothing to amuse her, and no nuns who were known. Madame de Maintenon
often went there, and Monseigneur with his children sometimes; the late
Queen used to go also. This awakened much curiosity and gave rise to
many reports. It seems that in this convent there was a woman of colour,
a Moorish woman, who had been placed there very young by Bontems, valet
of the King. She received the utmost care and attention, but never was
shown to anybody. When the late Queen or Madame de Maintenon went, they
did not always see her, but always watched over her welfare. She was
treated with more consideration than people the most distinguished; and
herself made much of the care that was taken of her, and the mystery by
which she was surrounded. Although she lived regularly, it was easy to
see she was not too contented with her position. Hearing Monseigneur
hunt in the forest one day, she forgot herself so far as to exclaim,
"My brother is hunting!" It was pretended that she was a daughter of the
King and Queen, but that she had been hidden away on account of her
colour; and the report was spread that the Queen had had a miscarriage.
Many people believed this story; but whether it was true or not has
remained an enigma.

The year 1698 commenced by a reconciliation between the Jesuits and the
Archbishop of Rheims. That prelate upon the occasion of an ordinance had
expressed himself upon matters of doctrine and morality in a manner that
displeased the Jesuits. They acted towards him in their usual manner, by
writing an attack upon him, which appeared without any author's name.
But the Archbishop complained to the King, and altogether stood his
ground so firmly, that in the end the Jesuits were glad to give way,
disavow the book, and arrange the reconciliation which took place.

The Czar, Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, had at this time already
commenced his voyages; he was in Holland, learning ship-building.
Although incognito, he wished to be recognised, but after his own
fashion; and was annoyed that, being so near to England, no embassy was
sent to him from that country, which he wished to ally himself with for
commercial reasons.

At last an embassy arrived; he delayed for some time to give it an
audience, but in the end fixed the day and hour at which he would see it.
The reception, however, was to take place on board a large Dutch vessel
that he was going to examine. There were two ambassadors; they thought
the meeting-place rather an odd one, but were obliged to go there. When
they arrived on board the Czar sent word that he was in the "top," and
that it was there he would see them. The ambassadors, whose feet were
unaccustomed to rope-ladders, tried to excuse themselves from mounting;
but it was all in vain. The Czar would receive them in the "top" or not
at all. At last they were compelled to ascend, and the meeting took
place on that narrow place high up in the air. The Czar received them
there with as much majesty as though he had been upon his throne,
listened to their harangue, replied very graciously, and then laughed at
the fear painted upon their faces, and good-humouredly gave them to
understand that he had punished them thus for arriving so late.

After this the Czar passed into England, curious to see and learn as much
as possible; and, having well fulfilled his views, repaired into Holland.
He wished to visit France, but the King civilly declined to receive him.
He went, therefore, much mortified, to Vienna instead. Three weeks after
his arrival he was informed of a conspiracy that had been formed against
him in Moscow. He hastened there at once, and found that it was headed
by his own sister; he put her in prison, and hanged her most guilty
accomplices to the bars of his windows, as many each day as the bars
would hold. I have related at once all that regards the Czar for this
year, in order not to leap without ceasing from one matter to another; I
shall do this, and for the same reason, with that which follows.

The King of England was, as I have before said, at the height of
satisfaction at having been recognised by the King (Louis XIV.), and at
finding himself secure upon the throne. But a usurper is never tranquil
and content. William was annoyed by the residence of the legitimate King
and his family at Saint Germains. It was too close to the King (of
France), and too near England to leave him without disquietude. He had
tried hard at Ryswick to obtain the dismissal of James II. from the
realm, or at least from the Court of France, but without effect.
Afterwards he sent the Duke of St. Albans to our King openly, in order to
compliment him upon the marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne, but in reality
to obtain the dismissal.

The Duke of St. Albans meeting with no success, the Duke of Portland was
sent to succeed him. The Duke of Portland came over with a numerous and
superb suite; he kept up a magnificent table, and had horses, liveries,
furniture, and dresses of the most tasteful and costly kind. He was on
his way when a fire destroyed Whitehall, the largest and ugliest palace
in Europe, and which has not since been rebuilt; so that the kings are
lodged, and very badly, at St. James's Palace.

Portland had his first audience of the King on the 4th of February, and
remained four months in France. His politeness, his courtly and gallant
manners, and the good cheer he gave, charmed everybody, and made him
universally popular. It became the fashion to give fetes in his honour;
and the astonishing fact is, that the King, who at heart was more
offended than ever with William of Orange, treated this ambassador with
the most marked distinction. One evening he even gave Portland his
bedroom candlestick, a favour only accorded to the most considerable
persons, and always regarded as a special mark of the King's bounty.

Notwithstanding all these attentions, Portland was as unsuccessful as his
predecessor. The King had firmly resolved to continue his protection to
James II., and nothing could shake this determination. Portland was
warned from the first, that if he attempted to speak to the King upon the
point, his labour would be thrown away; he wisely therefore kept silence,
and went home again without in any way having fulfilled the mission upon
which he had been sent.

We had another distinguished foreigner arrive in France about this time,
--I mean, the Prince of Parma, respecting whom I remember a pleasing
adventure. At Fontainebleau more great dancing-parties are given than
elsewhere, and Cardinal d'Estrees wished to give one there in honour of
this Prince. I and many others were invited to the banquet; but the
Prince himself, for whom the invitation was specially provided, was
forgotten. The Cardinal had given invitations right and left, but by
some omission the Prince had not had one sent to him. On the morning of
the dinner this discovery was made. The Prince was at once sent to, but
he was engaged, and for several days. The dinner therefore took place
without him; the Cardinal was much laughed at for his absence of mind.
He was often similarly forgetful.

The Bishop of Poitiers died at the commencement of this year, and his
bishopric was given at Easter to the Abbe de Caudelet. The Abbe was a
very good man, but made himself an enemy, who circulated the blackest
calumnies against him. Amongst other impostures it was said that the
Abbe had gambled all Good Friday; the truth being, that in the evening,
after all the services were over, he went to see the Marechale de Crequi,
who prevailed upon him to amuse her for an hour by playing at piquet.
But the calumny had such effect, that the bishopric of Poitiers was taken
from him, and he retired into Brittany, where he passed the rest of his
life in solitude and piety. His brother in the meantime fully proved to
Pere de la Chaise the falsehood of this accusation; and he, who was
upright and good, did all he could to bestow some other living upon the
Abbe, in recompense for that he had been stripped of. But the King would
not consent, although often importuned, and even reproached for his

It was known, too, who was the author of the calumny. It was the Abbe de
la Chatre, who for a long time had been chaplain to the King, and who was
enraged against everyone who was made bishop before him. He was a man
not wanting in intelligence, but bitter, disagreeable, punctilious; very
ignorant, because he would never study, and so destitute of morality,
that I saw him say mass in the chapel on Ash Wednesday, after having
passed a night, masked at a ball, where he said and did the most filthy
things, as seen and heard by M. de La Vrilliere, before whom he unmasked,
and who related this to me: half an hour after, I met the Abbe de la
Chatre, dressed and going to the altar. Other adventures had already
deprived him of all chance of being made bishop by the King.

The old Villars died at this time. I have already mentioned him as
having been made chevalier d'honneur to the Duchesse de Chartres at her
marriage. I mention him now, because I omitted to say before the origin
of his name of Orondat, by which he was generally known, and which did
not displease him. This is the circumstance that gave rise to it.
Madame de Choisy, a lady of the fashionable world, went one day to see
the Comtesse de Fiesque, and found there a large company. The Countess
had a young girl living with her, whose name was Mademoiselle
d'Outrelaise, but who was called the Divine. Madame de Choisy, wishing
to go into the bedroom, said she would go there, and see the Divine.
Mounting rapidly, she found in the chamber a young and very pretty girl,
Mademoiselle Bellefonds, and a man, who escaped immediately upon seeing
her. The face of this man being perfectly well made, so struck her,
that, upon coming down again, she said it could only be that of Orondat.
Now that romances are happily no longer read, it is necessary to say that
Orondat is a character in Cyrus, celebrated by his figure and his good
looks, and who charmed all the heroines of that romance, which was then
much in vogue. The greater part of the company knew that Villars was
upstairs to see Mademoiselle de Bellefonds, with whom he was much in
love, and whom he soon afterwards married. Everybody therefore smiled at
this adventure of Orondat, and the name clung ever afterwards to Villars.

The Prince de Conti lost, before this time, his son, Prince la Roche-sur-
Yon, who was only four years old. The King wore mourning for him,
although it was the custom not to do so for children under seven years of
age. But the King had already departed from this custom for one of the
children of M. du Maine, and he dared not afterwards act differently
towards the children of a prince of the blood. Just at the end of
September, M. du Maine lost another child, his only son. The King wept
very much, and, although the child was considerably under seven years of
age, wore mourning for it. The marriage of Mademoiselle to M. de
Lorraine was then just upon the point of taking place; and Monsieur
(father of Mademoiselle) begged that this mourning might be laid aside
when the marriage was celebrated. The King agreed, but Madame la
Duchesse and the Princesse de Conti believed it apparently beneath them
to render this respect to Monsieur, and refused to comply. The King
commanded them to do so, but they pushed the matter so far as to say that
they had no other clothes. Upon this, the King ordered them to send and
get some directly. They were obliged to obey, and admit themselves
vanquished; but they did so not without great vexation. M. de Cambrai's
affairs still continued to make a great stir among the prelates and at
the Court. Madame Guyon was transferred from the Vincennes to the
Bastille, and it was believed she would remain there all her life. The
Ducs de Chevreuse and Beauvilliers lost all favour with M. de Maintenon,
and narrowly escaped losing the favour of the King. An attempt was in
fact made, which Madame de Maintenon strongly supported, to get them
disgraced; and, but for the Archbishop of Paris, this would have taken
place. But this prelate, thoroughly upright and conscientious,
counselled the King against such a step, to the great vexation of his
relations, who were the chief plotters in the conspiracy to overthrow the
two Dukes. As for M. de Cambrai's book 'Les Maxinies des Saints', it was
as little liked as ever, and underwent rather a strong criticism at this
time from M. de La Trappe, which did not do much to improve its
reputation. At the commencement of the dispute M. de Meaux had sent a
copy of 'Les Maximes des Saints' to M. de La Trappe, asking as a friend
for his opinion of the work. M. de La Trappe read it, and was much
scandalized. The more he studied it, the more this sentiment penetrated
him. At last, after having well examined the book, he sent his opinion
to M. de Meaux, believing it would be considered as private, and not be
shown to anybody. He did not measure his words, therefore, but wrote
openly, that if M. de Cambrai was right he might burn the Evangelists,
and complain of Jesus Christ, who could have come into the world only to
deceive us. The frightful force of this phrase was so terrifying, that
M. de Meaux thought it worthy of being shown to Madame de Maintenon; and
she, seeking only to crush M. de Cambrai with all the authorities
possible, would insist upon this opinion of M. de La Trappe being

It may be imagined what triumphing there was on the one side, and what
piercing cries on the other. The friends of M. de Cambrai complained
most bitterly that M. de La Trappe had mixed himself up in the matter,
and had passed such a violent and cruel sentence upon a book then under
the consideration of the Pope. M. de La Trappe on his side was much
afflicted that his letter had been published. He wrote to M. de Meaux
protesting against this breach of confidence; and said that, although he
had only expressed what he really thought, he should have been careful to
use more measured language, had he supposed his letter would have seen
the light. He said all he could to heal the wounds his words had caused,
but M. de Cambrai and his friends never forgave him for having written

This circumstance caused much discussion, and M. de La Trappe, to whom I
was passionately attached, was frequently spoken of in a manner that
caused me much annoyance. Riding out one day in a coach with some of my
friends, the conversation took this turn. I listened in silence for some
time, and then, feeling no longer able to support the discourse, desired
to be set down, so that my friends might talk at their ease, without pain
to me. They tried to retain me, but I insisted and carried my point.
Another time, Charost, one of my friends, spoke so disdainfully of M. de
La Trappe, and I replied to him with such warmth, that on the instant he
was seized with a fit, tottered, stammered, his throat swelled, his eyes
seemed starting from his head, and his tongue from his mouth. Madame de
Saint-Simon and the other ladies who were present flew to his assistance;
one unfastened his cravat and his shirt-collar, another threw a jug of
water over him and made him drink something; but as for me, I was struck
motionless at the sudden change brought about by an excess of anger and
infatuation. Charost was soon restored, and when he left I was taken to
task by the ladies. In reply I simply smiled. I gained this by the
occurrence, that Charost never committed himself again upon the subject
of M. de La Trappe.

Before quitting this theme, I will relate an anecdote which has found
belief. It has been said, that when M. de La Trappe was the Abbe de
Rance he was much in love with the beautiful Madame de Montbazon, and
that he was well treated by her. On one occasion after leaving her, in
perfect health, in order to go into the country, he learnt that she had
fallen ill. He hastened back, entered hurriedly into her chamber, and
the first sight he saw there was her head, that the surgeons, in opening
her, had separated from her body. It was the first intimation he had had
that she was dead, and the surprise and horror of the sight so converted
him that immediately afterwards he retired from the world. There is
nothing true in all this except the foundation upon which the fiction
arose. I have frankly asked M. de La Trappe upon this matter, and from
him I have learned that he was one of the friends of Madame de Montbazon,
but that so far from being ignorant of the time of her death, he was by
her side at the time, administered the sacrament to her, and had never
quitted her during the few days she was ill. The truth is, her sudden
death so touched him, that it made him carry out his intention of
retiring from the world--an intention, however, he had formed for many

The affair of M. de Cambrai was not finally settled until the
commencement of the following year, 1699, but went on making more noise
day by day. At the date I have named the verdict from Rome arrived
Twenty-three propositions of the 'Maximes des Saints' were declared rash,
dangerous, erroneous--'in globo'--and the Pope excommunicated those who
read the book or kept it in their houses. The King was much pleased with
this condemnation, and openly expressed his satisfaction. Madame de
Maintenon appeared at the summit of joy. As for M. de Cambrai, he learnt
his fate in a moment which would have overwhelmed a man with less
resources in himself. He was on the point of mounting into the pulpit:
he was by no means troubled; put aside the sermon he had prepared, and,
without delaying a moment, took for subject the submission due to the
Church; he treated this theme in a powerful and touching manner;
announced the condemnation of his book; retracted the opinions he had
professed; and concluded his sermon by a perfect acquiescence and
submission to the judgment the Pope had just pronounced. Two days
afterwards he published his retraction, condemned his book, prohibited
the reading of it, acquiesced and submitted himself anew to his
condemnation, and in the clearest terms took away from himself all means
of returning to his opinions. A submission so prompt, so clear, so
perfect, was generally admired, although there were not wanting censors
who wished he had shown less readiness in giving way. His friends
believed the submission would be so flattering to the Pope, that M. de
Cambrai might rely upon advancement to a cardinalship, and steps were
taken, but without any good result, to bring about that event.


About this time the King caused Charnace to be arrested in a province to
which he had been banished. He was accused of many wicked things, and;
amongst others, of coining. Charnace was a lad of spirit, who had been
page to the King and officer in the body-guard. Having retired to his
own house, he often played off many a prank. One of these I will
mention, as being full of wit and very laughable.

He had a very long and perfectly beautiful avenue before his house in
Anjou, but in the midst of it were the cottage and garden of a peasant;
and neither Charnace, nor his father before him, could prevail upon him
to remove, although they offered him large sums. Charnace at last
determined to gain his point by stratagem. The peasant was a tailor,
and lived all alone, without wife or child. One day Charnace sent for
him, said he wanted a Court suit in all haste, and, agreeing to lodge and
feed him, stipulated that he should not leave the house until it was
done. The tailor agreed, and set himself to the work. While he was thus
occupied, Charnace had the dimensions of his house and garden taken with
the utmost exactitude; made a plan of the interior, showing the precise
position of the furniture and the utensils; and, when all was done,
pulled down the house and removed it a short distance off.

Then it was arranged as before with a similar looking garden, and at the
same time the spot on which it had previously stood was smoothed and
levelled. All this was done before the suit was finished. The work
being at length over on both sides, Charnace amused the tailor until it
was quite dark, paid him, and dismissed him content. The man went on his
way down the avenue; but, finding the distance longer than usual, looked
about, and perceived he had gone too far. Returning, he searched
diligently for his house, but without being able to find it. The night
passed in this exercise. When the day came, he rubbed his eyes, thinking
they might have been in fault; but as he found them as clear as usual,
began to believe that the devil had carried away his house, garden and
all. By dint of wandering to and fro, and casting his eyes in every
direction, he saw at last a house which was as like to his as are two
drops of water to each other. Curiosity tempted him to go and examine
it. He did so, and became convinced it was his own. He entered, found
everything inside as he had left it, and then became quite persuaded he
had been tricked by a sorcerer. The day was not, however, very far
advanced before he learned the truth through the banter of his
neighbours. In fury he talked of going to law, or demanding justice, but
was laughed at everywhere. The King when he heard of it laughed also;
and Charnace had his avenue free. If he had never done anything worse
than this, he would have preserved his reputation and his liberty.

A strange scene happened at Meudon after supper one evening, towards the
end of July. The Prince de Conti and the Grand Prieur were playing, and
a dispute arose respecting the game. The Grand Prieur, inflated by pride
on account of the favours the King had showered upon him, and rendered
audacious by being placed almost on a level with the Princes of the
blood, used words which would have been too strong even towards an equal.
The Prince de Conti answered by a repartee, in which the other's honesty
at play and his courage in war--both, in truth, little to boast about--
were attacked. Upon this the Grand Prieur flew into a passion, flung
away the cards, and demanded satisfaction, sword in hand. The Prince de
Conti, with a smile of contempt, reminded him that he was wanting in
respect, and at the same time said he could have the satisfaction he
asked for whenever he pleased. The arrival of Monseigneur, in his
dressing-gown, put an end to the fray. He ordered the Marquis de
Gesvres, who was one of the courtiers present, to report the whole affair
to the King, and that every one should go to bed. On the morrow the King
was informed of what had taken place, and immediately ordered the Grand
Prieur to go to the Bastille. He was obliged to obey, and remained in
confinement several days. The affair made a great stir at Court. The
Princes of the blood took a very high tone, and the illegitimates were
much embarrassed. At last, on the 7th of August, the affair was finally
accommodated through the intercession of Monseigneur. The Grand Prieur
demanded pardon of the Prince de Conti in the presence of his brother, M.
de Vendome, who was obliged to swallow this bitter draught, although
against his will, in order to appease the Princes of the blood, who were
extremely excited.

Nearly at the same time, that is to say, on the 29th of May, in the
morning Madame de Saint-Simon was happily delivered of a child. God did
us the grace to give us a son. He bore, as I had, the name of Vidame of
Chartres. I do not know why people have the fancy for these odd names,
but they seduce in all nations, and they who feel the triviality of them,
imitate them. It is true that the titles of Count and Marquis have
fallen into the dust because of the quantity of people without wealth,
and even without land, who usurp them; and that they have become so
worthless, that people of quality who are Marquises or Counts (if they
will permit me to say it) are silly enough to be annoyed if those titles
are given to them in conversation. It is certain, however, that these
titles emanated from landed creations, and that in their origin they had
functions attached to them, which, they have since outlived. The
vidames, on the contrary, were only principal officers of certain
bishops, with authority to lead all the rest of their seigneurs' vassals
to the field, either to fight against other lords, or in the armies that
our kings used to assemble to combat their enemies before the creation of
a standing army put an end to the employment of vassals (there being no
further need for them), and to all the power and authority of the
seigneurs. There is thus no comparison between the title of vidame,
which only marks a vassal, and the titles which by fief emanate from the
King. Yet because the few Vidames who have been known were illustrious,
the name has appeared grand, and for this reason was given to me, and
afterwards by me to my son:

Some little time before this, the King resolved to show all Europe, which
believed his resources exhausted by a long war, that in the midst of
profound peace, he was as fully prepared as ever for arms. He wished at
the same time, to present a superb spectacle to Madame de Maintenon,
under pretext of teaching the young Duc de Bourgogne his first lesson in
war. He gave all the necessary orders, therefore, for forming a camp at
Compiegne, to be commanded by the Marechal de Boufflers under the young
Duke. On Thursday, the 28th of August, all the Court set out for the
camp. Sixty thousand men were assembled there. The King, as at the
marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne, had announced that he counted upon
seeing the troops look their best. The consequence of this was to excite
the army to an emulation that was repented of afterwards. Not only were
the troops in such beautiful order that it was impossible to give the
palm to any one corps, but their commanders added the finery and
magnificence of the Court to the majestic and warlike beauty of the men,
of the arms, and of the horses; and the officers exhausted their means in
uniforms which would have graced a fete.

Colonels, and even simple captains, kept open table; but the Marechal de
Boufflers outstripped everybody by his expenditure, by his magnificence,
and his good taste. Never was seen a spectacle so transcendent--so
dazzling--and (it must be said) so terrifying. At all hours, day or
night, the Marechal's table was open to every comer--whether officer,
courtier, or spectator. All were welcomed and invited, with the utmost
civility and attention, to partake of the good things provided. There
was every kind of hot and cold liquors; everything which can be the most
widely and the most splendidly comprehended under the term refreshment:
French and foreign wines, and the rarest liqueurs in the utmost
abundance. Measures were so well taken that quantities of game and
venison arrived from all sides; and the seas of Normandy, of Holland, of
England, of Brittany, even the Mediterranean, furnished all they
contained--the most unheard-of, extraordinary, and most exquisite--at a
given day and hour with inimitable order, and by a prodigious number of
horsemen and little express carriages. Even the water was fetched from
Sainte Reine, from the Seine, and from sources the most esteemed; and it
is impossible to imagine anything of any kind which was not at once ready
for the obscurest as for the most distinguished visitor, the guest most
expected, and the guest not expected at all. Wooden houses and
magnificent tents stretched all around, in number sufficient to form a
camp of themselves, and were furnished in the most superb manner, like
the houses in Paris. Kitchens and rooms for every purpose were there,
and the whole was marked by an order and cleanliness that excited
surprise and admiration. The King, wishing that the magnificence of this
camp should be seen by the ambassadors, invited them there, and prepared
lodgings for them. But the ambassadors claimed a silly distinction,
which the King would not grant, and they refused his invitation. This
distinction I call silly because it brings no advantage with it of any
kind. I am ignorant of its origin, but this is what it consists in.
When, as upon such an occasion as this, lodgings are allotted to the
Court, the quartermaster writes in chalk, "for Monsieur Such-a-one," upon
those intended for Princes of the blood, cardinals, and foreign princes;
but for none other. The King would not allow the "for" to be written
upon the lodgings of the ambassadors; and the ambassadors, therefore,
kept away. The King was much piqued at this, and I heard him say at
supper, that if he treated them as they deserved, he should only allow
them to come to Court at audience times, as was the custom everywhere

The King arrived at the camp on Saturday, the 30th of August, and went
with the Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne and others to the quarters of
Marechal de Boufflers, where a magnificent collation was served up to
them--so magnificent that when the King returned, he said it would be
useless for the Duc de Bourgogne to attempt anything so splendid; and
that whenever he went to the camp he ought to dine with Marechal de
Bouffiers. In effect, the King himself soon after dined there, and led
to the Marechal's table the King of England, who was passing three or
four days in the camp.

On these occasions the King pressed Marechal de Boufflers to be seated.
He would never comply, but waited upon the King while the Duc de
Grammont, his brother-in-law, waited upon Monseigneur.

The King amused himself much in pointing out the disposition of the
troops to the ladies of the Court, and in the evening showed them a grand

A very pleasant adventure happened at this review to Count Tesse, colonel
of dragoons. Two days previously M. de Lauzun, in the course of chit-
chat, asked him how he intended to dress at the review; and persuaded him
that, it being the custom, he must appear at the head of his troops in a
grey hat, or that he would assuredly displease the King. Tesse, grateful
for this information, and ashamed of his ignorance, thanked M. de Lauzun,
and sent off for a hat in all haste to Paris. The King, as M. de Lauzun
well knew, had an aversion to grey, and nobody had worn it for several
years. When, therefore, on the day of the review he saw Tesse in a hat
of that colour, with a black feather, and a huge cockade dangling and
flaunting above, he called to him, and asked him why he wore it. Tesse
replied that it was the privilege of the colonel-general to wear that day
a grey hat. "A grey hat," replied the King; "where the devil did you
learn that?"

"From M. de, Lauzun, Sire, for whom you created the charge," said Tesse,
all embarrassment. On the instant, the good Lauzun vanished, bursting
with laughter, and the King assured Tesse that M. de Lauzun had merely
been joking with him. I never saw a man so confounded as Tesse at this.
He remained with downcast eyes, looking at his hat, with a sadness and
confusion that rendered the scene perfect. He was obliged to treat the
matter as a joke, but was for a long time much tormented about it, and
much ashamed of it.

Nearly every day the Princes dined with Marechal de Boufflers, whose
splendour and abundance knew no end. Everybody who visited him, even the
humblest, was served with liberality and attention. All the villages and
farms for four leagues round Compiegne were filled with people, French,
and foreigners, yet there was no disorder. The gentlemen and valets at
the Marechal's quarters were of themselves quite a world, each more
polite than his neighbour, and all incessantly engaged from five o'clock
in the morning until ten and eleven o'clock at night, doing the honours
to various guests. I return in spite of myself to the Marechal's
liberality; because, who ever saw it, cannot forget, or ever cease to be
in a state of astonishment and admiration at its abundance and
sumptuousness, or at the order, never deranged for a moment at a single
point, that prevailed.

The King wished to show the Court all the manoeuvres of war; the siege of
Compiegne was therefore undertaken, according to due form, with lines,
trenches, batteries, mines, &c. On Saturday, the 13th of September, the
assault took place. To witness it, the King, Madame de Maintenon, all
the ladies of the Court, and a number of gentlemen, stationed themselves
upon an old rampart, from which the plain and all the disposition of the
troops could be seen. I was in the half circle very close to the King.
It was the most beautiful sight that can be imagined, to see all that
army, and the prodigious number of spectators on horse and foot, and that
game of attack and defence so cleverly conducted.

But a spectacle of another sort, that I could paint forty years hence as
well as to-day, so strongly did it strike me, was that which from the
summit of this rampart the King gave to all his army, and to the
innumerable crowd of spectators of all kinds in the plain below. Madame
de Maintenon faced the plain and the troops in her sedan-chair-alone,
between its three windows drawn up-her porters having retired to a
distance. On the left pole in front sat Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne;
and on the same side in a semicircle, standing, were Madame la Duchesse,
Madame la Princesse de Conti, and all the ladies, and behind them again,
many men. At the right window was the King, standing, and a little in
the rear, a semicircle of the most distinguished men of the Court. The
King was nearly always uncovered; and every now and then stooped to speak
to Madame de Maintenon, and explain to her what she saw, and the reason
of each movement. Each time that he did so she was obliging enough to
open the window four or five inches, but never half way; for I noticed
particularly, and I admit that I was more attentive to this spectacle
than to that of the troops. Sometimes she opened of her own accord to
ask some question of him, but generally it was he who, without waiting
for her, stooped down to instruct her of what was passing; and sometimes,
if she did not notice him, he tapped at the glass to make her open it.
He never spoke, save to her, except when he gave a few brief orders, or
just answered Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, who wanted to make him
speak, and with whom Madame de Maintenon carried on a conversation by
signs, without opening the front window, through which the young Princess
screamed to her from time to time. I watched the countenance of every
one carefully; all expressed surprise tempered with prudence and shame,
that was, as it were, ashamed of itself: every one behind the chair and
in the semicircle watched this scene more than what was going on in the
army. The King often put his hat on the top of the chair in order to get
his head in to speak; and this continual exercise tired his loins very
much. Monseigneur was on horseback in the plain with the young Princes.
It was about five o'clock in the afternoon, and the weather was as
brilliant as could be desired.

Opposite the sedan-chair was an opening with some steps cut through the
wall, and communicating with the plain below. It had been made for the
purpose of fetching orders from the King, should they be necessary. The
case happened. Crenan, who commanded, sent Conillac, an officer in one
of the defending regiments, to ask for some instructions from the King.
Conillac had been stationed at the foot of the rampart, where what was
passing above could not be seen. He mounted the steps; and as soon as
his head and shoulders were at the top, caught sight of the chair, the
King, and all the assembled company. He was not prepared for such a
scene, and it struck him with such astonishment, that he stopped short,
with mouth and eyes wide open-surprise painted upon every feature. I see
him now as distinctly as I did then. The King, as well as all the rest
of the company, remarked the agitation of Conillac, and said to him with
emotion, "Well, Conillac! come up." Conillac remained motionless, and
the King continued, "Come up. What is the matter?" Conillac, thus
addressed, finished his ascent, and came towards the King with slow and
trembling steps, rolling his eyes from right to left like one deranged.
Then he stammered something, but in a tone so low that it could not be
heard. "What do you say?" cried the King. "Speak up." But Conillac was
unable; and the King, finding he could get nothing out of him, told him
to go away. He did not need to be told twice, but disappeared at once.
As soon as he was gone, the King, looking round, said, "I don't know what
is the matter with Conillac. He has lost his wits; he did not remember
what he had to say to me." No one answered.

Towards the moment of the capitulation, Madame de Maintenon apparently
asked permission to go away, for the King cried, "The chairmen of
Madame!" They came and took her away; in less than a quarter of an hour
afterwards the King retired also, and nearly everybody else. There was
much interchange of glances, nudging with elbows, and then whisperings in
the ear. Everybody was full of what had taken place on the ramparts
between the King and Madame de Maintenon. Even the soldiers asked what
meant that sedan-chair and the King every moment stooping to put his head
inside of it. It became necessary gently to silence these questions of
the troops. What effect this sight had upon foreigners present, and what
they said of it, may be imagined. All over Europe it was as much talked
of as the camp of Compiegne itself, with all its pomp and prodigious

The last act of this great drama was a sham fight. The execution was
perfect; but the commander, Rose, who was supposed to be beaten, would
not yield. Marechal de Boufflers sent and told him more than once that
it was time. Rose flew into a passion, and would not obey. The King
laughed much at this, and said, "Rose does not like to be beaten." At
last he himself sent the order for retreat. Rose was forced then to
comply; but he did it with a very bad grace, and abused the bearer of the

The King left the camp on Monday the 22d of September, much pleased with
the troops. He gave, in parting, six hundred francs to each cavalry
captain, and three hundred francs to each captain of infantry. He gave
as much to the majors of all the regiments, and distributed some favours
to his household. To Marechal de Boufflers he presented one hundred
thousand francs. All these gifts together amounted to something: but
separately were as mere drops of water. There was not a single regiment
that was not ruined, officers and men, for several years. As for
Marechal de Boufflers, I leave it to be imagined what a hundred thousand
francs were to him whose magnificence astounded all Europe, described as
it was by foreigners who were witnesses of it, and who day after day
could scarcely believe their own eyes.


Here I will relate an adventure, which shows that, however wise and
enlightened a man may be, he is never infallible. M. de La Trappe had
selected from amongst his brethren one who was to be his successor. The
name of this monk was D. Francois Gervaise. He had been in the monastery
for some years, had lived regularly during that time, and had gained the
confidence of M. de La Trappe. As soon, however, as he received this
appointment, his manners began to change. He acted as though he were
already master, brought disorder and ill-feeling into the monastery, and
sorely grieved M. de La Trapp; who, however, looked upon this affliction
as the work of Heaven, and meekly resigned him self to it. At last,
Francois Gervaise was by the merest chance detected openly, under
circumstances which blasted his character for ever. His companion in
guilt was brought before M. de La Trappe, to leave no doubt upon the
matter. D. Francois Gervaise, utterly prostrated, resigned his office,
and left La Trappe. Yet, even after this, he had the hardihood to show
himself in the world, and to try and work himself into the favour of Pere
la Chaise. A discovery that was made, effectually stopped short his
hopes in this direction. A letter of his was found, written to a nun
with whom he had been intimate, whom he loved, and by whom he was
passionately loved. It was a tissue of filthiness and stark indecency,
enough to make the most abandoned tremble. The pleasures, the regrets,
the desires, the hopes of this precious pair, were all expressed in the
boldest language, and with the utmost licence. I believe that so many
abominations are not uttered in several days, even in the worst places.
For this offence Gervaise might have been confined in a dungeon all his
life, but he was allowed to go at large. He wandered from monastery to
monastery for five or six years, and always caused so much disorder
wherever he stopped, that at last the superiors thought it best to let
him live as he liked in a curacy of his brother's. He never ceased
troubling La Trappe, to which he wished to return; so that at last I
obtained a 'lettre de cachet', which prohibited him from approaching
within thirty leagues of the abbey, and within twenty of Paris. It was I
who made known to him that his abominations had been discovered. He was
in no way disturbed, declared he was glad to be free, and assured me with
the hypocrisy which never left him, that in his solitude he was going to
occupy himself in studying the Holy Scriptures.

Bonnceil, introducer of the ambassadors, being dead, Breteuil obtained
his post. Breteuil was not without intellect, but aped courtly manners,
called himself Baron de Breteuil, and was much tormented and laughed at
by his friends. One day, dining at the house of Madame de Pontchartrain,
and, speaking very authoritatively, Madame de Pontchartrain disputed with
him, and, to test his knowledge, offered to make a bet that he did not
know who wrote the Lord's Prayer. He defended himself as well as he was
able, and succeeded in leaving the table without being called upon to
decide the point. Caumartin, who saw his embarrassment, ran to him, and
kindly whispered in his ear that Moses was the author of the Lord's
Prayer. Thus strengthened, Breteuil returned to the attack, brought,
while taking coffee, the conversation back again to the bet; and, after
reproaching Madame de Pontchartrain for supposing him ignorant upon such
a point, and declaring he was ashamed of being obliged to say such a
trivial thing, pronounced emphatically that it was Moses who had written
the Lord's Prayer. The burst of laughter that, of course, followed this,
overwhelmed him with confusion. Poor Breteuil was for a long time at
loggerheads with his friend, and the Lord's Prayer became a standing
reproach to him.

He had a friend, the Marquis de Gesvres, who, upon some points, was not
much better informed. Talking one day in the cabinet of the King, and
admiring in the tone of a connoisseur some fine paintings of the
Crucifixion by the first masters, he remarked that they were all by one

He was laughed at, and the different painters were named, as recognized
by their style.

"Not at all," said the Marquis, "the painter is called INRI; do you not
see his name upon all the pictures?" What followed after such gross
stupidity and ignorance may be imagined.

At the end of this year the King resolved to undertake three grand
projects, which ought to have been carried out long before: the chapel of
Versailles, the Church of the Invalides, and the altar of Notre-Dame de
Paris. This last was a vow of Louis XIII., made when, he no longer was
able to accomplish it, and which he had left to his successor, who had
been more than fifty years without thinking of it.

On the 6th of January, upon the reception of the ambassadors at the house
of the Duchesse de Bourogogne, an adventure happened which I will here
relate. M. de Lorraine belonged to a family which had been noted for its
pretensions, and for the disputes of precedency in which it engaged. He
was as prone to this absurdity as the rest, and on this occasion incited
the Princesse d'Harcourt, one of his relations, to act in a manner that
scandalised all the Court. Entering the room in which the ambassadors
were to be received and where a large number of ladies were already
collected, she glided behind the Duchesse de Rohan, and told her to pass
to the left. The Duchesse de Rohan, much surprised, replied that she was
very well placed already. Whereupon, the Princesse d'Harcourt, who was
tall and strong, made no further ado, but with her two arms seized the
Duchesse de Rohan, turned her round, and sat down in her place. All the
ladies were strangely scandalised at this, but none dared say a word, not
even Madame de Lude, lady in waiting on the Duchesse de Bourgogne, who,
for her part also, felt the insolence of the act, but dared not speak,
being so young. As for the Duchesse de Rohan, feeling that opposition
must lead to fisticuffs, she curtseyed to the Duchess, and quietly
retired to another place. A few minutes after this, Madame de Saint-
Simon, who was then with child, feeling herself unwell, and tired of
standing, seated herself upon the first cushion she could find. It so
happened, that in the position she thus occupied, she had taken
precedence of Madame d'Armagnac by two degrees. Madame d'Armagnac,,
perceiving it, spoke to her upon the subject. Madame de Saint-Simon, who
had only placed herself there for a moment, did not reply, but went

As soon as I learnt of the first adventure, I thought it important that
such an insult should not be borne, and I went and conferred with M. de
la Rochefoucauld upon the subject, at the same time that Marechal de
Boufflers spoke of it to M. de Noailles. I called upon other of my
friends, and the opinion was that the Duc de Rohan should complain to the
King on the morrow of the treatment his wife had received.

In the evening while I was at the King's supper, I was sent for by Madame
de Saint-Simon, who informed me that the Lorraines, afraid of the
complaints that would probably be addressed to the King upon what had
taken place between the Princesse d'Harcourt and the Duchesse de Rohan,
had availed themselves of what happened between Madame de Saint-Simon and
Madame d'Armagnac, in order to be the first to complain, so that one
might balance the other. Here was a specimen of the artifice of these
gentlemen, which much enraged me. On the instant I determined to lose no
time in speaking to the King; and that very evening I related what had
occurred, in so far as Madame de Saint-Simon was concerned, but made no
allusion to M. de Rohan's affair, thinking it best to leave that to be
settled by itself on the morrow. The King replied to me very graciously,
and I retired, after assuring him that all I had said was true from
beginning to end.

The next day the Duc de Rohan made his complaint. The King, who had
already been fully informed of the matter, received him well, praised the
respect and moderation of Madame de Rohan, declared Madame d'Harcourt to
have been very impertinent, and said some very hard words upon the

I found afterwards, that Madame de Maintenon, who much favoured Madame
d'Harcourt, had all the trouble in the world to persuade the King not to
exclude her from the next journey to Marly. She received a severe
reprimand from the King, a good scolding from Madame de Maintenon, and
was compelled publicly to ask pardon of the Duchesse de Rohan. This she
did; but with a crawling baseness equal to her previous audacity. Such
was the end of this strange history.

There appeared at this time a book entitled "Probleme," but without name
of author, and directed against M. de Paris, declaring that he had
uttered sentiments favourable to the Jansenists being at Chalons, and
unfavourable being at Paris. The book came from the Jesuits, who could
not pardon M. de Paris for having become archbishop without their
assistance. It was condemned and burnt by decree of the Parliament, and
the Jesuits had to swallow all the shame of it. The author was soon
after discovered. He was named Boileau; not the friend of Bontems, who
so often preached before the King, and still less the celebrated poet and
author of the 'Flagellants', but a doctor of much wit and learning whom
M. de Paris had taken into his favour and treated like a brother. Who
would have believed that "Probleme" could spring from such a man? M. de
Paris was much hurt; but instead of imprisoning Boileau for the rest of
his days, as he might have done, he acted the part of a great bishop, and
gave him a good canonical of Saint Honore, which became vacant a few days
afterwards. Boileau, who was quite without means, completed his
dishonour by accepting it.

The honest people of the Court regretted a cynic who died at this time,
I mean the Chevalier de Coislin. He was a most extraordinary man, very
splenetic, and very difficult to deal with. He rarely left Versailles,
and never went to see the king. I have seen him get out of the way not
to meet him. He lived with Cardinal Coislin, his brother. If anybody
displeased him, he would go and sulk in his own room; and if, whilst at
table, any one came whom he did not like, he would throw away his plate,
go off to sulk, or to finish his dinner all alone. One circumstance will
paint him completely. Being on a journey once with his brothers, the Duc
de Coislin and the Cardinal de Coislin, the party rested for the night at
the house of a vivacious and very pretty bourgeoise. The Duc de Coislin
was an exceedingly polite man, and bestowed amiable compliments and
civilities upon their hostess, much to the disgust of the Chevalier. At
parting, the Duke renewed the politeness he had displayed so abundantly
the previous evening, and delayed the others by his long-winded
flatteries. When, at last, they left the house, and were two or three
leagues away from it, the Chevalier de Coislin said, that, in spite of
all this politeness, he had reason to believe that their pretty hostess
would not long be pleased with the Duke. The Duke, disturbed, asked his
reason for thinking so. "Do you wish to learn it?" said the Chevalier;
"well, then, you must know that, disgusted by your compliments, I went up
into the bedroom in which you slept, and made a filthy mess on the floor,
which the landlady will no doubt attribute to you, despite all your fine

At this there was loud laughter, but the Duke was in fury, and wished to
return in order to clear up his character. Although it rained hard, they
had all the pains in the world to hinder him, and still more to bring
about a reconciliation. Nothing was more pleasant than to hear the
brothers relate this adventure each in his own way.

Two cruel effects of gambling were noticed at this time. Reineville, a
lieutenant of the body-guard, a general officer distinguished in war,
very well treated by the King, and much esteemed by the captain of the
Guards, suddenly disappeared, and could not be found anywhere, although
the utmost care was taken to search for him. He loved gaming. He had
lost what he could not pay. He was a man of honour, and could not
sustain his misfortune. Twelve or fifteen years afterwards he was
recognised among the Bavarian troops, in which he was serving in order to
gain his bread and to live unknown. The other case was still worse.
Permillac, a man of much intelligence and talent, had lost more than he
possessed, and blew his brains out one morning in bed. He was much liked
throughout the army; had taken a friendship for me, and I for him.
Everybody pitied him, and I much regretted him.

Nearly at the same time we lost the celebrated Racine, so known by his
beautiful plays. No one possessed a greater talent or a more agreeable
mien. There was nothing of the poet in his manners: he had the air of a
well-bred and modest man, and at last that of a good man. He had
friends, the most illustrious, at the Court as well as among men of
letters. I leave it to the latter to speak of him in a better way than I
can. He wrote, for the amusement of the King and Madame de Maintenon,
and to exercise the young ladies of Saint Cyr, two dramatic masterpieces,
Esther and Athalie. They were very difficult to write, because there
could be no love in them, and because they are sacred tragedies, in
which, from respect to the Holy Scriptures, it was necessary rigidly to
keep to the historical truth. They were several times played at Saint
Cyr before a select Court. Racine was charged with the history of the
King, conjointly with Despreaux, his friend. This employment, the pieces
I have just spoken of, and his friends, gained for Racine some special
favours: It sometimes happened that the King had no ministers with him,
as on Fridays, and, above all, when the bad weather of winter rendered
the sittings very long; then he would send for Racine to amuse him and
Madame de Maintenon. Unfortunately the poet was oftentimes very absent.
It happened one evening that, talking with Racine upon the theatre, the
King asked why comedy was so much out of fashion. Racine gave several
reasons, and concluded by naming the principal,--namely, that for want of
new pieces the comedians gave old ones, and, amongst others, those of
Scarron, which were worth nothing, and which found no favour with
anybody. At this the poor widow blushed, not for the reputation of the
cripple attacked, but at hearing his name uttered in presence of his
successor! The King was also embarrassed, and the unhappy Racine, by the
silence which followed, felt what a slip he had made. He remained the
most confounded of the three, without daring to raise his eyes or to open
his mouth. This silence did not terminate for several moments, so heavy
and profound was the surprise. The end was that the King sent away
Racine, saying he was going to work. The poet never afterwards recovered
his position. Neither the King nor Madame de Maintenon ever spoke to him
again, or even looked at him; and he conceived so much sorrow at this,
that he fell into a languor, and died two years afterwards. At his
death, Valincourt was chosen to work in his place with Despreaux upon the
history of the King.

The King, who had just paid the heavy gaming and tradesmen's debts of
Madame la Duchesse, paid also those of Monseigneur, which amounted to
fifty thousand francs, undertook the payment of the buildings at Meudon,
and, in lieu of fifteen hundred pistoles a month which he had allowed
Monseigneur, gave him fifty thousand crowns. M. de la Rochefoucauld,
always necessitous and pitiful in the midst of riches, a prey to his
servants, obtained an increase of forty-two thousand francs a-year upon
the salary he received as Grand Veneur, although it was but a short time
since the King had paid his debts. The King gave also, but in secret,
twenty thousand francs a-year to M. de Chartres, who had spent so much in
journeys and building that he feared he should be unable to pay his
debts. He had asked for an abbey; but as he had already one, the King
did not like to give him another, lest it should be thought too much.

M. de Vendome began at last to think about his health, which his
debauches had thrown into a very bad state. He took public leave of the
King and of all the Court before going away, to put himself in the hands
of the doctors. It was the first and only example of such impudence.
From this time he lost ground. The King said, at parting, that he hoped
he would come back in such a state that people might kiss him without
danger! His going in triumph, where another would have gone in shame and
secrecy, was startling and disgusting. He was nearly three months under
the most skilful treatment-and returned to the Court with half his nose,
his teeth out, and a physiognomy entirely changed, almost idiotic. The
King was so much struck by this change, that he recommended the courtiers
not to appear to notice it, for fear of afflicting M. de Vendome. That
was taking much interest in him assuredly. As, moreover, he had departed
in triumph upon this medical expedition, so he returned triumphant by the
reception of the King, which was imitated by all the Court. He remained
only a few days, and then, his mirror telling sad tales, went away to
Anet, to see if nose and teeth would come back to him with his hair.

A strange adventure, which happened at this time, terrified everybody,
and gave rise to many surmises. Savary was found assassinated in his
house at Paris he kept only a valet and a maid-servant, and they were
discovered murdered at the same time, quite dressed, like their master,
and in different parts of the house. It appeared by writings found
there, that the crime was one of revenge: it was supposed to have been
committed in broad daylight. Savary was a citizen of Paris, very rich,
without occupation, and lived like an epicurean. He had some friends of
the highest rank, and gave parties, of all kinds of pleasure, at his
house, politics sometimes being discussed. The cause of this
assassination was never known; but so much of it was found out, that no
one dared to search for more. Few doubted but that the deed had been
done by a very ugly little man, but of a blood so highly respected, that
all forms were dispensed with, in the fear lest it should be brought home
to him; and, after the first excitement, everybody ceased to speak of
this tragic history.

On the night between the 3rd and 4th of June, a daring robbery was
effected at the grand stables of Versailles. All the horse-cloths and
trappings, worth at least fifty thousand crowns, were carried off, and so
cleverly and with such speed, although the night was short, that no
traces of them could ever afterwards be found. This theft reminds me of
another which took place a little before the commencement of these
memoirs. The grand apartment at Versailles, that is to say, from the
gallery to the tribune, was hung with crimson velvet, trimmed and fringed
with gold. One fine morning the fringe and trimmings were all found to
have been cut away. This appeared extraordinary in a place so frequented
all day, so well closed at night, and so well guarded at all times.
Bontems, the King's valet, was in despair, and did his utmost to discover
the thieves, but without success.

Five or six days afterwards, I was at the King's supper, with nobody but
Daqum, chief physician, between the King and me, and nobody at all
between one and the table. Suddenly I perceived a large black form in
the air, but before I could tell what it was, it fell upon the end of the
King's table just before the cover which had been laid for Monseigneur
and Madame. By the noise it made in falling, and the weight of the thing
itself, it seemed as though the table must be broken. The plates jumped
up, but none were upset, and the thing, as luck would have it, did not
fall upon any of them, but simply upon the cloth. The King moved his
head half round, and without being moved in any way said, "I think that
is my fringe!"

It was indeed a bundle, larger than a flat-brimmed priest's hat, about
two feet in height, and shaped like a pyramid. It had come from behind
me, from towards the middle door of the two ante-chambers, and a piece of
fringe getting loose in the air, had fallen upon the King's wig, from
which it was removed by Livry, a gentleman-in-waiting. Livry also opened
the bundle, and saw that it did indeed contain the fringes all twisted
up, and everybody saw likewise. A murmur was heard. Livry wishing to
take away the bundle found a paper attached to it. He took the paper and
left the bundle. The King stretched out his hand and said, "Let us see."
Livry, and with reason, would not give up the paper, but stepped back,
read it, and then passed it to Daquin, in whose hands I read it. The
writing, counterfeited and long like that of a woman, was in these
words:--" Take back your fringes, Bontems; they are not worth the trouble
of keeping--my compliments to the King."

The paper was rolled up, not folded: the King wished to take it from
Daquin, who, after much hesitation, allowed him to read it, but did not
let it out of his hands. "Well, that is very insolent!" said the King,
but in quite a placid unmoved tone--as it were, an historical tone.
Afterwards he ordered the bundle to be taken away. Livry found it so
heavy that he could scarcely lift it from the table, and gave it to an
attendant who presented himself. The King spoke no more of this matter,
nobody else dared to do so; and the supper finished as though nothing had

Besides the excess of insolence and impudence of this act, it was so
perilous as to be scarcely understood. How could any one, without being
seconded by accomplices, throw a bundle of this weight and volume in the
midst of a crowd such as was always present at the supper of the King, so
dense that it could with difficulty be passed through? How, in spite of
a circle of accomplices, could a movement of the arms necessary for such
a throw escape all eyes? The Duc de Gesvres was in waiting. Neither he
nor anybody else thought of closing the doors until the King had left the
table. It may be guessed whether the guilty parties remained until then,
having had more than three-quarters of an hour to escape, and every issue
being free. Only one person was discovered, who was not known, but he
proved to be a very honest man, and was dismissed after a short
detention. Nothing has since been discovered respecting this theft or
its bold restitution.


On the 12th August, Madame de Saint-Simon was happily delivered of a
second son, who bore the name of Marquis de Ruffec. A singular event
which happened soon after, made all the world marvel.

There arrived at Versailles a farrier, from the little town of Salon, in
Provence, who asked to see the King in private. In spite of the rebuffs
he met with, he persisted in his request, so that at last it got to the
ears of the King. The King sent word that he was not accustomed to grant
such audiences to whoever liked to ask for them. Thereupon the farrier
declared that if he was allowed to see the King he would tell him things
so secret and so unknown to everybody else that he would be persuaded of
their importance, demanding, if the King would not see him, to be sent to
a minister of state. Upon this the King allowed him to have an interview
with one of his secretaries, Barbezieux. But Barbezieux was not a
minister of state, and to the great surprise of everybody, the farrier,
who had only just arrived from the country, and who had never before left
it or his trade, replied, that not being a minister of state he would not
speak with him. Upon this he was allowed to see Pomponne, and converse
with him; and this is the story he told:

He said, that returning home late one evening he found himself surrounded
by a great light, close against a tree and near Salon. A woman clad in
white--but altogether in a royal manner, and beautiful, fair, and very
dazzling--called him by his name, commanded him to listen to her, and
spake to him more than half-an-hour. She told him she was the Queen,
who had been the wife of the King; to whom she ordered him to go and say
what she had communicated; assuring him that God would assist him through
all the journey, and that upon a secret thing he should say, the King,
who alone knew that secret, would recognise the truth of all he uttered.
She said that in case he could not see the King he was to speak with a
minister of state, telling him certain things, but reserving certain
others for the King alone. She told him, moreover, to set out at once,
assuring him he would be punished with death if he neglected to acquit
himself of his commission. The farrier promised to obey her in
everything, and the queen then disappeared. He found himself in darkness
near the tree. He lay down and passed the night there, scarcely knowing
whether he was awake or asleep. In the morning he went home, persuaded
that what he had seen was a mere delusion and folly, and said nothing
about it to a living soul.

Two days afterwards he was passing by the same place when the same vision
appeared to him, and he was addressed in the same terms. Fresh threats
of punishment were uttered if he did not comply, and he was ordered to go
at once to the Intendant of the province, who would assuredly furnish him
with money, after saying what he had seen. This time the farrier was
convinced there was no delusion in the matter; but, halting between his
fears and doubts, knew not what to do, told no one what had passed,
and was in great perplexity. He remained thus eight days, and at last
had resolved not to make the journey; when, passing by the same spot,
he saw and heard the same vision, which bestowed upon him so many
dreadful menaces that he no longer thought of anything but setting out
immediately. In two days from that time he presented himself, at Aix,
to the Intendant of the province, who, without a moment's hesitation,
urged him to pursue his journey, and gave him sufficient money to travel
by a public conveyance. Nothing more of the story was ever known.

The farrier had three interviews with M. de Pomponne, each of two hours'
length. M. de Pomponne rendered, in private, an account of these to the
King, who desired him to speak more fully upon the point in a council
composed of the Ducs de Beauvilliers, Pontchartrain, Torcy, and Pomponne
himself; Monseigneur to be excluded. This council sat very long, perhaps
because other things were spoken of. Be that as it may, the King after
this wished to converse with the farrier, and did so in his cabinet. Two
days afterwards he saw the man again; at each time was nearly an hour
with him, and was careful that no one was within hearing.

The day after the first interview, as the King was descending the
staircase, to go a-hunting, M. de Duras, who was in waiting, and who was
upon such a footing that he said almost what he liked, began to speak of
this farrier with contempt, and, quoting the bad proverb, said, "The man
was mad, or the King was not noble." At this the King stopped, and,
turning round, a thing he scarcely ever did in walking, replied, "If that
be so, I am not noble, for I have discoursed with him long, he has spoken
to me with much good sense, and I assure you he is far from being mad."

These last words were pronounced with a sustained gravity which greatly
surprised those near, and which in the midst of deep silence opened all
eyes and ears. After the second interview the King felt persuaded that
one circumstance had been related to him by the farrier, which he alone
knew, and which had happened more than twenty years before. It was that
he had seen a phantom in the forest of Saint Germains. Of this phantom
he had never breathed a syllable to anybody.

The King on several other occasions spoke favourably of the farrier;
moreover, he paid all the expenses the man had been put to, gave him a
gratuity, sent him back free, and wrote to the Intendant of the province
to take particular care of him, and never to let him want for anything
all his life.

The most surprising thing of all this is, that none of the ministers
could be induced to speak a word upon the occurrence. Their most
intimate friends continually questioned them, but without being able to
draw forth a syllable. The ministers either affected to laugh at the
matter or answered evasively. This was the case whenever I questioned
M. de Beauvilliers or M. de Pontchartrain, and I knew from their most
intimate friends that nothing more could ever be obtained from M. de
Pomponne or M. de Torcy. As for the farrier himself, he was equally
reserved. He was a simple, honest, and modest man, about fifty years of
age. Whenever addressed upon this subject, he cut short all discourse by
saying, "I am not allowed to speak," and nothing more could be extracted
from him. When he returned to his home he conducted himself just as
before, gave himself no airs, and never boasted of the interview he had
had with the King and his ministers. He went back to his trade, and
worked at it as usual.

Such is the singular story which filled everybody with astonishment, but
which nobody could understand. It is true that some people persuaded
themselves, and tried to persuade others, that the whole affair was a
clever trick, of which the simple farrier had been the dupe. They said
that a certain Madame Arnoul, who passed for a witch, and who, having
known Madame de Maintenon when she was Madame Scarron, still kept up a
secret intimacy with her, had caused the three visions to appear to the
farrier, in order to oblige the King to declare Madame de Maintenon
queen. But the truth of the matter was never known.

The King bestowed at this time some more distinctions on his illegitimate
children. M. du Maine, as grand-master of the artillery, had to be
received at the Chambre des Comptes; and his place ought to have been,
according to custom, immediately above that of the senior member. But
the King wished him to be put between the first and second presidents;
and this was done. The King accorded also to the Princesse de Conti that
her two ladies of honour should be allowed to sit at the Duchesse de
Bourgogne's table. It was a privilege that no lady of honour to a
Princess of the blood had ever been allowed. But the King gave these
distinctions to the ladies of his illegitimate children, and refused it
to those of the Princesses of the blood.

In thus according honours, the King seemed to merit some new ones
himself. But nothing fresh could be thought of. What had been done
therefore at his statue in the Place des Victoires, was done over again
in the Place Vendome on the 13th August, after midday. Another statue
which had been erected there was uncovered. The Duc de Gesvres, Governor
of Paris, was in attendance on horseback, at the head of the city troops,
and made turns, and reverences, and other ceremonies, imitated from those
in use at the consecration of the Roman Emperors. There were, it is
true, no incense and no victims: something more in harmony with the title
of Christian King was necessary. In the evening, there was upon the
river a fine illumination, which Monsieur and Madame went to see.

A difficulty arose soon after this with Denmark. The Prince Royal had
become King, and announced the circumstance to our King, but would not
receive the reply sent him because he was not styled in it "Majesty."
We had never accorded to the Kings of Denmark this title, and they had
always been contented with that of "Serenity." The King in his turn
would not wear mourning for the King of Denmark, just dead, although he
always did so for any crowned head, whether related to him or not. This
state of things lasted some months; until, in the end, the new King of
Denmark gave way, received the reply as it had been first sent, and our
King wore mourning as if the time for it had not long since passed.

Boucherat, chancellor and keeper of the seals, died on the 2nd of
September. Harlay, as I have previously said, had been promised this
appointment when it became vacant. But the part he had taken in our case
with M. de Luxembourg had made him so lose ground, that the appointment
was not given to him. M. de la Rochefoucauld, above all, had undermined
him in the favour of the King; and none of us had lost an opportunity of
assisting in this work. Our joy, therefore, was extreme when we saw all
Harlay's hopes frustrated, and we did not fail to let it burst forth.
The vexation that Harlay conceived was so great, that he became
absolutely intractable, and often cried out with a bitterness he could
not contain, that he should be left to die in the dust of the palace.
His weakness was such, that he could not prevent himself six weeks after
from complaining to the King at Fontainebleau, where he was playing the
valet with his accustomed suppleness and deceit. The King put him off
with fine speeches, and by appointing him to take part in a commission
then sitting for the purpose of bringing about a reduction in the price
of corn in Paris and the suburbs, where it had become very dear. Harlay
made a semblance of being contented, but remained not the less annoyed.
His health and his head were at last so much attacked that he was forced
to quit his post: he then fell into contempt after having excited so much
hatred. The chancellorship was given to Pontchartrain, and the office of
comptroller-general, which became vacant at the same time, was given to
Chamillart; a very honest man, who owed his first advancement to his
skill at billiards, of which game the King was formerly very fond.
It was while Chamillart was accustomed to play billiards with the King,
at least three times a week, that an incident happened which ought not to
be forgotten. Chamillart was Counsellor of the Parliament at that time.
He had just reported on a case that had been submitted to him.
The losing party came to him, and complained that he had omitted to bring
forward a document that had been given into his hands, and that would
assuredly have turned the verdict. Chamillart searched for the document,
found it, and saw that the complainer was right. He said so, and added,
--"I do not know how the document escaped me, but it decides in your
favour. You claimed twenty thousand francs, and it is my fault you did
not get them. Come to-morrow, and I will pay you." Chamillart, although
then by no means rich, scraped together all the money he had, borrowing
the rest, and paid the man as he had promised, only demanding that the
matter should be kept a secret. But after this, feeling that billiards
three times a week interfered with his legal duties, he surrendered part
of them, and thus left himself more free for other charges he was obliged
to attend to.

The Comtesse de Fiesque died very aged, while the Court was at
Fontainebleau this year. She had passed her life with the most frivolous
of the great world. Two incidents amongst a thousand will characterise
her. She was very straitened in means, because she had frittered away
all her substance, or allowed herself to be pillaged by her business
people. When those beautiful mirrors were first introduced she obtained
one, although they were then very dear and very rare. "Ah, Countess!"
said her friends, "where did you find that?"

"Oh!" replied she, "I had a miserable piece of land, which only yielded
me corn; I have sold it, and I have this mirror instead. Is not this
excellent? Who would hesitate between corn and this beautiful mirror?"

On another occasion she harangued with her son, who was as poor as a rat,
for the purpose of persuading him to make a good match and thus enrich
himself. Her son, who had no desire to marry, allowed her to talk on,
and pretended to listen to her reasons: She was delighted--entered into a
description of the wife she destined for him, painting her as young,
rich, an only child, beautiful, well-educated, and with parents who would
be delighted to agree to the marriage. When she had finished, he pressed
her for the name of this charming and desirable person. The Countess
said she was the daughter of Jacquier, a man well known to everybody,
and who had been a contractor of provisions to the armies of M. de
Turenne. Upon this, her son burst out into a hearty laugh, and she in
anger demanded why he did so and what he found so ridiculous in the

The truth was, Jacquier had no children, as the Countess soon remembered.
At which she said it was a great pity, since no marriage would have
better suited all parties. She was full of such oddities, which she
persisted in for some time with anger, but at which she was the first to
laugh. People said of her that she had never been more than eighteen
years old. The memoirs of Mademoiselle paint her well. She lived with
Mademoiselle, and passed all her life in quarrels about trifles.

It was immediately after leaving Fontainebleau that the marriage between
the Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne was consummated. It was upon this
occasion that the King named four gentlemen to wait upon the Duke,--
four who in truth could not have been more badly chosen. One of them,
Gamaches, was a gossip; who never knew what he was doing or saying--
who knew nothing of the world, or the Court, or of war, although he had
always been in the army. D'O was another; but of him I have spoken.
Cheverny was the third, and Saumery the fourth. Saumery had been raised
out of obscurity by M. de Beauvilliers. Never was man so intriguing, so
truckling, so mean, so boastful, so ambitious, so intent upon fortune,
and all this without disguise, without veil, without shame! Saumery had
been wounded, and no man ever made so much of such a mishap. I used to
say of him that he limped audaciously, and it was true. He would speak
of personages the most distinguished, whose ante-chambers even he had
scarcely seen, as though he spoke of his equals or of his particular
friends. He related what he had heard, and was not ashamed to say before
people who at least had common sense, "Poor Mons. Turenne said to me,"
M. de Turenne never having probably heard of his existence. With
Monsieur in full he honoured nobody. It was Mons. de Beauvilliers, Mons.
de Chevreuse, and so on; except with those whose names he clipped off
short, as he frequently would even with Princes of the blood. I have
heard him say many times, "the Princesse de Conti," in speaking of the
daughter of the King; and "the Prince de Conti," in speaking of Monsieur
her brother-in-law! As for the chief nobles of the Court, it was rare
for him to give them the Monsieur or the Mons. It was Marechal
d'Humieres, and so on with the others. Fatuity and insolence were united
in him, and by dint of mounting a hundred staircases a day, and bowing
and scraping everywhere, he had gained the ear of I know not how many
people. His wife was a tall creature, as impertinent as he, who wore the
breeches, and before whom he dared not breathe. Her effrontery blushed
at nothing, and after many gallantries she had linked herself on to M. de
Duras, whom she governed, and of whom she was publicly and absolutely the
mistress, living at his expense. Children, friends, servants, all were
at her mercy; even Madame de Duras herself when she came, which was but
seldom, from the country.

Such were the people whom the King placed near M. le Duc de Bourgogne.

The Duc de Gesvres, a malicious old man, a cruel husband and unnatural
father, sadly annoyed Marechal de Villeroy towards the end of this year,
having previously treated me very scurvily for some advice I gave him
respecting the ceremonies to be observed at the reception by the King of
M. de Lorraine as Duc de Bar. M. de Gesvres and M. de Villeroy had both
had fathers who made large fortunes and who became secretaries of state.


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