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

Part 5 out of 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Canaples, brother of the Marechal de Crequi, wished to marry Mademoiselle
de Vivonne who was no longer young, but was distinguished by talent,
virtue and high birth; she had not a penny. The Cardinal de Coislin,
thinking Canaples too old to marry, told him so. Canaples said he wanted
to have children. "Children!" exclaimed the Cardinal. "But she is so
virtuous!" Everybody burst out laughing; and the more willingly, as the
Cardinal, very pure in his manners, was still more so in his language.
His saying was verified by the event: the marriage proved sterile.

The Duc de Coislin died about this time. I have related in its proper
place an adventure that happened to him and his brother, the Chevalier de
Coislin: now I will say something more of the Duke. He was a very little
man, of much humour and virtue, but of a politeness that was unendurable,
and that passed all bounds, though not incompatible with dignity. He had
been lieutenant-general in the army. Upon one occasion, after a battle
in which he had taken part, one of the Rhingraves who had been made
prisoner, fell to his lot. The Duc de Coislin wished to give up to the
other his bed, which consisted indeed of but a mattress. They
complimented each other so much, the one pressing, the other refusing,
that in the end they both slept upon the ground, leaving the mattress
between them. The Rhingrave in due time came to Paris and called on the
Duc de Coislin. When he was going, there was such a profusion of
compliments, and the Duke insisted so much on seeing him out, that the
Rhingrave, as a last resource, ran out of the room, and double locked the
door outside. M. de Coislin was not thus to be outdone. His apartments
were only a few feet above the ground. He opened the window accordingly,
leaped out into the court, and arrived thus at the entrance-door before
the Rhingrave, who thought the devil must have carried him there. The
Duc de Coislin, however, had managed to put his thumb out of joint by
this leap. He called in Felix, chief surgeon of the King, who soon put
the thumb to rights. Soon afterwards Felix made a call upon M. de
Coislin to see how he was, and found that the cure was perfect. As he
was about to leave, M. de Coislin must needs open the door for him.
Felix, with a shower of bows, tried hard to prevent this, and while they
were thus vying in politeness, each with a hand upon the door, the Duke
suddenly drew back; he had put his thumb out of joint again, and Felix
was obliged to attend to it on the spot! It may be imagined what
laughter this story caused the King, and everybody else, when it became

There was no end to the outrageous civilities of M. de Coislin. On
returning from Fontainebleau one day, we, that is Madame de Saint-Simon
and myself, encountered M. de Coislin and his son, M. de Metz, on foot
upon the pavement of Ponthierry, where their coach had broken down. We
sent word, accordingly, that we should be glad to accommodate them in
ours. But message followed message on both sides; and at last I was
compelled to alight and to walk through the mud, begging them to mount
into my coach. M. de Coislin, yielding to my prayers, consented to this.
M. de Metz was furious with him for his compliments, and at last
prevailed on him. When M. de Coislin had accepted my offer and we had
nothing more to do than to gain the coach, he began to capitulate, and to
protest that he would not displace the two young ladies he saw seated in
the vehicle. I told him that the two young ladies were chambermaids, who
could well afford to wait until the other carriage was mended, and then
continue their journey in that. But he would not hear of this; and at
last all that M. de Metz and I could do was to compromise the matter, by
agreeing to take one of the chambermaids with us. When we arrived at the
coach, they both descended, in order to allow us to mount. During the
compliments that passed--and they were not short--I told the servant who
held the coach-door open, to close it as soon as I was inside, and to
order the coachman to drive on at once. This was done; but M. de Coislin
immediately began to cry aloud that he would jump out if we did not stop
for the young ladies; and he set himself to do so in such an odd manner,
that I had only time to catch hold of the belt of his breeches and hold
him back; but he still, with his head hanging out of the window,
exclaimed that he would leap out, and pulled against me. At this
absurdity I called to the coachman to stop; the Duke with difficulty
recovered himself, and persisted that he would have thrown himself out.
The chambermaid was ordered to mount, and mount she did, all covered with
mud, which daubed us; and she nearly crushed M. de Metz and me in this
carriage fit only for four.

M. de Coislin could not bear that at parting anybody should give him the
"last touch;" a piece of sport, rarely cared for except in early youth,
and out of which arises a chase by the person touched, in order to catch
him by whom he has been touched. One evening, when the Court was at
Nancy, and just as everybody was going to bed, M. de Longueville spoke a
few words in private to two of his torch-bearers, and then touching the
Duc de Coislin, said he had given him the last touch, and scampered away,
the Duke hotly pursuing him. Once a little in advance, M. de Longueville
hid himself in a doorway, allowed M. de Coislin to pass on, and then went
quietly home to bed. Meanwhile the Duke, lighted by the torch-bearers,
searched for M. de Longueville all over the town, but meeting with no
success, was obliged to give up the chase, and went home all in a sweat.
He was obliged of course to laugh a good deal at this joke, but he
evidently did not like it over much.

With all his politeness, which was in no way put on, M. de Coislin could,
when he pleased, show a great deal of firmness, and a resolution to
maintain his proper dignity worthy of much praise. At Nancy, on this
same occasion, the Duc de Crequi, not finding apartments provided for him
to his taste on arriving in town, went, in his brutal manner, and seized
upon those allotted to the Duc de Coislin. The Duke, arriving a moment
after, found his servants turned into the street, and soon learned who
had sent them there. M. de Crequi had precedence of him in rank; he said
not a word, therefore, but went to the apartments provided for the
Marechal de Crequi (brother of the other), served him exactly as he
himself had just been served, and took up his quarters there. The
Marechal de Crequi arrived in his turn, learned what had occurred, and
immediately seized upon the apartments of Cavoye, in order to teach him
how to provide quarters in future so as to avoid all disputes.

On another occasion, M. de Coislin went to the Sorbonne to listen to a
thesis sustained by the second son of M. de Bouillon. When persons of
distinction gave these discourses, it was customary for the Princes of
the blood, and for many of the Court, to go and hear them. M. de Coislin
was at that time almost last in order of precedence among the Dukes.
When he took his seat, therefore, knowing that a number of them would
probably arrive, he left several rows of vacant places in front of him,
and sat himself down. Immediately afterwards, Novion, Chief President of
the Parliament, arrived, and seated himself in front of M. de Coislin.
Astonished at this act of madness, M. de Coislin said not a word, but
took an arm-chair, and, while Novion turned his head to speak to Cardinal
de Bouillon, placed that arm-chair in front of the Chief President in
such a manner that he was as it were imprisoned, and unable to stir.
M. de Coislin then sat down. This was done so rapidly, that nobody saw
it until it was finished. When once it was observed, a great stir arose.
Cardinal de Bouillon tried to intervene. M. de Coislin replied, that
since the Chief President had forgotten his position he must be taught
it, and would not budge. The other presidents were in a fright, and
Novion, enraged by the offence put on him, knew not what to do. It was
in vain that Cardinal de Bouillon on one side, and his brother on the
other, tried to persuade M. de Coislin to give way. He would not listen
to them. They sent a message to him to say that somebody wanted to see
him at the door on most important business. But this had no effect.
"There is no business so important," replied M. de Coislin, "as that of
teaching M. le Premier President what he owes me, and nothing will make
me go from this place unless M. le President, whom you see behind me,
goes away first."

At last M. le Prince was sent for, and he with much persuasion
endeavoured to induce M. de Coislin to release the Chief President from
his prison. But for some time M. de Coislin would listen as little to M.
le Prince as he had listened to the others, and threatened to keep Novion
thus shut up during all the thesis. At length, he consented to set the
Chief President free, but only on condition that he left the building
immediately; that M. le Prince should guarantee this; and that no
"juggling tricks" (that was the term he made use of), should be played
off to defeat the agreement. M. le Prince at once gave his word that
everything should be as he required, and M. de Coislin then rose, moved
away his arm-chair, and said to the Chief President, "Go away, sir! go
away, sir! "Novion did on the instant go away, in the utmost confusion,
and jumped into his coach. M. de Coislin thereupon took back his chair
to its former position and composed himself to listen again.

On every side M. de Coislin was praised for the firmness he had shown.
The Princes of the blood called upon him the same evening, and
complimented him for the course he had adopted; and so many other
visitors came during the evening that his house was quite full until a
late hour. On the morrow the King also praised him for his conduct, and
severely blamed the Chief President. Nay more, he commanded the latter
to go to M. de Coislin, at his house, and beg pardon of him. It is easy
to comprehend the shame and despair of Novion at being ordered to take so
humiliating a step, especially after what had already happened to him.
He prevailed upon M. le Coislin, through the mediation of friends, to
spare him this pain, and M. de Coislin had the generosity to do so. He
agreed therefore that when Novion called upon him he would pretend to be
out, and this was done. The King, when he heard of it, praised very
highly the forbearance of the Duke.

He was not an old man when he died, but was eaten up with the gout, which
he sometimes had in his eyes, in his nose, and in his tongue. When in
this state, his room was filled with the best company. He was very
generally liked, was truth itself in his dealings and his words, and was
one of my friends, as he had been the friend of my father before me.

The President de Novion, above alluded to, was a man given up to
iniquity, whom money and obscure mistresses alone influenced. Lawyers
complained of his caprices, and pleaders of his injustice. At last, he
went so far as to change decisions of the court when they were given him
to sign, which was not found out for some time, but which led to his
disgrace. He was replaced by Harlay in 1689; and lived in ignominy for
four years more.

About this time died Petit, a great physician, who had wit, knowledge,
experience, and probity; and yet lived to the last without being ever
brought to admit the circulation of the blood.

A rather strange novelty was observed at Fontainebleau: Madame publicly
at the play, in the second year of her mourning for Monsieur! She made
some objections at first, but the King persuaded her, saying that what
took place in his palace ought not to be considered as public.

On Saturday, the 22nd of October of this year (1702), at about ten in the
morning, I had the misfortune to lose my father-in-law, the Marechal de
Lorges, who died from the effects of an unskilful operation performed
upon him for the stone. He had been brought up as a Protestant, and had
practised that religion. But he had consulted on the one hand with
Bossuet, and on the other hand with M. Claude, (Protestant) minister of
Charenton, without acquainting them that he was thus in communication
with both. In the end the arguments of Bossuet so convinced him that he
lost from that time all his doubts, became steadfastly attached to the
Catholic religion, and strove hard to convert to it all the Protestants
with whom he spoke. M. de Turenne, with whom he was intimately allied,
was in a similar state of mind, and, singularly enough, his doubts were
resolved at the same time, and in exactly the same manner, as those of M.
de Lorges. The joy of the two friends, who had both feared they should
be estranged from each other when they announced their conversion, was
very great. The Comtesse de Roye, sister to M. de Lorges, was sorely
affected at this change, and she would not consent to see him except on
condition that he never spoke of it.

M. de Lorges commanded with great distinction in Holland and elsewhere,
and at the death of M. de Turenne, took for the time, and with great
honour, his place. He was made Marshal of France on the 21st of
February, 1676, not before he had fairly won that distinction. The
remainder of his career showed his capacity in many ways, and acquired
for him the esteem of all. His family were affected beyond measure at
his loss. That house was in truth terrible to see. Never was man so
tenderly or so universally regretted, or so worthy of being so. Besides
my own grief, I had to sustain that of Madame de Saint-Simon, whom many
times I thought I should lose. Nothing was comparable to the attachment
she had for her father, or the tenderness he had for her; nothing more
perfectly alike than their hearts and their dispositions. As for me, I
loved him as a father, and he loved me as a son, with the most entire and
sweetest confidence.

About the same time died the Duchesse de Gesvres, separated from a
husband who had been the scourge of his family, and had dissipated
millions of her fortune. She was a sort of witch, tall and lean, who
walked like an ostrich. She sometimes came to Court, with the odd look
and famished expression to which her husband had brought her. Virtue,
wit, and dignity distinguished her. I remember that one summer the King
took to going very often in the evening to Trianon, and that once for all
he gave permission to all the Court, men and women, to follow him. There
was a grand collation for the Princesses, his daughters, who took their
friends there, and indeed all the women went to it if they pleased. One
day the Duchesse de Gesvres took it into her head to go to Trianon and
partake of this meal; her age, her rarity at Court, her accoutrements,
and her face, provoked the Princesses to make fun of her in whispers with
their fair visitors. She perceived this, and without being embarrassed,
took them up so sharply, that they were silenced, and looked down. But
this was not all: after the collation she began to talk so freely and yet
so humorously about them that they were frightened, and went and made
their excuses, and very frankly asked for quarter. Madame de Gesvres was
good enough to grant them this, but said it was only on condition that
they learned how to behave. Never afterwards did they venture to look at
her impertinently. Nothing was ever so magnificent as these soirees of
Trianon. All the flowers of the parterres were renewed every day; and I
have seen the King and all the Court obliged to go away because of the
tuberoses, the odour of which perfumed the air, but so powerfully, on
account of their quantity, that nobody could remain in the garden,
although very vast, and stretching like a terrace all along the canal.


The Prince d'Harcourt at last obtained permission to wait on the King,
after having never appeared at Court for seventeen years. He had
followed the King in all his conquests in the Low Countries and Franche-
Comte; but he had remained little at the Court since his voyage to Spain,
whither he had accompanied the daughter of Monsieur to the King, Charles
II., her husband. The Prince d'Harcourt took service with Venice, and
fought in the Morea until the Republic made peace with the Turks. He was
tall, well made; and, although he looked like a nobleman and had wit,
reminded one at the same time of a country actor. He was a great liar,
and a libertine in body and mind; a great spendthrift, a great and
impudent swindler, with a tendency to low debauchery, that cursed him all
his life. Having fluttered about a long time after his return, and found
it impossible either to live with his wife--which is not surprising--or
accommodate himself to the Court or to Paris, he set up his rest at Lyons
with wine, street-walkers, a society to match, a pack of hounds, and a
gaming-table to support his extravagance and enable him to live at the
expense of the dupes, the imbeciles, and the sons of fat tradesmen, whom
he could lure into his nets. Thus he spent many years, and seemed to
forget that there existed in the world another country besides Lyons.
At last he got tired, and returned to Paris. The King, who despised him,
let him alone, but would not see him; and it was only after two months of
begging for him by the Lorraines, that he received permission to present
himself. His wife, the Princesse d'Harcourt, was a favourite of Madame
de Maintenon. The origin of their friendship is traced to the fact that
Brancas, the father of the Princess, had been one of the lovers of Madame
de Maintenon. No claim less powerful could have induced the latter to
take into her favour a person who was so little worthy. Like all women
who know nothing but what chance has taught them, and who have long
languished in obscurity before arriving at splendour, Madame de Maintenon
was dazzled by the very name of Princess, even if assumed: as to a real
Princess, nothing equalled her in her opinion. The Princess then tried
hard to get the Prince invited to Marly, but without success. Upon this
she pretended to sulk, in hopes that Madame de Maintenon would exert all
her influence; but in this she was mistaken. The Prince accordingly by
degrees got disgusted with the Court, and retired into the provinces for
a time.

The Princesse d'Harcourt was a sort of personage whom it is good to make
known, in order better to lay bare a Court which did not scruple to
receive such as she. She had once been beautiful and gay; but though not
old, all her grace and beauty had vanished. The rose had become an ugly
thorn. At the time I speak of she was a tall, fat creature, mightily
brisk in her movements, with a complexion like milk-porridge; great,
ugly, thick lips, and hair like tow, always sticking out and hanging down
in disorder, like all the rest of her fittings out. Dirty, slatternly,
always intriguing, pretending, enterprising, quarrelling--always low as
the grass or high as the rainbow, according to the person with whom she
had to deal: she was a blonde Fury, nay more, a harpy: she had all the
effrontery of one, and the deceit and violence; all the avarice and the
audacity; moreover, all the gluttony, and all the promptitude to relieve
herself from the effects thereof; so that she drove out of their wits
those at whose house she dined; was often a victim of her confidence; and
was many a time sent to the devil by the servants of M. du Maine and M.
le Grand. She, however, was never in the least embarrassed, tucked up
her petticoats and went her way; then returned, saying she had been
unwell. People were accustomed to it.

Whenever money was to be made by scheming and bribery, she was there to
make it. At play she always cheated, and if found out stormed and raged;
but pocketed what she had won. People looked upon her as they would have
looked upon a fish-fag, and did not like to commit themselves by
quarrelling with her. At the end of every game she used to say that she
gave whatever might have been unfairly gained to those who had gained it,
and hoped that others would do likewise. For she was very devout by
profession, and thought by so doing to put her conscience in safety;
because, she used to add, in play there is always some mistake. She went
to church always, and constantly took the sacrament, very often after
having played until four o'clock in the morning.

One day, when there was a grand fete at Fontainebleau, Madame la
Marechale de Villeroy persuaded her, out of malice, to sit down and play,
instead of going to evening prayers. She resisted some time, saying that
Madame de Maintenon was going; but the Marechale laughed at her for
believing that her patron could see who was and who was not at the
chapel: so down they sat to play. When the prayers were over, Madame de
Maintenon, by the merest accident--for she scarcely ever visited any one
--went to the apartments of the Marechale de Villeroy. The door was
flung back, and she was announced. This was a thunderbolt for the
Princesse d'Harcourt. "I am ruined," cried she, unable to restrain
herself; "she will see me playing, and I ought to have been at chapel!"
Down fell the cards from her hands, and down fell she all abroad in her
chair. The Marechale laughed most heartily at so complete an adventure.
Madame de Maintenon entered slowly, and found the Princess in this state,
with five or six persons. The Marechale de Villeroy, who was full of
wit, began to say that, whilst doing her a great honour, Madame was the
cause of great disorder; and showed her the Princesse d'Harcourt in her
state of discomfiture. Madame de Maintenon smiled with majestic
kindness, and addressing the Princesse d'Harcourt, "Is this the way,"
said she; "that you go to prayers?" Thereupon the Princess flew out of
her half-faint into a sort of fury; said that this was the kind of trick
that was played off upon her; that no doubt the Marechale knew that
Madame de Maintenon was coming, and for that reason had persecuted her to
play. "Persecuted!" exclaimed the Marechale, "I thought I could not
receive you better than by proposing a game; it is true you were for a
moment troubled at missing the chapel, but your tastes carried the day.
--This, Madame, is my whole crime," continued she, addressing Madame de
Maintenon. Upon this, everybody laughed louder than before: Madame de
Maintenon, in order to stop the quarrel; commanded them both to continue
their game; and they continued accordingly, the Princesse d'Harcourt,
still grumbling, quite beside herself, blinded with fury, so as to commit
fresh mistakes every minute. So ridiculous an adventure diverted the
Court for several days; for this beautiful Princess was equally feared,
hated, and despised.

Monseigneur le Duc and Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne continually played
off pranks upon her. They put, one day, crackers all along the avenue of
the chateau at Marly, that led to the Perspective where she lodged. She
was horribly afraid of everything. The Duke and Duchess bribed two
porters to be ready to take her into the mischief. When she was right in
the middle of the avenue the crackers began to go off; and she to cry
aloud for mercy; the chairman set her down and ran for it. There she
was, then, struggling in her chair, furiously enough to upset it, and
yelling like a demon. At this the company, which had gathered at the
door of the chateau to see the fun, ran to her assistance, in order to
have the pleasure of enjoying the scene more fully. Thereupon she set to
abusing everybody right and left, commencing with Monseigneur and Madame
la Duchesse de Bourgogne. At another time M. de Bourgogne put a cracker
under her chair in the salon, where she was playing at piquet. As he was
about to set fire to this cracker, some charitable soul warned him that
it would maim her, and he desisted.

Sometimes they used to send about twenty Swiss guards, with drums, into
her chamber, who roused her from her first sleep by their horrid din.
Another time--and these scenes were always at Marly--they waited until
very late for her to go to bed and sleep. She lodged not far from the
post of the captain of the guards, who was at that time the Marechal de
Lorges. It had snowed very hard, and had frozen. Madame la Duchesse de
Bourgogne and her suite gathered snow from the terrace which is on a
level with their lodgings; and, in order to be better supplied, waked up,
to assist them, the Marechal's people, who did not let them want for
ammunition. Then, with a false key, and lights, they gently slipped into
the chamber of the Princesse d'Harcourt; and, suddenly drawing the
curtains of her bed, pelted her amain with snowballs. The filthy
creature, waking up with a start, bruised and stifled in snow, with which
even her ears were filled, with dishevelled hair, yelling at the top of
her voice, and wriggling like an eel, without knowing where to hide,
formed a spectacle that diverted people more than half an hour: so that
at last the nymph swam in her bed, from which the water flowed
everywhere, slushing all the chamber. It was enough to make one die of
laughter. On the morrow she sulked, and was more than ever laughed at
for her pains.

Her fits of sulkiness came over her either when the tricks played were
too violent, or when M. le Grand abused her. He thought, very properly,
that a person who bore the name of Lorraine should not put herself so
much on the footing of a buffoon; and, as he was a rough speaker, he
sometimes said the most abominable things to her at table; upon which the
Princess would burst out crying, and then, being enraged, would sulk.
The Duchesse de Bourgogne used then to pretend to sulk, too; but the
other did not hold out long, and came crawling back to her, crying,
begging pardon for having sulked, and praying that she might not cease to
be a source of amusement! After some time the Duchess would allow
herself to be melted, and the Princess was more villainously treated than
ever, for the Duchesse de Bourgogne had her own way in everything.
Neither the King nor Madame de Maintenon found fault with what she did,
so that the Princesse d'Harcourt had no resource; she did not even dare
to complain of those who aided in tormenting her; yet it would not have
been prudent in any one to make her an enemy.

The Princesse d'Harcourt paid her servants so badly that they concocted a
plan, and one fine day drew up on the Pont Neuf. The coachman and
footmen got down, and came and spoke to her at the door, in language she
was not used to hear. Her ladies and chambermaid got down, and went
away, leaving her to shift as she might. Upon this she set herself to
harangue the blackguards who collected, and was only too happy to find a
man, who mounted upon the seat and drove her home. Another time, Madame
de Saint-Simon, returning from Versailles, overtook her, walking in full
dress in the street, and with her train under her arms. Madame de Saint-
Simon stopped, offered her assistance, and found that she had been left
by her servants, as on the Pont Neuf. It was volume the second of that
story; and even when she came back she found her house deserted, every
one having gone away at once by agreement. She was very violent with her
servants, beat them, and changed diem every day.

Upon one occasion, she took into her service a strong and robust
chambermaid, to whom, from the first day of her arrival, she gave many
slaps and boxes on the ear. The chambermaid said nothing, but after
submitting to this treatment for five or six days, conferred with the
other servants; and one morning, while in her mistress's room, locked the
door without being perceived, said something to bring down punishment
upon her, and at the first box on the ear she received, flew upon the
Princesse d'Harcourt, gave her no end of thumps and slaps, knocked her
down, kicked her, mauled her from her head to her feet, and when she was
tired of this exercise, left her on the ground, all torn and dishevelled,
howling like a devil. The chambermaid then quitted the room, double-
locked the door on the outside, gained the staircase, and fled the house.

Every day the Princess was fighting, or mixed up in some adventures.
Her neighbours at Marly said they could not sleep for the riot she made
at night; and I remember that, after one of these scenes, everybody went
to see the room of the Duchesse de Villeroy and that of Madame d'Espinoy,
who had put their bed in the middle of their room, and who related their
night vigils to every one.

Such was this favourite of Madame de Maintenon; so insolent and so
insupportable to every one, but who had favours and preferences for those
who brought her over, and who had raised so many young men, amassed their
wealth, and made herself feared even by the Prince and minister.


In a previous page I have alluded to the Princesse des Ursins, when she
was appointed 'Camerera Mayor' to the Queen of Spain on her marriage.
As I have now to occupy myself more particularly with her, it may be as
well to give a description of this extraordinary woman, which I omitted
when I first spoke of her.

Anne Marie de la Tremoille, was daughter of M. de Noirmoutiers, who
figured sufficiently in the troubles of the minority to be made a 'Duc a
brevet'. She first married M. Talleyrand, who called himself Prince de
Chalais, and who was obliged to quit the kingdom for engaging in the
famous duel against Messieurs de la Frette. She followed her husband to
Spain, where he died. Having gone to Rome, she got into favour with the
Cardinals de Bouillon and d'Estrees, first on account of her name and
nation, and afterwards for more tender reasons. In order to detain her
at Rome, these dignitaries thought of obtaining her an establishment.
She had no children, and almost no fortune, they wrote to Court that so
important a man as the Duc de Bracciano, Prince des Ursins, was worth
gaining; and that the way to arrive at this result was to have him
married to Madame de Chalais. The Duke was persuaded by the two
Cardinals that he was in love with Madame de Chalais: and so the affair
was arranged. Madame des Ursins displayed all her wit and charms at
Rome; and soon her palace became a sort of court, where all the best
company assembled. It grew to be the fashion to go there.

The husband amidst all this counts for not much. There was sometimes a
little disagreement between the two, without open rupture; yet they were
now and then glad to separate. This is why the Duchesse de Bracciano
made two journeys to France: the second time she spent four or five years
there. It was then I knew her, or rather formed a particular friendship
with her. My mother had made her acquaintance during her previous visit.
She lodged near us. Her wit, her grace, her manners enchanted me: she
received me with tenderness and I was always at her house. It was she
who proposed to me a marriage with Mlle. de Royan, which I rejected for
the reason already given.

When Madame des Ursins was appointed 'Camerera Mayor', she was a widow,
without children. No one could have been better suited for the post.
A lady of our court would not have done: a Spanish lady was not to be
depended on, and might have easily disgusted the Queen. The Princesse
des Ursins appeared to be a middle term. She was French, had been in
Spain, and she passed a great part of her life at Rome, and in Italy.
She was of the house of La Tremoille: her husband was chief of the house
of Ursins, a grandee of Spain, and Prince of the Soglio. She was also on
very good terms with the Duchess of Savoy, and with the Queen of
Portugal. The Cardinal d'Estrees, also, was known to have remained her
friend, after having been something more in their youth; and he gave
information that the Cardinal Portocarrero had been much in love with her
at Rome, and that they were then on very good terms. As it was through
the latter Cardinal that it was necessary to govern everything, this
circumstance was considered very important.

Age and health were also appropriate; and likewise her appearance. She
was rather tall than otherwise, a brunette, with blue eyes of the most
varied expression, in figure perfect, with a most exquisite bosom; her
face, without being beautiful, was charming; she was extremely noble in
air, very majestic in demeanour, full of graces so natural and so
continual in everything, that I have never seen any one approach her,
either in form or mind. Her wit was copious and of all kinds: she was
flattering, caressing, insinuating, moderate, wishing to please for
pleasing's sake, with charms irresistible when she strove to persuade and
win over; accompanying all this, she had a grandeur that encouraged
instead of frightening; a delicious conversation, inexhaustible and very
amusing, for she had seen many countries and persons; a voice and way of
speaking extremely agreeable, and full of sweetness. She had read much,
and reflected much. She knew how to choose the best society, how to
receive them, and could even have held a court; was polite,
distinguished; and above all was careful never to take a step in advance
without dignity and discretion. She was eminently fitted for intrigue,
in which, from taste; she had passed her time at Rome; with much
ambition, but of that vast kind, far above her sex, and the common run of
men--a desire to occupy a great position and to govern. A love for
gallantry and personal vanity were her foibles, and these clung to her
until her latest day; consequently, she dressed in a way that no longer
became her, and as she advanced in life, removed further from propriety
in this particular. She was an ardent and excellent friend--of a
friendship that time and absence never enfeebled; and, consequently, an
implacable enemy, pursuing her hatred to the infernal regions. While
caring little for the means by which she gained her ends, she tried as
much as possible to reach them by honest means. Secret, not only for
herself, but for her friends, she was yet, of a decorous gaiety, and so
governed her humours, that at all times and in everything she was
mistress of herself. Such was the Princesse des Ursins.

From the first moment on which she entered the service of the Queen of
Spain, it became her desire to govern not only the Queen, but the King;
and by this means the realm itself. Such a grand project had need of
support from our King, who, at the commencement, ruled the Court of Spain
as much as his own Court, with entire influence over all matters.

The young Queen of Spain had been not less carefully educated than her
sister, the Duchesse de Bourgogne. She had even when so young much
intelligence and firmness, without being incapable of restraint; and as
time went on, improved still further, and displayed a constancy and
courage which were admirably set off by her meekness and natural graces.
According to everything I have heard said in France and in Spain, she
possessed all qualities that were necessary to make her adored. Indeed
she became a divinity among the Spaniards, and to their affection for
her, Philip V. was more than once indebted for his crown. Lords, ladies,
soldiers, and the people still remember her with tears in their eyes; and
even after the lapse of so many years, are not yet consoled for her loss.

Madame des Ursins soon managed to obtain the entire confidence of this
Queen; and during the absence of Philip V. in Italy, assisted her in the
administration of all public offices. She even accompanied her to the
junta, it not being thought proper that the Queen should be alone amid
such an assemblage of men. In this way she became acquainted with
everything that was passing, and knew all the affairs of the Government.

This step gained, it will be imagined that the Princesse des Ursins did
not forget to pay her court most assiduously to our King and to Madame de
Maintenon. She continually sent them an exact account of everything
relating to the Queen--making her appear in the most favourable light
possible. Little by little she introduced into her letters details
respecting public events; without, however, conveying a suspicion of her
own ambition, or that she wished to meddle in these matters. Anchored in
this way, she next began to flatter Madame de Maintenon, and by degrees
to hint that she might rule over Spain, even more firmly than she ruled
over France, if she would entrust her commands to Madame des Ursins.
Madame des Ursins offered, in fact, to be the instrument of Madame de
Maintenon; representing how much better it would be to rule affairs in
this manner, than through the instrumentality of the ministers of either

Madame de Maintenon, whose passion it was to know everything, to mix
herself in everything, and to govern everything, was, enchanted by the
siren. This method of governing Spain without ministers appeared to her
an admirable idea. She embraced it with avidity, without reflecting that
she would govern only in appearance, since she would know nothing except
through the Princesse des Ursins, see nothing except in the light in
which she presented it. From that time dates the intimate union which
existed between these two important women, the unbounded authority of
Madame des Ursins, the fall of all those who had placed Philip V. upon
the throne, and of all our ministers in Spain who stood in the way of the
new power.

Such an alliance being made between the two women, it was necessary to
draw the King of Spain into the same net. This was not a very arduous
task. Nature and art indeed had combined to make it easy.

Younger brother of an excitable, violent, and robust Prince, Philip V,
had been bred up in a submission and dependence that were necessary for
the repose of the Royal family. Until the testament of Charles II., the
Duc d'Anjou was necessarily regarded as destined to be a subject all his
life; and therefore could not be too much abased by education, and
trained to patience and obedience: That supreme law, the reason of state,
demanded this preference, for the safety and happiness of the kingdom,
of the elder over the younger brother. His mind for this reason was
purposely narrowed and beaten down, and his natural docility and
gentleness greatly assisted in the process, He was quite formed to be
led, although he had enough judgment left to choose the better of two
courses proposed to him, and even to express himself in good phrase, when
the slowness, not to say the laziness, of his mind did not prevent him
from speaking at all. His great piety contributed to weaken his mind;
and, being joined to very lively passions, made it disagreeable and even
dangerous for him to be separated from his Queen. It may easily be
conceived, therefore, how he loved her; and that he allowed himself to be
guided by her in all things. As the Queen herself was guided in all
things by Madame des Ursins, the influence of this latter was all-

Soon, indeed, the junta became a mere show. Everything was brought
before the King in private, and he gave no decision until the Queen and
Madame des Ursins had passed theirs. This conduct met with no opposition
from our Court, but our ministers at the Court of Spain and the Spanish
ministers here soon began to complain of it. The first to do so were
Cardinals d'Estrees and Portocarrero. Madame de Maintenon laughed at
them, and Madame des Ursins, of whom they were old friends, soon showed
them that she did not mean to abate one jot of her power. She first
endeavoured to bring about a coldness between the two, and this succeeded
so well, that in consequence of the quarrels that resulted, the Spanish
Cardinal, Portocarrero (who, it will be remembered, had played an
important part in bringing Philip to the Spanish throne) wished to quit
the junta. But Madame des Ursins, who thought that the time had not yet
arrived for this step, persuaded him to remain, and endeavoured to
flatter his vanity by an expedient altogether ridiculous. She gave him
the command of a regiment of guards, and he, priest, archbishop, primate
and cardinal, accepted it, and was, of course, well laughed at by
everybody for his pains. The two cardinals soon after became reconciled
to each other, feeling, perhaps, the necessity of uniting against the
common enemy. But they could come to no better understanding with her.
Disagreements continued, so that at last, feeling her position perfectly
secure, the Princesse des Ursins begged permission to retire into Italy,
knowing full well that she would not be taken at her word, and hoping by
this means to deliver herself of these stumbling-blocks in her path.

Our ministers, who felt they would lose all control over Spanish affairs
if Madame des Ursins was allowed to remain mistress, did all in their
power to support the D'Estrees. But Madame de Maintenon pleaded so well
with the King, representing the good policy of allowing a woman so much
attached to him, and to the Spanish Queen, as was Madame des Ursins, to
remain where she was, that he entirely swallowed the bait; the D'Estrees
were left without support; the French ambassador at Madrid was virtually
deprived of all power: the Spanish ministers were fettered in their every
movement, and the authority of Madame des Ursins became stronger than
ever. All public affairs passed through her hands. The King decided
nothing without conferring with the Queen and her.

While excluding almost all the ministers from public offices, Madame des
Ursins admitted a few favourites into her confidence. Amongst them was
D'Harcourt, who stood well with Madame de Maintenon, and who cared little
for the means by which he obtained consideration; Orry, who had the
management of the finances; and D'Aubigny, son of a Procureur in Paris.
The last was a tall, handsome fellow, well made, and active in mind and
body; who for many years had been with the Princess, as a sort of squire,
and on very intimate terms with her. One day, when, followed by some of
the ministers, she entered a room in which he was writing, he burst out
into exclamations against her, without being aware that she was not
alone, swore at her, asked her why she could not leave him an hour in
peace, called her by the strangest names, and all this with so much
impetuosity that she had no time to show him who were behind her. When
he found it out, he ran from the room, leaving Madame des Ursins so
confused that the ministers looked for two or three minutes upon the
walls of the room in order to give her time to recover herself. Soon
after this, D'Aubigny had a splendid suite of apartments, that had
formerly been occupied by Maria Theresa (afterwards wife of Louis XIV.),
placed at his disposal, with some rooms added, in despite of the murmurs
that arose at a distinction so strange accorded to this favourite.

At length, Cardinal d'Estrees, continually in arms against Madame des
Ursins, and continually defeated, could not bear his position any longer,
but asked to be immediately recalled. All that the ministry could do was
to obtain permission for the Abbe d'Estrees (nephew of the Cardinal) to
remain as Ambassador of France at Madrid. As for Portocarrero, seeing
the step his associate had taken, he resolved to quit public business
also, and resigned his place accordingly. Several others who stood in
the way of the Princesse des Ursins were got rid of at the same time, so
that she was now left mistress of the field. She governed absolutely in
all things; the ministers became instruments in her hands; the King and
Queen agents to work out her will. She was at the highest pinnacle of
power. Together with Orry she enjoyed a power such as no one had ever
attained since the time of the Duke of Lerma and of Olivares.

In the mean time the Archduke was declared King of Spain by the Emperor,
who made no mystery of his intention of attacking Spain by way of
Portugal. The Archduke soon afterwards was recognised by Holland,
England, Portugal, Brandenburg, Savoy, and Hanover, as King of Spain,
under the title of Charles III., and soon after by the other powers of
Europe. The Duke of Savoy had been treacherous to us, had shown that he
was in league with the Emperor. The King accordingly had broken off all
relations with him, and sent an army to invade his territory. It need be
no cause of surprise, therefore, that the Archduke was recognised by
Savoy. While our armies were fighting with varied fortune those of the
Emperor and his allies, in different parts of Europe, notably upon the
Rhine, Madame des Ursins was pressing matters to extremities in Spain.
Dazzled by her success in expelling the two cardinals from public
affairs, and all the ministers who had assisted in placing Philip V.
upon the throne, she committed a blunder of which she soon had cause to

I have said, that when Cardinal d'Estrees quitted Spain, the Abbe
d'Estrees was left behind, so that France should not be altogether
unrepresented in an official manner at the Court of Madrid. Madame des
Ursins did not like this arrangement, but as Madame de Maintenon insisted
upon it, she was obliged to accept it with as good grace as possible.
The Abbe, vain of his family and of his position, was not a man much to
be feared as it seemed. Madame des Ursins accordingly laughed at and
despised him. He was admitted to the council, but was quite without
influence there, and when he attempted to make any representations to
Madame des Ursins or to Orry, they listened to him without attending in
the least to what he said. The Princess reigned supreme, and thought of
nothing but getting rid of all who attempted to divide her authority.
At last she obtained such a command over the poor Abbe d'Estrees, so
teased and hampered him, that he consented to the hitherto unheard-of
arrangement, that the Ambassador of France should not write to the King
without first concerting his letter with her, and then show her its
contents before he despatched it. But such restraint as this became, in
a short time, so fettering, that the Abbe determined to break away from
it. He wrote a letter to the King, without showing it to Madame des
Ursins. She soon had scent of what he had done; seized the letter as it
passed through the post, opened it, and, as she expected, found its
contents were not of a kind to give her much satisfaction. But what
piqued her most was, to find details exaggerating the authority of
D'Aubigny, and a statement to the effect that it was generally believed
she had married him. Beside herself with rage and vexation, she wrote
with her own hand upon the margin of the letter, 'Pour mariee non'
("At any rate, not married"), showed it in this state to the King and
Queen of Spain, to a number of other people, always with strange
clamouring, and finally crowned her folly by sending it to the King
(Louis XIV.), with furious complaints against the Abbe for writing it
without her knowledge, and for inflicting upon her such an atrocious
injury as to mention this pretended marriage. Her letter and its
enclosure reached the King at a very inopportune moment. Just before,
he had received a letter, which, taken in connection with this of the
Princesse des Ursins, struck a blow at her power of the most decisive


Some little time previously it had been thought necessary to send an army
to the frontiers of Portugal to oppose the Archduke. A French general
was wanted to command this army. Madame des Ursins, who had been very
intimate with the King of England (James II.) and his Queen, thought she
would please them if she gave this post to the Duke of Berwick,
illegitimate son of King James. She proposed this therefore; and our
King, out of regard for his brother monarch, and from a natural affection
for bastards, consented to the appointment; but as the Duke of Berwick
had never before commanded an army, he stipulated that Pursegur, known to
be a skilful officer, should go with him and assist him with his counsels
and advice.

Pursegur set out before the Duke of Berwick. From the Pyrenees as far as
Madrid, he found every provision made for the subsistence of the French
troops, and sent a very advantageous account to the King of this
circumstance. Arrived at Madrid, he had interviews with Orry (who, as I
have already mentioned, had the finances under his control, and who was a
mere instrument in the hands of Madame des Ursins), and was assured by
the minister that all the magazines along the line of route to the
frontiers of Portugal were abundantly filled with supplies for the French
troops, that all the money necessary was ready; and that nothing, in
fact, should fail in the course of the campaign. Pursegur, who had found
nothing wanting up to that time, never doubted but that these statements
were perfectly correct; and had no suspicion that a minister would have
the effrontery to show him in detail all these precautions if he had
taken none. Pleased, then, to the utmost degree, he wrote to the King in
praise of Orry, and consequently of Madame des Ursins and her wise
government. Full of these ideas, he set out for the frontier of Portugal
to reconnoitre the ground himself, and arrange everything for the arrival
of the army and its general. What was his surprise, when he found that
from Madrid to the frontier not a single preparation had been made for
the troops, and that in consequence all that Orry had shown him, drawn
out upon paper, was utterly fictitious. His vexation upon finding that
nothing upon which he had reckoned was provided, may be imagined. He at
once wrote to the King, in order to contradict all that he had recently

This conduct of Orry--his impudence, I may say--in deceiving a man who
immediately after would have under his eyes the proof of his deceit, is a
thing past all comprehension. It is easy to understand that rogues
should steal, but not that they should have the audacity to do so in the
face of facts which so quickly and so easily could prove their villainy.

It was Pursegur's letter then, detailing this rascality on the part of
Orry, that had reached the King just before that respecting the Abbe
d'Estrees. The two disclosed a state of things that could not be allowed
any longer to exist. Our ministers, who, step by step, had been deprived
of all control over the affairs of Spain, profited by the discontentment
of the King to reclaim their functions. Harcourt and Madame de Maintenon
did all they could to ward off the blow from Madame des Ursins, but
without effect. The King determined to banish her to Rome and to dismiss
Orry from his post.

It was felt, however, that these steps must be taken cautiously, to avoid
offending too deeply the King and Queen of Spain, who supported their
favourite through every emergency.

In the first place, then, a simple reprimand was sent to the Princesse
des Ursins for the violation of the respect due to the King, by opening a
letter addressed to him by one of his ambassadors. The Abbe d'Estrees,
who expected that Madame des Ursins would be at once disgraced, and who
had made a great outcry when his letter was opened, fell into such
despair when he saw how lightly she was let off, that he asked for his
dismissal. He was taken at his word; and this was a new triumph for
Madame des Ursins, who thought herself more secure than ever. Her
triumph was of but short duration. The King wrote to Philip,
recommending him to head in person the army for the frontiers of
Portugal, which, in spite of Orry's deception, it was still determined to
send. No sooner was Philip fairly away, separated from the Queen and
Madame des Ursins, and no longer under their influence, than the King
wrote to the Queen of Spain, requesting her, in terms that could not be
disputed, to dismiss at once and for ever her favourite 'Camerera Mayor'.
The Queen, in despair at the idea of losing a friend and adviser to whom
she had been so much attached, believed herself lost. At the same time
that the King wrote to the Queen of Spain, he also wrote to the Princesse
des Ursins, ordering her to quit Madrid immediately, to leave Spain, and
to retire into Italy.

At this conjuncture of affairs, when the Queen was in despair, Madame des
Ursins did not lose her composure. She opened her eyes to all that had
passed since she had violated D'Estrees' letter, and saw the vanity of
the triumph she had recently enjoyed. She felt at once that for the
present all was lost, that her only hope was to be allowed to remain in
France. She made all her arrangements, therefore, so that affairs might
proceed in her absence as much as possible as though she were present,
and then prepared to set out. Dawdling day by day, she put off her
departure as long as could be, and when at length she left Madrid only
went to Alcala, a few leagues distant. She stopped there under various
pretexts, and at length, after five weeks of delay, set out for Bayonne,
journeying as slowly as she could and stopping as often as she dared.

She lost no opportunity of demanding an audience at Versailles, in order
to clear herself of the charge which weighed upon her, and her
importunities at length were not without effect. The most terrible
storms at Court soon blow over. The King (Louis XIV.) was satisfied with
the success of his plans. He had been revenged in every way, and had
humbled the pride of the Princesse des Ursins. It was not necessary to
excite the anger of the Queen and King of Spain by too great harshness
against their fallen friend. Madame de Maintenon took advantage of this
change in the temper of the King, and by dint of persuasion and scheming
succeeded in obtaining from him the permission for Madame des Ursins to
remain in France. Toulouse was fixed upon for her residence. It was a
place that just suited her, and from which communication with Spain was
easy. Here accordingly she took up her residence, determined to watch
well the course of events, and to avail herself of every opportunity that
could bring about her complete reconciliation with the King (Louis XIV.),
and obtain for her in consequence the permission to return to Madrid.

In the mean time, the King and Queen of Spain, distressed beyond measure
at the loss of their favourite, thought only of the best means of
obtaining her recall. They plotted with such ministers as were
favourable to her; they openly quarrelled with and thwarted those who
were her opponents, so that the most important matters perished in their
hands. Nay more, upon the King of Spain's return, the Queen persuaded
him to oppose in all things the wishes of the King (Louis XIV.), his
grandfather, and to neglect his counsels with studied care. Our King
complained of this with bitterness. The aim of it was to tire him out,
and to make him understand that it was only Madame des Ursins, well
treated and sent back, who could restore Spanish affairs to their
original state, and cause his authority to be respected. Madame de
Maintenon, on her side, neglected no opportunity of pressing the King to
allow Madame des Ursins, not to return into Spain--that would have been
to spoil all by asking too much but simply to come to Versailles in order
to have the opportunity of justifying herself for her past conduct. From
other quarters the King was similarly importuned. Tired at last of the
obstinate opposition he met with in Spain from the Queen; who governed
completely her husband, he gave permission to Madame des Ursins to come
to Versailles to plead her own cause. Self-imprisoned as he was in
seclusion, the truth never approached him, and he was the only man in the
two kingdoms who had no suspicion that the arrival of Madame ales Ursins
at the Court was the certain sign of her speedy return to Spain more
powerful than ever. But he was fatigued with the constant resistance he
met with; with the disorder which this occasioned in public affairs at a
time too when, as I will afterwards explain, the closest union was
necessary between the two crowns in order to repel the common enemy, and
these motives induced him, to the astonishment of his ministers, to grant
the favour requested of him.

However well informed Madame des Ursins might be of all that was being
done on her account, this permission surpassed her hopes. Her joy
accordingly was very great; but it did not at all carry her away. She
saw that her return to Spain would now depend upon herself. She
determined to put on the air of one who is disgraced, but who hopes, and
yet is humiliated. She instructed all her friends to assume the same
manner; took all measures with infinite presence of mind; did not hurry
her departure, and yet set out with sufficient promptness to prevent any
coldness springing up, and to show with what eagerness she profited by
the favour accorded to her, and which she had so much wished.

No sooner was the courier gone who carried this news to her, than the
rumour of her return was whispered all over the Court, and became
publicly confirmed a few days afterwards. The movement that it produced
at Court was inconceivable. Only the friends of Madame des Ursins were
able to remain in a tolerably tranquil state. Everybody opened his eyes
and comprehended that the return of such an important personage was a
fact that could not be insignificant. People prepared themselves for a
sort of rising sun that was going to change and renew many things in
nature. On every side were seen people who had scarcely ever uttered her
name, and who now boasted of their intimacy with her and of her
friendship for them. Other people were seen, who, although openly allied
with her enemies, had the baseness to affect transports of joy at her
forthcoming return, and to flatter those whom they thought likely to
favour them with her.

She reached Paris on Sunday, the 4th of January, 1705. The Duc d'Albe
met her several miles out of the city, escorted her to his house, and
gave a fete in her honour there. Several persons of distinction went out
to meet her. Madame des Ursins had reason to be surprised at an entry so
triumphant: she would not, however, stay with the Duc and Duchesse
d'Albe, but took up her quarters with the Comtesse d'Egmont, niece of the
Archbishop of Aix; the said Archbishop having been instrumental in
obtaining her recall. The King was at Marly. I was there with Madame de
Saint-Simon. During the remainder of the stay at Marly everybody flocked
to the house of Madame des Ursins, anxious to pay her their court.
However flattered she may have been by this concourse, she had matters to
occupy her, pleaded want of repose, and shut her door to three people out
of four who called upon her. Curiosity, perhaps fashion, drew this great
crowd to her. The ministers were startled by it. Torcy had orders from
the King to go, and see her: he did so; and from that moment Madame des


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