The Memoirs of Louis XIV. and the Regency, v4
Elizabeth-Charlotte, Duchesse d'Orleans
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MEMOIRS OF THE COURT OF LOUIS XIV. AND OF THE REGENCY, v4
Being the Secret Memoirs of the Mother of the Regent,
MADAME ELIZABETH-CHARLOTTE OF BAVARIA, DUCHESSE D'ORLEANS.
Victor Amadeus II.
The Grand Duchess, Consort of Cosimo II. of Florence
The Duchesse de Lorraine, Elizabeth-Charlotte d'Orleans
The Duc du Maine
The Duchesse du Maine
Anecdotes and Historical Particulars of Various Persons
VICTOR AMADEUS, KING OF SICILY.
It is said that the King of Sicily is always in ill humour, and that he
is always quarrelling with his mistresses. He and Madame de Verrue have
quarrelled, they say, for whole days together. I wonder how the good
Queen can love him with such constancy; but she is a most virtuous person
and patience itself. Since the King had no mistresses he lives upon
better terms with her. Devotion has softened his heart and his temper.
Madame de Verrue is, I dare say, forty-eight years of age (1718). I
shared some of the profits of her theft by buying of her 160 medals of
gold, the half of those which she stole from the King of Sicily. She had
also boxes filled with silver medals, but they were all sold in England.
[The Comtesse de Verrue was married at the age of thirteen years.
Victor Amadeus, then King of Sardinia, fell in love with her. She
would have resisted, and wrote to her mother and her husband, who
were both absent. They only joked her about it. She then took that
step which all the world knows. At the age of eighteen, being at a
dinner with a relation of her husband's, she was poisoned. The
person she suspected was the same that was dining with her; he did
not quit her, and wanted to have her blooded. Just at this time the
Spanish Ambassador at Piedmont sent her a counter-poison which had a
happy effect: she recovered, but never would mention whom she
suspected. She got tired of the King, and persuaded her brother,
the Chevalier de Lugner, to come and carry her off, the King being
then upon a journey. The rendezvous was in a chapel about four
leagues distant from Turin. She had a little parrot with her. Her
brother arrived, they set out together, and, after having proceeded
four leagues on her journey, she remembered that she had forgotten
her parrot in the chapel. Without regarding the danger to which she
exposed her brother, she insisted upon returning to look for her
parrot, and did so. She died in Paris in the beginning of the reign
of Louis XV. She was fond of literary persons, and collected about
her some of the best company of that day, among whom her wit and
grace enabled her to cut a brilliant figure. She was the intimate
friend of the poet La Faye, whom she advised in his compositions,
and whose life she made delightful. Her fondness for the arts and
pleasure procured for her the appellation of 'Dame de Volupte', and
she wrote this epitaph upon herself:
"Ci git, dans un pais profonde,
Cette Dame de Volupte,
Qui, pour plus grande surete,
Fit son Paradis dans ce monde."]
THE GRAND DUCHESS, WIFE OF COSMO II. OF FLORENCE.
The Grand Duchess has declared to me, that, from the day on which she set
out for Florence, she thought of nothing but her return, and the means of
executing this design as soon as she should be able.
No one could approve of her deserting her husband, and the more
particularly as she speaks very well of him, and describes the manner of
living at Florence as like a terrestrial paradise.
She does not think herself unfortunate for having travelled, and looks
upon all the grandeur she enjoyed at Florence as not to be compared with
the unrestrained way of living in which she indulges here. She is very
amusing when she relates her own history, in the course of which she by
no means flatters herself.
"Indeed, cousin," I say to her often, "you do not flatter yourself, but
you really tell things which make against you."
"Ah, no matter," she replies, "I care not, provided I never see the Grand
She cannot be accused of any amorous intrigue.
Her husband furnishes her with very little money; and at this moment
(April, 1718) he owes her fifteen months of her pension. She is now
really in want of money to enable her to take the waters of Bourbon.
The Grand Duke, who is very avaricious, thinks she will die soon, and
therefore holds back the payments that he may take advantage of that
event when it shall happen.
THE DUCHESSE DE LORRAINE, ELIZABETH-CHARLOTTE PHILIPPINE D'ORLEANS,
CONSORT OF LEOPOLD JOSEPH-CHARLES DE LORRAINE.
My daughter is ugly; even more so than she was, for the fine complexion
which she once had has become sun-burnt. This makes a great difference
in the appearance, and causes a person to look old. She has an ugly
round nose, and her eyes are sunken; but her shape is preserved, and, as
she dances well, and her manners are easy and polished, any one may see
that she is a person of breeding. I know many people who pique
themselves upon their good manners, and who still have not so much reason
as she has. At all events I am content with my child as she is; and I
would rather see her ugly and virtuous than pretty and profligate like
Whenever the time of her accouchement approaches, she never fails to bid
her friends adieu, in the notion that she will die. Fortunately she has
hitherto always escaped well.
When jealousy is once suffered to take root, it is impossible to
extirpate it--therefore it is better not to let it gain ground. My
daughter pretends not to be affected by hers, but she often suffers great
affliction from it. This is not astonishing, because she is very fond of
her children; and the woman with whom the Duke is infatuated, together
with her husband, do not leave him a farthing; they completely ruin his
household. Craon is an accursed cuckold and a treacherous man. The Duc
de Lorraine knows that my daughter is acquainted with everything, and I
believe he likes her the better that she does not remonstrate with him,
but endures all patiently. He is occasionally kind to her, and, provided
that he only says tender things to her, she is content and cheerful.
I should almost believe that the Duke's mistress has given him a philtre,
as Neidschin did to the Elector of Saxony. When he does not see her, it
is said he perspires copiously at the head, and, in order that the
cuckold of a husband may say nothing about the affair, the Duke suffers
him to do whatever he pleases. He and his wife, who is gouvernante, rule
everything, although neither the one nor the other has any feeling of
honour. She is to come hither, it seems, with the Duke and Duchess.
The Duc de Lorraine is here incog.
[He came to Paris for the purpose of soliciting an arrondissement in
Champagne and the title of Royal Highness. Through the influence of
his mother-in-law he obtained both the one and the other. By virtue
of a treaty very disadvantageous for France, but which was
nevertheless registered by the Parliament, he increased his states
by adding to them a great number of villages.]
under the title of the Comte de Blamont. Formerly the chase was his
greatest passion; but now, it seems, the swain is wholly amorous. It is
in vain for him to attempt to conceal it; for the more he tries, the more
apparent it becomes. When you would suppose he is about to address you,
his head will turn round, and his eyes wander in search of Madame Craon;
it is quite diverting to see him. I cannot conceive how my daughter can
love her husband so well, and not display more jealousy. It is
impossible for a man to be more amorous than the Duke is of Craon (19th
of April, 1718).
It cannot be denied that she (Madame de Craon) is full of agreeable
qualities. Although she is not a beauty, she has a good shape, a fine
skin, and a very white complexion; but her greatest charms are her mouth
and teeth. When she laughs it is in a very pleasing and modest manner;
she behaves properly and respectfully in my daughter's presence; if she
did the same when she is not with her, one would have nothing to complain
of. It is not surprising that such a woman should be beloved; she really
deserves it. But she treats her lover with the utmost haughtiness, as if
she were the Duchesse de Lorraine and he M. de Luneville. I never saw a
man more passionately attached than he appears to be; when she is not
present, he fixes his eyes upon the door with an expression of anxiety;
when she appears, he smiles and is calm; it is really very droll to
observe him. She, on the contrary, wishes to prevent persons from
perceiving it, and seems to care nothing about him. As the Duke was
crossing a hall here with her upon his arm, some of the people said
aloud, "That is the Duc de Lorraine with his mistress." Madame Craon
wept bitterly, and insisted upon the Duke complaining of it to his
brother. The Duke did in fact complain; but my son laughed at him, and
replied, "that the King himself could not prevent that; that he should
despise such things, and seem not to hear them."
Madame Craon was my daughter's fille d'honneur; she was then called
Mademoiselle de Ligneville, and there it was that the Duke fell in love
with her. M. Craon was in disgrace with the Duke, who was about to
dismiss him as a rascal, for having practised a sharping trick at play;
but, as he is a cunning fellow, he perceived the Duke's love for
Mademoiselle de Ligneville, although he pretended to make a great mystery
of it. About this time Madame de Lenoncourt, my daughter's dame d'atour,
happened to die. The Duke managed to have Mademoiselle de Ligneville
appointed in her room; and Craon, who is rich, offered to marry this poor
lady. The Duke was delighted with the plan of marrying her to one who
would lend himself to the intrigue; and thus she became Madame de Craon,
and dame d'atour. The old gouvernante dying soon afterwards, my daughter
thought to gratify her husband, as well as Madame de Craon, by appointing
her dame d'honneur; and this it is that has brought such disgrace upon
My daughter is in despair. Craon and his wife want to take a journey of
ten days, for the purpose of buying a marquisate worth 800,000 livres.
The Duke will not remain during this time with his wife, but chooses it
for an opportunity to visit all the strong places of Alsatia. He will
stay away until the return of his mistress and her husband; and this it
is which makes my poor daughter so unhappy. The Duke now neither sees
nor hears anything but through Craon, his wife, and their creatures.
I do not think that my daughter's attachment to her husband is so strong
as it used to be, and yet I think she loves him very much; for every
proof of fondness which he gives her rejoices her so much that she sends
me word of it immediately. He can make her believe whatever he chooses;
and, although she cannot doubt the Duke's passion for Madame de Craon,
yet, when he says that he feels only friendship for her, that he is quite
willing to give up seeing her, only that he fears by doing so he would
dishonour her in the eyes of the public, and that there is nothing he is
not ready to do for his wife's repose, she receives all he says
literally, beseeches him to continue to see Madame de Craon as usual, and
fancies that her husband is tenderly attached to her, while he is really
laughing at her. If I were in my daughter's place, the Duke's falsehood
would disgust me more than his infidelity.
What appears to me the most singular in this intrigue is that the Duke is
as fond of the husband as of the wife, and that he cannot live without
him. This is very difficult to comprehend; but M. de Craon understands
it well, and makes the most of it; he has already bought an estate for
[The Marquis de Craon was Grand Chamberlain and Prime Minister of
the Duc de Lorraine; who, moreover, procured for him from the
Emperor of Germany the title of Prince. This favourite married one
of his daughters to the Prince de Ligin, of the House of Lorraine.]
The burning of Lundville was not the effect of an accident; it is well
known that some of the people stopped a woman's mouth, who was crying out
"Fire!" A person was also heard to say, "It was not I who set it on
fire." My daughter thinks that Old Maintenon would have them all burnt;
for the person who cried out has been employed, it seems, in the house of
the Duc de Noailles. For my part, I am rather disposed to believe it was
the young mistress, Madame de Craon, who had a share in this matter; for
Luneville is my daughter's residence and dowry.
THE DUC DU MAINE, LOUIS-AUGUSTUS.
The Duc du Maine flattered himself that he would marry my daughter.
Madame de Maintenon and Madame de Montespan were arranging this project
in presence of several merchants, to whom they paid no attention, but the
latter, engaging in the conversation, said, "Ladies, do not think of any
such thing, for it will cost you your lives if you bring about that
Madame de Maintenon was dreadfully frightened at this, and immediately
went to the King to persuade him to relinquish the affair.
The Duc du Maine possesses talent, which he displays particularly in his
manner of relating anything. He knows very well who is his mother, but
he has never had the least affection for any one but his gouvernante,
against whom he never bore ill-will, although she displaced his mother
and put herself in her room. My son will not believe that the Duc du
Maine is the King's son. He has always been treacherous, and is feared
and hated at Court as an arch tale-bearer. He has done many persons very
ill offices with the King; and those in particular to whom he promised
most were those who have had the greatest reason to complain of him. His
little wife is worse even than he, for the husband is sometimes
restrained by fear; but she mingles the pathetic occasionally in her
comedies. It is certain that there does not exist a more false and
wicked couple in the whole world than they are.
I can readily believe that the Comte de Toulouse is the King's son; but I
have always thought that the Duc du Maine is the son of Terme, who was a
false knave, and the greatest tale-bearer in the Court.
That old Maintenon had persuaded the King that the Duc du Maine was full
of piety and virtue. When he reported evil tales of any persons, she
pretended that it was for their good, and to induce the King to correct
them. The King was, therefore, induced to fancy everything he did
admirable, and to take him for a saint. The confessor, Le Pere
Letellier, contributed to keep up this good opinion in order to pay court
to the old woman; and the late Chancellor, M. Voisin, by her orders
continued to aid the King's delusion.
The Duc du Maine fancied that, since he had succeeded in getting himself
declared a Prince of the blood, he should not find it difficult on that
account to attain the royal dignity, and that he could easily arrange
everything with respect to my son and the other Princes of the blood.
For this reason he and the old woman industriously circulated the report
that my son had poisoned the Dauphine and the Duc de Berri. The Duc du
Maine was instigated by Madame de Montespan and Madame de Maintenon to
report things secretly to the King; at first for the purpose of making
him bark like a cur at all whom they disliked, and afterwards for the
King's diversion, and to make themselves beloved by him.
These bastards are of so bad a disposition that God knows who was their
Yesterday the Parliament presented its remonstrance to my, son. It is
not difficult to guess whence this affair proceeds. They were closeted
for four hours together with the Duc and Duchesse du Maine, who had the
Councillors brought thither in their coach, and attended by their own
livery servants (20th June, 1718).
I believe that my son is only, restrained from acting rigorously against
the Duc du Maine because he fears the tears and anger of his wife; and,
in the second place, he, has an affection for his other brother-in-law,
the Comte de Toulouse.
That old woman must surely think herself immortal, for she still hopes to
reign, though at the age of eighty-three years. The Duc du Maine's
affair is a severe blow for her. She is, nevertheless, not without hope,
and it is said not excessively grieved. This fills me with anxiety, for
I know too well how expert the wicked old hussy is in the use of poison.
The first President of Mesmes ought to be friendly towards the Duc du
Maine, to whom he is indebted for the office he holds. The Duke keeps
all his places; as to that of Grand Master of Artillery, they could not
take it away unless they had proceeded to extremities with him.
The Duke became so devout in his prison, and during Passion week he
fasted so rigorously, that he fell sick in consequence. He says that he
is innocent and that he has gained heaven by the purity of his conduct;
this renders him gay and contented. He is not, besides, of a sorrowful
temper, but, on the contrary, is fond of jests and merry tales. He does
not speak ill of persons publicly; it was only to the King he used to
Yesterday my son was requested to permit the Duc du Maine to be
reconciled with his wife. His answer was, "They might have been
reconciled without speaking to me about it, for whether they become
friends again or not, I know what to think of them."
THE DUCHESSE DU MAINE, LOUISE-BENOITE, DAUGHTER OF HENRI-JULES DE CONDE.
Madame du Maine is not taller than a child ten years old, and is not well
made. To appear tolerably well, it is necessary for her to keep her
mouth shut; for when she opens it, she opens it very wide, and shows her
irregular teeth. She is not very stout, uses a great quantity of paint,
has fine eyes, a white skin, and fair hair. If she were well disposed,
she might pass, but her wickedness is insupportable.
She has good sense, is accomplished, and can talk agreeably on most
subjects. This brings about her a host of learned men and wits. She
flatters the discontented very adroitly, and says all ill things of my
son. This is the secret by which she has made her party. Her husband is
fond of her, and she in turn piques herself upon her love for him; but I
should be sorry to swear to her sincerity. This at least is certain,
that she rules the Duc du Maine absolutely. As he holds several offices,
he can provide for a great number of persons, either in the regiment of
Guards, of which he is General; or in the Artillery, of which he is Grand
Master; or in the Carabineers, where he appoints all the officers;
without reckoning his regiments, by which he attracts a great number of
Madame du Maine's present lover is the Cardinal de Polignac; but she has,
besides, the first Minister and some young men. The Cardinal is accused
of having assisted in the refutation of Fitz-Morris's letters, although
he has had this very year (1718) a long interview with my son, and has
sworn never to engage in anything against his interests, notwithstanding
his attachment to the Duchesse du Maine.
The Comte d'Albert, who was here last winter, took some pains to make
himself agreeable to Madame du Maine, and succeeded so well as to make
the Cardinal de Polignac very jealous. He followed them masked to a
ball; but upon seeing the Duchess and the Count tete-a-tete, he could not
contain his anger this betrayed him; and when the people learned that a
Cardinal had been seen at a masked ball it caused them great diversion.
Her being arrested threw Madame du Maine into such a transport of rage
that she was near choking, and only recovered herself by slow degrees.
[The Marquis d'Ancenis, Captain of the Guards, who came early in the
morning to arrest the Princess, had supped with her on the preceding
evening, when he entered, the. Duchess cried out to him, "Mon Dieu!
what have I done to you, that you should wake me so early?" The
chief domestics of the household were taken to the Bastille or to
Vincennes; the Prince of Dombes and the Comte d'Eu were carried to
She is now said to be quite calm, and, it is added, she plays at cards
all day long. When the play is over, she grows angry again, and falls
upon her husband, his children, or her servants, who do not know how to
appease her. She is dreadfully violent, and, it is said, has often
beaten her husband.
All the time of her residence at Dijon she was playing the Orlando
Furioso: sometimes she was not treated with the respect due to her rank;
sometimes she complains of other things; she will not understand that she
is a prisoner, and that she has deserved even a worse fate. She had
flattered herself that when she should reach Chalons-sur-Saone she would
enjoy more liberty, and have the whole city for her prison; but when she
learnt that she was to be locked up in the citadel, as at Dijon, she
would not set out. Far from repenting her treason, she fancies she has
done something very praiseworthy.
Melancholy as I am, my son has made me laugh by telling me what has been
found in Madame du Maine's letters, seized at the Cardinal de Polignac's.
In one of her letters, this very discreet and virtuous personage writes,
"We are going into the country tomorrow; and I shall so arrange the
apartments that your chamber shall be next to mine. Try to manage
matters as well as you did the last time, and we shall be very happy."
The Princess knows very well that her daughter has had an intrigue with
the Cardinal, and has endeavoured to break it off. For this purpose she
has convinced her by the Cardinal's own letters that he is unfaithful to
her, and prefers a certain Montauban to her. This, however, has had no
effect. The Duc du Maine has been informed of everything, and he writes
to her sister, "I ought not to be put into prison, but into petticoats,
for having suffered myself to be so led by the nose."
He has resolved never to see his wife again, although he does not yet
know of the Duchess's letter to the Cardinal, nor of the other measures
she has taken for the purpose of decorating her husband's brows.
Madame du Maine will eventually become really crazy, for she is
dreadfully troubled with the vapours. Her mother has entreated my son
to let her daughter be brought to her house at Anet, where she will be
answerable for her conduct and suffer her to speak with no one.
My son replied, "that if Madame du Maine had only conspired against his
life, he would have pardoned her with all his heart; but that, as her
offence had been committed against the State, he was obliged, in spite of
himself, to keep her in prison."
It is not true that the Duc du Maine has permission to hunt; he is only
allowed to ride upon a hired horse round the citadel, to take the air,
in the company of four persons.
The Abbe de Maulevrier and Mademoiselle de Langeron persuaded the
Princess that Madame du Maine was at the point of death, and was only
desirous of seeing her dear mother before she expired, to receive her
last benediction, as she should die innocent. The Princess immediately
set out in great anxiety and with deep grief; but was strangely
surprised, on arriving at her daughter's house, to see her come to meet
her in very good health. Mademoiselle de Langeron said that the Duchess
concealed her illness that she might not make her mother unhappy.
After the confession which Madame du Maine thought proper to make, which
she has confirmed by writing, my son has set her at liberty, and has
permitted her to come to Sceaux. She is terribly mortified at her letter
being read in the open Council. As she has declared in her confession
that she had done everything without her husband's knowledge, although in
his name, he, too, has been permitted to return to his estate of
Chavigny, near Versailles.
Madame du Maine had written to my son that, in the event of her having
omitted anything in her declaration, he would only have to ask
Mademoiselle de Launay about it. He sent in consequence for that lady,
to ask her some questions. Mademoiselle de Launay replied: "I do not
know whether her imprisonment may have turned my mistress's brain, but it
has not had the same effect upon me; I neither know, nor will I say
Madame du Maine had gained over certain gentlemen in all the Provinces,
and had tampered with them to induce them to revolt; but none of them
would swallow the bait excepting in Brittany.
She has not been at the theatre yet; meaning, by this, to intimate that
she is still afflicted at lying under her husband's displeasure. It is
said that she has written to him, but that he has returned her letter
She came some days ago to see my son, and to request him not to oppose a
reconciliation between herself and her husband. My son laughed and said,
"I will not interfere in it; for have I not learned from Sganarelle that
it is not wise to put one's finger between the bark and the tree?"
The town says they will be reconciled. If this really should take place,
I shall say as my father used: "Agree together, bad ones!"
My son tells me that the little Duchess has again besought him to
reconcile her with her husband. My son replied, "that it depended much
more upon herself than upon him." I do not know whether she took this
for a compliment, or what crotchet she got in her head, but she suddenly
jumped up from the sofa, and clung about my son's neck, kissing him on
both cheeks in spite of himself (18th June, 1720).
The Duc du Maine is entirely reconciled to his dear moiety. I am not
surprised, for I have been long expecting it.
M. de Louvois was a person of a very wicked disposition; he hated his
father and brother, and, as they were my very good friends, this minister
made me feel his dislike of them. His hatred was also increased, because
he knew that I was acquainted with his ill-treatment of my father, and
that I had no reason in the world to like him. He feared that I should
seek to take vengeance upon him, and for this reason he was always
exciting the King against me. Upon this point alone did he agree with
that old, Maintenon.
I believe that Louvois had a share in the conspiracy by which Langhans
and Winkler compassed my poor brother's death. When the King had taken
the Palatinate, I required him to arrest the culprits; the King gave
orders for it, and they were in fact seized, but afterwards liberated by
a counter-order of Louvois. Heaven, however, took care of their
punishment for the crime which they had committed upon my poor brother;
for Langhans died in the most abject wretchedness, and Winkler went mad
and beat his own brains out.
There is no doubt that the King spoke very harshly to Louvois, but
certainly he did not treat him as has been pretended, for the King was
incapable of such an action. Louvois was a brute and an insolent person;
but he served the King faithfully, and much better than any other person.
He did not, however, forget his own interest, and played his cards very
well. He was horribly depraved, and by his impoliteness and the
grossness of his replies made himself universally hated. He might,
perhaps, believe in the Devil; but he did not believe in God. He had
faith in all manner of predictions, but he did not scruple to burn,
poison, lie and cheat.
If he did not love me very well, I was at least even with him; and, for
the latter part of his time, he conducted himself somewhat better. I was
one of the last persons to whom he spoke, and I was even shocked when it
was announced that the man with whom I had been conversing a quarter of
an hour before, and who did not look ill, was no more.
They have not yet learnt, although I have resided so long in France, to
respect my seal. M. de Louvois used to have all my letters opened and
read; and M. Corey, following his noble example, has not been more
courteous to me. Formerly they used to open them for the purpose of
finding something to my prejudice, and now (1718) they open them through
It is impossible for any child to be more agreeable than our young King;
he has large, dark eyes and long, crisp eyelashes; a good complexion, a
charming little mouth, long and thick dark-brown hair, little red cheeks,
a stout and well-formed body, and very pretty hands and feet; his gait is
noble and lofty, and he puts on his hat exactly like the late King. The
shape of his face is neither too long nor too short; but the worst thing,
and which he inherits from his mother, is, that he changes colour very
frequently. Sometimes he looks ill, but in half an hour his colour will
have returned. His manners are easy, and it may be said, without
flattery, that he dances very well. He is quick and clever in all that
he attempts; he has already (1720) begun to shoot at pheasants and
partridges, and has a great passion for shooting.
He is as like his mother as one drop of water is to another; he has sense
enough, and all that he seems to want is a little more affability. He is
terribly haughty, and already knows what respect is. His look is what
may be called agreeable, but his air is milder than his character, for
his little head is rather an obstinate and wilful one.
The young King was full of grief when Madame de Ventadour quitted him.
She said to him, "Sire, I shall come back this evening; mind that you
behave very well during my absence."
"My dear mamma," replied he, "if you leave me I cannot behave well."
He does not care at all for any of the other women.
The Marechal de Villeroi teases the young King sometimes about not
speaking to me enough, and sometimes about not walking with me. This
afflicts the poor child and makes him cry. His figure is neat, but he
will speak only to persons he is accustomed to.
On the 12th August (1717), the young King fell out of his bed in the
morning; a valet de chambre, who saw him falling, threw himself adroitly
on the ground, so that the child might tumble upon him and not hurt
himself; the little rogue thrust himself under the bed and would not
speak, that he might frighten his attendants.
The King's brother died of the small-pox in consequence of being
injudiciously blooded; this one, who is younger than his brother, was
also attacked, but the femme de chambre concealed it, kept him warm, and
continued to give him Alicant wine, by which means they preserved his
The King has invented an order which he bestows: upon the boys with whom
he plays. It is a blue and white ribbon, to which is suspended an
enamelled oval plate, representing a star and the tent or pavilion in
which he plays on the terrace (1717).
ANECDOTES AND HISTORICAL PARTICULARS RELATING TO VARIOUS PERSONS.
Some horrible books had been written against Cardinal Mazarin, with which
he pretended to be very much enraged, and had all the copies bought up to
be burnt. When he had collected them all, he caused them to be sold in
secret, and as if it were unknown to him, by which contrivance he gained
10,000 crowns. He used to laugh and say, "The French are delightful
people; I let them sing and laugh, and they let me do what I will."
In Flanders it is the custom for the monks to assist at all fires. It
appeared to me a very whimsical spectacle to see monks of all colours,
white, black and brown, running hither and thither with their frocks
tucked up and carrying pails.
The Chevalier de Saint George is one of the best men in the world, and
complaisance itself. He one day said to Lord Douglas, "What should I do
to gain the good-will of my countrymen?" Douglas replied, "Only embark
hence with twelve Jesuits, and as soon as you land in England hang every
one of them publicly; you can do nothing so likely to recommend you to
the English people."
It is said that at one of the masked balls at the opera, a mask entered
the box in which were the Marechals de Villars and d'Estrees. He said to
the former, "Why do you not go below and dance?" The Marshal replied,
"If I were younger I could, but not crippled as you see I am."--"Oh, go
down," rejoined the mask, "and the Marechal d'Estrees too; you will cut
so brilliant a figure, having both of you such large horns." At the same
time he put up his fingers in the shape of horns. The Marechal d'Estrees
only laughed, but the other was in a great rage and said, "You are a most
insolent mask, and I do not know what will restrain me from giving you a
good beating."--"As to a good beating;" replied the mask, "I can do a
trifle in that way myself when necessary; and as for the insolence of
which you accuse me, it is sufficient for me to say that I am masked."
He went away as he said this, and was not seen again.
The King of Denmark has the look of a simpleton; he made love to my
daughter while he was here. When they were dancing he used to squeeze
her hand, and turn up his eyes languishingly. He would begin his minuet
in one corner of the hall and finish it in another. He stopped once in
the middle of the hall and did not know what to do next. I was quite
uneasy at seeing him, so I got up and, taking his hand, led him away, or
the good gentleman might have strayed there until this time. He has no
notion of what is becoming or otherwise.
The Cardinal de Noailles is unquestionably a virtuous man; it would be a
very good thing if all the others were like him. We have here four of
them, and each is of a different character. Three of them resemble each
other in a certain particular--they are as false as counterfeit coin; in
every other respect they are directly opposite. The Cardinal de Polignac
is well made, sensible, and insinuating, and his voice is very agreeable;
but he meddles too much with politics, and is too much occupied with
seeking favour. The Cardinal de Rohan has a handsome face, as his
mother had, but his figure is despicable. He is as vain as a peacock,
and fancies that there is not his equal in the whole world. He is a
tricking intriguer, the slave of the Jesuits, and fancies he rules
everything, while in fact he rules nothing. The Cardinal de Bissi is as
ugly and clumsy as a peasant, proud, false and wicked, and yet a most
fulsome flatterer; his falsehood may be seen in his very eyes; his talent
he turns to mischievous purposes. In short, he has all the exterior of a
Tartuffe. These Cardinals could, if they chose, sell the Cardinal de
Noailles in a sack, for they are all much more cunning than he is.
With respect to the pregnancy of the Queen of England, the consort of
James II., whom we saw at Saint-Germain, it is well known that her
daughter-in-law maintains that she was not with child; but it seems to
me that the Queen might easily have taken measures to prove the contrary.
I spoke about it to Her Majesty myself. She replied "that she had begged
the Princess Anne to satisfy herself by the evidence of her own senses,
and to feel the motion of the child;" but the latter refused, and the
Queen added "that she never could have supposed that the persons who had
been in the habit of seeing her daily during her pregnancy could doubt
the fact of her having been delivered."
[On the dethronement of James II., the party of William, Prince of
Orange, asserted that the Prince of Orange was a supposititious
child, and accused James of having spirited away the persona who
could have proved the birth of the Queen's child, and of having made
the midwife leave the kingdom precipitately, she being the only
person who had actually seen the child born.]
A song has been made upon Lord Bolingbroke on the subject of his passion
for a young girl who escaped from her convent. Some persons say that the
girl was a professed nun. She ran after the Duke Regent a long time, but
could not accomplish her intention.
Lady Gordon, the grandaunt of Lord Huntley, was my dame d'atour for a
considerable period. She was a singular person, and always plunged into
reveries. Once when she was in bed and going to seal a letter, she
dropped the wax upon her own thigh and burnt herself dreadfully. At
another time, when she was also in bed and engaged in play, she threw the
dice upon the ground and spat in the bed. Once, too, she spat in the
mouth of my first femme de chambre, who happened to be passing at the
moment. I think if I had not interposed they would have come to blows,
so angry was the femme de chambre. One evening when I wanted my head-
dress to go to Court, she took off her gloves and threw them in my face,
putting on my head-dress at the same time with great gravity. When she
was speaking to a man she had a habit of playing with the buttons of his
waistcoat. Saving one day some occasion to talk to the Chevalier Buveon,
a Captain in the late Monsieur's Guard, and he being a very tall man, she
could only reach his waistband, which she began to unbutton. The poor
gentleman was quite horror-stricken, and started back, crying, "For
Heaven's sake, madame, what are you going to do?" This accident caused a
great laugh in the Salon of Saint Cloud.
They say that Lord Peterborough, speaking of the two Kings of Spain,
said, "What fools we are to cut each other's throats for two such apes."
Monteleon has good reason to be fond of the Princesse des Ursins, for she
made his fortune: he was an insignificant officer in the troop, but he
had talents and attached himself to this lady, who made of him what he
now is (1716).
The Abbess of Maubuisson, Louise Hollandine, daughter of Frederic V.,
Elector-Palatine of the days of Henri IV., had had so many illegitimate
children, that she commonly swore by her body, which had borne fourteen
Cardinal Mazarin could not bear to have unfortunate persons about him.
When he was requested to take any one into his service, his first
question was, "Is he lucky?"
My son has never assisted the Pretender (Prince Edward Stuart), either
publicly or privately; and if my Lord Stair had chosen to contract a more
close alliance, as my son wished, he would have prevented the Pretender's
staying in France and collecting adherents; but as that alliance was
declined, he merely confined himself to the stipulations contained in the
treaty of peace. He neither furnished the Pretender with arms nor money.
The Pope and some others gave him money, but my son could not, for he was
too much engaged in paying off the late King's debts, and he would not on
account of that treaty. There can be no doubt that an attempt has been
made to embroil my son with the King of England; for, at the same time
that they were making the King believe my son was sustaining the
Pretender's cause, they told my son that Lord Stair had interviews with
M. Pentenriedez, the Emperor's Envoy, as well as with the Sicilian
Ambassador, the object of which was to make a league with those powers to
drive out the King of Spain and to set up the King of France in his
place, at the same time that Sicily should be given up to the Emperor--
in short, to excite all Europe against France. My son said himself,
that, since he was to confine himself to the articles of the treaty of
peace, he did not think he had any right to prevent the Pretender's
passage through his kingdom; and as the army had been reduced, he could
not hinder the disbanded soldiers from taking service wherever they
chose. My son had no intention whatever to break with England, although
he has been told that there was a majority of two voices only in that
nation against declaring it at war with France. He thinks Lord Stair is
not his friend, and that he has not faithfully reported to his monarch
the state of things here, but would rather be pleased to kindle the
flames of a war. If that Minister had honestly explained to the King my
son's intentions, the King would not have refused to agree with them.
It is said here that the present Queen of Spain (1716), although she is
more beloved by her husband than was the last, has less influence over
him. The Abbe Alberoni has them both in his power, and governs them like
The English gentlemen and ladies who are here tell horrible stories of
Queen Anne. They say she gets quite drunk, and that besides but that she
is inconstant in her affections, and changes often. Lady Sandwich has
not told this to me, but she has to my son. I have seen her but seldom,
on account of the repugnance I felt at learning she had confessed she had
been present at such orgies.
I do not know whether it is true that Louvois was poisoned by that old
Maintenon, but it is quite certain that he was poisoned, as well as his
physician who committed the crime, and who said when he was dying, "I die
by poison, but I deserve it, for having poisoned my master, M. de
Louvois; and I did this in the hope of becoming the King's physician, as
Madame de Maintenon had promised me." I ought to add that some persons
pretend to think this story of Doctor Seron is a mere invention. Old
Piety (Maintenon) did not commit this crime without an object; but if she
really did poison Louvois, it was because he had opposed her designs and
endeavoured to undeceive the King. Louvois, the better to gain his
object, had advised the King not to take her with him to the army. The
King was weak enough to repeat this to her, and this it was that excited
her against Louvois. That the latter was a very bad man, who feared
neither heaven nor hell, no man can deny; but it must be confessed that
he served his King faithfully.
The Duke de Noailles' grandfather was one of the ugliest men in the
world. He had one glass eye, and his nose was like an owl's, his mouth
large, his teeth ugly and decayed, his face and head very small, his body
long and bent, and he was bitter and ill-tempered. His name was Gluinel.
Madame de Cornuel one day was reading his grandson's genealogy, and, when
she came to his name, exclaimed, "I always suspected, when I saw the Duc
de Noailles, that he came out of the Book of the Lamentations of
When James II. took refuge in France from England, Madame de Cornuel went
to Saint-Germain to see him. Some time afterwards, she was told of the
pains our King was taking to procure his restoration to the throne.
Madame de Cornuel shook her head, and said, "I have seen this King James;
our monarch's efforts are all in vain; he is good for nothing but to make
poor man's sauce. (La sauce au pauvre homme.)"
She went to Versailles to see the Court when M. de Torcy and M. de
Seignelay, both very young, had just been appointed Ministers. She saw
them, as well as Madame de Maintenon, who had then grown old. When she
returned to Paris, some one asked her what remarkable things she had
seen. "I have seen," she said, "what I never expected to see there; I
have seen love in its tomb and the Ministry in its cradle."
The elder Margrave of Anspach was smitten with Mademoiselle d'Armagnac,
but he would not marry her, and said afterwards that he had never
intended to do so, because the familiarities which had passed between
her and the Marquis de Villequier (1716) had disgusted him. The lady's
mother would have liked nothing better than to surprise the Margrave with
her daughter in some critical situation: for this purpose he had
sufficient opportunities given him, but he was prudent, and conducted
himself with so much modesty, that he avoided the snare. To tell the
truth, I had given him a hint on the subject, for I was too well
acquainted with the mother, who is a very bad woman.
The Cardinal de Richelieu, notwithstanding his wit, had often fits of
distraction. Sometimes he would fancy himself a horse, and run jumping
about a billiard-table, neighing and snorting; this would last an hour,
at the end of which his people would put him to bed and cover him up
closely to induce perspiration; when he awoke the fit had passed and did
not appear again.
The Archbishop of Paris reprimanded the Bishop of Gap on the bad
reputation which he had acquired in consequence of his intercourse with
women. "Ah, Monseigneur," replied the Bishop of Gap, "if you knew what
you talk of, you would not be astonished. I lived the first forty years
of my life without experiencing it; I don't know what induced me to
venture on it, but, having done so, it is impossible to refrain. Only
try it for once, Monseigneur, and you will perceive the truth of what I
[This Bishop, whose name was Herve, had lived in prudence and
regularity up to the age of fifty, when he began, on a sudden, to
lead a very debauched life. They compelled him to give up his
Bishopric, which he did on condition of being allowed to stay at
Paris as much as he chose. He continued to live in perpetual
pleasure, but towards the close of his career he repented of his
sins and engaged with the Capuchin missionaries.]
This Bishop is now living in the village of Boulogne, near Paris: he is a
little priest, very ugly, with a large head and fiery red face.
Our late King said, "I am, I confess, somewhat piqued to see that,
with all the authority belonging to my station in this country, I have
exclaimed so long against high head-dresses, while no one had the
complaisance to lower them for me in the slightest degree. But now, when
a mere strange English wench arrives with a little low head-dress, all
the Princesses think fit to go at once from one extremity to another."
A Frenchman who had taken refuge in Holland informed me by letter of what
was passing with respect to the Prince of Orange. Thinking that I should
do the King a service by communicating to him these news, I hastened to
him, and he thanked me for them. In the evening, however, he said to me,
smiling, "My Ministers will have it that you have been misinformed, and
that your correspondent has not written you one word of truth."
I replied, "Time will show which is better informed, your Majesty's
Ministers or my correspondent. For my own part, Sire, my intention at
least was good."
Some time afterwards, when the report of the approaching accession of
William to the throne of England became public, M. de Torcy came to me to
beg I would acquaint him with my news. I replied, "I receive none now;
you told the King that what I formerly had was false, and upon this I
desired my correspondents to send me no more, for I do not love to spread
false reports." He laughed, as he always did, and said, "Your news have
turned out to be quite correct." I replied, "A great and able Minister
ought surely to have news more correct than I can obtain; and I have been
angry with myself for having formerly acquainted the King with the
reports which had reached me. I ought to have recollected that his
clever Ministers are acquainted with everything." The King therefore
said to me, "You are making game of my Ministers."--"Sire," I replied, "I
am only giving them back their own."
M. de Louvois was the only person who was well served by his spies;
indeed, he never spared his money. All the Frenchmen who went into
Germany or Holland as dancing or fencing-masters, esquires, etc., were
paid by him to give him information of whatever passed in the several
Courts. After his death this system was discontinued, and thus it is
that the present Ministers are so ignorant of the affairs of other
Lauzun says the drollest things, and takes the most amusing, roundabout
way of intimating whatever he does not care to say openly. For example,
when he wished the King to understand that the Count de Marsan, brother
of M. Legrand, had attached himself to M. Chamillard, the then Minister,
he took the following means: "Sire," said he, with an air of the utmost
simplicity, as if he had not the least notion of malice, "I wished to
change my wigmaker, and employ the one who is now the most in fashion;
but I could not find him, for M. de Marsan has kept him shut up in his
room for several days past, making wigs for his household, and for M. de
The adventures of Prince Emmanuel of Portugal are a perfect romance.
His brother, the King, was desirous, it is said, at first, to have made
a priest and a Bishop of him; to this, however, he had an insuperable
objection, for he was in love. The King sent for him, and asked him if
it was true that he had really resolved not to enter the Church. On the
Prince's replying in the affirmative, the King, his brother, struck him.
The Prince said, "You are my King and my brother, and therefore I cannot
revenge myself as I ought upon you; but you have put an insult upon me
which I cannot endure, and you shall never again see me in the whole
course of your life." He is said to have set out on that very night.
His brother wrote to him, commanding his return from Paris to Holland; as
he made no reply to this command, his Governor and the Ambassador had no
doubt that it was his intention to obey it. In the course of last week
he expressed a desire to see Versailles and Marly. The Ambassador made
preparations for this excursion, and together with his wife accompanied
the Prince, whose Governor and one of his gentlemen were of the party.
Upon their return from Versailles, when they reached the courtyard, the
Prince called out to stop, and asked if there were any chaises ready:
"Yes, Monseigneur," replied a voice, "there are four."--"That will be
sufficient," replied the Prince. Then addressing the Ambassador, he
expressed his warmest thanks for the friendly attention he had shown him,
and assured him that he desired nothing so much as an opportunity to
testify his gratitude. "I am now going to set out," he added, "for
Vienna; the Emperor is my cousin; I have no doubt he will receive me,
and I shall learn in his army to become a soldier in the campaign against
the Turks." He then thanked the Governor for the pains he had bestowed
upon his education; and promised that, if any good fortune should befall
him, his Governor should share it with him. He also said something
complimentary to his gentleman. He then alighted, called for the
post-chaises, and took his seat in one of them; his favourite, a young
man of little experience, but, as it is said, of considerable talent,
placed himself in another, and his two valets de chambre into the third
and fourth. That nothing may be wanting to the romantic turn of his
adventures, it is said, besides, that Madame de Riveira was the object of
his affection in Portugal before she was married; that he even wished to
make her his wife, but that his brother would not permit it. A short
time before his departure, the husband, who is a very jealous man, found
him at his wife's feet; and this hastened the Prince's departure.
Henri IV. had been one day told of the infidelity of one of his
mistresses. Believing that the King had no intention of visiting her,
she made an assignation with the Duc de Bellegarde in her own apartment.
The King, having caused the time of his rival's coming to be watched,
when he was informed of his being there, went to his mistress's room.
He found her in bed, and she complained of a violent headache. The King
said he was very hungry, and wanted some supper; she replied that she had
not thought about supper, and believed she had only a couple of
partridges. Henri IV. desired they should be served up, and said he
would eat them with her. The supper which she had prepared for
Bellegarde, and which consisted of much more than two partridges, was
then served up; the King, taking up a small loaf, split it open, and,
sticking a whole partridge into it, threw it under the bed. "Sire,"
cried the lady, terrified to death, "what are you doing?"--"Madame,"
replied the merry monarch, "everybody must live." He then took his
departure, content with having frightened the lovers.
I have again seen M. La Mothe le Vayer; who, with all his sense, dresses
himself like a madman. He wears furred boots, and a cap which he never
takes off, lined with the same material, a large band, and a black velvet
We have had few Queens in France who have been really happy. Marie de
Medicis died in exile. The mother of the King and of the late Monsieur
was unhappy as long as her husband was alive. Our Queen Marie-Therese
said upon her death-bed, "that from the time of her becoming Queen she
had not had a day of real happiness."
Lauzun sometimes affects the simpleton that he may say disagreeable
things with impunity, for he is very malicious. In order to hint to
Marechal de Tesse that he did wrong in being so familiar with the common
people, he called out to him one night in the Salon at Marly, "Marshal,
pray give me a pinch of snuff; but let it be good--that, for example,
which I saw you taking this morning with Daigremont the chairman."
In the time of Henri IV. an Elector-Palatine came to France; the King's
household was sent to meet him. All his expenses were paid, as well as
those of his suite; and when he arrived at the Court he entered between
the Dauphin and Monsieur and dined with the King. I learned these
particulars from the late Monsieur. The King, under the pretence of
going to the chase, went about a league from Paris, and, meeting the
Elector, conducted him in his carriage. At Paris he was always attended
by the King's servants. This treatment is somewhat different from that
which, in my time, was bestowed upon Maximilian Maria, the Elector of
Bavaria. This Elector often enraged me with the foolish things that he
did. For example, he went to play and to dine with M. d'Antin, and never
evinced the least desire to dine with his own nephews. A sovereign,
whether he be Elector or not, might with propriety dine either at the
Dauphin's table or mine; and, if the Elector had chosen, he might have
come to us; but he was contented to dine with M. d'Antin or M. de Torcy,
and some ladies of the King's suite. I am angry to this day when I think
of it. The King used often to laugh at my anger on this subject; and,
whenever the Elector committed some new absurdity, he used to call to me
in the cabinet and ask me, "Well, Madame, what have you to say to that?"
I would reply, "All that the Elector does is alike ridiculous." This
made the King laugh heartily. The Elector had a Marshal, the Count
d'Arco, the brother of that person who had married in so singular a
manner the Prince's mistress, Popel, which marriage had been contracted
solely upon his promise never to be alone with his wife. The Marshal,
who was as honest as his brother was accommodating, was terribly annoyed
at his master's conduct; he came at first to me to impart to me his
chagrin whenever the Elector committed some folly; and when he behaved
better he used also to tell me of it. I rather think he must have been
forbidden to visit me, for latterly I never saw him. None of the
Elector's suite have visited me, and I presume they have been prevented.
This Prince's amorous intrigues have been by no means agreeable to the
King. The Elector was so fond of grisettes that, when the King was
giving names to each of the roads through the wood, he was exceedingly
anxious that one of them should be called L'Allee des Grisettes; but the
King would not consent to it. The Elector has perpetuated his race in
the villages; and two country girls have been pointed out to me who were
pregnant by him at his departure.
His marriage with a Polish Princess is a striking proof that a man cannot
avoid his fate. This was not a suitable match for him, and was managed
almost without his knowledge, as I have been told. His Councillors,
having been bought over, patched up the affair; and when the Elector only
caused it to be submitted for their deliberation, it was already decided
This Elector's brother must have been made a Bishop of Cologne and
Munster without the production of proof of his nobility being demanded;
for it is well known that the King Sobieski was a Polish nobleman, who
married the daughter of Darquin, Captain of our late Monsieur's Swiss
Guards. Great suspicions are entertained respecting the children of the
Bavaria family, that is, the Elector and his brothers, who are thought to
have been the progeny of an Italian doctor named Simoni. It was said at
Court that the doctor had only given the Elector and his wife a strong
cordial, the effect of which had been to increase their family; but they
are all most suspiciously like the doctor.
I have heard it said that in England the people used to take my late
uncle, Rupert, for a sorcerer, and his large black dog for the Devil;
for this reason, when he joined the army and attacked the enemy, whole
regiments fled before him.
A knight of the Palatinate, who had served many years in India, told me
at Court in that country the first Minister and the keeper of the seals
hated each other mortally. The latter having one day occasion for the
seals, found they had been taken from the casket in which they were
usually kept. He was of course greatly terrified, for his head depended
upon their production. He went to one of his friends, and consulted with
him what he should do. His friend asked him if he had any enemies at
Court. "Yes," replied the keeper of the seals, "the chief Minister is my
mortal foe."--"So much the better," replied his friend; "go and set fire
to your house directly; take out of it nothing but the casket in which
the seals were kept, and take it directly to the chief Minister, telling
him you know no one with whom you can more safely deposit it; then go
home again and save whatever you can. When the fire shall be
extinguished, you must go to the King, and request him to order the chief
Minister to restore you the seals; and you must be sure to open the
casket before the Prince. If the seals are there, all will be explained;
if the Minister has not restored them, you must accuse him at once of
having stolen them; and thus you will be sure to ruin your enemy and
recover your seals." The keeper of the seals followed his friend's
advice exactly, and the seals were found again in the casket.
As soon as a royal child, which they call here un Enfant de France, is
born, and has been swaddled, they put on him a grand cordon; but they do
not create him a knight of the order until he has communicated; the
ceremony is then performed in the ordinary manner.
The ladies of chancellors here have the privilege of the tabouret when
they come to the toilette; but in the afternoon they are obliged to
stand. This practice began in the days of Marie de Medicis, when a
chancellor's wife happened to be in great favour. As she had a lame foot
and could not stand up, the Queen, who would have her come to visit her
every morning, allowed her to sit down. From this time the custom of
these ladies sitting in the morning has been continued.
In the reign of Henri IV. the King's illegitimate children took
precedence of the Princes of the House of Lorraine. On the day after the
King's death, the Duc de Verneuil was about to go before the Duc de
Guise, when the latter, taking him by the arm, said, "That might have
been yesterday, but to-day matters are altered."
Two young Duchesses, not being able to see their lovers, invented the
following stratagem to accomplish their wishes. These two sisters had
been educated in a convent some leagues distant from Paris. A nun of
their acquaintance happening to die there, they pretended to be much
afflicted at it, and requested permission to perform the last duties to
her, and to be present at her funeral. They were believed to be sincere,
and the permission they asked was readily granted them. In the funeral
procession it was perceived that, besides the two ladies, there were two
other persons whom no one knew. Upon being asked who they were, they
replied they were poor priests in need of protection; and that, having
learnt two Duchesses were to be present at the funeral, they had come to
the convent for the purpose of imploring their good offices. When they
were presented to them, the young ladies said they would interrogate them
after the service in their chambers. The young priests waited upon them
at the time appointed, and stayed there until the evening. The Abbess,
who began to think their audience was too long, sent to beg the priests
would retire. One of them seemed very melancholy, but the other laughed
as if he would burst his sides. This was the Duc de Richelieu; the other
was the Chevalier de Guemene, the younger son of the Duke of that name.
The gentlemen themselves divulged the adventure.
The King's illegitimate children, fearing that they should be treated in
the same way as the Princes of the blood, have for some months past been
engaged in drawing a strong party of the nobility to their side, and have
presented a very unjust petition against the Dukes and Peers. My son has
refused to receive this petition, and has interdicted them from holding
assemblies, the object of which he knows would tend to revolt. They
have, nevertheless, continued them at the instigations of the Duc du
Maine and his wife, and have even carried their insolence so far as to
address a memorial to my son and another to the Parliament, in which they
assert that it is within the province of the nobility alone to decide
between the Princes of the blood and the legitimated Princes. Thirty of
them have signed this memorial, of whom my son has had six arrested;
three of them have been sent to the Bastille, and the other three to
Vincennes; they are MM. de Chatillon, de Rieux, de Beaufremont, de
Polignac, de Clermont, and d'O. The last was the Governor of the Comte
de Toulouse, and remains with him. Clermont's wife is one of the
Duchesse de Berri's ladies. She is not the most discreet person in the
world, and has been long in the habit of saying to any one who would
listen to her, "Whatever may come of it, my husband and I are willing to
risk our lives for the Comte de Toulouse." It is therefore evident that
all this proceeds from the bastards. But I must expose still further the
ingratitude of these people. Chatillon is a poor gentleman, whose father
held a small employment under M. Gaston, one of those offices which
confer the privilege of the entree to the antechambers, and the holders
of which do not sit in the carriage with their masters. The two
descendants, as they call themselves, of the house of Chatillon, insist
that this Chatillon, who married an attorney's daughter, is descended
from the illegitimate branches of that family. His son was a subaltern
in the Body Guard. In the summer time, when the young officers went to
bathe, they used to take young Chatillon with them to guard their
clothes, and for this office they gave him a crown for his supper.
Monsieur having taken this poor person into his service, gave him a
cordon bleu, and furnished him with money to commence a suit which he
subsequently gained against the House of Chatillon, and they were
compelled to recognize him. He then made him a Captain in the Guards;
gave him a considerable pension, which my son continued, and permitted
him also to have apartments in the Palais Royal. In these very
apartments did this ungrateful man hold those secret meetings, the end of
which was proposed to be my son's ruin. Rieux's grandfather had
neglected to uphold the honour to which he was entitled, of being called
the King's cousin. My son restored him to this honour, gave his brother
a place in the gendarmerie, and rendered him many other services.
Chatillon tried particularly to excite the nobility against my son; and
this is the recompense for all his kindness. My son's wife is gay and
content, in the hope that all will go well with her brothers.
That old Maintenon has continued pretty tranquil until the termination of
the process relating to the legitimation of the bastards. No one has
heard her utter a single expression on the subject. This makes me
believe that she has some project in her head, but I cannot tell what it
A monk, who was journeying a few days ago to Luzarche, met upon the road
a stranger, who fell into conversation with him. He was an agreeable
companion, and related various adventures very pleasantly. Having
learned from the monk that he was charged with the rents of the convent,
to which some estates in the neighbourhood of Luzarche belonged, the
stranger told him that he belonged to that place, whither he was
returning after a long journey; and then observing to the monk that the
road they were pursuing was roundabout, he pointed out to him a nearer
one through the forest. When they had reached the thickest part of the
wood, the stranger alighted, and, seizing the bridle of the monk's horse,
demanded his money. The monk replied that he thought he was travelling
with an honest man, and that he was astonished at so singular a demand.
The stranger replied that he had no time for trifling, and that the monk
must either give up his money or his life. The monk replied, "I never
carry money about me; but if you will let me alight and go to my servant,
who carries my money, I will bring you 1,000 francs."
The robber suffered the monk to alight, who went to his servant, and,
taking from him the 1,000 francs which were in a purse, he at the same
time furnished himself with a loaded pistol which he concealed in his
sleeve. When he returned to the thief, he threw down the purse, and, as
the robber stooped to pick it up, the monk fired and shot him dead; then,
remounting his horse, he hastened to apply to the police, and related his
adventure. A patrole was sent back with him to the wood, and, upon
searching the robber, there were found in his pockets six whistles of
different sizes; they blew the largest of the number, upon which ten
other armed robbers soon afterwards appeared; they defended themselves,
but eventually two of them were killed and the others taken.
The Chevalier Schaub, who was employed in State affairs by Stanhope, the
English Minister, brought with him a secretary, to whom the Prince of
Wales had entrusted sixty guineas, to be paid to a M. d'Isten, who had
made a purchase of some lace to that amount for the Princess of Wales;
the brother of M. d'Isten, then living in London, had also given the same
secretary 200 guineas, to be delivered to his brother at Paris. When the
secretary arrived he enquired at the Ambassador's where M. d'Isten lived,
and, having procured his address, he went to the house and asked for the
German gentleman. A person appeared, who said, "I am he." The secretary
suspecting nothing, gave him the Prince of Wales' letter and the sixty
guineas. The fictitious d'Isten, perceiving that the secretary had a
gold watch, and a purse containing fifty other guineas, detained him to
supper; but no sooner had the secretary drank some wine than he was
seized with an invincible desire to go to sleep. "My good friend," said
his host, "your journey has fatigued you; you had better undress and lie
down on my bed for a short time." The secretary, who could not keep his
eyes open, consented; and no sooner had he lain down than he was asleep.
Some time after, his servant came to look for him, and awoke him; the
bottles were still standing before the bed, but the poor secretary's
pockets were emptied, and the sharper who had personated M. d'Isten had
disappeared with their valuable contents.
The Princesse Maubuisson was astonishingly pleasant and amiable. I was
always delighted to visit her, and never felt myself tired in her
society. I soon found myself in much greater favour than any other of
her nieces, because I could converse with her about almost everybody she
had known in the whole course of her life, which the others could not.
She used frequently to talk German with me, which she knew very well; and
she told me all her adventures. I asked her how she could accustom
herself to the monastic life. She laughed and said, "I never speak to
the nuns but to give orders." She had a deaf nun with her in her own
chamber, that she might not feel any desire to speak. She told me that
she had always been fond of a country life, and that she still could
fancy herself a country girl. "But," I asked her, "how do you like
getting up and going to church in the middle of the night?" She replied
that she did as the painters do, who increase the splendour of their
light by the introduction of deep shadows. She had in general the
faculty of giving to all things a turn which deprived them of their
I have often heard M. Bernstorff spoken of by a person who was formerly
very agreeable to him; I mean the Duchess of Mecklenbourg, the Duc de
Luxembourg's sister. She praised his talents very highly, and assured me
that it was she who gave him to the Duke George William.
The wife of the Marechal de Villars is running after the Comte de
Toulouse. My son is also in her good graces, and is not a whit more
discreet. Marechal de Villars came one day to see me; and, as he
pretends to understand medals, he asked to see mine. Baudelot, who is a
very honest and clever man, and in whose keeping they are, was desired to
show them; he is not the most cautious man in the world, and is very
little acquainted with what is going on at Court. He had written a
dissertation upon one of my medals, in which he proved, against the
opinion of other learned men, that the horned head which it displayed was
that of Pan and not of Jupiter Ammon. Honest Baudelot, to display his
erudition, said to the Marshal, "Ah, Monseigneur, this is one of the
finest medals that Madame possesses: it is the triumph of Cornificius; he
has, you see, all sorts of horns. He was like you, sir, a great general;
he wears the horns of Juno and Faunus. Cornificius was, as you probably
well know, sir, a very able general." Here I interrupted him. "Let us
pass on," I said, "to the other medal; if you stop in this manner at
each, you will not have time to show the whole."
But he, full of his subject, returned to it. "Ah, Madame," he went on,
"this is worthy of more attention than perhaps any other; Cornificius is,
indeed, one of the most rare medals in the world. Look at it, Madame;
I beg you to observe it narrowly; here, you see, is Juno crowned, and she
is also crowning this great general." All that I could say to him was
not sufficient to prevent Baudelot talking to the Marshal of horns.
"Monseigneur," he said, "is well versed in all these matters, and I want
him to see that I am right in insisting that these horns are those of
Faunus, not those of Jupiter Ammon."
All the people who were in the chamber, with difficulty refrained from
bursting into a loud laugh. If the plan had been laid for the purpose,
it could not have succeeded better. When the Marshal had gone, I, too,
indulged myself by joining in the laugh. It was with great difficulty
that I could make Baudelot understand he had done wrong.
The same Baudelot, one day at a masked ball, had been saying a great many
civil things to the Dowager Madame, who was there masked, and whom,
therefore, he did not know. When he came and saw that it was Madame, he
was terrified with affright: the Princess laughed beyond measure at it.
Our Princes here have no particular costume. When they go to the
Parliament they wear only a cloak, which, in my opinion, has a very
vulgar appearance; and the more so, as they wear the 'collet' without a
cravat. Those of the Royal Family have no privileges above the other
Dukes, excepting in their seats and the right of crossing over the
carpet, which is allowed to none but them. The President, when he
addresses them, is uncovered, but keeps his hat on when he speaks to
everybody else. This is the cause of those great disputes which the
Princes of the blood have had with the bastards, as may be seen by their
memorial. The Presidents of the Parliament wear flame-coloured robes
trimmed with ermine at the neck and sleeves.
The Comtesse de Soissons, Angelique Cunegonde, the daughter of Francois-
Henri de Luxembourg, has, it must be confessed, a considerable share of
virtue and of wit; but she has also her faults, like the rest of the
world. It may be said of her that she is truly a poor Princess. Her
husband, Louis-Henri, Chevalier de Soissons, was very ugly, having a very
long hooked nose, and eyes extremely close to it. He was as yellow as
saffron; his mouth was extremely small for a man, and full of bad teeth
of a most villanous odour; his legs were ugly and clumsy; his knees and
feet turned inwards, which made him look when he was walking like a
parrot; and his manner of making a bow was bad. He was rather short than
otherwise; but he had fine hair and a large quantity of it. He was
rather good-looking when a child. I have seen portraits of him painted
at that period. If the Comtesse de Soissons' son had resembled his
mother, he would have been very well, for her features are good, and
nothing could be better than her, eyes, her mouth, and the turn of her
face; only her nose was too large and thick, and her skin was not fine
Whoever is like the Prince Eugene in person cannot be called a handsome
man; he is shorter than his elder brother, but, with the exception of
Prince Eugene, all the rest of them are good for nothing. The youngest,
Prince Philippe, was a great madman, and died of the small-pox at Paris.
He was of a very fair complexion, had an ungraceful manner, and always
looked distracted. He had a nose like a hawk, a large mouth, thick lips,
and hollow cheeks; in all respects I thought he was like his elder
brother. The third brother, who was called the Chevalier de Savoie, died
in consequence of a fall from his horse. The Prince Eugene was a younger
brother: he had two sisters, who were equally ugly; one of them is dead,
and the other is still living (1717) in a convent in Savoy. The elder
was of a monstrous shape, but a mere dwarf. She led a very irregular
life. She afterwards ran away with a rogue, the Abbe de la Bourlie, whom
she obliged to marry her at Geneva; they used to beat each other. She is
Prince Eugene was not in his younger days so ugly as he has become since;
but he never was good-looking, nor had he any nobility in his manner.
His eyes were pretty good, but his nose, and two large teeth which he
displayed whenever he opened his mouth, completely spoilt his face. He
was besides always very filthy, and his coarse hair was never dressed.
This Prince is little addicted to women, and, during the whole time that
he has been here, I never heard one mentioned who has pleased him, or
whom he has distinguished or visited more than another.
His mother took no care of him; she brought him up like a scullion, and
liked better to stake her money at play than to expend it upon her
youngest son. This is the ordinary practice of women in this country.
They will not yet believe that the Persian Ambassador was an impostor;
[This embassy was always equivocal, and even something more. From
all that can be understood of it, it would seem that a Minister of
one of the Persian provinces, a sort of Intendant de Languedoc, as
we might say, had commissioned this pretended Ambassador to manage
for him some commercial affairs with certain merchants, and that for
his own amusement the agent chose to represent the Persian
Ambassador. It is said, too, that Pontchartrain, under whose
department this affair fell, would not expose the trick, that the
King might be amused, and that he might recommend himself to His
Majesty's favour by making him believe that the Sophy had sent him
an Ambassador.--Notes to Dangeau's Journal.]
it is quite certain that he was a clumsy fellow, although he had some
sense. There was an air of magnificence about the way in which he gave
audience. He prevailed upon a married woman, who was pregnant by him,
to abjure Christianity. It is true she was not a very respectable
person, being the illegitimate daughter of my son's chief almoner, the
Abbe de Grancey, who always kept a little seraglio. In order to carry
her away with him, the Ambassador had her fastened up in a box filled
with holes, and then begged that no person might be allowed to touch it,
being, as he said, filled with the sacred books written by Mahomet
himself, which would be polluted by the contact of Christians. Upon this
pretence the permission was given, and by these means the woman was
carried off. I cannot believe the story which is told of this Ambassador
having had 10,000 louis d'or given him.
I had the misfortune to displease the Margrave John Frederic of Anspach.
He brought me a letter from my brother and his wife, both of whom begged
I would assist him with my advice. I therefore thought that by
counselling him as I should have counselled my own brother I should be
rendering him the best service. When he arrived he was in deep mourning
for his first wife, who had then not been dead three months. I asked him
what he proposed to do in France? He replied "that he was on his way to
England, but that before his departure he should wish to pay his respects
to the King." I asked him if he had anything to solicit from the King or
to arrange with him. He replied "he had not."--"Then," I said, "I would
advise you, if you will permit me, to send the principal person of your
suite to the King to make your compliments, to inform him that you are
going to England, and that you would not have failed to wait upon him,
but that, being in mourning for your wife, your respect for him prevented
your appearing before him in so melancholy a garb"--"But," he rejoined,
"I am very fond of dancing, and I wish to go to the ball; now I cannot go
thither until I have first visited the King."--"For God's sake," I said,
"do not go to the ball; it is not the custom here. You will be laughed
at, and the more particularly so because the Marechal de Grammont, who
presented you to the King some years ago, said that you could find
nothing to praise in the whole of France, with the exception of a little
goldfinch in the King's cabinet which whistled airs. I recommend you not
to go to see the King, nor to be present at the ball." He was angry, and
said "he saw very well that I discountenanced German Princes, and did not
wish them to be presented to the King." I replied "that the advice I had
given him sprang from the best intentions, and was such as I would have
given to my own brother." He went away quite angry to Marechal
Schomberg's, where he complained of my behaviour to him. The Marshal
asked him what I had said, which he repeated word for word. The Marshal
told him that I had advised him well, and that he was himself of my
opinion. Nevertheless, the Margrave persisted on being presented to the
King, whither he prevailed upon the Marshal to accompany him, and went
the next day to the ball. He was extremely well dressed in half-
mourning, with white lace over the black, fine blue ribands, black and
white laces, and rheingraves, which look well upon persons of a good
figure; in short, he was magnificently dressed, but improperly, for a
widower in the first stage of his mourning. He would have seated himself
within the King's circle, where none but the members of the Royal Family
and the King's grandchildren are allowed to sit; the Princes of the blood
even are not allowed to do so, and therefore foreign Princes can of
course have no right. The Margrave then began to repent not having
believed me, and early the next morning he set off.
Prince Ragotzky is under great obligations to his wife, who saved his
life and delivered him from prison. Some person was repeating things to
her disadvantage, but he interrupted them by saying, "She saved my head
from the axe, and this prevents my having any right to reprove too
strictly whatever she may choose to do; for this reason I shall not thank
any person who speaks to me upon the subject."
[Louis XIV. gave to the Prince Ragotsky, who in France took the
title of Comte de Saaross, 200,000 crowns upon the Maison de Ville,
and a pension of 2,000 crowns per month besides.]
Beatrice Eleanora, the Queen of James II., was always upon such good
terms with Maintenon that it is impossible to believe our late King was
ever fond of her. I have seen a book, entitled "L'ancien Ward protecteur
du nouveau," in 12mo, in which is related a gallantry between the Queen
and the Pere la Chaise. The confessor was then eighty years of age, and
not unlike an ass; his ears were very long, his mouth very wide, his head
very large, and his body very long. It was an ill-chosen joke. This
libel was even less credible than what was stated about the King himself.
The Monks of Saint Mihiel possess the original manuscripts of the Memoirs
of Cardinal Retz. They have had them printed and are selling them at
Nancy; but in this copy there are many omissions. A lady at Paris,
Madame Caumartin, has a copy in which there is not a word deficient; but
she obstinately refused to lend it that the others may be made complete.
When an Ambassador would make his entry at Paris he has himself announced
some days before by the officers whose duty it is to introduce
Ambassadors, in order that the usual compliments may be paid him. To
royal Ambassadors a chevalier d'honneur is sent, to those from Venice or
Holland the first equerry, and when he is absent or unwell the chief
Maitre d'Hotel, who is also sent to the Ambassador from Malta.
The English ladies are said to be much given to running away with their
lovers. I knew a Count von Konigsmark, whom a young English lady
followed in the dress of a page. He had her with him at Chambord, and,
as there was no room for her in the castle, he lodged her under a tent
which he had put up in the forest. When we were at the chase one day he
told me this adventure. As I had a great curiosity to see her, I rode
towards the tent, and never in my life did I see anything prettier than
this girl in the habit of a page. She had large and beautiful eyes, a
charming little nose, and an elegant mouth and teeth. She smiled when
she saw me, for she suspected that the Count had told me the whole story.
Her hair was a beautiful chestnut colour, and hung about her neck in
large curls. After their departure from Chambord, while they were at an
inn upon their way to Italy, the innkeeper's wife ran to the Count,
crying, "Sir, make haste upstairs, for your page is lying-in." She was
delivered of a girl, and the mother and child were soon afterwards placed
in a convent near Paris. While the Count lived he took great care of
her, but he died in the Morea, and his pretended page did not long
survive him; she displayed great piety in the hour of death. A friend of
the Count's, and a nephew of Madame de Montespan, took care of the child,
and after his death the King gave the little creature a pension. I
believe she is still (1717) in the convent.
The Abbe Perrault founded an annual funeral oration for the Prince de
Conde in the Jesuits' Church, where his heart is deposited. I shall not
upon this occasion call to mind his victories, his courage in war, or his
timidity at Court; these are things well known throughout France.
A gentleman of my acquaintance at Paris heard a learned Abbe, who was in
the confidence of Descartes, say that the philosopher used often to laugh
at his own system, and said, "I have cut them out some work: we shall see
who will be fools enough to undertake it."
That old Beauvais, the Queen-mother's first femme de chambre, was
acquainted with the secret of her marriage, and this obliged the Queen to
put up with whatever the confidante chose to do. From this circumstance
has arisen that custom which gives femmes de chambre so much authority in
our apartments. The Queen-mother, the widow of Louis XIII., not
contented with loving Cardinal Mazarin, went the absurd length of
marrying him. He was not a priest, and therefore was not prevented by
his orders from contracting matrimony. He soon, however, got very tired
of the poor Queen, and treated her dreadfully ill, which is the ordinary
result in such marriages. But it is the vice of the times to contract
clandestine marriages. The Queen-mother of England, the widow of Charles
II., made such an one in marrying her chevalier d'honneur, who behaved
very ill to her; while the poor Queen was in want of food and fuel, he
had a good fire in his apartment, and was giving great dinners. He
called himself Lord Germain, Earl of St. Albans; he never addressed a
kind expression to the Queen. As to the Queen-mother's marriage, all the
circumstances relating to it are now well enough known. The secret
passage by which he went nightly to the Palais Royal may still be seen;
when she used to visit him, he was in the habit of saying, "what does
this woman want with me?" He was in love with a lady of the Queen's
suite, whom I knew very well: she had apartments in the Palais Royal, and
was called Madame de Bregie. As she was very pretty, she excited a good
deal of passion; but she was a very honest lady, who served the Queen
with great fidelity, and was the cause of the Cardinal's living upon
better terms with the Queen than before. She had very good sense.
Monsieur loved her for her fidelity to the Queen his mother. She has
been dead now four-and-twenty years (1717).
The Princesse de Deux Ponts has recently furnished another instance of
the misfortune which usually attends the secret marriages of ladies of
high birth. She married her equerry, was very ill-treated by him, and
led a very miserable life; but she deserved all she met with and I
foresaw it. She was with me at the Opera once, and insisted at all
events that her equerry should sit behind her. "For God's sake," I said
to her, "be quiet, and give yourself no trouble about this Gerstorf; you
do not know the manners of this country; when folks perceive you are so
anxious about that man, they will think you are in love with him." I did
not know then how near this was to the truth. She replied, "Do people,
then, in this country take no care of their servants?"--"Oh, yes,"
I said, "they request some of their friends to carry them to the Opera,
but they do not go with them."
M. Pentenrieder is a perfect gentleman, extremely well-bred, totally
divested of the vile Austrian manners, and speaks good German instead of
the jargon of Austria. While he was staying here, the Fair of Saint-
Germain commenced; a giant, who came to Paris for the purpose of
exhibiting himself, having accidentally met M. Pentenrieder, said as soon
as he saw him, "It's all over with me: I shall not go into the fair; for
who will give money to see me while this man shows himself for nothing?"
and he really went away. M. Pentenrieder pleased everybody. Count
Zinzendorf, who succeeded him, did not resemble him at all, but was a
perfect Austrian in his manners and his language.
I have heard that it was from the excitement of insulted honour that
Ravaillac was induced to murder Henri IV.; for that the King had seduced
his sister, and had abandoned her during her pregnancy: the brother then
swore he would be avenged on the King. Some persons even accuse the Duc
d'Epernon, who was seated in the coach in such a manner that he might
have warded off the blow, but he is said to have drawn back and given the
assassin an opportunity to strike.
When I first came to France I found in it such an assemblage of talent as
occurs but in few ages. There was Lulli in music; Beauchamp in ballets;
Corneille and Racine in tragedy; Moliere in comedy; La Chamelle and La
Beauval, actresses; and Baron, Lafleur, Toriliere, and Guerin, actors.
Each of these persons was excellent in his way. La Ducloa and La Raisin
were also very good; the charms of the latter had even penetrated the
thick heart of our Dauphin, who loved her very tenderly: her husband was
excellent in comic parts. There was also a very good harlequin, and as
good a scaramouch. Among the best performers at the Opera were Clediere,
Pomereuil, Godenarche, Dumenil, La Rochechouard, Maury, La Saint
Christophe, La Brigogne, La Beaucreux. All that we see and hear now do
not equal them.
That which pleased me most in Beauvernois' life is the answer he made to
the Prince of Vaudemont. When he was fleeing, and had arrived at
Brussels, he gave himself out for a Prince of Lorraine. M. de Vaudemont
sent for him, and, upon seeing him, said,--"I know all the Princes of
Lorraine, but I do not know you."--"I assure you, sir," replied
Beauvernois, "that I am as much a Prince of Lorraine as you are."
I like that Mercy who tricked his master, the Duc de Lorraine. When he
reached Nancy he requested the Duke to recruit three regiments, which he
said should be his own. The Duke did recruit them, fully persuaded they
were to be his; but when the companies were filled, Mercy begged the
Emperor to give them to him, and he actually obtained them; so that the
Duke had not the appointment of a single officer.
The poor Duchess of Mecklenbourg, the wife of Christian Louis, was a very
good woman when one was thoroughly acquainted with her. She told me the
whole history of her intrigue with Bernstorff. She regulated her
household very well, and had always two carriages. She did not affect
the splendour of a sovereign; but she kept up her rank better than the
other Duchesses, and I liked her the better for this. The husband,
Christian Louis of Mecklenbourg, was a notable fool. He one day demanded
an audience of the King, under the pretence of having something of
importance to say to him. Louis XIV. was then more than forty years old.
When the Duke found himself in the King's presence, he said to him,
"Sire, you seem to me to have grown." The King laughed, and said,
"Monsieur, I am past the age of growing."--"Sire," rejoined the Duke,
"do you know everybody says I am very much like you, and quite as good-
looking as you are?"--"That is very probable," said the King, still
laughing. The audience was then finished, and the Duke went away. This
fool could never engage his brother-in-law's favour, for M. de Luxembourg
had no regard for him.
When the Queen had the government of the country, all the females of the
Court, even to the very servants, became intriguers. They say it was the
most ridiculous thing in the world to see the eagerness with which women
meddled with the Queen-mother's regency. At the commencement she knew
nothing at all. She made a present to her first femme de chambre of five
large farms, upon which the whole Court subsisted. When she went to the
Council to propose the affair, everybody laughed, and she was asked how
she proposed to live. She was quite astonished when the thing was
explained to her, for she thought she had only given away five ordinary
farms. This anecdote is very true and was related to me by the old
Chancellor Le Tellier, who was present at the Council. She is said often
to have laughed as she confessed her ignorance. Many other things of a
similar nature happened during the regency.
There is a Bishop of a noble family, tolerably young but very ugly, who
was at first so devout that he thought of entering La Trappe; he wore his
hair combed down straight, and dared not look a woman in the face.
Having learned that in the city where he held his see there was a frail
fair one, whose gallantries had become notorious, he felt a great desire
to convert her and to make her come to the confessional. She was, it is
said, a very pretty woman, and had, moreover, a great deal of wit.
No sooner had the Bishop began to visit than he began to pay attention to
his hair: first he powdered it, and then he had it dressed. At length he
swallowed the bait so completely, that he neither quitted the fair siren
by night nor by day. His clergy ventured to exhort him to put an end to
this scandal, but he replied that, if they did not cease their
remonstrances, he would find means of making them. At length he even
rode through the city in his carriage with his fair penitent.
The people became so enraged at this that they pelted him with stones.
His relations repaired to his diocese for the purpose of exhorting him in
their turn, but he would only receive his mother, and would not even
follow her advice. His relations then applied to the Regent to summon
the lady to Paris. She came, but her lover followed and recovered her;
at length she was torn from him by a lettre-de-cachet, and taken from his
arms to a house of correction. The Bishop is in a great rage, and
declares that he will never forgive his family for the affront which has
been put upon him (1718).
The Queen-mother is said to have eaten four times a day in a frightful
manner, and this practice is supposed to have brought on that cancer in
the breast, which she sought to conceal by strong Spanish perfumes, and
of which she died.
Those female branches of the French Royal Family, who are called Enfants
de France, all bear the title of Madame. For this reason it is that in
the brevets they are called Madame la Duchesse de Berri; Madame la
Duchesse d'Orleans; but in conversation they are called the Duchesse de
Berri, the Duchesse d'Orleans; or, rather, one should say, Madame de
Berri will have it so with respect to herself. The title of Duchesse
d'Orleans belongs to Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, as granddaughter.
Such is the custom prevalent here. The brother and the sister-in-law of
the King are called simply Monsieur and Madame, and these titles are also
contained in my brevets; but I suffer myself to be called commonly Madame
la Duchesse d'Orleans. Madame de Berri will be called Madame la Duchess
de Berri, because, being only an Enfant de France of the third descent,
she has need of that title to set off her relationship. There is nothing
to be said for this: if there were any unmarried daughters of the late
King, each would be called Madame, with the addition of their baptismal
It seems that Queen Mary of England was something of a coquette in
Holland. Comte d'Avaux, the French Ambassador, told me himself that he
had had a secret interview with her at the apartments of one of the
Queen's Maids of Honour, Madame Treslane. The Prince of Orange, becoming
acquainted with the affair, dismissed the young lady, but invented some
other pretext that the real cause might not be known.
Three footmen had a quarrel together; two of them refused to admit the
third to their table, saying, "as he and his master only serve a
president's wife, he cannot presume to compare himself with us, who serve
Princesses and Duchesses." The rejected footman called another fellow to
his aid, and a violent squabble ensued. The commissaire was called: he
found that they served three brothers, the sons of a rich merchant at
Rouen; two of them had bought companies in the French Guards; one of the
two had an intrigue with the wife of Duc d'Abret, and the other with the
Duchesse de Luxembourg, while the third was only engaged with the wife of
a president. The two former were called Colande and Maigremont; and, as
at the same time the Duc d'Abret, the son of the Duc de Bouillon, was in
love with the lady of the President Savari.
The Envoy from Holstein, M. Dumont, was very much attached to Madame de
La Rochefoucauld, one of Madame de Berri's 'dames du palais'. She was
very pretty, but gifted with no other than personal charms. Some one was
joking her on this subject, and insinuated that she had treated her lover
very favourably. "Oh! no," she replied, "that is impossible, I assure
you, entirely impossible." When she was urged to say what constituted
the impossibility, she replied, "If I tell, you will immediately agree
with me that it is quite impossible." Being pressed still further, she
said, with a very serious air, "Because he is a Protestant!"
When the marriage of Monsieur was declared, he said to Saint-Remi, "Did
you know that I was married to the Princesse de Lorraine?"--
"No, Monsieur," replied the latter; "I knew very well that you lived with
her, but I did not think you would have married her."
Queen Marie de Medicis, the wife of Henri IV., was one day walking at the
Tuileries with her son, the Dauphin, when the King's mistress came into
the garden, having also her son with her. The mistress said very,
insolently, to the Queen, "There are our two Dauphins walking together,
but mine is a fairer one than yours" The Queen gave her a smart box on
the ear, and said at the same time, "Let this impertinent woman be taken
away." The mistress ran instantly to Henri IV. to complain, but the
King, having heard her story, said, "This is your own fault; why did you
not speak to the Queen with the respect which you owe to her?"
Madame de Fiennes, who in her youth had been about the Queen-mother, used
always to say to the late Monsieur, "The Queen, your mother, was a very
silly woman; rest her soul!" My aunt, the Abbess of Maubuisson, told me
that she saw at the Queen's a man who was called "the repairer of the
Queen's face;" that Princess, as well as all the ladies of the Court,
wore great quantities of paint.
On account of the great services which the House of Arpajon in France had
rendered to the Order of Malta, a privilege was formerly granted that the
second son of that family, should at his birth become a Knight of the
Order without the necessity of any proof or any inquiry as to his mother.
The Czar Peter I. is not mad; he has sense enough, and if he had not
unfortunately been so brutally educated he would have made a good prince.
The way in which he behaved to his Czarowitz (Alexis) is horrible. He
gave his word that he would do him no injury, and afterwards poisoned him
by means of the Sacrament. This is so impious and abominable that I can
never forgive him for it (1719).
The last Duc d'Ossuna had, it is said, a very beautiful, but at the same
time a passionate and jealous wife. Having learnt that her husband had
chosen a very fine stuff for the dress of his mistress, an actress, she
went to the merchant and procured it of him. He, thinking it was
intended for her, made no scruple of delivering it to her. After it was
made up she put it on, and, showing it to her husband, said, "Do not you
think it is very beautiful?" The husband, angry at the trick, replied,
"Yes, the stuff is very beautiful, but it is put to an unworthy use."
"That is what everybody says of me," retorted the Duchess.
At Fontainebleau in the Queen's cabinet may be seen the portrait of La
Belle Terronniere, who was so much beloved by Francois I., and who was
the unwitting cause of his death.
I have often walked at night in the gallery at Fontainebleau where the
King's ghost is said to appear, but the good Francois I. never did me
the honour to show himself. Perhaps it was because he thought my prayers
were not efficacious enough to draw him from purgatory, and in this I
think he was quite right.
King James II. died with great firmness and resolution, and without any
bigotry; that is to say, very differently from the manner in which he had
lived. I saw and spoke to him four-and-twenty hours before his death.
"I hope," I said, "soon to hear of your Majesty's getting better." He
smiled and said, "If I should die, shall I not have lived long enough?"
I hardly know how to rejoice at the accession of our Prince George to the
Throne of England, for I have no confidence in the English people. I
remember still too well the fine speeches which were made here not long
ago by Lord Peterborough. I would rather that our Elector was Emperor of
Germany, and I wish that the King who is here (James II.) was again in
possession of England, because the kingdom belongs to him. I fear that
the inconstancy of the English will in the end produce some scheme which
may be injurious to us. Perhaps there was never in any nation a King who
had been crowned with more eclat, or tumultuous joy than James II.; and
yet the same nation since persecuted him in the most pitiless manner, and
has so tormented his innocent son that he can scarcely find an asylum
after all his heavy misfortunes.
[The Duchesse D'Orleans was, by the mother's side, granddaughter of
James I, which explains the interest she took in the fate of the
If the English were to be trusted I should say that it is fortunate the
Parliaments are in favour of George; but the more one reads the history
of English Revolutions, the more one is compelled to remark the eternal
hatred which the people of that nation have had towards their Kings, as
well as their fickleness (1714).
Have I not reason to fear on George's account since he has been made King
of England, and knowing as I do the desire he had to be King of another
country? I know the accursed English too well to trust them. May God
protect their Majesties the Princes, and all the family, but I confess I
fear for them greatly (1715).
The poor Princess of Wales
[Wilhelmina-Dorothea-Charlotte, daughter of John Frederick, Margrave
of Anspach, born in 1682, married to the Prince of Wales in 1706.
The particulars of the quarrel between George I. and his son, the
Prince of Wales, will be found in Cose's "Memoirs of Sir Robert
has caused me great uneasiness since her letter of the 3rd (15th) of
February (1718). She has implored the King's pardon as one implores the
pardon of God, but without success. I know nothing about it, but dread
lest the Prince should partake his mother's disgrace. I think, however,
since the King has declared the Prince to be his son, he should treat him
as such, and not act so haughtily against the Princess, who has never
offended him, but has always treated him with the respect due to a
father. Nothing good can result from the present state of affairs; and
the King had better put an end to a quarrel which gives occasion to a
thousand impertinences, and revives awkward stories which were better
The King of England has returned to London in good health (1719). The
Prince of Wales causes me great anxiety. He thought he should do well to
send one of his gentlemen to his father, to assure him in most submissive
terms of the joy he felt at his happy return. The King not only would
not receive the letter, but he sent back the gentleman with a very harsh
rebuke, revoking at the same time the permission, which before his
journey he had given to the Prince of Wales, to see his daughter, whom
the Prince loves very tenderly; this really seems too severe. It may be
said that the King is rather descended from the race of the Czar than
from that of Brunswick and the Palatinate. Such conduct can do him no
M. d'Entremont, the last Ambassador from Sicily, was upon the point of
departing, and had already had his farewell audience, when some
circumstance happened which compelled him to stay some time longer.
He found himself without a lodging, for his hotel had been already let.
A lady seeing the embarrassment in which Madame d'Entremont was thus
placed, said to her, "Madame, I have pleasure in offering you my house,
my own room, and my own bed." The Ambassador's lady not knowing what to
do, accepted the offer with great readiness. She went to the lady's
house, and as she is old and in ill health, she went to bed immediately.
Towards midnight she heard a noise like that of some person opening a
secret door. In fact, a door in the wall by the bedside was opened.
Some one entered, and began to undress. The lady called out, "Who is
there?" A voice replied, "It is I; be quiet." "Who are you?" asked the
lady. "What is the matter with you?" was the reply. "You were not wont
to be so particular. I am undressing, and shall come to bed directly."
At these words the lady cried out, "Thieves!" with all her might, and the
unknown person dressed himself quickly, and withdrew.
When the Electoral Prince of Saxony came hither, he addressed a pretty
compliment to the King, which we all thought was his own, and we
therefore conceived a very favourable notion of his parts. He did not,
however, keep up that good opinion, and probably the compliment was made
for him by the Elector-Palatine. The King desired the Duchesse de Berri
to show him about Marly. He walked with her for an hour without ever
offering her his arm or saying one word to her. While they were
ascending a small hill, the Palatine, his Governor, nodded to him; and as
the Prince did not understand what he meant, he was at length obliged to
say to him, "Offer your arm to the Duchesse de Berri." The Prince
obeyed, but without saying a word. When they reached the summit, "Here,"
said the Duchesse de Berri, "is a nice place for blindman's buff." Then,
for the first time, he opened his mouth, and said, "Oh, yes; I am very
willing to play." Madame de Berri was too much fatigued to play; but the
Prince continued amusing himself the whole day without offering the least
civility to the Duchess, who had taken such pains for him. This will
serve to show how puerile the Prince is.
We have had here several good repartees of Duke Bernard von Weimar.
One day a young Frenchman asked him, "How happened it that you lost the
battle?"--"I will tell you, sir," replied the Duke, coolly; "I thought I
should win it, and so I lost it. But," he said, turning himself slowly
round, "who is the fool that asked me this question?"
Father Joseph was in great favour with Cardinal Richelieu, and was
consulted by him on all occasions. One day, when the Cardinal had
summoned Duke Bernard to the Council, Father Joseph, running his finger
over a map, said, "Monsieur, you must first take this city; then that,
and then that." The Duke Bernard listened to him for some time, and at
length said, "But, Monsieur Joseph, you cannot take cities with your
finger." This story always made the King laugh heartily.
M. de Brancas was very deeply in love with the lady whom he married. On
his wedding-day he went to take a bath, and was afterwards going to bed
at the bath-house. "Why are you going to bed here, sir?" said his valet
de chambre; "do you not mean to go to your wife?"--"I had quite
forgotten," he replied. He was the Queen-mother's chevalier d'honneur.
One day, while she was at church, Brancas forgot that the Queen was
kneeling before him, for as her back was very round, her head could
hardly be seen when she hung it down. He took her for a prie-dieu, and
knelt down upon her, putting his elbows upon her shoulders. The Queen
was of course not a little surprised to find her chevalier d'honneur upon
her back, and all the bystanders were ready to die with laughing.
Dr. Chirac was once called to see a lady, and, while he was in her
bedchamber, he heard that the price of stock had considerably decreased.
As he happened to be a large holder of the Mississippi Bonds, he was
alarmed at the news; and being seated near the patient, whose pulse he
was feeling, he said with a deep sigh, "Ah, good God! they keep sinking,
sinking, sinking!" The poor sick lady hearing this, uttered a loud
shriek; the people ran to her immediately. "Ah," said she, "I shall die;
M. de Chirac has just said three times, as he felt my pulse, 'They keep
sinking!'" The Doctor recovered himself soon, and said, "You dream; your
pulse is very healthy, and you are very well. I was thinking of the
Mississippi stocks, upon which I lose my money, because their price
sinks." This explanation satisfied the sick lady.
The Duc de Sully was subject to frequent fits of abstraction. One day,
having dressed himself to go to church, he forgot nothing but his
breeches. This was in the winter; when he entered the church, he said,
"Mon Dieu, it is very cold to-day." The persons present said, "Not
colder than usual!"--"Then I am in a fever," he said. Some one suggested
that he had perhaps not dressed himself so warmly as usual, and, opening
his coat, the cause of his being cold was very apparent.
Our late King told me the following anecdote of Queen Christina of
Sweden: That Princess, instead of putting on a nightcap, wrapped her head
up in a napkin. One night she could not sleep, and ordered the musicians
to be brought into her bedroom; where, drawing the bed-curtains, she
could not be seen by the musicians, but could hear them at her ease. At
length, enchanted at a piece which they had just played, she abruptly
thrust her head beyond the curtains, and cried out, "Mort diable! but
they sing delightfully!" At this grotesque sight, the Italians, and
particularly the castrati, who are not the bravest men in the world, were
so frightened that they were obliged to stop short.
In the great gallery at Fontainebleau may still be seen the blood of the
man whom she caused to be assassinated; it was to prevent his disclosing
some secrets of which he was in possession that she deprived him of life.
He had, in fact, begun to chatter through jealousy of another person who
had gained the Queen's favour. Christina was very vindictive, and given
up to all kinds of debauchery.
Duke Frederick Augustus of Brunswick was delighted with Christina; he
said that he had never in his life met a woman who had so much wit, and
whose conversation was so truly diverting; he added that it was
impossible to be dull with her for a moment. I observed to him that the
Queen in her conversation frequently indulged in very filthy discussions.
"That is true," replied he, "but she conceals such things in so artful a
manner as to take from them all their disgusting features." She never
could be agreeable to women, for she despised them altogether.
Saint Francois de Sales, who founded the order of the Sisters of Saint
Mary, had in his youth been extremely intimate with the Marechal de
Villeroi, the father of the present Marshal. The old gentleman could
therefore never bring himself to call his old friend a saint. When any
one spoke in his presence of Saint Francois de Sales, he used to say, "I
was delighted when I saw M. de Sales become a saint; he used to delight
in talking indecently, and always cheated at play; but in every other
respect he was one of the best gentlemen in the world, and perhaps one of
the most foolish."
M. de Cosnac, Archbishop of Aix, was at a very advanced age when he
learnt that Saint Francois de Sales had been canonized. "What!"
cried he, "M. de Geneve, my old friend? I am delighted at his good
fortune; he was a gallant man, an amiable man, and an honest man,
too, although he would sometimes cheat at piquet, at which we have
often played together."--"But, sir," said some one present, "is it
possible that a saint could be a sharper at play?"--"No," replied
the Archbishop, "he said, as a reason for it, that he gave all his
winnings to the poor." [Loisirs d'un homme d'etat, et Dictionnaire
Historique, tom. vii. Paris, 1810.]
While Frederick Charles de Wurtemberg, the administrateur of that duchy,
was staying at Paris, the Princesse Marianne de Wurtemberg, Duke Ulric's
daughter, was there also with her mother. Expecting then to marry her
[The learned Journal of Gottengin for the year 1789, No. 30,
observes there must be some mistake here, because in 1689, when this
circumstance is supposed to have occurred, the administrateur had
been married seven years, and had children at Stuttgard.]
she had herself painted as Andromeda and her cousin as Perseus as the
latter wore no helmet, everybody could of course recognize him. But when
he went away without having married her, she had a casque painted, which
concealed the face, and said she would not have another face inserted
until she should be married. She was then about nineteen years old.
Her mother said once at Court, "My daughter has not come with me to-day
because she is gone to confess; but, poor child, what can she have to say
to her confessor, except that she has dropped some stitches in her work."
Madame de Fiennes, who was present, whispered, "The placid old fool!
as if a stout, healthy girl of nineteen had no other sins to confess
than having dropped some stitches."
A village pastor was examining his parishioners in their catechism. The
first question in the Heidelberg catechism is this: "What is thy only
consolation in life and in death?" A young girl, to whom the pastor put
this question, laughed, and would not answer. The priest insisted.
"Well, then," said she at length, "if I must tell you, it is the young
shoemaker who lives in the Rue Agneaux."
The late Madame de Nemours had charitably brought up a poor child.
When the child was about nine years old, she said to her benefactress,
"Madame, no one can be more grateful for your charity than I am, and I
cannot acknowledge it better than by telling everybody I am your
daughter; but do not be alarmed, I will not say that I am your lawful
child, only your illegitimate daughter."
The Memoirs of Queen Margaret of Navarre are merely a romance compared
with those of Mdlle. de La Force. The authoress's own life was a
romance. Being extremely poor, although of an ancient and honourable
family, she accepted the office of demoiselle d'honneur to the Duchesse
de Guise. Here the Marquis de Nesle, father of the present Marquis
(1720), became enamoured of her, after having received from her a small
bag to wear about his neck, as a remedy against the vapours. He would
have married her, but his relations opposed this intention on the score
of Mdlle. de La Force's poverty, and because she had improperly quitted
the Duchesse de Guise. The Great Conde, the Marquis de Nesle's nearest
relation, took him to Chattillon that he might forget his love for Mdlle.
de La Force; all the Marquis's relations were there assembled for the
purpose of declaring to him that they would never consent to his marriage
with Mdlle. de La Force; and he on his part told them that he would never
while he lived marry any other person. In a moment of despair, he rushed
out to the garden and would have thrown himself into the canal, but that
the strings, with which Mdlle. de La Force had tied the bag about his
neck, broke, and the bag fell at his feet. His thoughts appeared to
undergo a sudden change, and Mdlle. de La Force seemed to him to be as
ugly as she really is. He went instantly to the Prince and his other
relations who were there, and told them what had just happened. They
searched about in the garden for the bag and the strings, and, opening
it, they found it to contain two toads' feet holding a heart wrapped up
in a bat's wing, and round the whole a paper inscribed with
unintelligible cyphers. The Marquis was seized with horror at the sight.
He told me this story with his own mouth. Mdlle. de La Force after this
fell in love with Baron, but as he was not bewitched, the intrigue did
not last long: he used to give a very amusing account of the declaration
she made to him. Then a M. Briou, the son of a Councillor of that name,
became attached to her; his relations, who would by no means have
consented to such a marriage, shut the young man up. La Force, who has
a very fertile wit, engaged an itinerant musician who led about dancing
bears in the street, and intimated to her lover that, if he would express
a wish to see the bears dance in the courtyard of his, own house, she
would come to him disguised in a bear's skin. She procured a bear's skin
to be made so as to fit her, and went to M. Briou's house with the bears;
the young man, under the pretence of playing with this bear, had an
opportunity of conversing with her and of laying their future plans.
He then promised his father that he would submit to his will, and thus
having regained his liberty he immediately married Mdlle. de La Force,
and went with her to Versailles, where the King gave them apartments,
and where Madame de Briou was every day with the Dauphine of Bavaria,
who admired her wit and was delighted with her society. M. de Briou was
not then five-and-twenty years of age, a very good-looking and well-bred
young man. His father, however, procured a dissolution of the marriage
by the Parliament, and made him marry another person. Madame de Briou
thus became once more Mdlle. de La Force, and found herself without
husband and money. I cannot tell how it was that the King and her
parents, both of whom had consented to the marriage, did not oppose its
dissolution. To gain a subsistence she set about composing romances, and
as she was often staying with the Princesse de Conti, she dedicated to
her that of Queen Margaret.
We have had four Dukes who have bought coffee, stuffs, and even candles
for the purpose of selling them again at a profit. It was the Duke de La
Force who bought the candles. One evening, very recently, as he was
going out of the Opera, the staircase was filled with young men, one of
whom cried out, as he passed, "His purse!"--"No," said another, "there
can be no money in it; he would not risk it; it must be candles that he
has bought to sell again." They then sang the air of the fourth act of
[The Duke, together with certain other persons, made considerable
purchases of spice, porcelain, and other merchandizes, for the
purpose of realizing the hope of Law's Banks. As he was not held in
estimation either by the public or by the Parliament, the Duke was
accused of monopoly; and by a decree of the Parliament, in concert
with the Peers, he was enjoined "to use more circumspection for the
future, and to conduct himself irreproachably, in a manner as should
be consistent with his birth and his dignity as a Peer of France."]
The Queen Catherine (de Medicis) was a very wicked woman. Her uncle, the
Pope, had good reason for saying that he had made a bad present to
France. It is said that she poisoned her youngest son because he had
discovered her in a common brothel whither she had gone privately. Who
can wonder that such a woman should drink out of a cup covered with
designs from Aretino. The Pope had an object in sending her to France.
Her son was the Duc d'Alencon; and as they both remained incog. the world
did not know that they were mother and son, which occasioned frequent
The young Count Horn, who has just been executed here (1720), was
descended from a well-known Flemish family; he was distinguished at first
for the amiable qualities of his head and for his wit. At college he was
a model for good conduct, application, and purity of morals; but the
intimacy which he formed with some libertine young men during his stay at
the Academy of Paris entirely changed him. He contracted an insatiable
desire for play, and even his own father said to him, "You will die by
the hands of the executioner." Being destitute of money, the young Count
took up the trade of a pickpocket, which he carried on in the pit of the
theatres, and by which he made considerable gains in silver-hilted swords
and watches. At length, having lost a sum of five-and-twenty thousand
crowns at the fair of Saint-Germain, he was led to commit that crime
which he has just expiated on the scaffold. For the purpose of
discharging the debt he had contracted, he sent for a banker's clerk to
bring him certain bank bills, which he proposed to purchase. Having
connected himself with two other villains, he attacked the clerk as soon
as he arrived, and stabbed him with poniards which he had bought three
days before on the Pont Neuf. Hoping to conceal the share which he had
taken in this crime, he went immediately after its perpetration to the
Commissaire du Quartier, and told him, with a cool and determined air,
that he had been obliged, in his own defence, to kill the clerk, who had
attacked him and put him in danger of his life. The Commissaire looking
at him steadfastly, said, "You are covered with blood, but you are not
even wounded; I must retain you in custody until I can examine this
affair more minutely." At this moment the accomplice entered the room.
"Here, sir," said the Count to the Commissaire, "is one who can bear
testimony that the account I have given you of this business is perfectly
true." The accomplice was quite terrified at hearing this; he thought
that Count Horn had confessed his crime, and that there could be no
advantage in continuing to deny it; he therefore confessed all that had
taken place, and thus the murder was revealed. The Count was not more
than two-and-twenty years of age, and one of the handsomest men in Paris.
Some of the first persons in France solicited in his favour, but the Duke
Regent thought it necessary to make an example of him on account of the
prevalent excess of crime. Horn was publicly broken on the wheel with
his second accomplice; the other died just before: they were both
gentlemen and of noble families. When they arrived at the place of
punishment, they begged the people to implore the pardon of Heaven upon
their sins. The spectators were affected to tears, but they nevertheless
agreed in the just severity of their punishment. The people said aloud
after the execution, "Our Regent has done justice."
One lady was blaming another, her intimate friend, for loving a very
ugly man. The latter said, "Did he ever speak to you tenderly or
passionately?"--"No," replied the former. "Then you cannot judge," said
her friend, "whether I ought to love him or not."
Madame de Nemours used to say, "I have observed one thing in this
country, 'Honour grows again as well as hair.'"
An officer, a gentleman of talent, whose name was Hautmont, wrote the
following verses upon Cardinal Mazarin, for which he was locked up in the
Bastille for eighteen months:
Creusons tous le tombeau
A qui nous persecute;
A ce Jules nouveauu
Cherchons un nouveau Brute.
Que le jour serait beau,
Si nous voyions sa chute!
The Queen-mother could not endure Boisrobert on account of his impiety;
she did not like him to visit her sons, the King and Monsieur, in their
youth, but they were very fond of him because he used to amuse them.
When he was at the point of death, the Queen-mother sent some priests to
convert him and to prepare him for confession. Boisrobert appeared
inclined to confess. "Yes, mon Dieu," said he, devoutly joining his
hands, "I sincerely implore Thy pardon, and confess that I am a great
sinner, but thou knowest that the Abbe de Villargeau is a much greater
sinner than I am."
Cardinal Mazarin sent him once to compliment the English Ambassador on
his arrival. When he reached the hotel, an Englishman said to him,
"Milord, il est pret; my ladi, il n'est pas pret, friselire ses chevaux,
prendre patience." The late King used to relate stories of this same
Boisrobert in a very whimsical manner.
The life which folks lead at Paris becomes daily more scandalous; I
really tremble for the city every time it thunders. Three ladies of
quality have just committed a monstrous imprudence. They have been
running after the Turkish Ambassador; they made his son drunk and kept
him with them three days; if they go on in this way even the Capuchins
will not be safe from them. The Turks must needs have a very becoming
notion of the conduct of ladies of quality in a Christian country. The
young Turk is said to have told Madame de Polignac, who was one of the
three ladies, "Madame, your reputation has reached Constantinople, and I
see that report has only done you justice." The Ambassador, it is said,
is very much enraged with his son, and has enjoined him to keep his
adventure profoundly a secret, because he would risk the top of his head
on his return to Constantinople if it were known that he had associated
with Christian women. It is to be feared that the young man will get
safely out of France. Madame de Polignac has fleeced all the young men
of quality here. I do not know how her relations and those of her
husband choose to suffer her to lead so libertine a life. But all shame
is extinct in France, and everything is turned topsy-turvy.
It is very unfortunate that noblemen like the Elector-Palatine John
William should suffer themselves to be governed by the priesthood;
nothing but evil can result from it. He would do much better if he would
follow the advice of able statesmen, and throw his priest into the
Necker. I would advise him to do so, and I think I should advise him
I cannot conceive why the Duke Maximilian (brother of George I. of
[Prince Maximilian of Hanover, the second brother of George I., had,
after the death of his brother, Frederick Augustus, certain rights
over the Bishopric of Osnaburgh; love and his monks caused him to
embrace the catholic faith.]
changed his religion, for he had very little faith in general; none of
his relations solicited him to do so, and he was induced by no personal
I have heard a story of this Prince, which does him little honour. I
have been told that he complained to the Emperor of his mother, who bred
him tenderly, but who had not sent him eight thousand crowns which he had
asked her for. This is abominable, and he can hope for happiness neither
in this nor in the next world; I can never forgive him for it. The first
idea of this must have originated with Father Wolff, who has also excited
him against Prince Edward Augustus.--[Maximilian contested the Bishopric
of Osnaburgh with his younger brother.]--What angers me most with this
cursed monk is, that he will not suffer Duke Maximilian to have a single
nobleman about him; he will only allow him to be approached by beggars
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
But all shame is extinct in France
Exclaimed so long against high head-dresses
Honour grows again as well as hair
I thought I should win it, and so I lost it
If I should die, shall I not have lived long enough?
Only your illegitimate daughter
Original manuscripts of the Memoirs of Cardinal Retz
She never could be agreeable to women
Since becoming Queen she had not had a day of real happiness
Stout, healthy girl of nineteen had no other sins to confess
Subject to frequent fits of abstraction
Throw his priest into the Necker
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