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— Adventure of the Grand Prieur
in England — Education of the Due d'Orleans — Character of
Dubois — His Pernicious Influence — The Duke's Emptiness —
His Deceit — His Love of Painting — The Fairies at His Birth
— The Duke's Timidity — An Instance of His Mistrustfulness - 324


The Duke Tries to Raise the Devil — Magical Experiments — His
Religious Opinions — Impiety — Reads « Rabelais >> at Church —
The Duchess d'Orleans — Her Character — Her Life with Her
Husband — My Discourses with the Duke on the Future — My
Plans of Government — A Place at Choice Offered Me — I De-
cline the Honor — My Reason — National Bankruptcy — The
Duke's Anger at My Refusal — A Final Decision - - 337


The King's Health Declines — Bets about His Death — Lord Stair
— My New Friend — The King's Last Hunt — And Last Do-
mestic and Public Acts — Doctors — Opium — The King's Diet —
Failure of His Strength — His Hopes of Recovery — Increased
Danger — Codicil to His Will — Interview with the Due d'Orleans

— With the Cardinal de Noailles — Address to His Attendants

— The Dauphin Brought to Him — His Last Words — An Ex-
traordinary Physician — The Courtiers and the Due d'Orleans

— Conduct of Madame de Maintenon — The King's Death - 345




Early Life of Louis XIV. — His Education — His Enormous Vanity

— His Ignorance — Cause of the War with Holland — His Mis-
takes and Weakness in War — The Ruin of France — Origin of
Versailles — The King's Love of Adulation, and Jealousy of
People Who Came not to Court — His Spies — His Vindictive-
ness — Opening of Letters — Confidence Sometimes Placed in
Him — A Lady in a Predicament - - - 359


Excessive Politeness — Influence of the Valets — How the King
Drove Out — Love of Magnificence — His Buildings — Versailles

— The Supply of Water — The King Seeks for Quiet — Crea-
tion of Marly — Tremendous Extravagance - . . 369


Amours of the King — La Valliere — Montespan — Scandalous Pub-
licity — Temper of Madame de Montespan — Her Unbearable
Haughtiness — Other Mistresses — Madame de Maintenon —
Her Fortunes — Her Marriage with Scarron — His Character
and Society — How She Lived after His Death — Gets into
Better Company — Acquaintance with Madame de Montespan

— The King's Children — His Dislike of Widow Scarron — Pur-
chase of the Maintenon Estate — Further Demands — M. du
Maine on His Travels — Montespan 's 111 Humor — Madame de
Maintenon Supplants Her — Her Bitter Annoyance — Progress
of the New Intrigue — Marriage of the King and Madame de
Maintenon - -.-_ - 374





Precedence at the Communion Table — The King Offended with Ma-
dame de Torcy — The King's Religion — Atheists and Jansenists —
Project against Scotland — Preparations — Failure — The Chevalier
de St George — His Return to Court

I WENT this summer to Forges, to try, by means of the
waters there, to get rid of a tertian fever that guin-
quitia only suspended. While there I heard of a new
enterprise on the part of the princes of the blood, who,
in the discredit in which the King held them, profited
without measure by his desire for the grandeur of the
illegitimate children, to acquire new advantages which
were suffered because the others shared them. This was
the case in question.

After the elevation of the mass — at the King's com-
munion — a folding chair was pushed to the foot of the
altar, was covered with a piece of stuff, and then with
a large cloth, which hung down before and behind. At
the Pater the chaplain rose and whispered in the King's
ear the names of all the dukes who were in the chapel.
The King named two, always the oldest, to each of
whom the chaplain advanced and made a reverence.
During the communion of the priest the King rose, and
went and knelt down on the bare floor behind this fold-
ing seat, and took hold of the cloth ; at the same time
the two dukes, the elder on the right the other on the

(9) .


left, each took hold of a corner of the cloth; the two
chaplains took hold of the other two corners of the same
cloth, on the side of the altar, all four kneeling, and the
captain of the guards also kneeling and behind the King.
The communion received and the oblation taken some
moments afterward, the King remained a little while in
the same place, then returned to his own, followed by
the two dukes and the captain of the guards, who took
theirs. If a son of France happened to be there alone,
he alone held the right corner of the cloth, and nobody
the other; and when M. le Due d'Orleans was there, and
no son of France was present, M. le Due d'Orleans held
the cloth in like manner. If a prince of the blood were
alone present, however, he held the cloth, but a duke
was called forward to assist him. He was not privileged
to act without the duke.

The princes of the blood wanted to change this; they
were envious of the distinction accorded to M. d'Orleans,
and wished to put themselves on the same footing. Ac-
cordingly, at the Assumption of this year, they managed
so well that M. le Due served alone at the altar at the
King's communion, no duke being called upon to come
and join him. The surprise at this was very great. The
Due de la Force and the Mar^chal de Boufflers, who
ought to have served, were both present. I wrote to
this last to say that such a thing had never happened
before, and that it was contrary to all precedent. I wrote,
too, to M, d'Orleans, who was then in Spain, informing him
of the circumstance. When he returned he complained
to the King. But the King merely said that the dukes
ought to have presented themselves and taken hold of
the cloth. But how could they have done so, without
being requested, as was customary, to come forward ?
What would the King have thought of them if they had ?
To conclude, nothing could be made of the matter, and
it remained thus. Never then, since that time, did I go
to the communions of the King.

An incident occurred at Marly about the same time,
which made much stir. The ladies who were invited to
Marly, had the privilege of dining with the King. Tables
were placed for them, and they took up positions accord-


ing to their rank. The non-titled ladies had also their
special place. It so happened one day, that Madame de
Torcy ( an untitled lady ) placed herself above the Duchess
de Duras, who arrived at table a moment after her.
Madame de Torcy offered to give up her place, but it
was a little late, and the offer passed away in compli-
ments. The King entered, and put himself at table.
As soon as he sat down, he saw the place Madame de
Torcy had taken, and iixed such a serious and surprised
look upon her, that she again offered to give up her
place to the Duchess de Duras; but the offer was again
declined. All through the dinner the King scarcely
ever took his eyes off Madame de Torcy, said hardly a
word, and bore a look of anger that rendered everybody
very attentive, and even troubled the Duchess de Duras.
Upon rising from the table the King passed, accord-
ing to custom, into the apartments of Madame de
Maintenon, followed by the princesses of the blood, who
grouped themselves around him upon stools ; the others
who entered kept at a distance. Almost before he had
seated himself in his chair he said to Madame de
Maintenon, that he had just been witness to an act of
*^ incredible insolence '^ ( that was the term he used )
which had thrown him into such a rage that he had
been unable to eat : that such an enterprise would have
been insupportable in a woman of the highest quality ;
but coming as it did, from a mere Bourgeoise, it had so
affected him, that ten times he had been upon the point
of making her leave the table, and that he was only re-
strained by consideration for her husband. After this
outbreak he made a long discourse upon the genealogy
of Madame de Torcy's family, and other matters ; and
then, to the astonishment of all present, grew as
angry as ever against Madame de Torcy. He went off
then into a discourse upon the dignity of the dukes, and
in conclusion, he charged the princesses to tell Madame
de Torcy to what extent he had found her conduct im-
pertinent. The princesses looked at each other, and not
one seemed to like this commission; whereupon the
King, growing more angry, said, that it must be under-
taken, however, and left the room.


The news of what had taken place, and of the King's
choler, soon spread all over the Court. It was believed,
however, that all was over, and that nothing more
would be heard of the matter. Yet the very same
evening the King broke out again with even more bit-
terness than before. On the morrow, too, surprise was
great indeed, when it was found that the King immedi-
ately after dinner, could talk of nothing but this subject,
and that, too, without any softening of tone. At last
he was assured that Madame de Torcy had been spoken
to, and this appeased him a little. Torcy was obliged to
write him a letter, apologizing for the fault of Madame
de Torcy, and the King at this grew content. It may
be imagined what a sensation this adventure produced
all through the Court.

While upon the subject of the King, let me relate an
anecdote of him, which should have found a place ere
this. When M. d'Orleans was about to start for Spain,
he named the officers who were to be of his suite. Among
others was Fontpertius. At that name the King put on
a serious look.

*What! my nephew, ^^ he said. ** Fontpertius! the son
of a Jansenist — of that silly woman who ran everywhere
after M. Arnould! I do not wish that man to go with
you. ^*

*^ By my faith. Sire, *^ replied the Due d'Orleans, " I know
not what the mother has done ; but as for the son, he is
far enough from being a Jansenist, I'll answer for it; for
he does not believe in God.^*

** Is it possible, my nephew ?* said the King, softening.

* Nothing more certain, Sire, I assure you. *^

* Well, since it is so,'* said the King, ** there is no harm:
you can take him with you.**

This scene — for it can be called by no other name —
took place in the morning. After dinner M. d'Orleans
repeated it to me, bursting with laughter, word for word,
just as I have written it. When we had both well laughed
at this, we admired the profound instruction of a discreet
and religious King, who considered it better not to be-
lieve in God than to be a Jansenist, and who thought
there was less danger to his nephew from the impiety of


an unbeliever, than from the doctrines of a sectarian.
M. d'Orleans could not contain himself while he told the
story, and never spoke of it without laughing until the
tears came into his eyes. It ran all through the Court
and all over the town, and the marvelous thing was, that
the King was not angry at this. It was a testimony of
his attachment to the good doctrine which withdrew him
further and further from Jansenism. The majority of
people laughed with all their heart. Others, more wise,
felt rather disposed to weep than to laugh, in consider-
ing to what excess of blindness the King had reached.

For a long time a most important project had knocked
at every door, without being able to obtain a hearing
anywhere. The project was this: — Hough, an English
gentleman full of talent and knowledge, and who, above
all, knew profoundly the laws of his country, had filled
various posts in England. At first a minister by profes-
sion, and furious against King James; afterward a Catholic
and King James's spy, he had been delivered up to King
William who pardoned him. He profited by this only to
continue his services to James. He was taken several
times, and always escaped from the Tower of London and
other prisons. Being no longer able to dwell in England

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