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Title: Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 01

Author: duc de Louis de Rouvroy Saint-Simon

Release date: December 3, 2004 [eBook #3860]
Most recently updated: January 9, 2021

Language: English


Produced by David Widger






Birth and Family.—Early Life.—Desire to join the Army.—Enter the
Musketeers.—The Campaign Commences.—Camp of Gevries.—Siege of Namur.
—Dreadful Weather.—Gentlemen Carrying Corn.—Sufferings during the
Siege.—The Monks of Marlaigne.—Rival Couriers.—Naval Battle.—
Playing with Fire-arms.—A Prediction Verified.


The King's Natural Children.—Proposed Marriage of the Duc de Chartres.— Influence of Dubois.—The Duke and the King.—An Apartment.—Announcement of the Marriage.—Anger of Madame.—Household of the Duchess.—Villars and Rochefort.—Friend of King's Mistresses.—The Marriage Ceremony.— Toilette of the Duchess.—Son of Montbron.—Marriage of M. du Maine.— Duchess of Hanover.—Duc de Choiseul.—La Grande Mademoiselle.


Death of My Father.—Anecdotes of Louis XIII.—The Cardinal de
Richelieu.—The Duc de Bellegarde.—Madame de Hautefort.—My Father's
Enemy.—His Services and Reward.—A Duel against Law.—An Answer to a
Libel.—M. de la Rochefoucauld.—My Father's Gratitude to Louis XIII.


Position of the Prince of Orange.—Strange Conduct of the King.—Surprise
and Indignation.—Battle of Neerwinden.—My Return to Paris.—Death of La
Vauguyon.—Symptoms of Madness.—Vauguyon at the Bastille.—Projects of
Marriage.—M. de Beauvilliers.—A Negotiation for a Wife.—My Failure.—
Visit to La Trappe.


M. de Luxemhourg's Claim of Precedence.—Origin of the Claim.—Duc de
Piney.—Character of Harlay.—Progress of the Trial.—Luxembourg and
Richelieu.—Double-dealing of Harlay.—The Duc de Gesvres.—Return to the
Seat of War.—Divers Operations.—Origin of These Memoirs.


Quarrels of the Princesses.—Mademoiselle Choin.—A Disgraceful Affair.—
M. de Noyon.—Comic Scene at the Academie.—Anger and Forgiveness of
M. de Noyon.—M. de Noailles in Disgrace.—How He Gets into Favour Again.
—M. de Vendome in Command.—Character of M. de Luxembourg.— The Trial
for Precedence Again.—An Insolent Lawyer.—Extraordinary Decree.


Harlay and the Dutch.—Death of the Princess of Orange.—Count Koenigsmarck.—A New Proposal of Marriage.—My Marriage.—That of M. de Lauzun.—Its Result.—La Fontaine and Mignard.—Illness of the Marechal de Lorges.—Operations on the Rhine.—Village of Seckenheim.—An Episode of War.—Cowardice of M. du Maine.—Despair of the King, Who Takes a Knave in the Act.—Bon Mot of M. d'Elboeuf.


The Abbe de Fenelon.—The Jansenists and St. Sulpice.—Alliance with
Madame Guyon.—Preceptor of the Royal Children.—Acquaintance with Madame
de Maintenon.—Appointment to Cambrai.—Disclosure of Madame Guyon's
Doctrines.—Her Disgrace.—Bossuet and Fenelon.—Two Rival Books.—
Disgrace of Fenelon.



Death of Archbishop Harlay.—Scene at Conflans.—"The Good Langres."—
A Scene at Marly.—Princesses Smoke Pipes!—Fortunes of Cavoye.—
Mademoiselle de Coetlogon.—Madame de Guise.—Madame de Miramion.—Madame
de Sevigne.—Father Seraphin.—An Angry Bishop.—Death of La Bruyere.—
Burglary by a Duke.—Proposed Marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne.—The
Duchesse de Lude.—A Dangerous Lady.—Madame d'O.—Arrival of the
Duchesse de Bourgogne.


My Return to Fontainebleau.—A Calumny at Court.—Portrait of M. de La
Trappe.—A False Painter.—Fast Living at the "Desert."—Comte
d'Auvergne.—Perfidy of Harlay.—M. de Monaco.—Madame Panache.—The
Italian Actor and the "False Prude".


A Scientific Retreat.—The Peace of Ryswick.—Prince of Conti King of
Poland.—His Voyage and Reception.—King of England Acknowledged.—Duc de
Conde in Burgundy.—Strange Death of Santeuil.—Duties of the Prince of
Darmstadt in Spain.—Madame de Maintenon's Brother.—Extravagant Dresses.
Marriage of the Duc de Bourgogne.—The Bedding of the Princesse.—Grand
Balls.—A Scandalous Bird.


An Odd Marriage.—Black Daughter of the King.—Travels of Peter the
Great.—Magnificent English Ambassador.—The Prince of Parma.—
A Dissolute Abbe.—Orondat.—Dispute about Mourning.—M. de Cambrai's
Book Condemned by M. de La Trappe.—Anecdote of the Head of Madame de
Montbazon.—Condemnation of Fenelon by the Pope.—His Submission.


Charnace.—An Odd Ejectment.—A Squabble at Cards.—Birth of My Son.—
The Camp at Compiegne.—Splendour of Marechal Boufflers.—Pique of the
Ambassadors.—Tesse's Grey Hat.—A Sham Siege.—A Singular Scene.—
The King and Madame de Maintenon.—An Astonished Officer.—
Breaking-up of the Camp.


Gervaise Monk of La Trappe.——His Disgusting Profligacy.—The Author of
the Lord's Prayer.—A Struggle for Precedence.—Madame de Saint-Simon.—
The End of the Quarrel.—Death of the Chevalier de Coislin.—A Ludicrous
Incident.—Death of Racine.—The King and the Poet.—King Pays Debts of
Courtiers.—Impudence of M. de Vendome.—A Mysterious Murder.—
Extraordinary Theft.


The Farrier of Salon.—Apparition of a Queen.—The Farrier Comes to
Versailles.—Revelations to the Queen.—Supposed Explanation.—
New Distinctions to the Bastards.—New Statue of the King.—
Disappointment of Harlay.—Honesty of Chamillart.—The Comtesse de
Fiesque.—Daughter of Jacquier.—Impudence of Saumery.—Amusing Scene.—
Attempted Murder.


Reform at Court.—Cardinal Delfini.—Pride of M. de Monaco.—Early Life
of Madame de Maintenon.—Madame de Navailles.—Balls at Marly.—An Odd
Mask.—Great Dancing—Fortunes of Langlee.—His Coarseness.—The Abbe de
Soubise.—Intrigues for His Promotion.—Disgrace and Obstinacy of
Cardinal de Bouillon.


A Marriage Bargain.—Mademoiselle de Mailly.—James II.—Begging
Champagne.—A Duel.—Death of Le Notre.—His Character.—History of
Vassor.—Comtesse de Verrue and Her Romance with M. de Savoie.—A Race of
Dwarfs.—An Indecorous Incident.—Death of M. de La Trappe.



Settlement of the Spanish Succession.—King William III.—New Party in Spain.—Their Attack on the Queen.—Perplexity of the King.—His Will.— Scene at the Palace.—News Sent to France.—Council at Madame de Maintenon's.—The King's Decision.—A Public Declaration.—Treatment of the New King.—His Departure for Spain.—Reflections.—Philip V. Arrives in Spain.—The Queen Dowager Banished.


Marriage of Phillip V.—The Queen's Journey.—Rival Dishes.—
A Delicate Quarrel.—The King's journey to Italy.—The Intrigues against
Catinat.—Vaudemont s Success.—Appointment of Villeroy.—The First
Campaign.—A Snuffbox.—Prince Eugene's Plan.—Attack and Defence of
Cremona.—Villeroy Made Prisoner.—Appointment of M. de Vendome.


Discontent and Death of Barbezieux.—His Character.—Elevation of
Chamillart.—Strange Reasons of His Success.—Death of Rose.—Anecdotes.
—An Invasion of Foxes.—M. le Prince.—A Horse upon Roses.—Marriage of
His Daughter: His Manners and Appearance


Monseigneur's Indigestion.—The King Disturbed.—The Ladies of the
Halle.—Quarrel of the King and His Brother.—Mutual Reproaches.—
Monsieur's Confessors.—A New Scene of Wrangling.—Monsieur at Table.—
He Is Seized with Apoplexy.—The News Carried to Marly.—How Received by
the King.—Death of Monsieur.—Various Forms of Grief.—The Duc de


The Dead Soon Forgotten.—Feelings of Madame de Maintenon.—And of the
Duc de Chartres.—Of the Courtiers.—Madame's Mode of Life.—Character of
Monsieur.—Anecdote of M. le Prince.—Strange Interview of Madame de
Maintenon with Madame.—Mourning at Court.—Death of Henriette
d'Angleterre.—A Poisoning Scene.—The King and the Accomplice.


Scandalous Adventure of the Abbesse de la Joye.—Anecdote of Madame de
Saint-Herem.—Death of James II. and Recognition of His Son.—Alliance
against France.—Scene at St. Maur.—Balls and Plays.—The "Electra" of
Longepierre—Romantic Adventures of the Abbe de Vatterville.


Changes in the Army.—I Leave the Service.—Annoyance of the King.—The
Medallic History of the Reign.—Louis XIII.—Death of William III.—
Accession of Queen Anne.—The Alliance Continued.—Anecdotes of Catinat.
—Madame de Maintenon and the King.



Anecdote of Canaples.—Death of the Duc de Coislin.—Anecdotes of His
Unbearable Politeness.—Eccentric Character.—President de Novion.—
Death of M. de Lorges.—Death of the Duchesse de Gesvres.


The Prince d'Harcourt.—His Character and That of His Wife.—Odd Court
Lady.—She Cheats at Play.—Scene at Fontainebleau.—Crackers at Marly.—
Snowballing a Princess.—Strange Manners of Madame d'Harcourt.—
Rebellion among Her Servants.—A Vigorous Chambermaid.


Madame des Ursins.—Her Marriage and Character.—The Queen of Spain.—
Ambition of Madame de Maintenon.—Coronation of Philip V.—A Cardinal
Made Colonel.—Favourites of Madame des Ursins.—Her Complete Triumph.—
A Mistake.—A Despatch Violated.—Madame des Ursins in Disgrace.


Appointment of the Duke of Berwick.—Deception Practised by Orry.—Anger
of Louis XIV.—Dismissal of Madame des Ursins.—Her Intrigues to Return.
—Annoyance of the King and Queen of Spain.—Intrigues at Versailles.—
Triumphant Return of Madame des Ursins to Court.—Baseness of the
Courtiers.—Her Return to Spain Resolved On.


An Honest Courtier.—Robbery of Courtin and Fieubet.—An Important
Affair.—My Interview with the King.—His Jealousy of His Authority.—
Madame La Queue, the King's Daughter.—Battle of Blenheim or Hochstedt.—
Our Defeat.—Effect of the News on the King.—Public Grief and Public
Rejoicing.—Death of My Friend Montfort.


Naval Battle of Malaga.—Danger of Gibraltar.—Duke of Mantua in Search of a Wife.—Duchesse de Lesdiguieres.—Strange Intrigues.—Mademoiselle d'Elboeuf Carries off the Prize.—A Curious Marriage.—Its Result.— History of a Conversion to Catholicism.—Attempted Assassination. — Singular Seclusion


Fascination of the Duchesse de Bourgogne.—Fortunes of Nangis.—He Is
Loved by the Duchesse and Her Dame d'Atours.—Discretion of the Court.—
Maulevrier.—His Courtship of the Duchess.—Singular Trick.—Its Strange
Success.—Mad Conduct of Maulevrier—He Is Sent to Spain.—His Adventures
There.—His Return and Tragical Catastrophe.


Death of M. de Duras.—Selfishness of the King.—Anecdote of Puysieux.—
Character of Pontchartrain.—Why He Ruined the French Fleet.—Madame des
Ursins at Last Resolves to Return to Spain.—Favours Heaped upon Her.—
M. de Lauzun at the Army.—His bon mot.—Conduct of M. de Vendome.—
Disgrace and Character of the Grand Prieur.



A Hunting Adventure.—Story and Catastrophe of Fargues.—Death and
Character of Ninon de l'Enclos.—Odd Adventure of Courtenvaux.—Spies at
Court.—New Enlistment.—Wretched State of the Country.—Balls at Marly.


Arrival of Vendome at Court.—Character of That Disgusting Personage.—
Rise of Cardinal Alberoni.—Vendome's Reception at Marly.—His Unheard-of
Triumph.—His High Flight.—Returns to Italy.—Battle of Calcinato.—
Condition of the Army.—Pique of the Marechal de Villeroy.—Battle of
Ramillies.—Its Consequences.


Abandonment of the Siege of Barcelona.—Affairs of Italy.—
La Feuillade.—Disastrous Rivalries.—Conduct of M. d'Orleans.—The Siege
of Turin.—Battle.—Victory of Prince Eugene.—Insubordination in the
Army.—Retreat.—M. d'Orleans Returns to Court.—Disgrace of La Feuillade


Measures of Economy.—Financial Embarrassments.—The King and
Chamillart.—Tax on Baptisms and Marriages.—Vauban's Patriotism.—
Its Punishment.—My Action with M. de Brissac.—I Appeal to the King.—
The Result.—I Gain My Action.


My Appointment as Ambassador to Rome.—How It Fell Through.—Anecdotes of
the Bishop of Orleans.—A Droll Song.—A Saint in Spite of Himself.—
Fashionable Crimes.—A Forged Genealogy.—Abduction of Beringhen.—
The 'Parvulos' of Meudon and Mademoiselle Choin.


Death and Last Days of Madame de Montespan.—Selfishness of the King.—
Death and Character of Madame de Nemours.—Neufchatel and Prussia.—
Campaign of Villars.—Naval Successes.—Inundations of the Loire.—Siege
of Toulon.—A Quarrel about News.—Quixotic Despatches of Tesse.



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


Death and Character of Brissac.—Brissac and the Court Ladies.—The
Duchesse de Bourgogne.—Scene at the Carp Basin.—King's Selfishness.—
The King Cuts Samuel Bernard's Purse.—A Vain Capitalist.—Story of Leon
and Florence the Actress.—His Loves with Mademoiselle de Roquelaure.—
Run—away Marriage.—Anger of Madame de Roquelaure.—A Furious Mother.—
Opinions of the Court.—A Mistake.—Interference of the King.—
Fate of the Couple .


The Duc d'Orleans in Spain.—Offends Madame des Ursins and Madame de
Maintenon.—Laziness of M. de Vendome in Flanders.—Battle of Oudenarde.
—Defeat and Disasters.—Difference of M. de Vendome and the Duc de


Conflicting Reports.—Attacks on the Duc de Bourgogne.—The Duchesse de Bourgogne Acts against Vendome.—Weakness of the Duke.—Cunning of Vendome.—The Siege of Lille.—Anxiety for a Battle.—Its Delay.—Conduct of the King and Monseigneur.—A Picture of Royal Family Feeling.—Conduct of the Marechal de Boufflers.


Equivocal Position of the Duc de Bourgogne.—His Weak Conduct.—
Concealment of a Battle from the King.—Return of the Duc de Bourgogne to
Court.—Incidents of His Reception.—Monseigneur.—Reception of the Duc
de Berry.—Behaviour of the Duc de Bourgogne.—Anecdotes of Gamaches.—
Return of Vendome to Court.—His Star Begins to Wane.—Contrast of
Boufflers and Vendome.—Chamillart's Project for Retaking Lille.—How It
Was Defeated by Madame de Maintenon.


Tremendous Cold in France.—Winters of 1708-1709—Financiers and the
Famine.—Interference of the Parliaments of Paris and Dijon.—Dreadful
Oppression.—Misery of the People.—New Taxes.—Forced Labour.—General
Ruin.—Increased Misfortunes.—Threatened Regicide.—Procession of Saint
Genevieve.—Offerings of Plate to the King.—Discontent of the People.—
A Bread Riot, How Appeased.


M. de Vendome out of Favour.—Death and Character of the Prince de
Conti.—Fall of Vendome.—Pursegur's Interview with the King.—Madame de
Bourgogne against Vendome.—Her Decided Conduct.—Vendome Excluded from
Marly.—He Clings to Meudon.—From Which He is also Expelled.—His Final
Disgrace and Abandonment.—Triumph of Madame de Maintenon.


Death of Pere La Chaise.—His Infirmities in Old Age.—Partiality of the
King.—Character of Pere La Chaise.—The Jesuits.—Choice of a New
Confessor.—Fagon's Opinion.—Destruction of Port Royal.—Jansenists and
Molinists.—Pascal.—Violent Oppression of the Inhabitants of Port Royal.



Death of D'Avaux.—A Quarrel about a Window.—Louvois and the King.—
Anecdote of Boisseuil.—Madame de Maintenon and M. de Beauvilliers.—
Harcourt Proposed for the Council.—His Disappointment.—Death of M. le
Prince.—His Character.—Treatment of His Wife.—His Love Adventures.—
His Madness.—A Confessor Brought.—Nobody Regrets Him.


Progress of the War.—Simplicity of Chamillart.—The Imperialists and the
Pope.—Spanish Affairs.—Duc d'Orleans and Madame des Ursins.—Arrest of
Flotte in Spain.—Discovery of the Intrigues of the Duc d'Orleans.—Cabal
against Him.—His Disgrace and Its Consequences.


Danger of Chamillart.—Witticism of D'Harcourt.—Faults of Chamillart.—
Court Intrigues against Him.—Behaviour of the Courtiers.—Influence of
Madame de Maintenon.—Dignified Fall of Chamillart.—He is Succeeded by
Voysin.—First Experience of the New Minister.—The Campaign in
Flanders.—Battle of Malplaquet.


Disgrace of the Duc d'Orleans.—I Endeavor to Separate Him from Madame
d'Argenton.—Extraordinary Reports.—My Various Colloquies with Him.—The
Separation.—Conduct of Madame d'Argenton.—Death and Character of M. le
Duc.—The After-suppers of the King.


Proposed Marriage of Mademoiselle.—My Intrigues to Bring It About.—The
Duchesse de Bourgogne and Other Allies.—The Attack Begun.—Progress of
the Intrigue.—Economy at Marly.—The Marriage Agreed Upon.—Scene at
Saint-Cloud.—Horrible Reports.—The Marriage.—Madame de Saint-Simon.—
Strange Character of the Duchesse de Berry


Birth of Louis XV.—The Marechale de la Meilleraye.—Saint-Ruth's
Cudgel.—The Cardinal de Bouillon's Desertion from France.—Anecdotes of
His Audacity.


Imprudence of Villars.—The Danger of Truthfulness.—Military Mistakes.—
The Fortunes of Berwick.—The Son of James.—Berwick's Report on the
Army.—Imprudent Saying of Villars.—"The Good Little Fellow" in a
Scrape.—What Happens to Him.


Duchesse de Berry Drunk.—Operations in Spain.—Vendome Demanded by
Spain.—His Affront by the Duchesse de Bourgogne.—His Arrival.—
Staremberg and Stanhope.—The Flag of Spain Leaves Madrid.—Entry of the
Archduke.—Enthusiasm of the Spaniards—The King Returns.—Strategy, of
Staremberg.—Affair of Brighuega.—Battle of Villavciosa.—Its
Consequences to Vendome and to Spain.



State of the Country.—New Taxes.—The King's Conscience Troubled.—
Decision of the Sorbonne.—Debate in the Council.—Effect of the Royal
Tithe.—Tax on Agioteurs.—Merriment at Court.—Death of a Son of
Marechal Boufflers.—The Jesuits.


My Interview with Du Mont.—A Mysterious Communication. —Anger of
Monseigneur against Me.—Household of the Duchesse de Berry.—Monseigneur
Taken Ill of the Smallpox.—Effect of the News.—The King Goes to
Meudon.—The Danger Diminishes.—Madame de Maintenon at Meudon.—The
Court at Versailles.—Hopes and Fears.—The Danger Returns.—Death of
Monseigneur.—Conduct of the King.


A Rumour Reaches Versailles.—Aspect of the Court.—Various Forms of Grief.—The Duc d'Orleans.—The News Confirmed at Versailles.—Behaviour of the Courtiers.—The Duc and Duchesse de Berry.—The Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne.—Madame.—A Swiss Asleep.—Picture of a Court.—The Heir- Apparent's Night.—The King Returns to Marly.—Character of Monseigneur. —Effect of His Death.


State of the Court at Death of Monseigneur.—Conduct of the Dauphin and the Dauphine.—The Duchesse de Berry.—My Interview with the Dauphin.— He is Reconciled with M. d'Orleans.


Warnings to the Dauphin and the Dauphine.—The Dauphine Sickens and
Dies.—Illness of the Dauphin.—His Death.—Character and Manners of the
Dauphine.—And of the Dauphin.


Certainty of Poison.—The Supposed Criminal.—Excitement of the People against M. d'Orleans.—The Cabal.—My Danger and Escape.—The Dauphin's Casket.



The King's Selfishness.—Defeat of the Czar.—Death of Catinat.—Last
Days of Vendome.—His Body at the Escurial.—Anecdote of Harlay and the
Jacobins.—Truce in Flanders.—Wolves.


Settlement of the Spanish Succession.—Renunciation of France.—Comic
Failure of the Duc de Berry.—Anecdotes of M. de Chevreuse.—Father
Daniel's History and Its Reward.


The Bull Unigenitus.—My Interview with Father Tellier.—Curious
Inadvertence of Mine.—Peace.—Duc de la Rochefoucauld.—A Suicide in
Public.—Charmel.—Two Gay Sisters.


The King of Spain a Widower.—Intrigues of Madame des Ursins.—Choice of the Princes of Parma.—The King of France Kept in the Dark.—Celebration of the Marriage.—Sudden Fall of the Princesse des Ursins.—Her Expulsion from Spain.


The King of Spain Acquiesces in the Disgrace of Madame des Ursins.—Its
Origin.—Who Struck the Blow.—Her journey to Versailles.—Treatment
There.—My Interview with Her.—She Retires to Genoa.—Then to Rome.—


Sudden Illness of the Duc de Berry—Suspicious Symptoms.—The Duchess
Prevented from Seeing Him.—His Death.—Character.—Manners of the
Duchesse de Berry.


Maisons Seeks My Acquaintance.—His Mysterious Manner.—Increase of the
Intimacy.—Extraordinary News.—The Bastards Declared Princes of the
Blood.—Rage of Maisons and Noailles.—Opinion of the Court and Country.


The King Unhappy and Ill at Ease.—Court Paid to Him.—A New Scheme to
Rule Him.—He Yields.—New Annoyance.—His Will.—Anecdotes Concerning
It.—Opinions of the Court.—M. du Maine


A New Visit from Maisons.—His Violent Project.—My Objections.—He
Persists.—His Death and That of His Wife. —Death of the Duc de
Beauvilliers.—His Character.—Of the Cardinal d'Estrees.—Anecdotes.—
Death of Fenelon.



Character and Position of the Duc d'Orleans—His Manners, Talents, and
Virtues.—His Weakness.—Anecdote Illustrative Thereof.—
The "Debonnaire"—Adventure of the Grand Prieur in England.—Education
of the Duc 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.


The Duke Tries to Raise the Devil.—Magical Experiments.—His Religious Opinions.—Impiety.—Reads Rabelais at Church.—The Duchesse 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 Decline the Honour.—My Reason.—National Bankruptcy.—The Duke's Anger at My Refusal.—A Final Decision.


The King's Health Declines.—Bets about His Death.—Lord Stair.—My New
Friend.—The King's Last Hunt.—And Last Domestic 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
Duc d'Orleans.—With the Cardinal de Noailles.—Address to His
Attendants.—The Dauphin Brought to Him.—His Last Words.—
An Extraordinary Physician.—The Courtiers and the Duc d'Orleans.—
Conduct of Madame de Maintenon.—The King's Death.


Early Life of Louis XIV.—His Education.—His Enormous Vanity.—His
Ignorance.—Cause of the War with Holland.—His Mistakes 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 Vindictiveness.—Opening of Letters.—Confidence Sometimes Placed in
Him—A Lady in a Predicament.


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.—Creation of Marly.—Tremendous


Amours of the King.—La Valliere.—Montespan.—Scandalous Publicity.—
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.—Purchase of the
Maintenon Estate.—Further Demands.—M. du Maine on His Travels.—
Montespan's Ill—humour.—Madame de Maintenon Supplants Her.—Her Bitter
Annoyance.—Progress of the New Intrigue.—Marriage of the King and
Madame de Maintenon.


Character of Madame de Maintenon.—Her Conversation.—Her Narrow- mindedness.—Her Devotion.—Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.—Its Fatal Consequences.—Saint Cyr.—Madame de Maintenon Desires Her Marriage to be Declared.—Her Schemes.—Counterworked by Louvois.—His Vigorous Conduct and Sudden Death.—Behaviour of the King.—Extraordinary Death of Seron.


Daily Occupations of Madame de Maintenon.—Her Policy—How She Governed
the King's Affairs.—Connivance with the Ministers.—Anecdote of
Le Tellier.—Behaviour of the King to Madame de Maintenon.—
His Hardness.—Selfishness.—Want of Thought for Others.—Anecdotes.—
Resignation of the King.—Its Causes.—The Jesuits and the Doctors.—The
King and Lay Jesuits.



External Life of Louis XIV.—At the Army.—Etiquette of the King's
Table.—Court Manners and Customs.—The Rising of the King.—Morning
Occupations.—Secret Amours.—Going to Mass.—Councils.—Thursdays.—
Fridays.—Ceremony of the King's Dinner.—The King's Brother.—After
Dinner.—The Drive.—Walks at Marly and Elsewhere.—Stag—hunting.—Play-
tables.—Lotteries.—Visits to Madame de Maintenon.—Supper.—The King
Retires to Rest.—Medicine Days.—Kings Religious Observances.—Fervency
in Lent.—At Mass.—Costume.—Politeness of the King for the Court of
Saint-Germain.—Feelings of the Court at His Death.—Relief of Madame de
Maintenon.—Of the Duchesse d'Orleans.—Of the Court Generally.—Joy of
Paris and the Whole of France.—Decency of Foreigners.—Burial of the


Surprise of M. d'Orleans at the King's Death.—My Interview with Him.—
Dispute about Hats.—M. du Maine at the Parliament.—His Reception.—
My Protest.—The King's Will.—Its Contents and Reception.—Speech of the
Duc d'Orleans.—Its Effect.—His Speech on the Codicil.—Violent
Discussion.—Curious Scene.—Interruption for Dinner.—Return to the
Parliament.—Abrogation of the Codicil.—New Scheme of Government.—
The Regent Visits Madame de Maintenon.—The Establishment of Saint-Cyr.—
The Regent's Liberality to Madame de Maintenon.


The Young King's Cold.—'Lettres des Cachet' Revived.—A Melancholy Story.—A Loan from Crosat.—Retrenchments.—Unpaid Ambassadors.—Council of the Regency.—Influence of Lord Stair.—The Pretender.—His Departure from Bar.—Colonel Douglas.—The Pursuit.—Adventure at Nonancourt.—Its Upshot.—Madame l'Hospital.—Ingratitude of the Pretender.


Behaviour of the Duchesse de Berry.—Her Arrogance Checked by Public
Opinion.—Walls up the Luxembourg Garden.—La Muette.—Her Strange Amour
with Rion.—Extraordinary Details.—The Duchess at the Carmelites.—
Weakness of the Regent.—His Daily Round of Life.—His Suppers.—
How He Squandered His Time.—His Impenetrability.—Scandal of His Life.—
Public Balls at the Opera.


First Appearance of Law.—His Banking Project Supported by the Regent.—
Discussed by the Regent with Me.—Approved by the Council and Registered.
—My Interviews with Law.—His Reasons for Seeking My Friendship.—
Arouet de Voltaire


Rise of Alberoni.—Intimacy of France and England.—Gibraltar Proposed to be Given Up.—Louville the Agent.—His Departure.—Arrives at Madrid.— Alarm of Alberoni.—His Audacious Intrigues.—Louville in the Bath.— His Attempts to See the King.—Defeated.—Driven out of Spain.—Impudence of Alberoni.—Treaty between France and England.—Stipulation with Reference to the Pretender.


The Lieutenant of Police.—Jealousy of Parliament.—Arrest of Pomereu Resolved On.—His Imprisonment and Sudden Release.—Proposed Destruction of Marly.—How I Prevented It.—Sale of the Furniture.—I Obtain the 'Grandes Entrees'.—Their Importance and Nature.—Afterwards Lavished Indiscriminately.—Adventure of the Diamond called "The Regent."—Bought for the Crown of France.


Death of the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres.—Cavoye and His Wife.—Peter the Great.—His Visit to France.—Enmity to England.—Its Cause.—Kourakin, the Russian Ambassador.—The Czar Studies Rome.—Makes Himself the Head of Religion.—New Desires for Rome—Ultimately Suppressed.—Preparations to Receive the Czar at Paris.—His Arrival at Dunkerque.—At Beaumont.— Dislikes the Fine Quarters Provided for Him.—His Singular Manners, and Those of His Suite.


Personal Appearance of the Czar.—His Meals.—Invited by the Regent.—
His Interview with the King—He Returns the Visit.—Excursion in Paris.—
Visits Madame.—Drinks Beer at the Opera.—At the Invalides.—Meudon.—
Issy.—The Tuileries.—Versailles.—Hunt at Fontainebleau.—Saint—Cyr.—
Extraordinary Interview with Madame de Maintenon.—My Meeting with the
Czar at D'Antin's.—The Ladies Crowd to See Him.—Interchange of
Presents.—A Review.—Party Visits.—Desire of the Czar to Be United to


Courson in Languedoc.—Complaints of Perigueux.—Deputies to Paris.—
Disunion at the Council.—Intrigues of the Duc de Noailles.—Scene.—
I Support the Perigueux People.—Triumph.—My Quarrel with Noailles.—
The Order of the Pavilion.



Policy and Schemes of Alberoni.—He is Made a Cardinal.—Other Rewards
Bestowed on Him.—Dispute with the Majordomo.—An Irruption into the
Royal Apartment.—The Cardinal Thrashed.—Extraordinary Scene.


Anecdote of the Duc d'Orleans.—He Pretends to Reform —Trick Played upon
Me.—His Hoaxes.—His Panegyric of Me.—Madame de Sabran.—How the Regent
Treated His Mistresses.


Encroachments of the Parliament.—The Money Edict.—Conflict of Powers—
Vigorous Conduct of the Parliament.—Opposed with Equal Vigour by the
Regent.—Anecdote of the Duchesse du Maine.—Further Proceedings of the
Parliament.—Influence of the Reading of Memoirs.—Conduct of the
Regent.—My Political Attitude.—Conversation with the Regent on the
Subject of the Parliament.—Proposal to Hang Law.—Meeting at My House.—
Law Takes Refuge in the Palais Royal.


Proposed Bed of Justice.—My Scheme.—Interview with the Regent.—
The Necessary Seats for the Assembly.—I Go in Search of Fontanieu.—
My Interview with Hini.—I Return to the Palace.—Preparations.—
Proposals of M. le Duc to Degrade M. du Maine.—My Opposition.—My Joy
and Delight.—The Bed of Justice Finally Determined On.—A Charming
Messenger.—Final Preparations.—Illness of the Regent.—News Given to
M. du Maine.—Resolution of the Parliament.—Military Arrangements.—I Am
Summoned to the Council.—My Message to the Comte de Toulouse.


The Material Preparations for the Bed of Justice—Arrival of the Duc
d'Orleans:—The Council Chamber.—Attitude of the Various Actors.—The
Duc du Maine.—Various Movements.—Arrival of the Duc de Toulouse.—
Anxiety of the Two Bastards.—They Leave the Room.—Subsequent
Proceedings.—Arrangement of the Council Chamber.—Speech of the Regent.
—Countenances of the Members of Council.—The Regent Explains the Object
of the Bed of Justice.—Speech of the Keeper of the Seals.—Taking the
Votes.—Incidents That Followed.—New Speech of the Duc d'Orleans.—
Against the Bastards.—My Joy.—I Express My Opinion Modestly.—Exception
in Favour of the Comte de Toulouse.—New Proposal of M. le Duc.—Its
Effect.—Threatened Disobedience of the Parliament.—Proper Measures.—
The Parliament Sets Out.


Continuation of the Scene in the Council Chamber.—Slowness of the
Parliament.—They Arrive at Last.—The King Fetched.—Commencement of the
Bed of Justice.—My Arrival.—Its Effect.—What I Observed.—Absence of
the Bastards Noticed.—Appearance of the King. The Keeper of the Seals.—
The Proceedings Opened.—Humiliation of the Parliament.—Speech of the
Chief-President.—New Announcement.—Fall of the Duc du Maine Announced.
—Rage of the Chief-President.—My Extreme joy.—M. le Duc Substituted
for M. du Maine.—Indifference of the King.—Registration of the Decrees.


My Return Home.—Wanted for a New Commission.—Go to the Palais Royal.— A Cunning Page.—My journey to Saint-Cloud.—My Reception.—Interview with the Duchesse d'Orleans.—Her Grief.—My Embarrassment.—Interview with Madame.—Her Triumph.—Letter of the Duchesse d'Orleans.—She Comes to Paris.—Quarrels with the Regent.


Intrigues of M. du Maine.—And of Cellamare, the Spanish Ambassador.—
Monteleon and Portocarrero.—Their Despatches.—How Signed.—The
Conspiracy Revealed.—Conduct of the Regent.—Arrest of Cellamare.—His
House Searched.—The Regency Council.—Speech of the Duc d'Orleans.—
Resolutions Come To.—Arrests.—Relations with Spain.—Alberoni and
Saint-Aignan.—Their Quarrel.—Escape of Saint-Aignan.


The Regent Sends for Me.—Guilt of the Duc de Maine.—Proposed Arrest.—
Discussion on the Prison to Be Chosen.—The Arrest.—His Dejection.—
Arrest of the Duchess.—Her Rage.—Taken to Dijon.—Other Arrests.—
Conduct of the Comte de Toulouse.—The Faux Sauniers.—Imprisonment of
the Duc and Duchesse du Maine.—Their Sham Disagreement.—Their
Liberation.—Their Reconciliation.



Anecdote of Madame de Charlus.—The 'Phillippaques'.—La Grange.—
Pere Tellier.—The Jesuits.—Anecdote——Tellier's Banishment.—Death of
Madame de Maintenon.—Her Life at Saint-Cyr.


Mode of Life of the Duchesse de Berry.—Her Illness.—Her Degrading
Amours.—Her Danger Increases.—The Sacraments Refused.—The Cure Is
Supported by the Cardinal de Noailles.—Curious Scene.—The Duchess
Refuses to Give Way.—She Recovers, and Is Delivered.—Ambition of Rion.
—He Marries the Duchess.—She Determines to Go to Meudon.—Rion Sent to
the Army.—Quarrels of Father and Daughter.—Supper on the Terrace of
Meudon.—The Duchess Again Ill.—Moves to La Muette.—Great Danger.—
Receives the Sacrament.—Garus and Chirac.—Rival Doctors.—Increased
Illness.—Death of the Duchess.—Sentiments on the Occasion.—Funeral
Ceremonies.—Madame de Saint-Simon Fails Ill.—Her Recovery.—We Move to
Meudon.—Character of the Duchesse de Berry.


The Mississippi Scheme.—Law Offers Me Shares.—Compensation for Blaye.—
The Rue Quincampoix.—Excitement of the Public.—Increased Popularity of
the Scheme.—Conniving of Law.—Plot against His Life—Disagreement with
Argenson.—Their Quarrel.—Avarice of the Prince de Conti.—His
Audacity.—Anger of the Regent.—Comparison with the Period of Louis
XIV.—A Ballet Proposed.—The Marechal de Villeroy.—The Young King Is to
Dance.—Young Law Proposed.—Excitement.—The Young King's Disgust.—
Extravagant Presents of the Duc d'Orleans.


System of Law in Danger.—Prodigality of the Duc d'Orleans.—Admissions
of Law.—Fall of His Notes.—Violent Measures Taken to Support Them.—
Their Failure.—Increased Extravagance of the Regent.—Reduction of the
Fervour.—Proposed Colonies.—Forced Emigration.—Decree on the Indian
Company.—Scheming of Argenson. Attitude of the Parliament.—Their
Remonstrance.—Dismissal of Law.—His Coolness—Extraordinary Decree of
Council of State.—Prohibition of jewellery.—New Schemes.


The New Edict.—The Commercial Company.—New Edict.—Rush on the Bank.—
People Stifled in the Crowd.—Excitement against Law.—Money of the
Bank.—Exile of the Parliament to Pontoise.—New Operation.—The Place
Vendome.—The Marechal de Villeroy.—Marseilles.—Flight of Law.—
Character of Him and His Wife.—Observations on His Schemes.—Decrees of
the Finance.


Council on the Finances.—Departure of Law—A Strange Dialogue.—M. le
Duc and the Regent.—Crimes Imputed to Law during His Absence.—Schemes
Proposed.—End, of the Council.


Character of Alberoni.—His Grand Projects.—Plots against Him.—The
Queen's Nurse.—The Scheme against the Cardinal.—His Fall.—Theft of a
Will.—Reception in Italy.—His Adventures There.


Meetings of the Council.—A Kitten.—The Archbishopric of Cambrai.—
Scandalous Conduct of Dubois.—The Consecration.—I Persuade the Regent
Not to Go.—He Promises Not.—Breaks His Word.—Madame de Parabere.—The
Ceremony.—Story of the Comte de Horn.



Quarrel of the King of England with His Son.—Schemes of Dubois.—
Marriage of Brissac.—His Death.—Birth of the Young Pretender.—
Cardinalate of Dubois.—Illness of the King.—His Convalescence.—
A Wonderful Lesson.—Prudence of the Regent.—Insinuations against Him.


Projected Marriages of the King and of the Daughter of the Duc d'Orleans_
—How It Was Communicated to Me.—I Ask for the Embassy to Spain.—It Is
Granted to Me.—Jealousy of Dubois.—His Petty Interference.—
Announcement of the Marriages.


Interview with Dubois.—His Singular Instructions to Ale.—His Insidious Object.—Various Tricks and Manoeuvres.—My Departure for Spain.—Journey by Way of Bordeaux and Bayonne.—Reception in Spain.—Arrival at Madrid.


Interview in the Hall of Mirrors.—Preliminaries of the Marriages.—
Grimaldo.—How the Question of Precedence Was Settled.—I Ask for an
Audience.—Splendid Illuminations.—A Ball.—I Am Forced to Dance.


Mademoiselle de Montpensier Sets out for Spain.—I Carry the News to the
King.—Set out for Lerma.—Stay at the Escurial.—Take the Small—pox.—


Mode of Life of Their Catholic Majesties.—Their Night.—Morning.—
Toilette.—Character of Philippe V.—And of His Queen.—How She Governed


The King's Taste for Hunting.—Preparations for a Battue.—Dull Work.—
My Plans to Obtain the Grandesse.—Treachery of Dubois.—Friendship of
Grimaldo.—My Success.


Marriage of the Prince of the Asturias.—An Ignorant Cardinal.—I Am Made
Grandee of Spain.—The Vidame de Chartres Named Chevalier of the Golden
Fleece.—His Reception—My Adieux.—A Belching Princess.—
Return to France.



Attempted Reconciliation between Dubois and Villeroy.—Violent Scene.—
Trap Laid for the Marechal.—Its Success.—His Arrest.


I Am Sent for by Cardinal Dubois.—Flight of Frejus.—He Is Sought and
Found.—Behaviour of Villeroy in His Exile at Lyons.—His Rage and
Reproaches against Frejus.—Rise of the Latter in the King's Confidence.


I Retire from Public Life.—Illness and Death of Dubois. —Account of His
Riches.—His Wife.—His Character.—Anecdotes.—Madame de Conflans.—
Relief of the Regent and the King.


Death of Lauzun.—His Extraordinary Adventures.—His Success at Court.—
Appointment to the Artillery.—Counter—worked by Louvois.—Lauzun and
Madame de Montespan.—Scene with the King.—Mademoiselle and Madame de


Lauzun's Magnificence.—Louvois Conspires against Him.—He Is
Imprisoned.—His Adventures at Pignerol.—On What Terms He Is Released.—
His Life Afterwards.—Return to Court.


Lauzun Regrets His Former Favour.—Means Taken to Recover It.—Failure.—
Anecdotes.—Biting Sayings.—My Intimacy with Lauzun.—His Illness,
Death, and Character.


Ill-Health of the Regent.—My Fears.—He Desires a Sudden Death.—
Apoplectic Fit.—Death.—His Successor as Prime Minister.—The Duc de
Chartres.—End of the Memoirs.


No library of Court documents could pretend to be representative which ignored the famous "Memoirs" of the Duc de Saint-Simon. They stand, by universal consent, at the head of French historical papers, and are the one great source from which all historians derive their insight into the closing years of the reign of the "Grand Monarch," Louis XIV: whom the author shows to be anything but grand—and of the Regency. The opinion of the French critic, Sainte-Beuve, is fairly typical. "With the Memoirs of De Retz, it seemed that perfection had been attained, in interest, in movement, in moral analysis, in pictorial vivacity, and that there was no reason for expecting they could be surpassed. But the 'Memoirs' of Saint-Simon came; and they offer merits . . . which make them the most precious body of Memoirs that as yet exist."

Villemain declared their author to be "the most original of geniuses in French literature, the foremost of prose satirists; inexhaustible in details of manners and customs, a word-painter like Tacitus; the author of a language of his own, lacking in accuracy, system, and art, yet an admirable writer." Leon Vallee reinforces this by saying: "Saint-Simon can not be compared to any of his contemporaries. He has an individuality, a style, and a language solely his own…. Language he treated like an abject slave. When he had gone to its farthest limit, when it failed to express his ideas or feelings, he forced it—the result was a new term, or a change in the ordinary meaning of words sprang forth from has pen. With this was joined a vigour and breadth of style, very pronounced, which makes up the originality of the works of Saint-Simon and contributes toward placing their author in the foremost rank of French writers."

Louis de Rouvroy, who later became the Duc de Saint-Simon, was born in Paris, January 16, 1675. He claimed descent from Charlemagne, but the story goes that his father, as a young page of Louis XIII., gained favour with his royal master by his skill in holding the stirrup, and was finally made a duke and peer of France. The boy Louis had no lesser persons than the King and Queen Marie Therese as godparents, and made his first formal appearance at Court when seventeen. He tells us that he was not a studious boy, but was fond of reading history; and that if he had been given rein to read all he desired of it, he might have made "some figure in the world." At nineteen, like D'Artagnan, he entered the King's Musketeers. At twenty he was made a captain in the cavalry; and the same year he married the beautiful daughter of the Marechal de Larges. This marriage, which was purely political in its inception, finally turned into a genuine love match—a pleasant exception to the majority of such affairs. He became devoted to his wife, saying: "she exceeded all that was promised of her, and all that I myself had hoped." Partly because of this marriage, and also because he felt himself slighted in certain army appointments, he resigned his commissim after five years' service, and retired for a time to private life.

Upon his return to Court, taking up apartments which the royal favour had reserved for him at Versailles, Saint-Simon secretly entered upon the self-appointed task for which he is now known to fame—a task which the proud King of a vainglorious Court would have lost no time in terminating had it been discovered—the task of judge, spy, critic, portraitist, and historian, rolled into one. Day by day, henceforth for many years, he was to set down upon his private "Memoirs" the results of his personal observations, supplemented by the gossip brought to him by his unsuspecting friends; for neither courtier, statesman, minister, nor friend ever looked upon those notes which this "little Duke with his cruel, piercing, unsatisfied eyes" was so busily penning. Says Vallee: "He filled a unique position at Court, being accepted by all, even by the King himself, as a cynic, personally liked for his disposition, enjoying consideration on account of the prestige of his social connections, inspiring fear in the more timid by the severity and fearlessness of his criticism." Yet Louis XIV. never seems to have liked him, and Saint- Simon owed his influence chiefly to his friendly relations with the Dauphin's family. During the Regency, he tried to restrain the profligate Duke of Orleans, and in return was offered the position of governor of the boy, Louis XV., which he refused. Soon after, he retired to private life, and devoted his remaining years largely to revising his beloved "Memoirs." The autograph manuscript, still in existence, reveals the immense labour which he put into it. The writing is remarkable for its legibility and freedom from erasure. It comprises no less than 2,300 pages in folio.

After the author's death, in 1755, the secret of his lifelong labour was revealed; and the Duc de Choiseul, fearing the result of these frank revelations, confiscated them and placed them among the state archives. For sixty years they remained under lock and key, being seen by only a few privileged persons, among them Marmontel, Duclos, and Voltaire. A garbled version of extracts appeared in 1789, possibly being used as a Revolutionary text. Finally, in 1819, a descendant of the analyst, bearing the same name, obtained permission from Louis XVIII. to set this "prisoner of the Bastille" at liberty; and in 1829 an authoritative edition, revised and arranged by chapters, appeared. It created a tremendous stir. Saint-Simon had been merciless, from King down to lady's maid, in depicting the daily life of a famous Court. He had stripped it of all its tinsel and pretension, and laid the ragged framework bare. "He wrote like the Devil for posterity!" exclaimed Chateaubriand. But the work at once became universally read and quoted, both in France and England. Macaulay made frequent use of it in his historical essays. It was, in a word, recognised as the chief authority upon an important period of thirty years (1694-1723).

Since then it has passed through many editions, finally receiving an adequate English translation at the hands of Bayle St. John, who has been careful to adhere to the peculiarities of Saint-Simon's style. It is this version which is now presented in full, giving us not only many vivid pictures of the author's time, but of the author himself. "I do not pride myself upon my freedom from prejudice—impartiality," he confesses—"it would be useless to attempt it. But I have tried at all times to tell the truth."



I was born on the night of the 15th of January, 1675, of Claude Duc de Saint-Simon, Peer of France, and of his second wife Charlotte de l'Aubepine. I was the only child of that marriage. By his first wife, Diana de Budos, my father had had only a daughter. He married her to the Duc de Brissac, Peer of France, only brother of the Duchesse de Villeroy. She died in 1684, without children,—having been long before separated from a husband who was unworthy of her—leaving me heir of all her property.

I bore the name of the Vidame de Chartres; and was educated with great care and attention. My mother, who was remarkable for virtue, perseverance, and sense, busied herself continually in forming my mind and body. She feared for me the usual fate of young men, who believe their fortunes made, and who find themselves their own masters early in life. It was not likely that my father, born in 1606, would live long enough to ward off from me this danger; and my mother repeatedly impressed on, me how necessary it was for a young man, the son of the favourite of a King long dead,—with no new friends at Court,—to acquire some personal value of his own. She succeeded in stimulating my courage; and in exciting in me the desire to make the acquisitions she laid stress on; but my aptitude for study and the sciences did not come up to my desire to succeed in them. However, I had an innate inclination for reading, especially works of history; and thus was inspired with ambition to emulate the examples presented to my imagination,—to do something and become somebody, which partly made amends for my coldness for letters. In fact, I have always thought that if I had been allowed to read history more constantly, instead of losing my time in studies for which I had no aptness, I might have made some figure in the world.

What I read of my own accord, of history, and, above all, of the personal memoirs of the times since Francis I., bred in me the desire to write down what I might myself see. The hope of advancement, and of becoming familiar with the affairs of my time, stirred me. The annoyances I might thus bring upon myself did not fail to present themselves to my mind; but the firm resolution I made to keep my writings secret from everybody, appeared to me to remedy all evils. I commenced my memoirs then in July, 1694, being at that time colonel of a cavalry regiment bearing my name, in the camp of Guinsheim, upon the old Rhine, in the army commanded by the Marechal Duc de Lorges.

In 1691 I was studying my philosophy and beginning to learn to ride at an academy at Rochefort, getting mightily tired of masters and books, and anxious to join the army. The siege of Mons, formed by the King in person, at the commencement of the spring, had drawn away all the young men of my age to commence their first campaign; and, what piqued me most, the Duc de Chartres was there, too. I had been, as it were, educated with him. I was younger than he by eight months; and if the expression be allowed in speaking of young people, so unequal in position, friendship had united us. I made up my mind, therefore, to escape from my leading-strings; but pass lightly over the artifices I used in order to attain success. I addressed myself to my mother. I soon saw that she trifled with me. I had recourse to my father, whom I made believe that the King, having led a great siege this year, would rest the next. I said nothing of this to my mother, who did not discover my plot until it was just upon the point, of execution.

The King had determined rigidly to adhere to a rule he had laid down— namely, that none who entered the service, except his illegitimate children, and the Princes of the blood royal, should be exempt from serving for a year in one of his two companies of musketeers; and passing afterwards through the ordeal of being private or subaltern in one of the regiments of cavalry or infantry, before receiving permission to purchase a regiment. My father took me, therefore, to Versailles, where he had not been for many years, and begged of the King admission for me into the Musketeers. It was on the day of St. Simon and St. Jude, at half-past twelve, and just as his Majesty came out of the council.

The King did my father the honour of embracing him three times, and then turned towards me. Finding that I was little and of delicate appearance, he said I was still very young; to which my father replied, that I should be able in consequence to serve longer. Thereupon the King demanded in which of the two companies he wished to put me; and my father named that commanded by Maupertuis, who was one of his friends. The King relied much upon the information given him by the captains of the two companies of Musketeers, as to the young men who served in them. I have reason for believing, that I owe to Maupertuis the first good opinion that his Majesty had of me.

Three months after entering the Musketeers, that is to say, in the March of the following year, the King held a review of his guards, and of the gendarmerie, at Compiegne, and I mounted guard once at the palace. During this little journey there was talk of a much more important one. My joy was extreme; but my father, who had not counted upon this, repented of having believed me, when I told him that the King would no doubt rest at Paris this year. My mother, after a little vexation and pouting at finding me enrolled by my father against her will, did not fail to bring him to reason, and to make him provide me with an equipment of thirty-five horses or mules, and means to live honourably.

A grievous annoyance happened in our house about three weeks before my departure. A steward of my father named Tesse, who had been with him many years, disappeared all at once with fifty thousand francs due to various tradesfolk. He had written out false receipts from these people, and put them in his accounts. He was a little man, gentle, affable, and clever; who had shown some probity, and who had many friends.

The King set out on the 10th of May, 1692, with the ladies; and I performed the journey on horseback with the soldiers and all the attendants, like the other Musketeers, and continued to do so through the whole campaign. I was accompanied by two gentlemen; the one had been my tutor, the other was my mother's squire. The King's army was formed at the camp of Gevries; that of M. de Luxembourg almost joined it: The ladies were at Mons, two leagues distant. The King made them come into his camp, where he entertained them; and then showed them, perhaps; the most superb review which had ever been seen. The two armies were ranged in two lines, the right of M. de Luxembourg's touching the left of the King's,—the whole extending over three leagues of ground.

After stopping ten days at Gevries, the two armies separated and marched. Two days afterwards the seige of Namur was declared. The King arrived there in five days. Monseigneur (son of the King); Monsieur (Duc d'Orleans, brother of the King); M. le Prince (de Conde) and Marechal d'Humieres; all four, the one under the other, commanded in the King's army under the King himself. The Duc de Luxembourg, sole general of his own army, covered the siege operations, and observed the enemy. The ladies went away to Dinant. On the third day of the march M. le Prince went forward to invest the place.

The celebrated Vauban, the life and soul of all the sieges the King made, was of opinion that the town should be attacked separately from the castle; and his advice was acted upon. The Baron de Bresse, however, who had fortified the place, was for attacking town and castle together. He was a humble down-looking man, whose physiognomy promised nothing, but who soon acquired the confidence of the King, and the esteem of the army.

The Prince de Conde, Marechal d'Humieres, and the Marquis de Boufflers each led an attack. There was nothing worthy of note during the ten days the siege lasted. On the eleventh day, after the trenches had been opened, a parley was beaten and a capitulation made almost as the besieged desired it. They withdrew to the castle; and it was agreed that it should not be attacked from the town-side, and that the town was not to be battered by it. During the siege the King was almost always in his tent; and the weather remained constantly warm and serene. We lost scarcely anybody of consequence. The Comte de Toulouse received a slight wound in the arm while quite close to the King, who from a prominent place was witnessing the attack of a half-moon, which was carried in broad daylight by a detachment of the oldest of the two companies of Musketeers.

The siege of the castle next commenced. The position of the camp was changed. The King's tents and those of all the Court were pitched in a beautiful meadow about five hundred paces from the monastery of Marlaigne. The fine weather changed to rain, which fell with an abundance and perseverance never before known by any one in the army. This circumstance increased the reputation of Saint Medard, whose fete falls on the 8th of June. It rained in torrents that day, and it is said that when such is the case it will rain for forty days afterwards. By chance it happened so this year. The soldiers in despair at this deluge uttered many imprecations against the Saint; and looked for images of him, burning and breaking as many as they could find. The rains sadly interfered with the progress of the siege. The tents of the King could only be communicated with by paths laid with fascines which required to be renewed every day, as they sank down into the soil. The camps and quarters were no longer accessible; the trenches were full of mud and water, and it took often three days to remove cannon from one battery to another. The waggons became useless, too, so that the transport of bombs, shot, and so forth, could not be performed except upon the backs of mules and of horses taken from the equipages of the Court and the army. The state of the roads deprived the Duc de Luxembourg of the use of waggons and other vehicles. His army was perishing for want of grain. To remedy this inconvenience the King ordered all his household troops to mount every day on horseback by detachments, and to take sacks of grain upon their cruppers to a village where they were to be received and counted by the officers of the Duc de Luxembourg. Although the household of the King had scarcely any repose during this siege, what with carrying fascines, furnishing guards, and other daily services, this increase of duty was given to it because the cavalry served continually also, and was reduced almost entirely to leaves of trees for provender.

The household of the King, accustomed to all sorts of distinctions, complained bitterly of this task. But the King turned a deaf ear to them, and would be obeyed. On the first day some of the Gendarmes and of the light horse of the guard arrived early in the morning at the depot of the sacks, and commenced murmuring and exciting each other by their discourses. They threw down the sacks at last and flatly refused to carry them. I had been asked very politely if I would be of the detachment for the sacks or of some other. I decided for the sacks, because I felt that I might thereby advance myself, the subject having already made much noise. I arrived with the detachment of the Musketeers at the moment of the refusal of the others; and I loaded my sack before their eyes. Marin, a brigadier of cavalry and lieutenant of the body guards, who was there to superintend the operation, noticed me, and full of anger at the refusal he had just met with, exclaimed that as I did not think such work beneath me, the rest would do well to imitate my example. Without a word being spoken each took up his sack; and from that time forward no further difficulty occurred in the matter. As soon as the detachment had gone, Marin went straight to the King and told him what had occurred. This was a service which procured for me several obliging discourses from his Majesty, who during the rest of the siege always sought to say something agreeable every time he met me.

The twenty-seventh day after opening the trenches, that is, the first of July, 1692, a parley was sounded by the Prince de Barbanqon, governor of the place,—a fortunate circumstance for the besiegers, who were worn out with fatigue; and destitute of means, on account of the wretched weather which still continued, and which had turned the whole country round into a quagmire. Even the horses of the King lived upon leaves, and not a horse of all our numerous cavalry ever thoroughly recovered from the effects of such sorry fare. It is certain that without the presence of the King the siege might never have been successful; but he being there, everybody was stimulated. Yet had the place held out ten days longer, there is no saying what might have happened. Before the end of the siege the King was so much fatigued with his exertions, that a new attack of gout came on, with more pain than ever, and compelled him to keep his bed, where, however, he thought of everything, and laid out his plans as though he had been at Versailles.

During the entire siege, the Prince of Orange (William III. of England) had unavailingly used all his science to dislodge the Duc de Luxembourg; but he had to do with a man who in matters of war was his superior, and who continued so all his life. Namur, which, by the surrender of the castle, was now entirely in our power, was one of the strongest places in the Low Countries, and had hitherto boasted of having never changed masters. The inhabitants could not restrain their tears of sorrow. Even the monks of Marlaigne were profoundly moved, so much so, that they could not disguise their grief. The King, feeling for the loss of their corn that they had sent for safety into Namur, gave them double the quantity, and abundant alms. He incommoded them as little as possible, and would not permit the passage of cannon across their park, until it was found impossible to transport it by any other road. Notwithstanding these acts of goodness, they could scarcely look upon a Frenchman after the taking of the place; and one actually refused to give a bottle of beer to an usher of the King's antechamber, although offered a bottle of champagne in exchange for it!

A circumstance happened just after the taking of Namur, which might have led to the saddest results, under any other prince than the King. Before he entered the town, a strict examination of every place was made, although by the capitulation all the mines, magazines, &c., had to be shown. At a visit paid to the Jesuits, they pretended to show everything, expressing, however, surprise and something more, that their bare word was not enough. But on examining here and there, where they did not expect search would be made, their cellars were found to be stored with gunpowder, of which they had taken good care to say no word. What they meant to do with it is uncertain. It was carried away, and as they were Jesuits nothing was done.

During the course of this siege, the King suffered a cruel disappointment. James II. of England, then a refugee in France, had advised the King to give battle to the English fleet. Joined to that of Holland it was very superior to the sea forces of France. Tourville, our admiral, so famous for his valour and skill, pointed this circumstance out to the King. But it was all to no effect. He was ordered to attack the enemy. He did so. Many of his ships were burnt, and the victory was won by the English. A courier entrusted with this sad intelligence was despatched to the King. On his way he was joined by another courier, who pressed him for his news. The first courier knew that if he gave up his news, the other, who was better mounted, would outstrip him, and be the first to carry it to the King. He told his companion, therefore, an idle tale, very different indeed from the truth, for he changed the defeat into a great victory. Having gained this wonderful intelligence, the second courier put spurs to his horse, and hurried away to the King's camp, eager to be the bearer of good tidings. He reached the camp first, and was received with delight. While his Majesty was still in great joy at his happy victory, the other courier arrived with the real details. The Court appeared prostrated. The King was much afflicted. Nevertheless he found means to appear to retain his self-possession, and I saw, for the first time, that Courts are not long in affliction or occupied with sadness. I must mention that the (exiled) King of England looked on at this naval battle from the shore; and was accused of allowing expressions of partiality to escape him in favour of his countrymen, although none had kept their promises to him.

Two days after the defeated garrison had marched out, the King went to Dinant, to join the ladies, with whom he returned to Versailles. I had hoped that Monseigneur would finish the campaign, and that I should be with him, and it was not without regret that I returned towards Paris. On the way a little circumstance happened. One of our halting-places was Marienburgh, where we camped for the night. I had become united in friendship with Comte de Coetquen, who was in the same company with myself. He was well instructed and full of wit; was exceedingly rich, and even more idle than rich. That evening he had invited several of us to supper in his tent. I went there early, and found him stretched out upon his bed, from which I dislodged him playfully and laid myself down in his place, several of our officers standing by. Coetquen, sporting with me in return, took his gun, which he thought to be unloaded, and pointed it at me. But to our great surprise the weapon went off. Fortunately for me, I was at that moment lying flat upon the bed. Three balls passed just above my head, and then just above the heads of our two tutors, who were walking outside the tent. Coetquen fainted at thought of the mischief he might have done, and we had all the pains in the world to bring him to himself again. Indeed, he did not thoroughly recover for several days. I relate this as a lesson which ought to teach us never to play with fire-arms.

The poor lad,—to finish at once all that concerns him,—did not long survive this incident. He entered the King's regiment, and when just upon the point of joining it in the following spring, came to me and said he had had his fortune told by a woman named Du Perehoir, who practised her trade secretly at Paris, and that she had predicted he would be soon drowned. I rated him soundly for indulging a curiosity so dangerous and so foolish. A few days after he set out for Amiens. He found another fortune-teller there, a man, who made the same prediction. In marching afterwards with the regiment of the King to join the army, he wished to water his horse in the Escaut, and was drowned there, in the presence of the whole regiment, without it being possible to give him any aid. I felt extreme regret for his loss, which for his friends and his family was irreparable.

But I must go back a little, and speak of two marriages that took place at the commencement of this year the first (most extraordinary) on the 18th February the other a month after.


The King was very anxious to establish his illegitimate children, whom he advanced day by day; and had married two of them, daughters, to Princes of the blood. One of these, the Princesse de Conti, only daughter of the King and Madame de la Valliere, was a widow without children; the other, eldest daughter of the King and Madame de Montespan, had married Monsieur le Duc (Louis de Bourbon, eldest son of the Prince de Conde). For some time past Madame de Maintenon, even more than the King, had thought of nothing else than how to raise the remaining illegitimate children, and wished to marry Mademoiselle de Blois (second daughter of the King and of Madame de Montespan) to Monsieur the Duc de Chartres. The Duc de Chartres was the sole nephew of the King, and was much above the Princes of the blood by his rank of Grandson of France, and by the Court that Monsieur his father kept up.

The marriages of the two Princes of the blood, of which I have just spoken, had scandalised all the world. The King was not ignorant of this; and he could thus judge of the effect of a marriage even more startling; such as was this proposed one. But for four years he had turned it over in his mind and had even taken the first steps to bring it about. It was the more difficult because the father of the Duc de Chartres was infinitely proud of his rank, and the mother belonged to a nation which abhorred illegitimacy and, misalliances, and was indeed of a character to forbid all hope of her ever relishing this marriage.

In order to vanquish all these obstacles, the King applied to M. le Grand (Louis de Lorraine). This person was brother of the Chevalier de Lorraine, the favourite, by disgraceful means, of Monsieur, father of the Duc de Chartres. The two brothers, unscrupulous and corrupt, entered willingly into the scheme, but demanded as a reward, paid in advance, to be made "Chevaliers of the Order." This was done, although somewhat against the inclination of the King, and success was promised.

The young Duc de Chartres had at that time for teacher Dubois (afterwards the famous Cardinal Dubois), whose history was singular. He had formerly been a valet; but displaying unusual aptitude for learning, had been instructed by his master in literature and history, and in due time passed into the service of Saint Laurent, who was the Duc de Chartres' first instructor. He became so useful and showed so much skill, that Saint Laurent made him become an abbe. Thus raised in position, he passed much time with the Duc de Chartres, assisting him to prepare his lessons, to write his exercises, and to look out words in the dictionary. I have seen him thus engaged over and over again, when I used to go and play with the Duc de Chartres. As Saint Laurent grew infirm, Dubois little by little supplied his place; supplied it well too, and yet pleased the young Duke. When Saint Laurent died Dubois aspired to succeed him. He had paid his court to the Chevalier de Lorraine, by whose influence he was much aided in obtaining his wish. When at last appointed successor to Saint Laurent, I never saw a man so glad, nor with more reason. The extreme obligation he was under to the Chevalier de Lorraine, and still more the difficulty of maintaining himself in his new position, attached him more and more to his protector.

It was, then, Dubois that the Chevalier de Lorraine made use of to gain the consent of the young Duc de Chartres to the marriage proposed by the King. Dubois had, in fact, gained the Duke's confidence, which it was easy to do at that age; had made him afraid of his father and of the King; and, on the other hand, had filled him with fine hopes and expectations. All that Dubois could do, however, when he broke the matter of the marriage to the young Duke, was to ward off a direct refusal; but that was sufficient for the success of the enterprise. Monsieur was already gained, and as soon as the King had a reply from Dubois he hastened to broach the affair. A day or two before this, however, Madame (mother of the Duc de Chartres) had scent of what was going on. She spoke to her son of the indignity of this marriage with that force in which she was never wanting, and drew from him a promise that he would not consent to it. Thus, he was feeble towards his teacher, feeble towards his mother, and there was aversion on the one hand and fear on the other, and great embarrassment on all sides.

One day early after dinner I saw M. de Chartres, with a very sad air, come out of his apartment and enter the closet of the King. He found his Majesty alone with Monsieur. The King spoke very obligingly to the Duc de Chartres, said that he wished to see him married; that he offered him his daughter, but that he did not intend to constrain him in the matter, but left him quite at liberty. This discourse, however, pronounced with that terrifying majesty so natural to the King, and addressed to a timid young prince, took away his voice, and quite unnerved him. He, thought to escape from his slippery position by throwing himself upon Monsieur and Madame, and stammeringly replied that the King was master, but that a son's will depended upon that of his parents. "What you say is very proper," replied the King; "but as soon as you consent to my proposition your father and mother will not oppose it." And then turning to Monsieur he said, "Is this not true, my brother? "Monsieur consented, as he had already done, and the only person remaining to consult was Madame, who was immediately sent for.

As soon as she came, the King, making her acquainted with his project, said that he reckoned she would not oppose what her husband and her son had already agreed to. Madame, who had counted upon the refusal of her son, was tongue-tied. She threw two furious glances upon Monsieur and upon the Duc de Chartres, and then said that, as they wished it, she had nothing to say, made a slight reverence, and went away. Her son immediately followed her to explain his conduct; but railing against him, with tears in her eyes, she would not listen, and drove him from her room. Her husband, who shortly afterwards joined her, met with almost the same treatment.

That evening an "Apartment" was held at the palace, as was customary three times a week during the winter; the other three evenings being set apart for comedy, and the Sunday being free. An Apartment as it was called, was an assemblage of all the Court in the grand saloon, from seven o'clock in the evening until ten, when the King sat down to table; and, after ten, in one of the saloons at the end of the grand gallery towards the tribune of the chapel. In the first place there was some music; then tables were placed all about for all kinds of gambling; there was a 'lansquenet'; at which Monsieur and Monseigneur always played; also a billiard-table; in a word, every one was free to play with every one, and allowed to ask for fresh tables as all the others were occupied. Beyond the billiards was a refreshment-room. All was perfectly lighted. At the outset, the King went to the "apartments" very often and played, but lately he had ceased to do so. He spent the evening with Madame de Maintenon, working with different ministers one after the other. But still he wished his courtiers to attend assiduously.

This evening, directly after the music had finished, the King sent for Monseigneur and Monsieur, who were already playing at 'lansquenet'; Madame, who scarcely looked at a, party of 'hombre' at which she had seated herself; the Duc de Chartres, who, with a rueful visage, was playing at chess; and Mademoiselle de Blois, who had scarcely begun to appear in society, but who this evening was extraordinarily decked out, and who, as yet, knew nothing and suspected nothing; and therefore, being naturally very timid, and horribly afraid of the King, believed herself sent for in order to be reprimanded, and trembled so that Madame de Maintenon took her upon her knees, where she held her, but was scarcely able to reassure her. The fact of these royal persons being sent for by the King at once made people think that a marriage was in contemplation. In a few minutes they returned, and then the announcement was made public. I arrived at that moment. I found everybody m clusters, and great astonishment expressed upon every face. Madame was walking in the gallery with Chateauthiers—her favourite, and worthy of being so. She took long strides, her handkerchief in her hand, weeping without constraint, speaking pretty loudly, gesticulating; and looking like Ceres after the rape of her daughter Proserpine, seeking her in fury, and demanding her back from Jupiter. Every one respectfully made way to let her pass. Monsieur, who had returned to 'lansquenet', seemed overwhelmed with shame, and his son appeared in despair; and the bride-elect was marvellously embarrassed and sad. Though very young, and likely to be dazzled by such a marriage, she understood what was passing, and feared the consequences. Most people appeared full of consternation.

The Apartment, which, however heavy in appearance, was full of interest to, me, seemed quite short. It finished by the supper of the King. His Majesty appeared quite at ease. Madame's eyes were full of tears, which fell from time to time as she looked into every face around, as if in search of all our thoughts. Her son, whose eyes too were red, she would not give a glance to; nor to Monsieur: all three ate scarcely anything. I remarked that the King offered Madame nearly all the dishes that were before him, and that she refused with an air of rudeness which did not, however, check his politeness. It was furthermore noticeable that, after leaving the table, he made to Madame a very marked and very low reverence, during which she performed so complete a pirouette, that the King on raising his head found nothing but her back before him, removed about a step further towards the door.

On the morrow we went as usual to wait in the gallery for the breaking-up of the council, and for the King's Mass. Madame came there. Her son approached her, as he did every day, to kiss her hand. At that very moment she gave him a box on the ear, so sonorous that it was heard several steps distant. Such treatment in presence of all the Court covered with confusion this unfortunate prince, and overwhelmed the infinite number of spectators, of whom I was one, with prodigious astonishment.

That day the immense dowry was declared; and on Sunday there was a grand ball, that is, a ball opened by a 'branle' which settled the order of the dancing throughout the evening. Monseigneur the Duc de Bourgogne danced on this occasion for the first time; and led off the 'branle' with Mademoiselle. I danced also for the first time at Court. My partner was Mademoiselle de Sourches, daughter of the Grand Prevot; she danced excellently. I had been that morning to wait on Madame, who could not refrain from saying, in a sharp and angry voice, that I was doubtless very glad of the promise of so many balls—that this was natural at my age; but that, for her part, she was old, and wished they were well over. A few days after, the contract of marriage was signed in the closet of the King, and in the presence of all the Court. The same day the household of the future Duchesse de Chartres was declared. The King gave her a first gentleman usher and a Dame d'Atours, until then reserved to the daughters of France, and a lady of honour, in order to carry out completely so strange a novelty. I must say something about the persons who composed this household.

M. de Villars was gentleman usher; he was grandson of a recorder of Coindrieu, and one of the best made men in France. There was a great deal of fighting in his young days, and he had acquired a reputation for courage and skill. To these qualities he owed his fortune. M. de Nemours was his first patron, and, in a duel which he had with M. de Beaufort, took Villars for second. M. de Nemours was killed; but Villars was victorious against his adversary, and passed into the service of the Prince de Conti as one of his gentlemen. He succeeded in gaining confidence in his new employment; so much so, that the marriage which afterwards took place between the Prince de Conti and the niece of Cardinal Mazarin was brought about in part by his assistance. He became the confidant of the married pair, and their bond: of union with the Cardinal. His position gave him an opportunity of mixing in society much above him; but on this he never presumed. His face was his, passport with the ladies: he was gallant, even discreet; and this means was not unuseful to him. He pleased Madame Scarron, who upon the throne never forgot the friendships of this kind, so freely intimate, which she had formed as a private person. Villars was employed in diplomacy; and from honour to honour, at last reached the order of the Saint Esprit, in 1698. His wife was full of wit, and scandalously inclined. Both were very poor—and always dangled about the Court, where they had many powerful friends.

The Marechale de Rochefort was lady of honour. She was of the house of Montmorency—a widow—handsome—sprightly; formed by nature to live at Court—apt for gallantry and intrigues; full of worldly cleverness, from living much in the world, with little cleverness of any other kind, nearly enough for any post and any business. M. de Louvois found her suited to his taste, and she accommodated herself very well to his purse, and to the display she made by this intimacy. She always became the friend of every new mistress of the King; and when he favoured Madame de Soubise, it was at the Marechale's house that she waited, with closed doors, for Bontems, the King's valet, who led her by private ways to his Majesty. The Marechale herself has related to me how one day she was embarrassed to get rid of the people that Madame de Soubise (who had not had time to announce her arrival) found at her house; and how she most died of fright lest Bontems should return and the interview be broken off if he arrived before the company had departed. The Marechale de Rochefort was in this way the friend of Mesdames de la Valliere, de Montespan, and de Soubise; and she became the friend of Madame de Maintenon, to whom she attached herself in proportion as she saw her favour increase. She had, at the marriage of Monseigneur, been made Dame d'Atours to the new Dauphiness; and, if people were astonished at that, they were also astonished to see her lady of honour to an "illegitimate grand-daughter of France."

The Comtesse de Mailly was Dame d'Atours. She was related to Madame de Maintenon, to whose favour she owed her marriage with the Comte de Mailly. She had come to Paris with all her provincial awkwardness, and, from want of wit, had never been able to get rid of it. On the contrary, she grafted thereon an immense conceit, caused by the favour of Madame de Maintenon. To complete the household, came M. de Fontaine-Martel, poor and gouty, who was first master of the horse.

On the Monday before Shrove Tuesday, all the marriage party and the bride and bridegroom, superbly dressed, repaired, a little before mid-day, to the closet of the King, and afterwards to the chapel. It was arranged, as usual, for the Mass of the King, excepting that between his place and the altar were two cushions for the bride and bridegroom, who turned their backs to the King. Cardinal de Bouillon, in full robes, married them, and said Mass. From the chapel all the company went to table: it was of horse-shoe shape. The Princes and Princesses of the blood were placed at the right and at the left, according to their rank, terminated by the two illegitimate children of the King, and, for the first time, after them, the Duchesse de Verneuil; so that M. de Verneuil, illegitimate son of Henry IV., became thus "Prince of the blood" so many years after his death, without having ever suspected it. The Duc d'Uzes thought this so amusing that he marched in front of the Duchess, crying out, as loud as he could—"Place, place for Madame Charlotte Seguier!" In the afternoon the King and Queen of England came to Versailles with their Court. There was a great concert; and the play-tables were set out. The supper was similar to the dinner. Afterwards the married couple were led into the apartment of the new Duchesse de Chartres. The Queen of England gave the Duchess her chemise; and the shirt of the Duke was given to him by the King, who had at first refused on the plea that he was in too unhappy circumstances. The benediction of the bed was pronounced by the Cardinal de Bouillon, who kept us all waiting for a quarter of an hour; which made people say that such airs little became a man returned as he was from a long exile, to which he had been sent because he had had the madness to refuse the nuptial benediction to Madame la Duchesse unless admitted to the royal banquet.

On Shrove Tuesday, there was a grand toilette of the Duchesse de Chartres, to which the King and all the Court came; and in the evening a grand ball, similar to that which had just taken place, except that the new Duchesse de Chartres was led out by the Duc de Bourgogne. Every one wore the same dress, and had the same partner as before.

I cannot pass over in silence a very ridiculous adventure which occurred at both of these balls. A son of Montbron, no more made to dance at Court than his father was to be chevalier of the order (to which however, he was promoted in 1688), was among the company. He had been asked if he danced well; and he had replied with a confidence which made every one hope that the contrary was the case. Every one was satisfied. From the very first bow, he became confused, and he lost step at once. He tried to divert attention from his mistake by affected attitudes, and carrying his arms high; but this made him only more ridiculous, and excited bursts of laughter, which, in despite of the respect due to the person of the King (who likewise had great difficulty to hinder himself from laughing), degenerated at length into regular hooting. On the morrow, instead of flying the Court or holding his tongue, he excused himself by saying that the presence of the King had disconcerted him; and promised marvels for the ball which was to follow. He was one of my friends, and I felt for him, I should even have warned him against a second attempt, if the very indifferent success I had met with had not made me fear that my advice would be taken in ill part. As soon as he began to dance at the second ball, those who were near stood up, those who were far off climbed wherever they could get a sight; and the, shouts of laughter were mingled with clapping of hands. Every one, even the King himself, laughed heartily, and most of us quite loud, so that I do not think any one was ever treated so before. Montbron disappeared immediately afterwards, and did not show himself again for a long time, It was a pity he exposed himself to this defeat, for he was an honourable and brave man.

Ash Wednesday put an end to all these sad rejoicings by command, and only the expected rejoicings were spoken of. M. du Maine wished to marry. The King tried to turn him from it, and said frankly to him, that it was not for such as he to make a lineage. But pressed M. by Madame de Maintenon, who had educated Maine; and who felt for him as a nurse the King resolved to marry him to a daughter of the Prince de Conde. The Prince was greatly pleased at the project. He had three daughters for M. du Maine to choose from: all three were extremely little. An inch of height, that the second had above the others, procured for her the preference, much to the grief of the eldest, who was beautiful and clever, and who dearly wished to escape from the slavery in which her father kept her. The dignity with which she bore her disappointment was admired by every one, but it cost her an effort that ruined her health. The marriage once arranged, was celebrated on the 19th of March; much in the same manner as had been that of the Duc de Chartres. Madame de Saint-Vallery was appointed lady of honour to Madame du Maine, and M. de Montchevreuil gentleman of the chamber. This last had been one of the friends of Madame de Maintenon when she was Madame Scarron. Montchevreuil was a very honest man, modest, brave, but thick-headed. His wife was a tall creature, meagre, and yellow, who laughed sillily, and showed long and ugly teeth; who was extremely devout, of a compassed mien, and who only wanted a broomstick to be a perfect witch. Without possessing any wit, she had so captivated Madame de Maintenon, that the latter saw only with her eyes. All the ladies of the Court were under her surveillance: they depended upon her for their distinctions, and often for their fortunes. Everybody, from the ministers to the daughters of the King, trembled before her. The King himself showed her the most marked consideration. She was of all the Court journeys, and always with Madame de Maintenon.

The marriage of M. du Maine caused a rupture between the Princess de Conde and the Duchess of Hanover her sister, who had strongly desired M. du Maine for one of her daughters, and who pretended that the Prince de Conde had cut the grass from under her feet. She lived in Paris, making a display quite unsuited to her rank, and had even carried it so far as to go about with two coaches and many liveried servants. With this state one day she met in the streets the coach of Madame de Bouillon, which the servants of the German woman forced to give way to their mistress's. The Bouillons, piqued to excess, resolved to be revenged. One day, when they knew the Duchess was going to the play, they went there attended by a numerous livery. Their servants had orders to pick a quarrel with those of the Duchess. They executed these orders completely; the servants of the Duchess were thoroughly thrashed—the harness of her horses cut—her coaches maltreated. The Duchess made a great fuss, and complained to the King, but he would not mix himself in the matter. She was so outraged, that she resolved to retire into Germany, and in a very few months did so.

My year of service in the Musketeers being over, the King, after a time, gave me, without purchase, a company of cavalry in the Royal Roussillon, in garrison at Mons, and just then very incomplete. I thanked the King, who replied to me very obligingly. The company was entirely made up in a fortnight. This was towards the middle of April.

A little before, that is, on the 27th of March, the King made seven new marechals of France. They were the Comte de Choiseul, the Duc de Villeroy, the Marquis de Joyeuse, Tourville, the Duc de Noailles, the Marquis de Boufllers, and Catinat. These promotions caused very great discontent. Complaint was more especially made that the Duc de Choiseul had not been named. The cause of his exclusion is curious. His wife, beautiful, with the form of a goddess—notorious for the number of her gallantries—was very intimate with the Princess de Conti. The King, not liking such a companion for his daughter, gave the Duc de Choiseul to understand that the public disorders of the Duchess offended him. If the Duke would send her into a convent, the Marechal's baton would be his. The Duc de Choiseul, indignant that the reward of his services in the war was attached to a domestic affair which concerned himself alone, refused promotion on such terms. He thus lost the baton; and, what was worse for him, the Duchess soon after was driven from Court, and so misbehaved herself, that at last he could endure her no longer, drove her away himself, and separated from her for ever.

Mademoiselle la grande Mademoiselle, as she was called, to distinguish her from the daughter of Monsieur—or to call her by her name, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, died on Sunday the 5th of April, at her palace in the Luxembourg, sixty-three years of age, and the richest private princess in Europe. She interested herself much in those who were related to her, even to the lowest degree, and wore mourning for them, however far removed. It is well known, from all the memoirs of the time, that she was greatly in love with M. de Lauzun, and that she suffered much when the King withheld his permission to their marriage. M. de Lauzun was so enraged, that he could not contain himself, and at last went so far beyond bounds, that he was sent prisoner to Pignerol, where he remained, extremely ill-treated, for ten years. The affection of Mademoiselle did not grow cold by separation. The King profited by it, to make M. de Lauzun buy his liberty at her expense, and thus enriched M. du Maine. He always gave out that he had married Mademoiselle, and appeared before the King, after her death, in a long cloak, which gave great displeasure. He also assumed ever afterwards a dark brown livery, as an external expression of his grief for Mademoiselle, of whom he had portraits everywhere. As for Mademoiselle, the King never quite forgave her the day of Saint Antoine; and I heard him once at supper reproach her in jest, for having fired the cannons of the Bastille upon his troops. She was a little embarrassed, but she got out of the difficulty very well.

Her body was laid out with great state, watched for several days, two hours at a time, by a duchess or a princess, and by two ladies of quality. The Comtesse de Soissons refused to take part in this watching, and would not obey until the King threatened to dismiss her from the Court. A very ridiculous accident happened in the midst of this ceremony. The urn containing the entrails fell over, with a frightful noise and a stink sudden and intolerable. The ladies, the heralds, the psalmodists, everybody present fled, in confusion. Every one tried to gain the door first. The entrails had been badly embalmed, and it was their fermentation which caused the accident. They were soon perfumed and put in order, and everybody laughed at this mishap. These entrails were in the end carried to the Celestins, the heart to Val de Grace, and the body to the Cathedral of Saint Denis, followed by a numerous company.


On May 3d 1693, the King announced his intention of placing himself at the head of his army in Flanders, and, having made certain alterations in the rule of precedence of the marechale of France, soon after began the campaign. I have here, however, to draw attention to my private affairs, for on the above-mentioned day, at ten o'clock in the morning, I had the misfortune to lose my father. He was eighty-seven years of age, and had been in bad health for some time, with a touch of gout during the last three weeks. On the day in question he had dined as usual with his friends, had retired to bed, and, while talking to those around him there, all at once gave three violent sighs. He was dead almost before it was perceived that he was ill; there was no more oil in the lamp.

I learned this sad news after seeing the King to bed; his Majesty was to purge himself on the morrow. The night was given to the just sentiments of nature; but the next day I went early to visit Bontems, and then the Duc de Beauvilliers, who promised to ask the King, as soon as his curtains were opened, to grant me the—offices my father had held. The King very graciously complied with his request, and in the afternoon said many obliging things to me, particularly expressing his regret that my father had not been able to receive the last sacraments. I was able to say that a very short time before, my father had retired for several days to Saint Lazare, where was his confessor, and added something on the piety of his life. The King exhorted me to behave well, and promised to take care of me. When my father was first taken ill; several persons, amongst others, D'Aubigne, brother of Madame de Maintenon, had asked for the governorship of Blaye. But the King refused them all, and said very bluntly to D'Aubigne, "Is there not a son?" He had, in fact, always given my father to understand I should succeed him, although generally he did not allow offices to descend from father to son.

Let me say a few words about my father. Our family in my grandfather's time had become impoverished; and my father was early sent to the Court as page to Louis XIII. It was very customary then for the sons of reduced gentlemen to accept this occupation. The King was passionately fond of hunting, an amusement that was carried on with far less state, without that abundance of dogs, and followers, and convenience of all kinds which his successor introduced, and especially without roads through the forests. My father, who noticed the impatience of the King at the delays that occurred in changing horses, thought of turning the head of the horse he brought towards the crupper of that which the King quitted. By this means, without putting his feet to the ground, his Majesty, who was active, jumped from one horse to another. He was so pleased that whenever he changed horses he asked for this same page. From that time my father grew day by day in favour. The King made him Chief Ecuyer, and in course of years bestowed other rewards upon him, created him Duke and peer of France, and gave him the Government of Blaye. My father, much attached to the King, followed him in all his expeditions, several times commanded the cavalry of the army, was commander-in-chief of all the arrierebans of the kingdom, and acquired great reputation in the field for his valour and skill. With Cardinal Richelieu he was intimate without sympathy, and more than once, but notably on the famous Day of the Dupes, rendered signal service to that minister. My father used often to be startled out of his sleep in the middle of the night by a valet, with a taper in his hand, drawing the curtain—having behind him the Cardinal de Richelieu, who would often take the taper and sit down upon the bed and exclaim that he was a lost man, and ask my father's advice upon news that he had received or on quarrels he had had with the King. When all Paris was in consternation at the success of the Spaniards, who had crossed the frontier, taken Corbie, and seized all the country as far as Compiegne, the King insisted on my father being present at the council which was then held. The Cardinal de Richelieu maintained that the King should retreat beyond the Seine, and all the assembly seemed of that opinion. But the King in a speech which lasted a quarter of an hour opposed this, and said that to retreat at such a moment would be to increase the general disorder. Then turning to my father he ordered him to be prepared to depart for Corbie on the morrow, with as many of his men as he could get ready. The histories and the memoirs of the time show that this bold step saved the state. The Cardinal, great man as he was, trembled, until the first appearance of success, when he grew bold enough to join the King. This is a specimen of the conduct of that weak King governed by that first minister to whom poets and historians have given the glory they have stripped from his master; as, for instance, all the works of the siege of Rochelle, and the invention and unheard-of success of the celebrated dyke, all solely due to the late King!

Louis XIII. loved my father; but he could scold him at times. On two occasions he did so. The first, as my father has related to me, was on account of the Duc de Bellegarde. The Duke was in disgrace, and had been exiled. My father, who was a friend of his, wished to write to him one day, and for want of other leisure, being then much occupied, took the opportunity of the King's momentary absence to carry out his desire. Just as he was finishing his letter, the King came in; my father tried to hide the paper, but the eyes of the King were too quick for him. "What is that paper?" said he. My father, embarrassed, admitted that it was a few words he had written to M. de Bellegarde.

"Let me see it," said the King; and he took the paper and read it. "I don't find fault with you," said he, "for writing to your friends, although in disgrace, for I know you will write nothing improper; but what displeases me is, that you should fail in the respect you owe to a duke and peer, in that, because he is exiled, you should omit to address him as Monseigneur;" and then tearing the letter in two, he added, "Write it again after the hunt, and put, Monseigneur, as you ought." My father was very glad to be let off so easily.

The other reprimand was upon a more serious subject. The King was really enamoured of Mademoiselle d'Hautefort. My father, young and gallant, could not comprehend why he did not gratify his love. He believed his reserve to arise from timidity, and under this impression proposed one day to the King to be his ambassador and to bring the affair to a satisfactory conclusion. The King allowed him to speak to the end, and then assumed a severe air. "It is true," said he, "that I am enamoured of her, that I feel it, that I seek her, that I speak of her willingly, and think of her still more willingly; it is true also that I act thus in spite of myself, because I am mortal and have this weakness; but the more facility I have as King to gratify myself, the more I ought to be on my guard against sin and scandal. I pardon you this time, but never address to me a similar discourse again if you wish that I should continue to love you." This was a thunderbolt for my father; the scales fell from his eyes; the idea of the King's timidity in love disappeared before the display of a virtue so pure and so triumphant.

My father's career was for a long time very successful, but unfortunately he had an enemy who brought it to an end. This enemy was M. de Chavigny: he was secretary of state, and had also the war department. Either from stupidity or malice he had left all the towns in Picardy badly supported; a circumstance the Spaniards knew well how to profit by when they took Corbie in 1636. My father had an uncle who commanded in one of these towns, La Capelle, and who had several times asked for ammunition and stores without success. My father spoke upon this subject to Chavigny, to the Cardinal de Richelieu, and to the King, but with no good effect. La Capelle, left without resources, fell like the places around. As I have said before, Louis XIII. did not long allow the Spaniards to enjoy the advantages they had gained. All the towns in Picardy were soon retaken, and the King, urged on by Chavigny, determined to punish the governors of these places for surrendering them so easily. My father's uncle was included with the others. This injustice was not to be borne. My father represented the real state of the case and used every effort, to save his uncle, but it was in vain. Stung to the quick he demanded permission to retire, and was allowed to do so. Accordingly, at the commencement of 1637, he left for Blaye; and remained there until the death of Cardinal Richelieu. During this retirement the King frequently wrote to him, in a language they had composed so as to speak before people without being understood; and I possess still many of these letters, with much regret that I am ignorant of their contents.

Chavigny served my father another ill turn. At the Cardinal's death my father had returned to the Court and was in greater favour than ever. Just before Louis XIII. died he gave my father the place of first master of the horse, but left his name blank in the paper fixing the appointment. The paper was given into the hands of Chavigny. At the King's death he had the villainy, in concert with the Queen-regent, to fill in the name of Comte d'Harcourt, instead of that the King had instructed him of. The indignation of my father was great, but, as he could obtain no redress, he retired once again to his Government of Blaye. Notwithstanding the manner in which he had been treated by the Queen-regent, he stoutly defended her cause when the civil war broke out, led by M. le Prince. He garrisoned Blaye at his own expense, incurring thereby debts which hung upon him all his life, and which I feel the effects of still, and repulsed all attempts of friends to corrupt his loyalty. The Queen and Mazarin could not close their eyes to his devotion, and offered him, while the war was still going on, a marechal's baton, or the title of foreign prince. But he refused both, and the offer was not renewed when the war ended. These disturbances over, and Louis XIV. being married, my father came again to Paris, where he had many friends. He had married in 1644, and had had, as I have said, one only daughter. His wife dying in 1670, and leaving him without male children, he determined, however much he might be afflicted at the loss he had sustained, to marry again, although old. He carried out his resolution in October of the same year, and was very pleased with the choice he had made. He liked his new wife so much, in fact, that when Madame de Montespan obtained for her a place at the Court, he declined it at once. At his age—it was thus he wrote to Madame de Montespan, he had taken a wife not for the Court, but for himself. My mother, who was absent when the letter announcing the appointment was sent, felt much regret, but never showed it.

Before I finish this account of my father, I will here relate adventures which happened to him, and which I ought to have placed before his second marriage. A disagreement arose between my father and M. de Vardes, and still existed long after everybody thought they were reconciled. It was ultimately agreed that upon an early day, at about twelve o'clock, they should meet at the Porte St. Honore, then a very deserted spot, and that the coach of M. de Vardes should run against my father's, and a general quarrel arise between masters and servants. Under cover of this quarrel, a duel could easily take place, and would seem simply to arise out of the broil there and then occasioned. On the morning appointed, my father called as usual upon several of his friends, and, taking one of them for second, went to the Porte St. Honore. There everything fell out just as had been arranged. The coach of M. de Vardes struck against the other. My father leaped out, M. de Vardes did the same, and the duel took place. M. de Vardes fell, and was disarmed. My father wished to make him beg for his life; he would not do this, but confessed himself vanquished. My father's coach being the nearest, M. de Vardes got into it. He fainted on the road. They separated afterwards like brave people, and went their way. Madame de Chatillon, since of Mecklenburg, lodged in one of the last houses near the Porte St. Honore, and at the noise made by the coaches, put, her head to the window, and coolly looked at the whole of the combat. It soon made a great noise. My father was complimented everywhere. M. de Vardes was sent for ten or twelve days to the Bastille. My father and he afterwards became completely reconciled to each other.

The other adventure was of gentler ending. The Memoirs of M. de la Rochefoucauld appeared. They contained certain atrocious and false statements against my father, who so severely resented the calumny, that he seized a pen, and wrote upon the margin of the book, "The author has told a lie." Not content with this, he went to the bookseller, whom he discovered with some difficulty, for the book was not sold publicly at first. He asked to see all the copies of the work, prayed, promised, threatened, and at last succeeded in obtaining them. Then he took a pen and wrote in all of them the same marginal note. The astonishment of the bookseller may be imagined. He was not long in letting M. de la Rochefoucauld know what had happened to his books: it may well be believed that he also was astonished. This affair made great noise. My father, having truth on his side, wished to obtain public satisfaction from M. de la Rochefoucauld. Friends, however, interposed, and the matter was allowed to drop. But M. de la Rochefoucauld never pardoned my father; so true it is that we less easily forget the injuries we inflict than those that we receive.

My father passed the rest of his long life surrounded by friends, and held in high esteem by the King and his ministers. His advice was often sought for by them, and was always acted upon. He never consoled himself for the loss of Louis XIII., to whom he owed his advancement and his fortune. Every year he kept sacred the day of his death, going to Saint- Denis, or holding solemnities in his own house if at Blaye. Veneration, gratitude, tenderness, ever adorned his lips every time he spoke of that monarch.


After having paid the last duties to my father I betook myself to Mons to join the Royal Roussillon cavalry regiment, in which I was captain. The King, after stopping eight or ten days with the ladies at Quesnoy, sent them to Namur, and put himself at the head of the army of M. de Boufflers, and camped at Gembloux, so that his left was only half a league distant from the right of M. de Luxembourg. The Prince of Orange was encamped at the Abbey of Pure, was unable to receive supplies, and could not leave his position without having the two armies of the King to grapple with: he entrenched himself in haste, and bitterly repented having allowed himself to be thus driven into a corner. We knew afterwards that he wrote several times to his intimate friend the Prince de Vaudemont, saying that he was lost, and that nothing short of a miracle could save him.

We were in this position, with an army in every way infinitely superior to that of the Prince of Orange, and with four whole months before us to profit by our strength, when the King declared on the 8th of June that he should return to Versailles, and sent off a large detachment of the army into Germany. The surprise of the Marechal de Luxembourg was without bounds. He represented the facility with which the Prince of Orange might now be beaten with one army and pursued by another; and how important it was to draw off detachments of the Imperial forces from Germany into Flanders, and how, by sending an army into Flanders instead of Germany, the whole of the Low Countries would be in our power. But the King would not change his plans, although M. de Luxembourg went down on his knees and begged him not to allow such a glorious opportunity to escape. Madame de Maintenon, by her tears when she parted from his Majesty, and by her letters since, had brought about this resolution.

The news had not spread on the morrow, June 9th. I chanced to go alone to the quarters of M. de Luxembourg, and was surprised to find not a soul there; every one had gone to the King's army. Pensively bringing my horse to a stand, I was ruminating on a fact so strange, and debating whether I should return to my tent or push on to the royal camp, when up came M. le Prince de Conti with a single page and a groom leading a horse. "What are you doing there?" cried he, laughing at my surprise. Thereupon he told me he was going to say adieu to the King, and advised me to do likewise. "What do you mean by saying Adieu?" answered I. He sent his servants to a little distance, and begged me to do the same, and with shouts of laughter told me about the King's retreat, making tremendous fun of him, despite my youth, for he had confidence in me. I was astonished. We soon after met the whole company coming back; and the great people went aside to talk and sneer. I then proceeded to pay my respects to the King, by whom I was honourably received. Surprise, however, was expressed by all faces, and indignation by some.

The effect of the King's retreat, indeed, was incredible, even amongst the soldiers and the people. The general officers could not keep silent upon it, and the inferior officers spoke loudly, with a license that could not be restrained. All through the army, in the towns, and even at Court, it was talked about openly. The courtiers, generally so glad to find themselves again at Versailles, now declared that they were ashamed to be there; as for the enemy, they could not contain their surprise and joy. The Prince of Orange said that the retreat was a miracle he could not have hoped for; that he could scarcely believe in it, but that it had saved his army, and the whole of the Low Countries. In the midst of all this excitement the King arrived with the ladies, on the 25th of June, at Versailles.

We gained some successes, however, this year. Marechal de Villeroy took Huy in three days, losing only a sub-engineer and some soldiers. On the 29th of July we attacked at dawn the Prince of Orange at Neerwinden, and after twelve hours of hard fighting, under a blazing sun, entirely routed him. I was of the third squadron of the Royal Roussillon, and made five charges. One of the gold ornaments of my coat was torn away, but I received no wound. During the battle our brigadier, Quoadt, was killed before my eyes. The Duc de Feuillade became thus commander of the brigade. We missed him immediately, and for more than half an hour saw nothing of him; he had gone to make his toilette. When he returned he was powdered and decked out in a fine red surtotxt, embroidered with silver, and all his trappings and those of his horse were magnificent; he acquitted himself with distinction.

Our cavalry stood so well against the fire from the enemy's guns, that the Prince of Orange lost all patience, and turning away, exclaimed— "Oh, the insolent nation!" He fought until the last, and retired with the Elector of Hanover only when he saw there was no longer any hope. After the battle my people brought us a leg of mutton and a bottle of wine, which they had wisely saved from the previous evening, and we attacked them in good earnest, as may be believed.

The enemy lost about twenty thousand men, including a large number of officers; our loss was not more than half that number. We took all their cannon, eight mortars, many artillery waggons, a quantity of standards, and some pairs of kettle-drums. The victory was complete.

Meanwhile, the army which had been sent to Germany under the command of Monseigneur and of the Marechal de Lorges, did little or nothing. The Marechal wished to attack Heilbronn, but Monseigneur was opposed to it; and, to the great regret of the principal generals and of the troops, the attack was not made. Monseigneur returned early to Versailles.

At sea we were more active. The rich merchant fleet of Smyrna was attacked by Tourville; fifty vessels were burnt or sunk, and twenty-seven taken, all richly freighted. This campaign cost the English and Dutch dear. It is believed their loss was more than thirty millions of ecus.

The season finished with the taking of Charleroy. On the 16th of September the Marechal de Villeroy, supported by M. de Luxembourg, laid siege to it, and on the 11th of October, after a good defence, the place capitulated. Our loss was very slight. Charleroy taken, our troops went into winter-quarters, and I returned to Court, like the rest. The roads and the posting service were in great disorder. Amongst other adventures I met with, I was driven by a deaf and dumb postillion, who stuck me fast in the mud when near Quesnoy. At Pont Saint-Maxence all the horses were retained by M. de Luxembourg. Fearing I might be left behind, I told the postmaster that I was governor (which was true), and that I would put him in jail if he did not give me horses. I should have been sadly puzzled how to do it; but he was simple enough to believe me, and gave the horses. I arrived, however, at last at Paris, and found a change at the Court, which surprised me.

Daquin—first doctor of the King and creature of Madame de Montespan—had lost nothing of his credit by her removal, but had never been able to get on well with Madame de Maintenon, who looked coldly upon all the friends of her predecessor. Daquin had a son, an abbe, and wearied the King with solicitations on his behalf. Madame de Maintenon seized the opportunity, when the King was more than usually angry with Daquin, to obtain his dismissal: it came upon him like a thunderbolt. On the previous evening the King had spoken to him for a long time as usual, and had never treated him better. All the Court was astonished also. Fagon, a very skilful and learned man, was appointed in his place at the instance of Madame de Maintenon.

Another event excited less surprise than interest. On Sunday, the 29th of November, the King learned that La Vauguyon had killed himself in his bed, that morning, by firing twice into his throat. I must say a few words about this Vauguyon. He was one of the pettiest and poorest gentlemen of France: he was well-made, but very swarthy, with Spanish features, had a charming voice, played the guitar and lute very well, and was skilled in the arts of gallantry. By these talents he had succeeded, in finding favour with Madame de Beauvais, much regarded at the Court as having been the King's first mistress. I have seen her—old, blear-eyed, and half blind,—at the toilette of the Dauphiness of Bavaria, where everybody courted her, because she was still much considered by the King. Under this protection La Vauguyon succeeded well; was several times sent as ambassador to foreign countries; was made councillor of state, and to the scandal of everybody, was raised to the Order in 1688. Of late years, having no appointments, he had scarcely the means of living, and endeavoured, but without success, to improve his condition.

Poverty by degrees turned his brain; but a long time passed before it was perceived. The first proof that he gave of it was at the house of Madame Pelot, widow of the Chief President of the Rouen parliament. Playing at brelan one evening, she offered him a stake, and because he would not accept it bantered him, and playfully called him a poltroon. He said nothing, but waited until all the rest of the company had left the room; and when he found himself alone with Madame Pelot, he bolted the door, clapped his hat on his head, drove her up against the chimney, and holding her head between his two fists, said he knew no reason why he should not pound it into a jelly, in order to teach her to call him poltroon again. The poor woman was horribly frightened, and made perpendicular curtseys between his two fists, and all sorts of excuses. At last he let her go, more dead than alive. She had the generosity to say no syllable of this occurrence until after his death; she even allowed him to come to the house as usual, but took care never to be alone with him.

One day, a long time after this, meeting, in a gallery, at Fontainebleau, M. de Courtenay, La Vauguyon drew his sword, and compelled the other to draw also, although there had never been the slightest quarrel between them. They were soon separated and La Vauguyon immediately fled to the King, who was just then in his private closet, where nobody ever entered unless expressly summoned. But La Vauguyon turned the key, and, in spite of the usher on guard, forced his way in. The King in great emotion asked him what was the matter. La Vauguyon on his knees said he had been insulted by M. de Courtenay and demanded pardon for having drawn his sword in the palace. His Majesty, promising to examine the matter, with great trouble got rid of La Vauguyon. As nothing could be made of it, M. de Courtenay declaring he had been insulted by La Vauguyon and forced to draw his sword, and the other telling the same tale, both were sent to the Bastille. After a short imprisonment they were released, and appeared at the Court as usual.

Another adventure, which succeeded this, threw some light upon the state of affairs. Going to Versailles, one day, La Vauguyon met a groom of the Prince de Conde leading a saddled horse, he stopped the man, descended from his coach, asked whom the horse belonged to, said that the Prince would not object to his riding it, and leaping upon the animal's back, galloped off. The groom, all amazed, followed him. La Vauguyon rode on until he reached the Bastille, descended there, gave a gratuity to the man, and dismissed him: he then went straight to the governor of the prison, said he had had the misfortune to displease the King, and begged to be confined there. The governor, having no orders to do so, refused; and sent off an express for instructions how to act. In reply he was told not to receive La Vauguyon, whom at last, after great difficulty, he prevailed upon to go away. This occurrence made great noise. Yet even afterwards the King continued to receive La Vauguyon at the Court, and to affect to treat him well, although everybody else avoided him and was afraid of him. His poor wife became so affected by these public derangements, that she retired from Paris, and shortly afterwards died. This completed her husband's madness; he survived her only a month, dying by his own hand, as I have mentioned. During the last two years of his life he carried pistols in his carriage, and frequently pointed them at his coachman and postilion. It is certain that without the assistance of M. de Beauvais he would often have been brought to the last extremities. Beauvais frequently spoke of him to the King; and it is inconceivable that having raised this man to such a point; and having always shown him particular kindness, his Majesty should perseveringly have left him to die of hunger and become mad from misery.

The year finished without any remarkable occurrence.

My mother; who had been much disquieted for me during the campaign, desired strongly that I should not make another without being married. Although very young, I had no repugnance to marry, but wished to do so according to my own inclinations. With a large establishment I felt very lonely in a country where credit and consideration do more than all the rest. Without uncle, aunt, cousins-German, or near relatives, I found myself, I say, extremely solitary.

Among my best friends, as he had been the friend of my father; was the Duc de Beauvilliers. He had always shown me much affection, and I felt a great desire to unite myself to his family: My mother approved of my inclination, and gave me an exact account of my estates and possessions. I carried it to Versailles, and sought a private interview with M. de Beauvilliers. At eight o'clock the same evening he received me alone in the cabinet of Madame de Beauvilliers. After making my compliments to him, I told him my wish, showed him the state of my affairs, and said that all I demanded of him was one of his daughters in marriage, and that whatever contract he thought fit to draw up would be signed by my mother and myself without examination.

The Duke, who had fixed his eyes upon me all this time, replied like a man penetrated with gratitude by the offer I had made. He said, that of his eight daughters the eldest was between fourteen and fifteen years old; the second much deformed, and in no way marriageable; the third between twelve and thirteen years of age, and the rest were children: the eldest wished to enter a convent, and had shown herself firm upon that point. He seemed inclined to make a difficulty of his want of fortune; but, reminding him of the proposition I had made, I said that it was not for fortune I had come to him, not even for his daughter, whom I had never seen; that it was he and Madame de Beauvilliers who had charmed me, and whom I wished to marry!

"But," said he, "if my eldest daughter wishes absolutely to enter a convent?"

"Then," replied I, "I ask the third of you." To this he objected, on the ground that if he gave the dowry of the first to the third daughter, and the first afterwards changed her mind and wished to marry, he should be thrown into an embarrassment. I replied that I would take the third as though the first were to be married, and that if she were not, the difference between what he destined for her and what he destined for the third, should be given to me. The Duke, raising his eyes to heaven, protested that he had never been combated in this manner, and that he was obliged to gather up all his forces in order to prevent himself yielding to me that very instant.

On the next day, at half-past three, I had another interview with M. de Beauvilliers. With much tenderness he declined my proposal, resting his refusal upon the inclination his daughter had displayed for the convent, upon his little wealth, if, the marriage of the third being made, she should change her mind—and upon other reasons. He spoke to me with much regret and friendship, and I to him in the same manner; and we separated, unable any longer to speak to each other. Two days after, however, I had another interview with him by his appointment. I endeavoured to overcome the objections that he made, but all in vain. He could not give me his third daughter with the first unmarried, and he would not force her, he said, to change her wish of retiring from the world. His words, pious and elevated, augmented my respect for him, and my desire for the marriage. In the evening, at the breaking up of the appointment, I could not prevent myself whispering in his ear that I should never live happily with anybody but his daughter, and without waiting for a reply hastened away. I had the next evening, at eight o'clock, an interview with Madame de Beauvilliers. I argued with her with such prodigious ardor that she was surprised, and, although she did not give way, she said she would be inconsolable for the loss of me, repeating the same tender and flattering things her husband had said before, and with the same effusion of feeling.

I had yet another interview with M. de Beauvilliers. He showed even more affection for me than before, but I could not succeed in putting aside his scruples. He unbosomed himself afterwards to one of our friends, and in his bitterness said he could only console himself by hoping that his children and mine might some day intermarry, and he prayed me to go and pass some days at Paris, in order to allow him to seek a truce to his grief in my absence. We both were in want of it. I have judged it fitting to give these details, for they afford a key to my exceeding intimacy with M. de Beauvilliers, which otherwise, considering the difference in our ages, might appear incomprehensible.

There was nothing left for me but to look out for another marriage. One soon presented itself, but as soon fell to the ground; and I went to La Trappe to console myself for the impossibility of making an alliance with the Duc de Beauvilliers.

La Trappe is a place so celebrated and so well known, and its reformer so famous, that I shall say but little about it. I will, however, mention that this abbey is five leagues from La Ferme-au-Vidame, or Arnold, which is the real distinctive name of this Ferme among so many other Fetes in France, which have preserved the generic name of what they have been, that is to say, forts or fortresses ('freitas'). My father had been very intimate with M. de la Trappe, and had taken me to him.

Although I was very young then, M. de la Trappe charmed me, and the sanctity of the place enchanted me. Every year I stayed some days there, sometimes a week at a time, and was never tired of admiring this great and distinguished man. He loved me as a son, and I respected him as though he were any father. This intimacy, singular at my age, I kept secret from everybody, and only went to the convent clandestinely.


On my return from La Trappe, I became engaged in an affair which made a great noise, and which had many results for me.

M. de Luxembourg, proud of his successes, and of the applause of the world at his victories, believed himself sufficiently strong to claim precedence over seventeen dukes, myself among the number; to step, in fact, from the eighteenth rank, that he held amongst the peers, to the second. The following are the names and the order in precedence of the dukes he wished to supersede:

The Duc d'Elboeuf; the Duc de Montbazon; the Duc de Ventadour; the Duc de Vendome; the Duc de la Tremoille; the Duc de Sully; the Duc de Chevreuse, the son (minor) of the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres-Gondi; the Duc de Brissac; Charles d'Albert, called d'Ailly; the Duc de Richelieu; the Duc de Saint-Simon; the Duc de la Rochefoucauld; the Duc de la Force; the Duc de Valentinois; the Duc de Rohan; the Duc de Bouillon.

To explain this pretension of M. de Luxembourg, I must give some details respecting him and the family whose name he bore. He was the only son of M. de Bouteville, and had married a descendant of Francois de Luxembourg, Duke of Piney, created Peer of France in 1581. It was a peerage which, in default of male successors, went to the female, but this descendant was not heir to it. She was the child of a second marriage, and by a first marriage her mother had given birth to a son and a daughter, who were the inheritors of the peerage, both of whom were still living. The son was, however, an idiot, had been declared incapable of attending to his affairs, and was shut up in Saint Lazare, at Paris. The daughter had taken the veil, and was mistress of the novices at the Abbaye-aux-Bois. The peerage had thus, it might almost be said, become extinct, for it was vested in an idiot, who could not marry (to prevent him doing so, he had been made a deacon, and he was bound in consequence to remain single), and in a nun, who was equally bound by her vows to the same state of celibacy.

When M. de Bouteville, for that was his only title then, married, he took the arms and the name of Luxembourg. He did more. By powerful influence—notably that of his patron the Prince de Conde—he released the idiot deacon from his asylum, and the nun from her convent, and induced them both to surrender to him their possessions and their titles. This done, he commenced proceedings at once in order to obtain legal recognition of his right to the dignities he had thus got possession of. He claimed to be acknowledged Duc de Piney, with all the privileges attached to that title as a creation of 1581. Foremost among these privileges was that of taking precedence of all dukes whose title did not go back so far as that year. Before any decision was given either for or against this claim, he was made Duc de Piney by new letters patent, dating from 1662, with a clause which left his pretensions to the title of 1581 by no means affected by this new creation. M. de Luxembourg, however, seemed satisfied with what he had obtained, and was apparently disposed to pursue his claim no further. He was received as Duke and Peer in the Parliament, took his seat in the last rank after all the other peers, and allowed his suit to drop. Since then he had tried successfully to gain it by stealth, but for several years nothing more had been heard of it. Now, however, he recommenced it, and with every intention, as we soon found, to stop at no intrigue or baseness in order to carry his point.

Nearly everybody was in his favour. The Court, though not the King, was almost entirely for him; and the town, dazzled by the splendour of his exploits, was devoted to him. The young men regarded him as the protector of their debauches; for, notwithstanding his age, his conduct was as free as theirs. He had captivated the troops and the general officers.

In the Parliament he had a staunch supporter in Harlay, the Chief President, who led that great body at his will, and whose devotion he had acquired to such a degree, that he believed that to undertake and succeed were only the same things, and that this grand affair would scarcely cost him a winter to carry.

Let me say something more of this Harlay.

Descended from two celebrated magistrates, Achille d'Harlay and Christopher De Thou, Harlay imitated their gravity, but carried it to a cynical extent, affected their disinterestedness and modesty, but dishonoured the first by his conduct, and the second by a refined pride which he endeavoured without success to conceal. He piqued himself, above all things, upon his probity and justice, but the mask soon fell. Between Peter and Paul he maintained the strictest fairness, but as soon as he perceived interest or favour to be acquired, he sold himself. This trial will show him stripped of all disguise. He was learned in the law; in letters he was second to no one; he was well acquainted with history, and knew how, above all, to govern his company with an authority which suffered no reply, and which no other chief president had ever attained.

A pharisaical austerity rendered him redoubtable by the license he assumed in his public reprimands, whether to plaintiffs, or defendants, advocates or magistrates; so that there was not a single person who did not tremble to have to do with him. Besides this, sustained in all by the Court (of which he was the slave, and the very humble servant of those who were really in favour), a subtle courtier, a singularly crafty politician, he used all those talents solely to further his ambition, his desire of domination and his thirst of the reputation of a great man. He was without real honour, secretly of corrupt manners, with only outside probity, without humanity even; in one word, a perfect hypocrite; without faith, without law, without a God, and without a soul; a cruel husband, a barbarous father, a tyrannical brother, a friend of himself alone, wicked by nature—taking pleasure in insulting, outraging, and overwhelming others, and never in his life having lost an occasion to do so. His wit was great, but was always subservient to his wickedness. He was small, vigorous, and thin, with a lozenge-shaped face, a long aquiline nose—fine, speaking, keen eyes, that usually looked furtively at you, but which, if fixed on a client or a magistrate, were fit to make him sink into the earth. He wore narrow robes, an almost ecclesiastical collar and wristband to match, a brown wig mimed with white, thickly furnished but short, and with a great cap over it. He affected a bending attitude, and walked so, with a false air, more humble than modest, and always shaved along the walls, to make people make way for him with greater noise; and at Versailles worked his way on by a series of respectful and, as it were, shame-faced bows to the right and left. He held to the King and to Madame de Maintenon by knowing their weak side; and it was he who, being consulted upon the unheard-of legitimation of children without naming the mother, had sanctioned that illegality in favour of the King.

Such was the man whose influence was given entirely to our opponent.

To assist M. de Luxembourg's case as much as possible, the celebrated Racine, so known by his plays, and by the order he had received at that time to write the history of the King, was employed to polish and ornament his pleas. Nothing was left undone by M. de Luxembourg in order to gain this cause.

I cannot give all the details of the case, the statements made on both sides, and the defences; they would occupy entire volumes. We maintained that M. de Luxembourg was in no way entitled to the precedence he claimed, and we had both law and justice on our side. To give instructions to our counsel, and to follow the progress of the case, we met once a week, seven or eight of us at least, those best disposed to give our time to the matter. Among the most punctual was M. de la Rochefoucauld. I had been solicited from the commencement to take part in the proceedings, and I complied most willingly, apologising for so doing to M. de Luxembourg, who replied with all the politeness and gallantry possible, that I could not do less than follow an example my father had set me.

The trial having commenced, we soon saw how badly disposed the Chief President was towards us. He obstructed us in every way, and acted against all rules. There seemed no other means of defeating his evident intention of judging against us than by gaining time, first of all; and to do this we determined to get the case adjourned, There were, however, only two days at our disposal, and that was not enough in order to comply with the forms required for such a step. We were all in the greatest embarrassment, when it fortunately came into the head of one of our lawyers to remind us of a privilege we possessed, by which, without much difficulty, we could obtain what we required. I was the only one who could, at that moment, make use of this privilege. I hastened home, at once, to obtain the necessary papers, deposited them with the procureur of M. de Luxembourg, and the adjournment was obtained. The rage of M. de Luxembourg was without bounds. When we met he would not salute me, and in consequence I discontinued to salute him; by which he lost more than I, in his position and at his age, and furnished in the rooms and the galleries of Versailles a sufficiently ridiculous spectacle. In addition to this he quarrelled openly with M. de Richelieu, and made a bitter attack upon him in one of his pleas. But M. de Richelieu, meeting him soon after in the Salle des Gardes at Versailles, told him to his face that he should soon have a reply; and said that he feared him neither on horseback nor on foot—neither him nor his crew—neither in town nor at the Court, nor even in the army, nor in any place in the world; and without allowing time for a reply he turned on his heel. In the end, M. de Luxembourg found himself so closely pressed that he was glad to apologise to M. de Richelieu.

After a time our cause, sent back again to the Parliament, was argued there with the same vigour, the same partiality, and the same injustice as before: seeing this, we felt that the only course left open to us was to get the case sent before the Assembly of all the Chambers, where the judges, from their number, could not be corrupted by M. de Luxembourg, and where the authority of Harlay was feeble, while over the Grand Chambre, in which the case was at present, it was absolute. The difficulty was to obtain an assembly of all the Chambers, for the power of summoning them was vested solely in Harlay. However, we determined to try and gain his consent. M. de Chaulnes undertook to go upon this delicate errand, and acquitted himself well of his mission. He pointed out to Harlay that everybody was convinced of his leaning towards M. de Luxembourg, and that the only way to efface the conviction that had gone abroad was to comply with our request; in fine, he used so many arguments, and with such address, that Harlay, confused and thrown off his guard, and repenting of the manner in which he had acted towards us as being likely to injure his interests, gave a positive assurance to M. de Chaulnes that what we asked should be granted.

We had scarcely finished congratulating ourselves upon this unhoped-for success, when we found that we had to do with a man whose word was a very sorry support to rest upon. M. de Luxembourg, affrighted at the promise Harlay had given, made him resolve to break it. Suspecting this, M. de Chaulnes paid another visit to the Chief President, who admitted, with much confusion, that he had changed his views, and that it was impossible to carry out what he had agreed to. After this we felt that to treat any longer with a man so perfidious would be time lost; and we determined, therefore, to put it out of his power to judge the case at all.

According to the received maxim, whoever is at law with the son cannot be judged by the father. Harlay had a son who was Advocate-General. We resolved that one among us should bring an action against him.

After trying in vain to induce the Duc de Rohan, who was the only one of our number who could readily have done it, to commence a suit against Harlay's sort, we began to despair of arriving at our aim. Fortunately for us, the vexation of Harlay became so great at this time, in consequence of the disdain with which we treated him, and which we openly published, that he extricated us himself from our difficulty. We had only to supplicate the Duc de Gesvres in the cause (he said to some of our people), and we should obtain what we wanted; for the Duc de Gesvres was his relative. We took him at his word. The, Duc de Gesvres received in two days a summons on our part. Harlay, annoyed with himself for the advice he had given, relented of it: but it was too late; he was declared unable to judge the cause, and the case itself was postponed until the next year.

Meanwhile, let me mention a circumstance which should have found a place before, and then state what occurred in the interval which followed until the trial recommenced.

It was while our proceedings were making some little stir that fresh favours were heaped upon the King's illegitimate sons, at the instance of the King himself, and with the connivance of Harlay, who, for the part he took in the affair, was promised the chancellorship when it should become vacant. The rank of these illegitimate sons was placed just below that of the princes, of the blood, and just above that of the peers even of the oldest creation. This gave us all exceeding annoyance: it was the greatest injury the peerage could have received, and became its leprosy and sore. All the peers who could, kept themselves aloof from the parliament, when M. du Maine, M. de Vendome, and the Comte de Toulouse, for whom this arrangement was specially made, were received there.

There were several marriages at the Court this winter and many very fine balls, at which latter I danced. By the spring, preparations were ready for fresh campaigns. My regiment (I had bought one at the close of the last season) was ordered to join the army of M. de Luxembourg; but, as I had no desire to be under him, I wrote to the King, begging to be exchanged. In a short time, to the great vexation, as I know, of M. de Luxembourg, my request was granted. The Chevalier de Sully went to Flanders in my place, and I to Germany in his. I went first to Soissons to see my regiment, and in consequence of the recommendation of the King, was more severe with it than I should otherwise have been. I set out afterwards for Strasbourg, where I was surprised with the magnificence of the town, and with the number, beauty, and grandeur of its fortifications. As from my youth I knew and spoke German perfectly, I sought out one of my early German acquaintances, who gave me much pleasure. I stopped six days at Strasbourg and then went by the Rhine to Philipsburg. On the next day after arriving there, I joined the cavalry, which was encamped at Obersheim.

After several movements—in which we passed and repassed the Rhine—but which led to no effective result, we encamped for forty days at Gaw- Boecklheim, one of the best and most beautiful positions in the world, and where we had charming weather, although a little disposed to cold. It was in the leisure of that long camp that I commenced these memoirs, incited by the pleasure I took in reading those of Marshal Bassompierre, which invited me thus to write what I should see in my own time.

During this season M. de Noailles took Palamos, Girone, and the fortress of Castel-Follit in Catalonia. This last was taken by the daring of a soldier, who led on a small number of his comrades, and carried the place by assault. Nothing was done in Italy; and in Flanders M. de Luxembourg came to no engagement with the Prince of Orange.


After our long rest at the camp of Gaw-Boecklheim we again put ourselves in movement, but without doing much against the enemy, and on the 16th of October I received permission to return to Paris. Upon my arrival there I learnt that many things had occurred since I left. During that time some adventures had happened to the Princesses, as the three illegitimate daughters of the King were called for distinction sake. Monsieur wished that the Duchesse de Chartres should always call the others "sister," but that the others should never address her except as "Madame." The Princesse de Conti submitted to this; but the other (Madame la Duchesse, being the produce of the same love) set herself to call the Duchesse de Chartres "mignonne." But nothing was less a mignonne than her face and her figure; and Monsieur, feeling the ridicule, complained to the King. The King prohibited very severely this familiarity.

While at Trianon these Princesses took it into their heads to walk out at night and divert themselves with crackers. Either from malice or imprudence they let off some one night under the windows of Monsieur, rousing him thereby out of his sleep. He was so displeased, that he complained to the King, who made him many excuses (scolding the Princesses), but had great trouble to appease him. His anger lasted a long time, and the Duchesse de Chartres felt it. I do not know if the other two were very sorry. Madame la Duchesse was accused of writing some songs upon the Duchesse de Chartres.

The Princesse de Conti had another adventure, which made considerable noise, and which had great results. She had taken into her favour Clermont, ensign of the gensdarmes and of the Guard. He had pretended to be enamoured of her, and had not been repelled, for she soon became in love with him. Clermont had attached himself to the service of M. de Luxembourg, and was the merest creature in his hands. At the instigation of M. de Luxembourg, he turned away his regards from the Princesse de Conti, and fixed them upon one of her maids of honour—Mademoiselle Choin, a great, ugly, brown, thick-set girl, upon whom Monseigneur had lately bestowed his affection. Monseigneur made no secret of this, nor did she. Such being the case, it occurred to M. de Luxembourg (who knew he was no favourite with the King, and who built all his hopes of the future upon Monseigneur) that Clermont, by marrying La Choin, might thus secure the favour of Monseigneur, whose entire confidence she possessed. Clermont was easily persuaded that this would be for him a royal road to fortune, and he accordingly entered willingly into the scheme, which had just begun to move, when the campaign commenced, and everybody went away to join the armies.

The King, who partly saw this intrigue, soon made himself entirely master of it, by intercepting the letters which passed between the various parties. He read there the project of Clermont and La Choin to marry, and thus govern Monseigneur; he saw how M. de Luxembourg was the soul of this scheme, and the marvels to himself he expected from it. The letters Clermont had received from the Princesse de Conti he now sent to Mademoiselle la Choin, and always spoke to her of Monseigneur as their "fat friend." With this correspondence in his hands, the King one day sent for the Princesse de Conti, said in a severe tone that he knew of her weakness for Clermont; and, to prove to her how badly she had placed her affection, showed her her own letters to Clermont, and letters in which he had spoken most contemptuously of her to La Choin. Then, as a cruel punishment, he made her read aloud to him the whole of those letters. At this she almost died, and threw herself, bathed in tears, at the feet of the King, scarcely able to articulate. Then came sobs, entreaty, despair, and rage, and cries for justice and revenge. This was soon obtained. Mademoiselle la Choin was driven away the next day; and M. de Luxembourg had orders to strip Clermont of his office, and send him to the most distant part of the kingdom. The terror of M. de Luxembourg and the Prince de Conti at this discovery may be imagined. Songs increased the notoriety of this strange adventure between the Princess and her confidant.

M. de Noyon had furnished on my return another subject for the song- writers, and felt it the more sensibly because everybody was diverted at his expense, M. de Noyon was extremely vain, and afforded thereby much amusement to the King. A Chair was vacant at the Academic Francaise. The King wished it to be given to M. de Noyon, and expressed himself to that effect to Dangeau, who was a member. As may be believed, the prelate was elected without difficulty. His Majesty testified to the Prince de Conde, and to the most distinguished persons of the Court, that he should be glad to see them at the reception. Thus M. de Noyon was the first member of the Academia chosen by the King, and the first at whose reception he had taken the trouble to invite his courtiers to attend.

The Abbe de Caumartin was at that time Director of the Academie. He knew the vanity of M. de Noyon, and determined to divert the public at his expense. He had many friends in power, and judged that his pleasantry would be overlooked, and even approved. He composed, therefore, a confused and bombastic discourse in the style of M. de Noyon, full of pompous phrases, turning the prelate into ridicule, while they seemed to praise him. After finishing this work, he was afraid lest it should be thought out of all measure, and, to reassure himself, carried it to M. de Noyon himself, as a scholar might to his master, in order to see whether it fully met with his approval. M. de Noyon, so far from suspecting anything, was charmed by the discourse, and simply made a few corrections in the style. The Abbe de Caumartin rejoiced at the success of the snare he had laid, and felt quite bold enough to deliver his harangue.

The day came. The Academie was crowded. The King and the Court were there, all expecting to be diverted. M. de Noyon, saluting everybody with a satisfaction he did not dissimulate, made his speech with his usual confidence, and in his usual style. The Abbe replied with a modest air, and with a gravity and slowness that gave great effect to his ridiculous discourse. The surprise and pleasure were general, and each person strove to intoxicate M. de Noyon more and more, making him believe that the speech of the Abbe was relished solely because it had so worthily praised him. The prelate was delighted with the Abbe and the public, and conceived not the slightest mistrust.

The noise which this occurrence made may be imagined, and the praises M. de Noyon gave himself in relating everywhere what he had said, and what had been replied to him. M. de Paris, to whose house he went, thus triumphing, did not like him, and endeavoured to open his eyes to the humiliation he had received. For some time M. de Noyon would not be convinced of the truth; it was not until he had consulted with Pere la Chaise that he believed it. The excess of rage and vexation succeeded then to the excess of rapture he had felt. In this state he returned to his house, and went the next day to Versailles. There he made the most bitter complaints to the King, of the Abbe de Caumartin, by whose means he had become the sport and laughing-stock of all the world.

The King, who had learned what had passed, was himself displeased. He ordered Pontchartrain (who was related to Caumartin) to rebuke the Abbe, and to send him a lettre de cachet, in order that he might go and ripen his brain in his Abbey of Busay, in Brittany, and better learn there how to speak and write. Pontchartrain executed the first part of his commission, but not the second. He pointed out to the King that the speech of the Abbe de Caumartin had been revised and corrected by M. de Noyon, and that, therefore, this latter had only himself to blame in the matter. He declared, too, that the Abbe was very sorry for what he had done, and was most willing to beg pardon of M. de Noyon. The lettre de cachet thus fell to the ground, but not the anger of the prelate. He was so outraged that he would not see the Abbe, retired into his diocese to hide his shame, and remained there a long time.

Upon his return to Paris, however, being taken ill, before consenting to receive the sacraments, he sent for the Abbe, embraced him, pardoned him, and gave him a diamond ring, that he drew from his finger, and that he begged him to keep in memory of him. Nay, more, when he was cured, he used all his influence to reinstate the Abbe in the esteem of the King. But the King could never forgive what had taken place, and M. de Noyon, by this grand action, gained only the favour of God and the honour of the world.

I must finish the account of the war of this year with a strange incident. M. de Noailles, who had been so successful in Catalonia, was on very bad terms with Barbezieux, secretary of state for the war department. Both were in good favour with the King; both high in power, both spoiled. The successes in Catalonia had annoyed Barbezieux. They smoothed the way for the siege of Barcelona, and that place once taken, the very heart of Spain would have been exposed, and M. de Noailles would have gained fresh honours and glory. M. de Noailles felt this so completely that he had pressed upon the King the siege of Barcelona; and when the fitting time came for undertaking it, sent a messenger to him with full information of the forces and supplies he required. Fearing that if he wrote out this information it might fall into the hands of Barbezieux, and never reach the King, he simply gave his messenger instructions by word of mouth, and charged him to deliver them so. But the very means he had taken to ensure success brought about failure. Barbezieux, informed by his spies of the departure of the messenger, waylaid him, bribed him, and induced him to act with the blackest perfidy, by telling the King quite a different story to that he was charged with. In this way, the project for the siege of Barcelona was entirely broken, at the moment for its execution, and with the most reasonable hopes of success; and upon M. de Noailles rested all the blame. What a thunderbolt this was for him may easily be imagined. But the trick had been so well played, that he could not clear himself with the King; and all through this winter he remained out of favour.

At last he thought of a means by which he might regain his position. He saw the inclination of the King for his illegitimate children; and determined to make a sacrifice in favour of one of them; rightly judging that this would be a sure means to step back into the confidence he had been so craftily driven from. His scheme, which he caused to be placed before the King, was to go into Catalonia at the commencement of the next campaign, to make a semblance of falling ill immediately upon arriving, to send to Versailles a request that he might be recalled, and at the same time a suggestion that M. de Vendome (who would then be near Nice, under Marechal Catinat) should succeed him. In order that no time might be lost, nor the army left without a general, he proposed to carry with him the letters patent; appointing M. de Vendome, and to send them to him at the same time that he sent to be recalled.

It is impossible to express the relief and satisfaction with which this proposition was received. The King was delighted with it, as with everything tending to advance his illegitimate children and to put a slight upon the Princes of the blood. He could not openly have made this promotion without embroiling himself with the latter; but coming as it would from M. de Noailles, he had nothing to fear. M. de Vendome, once general of an army, could no longer serve in any other quality; and would act as a stepping-stone for M. du Maine.

From this moment M. de Noailles returned more than ever into the good graces of the King. Everything happened as it had been arranged. But the secret was betrayed in the execution. Surprise was felt that at the same moment M. de Noailles sent a request to be recalled, he also sent, and without waiting for a reply, to call M. de Vendame to the command. What completely raised the veil were the letters patent that he sent immediately after to M. de Vendome, and that it was known he could not have received from the King in the time that had elapsed. M. de Noailles returned from Catalonia, and was received as his address merited. He feigned being lame with rheumatism, and played the part for a long time, but forgot himself occasionally, and made his company smile. He fixed himself at the Court, and gained there much more favour than he could have gained by the war; to the great vexation of Barbezieux.

M. de Luxembourg very strangely married his daughter at this time to the Chevalier de Soissons (an illegitimate son of the Comte de Soissons), brought out from the greatest obscurity by the Comtesse de Nemours, and adopted by her to spite her family: M. de Luxembourg did not long survive this fine marriage. At sixty-seven years of age he believed himself twenty-five, and lived accordingly. The want of genuine intrigues, from which his age and his face excluded him, he supplied by money-power; and his intimacy, and that of his son, with the Prince de Conti and Albergotti was kept up almost entirely by the community of their habits, and the secret parties of pleasure they concocted together. All the burden of marches, of orders of subsistence, fell upon a subordinate. Nothing could be more exact than the coup d'oeil of M. de Luxembourg— nobody could be more brilliant, more sagacious, more penetrating than he before the enemy or in battle, and this, too, with an audacity, an ease, and at the same time a coolness, which allowed him to see all and foresee all under the hottest fire, and in the most imminent danger: It was at such times that he was great. For the rest he was idleness itself. He rarely walked unless absolutely obliged, spent his time in gaming, or in conversation With his familiars; and had every evening a supper with a chosen few (nearly always the same); and if near a town, the other sex were always agreeably mingled with them. When thus occupied, he was inaccessible to everybody, and if anything pressing happened, it was his subordinate who attended to it. Such was at the army the life of this great general, and such it was at Paris, except that the Court and the great world occupied his days, and his pleasures the evenings. At last, age, temperament, and constitution betrayed him. He fell ill at Versailles. Given over by Fagon, the King's physician, Coretti, an Italian, who had secrets of his own, undertook his cure, and relieved him, but only for a short time. His door during this illness was besieged by all the Court. The King sent to inquire after him, but it was more for appearance' sake than from sympathy, for I have already remarked that the King did not like him. The brilliancy of his campaigns, and the difficulty of replacing him, caused all the disquietude. Becoming worse, M. de Luxembourg received the sacraments, showed some religion and firmness, and died on the morning of the 4th of January, 1695, the fifth day of his illness, much regretted by many people, but personally esteemed by none, and loved by very few.

Not one of the Dukes M. de Luxembourg had attacked went to see him during his illness. I neither went nor sent, although at Versailles; and I must admit that I felt my deliverance from such an enemy.

Here, perhaps, I may as well relate the result of the trial in which we were engaged, and which, after the death of M. de Luxembourg, was continued by his son. It was not judged until the following year. I have shown that by our implicating the Duc de Gesvres, the Chief President had been declared incapable of trying the case. The rage he conceived against us cannot be expressed, and, great actor that he was, he could not hide it. All his endeavour afterwards was to do what he could against us; the rest of the mask fell, and the deformity of the judge appeared in the man, stripped of all disguise.

We immediately signified to M. de Luxembourg that he must choose between the letters patent of 1581 and those of 1662. If he abandoned the first the case fell through; in repudiating the last he renounced the certainty of being duke and peer after us; and ran the risk of being reduced to an inferior title previously granted to him. The position was a delicate one; he was affrighted; but after much consultation he resolved to run all risks and maintain his pretensions. It thus simply became a question of his right to the title of Duc de Piney, with the privilege attached to it as a creation of 1581.

In the spring of 1696 the case was at last brought on, before the Assembly of all the Chambers. Myself and the other Dukes seated ourselves in court to hear the proceedings. The trial commenced. All the facts and particulars of the cause were brought forward. Our advocates spoke, and then few doubted but that we should gain the victory. M. de Luxembourg's advocate, Dumont, was next heard. He was very audacious, and spoke so insolently of us, saying, in Scripture phraseology, that we honoured the King with our lips, whilst our hearts were far from him, that I could not contain myself. I was seated between the Duc de la Rochefoucauld and the Duc d'Estrees. I stood up, crying out against the imposture of this knave, and calling for justice on him. M. de la Rochefoucauld pulled me back, made me keep silent, and I plunged down into my seat more from anger against him than against the advocate. My movement excited a murmur. We might on the instant have had justice against Dumont, but the opportunity had passed for us to ask for it, and the President de Maisons made a slight excuse for him. We complained, however, afterwards to the King, who expressed his surprise that Dumont had not been stopped in the midst of his speech.

The summing up was made by D'Aguesseau, who acquitted himself of the task with much eloquence and impartiality. His speech lasted two days. This being over, the court was cleared, and the judges were left alone to deliberate upon their verdict. Some time after we were called in to hear that verdict given. It was in favour of M. de Luxembourg in so far as the title dating from 1662 was concerned; but the consideration of his claim to the title of 1581 was adjourned indefinitely, so that he remained exactly in the same position as his father.

It was with difficulty we could believe in a decree so unjust and so novel, and which decided a question that was not under dispute. I was outraged, but I endeavoured to contain myself. I spoke to M. de la Rochefoucauld; I tried to make him listen to me, and to agree that we should complain to the King, but I spoke to a man furious, incapable of understanding anything or of doing anything. Returning to my own house, I wrote a letter to the King, in which I complained of the opinion of the judges. I also pointed out, that when everybody had been ordered to retire from the council chamber, Harlay and his secretary had been allowed to remain. On these and other grounds I begged the King to grant a new trial.

I carried this letter to the Duc de la Tremoille, but I could not get him to look at it. I returned home more vexed if possible than when I left. The King, nevertheless, was exceedingly dissatisfied with the judgment. He explained himself to that effect at his dinner, and in a manner but little advantageous to the Parliament, and prepared himself to receive the complaints he expected would be laid before him. But the obstinacy of M. de la Rochefoucauld, which turned into vexation against himself, rendered it impossible for us to take any steps in the matter, and so overwhelmed me with displeasure, that I retired to La Trappe during Passion Week in order to recover myself.

At my return I learned that the King had spoken of this judgment to the Chief President, and that that magistrate had blamed it, saying the cause was indubitably ours, and that he had always thought so! If he thought so, why oppose us so long? and if he did not think so, what a prevaricator was he to reply with this flattery, so as to be in accord with the King? The judges themselves were ashamed of their verdict, and excused themselves for it on the ground of their compassion for the state in which M. de Luxembourg would have been placed had he lost the title of 1662, and upon its being impossible that he should gain the one of 1581, of which they had left him the chimera. M. de Luxembourg was accordingly received at the Parliament on the 4th of the following May, with the rank of 1662. He came and visited all of us, but we would have no intercourse with him or with his judges. To the Advocate-General, D'Aguesseau, we carried our thanks.


Thus ended this long and important case; and now let me go back again to the events of the previous year.

Towards the end of the summer and the commencement of the winter of 1695, negotiations for peace were set on foot by the King. Harlay, son-in-law of our enemy, was sent to Maestricht to sound the Dutch. But in proportion as they saw peace desired were they less inclined to listen to terms. They had even the impudence to insinuate to Harlay, whose paleness and thinness were extraordinary, that they took him for a sample of the reduced state of France! He, without getting angry, replied pleasantly, that if they would give him the time to send for his wife, they would, perhaps, conceive another opinion of the position of the realm. In effect, she was extremely fat, and of a very high colour. He was rather roughly dismissed, and hastened to regain our frontier.

Two events followed each other very closely this winter. The first was the death of the Princess of Orange, in London, at the end of January. The King of England prayed our King to allow the Court to wear no mourning, and it was even prohibited to M. de Bouillon and M. de Duras, who were both related to the Prince of Orange. The order was obeyed, and no word was said; but this sort of vengeance was thought petty. Hopes were held out of a change in England, but they vanished immediately, and the Prince of Orange appeared more accredited there and stronger than ever. The Princess was much regretted, and the Prince of Orange, who loved her and gave her his entire confidence, and even most marked respect, was for some days ill with grief.

The other event was strange. The Duke of Hanover, who, in consequence of the Revolution, was destined to the throne of England after the Prince and Princess of Orange and the Princess of Denmark, had married his cousin-german, a daughter of the Duke of Zell. She was beautiful, and he lived happily with her for some time. The Count of Koenigsmarck, young and very well made, came to the Court, and gave him some umbrage. The Duke of Hanover became jealous; he watched his wife and the Count, and at length believed himself fully assured of what he would have wished to remain ignorant of all his life. Fury seized him: he had the Count arrested and thrown into a hot oven. Immediately afterwards he sent his wife to her father, who shut her up in one of his castles, where she was strictly guarded by the people of the Duke of Hanover. An assembly of the Consistory was held in order to break off his marriage. It was decided, very singularly, that the marriage was annulled so far as the Duke was concerned, and that he could marry another woman; but that it remained binding on the Duchess, and that she could not marry. The children she had had during her marriage were declared legitimate. The Duke of Hanover did not remain persuaded as to this last article.

The King, entirely occupied with the aggrandisement of his natural children, had heaped upon the Comte de Toulouse every possible favour. He now (in order to evade a promise he had made to his brother, that the first vacant government should be given to the Duc de Chartres) forced M. de Chaulnes to give up the government of Brittany, which he had long held, and conferred it upon the Comte de Toulouse, giving to the friend and heir of the former the successorship to the government of Guyenne, by way of recompense.

M. de Chaulnes was old and fat, but much loved by the people of Brittany. He was overwhelmed by this determination of the King, and his wife, who had long been accustomed to play the little Queen, still more so; yet there was nothing for them but to obey. They did obey, but it was with a sorrow and chagrin they could not hide.

The appointment was announced one morning at the rising of the King. Monsieur, who awoke later, heard of it at the drawing of his curtains, and was extremely piqued. The Comte de Toulouse came shortly afterwards, and announced it himself. Monsieur interrupted him, and before everybody assembled there said, "The King has given you a good present; but I know not if what he has done is good policy." Monsieur went shortly afterwards to the King, and reproached him for giving, under cover of a trick, the government of Brittany to the Comte de Toulouse, having promised it to the Duc de Chartres. The King heard him in silence: he knew well how to appease him. Some money for play and to embellish Saint Cloud, soon effaced Monsieur's chagrin.

All this winter my mother was solely occupied in finding a good match for me. Some attempt was made to marry me to Mademoiselle de Royan. It would have been a noble and rich marriage; but I was alone, Mademoiselle de Royan was an orphan, and I wished a father-in-law and a family upon whom I could lean. During the preceding year there had been some talk of the eldest daughter of Marechal de Lorges for me. The affair had fallen through, almost as soon as suggested, and now, on both sides, there was a desire to recommence negotiations. The probity, integrity, the freedom of Marechal de Lorges pleased me infinitely, and everything tended to give me an extreme desire for this marriage. Madame de Lorges by her virtue and good sense was all I could wish for as the mother of my future wife. Mademoiselle de Lorges was a blonde, with a complexion and figure perfect, a very amiable face, an extremely noble and modest deportment, and with I know not what of majesty derived from her air of virtue, and of natural gentleness. The Marechal had five other daughters, but I liked this one best without comparison, and hoped to find with her that happiness which she since has given me. As she has become my wife, I will abstain here from saying more about her, unless it be that she has exceeded all that was promised of her, and all that I myself had hoped.

My marriage being agreed upon and arranged the Marechal de Lorges spoke of it to the King, who had the goodness to reply to him that he could not do better, and to speak of me very obligingly. The marriage accordingly took place at the Hotel de Lorges, on the 8th of April, 1695, which I have always regarded, and with good reason, as the happiest day of my life. My mother treated me like the best mother in the world. On the Thursday before Quasimodo the contract was signed; a grand repast followed; at midnight the cure of Saint Roch said mass, and married us in the chapel of the house. On the eve, my mother had sent forty thousand livres' worth of precious stones to Mademoiselle de Lorges, and I six hundred Louis in a corbeille filled with all the knick-knacks that are given on these occasions.

We slept in the grand apartment of the Hotel des Lorges. On the morrow, after dinner, my wife went to bed, and received a crowd of visitors, who came to pay their respects and to gratify their curiosity. The next evening we went to Versailles, and were received by Madame de Maintenon and the King. On arriving at the supper-table, the King said to the new Duchess:—"Madame, will you be pleased to seat yourself?"

His napkin being unfolded, he saw all the duchesses and princesses still standing; and rising in his chair, he said to Madame de Saint-Simon— "Madame, I have already begged you to be seated;" and all immediately seated themselves. On the morrow, Madame de Saint-Simon received all the Court in her bed in the apartment of the Duchesse d'Arpajon, as being more handy, being on the ground floor. Our festivities finished by a supper that I gave to the former friends of my father, whose acquaintance I had always cultivated with great care.

Almost immediately after my marriage the second daughter of the Marechal de Lorges followed in the footsteps of her sister. She was fifteen years of age, and at the reception of Madame de Saint-Simon had attracted the admiration of M. de Lauzun, who was then sixty-three. Since his return to the Court he had been reinstated in the dignity he had previously held. He flattered himself that by marrying the daughter of a General he should re-open a path to himself for command in the army. Full of this idea he spoke to M. de Lorges, who was by no means inclined towards the marriage. M. de Lauzun offered, however, to marry without dowry; and M. de Lorges, moved by this consideration, assented to his wish. The affair concluded, M. de Lorges spoke of it to the King. "You are bold," said his Majesty, "to take Lauzun into your family. I hope you may not repent of it."

The contract was soon after signed. M. de Lorges gave no dowry with his daughter, but she was to inherit something upon the death of M. Fremont. We carried this contract to the King, who smiled and bantered M. de Lauzun. M. de Lauzun replied, that he was only too happy, since it was the first time since his return that he had seen the King smile at him. The marriage took place without delay: there were only seven or eight persons present at the ceremony. M. de Lauzun would undress himself alone with his valet de chambre, and did not enter the apartment of his wife until after everybody had left it, and she was in bed with the curtains closed, and nobody to meet him on his passage. His wife received company in bed, as mine had done. Nobody was able to understand this marriage; and all foresaw that a rupture would speedily be brought about by the well-known temper of M. de Lauzun. In effect, this is what soon happened. The Marechal de Lorges, remaining still in weak health, was deemed by the King unable to take the field again, and his army given over to the command of another General. M. de Lauzun thus saw all his hopes of advancement at an end, and, discontented that the Marechal had done nothing for him, broke off all connection with the family, took away Madame de Lauzun from her mother (to the great grief of the latter; who doted upon this daughter), and established her in a house of his own adjoining the Assumption, in the Faubourg Saint-Honore. There she had to endure her husband's continual caprices, but little removed in their manifestation from madness. Everybody cast blame upon him, and strongly pitied her and her father and mother; but nobody was surprised.

A few days after the marriage of M. de Lauzun, as the King was being wheeled in his easy chair in the gardens at Versailles, he asked me for many minute particulars concerning the family of the Marechal de Lorges. He then set himself to joke with me upon the marriage of M. de Lauzun— and upon mine. He said to me, in spite of that gravity which never quitted him, that he had learnt from the Marechal I had well acquitted myself, but that he believed the Marechal had still better news.

The loss of two illustrious men about this time, made more noise than that of two of our grand ladies. The first of these men was La Fontaine, so well known by his "Fables" and stories, and who, nevertheless, was so heavy in conversation. The other was Mignard—so illustrious by his pencil: he had an only daughter—perfectly beautiful: she is repeated in several of those magnificent historical pictures which adorn the grand gallery of Versailles and its two salons, and which have had no slight share in irritating all Europe against the King, and in leaguing it still more against his person than his realm.

At the usual time the armies were got ready for active service, and everybody set out to join them. That of the Rhine, in which I was, was commanded by the Marechal de Lorges. No sooner had we crossed the river and come upon the enemy, than the Marechal fell ill. Although we were in want of forage and were badly encamped, nobody complained—nobody wished to move. Never did an army show so much interest in the life of its chief, or so much love for him. M. de Lorges was, in truth, at the last extremity, and the doctors that had been sent for from Strasbourg gave him up entirely. I took upon myself to administer to him some "English Drops." One hundred and thirty were given him in three doses: the effect was astonishing; an eruption burst out upon the Marechal's body, and saved his life. His illness was not, however, at an end; and the army, although suffering considerably, would not hear of moving until he was quite ready to move also. There was no extremity it would not undergo rather than endanger the life of its chief.

Prince Louis of Baden offered by trumpets all sorts of assistance— doctors and remedies, and gave his word that if the army removed from its General, he and those who remained with him should be provided with forage and provisions—should be unmolested and allowed to rejoin the main body in perfect safety, or go whithersoever they pleased. He was thanked, as he merited, for those very kind offers, which we did not wish, however, to profit by.

Little by little the health of the General was reestablished, and the army demonstrated its joy by bonfire's all over the camp, and by salvos, which it was impossible to prevent. Never was seen testimony of love so universal or so flattering. The King was much concerned at the illness of the Marechal; all the Court was infinitely touched by it. M. de Lorges was not less loved by it than by the troops. When able to support the fatigues of the journey, he was removed in a coach to Philipsburg, where he was joined by the Marechal, who had come there to meet him. The next day he went to Landau, and I, who formed one of his numerous and distinguished escort, accompanied him there, and then returned to the army, which was placed under the command of the Marechal de Joyeuse.

We found it at about three leagues from Ketsch, its right at Roth, and its left at Waldsdorff. We learned that the Marechal de Joyeuse had lost a good occasion of fighting the enemy; but as I was not in camp at the time, I will say no more of the matter. Our position was not good: Schwartz was on our left, and the Prince of Baden on our right, hemming us in, as it were, between them. We had no forage, whilst they had abundance of everything, and were able to procure all they wanted. There was a contest who should decamp the last. All our communications were cut off with Philipsburg, so that we could not repass the Rhine under the protection of that place. To get out of our position, it was necessary to defile before our enemies into the plain of Hockenun, and this was a delicate operation. The most annoying circumstance was, that M. de Joyeuse would communicate with nobody, and was so ill-tempered that none dared to speak to him. At last he determined upon his plans, and I was of the detachment by which they were to be carried out. We were sent to Manheim to see if out of the ruins of that place (burned in 1688 by M. de Louvois) sufficient, materials could be found to construct bridges, by which we might cross the Rhine there. We found that the bridges could be made, and returned to announce this to M. de Joyeuse. Accordingly, on the 20th of July, the army put itself in movement. The march was made in the utmost confusion. Everything was in disorder; the infantry and cavalry were huddled together pell-mell; no commands could be acted upon, and indeed the whole army was so disorganised that it could have been easily beaten by a handful of men. In effect, the enemy at last tried to take advantage of our confusion, by sending a few troops to harass us. But it was too late; we had sufficiently rallied to be able to turn upon them, and they narrowly escaped falling into our hands. We encamped that night in the plain on the banks of the Necker—our rear at Manheim, and our left at Seckenheim, while waiting for the remainder of the army, still very distant. Indeed, so great had been the confusion, that the first troops arrived at one o'clock at night, and the last late in the morning of the next day.

I thought that our headquarters were to be in this village of Seckenheim, and, in company with several officers took possession of a large house and prepared to pass the night there. While we were resting from the fatigues of the day we heard a great noise, and soon after a frightful uproar. It was caused by a body of our men, who, searching for water, had discovered this village, and after having quenched their thirst had, under the cover of thick darkness, set themselves to pillage, to violate, to massacre, and to commit all the horrors inspired by the most unbridled licence: La Bretesche, a lieutenant-general, declared to me that he had never seen anything like it, although he had several times been at pillages and sackings. He was very grateful that he had not yielded to my advice, and taken off his wooden leg to be more at ease; for in a short time we ourselves were invaded, and had some trouble to defend ourselves. As we bore the livery of M. de Lorges, we were respected, but those who bore that of M. de Joyeuse were in some cases severely maltreated. We passed the rest of the night as well as we could in this unhappy place, which was not abandoned by our soldiers until long after there was nothing more to find. At daylight we went to the camp.

We found the army beginning to move: it had passed the night as well as it could without order, the troops constantly arriving, and the last comers simply joining themselves on to the rest. Our camp was soon, however, properly formed, and on the 24th July, the bridges being ready, all the army crossed the Rhine, without any attempt being made by the enemy to follow us. On the day after, the Marechal de Joyeuse permitted me to go to Landau, where I remained with the Marechal and the Marechale de Lorges until the General was again able to place himself at the head of his army.

Nothing of importance was done by our other armies; but in Flanders an interesting adventure occurred. The Prince of Orange, after playing a fine game of chess with our army, suddenly invested Namur with a large force, leaving the rest of his troops under the command of M. de Vaudemont. The Marechal de Villeroy, who had the command of our army in Flanders, at once pressed upon M. de Vaudemont, who, being much the weaker of the two, tried hard to escape. Both felt that everything was in their hands: Vaudemont, that upon his safety depended the success of the siege of Namur; and Villeroy, that to his victory was attached the fate of the Low Countries, and very likely a glorious peace, with all the personal results of such an event. He took his measures so well that on the evening of the 13th of July it was impossible for M. de Vaudemont to escape falling into his hands on the 14th, and he wrote thus to the King. At daybreak on the 14th M. de Villeroy sent word to M. du Maine to commence the action. Impatient that his orders were not obeyed, he sent again five or six times. M. du Maine wished in the first instance to reconnoitre, then to confess himself, and delayed in effect so long that M. de Vaudemont was able to commence his retreat. The general officers cried out at this. One of them came to M. du Maine and reminded him of the repeated orders of the Marechal de Villeroy, represented the importance of victory, and the ease with which it could be obtained: with tears in his eyes he begged M. du Maine to commence the attack. It was all in vain; M. du Maine stammered, and could not be prevailed upon to charge, and so allowed M. de Vaudemont's army to escape, when by a single movement it might have been entirely defeated.

All our army was in despair, and officers and soldiers made no scruple of expressing their anger and contempt. M. de Villeroy, more outraged than anybody else, was yet too good a courtier to excuse himself at the expense of M. du Maine. He simply wrote to the King, that he had been deceived in those hopes of success which appeared certain the day before, entered into no further details, and resigned himself to all that might happen. The King, who had counted the hours until news of a great and decisive victory should reach him, was very much surprised when this letter came: he saw at once that something strange had happened of which no intelligence had been sent: he searched the gazettes of Holland; in one he read of a great action said to have been fought, and in which M. du Maine had been grievously wounded; in the next the news of the action was contradicted, and M. du Maine was declared to have received no wounds at all. In order to learn what had really taken place, the King sent for Lavienne, a man he was in the habit of consulting when he wanted to learn things no one else dared to tell him.

This Lavienne had been a bath-keeper much in vogue in Paris, and had become bath-keeper to the King at the time of his amours. He had pleased by his drugs, which had frequently put the King in a state to enjoy himself more, and this road had led Lavienne to become one of the four chief valets de chambre. He was a very honest man, but coarse, rough, and free-spoken; it was this last quality which made him useful in the manner I have before mentioned. From Lavienne the King, but not without difficulty, learned the truth: it threw him into despair. The other illegitimate children were favourites with him, but it was upon M. du Maine that all his hopes were placed. They now fell to the ground, and the grief of the King was insupportable: he felt deeply for that dear son whose troops had become the laughing stock of the army; he felt the railleries that, as the gazettes showed him, foreigners were heaping upon his forces; and his vexation was inconceivable.

This Prince, so equal in his manners, so thoroughly master of his lightest movements, even upon the gravest occasions, succumbed under this event. On rising from the table at Marly he saw a servant who, while taking away the dessert, helped himself to a biscuit, which he put in his pocket. On the instant, the King forgets his dignity, and cane in hand runs to this valet (who little suspected what was in store for him), strikes him; abuses him, and breaks the cane upon his body! The truth is, 'twas only a reed, and snapped easily. However, the stump in his hand, he walked away like a man quite beside himself, continuing to abuse this valet, and entered Madame de Maintenon's room, where he remained nearly an hour. Upon coming out he met Father la Chaise. "My father," said the King to him, in a very loud voice, "I have beaten a knave and broken my cane over his shoulders, but I do not think I have offended God." Everybody around trembled at this public confession, and the poor priest muttered a semblance of approval between his teeth, to avoid irritating the King more. The noise that the affair made and the terror it inspired may be imagined; for nobody could divine for some time the cause; and everybody easily understood that that which had appeared could not be the real one. To finish with this matter, once for all, let us add here the saying of M. d'Elboeuf. Courtier though he was, the upward flight of the illegitimate children weighed upon his heart. As the campaign was at its close and the Princes were about to depart, he begged M. du Maine before everybody to say where he expected to serve during the next campaign, because wherever it might be he should like to be there also.

After being pressed to say why, he replied that "with him one's life was safe." This pointed remark made much noise. M. du Maine lowered his eyes, and did not reply one word. As for the Marechal de Villeroy he grew more and more in favour with the King and with Madame de Maintenon. The bitter fruit of M. du Maine's act was the taking of Namur, which capitulated on August 4th (1695). The Marechal de Villeroy in turn bombarded Brussels, which was sorely maltreated. The Marechal de Boufflers, who had defended Namur, was made Duke, and those who had served under him were variously rewarded. This gave occasion for the Prince of Orange to say, that the King recompensed more liberally the loss of a place than he could the conquest of one. The army retired into winter-quarters at the end of October, and the Generals went to Paris.

As for me, I remained six weeks at Landau with M. and Madame de Lorges. At the end of that time, the Marechal, having regained his health, returned to the army, where he was welcomed with the utmost joy: he soon after had an attack of apoplexy, and, by not attending to his malady in time, became seriously ill again. When a little recovered, he and Madame de Lorges set out for Vichy, and I went to Paris.


Before speaking of what happened at Court after my return, it will be necessary to record what had occurred there during the campaign.

M. de Brias, Archbishop of Cambrai, had died, and the King had given that valuable preferment to the Abbe de Fenelon, preceptor of the children of France. Fenelon was a man of quality, without fortune, whom the consciousness of wit—of the insinuating and captivating kind—united with much ability, gracefulness of intellect, and learning, inspired with ambition. He had been long going about from door to door, knocking for admission, but without success. Piqued against the Jesuits, to whom he had addressed himself at first, as holding all favours in their hands, and discouraged because unable to succeed in that quarter, he turned next to the Jansenists, to console himself by the reputation he hoped he should derive from them, for the loss of those gifts of fortune which hitherto had despised him.

He remained a considerable time undergoing the process of initiation, and succeeded at last in being of the private parties that some of the important Jansenists then held once or twice a week at the house of the Duchesse de Brancas. I know not if he appeared too clever for them, or if he hoped elsewhere for better things than he could get among people who had only sores to share; but little by little his intimacy with them cooled; and by dint of turning around Saint Sulpice, he succeeded in forming another connection there, upon which he built greater expectations. This society of priests was beginning to distinguish itself, and from a seminary of a Paris parish to extend abroad. Ignorance, the minuteness of their practices, the absence of all patrons and of members at all distinguished in any way, inspired them with a blind obedience to Rome and to all its maxims; with a great aversion for everything that passed for Jansenism, and made them so dependent upon the bishops that they began to be considered an acquisition in many dioceses. They appeared a middle party, very useful to the prelates; who equally feared the Court, on account of suspicions of doctrine, and the Jesuits for as soon as the latter had insinuated themselves into the good graces of the prelates, they imposed their yoke upon them, or ruined them hopelessly;—thus the Sulpicians grew apace. None amongst them could compare in any way with the Abbe de Fenelon; so that he was able easily to play first fiddle, and to make for himself protectors who were interested in advancing him, in order that they might be protected in turn.

His piety, which was all things to all men, and his doctrine that he formed upon theirs (abjuring, as it were, in whispers, the impurities he might have contracted amongst those he had abandoned)—the charms, the graces, the sweetness, the insinuation of his mind, rendered him a dear friend to this new congregation, and procured for him what he had long sought, people upon whom he could lean, and who could and would serve. Whilst waiting opportunities, he carefully courted these people, without thinking, however, of positively joining them, his views being more ambitious; so that he ever sought to make new acquaintances and friends. His was a coquettish mind, which from people the most influential down to the workman and the lackey sought appreciation and was determined to please; and his talents for this work perfectly seconded his desires.

At this time, and while still obscure, he heard speak of Madame Guyon, who has since made so much noise in the world, and who is too well known to need that I should dwell upon her here. He saw her. There was an interchange of pleasure between their minds. Their sublimes amalgamated. I know not if they understood each other very clearly in that system, and that new tongue which they hatched subsequently, but they persuaded themselves they did, and friendship grew up between them. Although more known than he, Madame Guyon was nevertheless not much known, and their intimacy was not perceived, because nobody thought of them; Saint Sulpice even was ignorant of what was going on.

The Duc de Beauvilliers became Governor of the children of France almost in spite of himself, without having thought of it. He had to choose a preceptor for Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne. He addressed himself to Saint Sulpice, where for a long time he had confessed, for he liked and protected it. He had heard speak of Fenelon with eulogy: the Sulpicians vaunted his piety, his intelligence, his knowledge, his talents; at last they proposed him for preceptor. The Duc de Beauvilliers saw him, was charmed with him, and appointed him to the office.

As soon as installed, Fenelon saw of what importance it would be to gain the entire favour of the Duc de Beauvilliers, and of his brother-in-law the Duc de Chevreuse, both very intimate friends, and both in the highest confidence of the King and Madame de Maintenon. This was his first care, and he succeeded beyond his hopes, becoming the master of their hearts and minds, and the director of their consciences.

Madame de Maintenon dined regularly once a week at the house of one or other of the two Dukes, fifth of a little party, composed of the two sisters and the two husbands,—with a bell upon the table, in order to dispense with servants in waiting, and to be able to talk without restraint. Fenelon was at last admitted to this sanctuary, at foot of which all the Court was prostrated. He was almost as successful with Madame de Maintenon as he had been with the two Dukes. His spirituality enchanted her: the Court soon perceived the giant strides of the fortunate Abbe, and eagerly courted him. But, desiring to be free and entirely devoted to his great object, he kept himself aloof from their flatteries—made for himself a shield with his modesty and his duties of preceptor—and thus rendered himself still more dear to the persons he had captivated, and that he had so much interest in retaining in that attachment.

Among these cares he forgot not his dear Madame Guyon; he had already vaunted her to the two Dukes and to Madame de Maintenon. He had even introduced her to them, but as though with difficulty and for a few moments, as a woman all in God, whose humility and whose love of contemplation and solitude kept her within the strictest limits, and whose fear, above all, was that she should become known. The tone of her mind pleased Madame de Maintenon extremely; her reserve, mixed with delicate flatteries, won upon her. Madame de Maintenon wished to hear her talk upon matters of piety; with difficulty she consented to speak. She seemed to surrender herself to the charms and to the virtue of Madame de Maintenon, and Madame de Maintenon fell into the nets so skilfully prepared for her.

Such was the situation of Fenelon when he became Archbishop of Cambrai; increasing the admiration in which he was held by taking no step to gain that great benefice. He had taken care not to seek to procure himself Cambrai; the least spark of ambition would have destroyed all his edifice; and, moreover, it was not Cambrai that he coveted.

Little by little he appropriated to himself some distinguished sheep of the small flock Madame Guyon had gathered together. He only conducted them, however, under the direction of that prophetess, and, everything passed with a secrecy and mystery that gave additional relish to the manna distributed.

Cambrai was a thunderbolt for this little flock. It was the archbishopric of Paris they wished. Cambrai they looked upon with disdain as a country diocese, the residence in which (impossible to avoid from time to time) would deprive them of their pastor. Their grief was then profound at what the rest of the world took for a piece of amazing luck, and the Countess of Guiche was so affected as to be unable to hide her tears. The new prelate had not neglected such of his brethren as made the most figure; they, in turn, considered it a distinction to command his regard. Saint Cyr, that spot so valuable and so inaccessible, was the place chosen for his consecration; and M. de Meaux, dictator then of the episcopacy and or doctrine, consecrated him. The children of France were among the spectators, and Madame de Maintenon was present with her little court of familiars. No others were invited; the doors were closed to those who sought to pay their court.

The new Archbishop of Cambrai, gratified with his influence over Madame de Maintenon and with the advantages it had brought him, felt that unless he became completely master of her, the hopes he still entertained could not be satisfied. But there was a rival in his way—Godet, Bishop of Chartres, who was much in the confidence of Madame de Maintenon, and had long discourses with her at Saint Cyr. As he was, however, of a very ill figure, had but little support at Court, and appeared exceedingly simple, M. de Cambrai believed he could easily overthrow him. To do this, he determined to make use of Madame Guyon, whose new spirituality had already been so highly relished by Madame de Maintenon. He persuaded this latter to allow Madame Guyon to enter Saint Cyr, where they could discourse together much more at their ease than at the Hotel de Chevreuse or Beauvilliers. Madame Guyon went accordingly to Saint Cyr two or three times. Soon after, Madame de Maintenon, who relished her more and more, made her sleep there, and their meetings grew longer. Madame Guyon admitted that she sought persons proper to become her disciples, and in a short time she formed a little flock, whose maxims and language appeared very strange to all the rest of the house, and, above all, to M. de Chartres. That prelate was not so simple as M. de Cambrai imagined. Profound theologian and scholar, pious, disinterested, and of rare probity, he could be, if necessary, a most skilful courtier; but he rarely exerted this power, for the favour of Madame de Maintenon sufficed him of itself. As soon as he got scent of this strange doctrine, he caused two ladies, upon whom he could count, to be admitted to Saint Cyr, as if to become disciples of Madame Guyon. He gave them full instructions, and they played their parts to perfection. In the first place they appeared to be ravished, and by degrees enchanted, with the new doctrine. Madame Guyon, pleased with this fresh conquest, took the ladies into her most intimate confidence in order to gain them entirely. They communicated everything to M. de Chartres, who quietly looked on, allowed things to take their course, and, when he believed the right moment had arrived, disclosed all he had learnt to Madame de Maintenon. She was strangely surprised when she saw the extraordinary drift of the new doctrine. Troubled and uncertain, she consulted with M. de Cambrai, who, not suspecting she had been so well instructed, became, when he discovered it, embarrassed, and thus augmented her suspicions.

Suddenly Madame Guyon was driven away from Saint Cyr, and prohibited from spreading her doctrine elsewhere. But the admiring disciples she had made still gathered round her in secret, and this becoming known, she was ordered to leave Paris. She feigned obedience, but in effect went no further than the Faubourg Saint Antoine, where, with great secrecy, she continued to receive her flock. But being again detected, she was sent, without further parley, to the Bastille, well treated there, but allowed to see nobody, not even to write. Before being arrested, however, she had been put into the hands of M. de Meaux, who used all his endeavours to change her sentiments. Tired at last of his sermons, she feigned conviction, signed a recantation of her opinions, and was set at liberty. Yet, directly after, she held her secret assemblies in the Faubourg Saint Antoine, and it was in consequence of this abuse of freedom that she was arrested. These adventures bring me far into the year 1696, and the sequel extends into the following year. Let us finish this history at once, and return afterwards to what happened meanwhile.

Monsieur de Cambrai, stunned but not overpowered by the reverse he had sustained, and by his loss of favour with Madame de Maintenon, stood firm in his stirrups. After Madame Guyon's abuse of her liberty, and the conferences of Issy, he bethought himself of confessing to M. de Meaux, by which celebrated trick he hoped to close that prelate's mouth. These circumstances induced M. de Meaux to take pen in hand, in order to expose to the public the full account of his affair, and of Madame Guyon's doctrine; and he did so in a work under the title of 'Instruction sur les Etats d'Oyaison'.

While the book was yet unpublished, M. de Cambrai was shown a copy. He saw at once the necessity of writing another to ward off the effect of such a blow. He must have had a great deal of matter already prepared, otherwise the diligence he used would be incredible. Before M. de Meaux's book was ready, M. de Cambrai's, entitled 'Maximes des Saints', was published and distributed. M. de Chevreuse, who corrected the proofs, installed himself at the printer's, so as to see every sheet as soon as printed.

This book, written in the strangest manner, did M. de Cambrai little service. If people were offended to find it supported upon no authority, they were much more so with its confused and embarrassed style, its precision so restrained and so decided, its barbarous terms which seemed as though taken from a foreign tongue, above all, its high-flown and far- fetched thoughts, which took one's breath away, as in the too subtle air of the middle region. Nobody, except the theologians, understood it, and even they not without reading it three or four times. Connoisseurs found in it a pure Quietism, which, although wrapped up in fine language, was clearly visible. I do not give my own judgment of things so much beyond me, but repeat what was said everywhere. Nothing else was talked about, even by the ladies; and a propos of this, the saying of Madame de Sevigne was revived: "Make religion a little more palpable; it evaporates by dint of being over-refined."

Not a word was heard in praise of the book; everybody was opposed to it, and it was the means of making Madame de Maintenon more unfavourable to M. de Cambrai than ever. He sent the King a copy, without informing her. This completed her annoyance against him. M. de Cambrai, finding his book so ill-received by the Court and by the prelates, determined to try and support it on the authority of Rome, a step quite opposed to our manners. In the mean time, M. de Meaux's book appeared in two volumes octavo, well written, clear, modest, and supported upon the authority of the Scriptures. It was received with avidity, and absolutely devoured. There was not a person at the Court who did not take a pleasure in reading it, so that for a long time it was the common subject of conversation of the Court and of the town.

These two books, so opposed in doctrine and in style, made such a stir on every side that the King interposed, and forced M. de Cambrai to submit his work to an examination by a council of prelates, whom he named. M. de Cambrai asked permission to go to Rome to defend his cause in person, but this the King refused. He sent his book, therefore, to the Pope, and had the annoyance to receive a dry, cold reply, and to see M. de Meaux's book triumph. His good fortune was in effect at an end. He remained at Court some little time, but the King was soon irritated against him, sent him off post-haste to Paris, and from there to his diocese, whence he has never returned. He left behind him a letter for one of his friends, M. de Chevreuse it was generally believed, which immediately after became public. It appeared like the manifesto of a man who disgorges his bile and restrains himself no more, because he has nothing more to hope. The letter, bold and bitter in style, was besides so full of ability and artifice, that it was extremely pleasant to read, without finding approvers; so true it is that a wise and disdainful silence is difficult to keep under reverses.


Aptitude did not come up to my desire
Believed that to undertake and succeed were only the same things
Exceeded all that was promised of her, and all that I had hoped
He had pleased (the King) by his drugs
King was being wheeled in his easy chair in the gardens
Less easily forget the injuries we inflict than those received
Make religion a little more palpable
Manifesto of a man who disgorges his bile
Mightily tired of masters and books
More facility I have as King to gratify myself
My wife went to bed, and received a crowd of visitors
People who had only sores to share
Persuaded themselves they understood each other
Received all the Court in her bed
Saw peace desired were they less inclined to listen to terms
Spark of ambition would have destroyed all his edifice
The safest place on the Continent
Wise and disdainful silence is difficult to keep under reverses
With him one's life was safe