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Title: Memoirs and Historical Chronicles of the Courts of Europe - Marguerite de Valois, Madame de Pompadour, and Catherine de Medici
Author: Various
Language: English
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TO PLAY AT HER COURT. _From the painting by V. de Paredes._]


_Queen of France, Wife of Henri IV_


_Of the Court of Louis XV_


_Queen of France, Wife of Henri II_



Introduction.--Anecdotes of Marguerite's Infancy.--Endeavours
Used to Convert Her to the New Religion.--She Is Confirmed in
Catholicism.--The Court on a Progress.--A Grand Festivity Suddenly
Interrupted.--The Confusion in Consequence


Message from the Duc d'Anjou, Afterwards Henri III., to King
Charles His Brother and the Queen-mother.--Her Fondness for Her
Children.--Their Interview.--Anjou's Eloquent Harangue.--The
Queen-mother's Character.--Discourse of the Duc d'Anjou with
Marguerite.--She Discovers Her Own Importance.--Engages to Serve
Her Brother Anjou.--Is in High Favour with the Queen-mother


Le Guast.--His Character.--Anjou Affects to Be Jealous of the
Guises.--Dissuades the Queen-mother from Reposing Confidence
in Marguerite.--She Loses the Favour of the Queen-mother and
Falls Sick.--Anjou's Hypocrisy.--He Introduces De Guise into
Marguerite's Sick Chamber.--Marguerite Demanded in Marriage by
the King of Portugal.--Made Uneasy on That Account.--Contrives
to Relieve Herself.--The Match with Portugal Broken off


Death of the Queen of Navarre.--Marguerite's Marriage with Her
Son, the King of Navarre, Afterwards Henri IV. of France.--The
Preparations for That Solemnisation Described.--The Circumstances
Which Led to the Massacre of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's


The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day


Henri, Duc d'Anjou, Elected King of Poland, Leaves France.--Huguenot
Plots to Withdraw the Duc d'Alençon and the King of Navarre from
Court.--Discovered and Defeated by Marguerite's Vigilance.--She
Draws Up an Eloquent Defence, Which Her Husband Delivers before a
Committee from the Court of Parliament.--Alençon and Her Husband,
under a Close Arrest, Regain Their Liberty by the Death of Charles


Accession of Henri III.--A Journey to Lyons.--Marguerite's Faith
in Supernatural Intelligence


What Happened at Lyons


Fresh Intrigues.--Marriage of Henri III.--Bussi Arrives at Court
and Narrowly Escapes Assassination


Bussi Is Sent from Court.--Marguerite's Husband Attacked with a
Fit of Epilepsy.--Her Great Care of Him.--Torigni Dismissed from
Marguerite's Service.--The King of Navarre and the Duc d'Alençon
Secretly Leave the Court


Queen Marguerite under Arrest.--Attempt on Torigni's Life.--Her
Fortunate Deliverance


The Peace of Sens betwixt Henri III. and the Huguenots


The League.--War Declared against the Huguenots.--Queen Marguerite
Sets out for Spa


Description of Queen Marguerite's Equipage.--Her Journey to Liège
Described.--She Enters with Success upon Her Mission.--Striking
Instance of Maternal Duty and Affection in a Great Lady.--Disasters
near the Close of the Journey


The City of Liège Described.--Affecting Story of Mademoiselle
de Tournon.--Fatal Effects of Suppressed Anguish of Mind


Queen Marguerite, on Her Return from Liège, Is In Danger of Being
Made a Prisoner.--She Arrives, after Some Narrow Escapes, at La


Good Effects of Queen Marguerite's Negotiations in Flanders.--She
Obtains Leave to Go to the King of Navarre Her Husband, but Her
Journey Is Delayed.--Court Intrigues and Plots.--The Duc d'Alençon
Again Put under Arrest


The Brothers Reconciled.--Alençon Restored to His Liberty


The Duc d'Alençon Makes His Escape from Court.--Queen Marguerite's
Fidelity Put to a Severe Trial


Queen Marguerite Permitted to Go to the King Her Husband.--Is
Accompanied by the Queen-mother.--Marguerite Insulted by Her
Husband's Secretary.--She Harbours Jealousy.--Her Attention to the
King Her Husband during an Indisposition.--Their Reconciliation.--The
War Breaks Out Afresh.--Affront Received from Maréchal de Biron


Situation of Affairs in Flanders.--Peace Brought About by Duc
d'Alençon's Negotiation.--Maréchal de Biron Apologises for Firing
on Nérac.--Henri Desperately in Love with Fosseuse.--Queen Marguerite
Discovers Fosseuse to Be Pregnant, Which She Denies.--Fosseuse in
Labour.--Marguerite's Generous Behavior to Her.--Marguerite's
Return to Paris


The _Secret Memoirs_ of Henry of Navarre's famous queen possess
a value which the passage of time seems but to heighten. Emanating
as they undoubtedly do from one of the chief actors in a momentous
crisis in French history, and in the religious history of Europe
as well, their importance as first-hand documents can hardly
be overestimated. While the interest which attaches to their
intimate discussions of people and manners of the day will appeal
to the reader at the outset.

Marguerite de Valois was the French contemporary of Queen Elizabeth
of England, and their careers furnish several curious points of
parallel. Marguerite was the daughter of the famous Catherine
de Médicis, and was given in marriage by her scheming mother
to Henry of Navarre, whose ascendant Bourbon star threatened
to eclipse (as afterwards it did) the waning house of Valois.
Catherine had four sons, three of whom successively mounted the
throne of France, but all were childless. Although the king of
the petty state of Navarre was a Protestant, and Catherine was
the most fanatical of Catholics, she made this marriage a pretext
for welding the two houses; but actually it seems to have been
a snare to lure him to Paris, for it was at this precise time
that the bloody Massacre of St. Bartholomew's day was ordered.
Henry himself escaped--it is said, through the protection of
Marguerite, his bride,--but his adherents in the Protestant party
were slain by the thousands. A wedded life begun under such
sanguinary auspices was not destined to end happily. Indeed, their
marriage resembled nothing so much as an armed truce, peaceable,
and allowing both to pursue their several paths, and finally
dissolved by mutual consent, in 1598, when Queen Marguerite was
forty-five. The closing years of her life were spent in strict
seclusion, at the Castle of Usson, in Auvergne, and it was at
this time that she probably wrote her _Memoirs_.

In the original, the _Memoirs_ are written in a clear vigorous
French, and in epistolary form. Their first editor divided them into
three sections, or books. As a whole they cover the secret history
of the Court of France from the years 1565 to 1582--seventeen years
of extraordinary interest, comprising, as they do, the Massacre of
St. Bartholomew, already referred to, the formation of the famous
League, the Peace of Sens, and the bitter religious persecutions
which were at last ended by the Edict of Nantes issued after Henry
of Navarre became Henry IV. of France. Besides the political
bearing of the letters, they give a picturesque account of Court
life at the end of the 16th century, the fashions and manners
of the time, piquant descriptions, and amusing gossip, such as
only a witty woman--as Marguerite certainly was--could inject
into such subjects. The letters, indeed, abound in sprightly
anecdote and small-talk, which yet have their value in lightening
up the whole situation.

The period covered coincides very nearly with the first half
of Marguerite's own life. Incidents of her girlhood are given,
leading to more important matters, personal and political, up
to the twenty-ninth year of her age. The letters end, therefore,
some seven years prior to the death of her brother, Henry III.
of France, and while she was still merely Queen of Navarre. It
will always be a matter of regret that the latter half of her
life was not likewise covered.

These _Memoirs_ first appeared in printed form in 1628, thirteen
years after their author's death. They enjoyed great popularity,
and in 1656 were translated into English and published in London,
with the following erroneous title: "The grand Cabinet Counsels
unlocked; or, the most faithful Transaction of Court Affairs and
Growth and Continuance of the Civil Wars in France, during the
Reigns of Charles the last, Henry III., and Henry IV., commonly
called the Great. Most excellently written, in the French Tongue,
by Margaret de Valois, Sister to the two first Kings, and Wife of
the last. Faithfully translated by Robert Codrington, Master of
Arts." Two years later the work was again translated, this time
under the title of "Memorials of Court Affairs." The misleading
portion of Codrington's title is in regard to the reign of Henry
IV. As already shown, the letters cease before that time, although
chronicling many events of his early career. The present careful
translation has been made direct from the original, adhering
as closely as permissible to the rugged but clear-cut verbal
expressions of 16th century France.

Queen Marguerite herself is described by historians and novelists
as a singularly attractive woman, both physically and mentally.
Of a little above the average height, her figure was well-rounded
and graceful, her carriage dignified and commanding. One writer
thus describes her: "Her eyes were full, black, and sparkling;
she had bright, chestnut-coloured hair, and complexion fresh and
blooming. Her skin was delicately white, and her neck admirably
well formed; and this so generally admired beauty, the fashion
of dress, in her time, admitted of being fully displayed." To
her personal charms were added a ready wit and polished manners.
Her thoughts, whether spoken or written, were always clearly
and gracefully expressed. In her retirement, at the close of
her life, she often amused herself by writing verses which she
set to music and afterwards sang, accompanying herself upon the
lute, which she performed upon skilfully.

Regarding her personal character there has been diversity of
opinion--as, indeed, there has been in the case of nearly every
exalted personage. After her separation from the king, she was the
subject of a scandalous attack, entitled _Le Divorce Satyrique, ou
les Amours de la Reyne Marguerite de Valois_; but this anonymous
libel was never seriously considered. M. Pierre de Bourdeville,
Sieur de Brantôme (better known by the final name), who gives
many facts concerning her later life in his _Anecdotes des Rois
de France_, is a staunch adherent of hers. Ronsard, the Court
poet, is also extravagant in his praises of her, but chiefly of
her beauty. Numerous other poets and romancers have found her
life a favourite subject. Meyerbeer's opera, _Les Huguenots_,
is based upon her wedding, and the ensuing Massacre. Dumas's
well-known novel, _Marguerite de Valois_, gives her a somewhat
dubious reputation, as half-tool, half-agent for Catherine, and
as the mistress of the historical La Mole. This doubtful phase,
however, if true, was but in keeping with the fashion of the
times. It is mentioned merely as a possible line completing the
portrait of this brilliant woman, who lives again for us in the
pages of her _Memoirs_.


               QUEEN OF NAVARRE.

  Dear native land! and you, proud castles! say
  (Where grandsire,[1] father,[2] and three brothers[3] lay,
  Who each, in turn, the crown imperial wore),
  Me will you own, your daughter whom you bore?
  Me, once your greatest boast and chiefest pride,
  By Bourbon and Lorraine,[4] when sought a bride;
  Now widowed wife,[5] a queen without a throne,
  Midst rocks and mountains[6] wander I alone.
  Nor yet hath Fortune vented all her spite,
  But sets one up,[7] who now enjoys my right,
  Points to the boy,[8] who henceforth claims the throne
  And crown, a son of mine should call his own.
  But ah, alas! for me 'tis now too late[9]
  To strive 'gainst Fortune and contend with Fate;
  Of those I slighted, can I beg relief?[10]
  No; let me die the victim of my grief.
  And can I then be justly said to live?
  Dead in estate, do I then yet survive?
  Last of the name, I carry to the grave
  All the remains the House of Valois have.

[Footnote 1: François I.]

[Footnote 2: Henri II.]

[Footnote 3: François II., Charles IX., and Henri III.]

[Footnote 4: Henri, King of Navarre, and Henri, Duc de Guise.]

[Footnote 5: Alluding to her divorce from Henri IV.]

[Footnote 6: The castle of Usson.]

[Footnote 7: Marie de' Medici, whom Henri married after his divorce
from Marguerite.]

[Footnote 8: Louis XIII., the son of Henri and his queen, Marie
de' Medici.]

[Footnote 9: Alluding to the differences betwixt Marguerite and
Henri, her husband.]

[Footnote 10: This is said with allusion to the supposition that
she was rather inclined to favour the suit of the Duc de Guise
and reject Henri for a husband.]



I should commend your work much more were I myself less praised
in it; but I am unwilling to do so, lest my praises should seem
rather the effect of self-love than to be founded on reason and
justice. I am fearful that, like Themistocles, I should appear
to admire their eloquence the most who are most forward to praise
me. It is the usual frailty of our sex to be fond of flattery. I
blame this in other women, and should wish not to be chargeable
with it myself. Yet I confess that I take a pride in being painted
by the hand of so able a master, however flattering the likeness
may be. If I ever were possessed of the graces you have assigned
to me, trouble and vexation render them no longer visible, and
have even effaced them from my own recollection, So that I view
myself in your Memoirs, and say, with old Madame de Rendan, who,
not having consulted her glass since her husband's death, on
seeing her own face in the mirror of another lady, exclaimed, "Who
is this?". Whatever my friends tell me when they see me now, I am
inclined to think proceeds from the partiality of their affection.
I am sure that you yourself, when you consider more impartially
what you have said, will be induced to believe, according to
these lines of Du Bellay:

  "C'est chercher Rome en Rome,
  Et rien de Rome en Rome ne trouver."

  ('Tis to seek Rome, in Rome to go,
  And Rome herself at Rome not know.)

But as we read with pleasure the history of the Siege of Troy,
the magnificence of Athens, and other splendid cities, which
once flourished, but are now so entirely destroyed that scarcely
the spot whereon they stood can be traced, so you please yourself
with describing these excellences of beauty which are no more,
and which will be discoverable only in your writings.

If you had taken upon you to contrast Nature and Fortune, you
could not have chosen a happier theme upon which to descant,
for both have made a trial of their strength on the subject of
your Memoirs. What Nature did, you had the evidence of your own
eyes to vouch for, but what was done by Fortune, you know only
from hearsay; and hearsay, I need not tell you, is liable to
be influenced by ignorance or malice, and, therefore, is not
to be depended on. You will for that reason, I make no doubt,
be pleased to receive these Memoirs from the hand which is most
interested in the truth of them.

I have been induced to undertake writing my Memoirs the more
from five or six observations which I have had occasion to make
upon your work, as you appear to have been misinformed respecting
certain particulars. For example, in that part where mention is
made of Pau, and of my journey in France; likewise where you
speak of the late Maréchal de Biron, of Agen, and of the sally
of the Marquis de Camillac from that place.

These Memoirs might merit the honourable name of history from the
truths contained in them, as I shall prefer truth to embellishment.
In fact, to embellish my story I have neither leisure nor ability;
I shall, therefore, do no more than give a simple narration of
events. They are the labours of my evenings, and will come to
you an unformed mass, to receive its shape from your hands, or
as a chaos on which you have already thrown light. Mine is a
history most assuredly worthy to come from a man of honour, one
who is a true Frenchman, born of illustrious parents, brought
up in the Court of the Kings my father and brothers, allied in
blood and friendship to the most virtuous and accomplished women
of our times, of which society I have had the good fortune to
be the bond of union.

I shall begin these Memoirs in the reign of Charles IX., and
set out with the first remarkable event of my life which fell
within my remembrance. Herein I follow the example of geographical
writers, who having described the places within their knowledge,
tell you that all beyond them are sandy deserts, countries without
inhabitants, or seas never navigated. Thus I might say that all
prior to the commencement of these Memoirs was the barrenness of
my infancy, when we can only be said to vegetate like plants,
or live, like brutes, according to instinct, and not as human
creatures, guided by reason. To those who had the direction of
my earliest years I leave the task of relating the transactions
of my infancy, if they find them as worthy of being recorded as
the infantine exploits of Themistocles and Alexander,--the one
exposing himself to be trampled on by the horses of a charioteer,
who would not stop them when requested to do so, and the other
refusing to run a race unless kings were to enter the contest
against him. Amongst such memorable things might be related the
answer I made the King my father, a short time before the fatal
accident which deprived France of peace, and our family of its
chief glory. I was then about four or five years of age, when
the King, placing me on his knee, entered familiarly into chat
with me. There were, in the same room, playing and diverting
themselves, the Prince de Joinville, since the great and unfortunate
Duc de Guise, and the Marquis de Beaupréau, son of the Prince
de la Roche-sur-Yon, who died in his fourteenth year, and by
whose death his country lost a youth of most promising talents.
Amongst other discourse, the King asked which of the two Princes
that were before me I liked best. I replied, "The Marquis." The
King said, "Why so? He is not the handsomest." The Prince de
Joinville was fair, with light-coloured hair, and the Marquis
de Beaupréau brown, with dark hair. I answered, "Because he is
the best behaved; whilst the Prince is always making mischief,
and will be master over everybody."

This was a presage of what we have seen happen since, when the
whole Court was infected with heresy, about the time of the
Conference of Poissy. It was with great difficulty that I resisted
and preserved myself from a change of religion at that time.
Many ladies and lords belonging to Court strove to convert me to
Huguenotism. The Duc d'Anjou, since King Henri III. of France,
then in his infancy, had been prevailed on to change his religion,
and he often snatched my "Hours" out of my hand, and flung them
into the fire, giving me Psalm Books and books of Huguenot prayers,
insisting on my using them. I took the first opportunity to give
them up to my governess, Madame de Curton, whom God, out of his
mercy to me, caused to continue steadfast in the Catholic religion.
She frequently took me to that pious, good man, the Cardinal
de Tournon, who gave me good advice, and strengthened me in a
perseverance in my religion, furnishing me with books and chaplets
of beads in the room of those my brother Anjou took from me and

Many of my brother's most intimate friends had resolved on my
ruin, and rated me severely upon my refusal to change, saying
it proceeded from a childish obstinacy; that if I had the least
understanding, and would listen, like other discreet persons, to
the sermons that were preached, I should abjure my uncharitable
bigotry; but I was, said they, as foolish as my governess. My
brother Anjou added threats, and said the Queen my mother would
give orders that I should be whipped. But this he said of his
own head, for the Queen my mother did not, at that time, know of
the errors he had embraced. As soon as it came to her knowledge,
she took him to task, and severely reprimanded his governors,
insisting upon their correcting him, and instructing him in the
holy and ancient religion of his forefathers, from which she
herself never swerved. When he used those menaces, as I have
before related, I was a child seven or eight years old, and at
that tender age would reply to him, "Well, get me whipped if
you can; I will suffer whipping, and even death, rather than be

I could furnish you with many other replies of the like kind,
which gave proof of the early ripeness of my judgment and my
courage; but I shall not trouble myself with such researches,
choosing rather to begin these Memoirs at the time when I resided
constantly with the Queen my mother.

Immediately after the Conference of Poissy, the civil wars commenced,
and my brother Alençon and myself, on account of pur youth, were
sent to Amboise, whither all the ladies of the country repaired
to us. With them came your aunt, Madame de Dampierre, who entered
into a firm friendship with me, which was never interrupted until
her death broke it off. There was likewise your cousin, the Duchesse
de Rais, who had the good fortune to hear there of the death
of her brute of a husband, killed at the battle of Dreux. The
husband I mean was the first she had, named M. d'Annebaut, who
was unworthy to have for a wife so accomplished and charming a
woman as your cousin. She and I were not then so intimate friends
as we have become since, and shall ever remain. The reason was
that, though older than I, she was yet young, and young girls
seldom take much notice of children, whereas your aunt was of an
age when women admire their innocence and engaging simplicity.

I remained at Amboise until the Queen my mother was ready to
set out on her grand progress, at which time she sent for me to
come to her Court, which I did not quit afterwards.

Of this progress I will not undertake to give you a description,
being still so young that, though the whole is within my
recollection, yet the particular passages of it appear to me
but as a dream, and are now lost. I leave this task to others,
of riper years, as you were yourself. You can well remember the
magnificence that was displayed everywhere, particularly at the
baptism of my nephew, the Duc de Lorraine, at Bar-le-Duc; at
the meeting of M. and Madame de Savoy, in the city of Lyons;
the interview at Bayonne betwixt my sister, the Queen of Spain,
the Queen my mother, and King Charles my brother. In your account
of this interview you would not forget to make mention of the
noble entertainment given by the Queen my mother, on an island,
with the grand dances, and the form of the _salon_, which seemed
appropriated by nature for such a purpose, it being a large meadow
in the middle of the island, in the shape of an oval, surrounded
on every side by tall spreading trees. In this meadow the Queen
my mother had disposed a circle of niches, each of them large
enough to contain a table of twelve covers. At one end a platform
was raised, ascended by four steps formed of turf. Here their
Majesties were seated at a table under a lofty canopy. The tables
were all served by troops of shepherdesses dressed in cloth of
gold and satin, after the fashion of the different provinces of
France. These shepherdesses, during the passage of the superb
boats from Bayonne to the island, were placed in separate bands,
in a meadow on each side of the causeway, raised with turf; and
whilst their Majesties and the company were passing through the
great _salon_, they danced. On their passage by water, the barges
were followed by other boats, having on board vocal and instrumental
musicians, habited like Nereids, singing and playing the whole
time. After landing, the shepherdesses I have mentioned before
received the company in separate troops, with songs and dances,
after the fashion and accompanied by the music of the provinces they
represented,--the Poitevins playing on bagpipes; the Provençales
on the viol and cymbal; the Burgundians and Champagners on the
hautboy, bass viol, and tambourine; in like manner the Bretons
and other provincialists. After the collation was served and the
feast at an end, a large troop of musicians, habited like satyrs,
was seen to come out of the opening of a rock, well lighted up,
whilst nymphs were descending from the top in rich habits, who,
as they came down, formed into a grand dance,--when, lo! fortune
no longer favouring this brilliant festival, a sudden storm of
rain came on, and all were glad to get off in the boats and make
for town as fast as they could. The confusion in consequence of
this precipitate retreat afforded as much matter to laugh at
the next day as the splendour of the entertainment had excited
admiration. In short, the festivity of this day was not forgotten,
on one account or the other, amidst the variety of the like nature
which succeeded it in the course of this progress.


At the time my magnanimous brother Charles reigned over France, and
some few years after our return from the grand progress mentioned in
my last letter, the Huguenots having renewed the war, a gentleman,
despatched from my brother Anjou (afterwards Henri III. of France),
came to Paris to inform the King and the Queen my mother that
the Huguenot army was reduced to such an extremity that he hoped
in a few days to force them to give him battle. He added his
earnest wish for the honour of seeing them at Tours before that
happened, so that, in case Fortune, envying him the glory he
had already achieved at so early an age, should, on the so much
looked-for day, after the good service he had done his religion
and his King, crown the victory with his death, he might not have
cause to regret leaving this world without the satisfaction of
receiving their approbation of his conduct from their own mouths,--a
satisfaction which would be more valuable, in his opinion, than
the trophies he had gained by his two former victories.

I leave to your own imagination to suggest to you the impression
which such a message from a dearly beloved son made on the mind
of a mother who doted on all her children, and was always ready to
sacrifice her own repose, nay, even her life, for their happiness.

She resolved immediately to set off and take the King with her.
She had, besides myself, her usual small company of female
attendants, together with Mesdames de Rais and de Sauves. She
flew on the wings of maternal affection, and reached Tours in
three days and a half. A journey from Paris, made with such
precipitation, was not unattended with accidents and some
inconveniences, of a nature to occasion much mirth and laughter.
The poor Cardinal de Bourbon, who never quitted her, and whose
temper of mind, strength of body, and habits of life were ill
suited to encounter privations and hardships, suffered greatly
from this rapid journey.

We found my brother Anjou at Plessis-les-Tours, with the principal
officers of his army, who were the flower of the princes and
nobles of France. In their presence he delivered a harangue to
the King, giving a detail of his conduct in the execution of his
charge, beginning from the time he left the Court. His discourse
was framed with so much eloquence, and spoken so gracefully, that
it was admired by all present. It appeared matter of astonishment
that a youth of sixteen should reason with all the gravity and
powers of an orator of ripe years. The comeliness of his person,
which at all times pleads powerfully in favour of a speaker,
was in him set off by the laurels obtained in two victories. In
short, it was difficult to say which most contributed to make
him the admiration of all his hearers.

It is equally as impossible for me to describe in words the feelings
of my mother on this occasion, who loved him above all her children,
as it was for the painter to represent on canvas the grief of
Iphigenia's father. Such an overflow of joy would have been
discoverable in the looks and actions of any other woman, but
she had her passions so much under the control of prudence and
discretion that there was nothing to be perceived in her countenance,
or gathered from her words, of what she felt inwardly in her mind.
She was, indeed, a perfect mistress of herself, and regulated
her discourse and her actions by the rules of wisdom and sound
policy, showing that a person of discretion does upon all occasions
only what is proper to be done. She did not amuse herself on
this occasion with listening to the praises which issued from
every mouth, and sanction them with her own approbation; but,
selecting the chief points in the speech relative to the future
conduct of the war, she laid them before the Princes and great
lords, to be deliberated upon, in order to settle a plan of

To arrange such a plan a delay of some days was requisite. During
this interval, the Queen my mother walking in the park with some
of the Princes, my brother Anjou begged me to take a turn or two
with him in a retired walk. He then addressed me in the following
words: "Dear sister, the nearness of blood; as well as our having
been brought up together, naturally, as they ought, attach us
to each other. You must already have discovered the partiality
I have had for you above my brothers, and I think that I have
perceived the same in you for me. We have been hitherto led to
this by nature, without deriving any other advantage from it
than the sole pleasure of conversing together. So far might be
well enough for our childhood, but now we are no longer children.
You know the high situation in which, by the favour of God and
our good mother the Queen, I am here placed. You may be assured
that, as you are the person in the world whom I love and esteem
the most, you will always be a partaker of my advancement. I know
you are not wanting in wit and discretion, and I am sensible
you have it in your power to do me service with the Queen our
mother, and preserve me in my present employments. It is a great
point obtained for me, always to stand well in her favour. I
am fearful that my absence may be prejudicial to that purpose,
and I must necessarily be at a distance from Court. Whilst I am
away, the King my brother is with her, and has it in his power
to insinuate himself into her good graces. This I fear, in the
end, may be of disservice to me. The King my brother is growing
older every day. He does not want for courage, and, though he now
diverts himself with hunting, he may grow ambitious, and choose
rather to chase men than beasts; in such a case I must resign to
him my commission as his lieutenant. This would prove the greatest
mortification that could happen to me, and I would even prefer death
to it. Under such an apprehension I have considered of the means
of prevention, and see none so feasible as having a confidential
person about the Queen my mother, who shall always be ready to
espouse and support my cause. I know no one so proper for that
purpose as yourself, who will be, I doubt not, as attentive to
my interest as I should be myself. You have wit, discretion, and
fidelity, which are all that are wanting, provided you will be
so kind as to undertake such a good office. In that case I shall
have only to beg of you not to neglect attending her morning and
evening, to be the first with her and the last to leave her.
This will induce her to repose a confidence and open her mind to
you. To make her the more ready to do this, I shall take every
opportunity to commend your good sense and understanding, and to
tell her that I shall take it kind in her to leave off treating
you as a child, which, I shall say, will contribute to her own
comfort and satisfaction. I am well convinced that she will listen
to my advice. Do you speak to her with the same confidence as
you do to me, and be assured that she will approve of it. It
will conduce to your own happiness to obtain her favour. You may
do yourself service whilst you are labouring for my interest;
and you may rest satisfied that, after God, I shall think I owe
all the good fortune which may befall me to yourself."

This was entirely a new kind of language to me. I had hitherto
thought of nothing but amusements, of dancing, hunting, and the
like diversions; nay, I had never yet discovered any inclination
of setting myself off to advantage by dress, and exciting an
admiration of my person and figure. I had no ambition of any
kind, and had been so strictly brought up under the Queen my
mother that I scarcely durst speak before her; and if she chanced
to turn her eyes towards me I trembled, for fear that I had done
something to displease her. At the conclusion of my brother's
harangue, I was half inclined to reply to him in the words of
Moses, when he was spoken to from the burning bush: "Who am I,
that I should go unto Pharaoh? Send, I pray thee, by the hand
of him whom thou wilt send."

However, his words inspired me with resolution and powers I did
not think myself possessed of before. I had naturally a degree
of courage, and, as soon as I recovered from my astonishment, I
found I was quite an altered person. His address pleased me, and
wrought in me a confidence in myself; and I found I was become of
more consequence than I had ever conceived I had been. Accordingly,
I replied to him thus: "Brother, if God grant me the power of
speaking to the Queen our mother as I have the will to do, nothing
can be wanting for your service, and you may expect to derive all
the good you hope from it, and from my solicitude and attention
for your interest. With respect to my undertaking such a matter
for you, you will soon perceive that I shall sacrifice all the
pleasures in this world to my watchfulness for your service. You
may perfectly rely on me, as there is no one that honours or
regards you more than I do. Be well assured that I shall act
for you with the Queen my mother as zealously as you would for

These sentiments were more strongly impressed upon my mind than
the words I made use of were capable of conveying an idea of.
This will appear more fully in my following letters.

As soon as we were returned from walking, the Queen my mother
retired with me into her closet, and addressed the following
words to me: "Your brother has been relating the conversation
you have had together; he considers you no longer as a child,
neither shall I. It will be a great comfort to me to converse
with you as I would with your brother. For the future you will
freely speak your mind, and have no apprehensions of taking too
great a liberty, for it is what I wish." These words gave me
a pleasure then which I am now unable to express. I felt a
satisfaction and a joy which nothing before had ever caused me
to feel. I now considered the pastimes of my childhood as vain
amusements. I shunned the society of my former companions of
the same age. I disliked dancing and hunting, which I thought
beneath my attention. I strictly complied with her agreeable
injunction, and never missed being with her at her rising in
the morning and going to rest at night. She did me the honour,
sometimes, to hold me in conversation for two and three hours
at a time. God was so gracious with me that I gave her great
satisfaction; and she thought she could not sufficiently praise
me to those ladies who were about her. I spoke of my brother's
affairs to her, and he was constantly apprised by me of her
sentiments and opinion; so that he had every reason to suppose
I was firmly attached to his interest.


I continued to pass my time with the Queen my mother, greatly
to my satisfaction, until after the battle of Moncontour. By
the same despatch that brought the news of this victory to the
Court, my brother, who was ever desirous to be near the Queen
my mother, wrote her word that he was about to lay siege to St.
Jean d'Angely, and that it would be necessary that the King should
be present whilst it was going on. She, more anxious to see him
than he could be to have her near him, hastened to set out on
the journey, taking me with her, and her customary train of
attendants. I likewise experienced great joy upon the occasion,
having no suspicion that any mischief awaited me. I was still
young and without experience, and I thought the happiness I enjoyed
was always to continue; but the malice of Fortune prepared for
me at this interview a reverse that I little expected, after
the fidelity with which I had discharged the trust my brother
had reposed in me.

Soon after our last meeting, it seems, my brother Anjou had taken
Le Guast to be near his person, who had ingratiated himself so
far into his favour and confidence that he saw only with his
eyes, and spoke but as he dictated. This evil-disposed man, whose
whole life was one continued scene of wickedness, had perverted
his mind and filled it with maxims of the most atrocious nature.
He advised him to have no regard but for his own interest; neither
to love nor put trust in anyone; and not to promote the views or
advantage of either brother or sister. These and other maxims
of the like nature, drawn from the school of Machiavelli, he was
continually suggesting to him. He had so frequently inculcated
them that they were strongly impressed on his mind, insomuch
that, upon our arrival, when, after the first compliments, my
mother began to open in my praise and express the attachment I
had discovered for him, this was his reply, which he delivered
with the utmost coldness: "He was well pleased," he said, "to have
succeeded in the request he had made to me; but that prudence
directed us not to continue to make use of the same expedients, for
what was profitable at one time might not be so at another." She
asked him why he made that observation. This question afforded the
opportunity he wished for, of relating a story he had fabricated,
purposely to ruin me with her.

He began with observing to her that I was grown very handsome,
and that M. de Guise wished to marry me; that his uncles, too,
were very desirous of such a match; and, if I should entertain a
like passion for him, there would be danger of my discovering to
him all she said to me; that she well knew the ambition of that
house, and how ready they were, on all occasions, to circumvent
ours. It would, therefore, be proper that she should not, for the
future, communicate any matter of State to me, but, by degrees,
withdraw her confidence.

I discovered the evil effects proceeding from this pernicious
advice on the very same evening. I remarked an unwillingness
on her part to speak to me before my brother; and, as soon as
she entered into discourse with him, she commanded me to go to
bed. This command she repeated two or three times. I quitted her
closet, and left them together in conversation; but, as soon as
he was gone, I returned and entreated her to let me know if I had
been so unhappy as to have done anything, through ignorance, which
had given her offence. She was at first inclined to dissemble with
me; but at length she said to me thus: "Daughter, your brother
is prudent and cautious; you ought not to be displeased with
him for what he does, and you must believe what I shall tell
you is right and proper." She then related the conversation she
had with my brother, as I have just written it; and she then
ordered me never to speak to her in my brother's presence.

These words were like so many daggers plunged into my breast.
In my disgrace, I experienced as much grief as I had before joy
on being received into her favour and confidence. I did not omit
to say everything to convince her of my entire ignorance of what
my brother had told her. I said it was a matter I had never heard
mentioned before; and that, had I known it, I should certainly
have made her immediately acquainted with it. All I said was to
no purpose; my brother's words had made the first impression; they
were constantly present in her mind, and outweighed probability
and truth. When I discovered this, I told her that I felt less
uneasiness at being deprived of my happiness than I did joy when
I had acquired it; for my brother had taken it from me, as he
had given it. He had given it without reason; he had taken it
away without cause. He had praised me for discretion and prudence
when I did not merit it, and he suspected my fidelity on grounds
wholly imaginary and fictitious. I concluded with assuring her
that I should never forget my brother's behaviour on this occasion.

Hereupon she flew into a passion and commanded me not to make
the least show of resentment at his behaviour. From that hour
she gradually withdrew her favour from me. Her son became the
god of her idolatry, at the shrine of whose will she sacrificed

The grief which I inwardly felt was very great and overpowered
all my faculties, until it wrought so far on my constitution as
to contribute to my receiving the infection which then prevailed
in the army. A few days after I fell sick of a raging fever,
attended with purple spots, a malady which carried off numbers,
and, amongst the rest, the two principal physicians belonging
to the King and Queen, Chappelain and Castelan. Indeed, few got
over the disorder after being attacked with it.

In this extremity the Queen my mother, who partly guessed the
cause of my illness, omitted nothing that might serve to remove
it; and, without fear of consequences, visited me frequently.
Her goodness contributed much to my recovery; but my brother's
hypocrisy was sufficient to destroy all the benefit I received
from her attention, after having been guilty of so treacherous a
proceeding. After he had proved so ungrateful to me, he came and
sat at the foot of my bed from morning to night, and appeared as
anxiously attentive as if we had been the most perfect friends.
My mouth was shut up by the command I had received from the Queen
our mother, so that I only answered his dissembled concern with
sighs, like Burrus in the presence of Nero, when he was dying by
the poison administered by the hands of that tyrant. The sighs,
however, which I vented in my brother's presence, might convince
him that I attributed my sickness rather to his ill offices than
to the prevailing contagion.

God had mercy on me, and supported me through this dangerous
illness. After I had kept my bed a fortnight, the army changed
its quarters, and I was conveyed away with it in a litter. At
the end of each day's march, I found King Charles at the door of
my quarters, ready, with the rest of the good gentlemen belonging
to the Court, to carry my litter up to my bedside. In this manner
I came to Angers from St. Jean d'Angely, sick in body, but more
sick in mind. Here, to my misfortune, M. de Guise and his uncles
had arrived before me. This was a circumstance which gave my good
brother great pleasure, as it afforded a colourable appearance
to his story. I soon discovered the advantage my brother would
make of it to increase my already too great mortification; for
he came daily to see me, and as constantly brought M. de Guise
into my chamber with him. He pretended the sincerest regard for
De Guise, and, to make him believe it, would take frequent
opportunities of embracing him, crying out at the same time;
"Would to God you were my brother!" This he often put in practice
before me, which M. de Guise seemed not to comprehend; but I,
who knew his malicious designs, lost all patience, yet did not
dare to reproach him with his hypocrisy.

As soon as I was recovered, a treaty was set on foot for a marriage
betwixt the King of Portugal and me, an ambassador having been
sent for that purpose. The Queen my mother commanded me to prepare
to give the ambassador an audience; which I did accordingly. My
brother had made her believe that I was averse to this marriage;
accordingly, she took me to task upon it, and questioned me on
the subject, expecting she should find some cause to be angry
with me. I told her my will had always been guided by her own,
and that whatever she thought right for me to do, I should do
it. She answered me, angrily, according as she had been wrought
upon, that I did not speak the sentiments of my heart, for she
well knew that the Cardinal de Lorraine had persuaded me into
a promise of having his nephew. I begged her to forward this
match with the King of Portugal, and I would convince her of my
obedience to her commands. Every day some new matter was reported
to incense her against me. All these were machinations worked up
by the mind of Le Guast. In short, I was constantly receiving
some fresh mortification, so that I hardly passed a day in quiet.
On one side, the King of Spain was using his utmost endeavours to
break off the match with Portugal, and M. de Guise, continuing
at Court, furnished grounds for persecuting me on the other.
Still, not a single person of the Guises ever mentioned a word
to me on the subject; and it was well known that, for more than
a twelvemonth, M. de Guise had been paying his addresses to the
Princesse de Porcian; but the slow progress made in bringing
this match to a conclusion was said to be owing to his designs
upon me.

As soon as I made this discovery I resolved to write to my sister,
Madame de Lorraine, who had a great influence in the House of
Porcian, begging her to use her endeavours to withdraw M. de Guise
from Court, and make him conclude his match with the Princess,
laying open to her the plot which had been concerted to ruin
the Guises and me. She readily saw through it, came immediately
to Court, and concluded the match, which delivered me from the
aspersions cast on my character, and convinced the Queen my mother
that what I had told her was the real truth. This at the same
time stopped the mouths of my enemies and gave me some repose.

At length the King of Spain, unwilling that the King of Portugal
should marry out of his family, broke off the treaty which had
been entered upon for my marriage with him.


Some short time after this a marriage was projected betwixt the
Prince of Navarre, now our renowned King Henri IV., and me.

The Queen my mother, as she sat at table, discoursed for a long
time upon the subject with M. de W Meru, the House of Montmorency
having first proposed the match. After the Queen had risen from
table, he told me she had commanded him to mention it to me.
I replied that it was quite unnecessary, as I had no will but
her own; however, I should wish she would be pleased to remember
that I was a Catholic, and that I should dislike to marry any
one of a contrary persuasion.

Soon after this the Queen sent for me to attend her in her closet.
She there informed me that the Montmorencys had proposed this match
to her, and that she was desirous to learn my sentiments upon it.
I answered that my choice was governed by her pleasure, and that
I only begged her not to forget that I was a good Catholic.

This treaty was in negotiation for some time after this conversation,
and was not finally settled until the arrival of the Queen of
Navarre, his mother, at Court, where she died soon after.

Whilst the Queen of Navarre lay on her death-bed, a circumstance
happened of so whimsical a nature that, though hot of consequence
to merit a place in the history, it may very well deserve to be
related by me to you. Madame de Nevers, whose oddities you well
know, attended the Cardinal de Bourbon, Madame de Guise, the
Princesse de Condé, her sisters, and myself to the late Queen
of Navarre's apartments, whither we all went to pay those last
duties which her rank and our nearness of blood demanded of us.
We found the Queen in bed with her curtains undrawn, the chamber
not disposed with the pomp and ceremonies of our religion, but
after the simple manner of the Huguenots; that is to say, there
were no priests, no cross, nor any holy water. We kept ourselves
at some distance from the bed, but Madame de Nevers, whom you
know the Queen hated more than any woman besides, and which she
had shown both in speech and by actions,--Madame de Nevers, I
say, approached the bedside, and, to the great astonishment of
all present, who well knew the enmity subsisting betwixt them,
took the Queen's hand, with many low curtseys, and kissed it;
after which, making another curtsey to the very ground, she retired
and rejoined us.

A few months after the Queen's death, the Prince of Navarre, or
rather, as he was then styled, the King, came to Paris in deep
mourning, attended by eight hundred gentlemen, all in mourning
habits. He was received with every honour by King Charles and the
whole Court, and, in a few days after his arrival, our marriage was
solemnised with all possible magnificence; the King of Navarre and
his retinue putting off their mourning and dressing themselves in
the most costly manner. The whole Court, too, was richly attired;
all which you can better conceive than I am able to express.
For my own part, I was set out in a most royal manner; I wore a
crown on my head with the _coët_, or regal close gown of ermine,
and I blazed in diamonds. My blue-coloured robe had a train to it
of four ells in length, which was supported by three princesses.
A platform had been raised, some height from the ground, which
led from the Bishop's palace to the Church of Notre-Dame. It was
hung with cloth of gold; and below it stood the people in throngs
to view the procession, stifling with heat. We were received at
the church door by the Cardinal de Bourbon, who officiated for
that day, and pronounced the nuptial benediction. After this we
proceeded on the same platform to the tribune which separates the
nave from the choir, where was a double staircase, one leading
into the choir, the other through the nave to the church door.
The King of Navarre passed by the latter and went out of church.

But fortune, which is ever changing, did not fail soon to disturb
the felicity of this union. This was occasioned by the wound
received by the Admiral, which had wrought the Huguenots up to
a degree of desperation. The Queen my mother was reproached on
that account in such terms by the elder Pardaillan and some other
principal Huguenots, that she began to apprehend some evil design.
M. de Guise and my brother the King of Poland, since Henri III.
of France, gave it as their advice to be beforehand with the
Huguenots. King Charles was of a contrary opinion. He had a great
esteem for M. de La Rochefoucauld, Teligny, La Nouë, and some
other leading men of the same religion; and, as I have since
heard him say, it was with the greatest difficulty he could be
prevailed upon to give his consent, and not before he had been
made to understand that his own life and the safety of his kingdom
depended upon it.

The King having learned that Maurevel had made an attempt upon
the Admiral's life, by firing a pistol at him through a window,--in
which attempt he failed, having wounded the Admiral only in the
shoulder,--and supposing that Maurevel had done this at the instance
of M. de Guise, to revenge the death of his father, whom the
Admiral had caused to be killed in the same manner by Poltrot,
he was so much incensed against M. de Guise that he declared
with an oath that he would make an example of him; and, indeed,
the King would have put M. de Guise under an arrest, if he had
not kept out of his sight the whole day. The Queen my mother used
every argument to convince King Charles that what had been done
was for the good of the State; and this because, as I observed
before, the King had so great a regard for the Admiral, La Nouë,
and Teligny, on account of their bravery, being himself a prince
of a gallant and noble spirit, and esteeming others in whom he
found a similar disposition. Moreover, these designing men had
insinuated themselves into the King's favour by proposing an
expedition to Flanders, with a view of extending his dominions
and aggrandising his power, propositions which they well knew
would secure to themselves an influence over his royal and generous

Upon this occasion, the Queen my mother represented to the King
that the attempt of M. de Guise upon the Admiral's life was excusable
in a son who, being denied justice, had no other means of avenging
his father's death. Moreover, the Admiral, she said, had deprived
her by assassination, during his minority and her regency, of
a faithful servant in the person of Charri, commander of the
King's body-guard, which rendered him deserving of the like

Notwithstanding that the Queen my mother spoke thus to the King,
discovering by her expressions and in her looks all the grief which
she inwardly felt on the recollection of the loss of persons who
had been useful to her; yet, so much was King Charles inclined
to save those who, as he thought, would one day be serviceable
to him, that he still persisted in his determination to punish
M. de Guise, for whom he ordered strict search to be made.

At length Pardaillan, disclosing by his menaces, during the supper
of the Queen my mother, the evil intentions of the Huguenots, she
plainly perceived that things were brought to so near a crisis,
that, unless steps were taken that very night to prevent it, the
King and herself were in danger of being assassinated. She,
therefore, came to the resolution of declaring to King Charles
his real situation. For this purpose she thought of the Maréchal
de Rais as the most proper person to break the matter to the
King, the Marshal being greatly in his favour and confidence.

Accordingly, the Marshal went to the King in his closet, between
the hours of nine and ten, and told him he was come as a faithful
servant to discharge his duty, and lay before him the danger in
which he stood, if he persisted in his resolution of punishing
M. de Guise, as he ought now to be informed that the attempt
made upon the Admiral's life was not set on foot by him alone,
but that his (the King's) brother the King of Poland, and the
Queen his mother, had their shares in it; that he must be sensible
how much the Queen lamented Charri's assassination, for which
she had great reason, having very few servants about her upon
whom she could rely, and as it happened during the King's
minority,--at the time, moreover, when France was divided between
the Catholics and the Huguenots, M. de Guise being at the head
of the former, and the Prince de Condé of the latter, both alike
striving to deprive him of his crown; that through Providence,
both his crown and kingdom had been preserved by the prudence
and good conduct of the Queen Regent, who in this extremity found
herself powerfully aided by the said Charri, for which reason
she had vowed to avenge his death; that, as to the Admiral, he
must be ever considered as dangerous to the State, and whatever
show he might make of affection for his Majesty's person, and
zeal for his service in Flanders, they must be considered as mere
pretences, which he used to cover his real design of reducing
the kingdom to a state of confusion.

The Marshal concluded with observing that the original intention
had been to make away with the Admiral only, as the most obnoxious
man in the kingdom; but Maurevel having been so unfortunate as
to fail in his attempt, and the Huguenots becoming desperate
enough to resolve to take up arms, with design to attack, not
only M. de Guise, but the Queen his mother, and his brother the
King of Poland, supposing them, as well as his Majesty, to have
commanded Maurevel to make his attempt, he saw nothing but cause
of alarm for his Majesty's safety,--as well on the part of the
Catholics, if he persisted in his resolution to punish M. de
Guise, as of the Huguenots, for the reasons which he had just
laid before him.


King Charles, a prince of great prudence, always paying a particular
deference to his mother, and being much attached to the Catholic
religion, now convinced of the intentions of the Huguenots, adopted
a sudden resolution of following his mother's counsel, and putting
himself under the safeguard of the Catholics. It was not, however,
without extreme regret that he found he had it not in his power
to save Teligny, La Nouë; and M. de La Rochefoucauld.

He went to the apartments of the Queen his mother, and sending
for M. de Guise and all the Princes and Catholic officers, the
"Massacre of St. Bartholomew" was that night resolved upon.

Immediately every hand was at work; chains were drawn across the
streets, the alarm-bells were sounded, and every man repaired
to his post, according to the orders he had received, whether
it was to attack the Admiral's quarters, or those of the other
Huguenots. M. de Guise hastened to the Admiral's, and Besme, a
gentleman in the service of the former, a German by birth, forced
into his chamber, and having slain him with a dagger, threw his
body out of a window to his master.

I was perfectly ignorant of what was going forward. I observed
everyone to be in motion: the Huguenots, driven to despair by
the attack upon the Admiral's life, and the Guises, fearing they
should not have justice done them, whispering all they met in
the ear.

The Huguenots were suspicious of me because I was a Catholic,
and the Catholics because I was married to the King of Navarre,
who was a Huguenot. This being the case, no one spoke a syllable
of the matter to me.

At night, when I went into the bedchamber of the Queen my mother,
I placed myself on a coffer, next my sister Lorraine, who, I
could not but remark, appeared greatly cast down. The Queen my
mother was in conversation with some one, but, as soon as she
espied me, she bade me go to bed. As I was taking leave, my sister
seized me by the hand and stopped me, at the same time shedding
a flood of tears: "For the love of God," cried she, "do not stir
out of this chamber!" I was greatly alarmed at this exclamation;
perceiving which, the Queen my mother called my sister to her,
and chid her very severely. My sister replied it was sending me
away to be sacrificed; for, if any discovery should be made, I
should be the first victim of their revenge. The Queen my mother
made answer that, if it pleased God, I should receive no hurt,
but it was necessary I should go, to prevent the suspicion that
might arise from my staying.

I perceived there was something on foot which I was not to know,
but what it was I could not make out from anything they said.

The Queen again bade me go to bed in a peremptory tone. My sister
wished me a good night, her tears flowing apace, but she did not
dare to say a word more; and I left the bedchamber more dead
than alive.

As soon as I reached my own closet, I threw myself upon my knees
and prayed to God to take me into his protection and save me; but
from whom or what, I was ignorant. Hereupon the King my husband,
who was already in bed, sent for me. I went to him, and found the
bed surrounded by thirty or forty Huguenots, who were entirely
unknown to me; for I had been then but a very short time married.
Their whole discourse, during the night, was upon what had happened
to the Admiral, and they all came to a resolution of the next
day demanding justice of the King against M. de Guise; and, if
it was refused, to take it themselves.

For my part, I was unable to sleep a wink the whole night, for
thinking of my sister's tears and distress, which had greatly
alarmed me, although I had not the least knowledge of the real
cause. As soon as day broke, the King my husband said he would
rise and play at tennis until King Charles was risen, when he
would go to him immediately and demand justice. He left the
bedchamber, and all his gentlemen followed.

As soon as I beheld it was broad day, I apprehended all the danger
my sister had spoken of was over; and being inclined to sleep, I
bade my nurse make the door fast, and I applied myself to take
some repose. In about an hour I was awakened by a violent noise
at the door, made with both hands and feet, and a voice calling
out, "Navarre! Navarre!" My nurse, supposing the King my husband
to be at the door, hastened to open it, when a gentleman, named
M. de Teian, ran in, and threw himself immediately upon my bed.
He had received a wound in his arm from a sword, and another by
a pike, and was then pursued by four archers, who followed him
into the bedchamber. Perceiving these last, I jumped out of bed,
and the poor gentleman after me, holding me fast by the waist.
I did not then know him; neither was I sure that he came to do me
no harm, or whether the archers were in pursuit of him or me. In
this situation I screamed aloud, and he cried out likewise, for
our fright was mutual. At length, by God's providence, M. de
Nançay, captain of the guard, came into the bedchamber, and,
seeing me thus surrounded, though he could not help pitying me,
he was scarcely able to refrain from laughter. However, he
reprimanded the archers very severely for their indiscretion,
and drove them out of the chamber. At my request he granted the
poor gentleman his life, and I had him put to bed in my closet,
caused his wounds to be dressed, and did not suffer him to quit
my apartment until he was perfectly cured. I changed my shift,
because it was stained with the blood of this man, and, whilst
I was doing so, De Nançay gave me an account of the transactions
of the foregoing night, assuring me that the King my husband was
safe, and actually at that moment in the King's bed-chamber.
He made me muffle myself up in a cloak, and conducted me to the
apartment of my sister, Madame de Lorraine, whither I arrived
more than half dead. As we passed through the antechamber, all
the doors of which were wide open, a gentleman of the name of
Bourse, pursued by archers, was run through the body with a pike,
and fell dead at my feet. As if I had been killed by the same
stroke, I fell, and was caught by M. de Nançay before I reached
the ground. As soon as I recovered from this fainting-fit, I
went into my sister's bedchamber, and was immediately followed
by M. de Mioflano, first gentleman to the King my husband, and
Armagnac, his first _valet de chambre_, who both came to beg me
to save their lives. I went and threw myself on my knees before
the King and the Queen my mother, and obtained the lives of both
of them.

Five or six days afterwards, those who were engaged in this plot,
considering that it was incomplete whilst the King my husband
and the Prince de Condé remained alive, as their design was not
only to dispose of the Huguenots, but of the Princes of the blood
likewise; and knowing that no attempt could be made on my husband
whilst I continued to be his wife, devised a scheme which they
suggested to the Queen my mother for divorcing me from him.
Accordingly, one holiday, when I waited upon her to chapel, she
charged me to declare to her, upon my oath, whether I believed
my husband to be like other men. "Because," said she, "if he
is not, I can easily procure you a divorce from him." I begged
her to believe that I was not sufficiently competent to answer
such a question, and could only reply, as the Roman lady did
to her husband, when he chid her for not informing him of his
stinking breath, that, never having approached any other man
near enough to know a difference, she thought all men had been
alike in that respect. "But," said I, "Madame, since you have
put the question to me, I can only declare I am content to remain
as I am;" and this I said because I suspected the design of
separating me from my husband was in order to work some mischief
against him.


We accompanied the King of Poland as far as Beaumont. For some
months before he quitted France, he had used every endeavour
to efface from my mind the ill offices he had so ungratefully
done me. He solicited to obtain the same place in my esteem which
he held during our infancy; and, on taking leave of me, made me
confirm it by oaths and promises. His departure from France,
and King Charles's sickness, which happened just about the same
time, excited the spirit of the two factions into which the kingdom
was divided, to form a variety of plots. The Huguenots, on the
death of the Admiral, had obtained from the King my husband, and
my brother Alençon, a written obligation to avenge it. Before St.
Bartholomew's Day, they had gained my brother over to their party,
by the hope of securing Flanders for him. They now persuaded my
husband and him to leave the King and Queen on their return,
and pass into Champagne, there to join some troops which were
in waiting to receive them.

M. de Miossans, a Catholic gentleman, having received an intimation
of this design, considered it so prejudicial to the interests
of the King his master, that he communicated it to me with the
intention of frustrating a plot of so much danger to themselves
and to the State. I went immediately to the King and the Queen
my mother, and informed them that I had a matter of the utmost
importance to lay before them; but that I could not declare it
unless they would be pleased to promise me that no harm should
ensue from it to such as I should name to them, and that they
would put a stop to what was going forward without publishing
their knowledge of it. Having obtained my request, I told them
that my brother Alençon and the King my husband had an intention,
on the very next day, of joining some Huguenot troops, which
expected them, in order to fulfil the engagement they had made
upon the Admiral's death; and for this their intention, I begged
they might be excused, and that they might be prevented from
going away without any discovery being made that their designs
had been found out. All this was granted me, and measures were
so prudently taken to stay them, that they had not the least
suspicion that their intended evasion was known. Soon after, we
arrived at St. Germain, where we stayed some time, on account
of the King's indisposition. All this while my brother Alençon
used every means he could devise to ingratiate himself with me,
until at last I promised him my friendship, as I had before done
to my brother the King of Poland. As he had been brought up at a
distance from Court, we had hitherto known very little of each
other, and kept ourselves at a distance. Now that he had made
the first advances, in so respectful and affectionate a manner,
I resolved to receive him into a firm friendship, and to interest
myself in whatever concerned him, without prejudice, however,
to the interests of my good brother King Charles, whom I loved
more than any one besides, and who continued to entertain a great
regard for me, of which he gave me proofs as long as he lived.

Meanwhile King Charles was daily growing worse, and the Huguenots
constantly forming new plots. They were very desirous to get
my brother the Duc d'Alençon and the King my husband away from
Court. I got intelligence, from time to time, of their designs;
and, providentially, the Queen my mother defeated their intentions
when a day had been fixed on for the arrival of the Huguenot
troops at St. Germain. To avoid this visit, we set off the night
before for Paris, two hours after midnight, putting King Charles
in a litter, and the Queen my mother taking my brother and the
King my husband with her in her own carriage.

They did not experience on this occasion such mild treatment
as they had hitherto done, for the King going to the Wood of
Vincennes, they were not permitted to set foot out of the palace.
This misunderstanding was so far from being mitigated by time,
that the mistrust and discontent were continually increasing,
owing to the insinuations and bad advice offered to the King by
those who wished the ruin and downfall of our house. To such a
height had these jealousies risen that the Maréchaux de Montmorency
and de Cossé were put under a close arrest, and La Mole and the
Comte de Donas executed. Matters were now arrived at such a pitch
that commissioners were appointed from the Court of Parliament
to hear and determine upon the case of my brother and the King
my husband.

My husband, having no counsellor to assist him, desired me to
draw up his defence in such a manner that he might not implicate
any person, and, at the same time, clear my brother and himself
from any criminality of conduct. With God's help I accomplished
this task to his great satisfaction, and to the surprise of the
commissioners, who did not expect to find them so well prepared
to justify themselves.

As it was apprehended, after the death of La Mole and the Comte
de Donas, that their lives were likewise in danger, I had resolved
to save them at the hazard of my own ruin with the King, whose
favour I entirely enjoyed at that time. I was suffered to pass
to and from them in my coach, with my women, who were not even
required by the guard to unmask, nor was my coach ever searched.
This being the case, I had intended to convey away one of them
disguised in a female habit. But the difficulty lay in settling
betwixt themselves which should remain behind in prison, they
being closely watched by their guards, and the escape of one
bringing the other's life into hazard. Thus they could never
agree upon the point, each of them wishing to be the person I
should deliver from confinement.

But Providence put a period to their imprisonment by a means
which proved very unfortunate for me. This was no other than
the death of King Charles, who was the only stay and support of
my life,--a brother from whose hands I never received anything
but good; who, during the persecution I underwent at Angers,
through my brother Anjou, assisted me with all his advice and
credit. In a word, when I lost King Charles, I lost everything.


After this fatal event, which was as unfortunate for France as
for me, we went to Lyons to give the meeting to the King of Poland,
now Henri III. of France. The new King was as much governed by
Le Guast as ever, and had left this intriguing, mischievous man
behind in France to keep his party together. Through this man's
insinuations he had conceived the most confirmed jealousy of my
brother Alençon. He suspected that I was the bond that connected
the King my husband and my brother, and that, to dissolve their
union, it would be necessary to create a coolness between me and
my husband, and to work up a quarrel of rivalship betwixt them
both by means of Madame de Sauves, whom they both visited. This
abominable plot, which proved the source of so much disquietude
and unhappiness, as well to my brother as myself, was as artfully
conducted as it was wickedly designed.

Many have held that God has great personages more immediately
under his protection, and that minds of superior excellence have
bestowed on them a good genius, or secret intelligencer, to apprise
them of good, or warn them against evil. Of this number I might
reckon the Queen my mother, who has had frequent intimations
of the kind; particularly the very night before the tournament
which proved so fatal to the King my father, she dreamed that she
saw him wounded in the eye, as it really happened; upon which she
awoke, and begged him not to run a course that day, but content
himself with looking on. Fate prevented the nation from enjoying so
much happiness as it would have done had he followed her advice.
Whenever she lost a child, she beheld a bright flame shining before
her, and would immediately cry out, "God save my children!" well
knowing it was the harbinger of the death of some one of them,
which melancholy news was sure to be confirmed very shortly after.
During her very dangerous illness at Metz, where she caught a
pestilential fever, either from the coal fires, or by visiting
some of the nunneries which had been infected, and from which
she was restored to health and to the kingdom through the great
skill and experience of that modern Æsculapius, M. de Castilian her
physician--I say, during that illness, her bed being surrounded by
my brother King Charles, my brother and sister Lorraine, several
members of the Council, besides many ladies and princesses, not
choosing to quit her, though without hopes of her life, she was
heard to cry out, as if she saw the battle of Jarnac: "There!
see how they flee! My son, follow them to victory! Ah, my son
falls! O my God, save him! See there! the Prince de Condé is
dead!" All who were present looked upon these words as proceeding
from her delirium, as she knew that my brother Anjou was on the
point of giving battle, and thought no more of it. On the night
following, M. de Losses brought the news of the battle; and, it
being supposed that she would be pleased to hear of it, she was
awakened, at which she appeared to be angry, saying: "Did I not
know it yesterday?" It was then that those about her recollected
what I have now related, and concluded that it was no delirium,
but one of those revelations made by God to great and illustrious
persons. Ancient history furnishes many examples of the like
kind amongst the pagans, as the apparition of Brutus and many
others, which I shall not mention, it not being my intention to
illustrate these Memoirs with such narratives, but only to relate
the truth, and that with as much expedition as I am able, that
you may be the sooner in possession of my story.

I am far from supposing that I am worthy of these divine admonitions;
nevertheless, I should accuse myself of ingratitude towards my God
for the benefits I have received, which I esteem myself obliged
to acknowledge whilst I live; and I further believe myself bound
to bear testimony of his goodness and power, and the mercies he
hath shown me, so that I can declare no extraordinary accident
ever befell me, whether fortunate or otherwise, but I received
some warning of it, either by dream or in some other way, so
that I may say with the poet--

  "De mon bien, ou mon mal,
  Mon esprit m'est oracle."

  (Whate'er of good or ill befell,
  My mind was oracle to tell.)

And of this I had a convincing proof on the arrival of the King
of Poland, when the Queen my mother went to meet him. Amidst
the embraces and compliments of welcome in that warm season,
crowded as we were together and stifling with heat, I found a
universal shivering come over me, which was plainly perceived
by those near me. It was with difficulty I could conceal what
I felt when the King, having saluted the Queen my mother, came
forward to salute me. This secret intimation of what was to happen
thereafter made a strong impression on my mind at the moment, and
I thought of it shortly after, when I discovered that the King
had conceived a hatred of me through the malicious suggestions
of Le Guast, who had made him believe, since the King's death,
that I espoused my brother Alençon's party during his absence,
and cemented a friendship betwixt the King my husband and him.


An opportunity was diligently sought by my enemies to effect their
design of bringing about a misunderstanding betwixt my brother
Alençon, the King my husband, and me, by creating a jealousy of
me in my husband, and in my brother and husband, on account of
their mutual love for Madame de Sauves.

One afternoon, the Queen my mother having retired to her closet
to finish some despatches which were likely to detain her there
for some time, Madame de Nevers, your kinswoman, Madame de Rais,
another of your relations, Bourdeille, and Surgères asked me
whether I would not wish to see a little of the city. Whereupon
Mademoiselle de Montigny, the niece of Madame Usez, observing to
us that the Abbey of St. Pierre was a beautiful convent, we all
resolved to visit it. She then begged to go with us, as she said
she had an aunt in that convent, and as it was not easy to gain
admission into it, except in the company of persons of distinction.
Accordingly, she went with us; and there being six of us, the
carriage was crowded. Over and above those I have mentioned,
there was Madame de Curton, the lady of my bed-chamber, who always
attended me. Liancourt, first esquire to the King, and Camille
placed themselves on the steps of Torigni's carriage, supporting
themselves as well as they were able, making themselves merry
on the occasion, and saying they would go and see the handsome
nuns, too. I look upon it as ordered by Divine Providence that I
should have Mademoiselle de Montigny with me, who was not well
acquainted with any lady of the company, and that the two gentlemen
just mentioned, who were in the confidence of King Henri, should
likewise be of the party, as they were able to clear me of the
calumny intended, to be fixed upon me.

Whilst we were viewing the convent, my carriage waited for us in
the square. In the square many gentlemen belonging to the Court
had their lodgings. My carriage was easily to be distinguished,
as it was gilt and lined with yellow velvet trimmed with silver.
We had not come out of the convent when the King passed through
the square on his way to see Quelus, who was then sick. He had
with him the King my husband, D'O----, and the fat fellow Ruffé.

The King, observing no one in my carriage, turned to my husband
and said: "There is your wife's coach, and that is the house
where Bidé lodges. Bidé is sick, and I will engage my word she
is gone upon a visit to him. Go," said he to Ruffé, "and see
whether she is not there." In saying this, the King addressed
himself to a proper tool for his malicious purpose, for this
fellow Ruffé was entirely devoted to Le Guast. I need not tell you
he did not find me there; however, knowing the King's intention,
he, to favour it, said loud enough for the King my husband to
hear him: "The birds have been there, but they are now flown."
This furnished sufficient matter for conversation until they
reached home.

Upon this occasion, the King my husband displayed all the good
sense and generosity of temper for which he is remarkable. He
saw through the design, and he despised the maliciousness of
it. The King my brother was anxious to see the Queen my mother
before me, to whom he imparted the pretended discovery, and she,
whether to please a son on whom she doted, or whether she really
gave credit to the story had related it to some ladies with much
seeming anger.

Soon afterwards I returned with the ladies who had accompanied
me to St. Pierre's, entirely ignorant of what had happened. I
found the King my husband in our apartments, who began to laugh
on seeing me, and said: "Go immediately to the Queen your mother,
but I promise you you will not return very well pleased." I asked
him the reason, and what had happened. He answered: "I shall
tell you nothing; but be assured of this, that I do not give
the least credit to the story, which I plainly perceive to be
fabricated in order to stir up a difference betwixt us two, and
break off the friendly intercourse between your brother and me."

Finding I could get no further information on the subject from
him, I went to the apartment of the Queen my mother. I met M. de
Guise in the antechamber, who was not displeased at the prospect
of a dissension in our family, hoping that he might make some
advantage of it. He addressed me in these words: "I waited here
expecting to see you, in order to inform you that some ill office
has been done you with the Queen." He then told me the story he
had learned of D'O----, who, being intimate with your kinswoman,
had informed M. de Guise of it, that he might apprise us.

I went into the Queen's bedchamber, but did not find my mother
there. However, I saw Madame de Nemours, the rest of the princesses,
and other ladies, who all exclaimed on seeing me: "Good God! the
Queen your mother is in such a rage; we would advise you, for
the present, to keep out of her sight."

"Yes," said I, "so I would, had I been guilty of what the King
has reported; but I assure you all I am entirely innocent, and
must therefore speak with her and clear myself."

I then went into her closet, which was separated from the bedchamber
by a slight partition only, so that our whole conversation could
be distinctly heard. She no sooner set eyes upon me than she
flew into a great passion, and said everything that the fury
of her resentment suggested. I related to her the whole truth,
and begged to refer her to the company which attended me, to
the number of ten or twelve persons, desiring her not to rely
on the testimony of those more immediately about me, but examine
Mademoiselle Montigny, who did not belong to me, and Liancourt
and Camille, who were the King's servants.

She would not hear a word I had to offer, but continued to rate
me in a furious manner; whether it was through fear, or affection
for her son, or whether she believed the story in earnest, I know
not. When I observed to her that I understood the King had done
me this ill office in her opinion, her anger was redoubled, and
she endeavoured to make me believe that she had been informed of
the circumstance by one of her own _valets de chambre_, who had
himself seen me at the place. Perceiving that I gave no credit
to this account of the matter, she became more and more incensed
against me.

All that was said was perfectly heard by those in the next room.
At length I left her closet, much chagrined; and returning to
my own apartments, I found the King my husband there, who said
to me: "Well, was it not as I told you?"

He, seeing me under great concern, desired me not to grieve about
it, adding that "Liancourt and Camille would attend the King
that night in his bedchamber, and relate the affair as it really
was; and to-morrow," continued he, "the Queen your mother will
receive you in a very different manner."

"But, monsieur," I replied, "I have received too gross an affront
in public to forgive those who were the occasion of it; but that
is nothing when compared with the malicious intention of causing
so heavy a misfortune to befall me as to create a variance betwixt
you and me."

"But," said he, "God be thanked, they have failed in it."

"For that," answered I, "I am the more beholden to God and your
amiable disposition. However," continued I, "we may derive this
good from it, that it ought to be a warning to us to put ourselves
upon our guard against the King's stratagems to bring about a
disunion betwixt you and my brother, by causing a rupture betwixt
you and me."

Whilst I was saying this, my brother entered the apartment, and
I made them renew their protestations of friendship. But what
oaths or promises can prevail against love! This will appear
more fully in the sequel of my story.

An Italian banker, who had concerns with my brother, came to him
the next morning, and invited him, the King my husband, myself,
the princesses, and other ladies, to partake of an entertainment
in a garden belonging to him. Having made it a constant rule,
before and after I married, as long as I remained in the Court
of the Queen my mother, to go to no place without her permission,
I waited on her, at her return from mass, and asked leave to be
present at this banquet. She refused to give any leave, and said
she did not care where I went. I leave you to judge, who know my
temper, whether I was not greatly mortified at this rebuff.

Whilst we were enjoying this entertainment, the King, having
spoken with Liancourt, Camille, and Mademoiselle Montigny, was
apprised of the mistake which the malice or misapprehension of
Ruffé had led him into. Accordingly, he went to the Queen my
mother and related the whole truth, entreating her to remove
any ill impressions that might remain with me, as he perceived
that I was not deficient in point of understanding; and feared
that I might be induced to engage in some plan of revenge.

When I returned from the banquet before mentioned, I found that
what the King my husband had foretold was come to pass; for the
Queen my mother sent for me into her back closet, which was adjoining
the King's, and told me that she was now acquainted with the
truth, and found I had not deceived her with a false story. She
had discovered, she said, that there was not the least foundation
for the report her _valet de chambre_ had made, and should dismiss
him from her service as a bad man. As she perceived by my looks
that I saw through this disguise, she said everything she could
think of to persuade me to a belief that the King had not mentioned
it to her. She continued her arguments, and I still appeared
incredulous. At length the King entered the closet, and made
many apologies, declaring he had been imposed on, and assuring
me of his most cordial friendship and esteem; and thus matters
were set to rights again.


After staying some time at Lyons, we went to Avignon. Le Guast,
not daring to hazard any fresh imposture, and finding that my
conduct afforded no ground for jealousy on the part of my husband,
plainly perceived that he could not, by that means, bring about
a misunderstanding betwixt my brother and the King my husband.
He therefore resolved to try what he could effect through Madame
de Sauves. In order to do this, he obtained such an influence
over her that she acted entirely as he directed; insomuch that,
by his artful instructions, the passion which these young men
had conceived, hitherto wavering and cold, as is generally the
case at their time of life, became of a sudden so violent that
ambition and every obligation of duty were at once absorbed by
their attentions to this woman.

This occasioned such a jealousy betwixt them that, though her
favours were divided with M. de Guise, Le Guast, De Souvray,
and others, anyone of whom she preferred to the brothers-in-law,
such was the infatuation of these last, that each considered
the other as his only rival.

To carry on De Guast's sinister designs, this woman persuaded the
King my husband that I was jealous of her, and on that account
it was that I joined with my brother. As we are ready to give
ear and credit to those we love, he believed all she said. From
this time he became distant and reserved towards me, shunning my
presence as much as possible; whereas, before, he was open and
communicative to me as to a sister, well knowing that I yielded to
his pleasure in all things, and was far from harbouring jealousy
of any kind.

What I had dreaded, I now perceived had come to pass. This was
the loss of his favour and good opinion; to preserve which I
had studied to gain his confidence by a ready compliance with
his wishes, well knowing that mistrust is the sure forerunner
of hatred.

I now turned my mind to an endeavour to wean my brother's affection
from Madame de Sauves, in order to counterplot Le Guast in his
design to bring about a division, and thereby to effect our ruin.
I used every means with my brother to divert his passion; but
the fascination was too strong, and my pains proved ineffectual.
In anything else, my brother would have suffered himself to be
ruled by me; but the charms of this Circe, aided by that sorcerer,
Le Guast, were too powerful to be dissolved by my advice. So far
was he from profiting by my counsel that he was weak enough to
communicate it to her. So blind are lovers!

Her vengeance was excited by this communication, and she now
entered more fully into the designs of Le Guast. In consequence,
she used all her art to make the King my husband conceive an
aversion for me; insomuch that he scarcely ever spoke with me.
He left her late at night, and, to prevent our meeting in the
morning, she directed him to come to her at the Queen's levée,
which she duly attended; after which he passed the rest of the
day with her. My brother likewise followed her with the greatest
assiduity, and she had the artifice to make each of them think
that he alone had any place in her esteem. Thus was a jealousy
kept up betwixt them, and, in consequence, disunion and mutual

We made a considerable stay at Avignon, whence we proceeded through
Burgundy and Champagne to Rheims, where the King's marriage was
celebrated. From Rheims we came to Paris, things going on in
their usual train, and Le Guast prosecuting his designs with
all the success he could wish. At Paris my brother was joined
by Bussi, whom he received with all the favour which his bravery
merited. He was inseparable from my brother, in consequence of
which I frequently saw him, for my brother and I were always
together, his household being equally at my devotion as if it
were my own. Your aunt, remarking this harmony betwixt us, has
often told me that it called to her recollection the times of
my uncle, M. d'Orléans, and my aunt, Madame de Savoie.

Le Guast thought this a favourable circumstance to complete his
design. Accordingly, he suggested to Madame de Sauves to make my
husband believe that it was on account of Bussi that I frequented
my brother's apartments so constantly.

The King my husband, being fully informed of all my proceedings
from persons in his service who attended me everywhere, could
not be induced to lend an ear to this story. Le Guast, finding
himself foiled in this quarter, applied to the King, who was well
inclined to listen to the tale, on account of his dislike to my
brother and me, whose friendship for each other was unpleasing
to him.

Besides this, he was incensed against Bussi, who, being formerly
attached to him, had now devoted himself wholly to my brother,--an
acquisition which, on account of the celebrity of Bussi's fame
for parts and valour, redounded greatly to my brother's honour,
whilst it increased the malice and envy of his enemies.

The King, thus worked upon by Le Guast, mentioned it to the Queen
my mother, thinking it would have the same effect on her as the
tale which was trumped up at Lyons. But she, seeing through the
whole design, showed him the improbability of the story, adding
that he must have some wicked people about him, who could put
such notions in his head, observing that I was very unfortunate
to have fallen upon such evil times. "In my younger days," said
she, "we were allowed to converse freely with all the gentlemen
who belonged to the King our father, the Dauphin, and M. d'Orléans,
your uncles. It was common for them to assemble in the bedchamber
of Madame Marguerite, your aunt, as well as in mine, and nothing
was thought of it. Neither ought it to appear strange that Bussi
sees my daughter in the presence of her husband's servants. They
are not shut up together. Bussi is a person of quality, and holds
the first place in your brother's family. What grounds are there
for such a calumny? At Lyons you caused me to offer her an affront,
which I fear she will never forget."

The King was astonished to hear his mother talk in this manner,
and interrupted her with saying: "Madame, I only relate what
I have heard."

"But who is it," answered she, "that tells you all this? I fear
no one that intends you any good, but rather one that wishes
to create divisions amongst you all."

As soon as the King had left her she told me all that had passed,
and said: "You are unfortunate to live in these times." Then calling
your aunt, Madame de Dampierre, they entered into a discourse
concerning the pleasures and innocent freedoms of the times they
had seen, when scandal and malevolence were unknown at Court.

Le Guast, finding this plot miscarry, was not long in contriving
another. He addressed himself for this purpose to certain gentlemen
who attended the King my husband. These had been formerly the
friends of Bussi, but, envying the glory he had obtained, were
now become his enemies. Under the mask of zeal for their master,
they disguised the envy which they harboured in their breasts.
They entered into a design of assassinating Bussi as he left
my brother to go to his own lodgings, which was generally at
a late hour. They knew that he was always accompanied home by
fifteen or sixteen gentlemen, belonging to my brother, and that,
notwithstanding he wore no sword, having been lately wounded in
the right arm, his presence was sufficient to inspire the rest
with courage.

In order, therefore, to make sure work, they resolved on attacking
him with two or three hundred men, thinking that night would
throw a veil over the disgrace of such an assassination.

Le Guast, who commanded a regiment of guards, furnished the requisite
number of men, whom he disposed in five or six divisions, in the
street through which he was to pass. Their orders were to put
out the torches and _flambeaux_, and then to fire their pieces,
after which they were to charge his company, observing particularly
to attack one who had his right arm slung in a scarf.

Fortunately they escaped the intended massacre, and, fighting
their way through, reached Bussi's lodgings, one gentleman only
being killed, who was particularly attached to M. de Bussi, and
who was probably mistaken for him, as he had his arm likewise
slung in a scarf.

An Italian gentleman, who belonged to my brother, left them at
the beginning of the attack, and came running back to the Louvre.
As soon as he reached my brother's chamber door, he cried out
aloud: "Bussi is assassinated!" My brother was going out, but
I, hearing the cry of assassination, left my chamber, by good
fortune not being undressed, and stopped my brother. I then sent
for the Queen my mother to come with all haste in order to prevent
him from going out, as he was resolved to do, regardless of what
might happen. It was with difficulty we could stay him, though the
Queen my mother represented the hazard he ran from the darkness
of the night, and his ignorance of the nature of the attack,
which might have been purposely designed by Le Guast to take
away his life. Her entreaties and persuasions would have been
of little avail if she had not used her authority to order all
the doors to be barred, and taken the resolution of remaining
where she was until she had learned what had really happened.

Bussi, whom God had thus miraculously preserved, with that presence
of mind which he was so remarkable for in time of battle and
the most imminent danger, considering within himself when he
reached home the anxiety of his master's mind should he have
received any false report, and fearing he might expose himself
to hazard upon the first alarm being given (which certainly would
have been the case, if my mother had not interfered and prevented
it), immediately despatched one of his people to let him know
every circumstance.

The next day Bussi showed himself at the Louvre without the least
dread of enemies, as if what had happened had been merely the
attack of a tournament. My brother exhibited much pleasure at
the sight of Bussi, but expressed great resentment at such a
daring attempt to deprive him of so brave and valuable a servant,
a man whom Le Guast durst not attack in any other way than by
a base assassination.


The Queen my mother, a woman endowed with the greatest prudence
and foresight of any one I ever knew, apprehensive of evil
consequences from this affair, and fearing a dissension betwixt
her two sons, advised my brother to fall upon some pretence for
sending Bussi away from Court. In this advice I joined her, and
through our united counsel and request, my brother was prevailed
upon to give his consent. I had every reason to suppose that
Le Guast would take advantage of the rencounter to foment the
coolness which already existed betwixt my brother and the King
my husband into an open rupture: Bussi, who implicitly followed
my brother's directions in everything, departed with a company
of the bravest noblemen that were about the latter's person.

Bussi was now removed from the machinations of Le Guast, who
likewise failed in accomplishing a design he had long projected,--to
disunite the King my husband and me.

One night my husband was attacked with a fit, and continued
insensible for the space of an hour,--occasioned, I supposed,
by his excesses with women, for I never knew anything of the
kind to happen to him before. However, as it was my duty so to
do, I attended him with so much care and assiduity that, when
he recovered, he spoke of it to everyone, declaring that, if
I had not perceived his indisposition and called for the help
of my women, he should not have survived the fit.

From this time he treated me with more kindness, and the cordiality
betwixt my brother and him was again revived, as if I had been
the point of union at which they were to meet, or the cement
that joined them together.

Le Guast was now at his wit's end for some fresh contrivance to
breed disunion in the Court.

He had lately persuaded the King to remove from about the person
of the Queen-consort, a princess of the greatest virtue and most
amiable qualities, a female attendant of the name of Changi,
for whom the Queen entertained a particular esteem, as having
been brought up with her. Being successful in this measure, he
now thought of making the King my husband send away Torigni,
whom I greatly regarded.

The argument he used with the King was, that young princesses
ought to have no favourites about them.

The King, yielding to this man's persuasions, spoke of it to
my husband, who observed that it would be a matter that would
greatly distress me; that if I had an esteem for Torigni it was
not without cause, as she had been brought up with the Queen
of Spain and me from our infancy; that, moreover, Torigni was
a young lady of good understanding, and had been of great use
to him during his confinement at Vincennes; that it would be
the greatest ingratitude in him to overlook services of such a
nature, and that he remembered well when his Majesty had expressed
the same sentiments.

Thus did he defend himself against the performance of so ungrateful
an action. However, the King listened only to the arguments of
Le Guast, and told my husband that he should have no more love
for him if he did not remove Torigni from about me the very next

He was forced to comply, greatly contrary to his will, and, as
he has since declared to me, with much regret. Joining entreaties
to commands, he laid his injunctions on me accordingly.

How displeasing this separation was I plainly discovered by the
many tears I shed on receiving his orders. It was in vain to
represent to him the injury done to my character by the sudden
removal of one who had been with me from my earliest years, and
was so greatly in my esteem and confidence; he could not give
an ear to my reasons, being firmly bound by the promise he had
made to the King.

Accordingly, Torigni left me that very day, and went to the house
of a relation, M. Chastelas. I was so greatly offended with this
fresh indignity, after so many of the kind formerly received,
that I could not help yielding to resentment; and my grief and
concern getting the upper hand of my prudence, I exhibited a
great coolness and indifference towards my husband. Le Guast and
Madame de Sauves were successful in creating a like indifference
on his part, which, coinciding with mine, separated us altogether,
and we neither spoke to each other nor slept in the same bed.

A few days after this, some faithful servants about the person
of the King my husband remarked to him the plot which had been
concerted with so much artifice to lead him to his ruin, by creating
a division, first betwixt him and my brother, and next betwixt
him and me, thereby separating him from those in whom only he
could hope for his principal support. They observed to him that
already matters were brought to such a pass that the King showed
little regard for him, and even appeared to despise him.

They afterwards addressed themselves to my brother, whose situation
was not in the least mended since the departure of Bussi, Le
Guast causing fresh indignities to be offered him daily. They
represented to him that the King my husband and he were both
circumstanced alike, and equally in disgrace, as Le Guast had
everything under his direction; so that both of them were under
the necessity of soliciting, through him, any favours which they
might want of the King, and which, when demanded, were constantly
refused them with great contempt. Moreover, it was become dangerous
to offer them service, as it was inevitable ruin for anyone to
do so.

"Since, then," said they, "your dissensions appear to be so likely
to prove fatal to both, it would be advisable in you both to unite
and come to a determination of leaving the Court; and, after
collecting together your friends and servants, to require from the
King an establishment suitable to your ranks." They observed to
my brother that he had never yet been put in possession of his
appanage, and received for his subsistence only some certain
allowances, which were not regularly paid him, as they passed
through the hands of Le Guast, and were at his disposal, to be
discharged or kept back, as he judged proper. They concluded
with observing that, with regard to the King my husband, the
government of Guyenne was taken out of his hands; neither was
he permitted to visit that or any other of his dominions.

It was hereupon resolved to pursue the counsel now given, and that
the King my husband and my brother should immediately withdraw
themselves from Court. My brother made me acquainted with this
resolution, observing to me, as my husband and he were now friends
again, that I ought to forget all that had passed; that my husband
had declared to him that he was sorry things had so happened, that
we had been outwitted by our enemies, but that he was resolved,
from henceforward, to show me every attention and give me every
proof of his love and esteem, and he concluded with begging me
to make my husband every show of affection, and to be watchful
for their interest during their absence.

It was concerted betwixt them that my brother should depart first,
making off in a carriage in the best manner he could; that, in
a few days afterwards, the King my husband should follow, under
pretence of going on a hunting party. They both expressed their
concern that they could not take me with them, assuring me that
I had no occasion to have any apprehensions, as it would soon
appear that they had no design to disturb the peace of the kingdom,
but merely to ensure the safety of their own persons, and to
settle their establishments. In short, it might well be supposed
that, in their present situation, they had reason to apprehend
danger to themselves from such as had evil designs against their

Accordingly, as soon as it was dusk and before the King's
supper-time, my brother changed his cloak, and concealing the
lower part of his face to his nose in it, left the palace, attended
by a servant who was little known, and went on foot to the gate
of St. Honoré, where he found Simier waiting for him in a coach,
borrowed of a lady for the purpose.

My brother threw himself into it, and went to a house about a
quarter of a league out of Paris, where horses were stationed
ready; and at the distance of about a league farther, he joined
a party of two or three hundred horsemen of his servants, who
were awaiting his coming. My brother was not missed till nine
o'clock, when the King and the Queen my mother asked me the reason
he did not come to sup with them as usual, and if I knew of his
being indisposed. I told them I had not seen him since noon.
Thereupon they sent to his apartments. Word was brought back
that he was not there. Orders were then given to inquire at the
apartments of the ladies whom he was accustomed to visit. He was
nowhere to be found. There was now a general alarm. The King
flew into a great passion, and began to threaten me. He then
sent for all the Princes and the great officers of the Court;
and giving orders for a pursuit to be made, and to bring him
back, dead or alive, cried out: "He is gone to make war against
me; but I will show him what it is to contend with a king of
my power."

Many of the Princes and officers of State remonstrated against
these orders, which they observed ought to be well weighed. They
said that, as their duty directed, they were willing to venture
their lives in the King's service; but to act against his brother
they were certain would not be pleasing to the King himself; that
they were well convinced his brother would undertake nothing
that should give his Majesty displeasure, or be productive of
danger to the realm; that perhaps his leaving the Court was owing
to some disgust, which it would be more advisable to send and
inquire into. Others, on the contrary, were for putting the King's
orders into execution; but, whatever expedition they could use,
it was day before they set off; and as it was then too late to
overtake my brother, they returned, being only equipped for the

I was in tears the whole night of my brother's departure, and
the next day was seized with a violent cold, which was succeeded
by a fever that confined me to my bed.

Meanwhile my husband was preparing for his departure, which took
up all the time he could spare from his visits to Madame de Sauves;
so that he did not think of me. He returned as usual at two or
three in the morning, and, as we had separate beds, I seldom
heard him; and in the morning, before I was awake, he went to
my mother's levée, where he met Madame de Sauves, as usual.

This being the case, he quite forgot his promise to my brother
of speaking to me; and when he went away, it was without taking
leave of me.

The King did not show my husband more favour after my brother's
evasion, but continued to behave with his former coolness. This
the more confirmed him in the resolution of leaving the Court,
so that in a few days, under the pretence of hunting, he went


The King, supposing that I was a principal instrument in aiding
the Princes in their desertion, was greatly incensed against
me, and his rage became at length so violent that, had not the
Queen my mother moderated it, I am inclined to think my life
had been in danger. Giving way to her counsel, he became more
calm, but insisted upon a guard being placed over me, that I
might not follow the King my husband, neither have communication
with any one, so as to give the Princes intelligence of what
was going on at Court. The Queen my mother gave her consent to
this measure, as being the least violent, and was well pleased
to find his anger cooled in so great a degree. She, however,
requested that she might be permitted to discourse with me, in
order to reconcile me to a submission to treatment of so different
a kind from what I had hitherto known. At the same time she advised
the King to consider that these troubles might not be lasting;
that everything in the world bore a double aspect; that what
now appeared to him horrible and alarming, might, upon a second
view, assume a more pleasing and tranquil look; that, as things
changed, so should measures change with them; that there might
come a time when he might have occasion for my services; that,
as prudence counselled us not to repose too much confidence in
our friends, lest they should one day become our enemies, so was
it advisable to conduct ourselves in such a manner to our enemies
as if we had hopes they should hereafter become our friends.
By such prudent remonstrances did the Queen my mother restrain
the King from proceeding to extremities with me, as he would
otherwise possibly have done.

Le Guast now endeavoured to divert his fury to another object,
in order to wound me in a most sensitive part. He prevailed on
the King to adopt a design for seizing Torigni, at the house
of her cousin Chastelas, and, under pretence of bringing her
before the King, to drown her in a river which they were to cross.
The party sent upon this errand was admitted by Chastelas, not
suspecting any evil design, without the least difficulty, into
his house. As soon as they had gained admission they proceeded
to execute the cruel business they were sent upon, by fastening
Torigni with cords and locking her up in a chamber, whilst their
horses were baiting. Meantime, according to the French custom,
they crammed themselves, like gluttons, with the best eatables
the house afforded. Chastelas, who was a man of discretion, was
not displeased to gain time at the expense of some part of his
substance, considering that the suspension of a sentence is a
prolongation of life, and that during this respite the King's
heart might relent, and he might countermand his former orders.
With these considerations he was induced to submit, though it
was in his power to have called for assistance to repel this
violence. But God, who hath constantly regarded my afflictions
and afforded me protection against the malicious designs of my
enemies, was pleased to order poor Torigni to be delivered by
means which I could never have devised had I been acquainted
with the plot, of which I was totally ignorant. Several of the
domestics, male as well as female, had left the house in a fright,
fearing the insolence and rude treatment of this troop of soldiers,
who behaved as riotously as if they were in a house given up
to pillage. Some of these, at the distance of a quarter of a
league from the house, by God's providence, fell in with Ferté
and Avantigni, at the head of their troops, in number about two
hundred horse, on their march to join my brother. Ferté, remarking
a labourer, whom he knew to belong to Chastelas, apparently in
great distress, inquired of him what was the matter, and whether
he had been ill-used by any of the soldiery. The man related
to him all he knew, and in what state he had left his master's
house. Hereupon Ferté and Avantigni resolved, out of regard to
me, to effect Torigni's deliverance, returning thanks to God for
having afforded them so favourable an opportunity of testifying
the respect they had always entertained towards me.

Accordingly, they proceeded to the house with all expedition, and
arrived just at the moment these soldiers were setting Torigni on
horseback, for the purpose of conveying her to the river wherein
they had orders to plunge her. Galloping into the courtyard,
sword in hand, they cried out: "Assassins, if you dare to offer
that lady the least injury, you are dead men!" So saying, they
attacked them and drove them to flight, leaving their prisoner
behind, nearly as dead with joy as she was before with fear and
apprehension. After returning thanks to God and her deliverers for
so opportune and unexpected a rescue, she and her cousin Chastelas
set off in a carriage, under the escort of their rescuers, and
joined my brother, who, since he could not have me with him,
was happy to have one so dear to me about him. She remained under
my brother's protection as long as any danger was apprehended,
and was treated with as much respect as if she had been with

Whilst the King was giving directions for this notable expedition,
for the purpose of sacrificing Torigni to his vengeance, the
Queen my mother, who had not received the least intimation of
it, came to my apartment as I was dressing to go abroad, in order
to observe how I should be received after what had passed at
Court, having still some alarms on account of my husband and
brother. I had hitherto confined myself to my chamber, not having
perfectly recovered my health, and, in reality, being all the
time as much indisposed in mind as in body.

My mother, perceiving my intention, addressed me in these words:
"My child, you are giving yourself unnecessary trouble in dressing
to go abroad. Do not be alarmed at what I am going to tell you.
Your own good sense will dictate to you that you ought not to
be surprised if the King resents the conduct of your brother
and husband, and as he knows the love and friendship that exist
between you three, should suppose that you were privy to their
design of leaving the Court. He has, for this reason, resolved
to detain you in it, as a hostage for them. He is sensible how
much you are beloved by your husband, and thinks he can hold
no pledge that is more dear to him. On this account it is that
the King has ordered his guards to be placed, with directions
not to suffer you to leave your apartments. He has done this
with the advice of his counsellors, by whom it was suggested
that, if you had your free liberty, you, might be induced to
advise your brother and husband of their deliberations. I beg
you will not be offended with these measures, which, if it so
please God, may not be of long continuance. I beg, moreover,
you will not be displeased with me if I do not pay you frequent
visits, as I should be unwilling to create any suspicions in the
King's mind. However, you may rest assured that I shall prevent
any further steps from being taken that may prove disagreeable
to you, and that I shall use my utmost endeavours to bring about
a reconciliation betwixt your brothers."

I represented to her, in reply, the great indignity that was
offered to me by putting me under arrest; that it was true my
brother had all along communicated to me the just cause he had to
be dissatisfied, but that, with respect to the King my husband,
from the time Torigni was taken from me we had not spoken to
each other; neither had he visited me during my indisposition,
nor did he even take leave of me when he left Court. "This,"
says she, "is nothing at all; it is merely a trifling difference
betwixt man and wife, which a few sweet words, conveyed in a
letter, will set to rights. When, by such means, he has regained
your affections, he has only to write to you to come to him,
and you will set off at the very first opportunity. Now, this
is what the King my son wishes to prevent."


The Queen my mother left me, saying these words. For my part, I
remained a close prisoner, without a visit from a single person,
none of my most intimate friends daring to come near me, through
the apprehension that such a step might prove injurious to their
interests. Thus it is ever in Courts. Adversity is solitary,
while prosperity dwells in a crowd; the object of persecution
being sure to be shunned by his nearest friends and dearest
connections. The brave Grillon was the only one who ventured
to visit me, at the hazard of incurring disgrace. He came five
or six times to see me, and my guards were so much astonished
at his resolution, and awed by his presence, that not a single
Cerberus of them all would venture to refuse him entrance to
my apartments.

Meanwhile, the King my husband reached the States under his
government. Being joined there by his friends and dependents,
they all represented to him the indignity offered to me by his
quitting the Court without taking leave of me. They observed
to him that I was a princess of good understanding, and that
it would be for his interest to regain my esteem; that, when
matters were put on their former footing, he might derive to
himself great advantage from my presence at Court. Now that he
was at a distance from his Circe, Madame de Sauves, he could
listen to good advice. Absence having abated the force of her
charms, his eyes were opened; he discovered the plots and
machinations of our enemies, and clearly perceived that a rupture
could not but tend to the ruin of us both.

Accordingly, he wrote me a very affectionate letter, wherein he
entreated me to forget all that had passed betwixt us, assuring
me that from thenceforth he would ever love me, and would give
me every demonstration that he did so, desiring me to inform
him of what was going on at Court, and how it fared with me and
my brother. My brother was in Champagne and the King my husband
in Gascony, and there had been no communication betwixt them,
though they were on terms of friendship.

I received this letter during my imprisonment, and it gave me
great comfort under that situation. Although my guards had strict
orders not to permit me to set pen to paper, yet, as necessity
is said to be the mother of invention, I found means to write
many letters to him.

Some few days after I had been put under arrest, my brother had
intelligence of it, which chagrined him so much that, had not
the love of his country prevailed with him, the effects of his
resentment would have been shown in a cruel civil war, to which
purpose he had a sufficient force entirely at his devotion. He
was, however, withheld by his patriotism, and contented himself
with writing to the Queen my mother, informing her that, if I was
thus treated, he should be driven upon some desperate measure.
She, fearing the consequence of an open rupture, and dreading
lest, if blows were once struck, she should be deprived of the
power of bringing about a reconciliation betwixt the brothers,
represented the consequences to the King, and found him well
disposed to lend an ear to her reasons, as his anger was now
cooled by the apprehensions of being attacked in Gascony, Dauphiny,
Languedoc, and Poitou, with all the strength of the Huguenots
under the King my husband.

Besides the many strong places held by the Huguenots, my brother
had an army with him in Champagne, composed chiefly of nobility,
the bravest and best in France. The King found, since my brother's
departure, that he could not, either by threats or rewards, induce
a single person among the princes and great lords to act against
him, so much did everyone fear to intermeddle in this quarrel,
which they considered as of a family nature; and after having
maturely reflected on his situation, he acquiesced in my mother's
opinion, and begged her to fall upon some means of reconciliation.
She thereupon proposed going to my brother and taking me with
her. To the measure of taking me, the King had an objection, as
he considered me as the hostage for my husband and brother. She
then agreed to leave me behind, and set off without my knowledge
of the matter. At their interview, my brother represented to the
Queen my mother that he could not but be greatly dissatisfied
with the King after the many mortifications he had received at
Court; that the cruelty and injustice of confining me hurt him
equally as if done to himself; observing, moreover, that, as
if my arrest were not a sufficient mortification, poor Torigni
must be made to suffer; and concluding with the declaration of
his firm resolution not to listen to any terms of peace until
I was restored to my liberty, and reparation made me for the
indignity I had sustained. The Queen my mother being unable to
obtain any other answer, returned to Court and acquainted the
King with my brother's determination. Her advice was to go back
again with me, for going without me, she said, would answer very
little purpose; and if I went with her in disgust, it would do
more harm than good. Besides, there was reason to fear, in that
case, I should insist upon going to my husband. "In short," says
she, "my daughter's guard must be removed, and she must be satisfied
in the best way we can."

The King agreed to follow her advice, and was now, on a sudden,
as eager to reconcile matters betwixt us as she was herself.
Hereupon I was sent for, and when I came to her, she informed
me that she had paved the way for peace; that it was for the
good of the State, which she was sensible I must be as desirous
to promote as my brother; that she had it now in her power to
make a peace which would be as satisfactory as my brother could
desire, and would put us entirely out of the reach of Le Guast's
machinations, or those of any one else who might have an influence
over the King's mind. She observed that, by assisting her to
procure a good understanding betwixt the King and my brother, I
should relieve her from that cruel disquietude under which she
at present laboured, as, should things come to an open rupture,
she could not but be grieved, whichever party prevailed, as they
were both her sons. She therefore expressed her hopes that I
would forget the injuries I had received, and dispose myself to
concur in a peace, rather than join in any plan of revenge. She
assured me that the King was sorry for what had happened; that
he had even expressed his regret to her with tears in his eyes,
and had declared that he was ready to give me every satisfaction.
I replied that I was willing to sacrifice everything for the
good of my brothers and of the State; that I wished for nothing
so much as peace, and that I would exert myself to the utmost
to bring it about.

As I uttered these words, the King came into the closet, and, with
a number of fine speeches, endeavoured to soften my resentment
and to recover my friendship, to which I made such returns as
might show him I harboured no ill-will for the injuries I had
received. I was induced to such behaviour rather out of contempt,
and because it was good policy to let the King go away satisfied
with me.

Besides, I had found a secret pleasure, during my confinement,
from the perusal of good books, to which I had given myself up
with a delight I never before experienced. I consider this as an
obligation I owe to fortune, or, rather, to Divine Providence,
in order to prepare me, by such efficacious means, to bear up
against the misfortunes and calamities that awaited me. By tracing
nature in the universal book which is opened to all mankind, I
was led to the knowledge of the Divine Author. Science conducts
us, step by step, through the whole range of creation, until we
arrive, at length, at God. Misfortune prompts us to summon our
utmost strength to oppose grief and recover tranquillity, until
at length we find a powerful aid in the knowledge and love of
God, whilst prosperity hurries us away until we are overwhelmed
by our passions. My captivity and its consequent solitude afforded
me the double advantage of exciting a passion for study, and an
inclination for devotion, advantages I had never experienced
during the vanities and splendour of my prosperity.

As I have already observed, the King, discovering in me no signs
of discontent, informed me that the Queen my mother was going
into Champagne to have an interview with my brother, in order
to bring about a peace, and begged me to accompany her thither
and to use my best endeavours to forward his views, as he knew
my brother was always well disposed to follow my counsel; and
he concluded with saying that the peace, when accomplished, he
should ever consider as being due to my good offices, and should
esteem himself obliged to me for it. I promised to exert myself
in so good a work, which I plainly perceived was both for my
brother's advantage and the benefit of the State.

The Queen my mother and I set off for Sens the next day. The
conference was agreed to be held in a gentleman's château, at
a distance of about a league from that place. My brother was
waiting for us, accompanied by a small body of troops and the
principal Catholic noblemen and princes of his army. Amongst
these were the Duc Casimir and Colonel Poux, who had brought
him six thousand German horse, raised by the Huguenots, they
having joined my brother, as the King my husband and he acted
in conjunction.

The treaty was continued for several days, the conditions of
peace requiring much discussion, especially such articles of it
as related to religion. With respect to these, when at length
agreed upon, they were too much to the advantage of the Huguenots,
as it appeared afterwards, to be kept; but the Queen my mother
gave in to them, in order to have a peace, and that the German
cavalry before mentioned might be disbanded. She was, moreover,
desirous to get my brother out of the hands of the Huguenots;
and he was himself as willing to leave them, being always a very
good Catholic, and joining the Huguenots only through necessity.

One condition of the peace was, that my brother should have a
suitable establishment. My brother likewise stipulated for me,
that my marriage portion should be assigned in lands, and M. de
Beauvais, a commissioner on his part, insisted much upon it.
My mother, however, opposed it, and persuaded me to join her in
it, assuring me that I should obtain from the King all I could
require. Thereupon I begged I might not be included in the articles
of peace, observing that I would rather owe whatever I was to
receive to the particular favour of the King and the Queen my
mother, and should, besides, consider it as more secure when
obtained by such means.

The peace being thus concluded and ratified on both sides, the
Queen my mother prepared to return. At this instant I received
letters from the King my husband, in which he expressed a great
desire to see me, begging me, as soon as peace was agreed on, to
ask leave to go to him. I communicated my husband's wish, to the
Queen my mother, and added my own entreaties. She expressed herself
greatly averse to such a measure, and used every argument to set
me against it. She observed that, when I refused her proposal
of a divorce after St. Bartholomew's Day, she gave way to my
refusal, and commended me for it, because my husband was then
converted to the Catholic religion; but now that he had abjured
Catholicism, and was turned Huguenot again, she could not give
her consent that I should go to him. When I still insisted upon
going, she burst into a flood of tears, and said, if I did not
return with her, it would prove her ruin; that the King would
believe it was her doing; that she had promised to bring me back
with her; and that, when my brother returned to Court, which
would be soon, she would give her consent.

We now returned to Paris, and found the King well satisfied that
we had made a peace; though not, however, pleased with the articles
concluded in favour of the Huguenots. He therefore resolved within
himself, as soon as my brother should return to Court, to find
some pretext for renewing the war. These advantageous conditions
were, indeed, only granted the Huguenots to get my brother out
of their hands, who was detained near two months, being employed
in disbanding his German horse and the rest of his army.


At length my brother returned to Court, accompanied by all the
Catholic nobility who had followed his fortunes. The King received
him very graciously, and showed, by his reception of him, how
much he was pleased at his return. Bussi, who returned with my
brother, met likewise with a gracious reception. Le Guast was
now no more, having died under the operation of a particular
regimen ordered for him by his physician. He had given himself
up to every kind of debauchery; and his death seemed the judgment
of the Almighty on one whose body had long been perishing, and
whose soul had been made over to the prince of demons as the price
of assistance through the means of diabolical magic, which he
constantly practised. The King, though now without this instrument
of his malicious contrivances, turned his thoughts entirely upon
the destruction of the Huguenots. To effect this, he strove to
engage my brother against them, and thereby make them his enemies;
and that I might be considered as another enemy, he used every
means to prevent me from going to the King my husband. Accordingly
he showed every mark of attention to both of us, and manifested
an inclination to gratify all our wishes.

After some time, M. de Duras arrived at Court, sent by the King
my husband to hasten my departure. Hereupon, I pressed the King
greatly to think well of it, and give me his leave. He, to colour
his refusal, told me he could not part with me at present, as
I was the chief ornament of his Court; that he must keep me a
little longer, after which he would accompany me himself on my
way as far as Poitiers. With this answer and assurance, he sent
M. de Duras back. These excuses were purposely framed in order
to gain time until everything was prepared for declaring war
against the Huguenots, and, in consequence, against the King my
husband, as he fully designed to do.

As a pretence to break with the Huguenots, a report was spread
abroad that the Catholics were dissatisfied with the Peace of Sens,
and thought the terms of it too advantageous for the Huguenots.
This rumour succeeded, and produced all that discontent amongst
the Catholics intended by it. A league was formed in the provinces
and great cities, which was joined by numbers of the Catholics.
M. de Guise was named as the head of all. This was well known to
the King, who pretended to be ignorant of what was going forward,
though nothing else was talked of at Court.

The States were convened to meet at Blois. Previous to the opening
of this assembly, the King called my brother to his closet, where
were present the Queen my mother and some of the King's counsellors.
He represented the great consequence the Catholic league was
to his State and authority, even though they should appoint De
Guise as the head of it; that such a measure was of the highest
importance to them both, meaning my brother and himself; that the
Catholics had very just reason to be dissatisfied with the peace,
and that it behoved him, addressing himself to my brother, rather
to join the Catholics than the Huguenots, and this from conscience
as well as interest. He concluded his address to my brother with
conjuring him, as a son of France and a good Catholic, to assist
him with his aid and counsel in this critical juncture, when his
crown and the Catholic religion were both at stake. He further
said that, in order to get the start of so formidable a league,
he ought to form one himself, and become the head of it, as well
to show his zeal for religion as to prevent the Catholics from
uniting under any other leader. He then proposed to declare himself
the head of a league, which should be joined by my brother, the
princes, nobles, governors, and others holding offices under
the Government. Thus was my brother reduced to the necessity
of making his Majesty a tender of his services for the support
and maintenance of the Catholic religion.

The King, having now obtained assurances of my brother's assistance
in the event of a war, which was his sole view in the league
which he had formed with so much art, assembled together the
princes and chief noblemen of his Court, and, calling for the
roll of the league, signed it first himself, next calling upon
my brother to sign it, and, lastly, upon all present.

The next day the States opened their meeting, when the King,
calling upon the Bishops of Lyons, Ambrune, Vienne, and other
prelates there present, for their advice, was told that, after
the oath taken at his coronation, no oath made to heretics could
bind him, and therefore he was absolved from his engagements
with the Huguenots.

This declaration being made at the opening of the assembly, and
war declared against the Huguenots, the King abruptly dismissed
from Court the Huguenot, Genisac, who had arrived a few days
before, charged by the King my husband with a commission to hasten
my departure. The King very sharply told him that his sister had
been given to a Catholic, and not to a Huguenot; and that if
the King my husband expected to have me, he must declare himself
a Catholic.

Every preparation for war was made, and nothing else talked of
at Court; and, to make my brother still more obnoxious to the
Huguenots, he had the command of an army given him. Genisac came
and informed me of the rough message he had been dismissed with.
Hereupon I went directly to the closet of the Queen my mother,
where I found the King. I expressed my resentment at being deceived
by him, and at being cajoled by his promise to accompany me from
Paris to Poitiers, which, as it now appeared, was a mere pretence.
I represented that I did not marry by my own choice, but entirely
agreeable to the advice of King Charles, the Queen my mother,
and himself; that, since they had given him to me for a husband,
they ought not to hinder me from partaking of his fortunes; that
I was resolved to go to him, and that if I had not their leave,
I would get away how I could, even at the hazard of my life.
The King answered: "Sister, it is not now a time to importune
me for leave. I acknowledge that I have, as you say, hitherto
prevented you from going, in order to forbid it altogether. From
the time the King of Navarre changed his religion, and again
became a Huguenot, I have been against your going to him. What the
Queen my mother and I are doing is for your good. I am determined
to carry on a war of extermination until this wretched religion
of the Huguenots, which is of so mischievous a nature, is no
more. Consider, my sister, if you, who are a Catholic, were once
in their hands, you would become a hostage for me, and prevent
my design. And who knows but they might seek their revenge upon
me by taking away your life? No, you shall not go amongst them;
and if you leave us in the manner you have now mentioned, rely
upon it that you will make the Queen your mother and me your
bitterest enemies, and that we shall use every means to make
you feel the effects of our resentment; and, moreover, you will
make your husband's situation worse instead of better."

I went from this audience with much dissatisfaction, and, taking
advice of the principal persons of both sexes belonging to Court
whom I esteemed my friends, I found them all of opinion that it
would be exceedingly improper for me to remain in a Court now
at open variance with the King my husband. They recommended me
not to stay at Court whilst the war lasted, saying it would be
more honourable for me to leave the kingdom under the pretence
of a pilgrimage, or a visit to some of my kindred. The Princesse
de Roche-sur-Yon was amongst those I consulted upon the occasion,
who was on the point of setting off for Spa to take the waters

My brother was likewise present at the consultation, and brought
with him Mondoucet, who had been to Flanders in quality of the
King's agent, whence he was just returned to represent to the King
the discontent that had arisen amongst the Flemings on account
of infringements made by the Spanish Government on the French
laws. He stated that he was commissioned by several nobles, and
the municipalities of several towns, to declare how much they
were inclined in their hearts towards France, and how ready they
were to come under a French government. Mondoucet, perceiving
the King not inclined to listen to his representation, as having
his mind wholly occupied by the war he had entered into with
the Huguenots, whom he was resolved to punish for having joined
my brother, had ceased to move in it further to the King, and
addressed himself on the subject to my brother. My brother, with
that princely spirit which led him to undertake great achievements,
readily lent an ear to Mondoucet's proposition, and promised to
engage in it, for he was born rather to conquer than to keep
what he conquered. Mondoucet's proposition was the more pleasing
to him as it was not unjust,--it being, in fact, to recover to
France what had been usurped by Spain.

Mondoucet had now engaged himself in my brother's service, and
was to return to Flanders under a pretence of accompanying the
Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon in her journey to Spa; and as this
agent perceived my counsellors to be at a loss for some pretence
for my leaving Court and quitting France during the war, and
that at first Savoy was proposed for my retreat, then Lorraine,
and then Our Lady of Loretto, he suggested to my brother that I
might be of great use to him in Flanders, if, under the colour
of any complaint, I should be recommended to drink the Spa waters,
and go with the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon. My brother acquiesced
in this opinion, and came up to me, saying: "Oh, Queen! you need
be no longer at a loss for a place to go to. I have observed
that you have frequently an erysipelas on your arm, and you must
accompany the Princess to Spa. You must say your physicians had
ordered those waters for the complaint; but when they did so, it
was not the season to take them. That season is now approaching,
and you hope to have the King's leave to go there."

My brother did not deliver all he wished to say at that time,
because the Cardinal de Bourbon was present, whom he knew to
be a friend to the Guises and to Spain. However, I saw through
his real design, and that he wished me to promote his views in

The company approved of my brother's advice, and the Princesse
de Roche-sur-Yon heard the proposal with great joy, having a
great regard for me. She promised to attend me to the Queen my
mother when I should ask her consent.

The next day I found the Queen alone, and represented to her the
extreme regret I experienced in finding that a war was inevitable
betwixt the King my husband and his Majesty, and that I must
continue in a state of separation from my husband; that, as long
as the war lasted, it was neither decent nor honourable for me
to stay at Court, where I must be in one or other, or both, of
these cruel situations: either that the King my husband should
believe that I continued in it out of inclination, and think me
deficient in the duty I owed him; or that his Majesty should
entertain suspicions of my giving intelligence to the King my
husband. Either of these cases, I observed, could not but prove
injurious to me. I therefore prayed her not to take it amiss
if I desired to remove myself from Court, and from becoming so
unpleasantly situated; adding that my physicians had for some
time recommended me to take the Spa waters for an erysipelas--to
which I had been long subject--on my arm; the season for taking
these waters was now approaching, and that if she approved of
it, I would use the present opportunity, by which means I should
be at a distance from Court, and show my husband that, as I could
not be with him, I was unwilling to remain amongst his enemies.
I further expressed my hopes that, through her prudence, a peace
might be effected in a short time betwixt the King my husband
and his Majesty, and that my husband might be restored to the
favour he formerly enjoyed; that whenever I learned the news of
so joyful an event, I would renew my solicitations to be permitted
to go to my husband. In the meantime, I should hope for her
permission to have the honour of accompanying the Princesse de
Roche-sur-Yon, there present, in her journey to Spa.

She approved of what I proposed, and expressed her satisfaction
that I had taken so prudent a resolution. She observed how much
she was chagrined when she found that the King, through the evil
persuasions of the bishops, had resolved to break through the
conditions of the last peace, which she had concluded in his
name. She saw already the ill effects of this hasty proceeding,
as it had removed from the King's Council many of his ablest
and best servants. This gave her, she said, much concern, as
it did likewise to think I could not remain at Court without
offending my husband, or creating jealousy and suspicion in the
King's mind. This being certainly what was likely to be the
consequence of my staying, she would advise the King to give me
leave to set out on this journey.

She was as good as her word, and the King discoursed with me on
the subject without exhibiting the smallest resentment. Indeed,
he was well pleased now that he had prevented me from going to
the King my husband, for whom he had conceived the greatest

He ordered a courier to be immediately despatched to Don John of
Austria,--who commanded for the King of Spain in Flanders,--to
obtain from him the necessary passports for a free passage in
the countries under his command, as I should be obliged to cross
a part of Flanders to reach Spa, which is in the bishopric of

All matters being thus arranged, we separated in a few days after
this interview. The short time my brother and I remained together
was employed by him in giving me instructions for the commission
I had undertaken to execute for him in Flanders. The King and
the Queen my mother set out for Poitiers, to be near the army of
M. de Mayenne, then besieging Brouage, which place being reduced,
it was intended to march into Gascony and attack the King my

My brother had the command of another army, ordered to besiege
Issoire and some other towns, which he soon after took.

For my part, I set out on my journey to Flanders accompanied by
the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon, Madame de Tournon, the lady of
my bedchamber, Madame de Moüy of Picardy, Madame de Chastelaine,
De Millon, Mademoiselle d'Atric, Mademoiselle de Tournon, and
seven or eight other young ladies. My male attendants were the
Cardinal de Lenoncourt, the Bishop of Langres, and M. de Moüy,
Seigneur de Picardy, at present father-in-law to the brother of
Queen Louise, called the Comte de Chaligny, with my principal
steward of the household, my chief esquires, and the other gentlemen
of my establishment.


The cavalcade that attended me excited great curiosity as it
passed through the several towns in the course of my journey,
and reflected no small degree of credit on France, as it was
splendidly set out, and made a handsome appearance. I travelled
in a litter raised with pillars. The lining of it was Spanish
velvet, of a crimson colour, embroidered in various devices with
gold and different coloured silk thread. The windows were of
glass, painted in devices. The lining and windows had, in the
whole, forty devices, all different and alluding to the sun and
its effects. Each device had its motto, either in the Spanish
or Italian language. My litter was followed by two others; in
the one was the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon, and in the other
Madame de Tournon, my lady of the bedchamber. After them followed
ten maids of honour, on horseback, with their governess; and, last
of all, six coaches and chariots, with the rest of the ladies
and all our female attendants.

I took the road of Picardy, the towns in which province had received
the King's orders to pay me all due honours. Being arrived at
Le Catelet, a strong place, about three leagues distant from
the frontier of the Cambrésis, the Bishop of Cambray (an
ecclesiastical State acknowledging the King of Spain only as
a guarantee) sent a gentleman to inquire of me at what hour I
should leave the place, as he intended to meet me on the borders
of his territory.

Accordingly I found him there, attended by a number of his people,
who appeared to be true Flemings, and to have all the rusticity
and unpolished manners of their country. The Bishop was of the
House of Barlemont, one of the principal families in Flanders.
All of this house have shown themselves Spaniards at heart, and
at that time were firmly attached to Don John. The Bishop received
me with great politeness and not a little of the Spanish ceremony.

Although the city of Cambray is not so well built as some of our
towns in France, I thought it, notwithstanding, far more pleasant
than many of these, as the streets and squares are larger and
better disposed. The churches are grand and highly ornamented,
which is, indeed, common to France; but what I admired, above
all, was the citadel, which is the finest and best constructed
in Christendom. The Spaniards experienced it to be strong whilst
my brother had it in his possession. The governor of the citadel
at this time was a worthy gentleman named M. d'Ainsi, who was,
in every respect, a polite and well-accomplished man, having
the carriage and behaviour of one of our most perfect courtiers,
very different from the rude incivility which appears to be the
characteristic of a Fleming.

The Bishop gave us a grand supper, and after supper a ball, to
which he had invited all the ladies of the city. As soon as the ball
was opened he withdrew, in accordance with the Spanish ceremony; but
M. d'Ainsi did the honours for him, and kept me company during the
ball, conducting me afterwards to a collation, which, considering
his command at the citadel, was, I thought, imprudent. _I speak
from experience, having been taught, to my cost, and contrary to
my desire, the caution and vigilance necessary to be observed
in keeping such places._ As my regard for my brother was always
predominant in me, I continually had his instructions in mind,
and now thought I had a fair opportunity to open my commission
and forward his views in Flanders, this town of Cambray, and
especially the citadel, being, as it were, a key to that country.
Accordingly I employed all the talents God had given me to make
M. d'Ainsi a friend to France, and attach him to my brother's
interest. Through God's assistance I succeeded with him, and so
much was M. d'Ainsi pleased with my conversation that he came to
the resolution of soliciting the Bishop, his master, to grant him
leave to accompany me as far as Namur, where Don John of Austria
was in waiting to receive me, observing that he had a great desire
to witness so splendid an interview. This _Spanish_ Fleming,
the Bishop, had the weakness to grant M. d'Ainsi's request, who
continued following in my train for ten or twelve days. During
this time he took every opportunity of discoursing with me, and
showed that, in his heart, he was well disposed to embrace the
service of France, wishing no better master than the Prince my
brother, and declaring that he heartily despised being under the
command of his Bishop, who, though his sovereign, was not his
superior by birth, being born a private gentleman like himself,
and, in every other respect, greatly his inferior.

Leaving Cambray, I set out to sleep at Valenciennes, the chief
city of a part of Flanders called by the same name. Where this
country is divided from Cambrésis (as far as which I was conducted
by the Bishop of Cambray), the Comte de Lalain, M. de Montigny
his brother, and a number of gentlemen, to the amount of two
or three hundred, came to meet me.

Valenciennes is a town inferior to Cambray in point of strength,
but equal to it for the beauty of its squares, and churches,--the
former ornamented with fountains, as the latter are with curious
clocks. The ingenuity of the Germans in the construction of their
clocks was a matter of great surprise to all my attendants, few
amongst whom had ever before seen clocks exhibiting a number
of moving figures, and playing a variety of tunes in the most
agreeable manner.

The Comte de Lalain, the governor of the city, invited the lords
and gentlemen of my train to a banquet, reserving himself to give
an entertainment to the ladies on our arrival at Mons, where
we should find the Countess his wife, his sister-in-law Madame
d'Aurec, and other ladies of distinction. Accordingly the Count,
with his attendants, conducted us thither the next day. He claimed
a relationship with the King my husband, and was, in reality,
a person who carried great weight and authority. He was much
dissatisfied with the Spanish Government, and had conceived a
great dislike for it since the execution of Count Egmont, who
was his near kinsman.

Although he had hitherto abstained from entering into the league
with the Prince of Orange and the Huguenots, being himself a
steady Catholic, yet he had not admitted of an interview with
Don John, neither would he suffer him, nor anyone in the interest
of Spain, to enter upon his territories. Don John was unwilling
to give the Count any umbrage, lest he should force him to unite
the Catholic League of Flanders, called the League of the States,
to that of the Prince of Orange and the Huguenots, well foreseeing
that such a union would prove fatal to the Spanish interest, as
other governors have since experienced. With this disposition of
mind, the Comte de Lalain thought he could not give me sufficient
demonstrations of the joy he felt by my presence; and he could
not have shown more honour to his natural prince, nor displayed
greater marks of zeal and affection.

On our arrival at Mons, I was lodged in his house, and found
there the Countess his wife, and a Court consisting of eighty
or a hundred ladies of the city and country. My reception was
rather that of their sovereign lady than of a foreign princess.
The Flemish ladies are naturally lively, affable, and engaging.
The Comtesse de Lalain is remarkably so, and is, moreover, a woman
of great sense and elevation of mind, in which particular, as well
as in air and countenance, she carries a striking resemblance
to the lady your cousin. We became immediately intimate, and
commenced a firm friendship at our first meeting. When the supper
hour came, we sat down to a banquet, which was succeeded by a
ball; and this rule the Count observed as long as I stayed at
Mons, which was, indeed, longer than I intended. It had been
my intention to stay at Mons one night only, but the Count's
obliging lady prevailed on me to pass a whole week there. I strove
to excuse myself from so long a stay, imagining it might be
inconvenient to them; but whatever I could say availed nothing
with the Count and his lady, and I was under the necessity of
remaining with them eight days. The Countess and I were on so
familiar a footing that she stayed in my bedchamber till a late
hour, and would not have left me then had she not imposed upon
herself a task very rarely performed by persons of her rank,
which, however, placed the goodness of her disposition in the
most amiable light. In fact, she gave suck to her infant son;
and one day at table, sitting next me, whose whole attention was
absorbed in the promotion of my brother's interest,--the table
being the place where, according to the custom of the country,
all are familiar and ceremony is laid aside,--she, dressed out in
the richest manner and blazing with diamonds, gave the breast to
her child without rising from her seat, the infant being brought
to the table as superbly habited as its nurse, the mother. She
performed this maternal duty with so much good humour, and with a
gracefulness peculiar to herself, that this charitable office--which
would have appeared disgusting and been considered as an affront
if done by some others of equal rank--gave pleasure to all who
sat at table, and, accordingly, they signified their approbation
by their applause.

The tables being removed, the dances commenced in the same room
wherein we had supped, which was magnificent and large. The Countess
and I sitting side by side, I expressed the pleasure I received
from her conversation, and that I should place this meeting amongst
the happiest events of my life. "Indeed," said I, "I shall have
cause to regret that it ever did take place, as I shall depart
hence so unwillingly, there being so little probability of our
meeting again soon. Why did Heaven deny our being born in the
same country!"

This was said in order to introduce my brother's business. She
replied: "This country did, indeed, formerly belong to France,
and our lawyers' now plead their causes in the French language.
The greater part of the people here still retain an affection
for the French nation. For my part," added the Countess, "I have
had a strong attachment to your country ever since I have had
the honour of seeing you. This country has been long in the
possession of the House of Austria, but the regard of the people
for that house has been greatly weakened by the death of Count
Egmont, M. de Horne, M. de Montigny, and others of the same party,
some of them our near relations, and all of the best families
of the country. We entertain the utmost dislike for the Spanish
Government, and wish for nothing so much as to throw off the
yoke of their tyranny; but, as the country is divided betwixt
different religions, we are at a loss how to effect it. If we
could unite, we should soon drive out the Spaniards; but this
division amongst ourselves renders us weak. Would to God the
King your brother would come to a resolution of reconquering
this country, to which he has an ancient claim! We should all
receive him with open arms."

This was a frank declaration, made by the Countess without
premeditation, but it had been long agitated in the minds of
the people, who considered that it was from France they were to
hope for redress from the evils with which they were afflicted.
I now found I had as favourable an opening as I could wish for to
declare my errand. I told her that the King of France my brother
was averse to engaging in foreign war, and the more so as the
Huguenots in his kingdom were too strong to admit of his sending
any large force out of it. "My brother Alençon," said I, "has
sufficient means, and might be induced to undertake it. He has
equal valour, prudence, and benevolence with the King my brother
or any of his ancestors. He has been bred to arms, and is esteemed
one of the bravest generals of these times. He has the command
of the King's army against the Huguenots, and has lately taken
a well-fortified town, called Issoire, and some other places
that were in their possession. You could not invite to your
assistance a prince who has it so much in his power to give it;
being not only a neighbour, but having a kingdom like France at
his devotion, whence he may expect to derive the necessary aid
and succour. The Count your husband may be assured that if he
do my brother this good office he will not find him ungrateful,
but may set what price he pleases upon his meritorious service.
My brother is of a noble and generous disposition, and ready to
requite those who do him favours. He is, moreover, an admirer
of men of honour and gallantry, and accordingly is followed by
the bravest and best men France has to boast of. I am in hopes
that a peace will soon be reëstablished with the Huguenots, and
expect to find it so on my return to France. If the Count your
husband think as you do, and will permit me to speak to him on the
subject, I will engage to bring my brother over to the proposal,
and, in that case, your country in general, and your house in
particular, will be well satisfied with him. If, through your
means, my brother should establish himself here, you may depend
on seeing me often, there being no brother or sister who has
a stronger affection for each other."

The Countess appeared to listen to what I said with great pleasure,
and acknowledged that she had not entered upon this discourse
without design. She observed that, having perceived I did her
the honour to have some regard for her, she had resolved within
herself not to let me depart out of the country without explaining
to me the situation of it, and begging me to procure the aid
of France to relieve them from the apprehensions of living in
a state of perpetual war or of submitting to Spanish tyranny.
She thereupon entreated me to allow her to relate our present
conversation to her husband, and permit them both to confer with
me on the subject the next day. To this I readily gave my consent.

Thus we passed the evening in discourse upon the object of my
mission, and I observed that she took a singular pleasure in
talking upon it in all our succeeding conferences when I thought
proper to introduce it. The ball being ended, we went to hear
vespers at the church of the Canonesses, an order of nuns of
which we have none in France. These are young ladies who are
entered in these communities at a tender age, in order to improve
their fortunes till they are of an age to be married. They do not
all sleep under the same roof, but in detached houses within an
enclosure. In each of these houses are three, four, or perhaps six
young girls, under the care of an old woman. These governesses,
together with the abbess, are of the number of such as have never
been married. These girls never wear the habit of the order but
in church; and the service there ended, they dress like others,
pay visits, frequent balls, and go where they please. They were
constant visitors at the Count's entertainments, and danced at
his balls.

The Countess thought the time long until the night, when she
had an opportunity of relating to the Count the conversation she
had with me, and the opening of the business. The next morning
she came to me, and brought her husband with her. He entered
into a detail of the grievances the country laboured under, and
the just reasons he had for ridding it of the tyranny of Spain.
In doing this, he said, he should not consider himself as acting
against his natural sovereign, because he well knew he ought to
look for him in the person of the King of France. He explained to
me the means whereby my brother might establish himself in Flanders,
having possession of Hainault, which extended as far as Brussels.
He said the difficulty lay in securing the Cambrésis. which is
situated betwixt Hainault and Flanders. It would, therefore,
be necessary to engage M. d'Ainsi in the business. To this I
replied that, as he was his neighbour and friend, it might be
better that he should open the matter to him; and I begged he
would do so. I next assured him that he might have the most perfect
reliance on the gratitude and friendship of my brother, and be
certain of receiving as large a share of power and authority as
such a service done by a person of his rank merited. Lastly, we
agreed upon an interview betwixt my brother and M. de Montigny,
the brother of the Count, which was to take place at La Fère,
upon my return, when this business should be arranged. During
the time I stayed at Mons, I said all I could to confirm the
Count in this resolution, in which I found myself seconded by
the Countess.

The day of my departure was now arrived, to the great regret of
the ladies of Mons, as well as myself. The Countess expressed
herself in terms which showed she had conceived the warmest
friendship for me, and made me promise to return by way of that
city. I presented the Countess with a diamond bracelet, and to
the Count I gave a riband and diamond star of considerable value.
But these presents, valuable as they were, became more so, in
their estimation, as I was the donor.

Of the ladies, none accompanied me from this place, except Madame
d'Aurec. She went with me to Namur, where I slept that night,
and where she expected to find her husband and the Duc d'Arscot,
her brother-in-law, who had been there since the peace betwixt
the King of Spain and the States of Flanders. For though they
were both of the party of the States, yet the Duc d'Arscot, being
an old courtier and having attended King Philip in Flanders and
England, could not withdraw himself from Court and the society
of the great. The Comte de Lalain, with all his nobles, conducted
me two leagues beyond his government, and until he saw Don John's
company in the distance advancing to meet me. He then took his
leave of me, being unwilling to meet Don John; but M. d'Ainsi
stayed with me, as his master, the Bishop of Cambray, was in
the Spanish interest.

This gallant company having left me, I was soon after met by Don
John of Austria, preceded by a great number of running footmen,
and escorted by only twenty or thirty horsemen. He was attended
by a number of noblemen, and amongst the rest the Duc d'Arscot,
M. d'Aurec, the Marquis de Varenbon, and the younger Balençon,
governor, for the King of Spain, of the county of Burgundy. These
last two, who are brothers, had ridden post to meet me. Of Don
John's household there was only Louis de Gonzago of any rank. He
called himself a relation of the Duke of Mantua; the others were
mean-looking people, and of no consideration. Don John alighted
from his horse to salute me in my litter, which was opened for
the purpose. I returned the salute after the French fashion to
him, the Duc d'Arscot, and M. d'Aurec. After an exchange of
compliments, he mounted his horse, but continued in discourse
with me until we reached the city, which was not before it grew
dark, as I set off late, the ladies of Mons keeping me as long
as they could, amusing themselves with viewing my litter, and
requiring an explanation of the different mottoes and devices.
However, as the Spaniards excel in preserving good order, Namur
appeared with particular advantage, for the streets were well
lighted, every house being illuminated, so that the blaze exceeded
that of daylight.

Our supper was served to us in our respective apartments, Don
John being unwilling, after the fatigue of so long a journey,
to incommode us with a banquet. The house in which I was lodged
had been newly furnished for the purpose of receiving me. It
consisted of a magnificent large _salon_, with a private apartment,
consisting of lodging rooms and closets, furnished in the most
costly manner, with furniture of every kind, and hung with the
richest tapestry of velvet and satin, divided into compartments
by columns of silver embroidery, with knobs of gold, all wrought
in the most superb manner. Within these compartments were figures
in antique habits, embroidered in gold and silver.

The Cardinal de Lenoncourt. a man of taste and curiosity, being
one day in these apartments with the Duc d'Arscot, who, as I have
before observed, was an ornament to Don John's Court, remarked
to him that this furniture seemed more proper for a great king
than a young unmarried prince like Don John. To which the Duc
d'Arscot replied that it came to him as a present, having been
sent to him by a bashaw belonging to the Grand Seignior, whose
sons he had made prisoners in a signal victory obtained over
the Turks. Don John having sent the bashaw's sons back without
ransom, the father, in return, made him a present of a large
quantity of gold, silver, and silk stuffs, which he caused to be
wrought into tapestry at Milan, where there are curious workmen
in this way; and he had the Queen's bedchamber hung with tapestry
representing the battle in which he had so gloriously defeated
the Turks.

The next morning Don John conducted us to chapel, where we heard
mass celebrated after the Spanish manner, with all kinds of music,
after which we partook of a banquet prepared by Don John. He
and I were seated at a separate table, at a distance of three
yards from which stood the great one, of which the honours were
done by Madame d'Aurec. At this table the ladies and principal
lords took their seats. Don John was served with drink by Louis
de Gonzago, kneeling. The tables being removed, the ball was
opened, and the dancing continued the whole afternoon. The evening
was spent in conversation betwixt Don John and me, who told me
I greatly resembled the Queen his mistress, by whom he meant
the late Queen my sister, and for whom he professed to have
entertained a very high esteem. In short, Don John manifested,
by every mark of attention and politeness, as well to me as to
my attendants, the very great pleasure he had in receiving me.

The boats which were to convey me upon the Meuse to Liège not all
being ready, I was under the necessity of staying another day.
The morning was passed as that of the day before. After dinner,
we embarked on the river in a very beautiful boat, surrounded by
others having on board musicians playing on hautboys, horns,
and violins, and landed at an island where Don John had caused
a collation to be prepared in a large bower formed with branches
of ivy, in which the musicians were placed in small recesses,
playing on their instruments during the time of supper. The tables
being removed, the dances began, and lasted till it was time to
return, which I did in the same boat that conveyed me thither,
and which was that provided for my voyage.

The next morning Don John conducted me to the boat, and there
took a most polite and courteous leave, charging M. and Madame
d'Aurec to see me safe to Huy, the first town belonging to the
Bishop of Liège, where I was to sleep. As soon as Don John had
gone on shore, M. d'Ainsi, who remained in the boat, and who
had the Bishop of Cambray's permission to go to Namur only, took
leave of me with many protestations of fidelity and attachment
to my brother and myself.

But Fortune, envious of my hitherto prosperous journey, gave me
two omens of the sinister events of my return.

The first was the sudden illness which attacked Mademoiselle
de Tournon, the daughter of the lady of my bedchamber, a young
person, accomplished, with every grace and virtue, and for whom
I had the most perfect regard. No sooner had the boat left the
shore than this young lady was seized with an alarming disorder,
which, from the great pain attending it, caused her to scream in
the most doleful manner. The physicians attributed the cause to
spasms of the heart, which, notwithstanding the utmost exertions
of their skill, carried her off a few days after my arrival at
Liège. As the history of this young lady is remarkable, I shall
relate it in my next letter.

The other omen was what happened to us at Huy, immediately upon our
arrival there. This town is built on the declivity of a mountain,
at the foot of which runs the river Meuse. As we were about to
land, there fell a torrent of rain, which, coming down the steep
sides of the mountain, swelled the river instantly to such a
degree that we had only time to leap out of the boat and run
to the top, the flood reaching the very highest street, next
to where I was to lodge. There we were forced to put up with
such accommodation as could be procured in the house, as it was
impossible to remove the smallest article of our baggage from
the boats, or even to stir out of the house we were in, the whole
city being under water. However, the town was as suddenly relieved
from this calamity as it had been afflicted with it, for, on
the next morning, the whole inundation had ceased, the waters
having run off, and the river being confined within its usual

Leaving Huy, M. and Madame d'Aurec returned to Don John at Namur,
and I proceeded, in the boat, to sleep that night at Liège.


The Bishop of Liège, who is the sovereign of the city and province,
received me with all the cordiality and respect that could be
expected from a personage of his dignity and great accomplishments.
He was, indeed, a nobleman endowed with singular prudence and
virtue, agreeable in his person and conversation, gracious and
magnificent in his carriage and behaviour, to which I may add
that he spoke the French language perfectly.

He was constantly attended by his chapter, with several of his
canons, who are all sons of dukes, counts, or great German lords.
The bishopric is itself a sovereign State, which brings in a
considerable revenue, and includes a number of fine cities. The
bishop is chosen from amongst the canons, who must be of noble
descent, and resident one year. The city is larger than Lyons,
and much resembles it, having the Meuse running through it. The
houses in which the canons reside have the appearance of noble
palaces. The streets of the city are regular and spacious, the
houses of the citizens well built, the squares large, and ornamented
with curious fountains. The churches appear as if raised entirely
of marble, of which there are considerable quarries in the
neighbourhood; they are all of them ornamented with beautiful
clocks, and exhibit a variety of moving figures.

The Bishop received me as I landed from the boat, and conducted me
to his magnificent residence, ornamented with delicious fountains
and gardens, set off with galleries, all painted, superbly gilt,
and enriched with marble, beyond description.

The spring which affords the waters of Spa being distant no more
than three or four leagues from the city of Liège, and there
being only a village, consisting of three or four small houses,
on the spot, the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon was advised by her
physicians to stay at Liège and have the waters brought to her,
which they assured her would have equal efficacy, if taken after
sunset and before sunrise, as if drunk at the spring. I was well
pleased that she resolved to follow the advice of the doctors,
as we were more comfortably lodged and had an agreeable society;
for, besides his Grace (so the bishop is styled, as a king is
addressed his Majesty, and a prince his Highness), the news of
my arrival being spread about, many lords and ladies came from
Germany to visit me. Amongst these was the Countess d'Aremberg,
who had the honour to accompany Queen Elizabeth to Mezières, to
which place she came to marry King Charles my brother, a lady
very high in the estimation of the Empress, the Emperor, and
all the princes in Christendom. With her came her sister the
Landgravine, Madame d'Aremberg her daughter, M. d'Aremberg her
son, a gallant and accomplished nobleman, the perfect image of
his father, who brought the Spanish succours to King Charles my
brother, and returned with great honour and additional reputation.
This meeting, so honourable to me, and so much to my satisfaction,
was damped by the grief and concern occasioned by the loss of
Mademoiselle de Tournon, whose story, being of a singular nature,
I shall now relate to you, agreeably to the promise I made in
my last letter.

I must begin with observing to you that Madame de Tournon, at
this time lady of my bedchamber, had several daughters, the eldest
of whom married M. de Balençon, governor, for the King of Spain,
in the county of Burgundy. This daughter, upon her marriage,
had solicited her mother to admit of her taking her sister, the
young lady whose story I am now about to relate, to live with
her, as she was going to a country strange to her, and wherein
she had no relations. To this her mother consented; and the young
lady, being universally admired for her modesty and graceful
accomplishments, for which she certainly deserved admiration,
attracted the notice of the Marquis de Varenbon. The Marquis,
as I before mentioned, is the brother of M. de Balençon, and
was intended for the Church; but, being violently enamoured of
Mademoiselle de Tournon (who, as he lived in the same house, he
had frequent opportunities of seeing), he now begged his brother's
permission to marry her, not having yet taken orders. The young
lady's family, to whom he had likewise communicated his wish,
readily gave their consent, but his brother refused his, strongly
advising him to change his resolution and put on the gown.

Thus were matters situated when her mother, Madame de Tournon, a
virtuous and pious lady, thinking she had cause to be offended,
ordered her daughter to leave the house of her sister, Madame
de Balençon, and come to her. The mother, a woman of a violent
spirit, not considering that her daughter was grown, up and merited
a mild treatment, was continually scolding the poor young lady,
so that she was for ever with tears in her eyes. Still, there
was nothing to blame in the young girl's conduct, but such was
the severity of the mother's disposition. The daughter, as you
may well suppose, wished to be from under the mother's tyrannical
government, and was accordingly delighted with the thoughts of
attending me in this journey to Flanders, hoping, as it happened,
that she should meet the Marquis de Varenbon somewhere on the road,
and that, as he had now abandoned all thoughts of the Church,
he would renew his proposal of marriage, and take her from her

I have before mentioned that the Marquis de Varenbon and the
younger Balençon joined us at Namur. Young Balençon, who was
far from being so agreeable as his brother, addressed himself
to the young lady, but the Marquis, during the whole time we
stayed at Namur, paid not the least attention to her, and seemed
as if he had never been acquainted with her.

The resentment, grief, and disappointment occasioned by a behaviour
so slighting and unnatural was necessarily stifled in her breast,
as decorum and her sex's pride obliged her to appear as if she
disregarded it; but when, after taking leave, all of them left the
boat, the anguish of her mind, which she had hitherto suppressed,
could no longer be restrained, and, labouring for vent, it stopped
her respiration, and forced from her those lamentable outcries
which I have already spoken of. Her youth combated for eight days
with this uncommon disorder, but at the expiration of that time
she died, to the great grief of her mother, as well as myself.
I say of her mother, for, though she was so rigidly severe over
this daughter, she tenderly loved her.

The funeral of this unfortunate young lady was solemnized with
all proper ceremonies, and conducted in the most honourable manner,
as she was descended from a great family, allied to the Queen my
mother. When the day of interment arrived, four of my gentlemen
were appointed bearers, one of whom was named La Boëssière. This
man had entertained a secret passion for her, which he never durst
declare on account of the inferiority of his family and station.
He was now destined to bear the remains of her, dead, for whom
he had long been dying, and was now as near dying for her loss
as he had before been for her love. The melancholy procession
was marching slowly along, when it was met by the Marquis de
Varenbon, who had been the sole occasion of it. We had not left
Namur long when the Marquis reflected upon his cruel behaviour
towards this unhappy young lady; and his passion (wonderful to
relate) being revived by the absence of her who inspired it,
though scarcely alive while she was present, he had resolved to
come and ask her of her mother in marriage. He made no doubt,
perhaps, of success, as he seldom failed in enterprises of love;
witness the great lady he has since obtained for a wife, in
opposition to the will of her family. He might, besides, have
flattered himself that he should easily have gained a pardon from
her by whom he was beloved, according to the Italian proverb,
"Che la forza d'amore non riguarda al delitto" (Lovers are not
criminal in the estimation of one another). Accordingly, the
Marquis solicited Don John to be despatched to me on some errand,
and arrived, as I said before, at the very instant the corpse
of this ill-fated young lady was being borne to the grave. He
was stopped by the crowd occasioned by this solemn procession.
He contemplates it for some time. He observes a long train of
persons in mourning, and remarks the coffin to be covered with a
white pall, and that there are chaplets of flowers laid upon the
coffin. He inquires whose funeral it is. The answer he receives
is, that it is the funeral of a young lady. Unfortunately for
him, this reply fails to satisfy his curiosity. He makes up to
one who led the procession, and eagerly asks the name of the
young lady they are proceeding to bury. When, oh, fatal answer!
Love, willing to avenge the victim of his ingratitude and neglect,
suggests a reply which had nearly deprived him of life. He no
sooner hears the name of Mademoiselle de Tournon pronounced than
he falls from his horse in a swoon. He is taken up for dead,
and conveyed to the nearest house, where he lies for a time
insensible; his soul, no doubt, leaving his body to obtain pardon
from her whom he had hastened to a premature grave, to return
to taste the bitterness of death a second time.

Having performed the last offices to the remains of this poor
young lady, I was unwilling to discompose the gaiety of the society
assembled here on my account by any show of grief. Accordingly, I
joined the Bishop, or, as he is called, his Grace, and his canons,
in their entertainments at different houses, and in gardens,
of which the city and its neighbourhood afforded a variety. I
was every morning attended by a numerous company to the garden,
in which I drank the waters, the exercise of walking being
recommended to be used with them. As the physician who advised
me to take them was my own brother, they did not fail of their
effect with me; and for these six or seven years which are gone
over my head since I drank them, I have been free from any complaint
of erysipelas on my arm. From this garden we usually proceeded
to the place where we were invited to dinner. After dinner we
were amused with a ball; from the ball we went to some convent,
where we heard vespers; from vespers to supper, and that over,
we had another ball, or music on the river.


In this manner we passed the six weeks, which is the usual time
for taking these waters, at the expiration of which the Princesse
de Roche-sur-Yon was desirous to return to France; but Madame
d'Aurec, who just then returned to us from Namur, on her way to
rejoin her husband in Lorraine, brought us news of an extraordinary
change of affairs in that town and province since we had passed
through it.

It appeared from this lady's account that, on the very day we
left Namur, Don John, after quitting the boat, mounted his horse
under pretence of taking the diversion of hunting, and, as he
passed the gate of the castle of Namur, expressed a desire of
seeing it; that, having entered, he took possession of it,
notwithstanding he held it for the States, agreeably to a convention.
Don John, moreover, arrested the persons of the Duc d'Arscot
and M. d'Aurec, and also made Madame d'Aurec a prisoner. After
some remonstrances and entreaties, he had set her husband and
brother-in-law at liberty, but detained her as a hostage for
them. In consequence of these measures, the whole country was
in arms. The province of Namur was divided into three parties:
the first whereof was that of the States, or the Catholic party
of Flanders; the second that of the Prince of Orange and the
Huguenots; the third, the Spanish party, of which Don John was
the head.

By letters which I received just at this time from my brother,
through the hands of a gentleman named Lescar, I found I was in
great danger of falling into the hands of one or other of these

These letters informed me that, since my departure from Court,
God had dealt favourably with my brother, and enabled him to
acquit himself of the command of the army confided to him, greatly
to the benefit of the King's service; so that he had taken all the
towns and driven the Huguenots out of the provinces, agreeably
to the design for which the army was raised; that he had returned
to the Court at Poitiers, where the King stayed during the siege
of Brouage, to be near to M. de Mayenne, in order to afford him
whatever succours he stood in need of; that, as the Court is a
Proteus, forever putting on a new face, he had found it entirely
changed, so that he had been no more considered than if he had
done the King no service whatever; and that Bussi, who had been
so graciously looked upon before and during this last war, had
done great personal service, and had lost a brother at the storming
of Issoire, was very coolly received, and even as maliciously
persecuted as in the time of Le Guast; in consequence of which
either he or Bussi experienced some indignity or other. He further
mentioned that the King's favourites had been practising with
his most faithful servants, Maugiron, La Valette, Mauléon, and
Hivarrot, and several other good and trusty men, to desert him,
and enter into the King's service; and, lastly, that the King
had repented of giving me leave to go to Flanders, and that,
to counteract my brother, a plan was laid to intercept me on
my return, either by the Spaniards, for which purpose they had
been told that I had treated for delivering up the country to
him, or by the Huguenots, in revenge of the war my brother had
carried on against them, after having formerly assisted them.

This intelligence required to be well considered, as there seemed
to be an utter impossibility of avoiding both parties. I had,
however, the pleasure to think that two of the principal persons
of my company stood well with either one or another party. The
Cardinal de Lenoncourt had been thought to favour the Huguenot
party, and M. Descartes, brother to the Bishop of Lisieux, was
supposed to have the Spanish interest at heart. I communicated
our difficult situation to the Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon and
Madame de Tournon, who, considering that we could not reach La
Fère in less than five or six days, answered me, with tears in
their eyes, that God only had it in his power to preserve us,
that I should recommend myself to his protection, and then follow
such measures as should seem advisable. They observed that, as
one of them was in a weak state of health, and the other advanced
in years, I might affect to make short journeys on their account,
and they would put up with every inconvenience to extricate me
from the danger I was in.

I next consulted with the Bishop of Liège, who most certainly
acted towards me like a father, and gave directions to the grand
master of his household to attend me with his horses as far as
I should think proper. As it was necessary that we should have
a passport from the Prince of Orange, I sent Mondoucet to him to
obtain one, as he was acquainted with the Prince and was known
to favour his religion. Mondoucet did not return, and I believe
I might have waited for him until this time to no purpose. I
was advised by the Cardinal de Lenoncourt and my first esquire,
the Chevalier Salviati, who were of the same party, not to stir
without a passport; but, as I suspected a plan was laid to entrap
me, I resolved to set out the next morning.

They now saw that this pretence was insufficient to detain me;
accordingly, the Chevalier Salviati prevailed with my treasurer,
who was secretly a Huguenot, to declare he had not money enough
in his hands to discharge the expenses we had incurred at Liège,
and that, in consequence, my horses were detained. I afterwards
discovered that this was false, for, on my arrival at La Fère,
I called for his accounts, and found he had then a balance in
his hands which would have enabled him to pay the expenses of my
family for six or seven weeks. The Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon,
incensed at the affront put upon me, and seeing the danger I
incurred by staying, advanced the money that was required, to
their great confusion; and I took my leave of his Grace the Bishop,
presenting him with a diamond worth three thousand crowns, and
giving his domestics gold chains and rings. Having thus taken
our leave, we proceeded to Huy, without any other passport than
God's good providence.

This town, as I observed before, belongs to the Bishop of Liège,
but was now in a state of tumult and confusion, on account of
the general revolt of the Low Countries, the townsmen taking
part with the Netherlanders, notwithstanding the bishopric was
a neutral State. On this account they paid no respect to the
grand master of the Bishop's household, who accompanied us, but,
knowing Don John had taken the castle of Namur in order, as they
supposed, to intercept me on my return, these brutal people, as
soon as I had got into my quarters, rang the alarm-bell, drew
up their artillery, placed chains across the streets, and kept
us thus confined and separated the whole night, giving us no
opportunity to expostulate with them on such conduct. In the
morning we were suffered to leave the town without further
molestation, and the streets we passed through were lined with
armed men.

From there we proceeded to Dinant, where we intended to sleep;
but, unfortunately for us, the townspeople had on that day chosen
their burghermasters, a kind of officers like the consuls in
Gascony and France. In consequence of this election, it was a
day of tumult, riot, and debauchery; every one in the town was
drunk, no magistrate was acknowledged. In a word, all was in
confusion. To render our situation still worse, the grand master
of the Bishop's household had formerly done the town some ill
office, and was considered as its enemy. The people of the town,
when in their sober senses, were inclined to favour the party
of the States, but under the influence of Bacchus they paid no
regard to any party, not even to themselves.

As soon as I had reached the suburbs, they were alarmed at the
number of my company, quitted the bottle and glass to take up
their arms, and immediately shut the gates against me. I had
sent a gentleman before me, with my harbinger and quartermasters,
to beg the magistrates to admit me to stay one night in the town,
but I found my officers had been put under an arrest. They bawled
out to us from within, to tell us their situation, but could not
make themselves heard. At length I raised myself up in my litter,
and, taking off my mask, made a sign to a townsman nearest me,
of the best appearance, that I was desirous to speak with him.
As soon as he drew near me, I begged him to call out for silence,
which being with some difficulty obtained, I represented to him
who I was, and the occasion of my journey; that it was far from
my intention to do them harm; but, to prevent any suspicions of
the kind, I only begged to be admitted to go into their city
with my women, and as few others of my attendants as they thought
proper, and that we might be permitted to stay there for one
night, whilst the rest of my company remained within the suburbs.

They agreed to this proposal, and opened their gates for my
admission. I then entered the city with the principal persons
of my company, and the grand master of the Bishop's household.
This reverend personage, who was eighty years of age, and wore a
beard as white as snow, which reached down to his girdle,--this
venerable old man, I say, was no sooner recognized by the drunken
and armed rabble than he was accosted with the grossest abuse, and
it was with difficulty they were restrained from laying violent
hands upon him. At length I got him into my lodgings, but the
mob fired at the house, the walls of which were only of plaster.
Upon being thus attacked, I inquired for the master of the house,
who, fortunately, was within. I entreated him to speak from the
window, to some one without, to obtain permission for my being
heard. I had some difficulty to get him to venture doing so. At
length, after much bawling from the window, the burghermasters
came to speak to me, but were so drunk that they scarcely knew
what they said. I explained to them that I was entirely ignorant
that the grand master of the Bishop's household was a person
to whom they had a dislike, and I begged them to consider the
consequences of giving offence to a person like me, who was a
friend of the principal lords of the States, and I assured them
that the Comte de Lalain, in particular, would be greatly displeased
when he should hear how I had been received there.

The name of the Comte de Lalain produced an instant effect, much
more than if I had mentioned all the sovereign princes I was
related to. The principal person amongst them asked me, with
some hesitation and stammering, if I was really a particular
friend of the Count's. Perceiving that to claim kindred with
the Count would do me more service than being related to all
the Powers in Christendom, I answered that I was both a friend
and a relation. They then made me many apologies and _congés_,
stretching forth their hands in token of friendship; in short,
they now behaved with as much civility as before with rudeness.
They begged my pardon for what had happened, and promised that
the good old man, the grand master of the Bishop's household,
should be no more insulted, but be suffered to leave the city
quietly, the next morning, with me.

As soon as morning came, and while I was preparing to go to hear
mass, there arrived the King's agent to Don John, named Du Bois,
a man much attached to the Spanish interest. He informed me that
he had received orders from the King my brother to conduct me
in safety on my return. He said that he had prevailed on Don
John to permit Barlemont to escort me to Namur with a troop of
cavalry, and begged me to obtain leave of the citizens to admit
Barlemont and his troop to enter the town, that they might receive
my orders.

Thus had they concerted a double plot; the one to get possession
of the town, the other of my person. I saw through the whole design,
and consulted with the Cardinal de Lenoncourt, communicating to
him my suspicions. The Cardinal was as unwilling to fall into
the hands of the Spaniards as I could be; he therefore thought it
advisable to acquaint the townspeople with the plot, and make our
escape from the city by another road, in order to avoid meeting
Barlemont's troop. It was agreed betwixt us that the Cardinal
should keep Du Bois in discourse, whilst I consulted the principal
citizens in another apartment. Accordingly, I assembled as many
as I could, to whom I represented that if they admitted Barlemont
and his troop within the town, he would most certainly take
possession of it for Don John. I gave it as my advice to make a
show of defence, to declare they would not be taken by surprise,
and to offer to admit Barlemont, and no one else, within their
gates. They resolved to act according to my counsel, and offered
to serve me at the hazard of their lives. They promised to procure
me a guide, who should conduct me by a road by following which I
should put the river betwixt me and Don John's forces, whereby
I should be out of his reach, and could be lodged in houses and
towns which were in the interest of the States only.

This point being settled, I despatched them to give admission
to M. de Barlemont, who, as soon as he entered within the gates,
begged hard that his troop might come in likewise. Hereupon,
the citizens flew into a violent rage, and were near putting
him to death. They told him that if he did not order his men
out of sight of the town, they would fire upon them with their
great guns. This was done with design to give me time to leave the
town before they could follow in pursuit of me. M. de Barlemont
and the agent, Du Bois, used every argument they could devise
to persuade me to go to Namur, where they said Don John waited
to receive me.

I appeared to give way to their persuasions, and, after hearing
mass and taking a hasty dinner, I left my lodgings, escorted
by two or three hundred armed citizens, some of them engaging
Barlemont and Du Bois in conversation. We all took the way to
the gate which opens to the river, and directly opposite to that
leading to Namur. Du Bois and his colleague told me I was not
going the right way, but I continued talking, and as if I did
not hear them. But when we reached the gate I hastened into the
boat, and my people after me. M. de Barlemont and the agent Du
Bois, calling out to me from the bank, told me I was doing very
wrong and acting directly contrary to the King's intention, who
had directed that I should return by way of Namur.

In spite of all their remonstrances we crossed the river with
all possible expedition, and, during the two or three crossings
which were necessary to convey over the litters and horses, the
citizens, to give me the more time to escape, were debating with
Barlemont and Du Bois concerning a number of grievances and
complaints, telling them, in their coarse language, that Don
John had broken the peace and falsified his engagements with
the States; and they even rehearsed the old quarrel of the death
of Egmont, and, lastly, declared that if the troop made its
appearance before their walls again, they would fire upon it with
their artillery.

I had by this means sufficient time to reach a secure distance,
and was, by the help of God and the assistance of my guide, out
of all apprehensions of danger from Batlemont and his troop.

I intended to lodge that night in a strong castle, called Fleurines,
which belonged to a gentleman of the Party of the States, whom
I had seen with the Comte de Lalain. Unfortunately for me, the
gentleman was absent, and his lady only was in the castle. The
courtyard being open, we entered it, which put the lady into
such a fright that she ordered the bridge to be drawn up, and
fled to the strong tower. Nothing we could say would induce her
to give us entrance. In the meantime, three hundred gentlemen,
whom Don John had sent off to intercept our passage, and take
possession of the castle of Fleurines, judging that I should take
up my quarters there, made their appearance upon an eminence, at
the distance of about a thousand yards. They, seeing our carriages
in the courtyard, and supposing that we ourselves had taken to
the strong tower, resolved to stay where they were that night,
hoping to intercept me the next morning.

In this cruel situation were we placed, in a courtyard surrounded
by a wall by no means strong, and shut up by a gate equally as
weak and as capable of being forced, remonstrating from time
to time with the lady, who was deaf to all our prayers and

Through God's mercy, her husband, M. de Fleurines, himself appeared
just as night approached. We then gained instant admission, and the
lady was greatly reprimanded by her husband for her incivility and
indiscreet behaviour. This gentleman had been sent by the Comte de
Lalain, with directions to conduct me through the several towns
belonging to the States, the Count himself not being able to
leave the army of the States, of which he had the chief command,
to accompany me.

This was as favourable a circumstance for me as I could wish;
for, M. de Fleurines offering to accompany me into France, the
towns we had to pass through being of the party of the States,
we were everywhere quietly and honourably received. I had only
the mortification of not being able to visit Mons, agreeably to
my promise made to the Comtesse de Lalain, not passing nearer
to it than Nivelle, seven long leagues distant from it. The Count
being at Antwerp, and the war being hottest in the neighbourhood
of Mons, I thus was prevented seeing either of them on my return.
I could only write to the Countess by a servant of the gentleman
who was now my conductor. As soon as she learned I was at Nivelle,
she sent some gentlemen, natives of the part of Flanders I was
in, with a strong injunction to see me safe on the frontier of

I had to pass through the Cambrésis, partly in favour of Spain
and partly of the States. Accordingly, I set out with these
gentlemen, to lodge at Cateau-Cambrésis. There they took leave of
me, in order to return to Mons, and by them I sent the Countess
a gown of mine, which had been greatly admired by her when I
wore it at Mons; it was of black satin, curiously embroidered,
and cost nine hundred crowns.

When I arrived at Cateau-Cambrésis, I had intelligence sent me
that a party of the Huguenot troops had a design to attack me
on the frontiers of Flanders and France. This intelligence I
communicated to a few only of my company, and prepared to set off
an hour before daybreak. When I sent for my litters and horses,
I found much such a kind of delay from the Chevalier Salviati as
I had before experienced at Liège, and suspecting it was done
designedly, I left my litter behind, and mounted on horseback,
with such of my attendants as were ready to follow me. By this
means, with God's assistance, I escaped being waylaid by my enemies,
and reached Catelet at ten in the morning. From there I went to
my house at La Fère, where I intended to reside until I learned
that peace was concluded upon.

At La Fère I found a messenger in waiting from my brother, who
had orders to return with all expedition, as soon as I arrived,
and inform him of it. My brother wrote me word, by that messenger,
that peace was concluded, and the King returned to Paris; that,
as to himself, his situation was rather worse than better; that
he and his people were daily receiving some affront or other,
and continual quarrels were excited betwixt the King's favourites
and Bussi and my brother's principal attendants. This, he added,
had made him impatient for my return, that he might come and
visit me.

I sent his messenger back, and immediately after, my brother
sent Bussi and all his household to Angers, and, taking with
him fifteen or twenty attendants, he rode post to me at La Fère.
It was a great satisfaction to me to see one whom I so tenderly
loved and greatly honoured, once more. I considered it amongst
the greatest felicities I ever enjoyed, and, accordingly, it
became my chief study to make his residence here agreeable to
him. He himself seemed delighted with this change of situation,
and would willingly have continued in it longer had not the noble
generosity of his mind called him forth to great achievements.
The quiet of our Court, when compared with that he had just left,
affected him so powerfully that he could not but express the
satisfaction he felt by frequently exclaiming, "Oh, Queen! how
happy I am with you. My God! your society is a paradise wherein
I enjoy every delight, and I seem to have lately escaped from
hell, with all its furies and tortures!"


We passed nearly two months together, which appeared to us only
as so many days. I gave him an account of what I had done for him
in Flanders, and the state in which I had left the business. He
approved of the interview with the Comte de Lalain's brother in
order to settle the plan of operations and exchange assurances.
Accordingly, the Comte de Montigny arrived, with four or five
other leading men of the county of Hainault. One of these was
charged with a letter from M. d'Ainsi, offering his services
to my brother, and assuring him of the citadel of Cambray. M.
de Montigny delivered his brother's declaration and engagement
to give up the counties of Hainault and Artois, which included a
number of fine cities. These offers made and accepted, my brother
dismissed them with presents of gold medals, bearing his and my
effigies, and every assurance of his future favour; and they
returned to prepare everything for his coming. In the meanwhile
my brother considered on the necessary measures to be used for
raising a sufficient force, for which purpose he returned to
the King, to prevail with him to assist him in this enterprise.

As I was anxious to go to Gascony, I made ready for the journey,
and set off for Paris, my brother meeting me at the distance
of one day's journey.

At St. Denis I was met by the King, the Queen my mother, Queen
Louise, and the whole Court. It was at St. Denis that I was to
stop and dine, and there it was that I had the honour of the
meeting I have just mentioned.

I was received very graciously, and most sumptuously entertained.
I was made to recount the particulars of my triumphant journey
to Liège, and perilous return. The magnificent entertainments
I had received excited their admiration, and they rejoiced at
my narrow escapes. With such conversation I amused the Queen
my mother and the rest of the company in her coach, on our way
to Paris, where, supper and the ball being ended, I took an
opportunity, when I saw the King and the Queen my mother together,
to address them.

I expressed my hopes that they would not now oppose my going to
the King my husband; that now, by the peace, the chief objection
to it was removed, and if I delayed going, in the present situation
of affairs, it might be prejudicial and discreditable to me. Both
of them approved of my request, and commended my resolution. The
Queen my mother added that she would accompany me on my journey, as
it would be for the King's service that she did so. She said the
King must furnish me with the necessary means for the journey,
to which he readily assented. I thought this a proper time to
settle everything, and prevent another journey to Court, which
would be no longer pleasing after my brother left it, who was now
pressing his expedition to Flanders with all haste. I therefore
begged the Queen my mother to recollect the promise she had made
my brother and me as soon as peace was agreed upon, which was
that, before my departure for Gascony, I should have my marriage
portion assigned to me in lands. She said that she recollected
it well, and the King thought it very reasonable, and promised
that it should be done. I entreated that it might be concluded
speedily, as I wished to set off, with their permission, at the
beginning of the next month. This, too, was granted me, but granted
after the mode of the Court; that is to say, notwithstanding
my constant solicitations, instead of despatch, I experienced
only delay; and thus it continued for five or six months in

My brother met with the like treatment, though he was continually
urging the necessity for his setting out for Flanders, and
representing that his expedition was for the glory and advantage
of France,--for its glory, as such an enterprise would, like
Piedmont, prove a school of war for the young nobility, wherein
future Montlucs, Brissacs, Termes, and Bellegardes would be bred,
all of them instructed in these wars, and afterwards, as
field-marshals, of the greatest service to their country; and it
would be for the advantage of France, as it would prevent civil
wars; for Flanders would then be no longer a country wherein
such discontented spirits as aimed at novelty could assemble to
brood over their malice and hatch plots for the disturbance of
their native land.

These representations, which were both reasonable and consonant
with truth, had no weight when put into the scale against the
envy excited by this advancement of my brother's fortune.
Accordingly, every delay was used to hinder him from collecting
his forces together, and stop his expedition to Flanders. Bussi
and his other dependents were offered a thousand indignities. Every
stratagem was tried, by day as well as by night, to pick quarrels
with Bussi,--now by Quélus, at another time by Grammont,--with
the hope that my brother would engage in them. This was unknown
to the King; but Maugiron, who had engrossed the King's favour,
and who had quitted my brother's service, sought every means to
ruin him, as it is usual for those who have given offence to
hate the offended party.

Thus did this man take every occasion to brave and insult my
brother; and relying upon the countenance and blind affection
shown him by the King. had leagued himself with Quélus, Saint-Luc,
Saint-Maigrin, Grammont, Mauléon, Hivarrot, and other young men
who enjoyed the King's favour. As those who are favourites find
a number of followers at Court, these licentious young courtiers
thought they might do whatever they pleased. Some new dispute
betwixt them and Bussi was constantly starting. Bussi had a degree
of courage which knew not how to give way to anyone; and my brother,
unwilling to give umbrage to the King, and foreseeing that such
proceedings would not forward his expedition, to avoid quarrels
and, at the same time, to promote his plans, resolved to despatch
Bussi to his duchy of Alençon, in order to discipline such troops
as he should find there. My brother's amiable qualities excited
the jealousy of Maugiron and the rest of his cabal about the
King's person, and their dislike for Bussi was not so much on his
own account as because he was strongly attached to my brother.
The slights and disrespect shown to my brother were remarked by
everyone at Court; but his prudence, and the patience natural
to his disposition, enabled him to put up with their insults, in
hopes of finishing the business of his Flemish expedition, which
would remove him to a distance from them and their machinations.
This persecution was the more mortifying and discreditable as
it even extended to his servants, whom they strove to injure by
every means they could employ. M. de la Chastre at this time had
a lawsuit of considerable consequence decided against him, because
he had lately attached himself to my brother. At the instance
of Maugiron and Saint-Luc, the King was induced to solicit the
cause in favour of Madame de Sénetaire, their friend. M. de la
Chastre, being greatly injured by it, complained to my brother
of the injustice done him, with all the concern such a proceeding
may be supposed to have occasioned.

About this time Saint-Luc's marriage was celebrated. My brother
resolved not to be present at it, and begged of me to join him
in the same resolution. The Queen my mother was greatly uneasy
on account of the behaviour of these young men, fearing that,
if my brother did not join them in this festivity, it might be
attended with some bad consequence, especially as the day was
likely to produce scenes of revelry and debauch; she, therefore,
prevailed on the King to permit her to dine on the wedding-day
at St. Maur, and take my brother and me with her. This was the
day before Shrove Tuesday; and we returned in the evening, the
Queen my mother having well lectured my brother, and made him
consent to appear at the ball, in order not to displease the

But this rather served to make matters worse than better, for
Maugiron and his party began to attack him with such insolent
speeches as would have offended any one of far less consequence.
They said he needed not to have given himself the trouble of
dressing, for he was not missed in the afternoon; but now, they
supposed, he came at night at the most suitable time; with other
allusions to the meanness of his figure and smallness of stature.
All this was addressed to the bride, who sat near him, but spoken
out on purpose that he might hear it. My brother, perceiving this
was purposely said to provoke an answer and occasion his giving
offence to the King, removed from his seat full of resentment;
and, consulting with M. de la Chastre, he came to the resolution
of leaving the Court in a few days on a hunting party. He still
thought his absence might stay their malice, and afford him an
opportunity the more easily of settling his preparations for
the Flemish expedition with the King. He went immediately to the
Queen my mother, who was present at the ball, and was extremely
sorry to learn what had happened, and imparted her resolution,
in his absence, to solicit the King to hasten his expedition to
Flanders. M. de Villequier being present, she bade him acquaint
the King with my brother's intention of taking the diversion of
hunting a few days; which she thought very proper herself, as
it would put a stop to the disputes which had arisen betwixt
him and the young men, Maugiron, Saint-Luc, Quélus, and the rest.

My brother retired to his apartment, and, considering his leave
as granted, gave orders to his domestics to prepare to set off
the next morning for St. Germain, where he should hunt the stag
for a few days. He directed the grand huntsman to be ready with
the hounds, and retired to rest, thinking to withdraw awhile from
the intrigues of the Court, and amuse himself with the sports
of the field. M. de Villequier, agreeably to the command he had
received from the Queen my mother, asked for leave, and obtained
it. The King, however, staying in his closet, like Rehoboam, with
his council of five or six young men, they suggested suspicions
in his mind respecting my brother's departure from Court. In
short, they worked upon his fears and apprehensions so greatly,
that he took one of the most rash and inconsiderate steps that
was ever decided upon in our time; which was to put my brother
and all his principal servants under an arrest. This measure
was executed with as much indiscretion as it had been resolved
upon. The King, under this agitation of mind, late as it was,
hastened to the Queen my mother, and seemed as if there was a
general alarm and the enemy at the gates, for he exclaimed on
seeing her: "How could you, Madame, think of asking me to let
my brother go hence? Do you not perceive how dangerous his going
will prove to my kingdom? Depend upon it that this hunting is
merely a pretence to cover some treacherous design. I am going
to put him and his people under an arrest, and have his papers
examined. I am sure we shall make some great discoveries."

At the time he said this he had with him the Sieur de Cossé,
captain of the guard, and a number of Scottish archers. The Queen
my mother, fearing, from the King's haste and trepidation, that
some mischief might happen to my brother, begged to go with him.
Accordingly, undressed as she was, wrapping herself up in a
night-gown, she followed the King to my brother's bedchamber.
The King knocked at the door with great violence, ordering it to
be immediately opened, for that he was there himself. My brother
started up in his bed, awakened by the noise, and, knowing that
he had done nothing that he need fear, ordered Cangé, his _valet
de chambre_, to open the door. The King entered in a great rage,
and asked him when he would have done plotting against him. "But
I will show you," said he, "what it is to plot against your
sovereign." Hereupon he ordered the archers to take away all
the trunks, and turn the _valets de chambre_ out of the room. He
searched my brother's bed himself, to see if he could find any
papers concealed in it. My brother had that evening received a
letter from Madame de Sauves, which he kept in his hand, unwilling
that it should be seen. The King endeavoured to force it from him.
He refused to part with it, and earnestly entreated the King
would not insist upon seeing it. This only excited the King's
anxiety the more to have it in his possession, as he now supposed
it to be the key to the whole plot, and the very document which
would at once bring conviction home to him. At length, the King
having got it into his hands, he opened it in the presence of
the Queen my mother, and they were both as much confounded, when
they read the contents, as Cato was when he obtained a letter
from Cæsar, in the Senate, which the latter was unwilling to
give up; and which Cato, supposing it to contain a conspiracy
against the Republic, found to be no other than a love-letter
from his own sister.

But the shame of this disappointment served only to increase
the King's anger, who, without condescending to make a reply
to my brother, when repeatedly asked what he had been accused
of, gave him in charge of M. de Cossé and his Scots, commanding
them not to admit a single person to speak with him.

It was one o'clock in the morning when my brother was made a
prisoner in the manner I have now related. He feared some fatal
event might succeed these violent proceedings, and he was under
the greatest concern on my account, supposing me to be under
a like arrest. He observed M. de Cossé to be much affected by
the scene he had been witness to, even to shedding tears. As
the archers were in the room he would not venture to enter into
discourse with him, but only asked what was become of me. M. de
Cossé answered that I remained at full liberty. My brother then
said it was a great comfort to him to hear that news; "but,"
added he, "as I know she loves me so entirely that she would
rather be confined with me than have her liberty whilst I was
in confinement, I beg you will go to the Queen my mother, and
desire her to obtain leave for my sister to be with me." He did
so, and it was granted.

The reliance which my brother displayed upon this occasion in
the sincerity of my friendship and regard for him conferred so
great an obligation in my mind that, though I have received many
particular favours since from him, this has always held the foremost
place in my grateful remembrance.

By the time he had received permission for my being with him,
daylight made its appearance. Seeing this, my brother begged
M. de Cossé to send one of his archers to acquaint me with his
situation, and beg me to come to him.


I was ignorant of what had happened to my brother, and when the
Scottish archer came into my bedchamber, I was still asleep. He
drew the curtains of the bed, and told me, in his broken French,
that my brother wished to see me. I stared at the man, half awake
as I was, and thought it a dream. After a short pause, and being
thoroughly awakened, I asked him if he was not a Scottish archer.
He answered me in the affirmative. "What!" cried I, "has my brother
no one else to send a message by?" He replied he had not, for all
his domestics had been put under an arrest. He then proceeded
to relate, as well as he could explain himself, the events of
the preceding night, and the leave granted my brother for my
being with him during his imprisonment.

The poor fellow, observing me to be much affected by this
intelligence, drew near, and whispered me to this purport: "Do
not grieve yourself about this matter; I know a way of setting
your brother at liberty, and you may depend upon it, that I will
do it; but, in that case, I must go off with him." I assured
him that he might rely upon being as amply rewarded as he could
wish for such assistance, and, huddling on my clothes, I followed
him alone to my brother's apartments. In going thither, I had
occasion to traverse the whole gallery, which was filled with
people, who, at another time, would have pressed forward to pay
their respects to me; but, now that Fortune seemed to frown upon
me, they all avoided me, or appeared as if they did not see me.

Coming into my brother's apartments, I found him not at all affected
by what had happened; for such was the constancy of his mind,
that his arrest had wrought no change, and he received me with
his usual cheerfulness. He ran to meet me, and taking me in his
arms, he said:

"Queen! I beg you to dry up your tears; in my present situation,
nothing can grieve me so much as to find you under any concern; for
my own part, I am so conscious of my innocence and the integrity
of my conduct, that I can defy the utmost malice of my enemies.
If I should chance to fall the victim of their injustice, my
death would prove a more cruel punishment to them than to me,
who have courage sufficient to meet it in a just cause. It is
not death I fear, because I have tasted sufficiently of the
calamities and evils of life, and am ready to leave this world,
which I have found only the abode of sorrow; but the circumstance
I dread most is, that, not finding me sufficiently guilty to
doom me to death, I shall be condemned to a long, solitary
imprisonment; though I should even despise their tyranny in that
respect, could I but have the assurance of being comforted by
your presence."

These words, instead of stopping my tears, only served to make
them stream afresh. I answered, sobbing, that my life and fortune
were at his devotion; that the power of God alone could prevent
me from affording him my assistance under every extremity; that,
if he should be transported from that place, and I should be
withheld from following him, I would kill myself on the spot.

Changing our discourse, we framed a number of conjectures on
what might be the probable cause of the King's angry proceedings
against him, but found ourselves at a loss what to assign them

Whilst we were discussing this matter the hour came for opening
the palace gates, when a simple young man belonging to Bussi
presented himself for entrance. Being stopped by the guard and
questioned as to whither he was going, he, panic-struck, replied
he was going to M. de Bussi, his master. This answer was carried
to the King, and gave fresh grounds for suspicion. It seems my
brother, supposing he should not be able to go to Flanders for
some time, and resolving to send Bussi to his duchy of Alençon
as I have already mentioned, had lodged him in the Louvre, that
he might be near him to take instructions at every opportunity.

L'Archant, the general of the guard, had received the King's
commands to make a search in the Louvre for him and Simier, and
put them both under arrest. He entered upon this business with
great unwillingness, as he was intimate with Bussi, who was
accustomed to call him "father." L'Archant, going to Simier's
apartment, arrested him; and though he judged Bussi was there
too, yet being unwilling to find him, he was going away. Bussi,
however, who had concealed himself under the bed, as not knowing
to whom the orders for his arrest might be given, finding he was
to be left there, and sensible that he should be well treated
by L'Archant, called out to him, as he was leaving the room, in
his droll manner:

"What, papa, are you going without me? Don't you think I am as
great a rogue as that Simier?"

"Ah, son," replied L'Archant, "I would much rather have lost my
arm than have met with you!"

Bussi, being a man devoid of all fear, observed that it was a
sign that things went well with him; then, turning to Simier, who
stood trembling with fear, he jeered him upon his pusillanimity.
L'Archant removed them both, and set a guard over them; and, in
the next place, proceeded to arrest M. de la Chastre, whom he
took to the Bastille.

Meanwhile M. de l'Oste was appointed to the command of the guard
which was set over my brother. This was a good sort of old man,
who had been appointed governor to the King my husband, and loved
me as if I had been his own child. Sensible of the injustice done
to my brother and me, and lamenting the bad counsel by which
the King was guided, and being, moreover, willing to serve us,
he resolved to deliver my brother from arrest. In order to make
his intention known to us he ordered the Scottish archers to
wait on the stairs without, keeping only two whom he could trust
in the room. Then taking me aside, he said:

"There is not a good Frenchman living who does not bleed at his
heart to see what we see. I have served the King your father, and
I am ready to lay down my life to serve his children. I expect
to have the guard of the Prince your brother, wherever he shall
chance to be confined; and, depend upon it, at the hazard of my
life, I will restore him to his liberty. But," added he, "that
no suspicions may arise that such is my design, it will be proper
that we be not seen together in conversation; however, you may
rely upon my word."

This afforded me great consolation; and, assuming a degree of
courage hereupon, I observed to my brother that we ought not to
remain there without knowing for what reason we were detained,
as if we were in the Inquisition; and that to treat us in such
a manner was to consider us as persons of no account. I then
begged M. de l'Oste to entreat the King, in our name, if the
Queen our mother was not permitted to come to us, to send some
one to acquaint us with the crime for which we were kept in

M. de Combaut, who was at the head of the young counsellors, was
accordingly sent to us; and he, with a great deal of gravity,
informed us that he came from the King to inquire what it was
we wished to communicate to his Majesty. We answered that we
wished to speak to some one near the King's person, in order to
our being informed what we were kept in confinement for, as we
were unable to assign any reason for it ourselves. He answered,
with great solemnity, that we ought not to ask of God or the
King reasons for what they did; as all their actions emanated
from wisdom and justice. We replied that we were not persons to
be treated like those shut up in the Inquisition, who are left
to guess at the cause of their being there.

We could obtain from him, after all we said, no other satisfaction
than his promise to interest himself in our behalf, and to do
us all the service in his power. At this my brother broke out
into a fit of laughter; but I confess I was too much alarmed
to treat his message with such indifference, and could scarcely
refrain from talking to this messenger as he deserved.

Whilst he was making his report to the King, the Queen my mother
kept her chamber, being under great concern, as may well be supposed,
to witness such proceedings. She plainly foresaw, in her prudence,
that these excesses would end fatally, should the mildness of
my brother's disposition, and his regard for the welfare of the
State, be once wearied out with submitting to such repeated acts
of injustice. She therefore sent for the senior members of the
Council, the chancellor, princes, nobles, and marshals of France,
who all were greatly scandalised at the bad counsel which had
been given to the King, and told the Queen my mother that she
ought to remonstrate with the King upon the injustice of his
proceedings. They observed that what had been done could not now
be recalled, but matters might yet be set upon a right footing.
The Queen my mother hereupon went to the King, followed by these
counsellors, and represented to him the ill consequences which
might proceed from the steps he had taken.

The King's eyes were by this time opened, and he saw that he
had been ill advised. He therefore begged the Queen my mother
to set things to rights, and to prevail on my brother to forget
all that had happened, and to bear no resentment against these
young men, but to make up the breach betwixt Bussi and Quélus.

Things being thus set to rights again, the guard which had been
placed over my brother was dismissed, and the Queen my mother,
coming to his apartment, told him he ought to return thanks to
God for his deliverance, for that there had been a moment when
even she herself despaired of saving his life; that since he
must now have discovered that the King's temper of mind was such
that he took the alarm at the very imagination of danger, and
that, when once he was resolved upon a measure, no advice that
she or any other could give would prevent him from putting it
into execution, she would recommend it to him to submit himself
to the King's pleasure in everything, in order to prevent the
like in future; and, for the present, to take the earliest
opportunity of seeing the King, and to appear as if he thought
no more about the past.

We replied that we were both of us sensible of God's great mercy
in delivering us from the injustice of our enemies, and that,
next to God, our greatest obligation was to her; but that my
brother's rank did not admit of his being put in confinement
without cause, and released from it again without the formality
of an acknowledgment. Upon this, the Queen observed that it was
not in the power even of God himself to undo what had been done;
that what could be effected to save his honour, and give him
satisfaction for the irregularity of the arrest, should have
place. My brother, therefore, she observed, ought to strive to
mollify the King by addressing him with expressions of regard to
his person and attachment to his service; and, in the meantime,
use his influence over Bussi to reconcile him to Quélus, and
to end all disputes betwixt them. She then declared that the
principal motive for putting my brother and his servants under
arrest was to prevent the combat for which old Bussi, the brave
father of a brave son, had solicited the King's leave, wherein
he proposed to be his son's second, whilst the father of Quélus
was to be his. These four had agreed in this way to determine
the matter in dispute, and give the Court no further disturbance.

My brother now engaged himself to the Queen that, as Bussi would
see he could not be permitted to decide his quarrel by combat,
he should, in order to deliver himself from his arrest, do as
she had commanded.

The Queen my mother, going down to the King, prevailed with him
to restore my brother to liberty with every honour. In order to
which the King came to her apartment, followed by the princes,
noblemen, and other members of the Council, and sent for us by M.
de Villequier. As we went along we found all the rooms crowded
with people, who, with tears in their eyes, blessed God for our
deliverance. Coming into the apartments of the Queen my mother,
we found the King attended as I before related. The King desired
my brother not to take anything ill that had been done, as the
motive for it was his concern for the good of his kingdom, and
not any bad intention towards himself. My brother replied that he
had, as he ought, devoted his life to his service, and, therefore,
was governed by his pleasure; but that he most humbly begged him
to consider that his fidelity and attachment did not merit the
return he had met with; that, notwithstanding, he should impute it
entirely to his own ill-fortune, and should be perfectly satisfied
if the King acknowledged his innocence. Hereupon the King said
that he entertained not the least doubt of his innocence, and
only desired him to believe he held the same place in his esteem
he ever had. The Queen my mother then, taking both of them by
the hand, made them embrace each other.

Afterwards the King commanded Bussi to be brought forth, to make
a reconciliation betwixt him and Quélus, giving orders, at the
same time, for the release of Simier and M. de la Chastre. Bussi
coming into the room with his usual grace, the King told him he
must be reconciled with Quélus, and forbade him to say a word
more concerning their quarrel. He then commanded them to embrace.
"Sire," said Bussi, "if it is your pleasure that we kiss and are
friends again, I am ready to obey your command;" then, putting
himself in the attitude of Pantaloon, he went up to Quélus and
gave him a hug, which set all present in a titter, notwithstanding
they had been seriously affected by the scene which had passed
just before.

Many persons of discretion thought what had been done was too
slight a reparation for the injuries my brother had received.
When all was over, the King and the Queen my mother, coming up to
me, said it would be incumbent on me to use my utmost endeavours
to prevent my brother from calling to mind anything past which
should make him swerve from the duty and affection he owed the
King. I replied that my brother was so prudent, and so strongly
attached to the King's service, that he needed no admonition
on that head from me or anyone else; and that, with respect to
myself, I had never given him any other advice than to conform
himself to the King's pleasure and the duty he owed him.


It was now three o'clock in the afternoon, and no one present
had yet dined. The Queen my mother was desirous that we should
eat together, and, after dinner, she ordered my brother and me
to change our dress (as the clothes we had on were suitable only
to our late melancholy situation) and come to the King's supper
and ball. We complied with her orders as far as a change of dress,
but our countenances still retained the impressions of grief
and resentment which we inwardly felt.

I must inform you that when the tragi-comedy I have given you
an account of was over, the Queen my mother turned round to the
Chevalier de Seurre, whom she recommended to my brother to sleep
in his bedchamber, and in whose conversation she sometimes took
delight because he was a man of some humour, but rather inclined
to be cynical.

"Well," said she, "M. de Seurre, what do you think of all this?"

"Madame, I think there is too much of it for earnest, and not
enough for jest."

Then addressing himself to me, he said, but not loud enough for
the Queen to hear him: "I do not believe all is over yet; I am
very much mistaken if this young man" (meaning my brother) "rests
satisfied with this."

This day having passed in the manner before related, the wound
being only skinned over and far from healed, the young men about
the King's person set themselves to operate in order to break
it out afresh.

These persons, judging of my brother by themselves, and not having
sufficient experience to know the power of duty over the minds of
personages of exalted rank and high birth, persuaded the King,
still connecting his case with their own, that it was impossible
my brother should ever forgive the affront he had received, and
not seek to avenge himself with the first opportunity. The King,
forgetting the ill-judged steps these young men had so lately
induced him to take, hereupon receives this new impression, and
gives orders to the officers of the guard to keep strict watch
at the gates that his brother go not out, and that his people
be made to leave the Louvre every evening, except such of them
as usually slept in his bedchamber or wardrobe.

My brother, seeing himself thus exposed to the caprices of these
headstrong young fellows, who led the King according to their
own fancies, and fearing something worse might happen than what
he had yet experienced, at the end of three days, during which
time he laboured under apprehensions of this kind, came to a
determination to leave the Court, and never more return to it,
but retire to his principality and make preparations with all
haste for his expedition to Flanders.

He communicated his design to me, and I approved of it, as I
considered he had no other view in it than providing for his
own safety, and that neither the King nor his government were
likely to sustain any injury by it.

When we consulted upon the means of its accomplishment, we could
find no other than his descending from my window, which was on the
second story and opened to the ditch, for the gates were so closely
watched that it was impossible to pass them, the face of everyone
going out of the Louvre being curiously examined. He begged of
me, therefore, to procure for him a rope of sufficient strength
and long enough for the purpose. This I set about immediately,
for, having the sacking of a bed that wanted mending, I sent
it out of the palace by a lad whom I could trust, with orders
to bring it back repaired, and to wrap up the proper length of
rope inside.

When all was prepared, one evening, at supper time, I went to
the Queen my mother, who supped alone in her own apartment, it
being fast-day and the King eating no supper. My brother, who
on most occasions was patient and discreet, spurred on by the
indignities he had received, and anxious to extricate himself
from danger and regain his liberty, came to me as I was rising
from table, and whispered to me to make haste and come to him
in my own apartment. M. de Matignon, at that time a marshal,
a sly, cunning Norman, and one who had no love for my brother,
whether he had some knowledge of his design from some one who
could not keep a secret, or only guessed at it, observed to the
Queen my mother as she left the room (which I overheard, being
near her, and circumspectly watching every word and motion, as
may well be imagined, situated as I was betwixt fear and hope,
and involved in perplexity) that my brother had undoubtedly an
intention of withdrawing himself, and would not be there the
next day; adding that he was assured of it, and she might take
her measures accordingly.

I observed that she was much disconcerted by this observation,
and I had my fears lest we should be discovered. When we came
into her closet, she drew me aside and asked if I heard what
Matignon had said.

I replied: "I did not hear it, Madame, but I observe that it has
given you uneasiness."

"Yes," said she, "a great deal of uneasiness, for you know I have
pledged myself to the King that your brother shall not depart
hence, and Matignon has declared that he knows very well he will
not be here to-morrow."

I now found myself under a great embarrassment; I was in danger
either of proving unfaithful to my brother, and thereby bringing
his life into jeopardy, or of being obliged to declare that to
be truth which I knew to be false, and this I would have died
rather than be guilty of.

In this extremity, if I had not been aided by God, my countenance,
without speaking, would plainly have discovered what I wished
to conceal. But God, who assists those who mean well, and whose
divine goodness was discoverable in my brother's escape, enabled
me to compose my looks and suggested to me such a reply as gave
her to understand no more than I wished her to know, and cleared
my conscience from making any declaration contrary to the truth.
I answered her in these words:

"You cannot, Madame, but be sensible that M. de Matignon is not
one of my brother's friends, and that he is, besides, a busy,
meddling kind of man, who is sorry to find a reconciliation has
taken place with us; and, as to my brother, I will answer for
him with my life in case he goes hence, of which, if he had any
design, I should, as I am well assured, not be ignorant, he never
having yet concealed anything he meant to do from me."

All this was said by me with the assurance that, after my brother's
escape, they would not dare to do me any injury; and in case of
the worst, and when we should be discovered, I had much rather
pledge my life than hazard my soul by a false declaration, and
endanger my brother's life. Without scrutinising the import of
my speech, she replied: "Remember what you now say,--you will
be bound for him on the penalty of your life."

I smiled and answered that such was my intention. Then, wishing
her a good night, I retired to my own bedchamber, where, undressing
myself in haste and getting into bed, in order to dismiss the
ladies and maids of honour, and there then remaining only my
chamber-women, my brother came in, accompanied by Simier and
Cangé. Rising from my bed, we made the cord fast, and having
looked out at the window to discover if anyone was in the ditch,
with the assistance of three of my women, who slept in my room,
and the lad who had brought in the rope, we let down my brother,
who laughed and joked upon the occasion without the least
apprehension, notwithstanding the height was considerable. We
next lowered Simier into the ditch, who was in such a fright
that he had scarcely strength to hold the rope fast; and lastly
descended my brother's _valet de chambre_, Cangé.

Through God's providence my brother got off undiscovered, and
going to Ste. Geneviève, he found Bussi waiting there for him.
By consent of the abbot, a hole had been made in the city wall,
through which they passed, and horses being provided and in waiting,
they mounted, and reached Angers without the least accident.

Whilst we were lowering down Cangé, who, as I mentioned before,
was the last, we observed a man rising out of the ditch, who ran
towards the lodge adjoining to the tennis-court, in the direct
way leading to the guard-house. I had no apprehensions on my
own account, all my fears being absorbed by those I entertained
for my brother; and now I was almost dead with alarm, supposing
this might be a spy placed there by M. de Matignon, and that
my brother would be taken. Whilst I was in this cruel state of
anxiety, which can be judged of only by those who have experienced
a similar situation, my women took a precaution for my safety
and their own, which did not suggest itself to me. This was to
burn the rope, that it might not appear to our conviction in
case the man in question had been placed there to watch us. This
rope occasioned so great a flame in burning, that it set fire to
the chimney, which, being seen from without, alarmed the guard,
who ran to us, knocking violently at the door, calling for it
to be opened.

I now concluded that my brother was stopped, and that we were
both undone. However, as, by the blessing of God and through
his divine mercy alone, I have, amidst every danger with which I
have been repeatedly surrounded, constantly preserved a presence
of mind which directed what was best to be done, and observing
that the rope was not more than half consumed, I told my women
to go to the door, and speaking softly, as if I was asleep, to
ask the men what they wanted. They did so, and the archers replied
that the chimney was on fire, and they came to extinguish it. My
women answered it was of no consequence, and they could put it out
themselves, begging them not to awake me. This alarm thus passed
off quietly, and they went away; but, in two hours afterward, M.
de Cossé came for me to go to the King and the Queen my mother,
to give an account of my brother's escape, of which they had
received intelligence by the Abbot of Ste. Geneviève.

It seems it had been concerted betwixt my brother and the abbot,
in order to prevent the latter from falling under disgrace, that,
when my brother might be supposed to have reached a sufficient
distance, the abbot should go to Court, and say that he had been
put into confinement whilst the hole was being made, and that
he came to inform the King as soon as he had released himself.

I was in bed, for it was yet night; and rising hastily, I put
on my night-clothes. One of my women was indiscreet enough to
hold me round the waist, and exclaim aloud, shedding a flood of
tears, that she should never see me more. M. de Cossé, pushing
her away, said to me: "If I were not a person thoroughly devoted
to your service, this woman has said enough to bring you into
trouble. But," continued he, "fear nothing. God be praised, by
this time the Prince your brother is out of danger."

These words were very necessary, in the present state of my mind,
to fortify it against the reproaches and threats I had reason
to expect from the King. I found him sitting at the foot of the
Queen my mother's bed, in such a violent rage that I am inclined
to believe I should have felt the effects of it, had he not been
restrained by the absence of my brother and my mother's presence.
They both told me that I had assured them my brother would not
leave the Court, and that I pledged myself for his stay. I replied
that it was true that he had deceived me, as he had them; however,
I was ready still to pledge my life that his departure would
not operate to the prejudice of the King's service, and that it
would appear he was only gone to his own principality to give
orders and forward his expedition to Flanders.

The King appeared to be somewhat mollified by this declaration,
and now gave me permission to return to my own apartments. Soon
afterwards he received letters from my brother, containing assurances
of his attachment, in the terms I had before expressed. This
caused a cessation of complaints, but by no means removed the
King's dissatisfaction, who made a show of affording assistance
to his expedition, but was secretly using every means to frustrate
and defeat it.


I now renewed my application for leave to go to the King my husband,
which I continued to press on every opportunity. The King, perceiving
that he could not refuse my leave any longer, was willing I should
depart satisfied. He had this further view in complying with my
wishes, that by this means he should withdraw me from my attachment
to my brother. He therefore strove to oblige me in every way he
could think of, and, to fulfil the promise made by the Queen
my mother at the Peace of Sens, he gave me an assignment of my
portion in territory, with the power of nomination to all vacant
benefices and all offices; and, over and above the customary
pension to the daughters of France, he gave another out of his
privy purse.

He daily paid me a visit in my apartment, in which he took occasion
to represent to me how useful his friendship would be to me; whereas
that of my brother could be only injurious,--with arguments of
the like kind.

However, all he could say was insufficient to prevail on me to
swerve from the fidelity I had vowed to observe to my brother.
The King was able to draw from me no other declaration than this:
that it ever was, and should be, my earnest wish to see my brother
firmly established in his gracious favour, which he had never
appeared to me to have forfeited; that I was well assured he
would exert himself to the utmost to regain it by every act of
duty and meritorious service; that, with respect to myself, I
thought I was so much obliged to him for the great honour he
did me by repeated acts of generosity, that he might be assured,
when I was with the King my husband I should consider myself
bound in duty to obey all such commands as he should be pleased
to give me; and that it would be my whole study to maintain the
King my husband in a submission to his pleasure.

My brother was now on the point of leaving Alençon to go to Flanders;
the Queen my mother was desirous to see him before his departure.
I begged the King to permit me to take the opportunity of
accompanying her to take leave of my brother, which he granted;
but, as it seemed, with great unwillingness. When we returned
from Alençon, I solicited the King to permit me to take leave of
himself, as I had everything prepared for my journey. The Queen
my mother being desirous to go to Gascony, where her presence was
necessary for the King's service, was unwilling that I should
depart without her. When we left Paris, the King accompanied us
on the way as far as his palace of Dolinville. There we stayed
with him a few days, and there we took our leave, and in a little
time reached Guienne, which belonging to, and being under the
government of the King my husband, I was everywhere received as
Queen. My husband gave the Queen my mother a meeting at Réolle,
which was held by the Huguenots as a cautionary town; and the
country not being sufficiently quieted, she was permitted to
go no further.

It was the intention of the Queen my mother to make but a short
stay; but so many accidents arose from disputes betwixt the Huguenots
and Catholics, that she was under the necessity of stopping there
eighteen months. As this was very much against her inclination,
she was sometimes inclined to think there was a design to keep
her, in order to have the company of her maids of honour. For my
husband had been greatly smitten with Dayelle, and M. de Thurène
was in love with La Vergne. However, I received every mark of
honour and attention from the King that I could expect or desire.
He related to me, as soon as we met, the artifices which had
been put in practice whilst he remained at Court to create a
misunderstanding betwixt him and me; all this, he said, he knew
was with a design to cause a rupture betwixt my brother and him,
and thereby ruin us all three, as there was an exceeding great
jealousy entertained of the friendship which existed betwixt

We remained in the disagreeable situation I have before described
all the time the Queen my mother stayed in Gascony; but, as soon
as she could reestablish peace, she, by desire of the King my
husband, removed the King's lieutenant, the Marquis de Villars,
putting in his place the Maréchal de Biron. She then departed
for Languedoc, and we conducted her to Castelnaudary; where,
taking our leave, we returned to Pau, in Béarn; in which place,
the Catholic religion not being tolerated, I was only allowed
to have mass celebrated in a chapel of about three or four feet
in length, and so narrow that it could scarcely hold seven or
eight persons. During the celebration of mass, the bridge of
the castle was drawn up to prevent the Catholics of the town
and country from coming to assist at it; who having been, for
some years, deprived of the benefit of following their own mode
of worship, would have gladly been present. Actuated by so holy
and laudable a desire, some of the inhabitants of Pau, on
Whit-sunday, found means to get into the castle before the bridge
was drawn up, and were present at the celebration of mass, not
being discovered until it was nearly over. At length the Huguenots
espied them, and ran to acquaint Le Pin, secretary to the King
my husband, who was greatly in his favour, and who conducted
the whole business relating to the new religion. Upon receiving
this intelligence, Le Pin ordered the guard to arrest these poor
people, who were severely beaten in my presence, and afterwards
locked up in prison, whence they were not released without paying
a considerable fine.

This indignity gave me great offence, as I never expected anything
of the kind. Accordingly, I complained of it to the King my husband,
begging him to give orders for the release of these poor Catholics,
who did not deserve to be punished for coming to my chapel to hear
mass, a celebration of which they had been so long deprived of
the benefit. Le Pin, with the greatest disrespect to his master,
took upon him to reply, without waiting to hear what the King had
to say. He told me that I ought not to trouble the King my husband
about such matters; that what had been done was very right and
proper; that those people had justly merited the treatment they
met with, and all I could say would go for nothing, for it must
be so; and that I ought to rest satisfied with being permitted
to have mass said to me and my servants. This insolent speech
from a person of his inferior condition incensed me greatly,
and I entreated the King my husband, if I had the least share in
his good graces, to do me justice, and avenge the insult offered
me by this low man.

The King my husband, perceiving that I was offended, as I had
reason to be, with this gross indignity, ordered Le Pin to quit
our presence immediately; and, expressing his concern at his
secretary's behaviour, who, he said, was overzealous in the cause
of religion, he promised that he would make an example of him.
As to the Catholic prisoners, he said he would advise with his
parliament what ought to be done for my satisfaction.

Having said this, he went to his closet, where he found Le Pin,
who, by dint of persuasion, made him change his resolution; insomuch
that, fearing I should insist upon his dismissing his secretary,
he avoided meeting me. At last, finding that I was firmly resolved
to leave him, unless he dismissed Le Pin, he took advice of some
persons, who, having themselves a dislike to the secretary,
represented that he ought not to give me cause of displeasure
for the sake of a man of his small importance,--especially one
who, like him, had given me just reason to be offended; that,
when it became known to the King my brother and the Queen my
mother, they would certainly take it ill that he had not only
not resented it, but, on the contrary, still kept him near his

This counsel prevailed with him, and he at length discarded his
secretary. The King, however, continued to behave to me with
great coolness, being influenced, as he afterwards confessed,
by the counsel of M. de Pibrac, who acted the part of a double
dealer, telling me that I ought not to pardon an affront offered
by such a mean fellow, but insist upon his being dismissed; whilst
he persuaded the King my husband that there was no reason for
parting with a man so useful to him, for such a trivial cause.
This was done by M. de Pibrac, thinking I might be induced, from
such mortifications, to return to France, where he enjoyed the
offices of president and King's counsellor.

I now met with a fresh cause for disquietude in my present situation,
for, Dayelle being gone, the King my husband placed his affections
on Rebours. She was an artful young person, and had no regard
for me; accordingly, she did me all the ill offices in her power
with him. In the midst of these trials, I put my trust in God,
and he, moved with pity by my tears, gave permission for our
leaving Pau, that "little Geneva;" and, fortunately for me, Rebours
was taken ill and stayed behind. The King my husband no sooner
lost sight of her than he forgot her; he now turned his eyes
and attention towards Fosseuse. She was much handsomer than the
other, and was at that time young, and really a very amiable

Pursuing the road to Montauban, we stopped at a little town called
Eause, where, in the night, the King my husband was attacked
with a high fever, accompanied with most violent pains in his
head. This fever lasted for seventeen days, during which time he
had no rest night or day, but was continually removed from one
bed to another. I nursed him the whole time, never stirring from
his bedside, and never putting off my clothes. He took notice of
my extraordinary tenderness, and spoke of it to several persons,
and particularly to my cousin M----, who, acting the part of
an affectionate relation, restored me to his favour, insomuch
that I never stood so highly in it before. This happiness I had
the good fortune to enjoy during the four or five years that
I remained with him in Gascony.

Our residence, for the most part of the time I have mentioned,
was at Nérac, where our Court was so brilliant that we had no
cause to regret our absence from the Court of France. We had
with us the Princesse de Navarre, my husband's sister, since
married to the Duc de Bar; there were besides a number of ladies
belonging to myself. The King my husband was attended by a numerous
body of lords and gentlemen, all as gallant persons as I have
seen in any Court; and we had only to lament that they were
Huguenots. This difference of religion, however, caused no dispute
among us; the King my husband and the Princess his sister heard
a sermon, whilst I and my servants heard mass. I had a chapel in
the park for the purpose, and, as soon as the service of both
religions was over, we joined company in a beautiful garden,
ornamented with long walks shaded with laurel and cypress trees.
Sometimes we took a walk in the park on the banks of the river,
bordered by an avenue of trees three thousand yards in length.
The rest of the day was passed in innocent amusements; and in
the afternoon, or at night, we commonly had a ball.

The King was very assiduous with Fosseuse, who, being dependent on
me, kept herself within the strict bounds of honour and virtue. Had
she always done so, she had not brought upon herself a misfortune
which has proved of such fatal consequence to myself as well as
to her.

But our happiness was too great to be of long continuance, and
fresh troubles broke out betwixt the King my husband and the
Catholics, and gave rise to a new war. The King my husband and
the Maréchal de Biron, who was the King's lieutenant in Guienne,
had a difference, which was aggravated by the Huguenots. This
breach became in a short time so wide that all my efforts to
close it were useless. They made their separate complaints to
the King. The King my husband insisted on the removal of the
Maréchal de Biron, and the Marshal charged the King my husband,
and the rest of those who were of the pretended reformed religion,
with designs contrary to peace. I saw, with great concern, that
affairs were likely soon to come to an open rupture; and I had
no power to prevent it.

The Marshal advised the King to come to Guienne himself, saying
that in his presence matters might be settled. The Huguenots,
hearing of this proposal, supposed the King would take possession
of their towns, and, thereupon, came to a resolution to take
up arms. This was what I feared; I was become a sharer in the
King my husband's fortune, and was now to be in opposition to
the King my brother and the religion I had been bred up in. I
gave my opinion upon this war to the King my husband and his
Council, and strove to dissuade them from engaging in it. I
represented to them the hazards of carrying on a war when they
were to be opposed against so able a general as the Maréchal de
Biron, who would not spare them, as other generals had done,
he being their private enemy. I begged them to consider that, if
the King brought his whole force against them, with intention
to exterminate their religion, it would not be in their power
to oppose or prevent it. But they were so headstrong, and so
blinded with the hope of succeeding in the surprise of certain
towns in Languedoc and Gascony, that, though the King did me the
honour, upon all occasions, to listen to my advice, as did most
of the Huguenots, yet I could not prevail on them to follow it
in the present situation of affairs, until it was too late, and
after they had found, to their cost, that my counsel was good.
The torrent was now burst forth, and there was no possibility of
stopping its course until it had spent its utmost strength.

Before that period arrived, foreseeing the consequences, I had
often written to the King and the Queen my mother, to offer something
to the King my husband by way of accommodating matters. But they
were bent against it, and seemed to be pleased that matters had
taken such a turn, being assured by Maréchal de Biron that he
had it in his power to crush the Huguenots whenever he pleased.
In this crisis my advice was not attended to, the dissensions
increased, and recourse was had to arms.

The Huguenots had reckoned upon a force more considerable than
they were able to collect together, and the King my husband found
himself outnumbered by Maréchal de Biron. In consequence, those of
the pretended reformed religion failed in all their plans, except
their attack upon Cahors, which they took with petards, after
having lost a great number of men,--M. de Vezins, who commanded in
the town, disputing their entrance for two or three days, from
street to street, and even from house to house. The King my husband
displayed great valour and conduct upon the occasion, and showed
himself to be a gallant and brave general. Though the Huguenots
succeeded in this attempt, their loss was so great that they
gained nothing from it. Maréchal de Biron kept the field, and
took every place that declared for the Huguenots, putting all
that opposed him to the sword.

From the commencement of this war, the King my husband doing
me the honour to love me, and commanding me not to leave him, I
had resolved to share his fortune, not without extreme regret,
in observing that this war was of such a nature that I could not,
in conscience, wish success to either side; for if the Huguenots
got the upper hand, the religion which I cherished as much as
my life was lost, and if the Catholics prevailed, the King my
husband was undone. But, being thus attached to my husband, by
the duty I owed him, and obliged by the attentions he was pleased
to show me, I could only acquaint the King and the Queen my mother
with the situation to which I was reduced, occasioned by my advice
to them not having been attended to. I, therefore, prayed them,
if they could not extinguish the flames of war in the midst of
which I was placed, at least to give orders to Maréchal de Biron
to consider the town I resided in, and three leagues round it,
as neutral ground, and that I would get the King my husband to
do the same. This the King granted me for Nérac, provided my
husband was not there; but if he should enter it, the neutrality
was to cease, and so to remain as long as he continued there. This
convention was observed, on both sides, with all the exactness I
could desire. However, the King my husband was not to be prevented
from often visiting Nérac, which was the residence of his sister
and me. He was fond of the society of ladies, and, moreover, was
at that time greatly enamoured with Fosseuse, who held the place
in his affections which Rebours had lately occupied. Fosseuse did
me no ill offices, so that the King my husband and I continued to
live on very good terms, especially as he perceived me unwilling
to oppose his inclinations.

Led by such inducements, he came to Nérac, once, with a body
of troops, and stayed three days, not being able to leave the
agreeable company he found there. Maréchal de Biron, who wished
for nothing so much as such an opportunity, was apprised of it,
and, under pretence of joining M. de Cornusson, the seneschal of
Toulouse, who was expected with a reinforcement for his army,
he began his march; but, instead of pursuing the road, according
to the orders he had issued, he suddenly ordered his troops to
file off towards Nérac, and, before nine in the morning, his
whole force was drawn up within sight of the town, and within
cannonshot of it.

The King my husband had received intelligence, the evening before,
of the expected arrival of M. de Cornusson, and was desirous of
preventing the junction, for which purpose he resolved to attack
him and the Marshal separately. As he had been lately joined
by M. de La Rochefoucauld, with a corps of cavalry consisting
of eight hundred men, formed from the nobility of Saintonge,
he found himself sufficiently strong to undertake such a plan.
He, therefore, set out before break of day to make his attack
as they crossed the river. But his intelligence did not prove
to be correct, for De Cornusson passed it the evening before.
My husband, being thus disappointed in his design, returned to
Nérac, and entered at one gate just as Maréchal de Biron drew
up his troops before the other. There fell so heavy a rain at
that moment that the musketry was of no use. The King my husband,
however, threw a body of his troops into a vineyard to stop the
Marshal's progress, not being able to do more on account of the
unfavourableness of the weather.

In the meantime, the Marshal continued with his troops drawn up
in order of battle, permitting only two or three of his men to
advance, who challenged a like number to break lances in honour
of their mistresses. The rest of the army kept their ground, to
mask their artillery, which, being ready to play, they opened
to the right and left, and fired seven or eight shots upon the
town, one of which struck the palace. The Marshal, having done
this, marched off, despatching a trumpeter to me with his excuse.
He acquainted me that, had I been alone, he would on no account
have fired on the town; but the terms of neutrality for the town,
agreed upon by the King, were, as I well knew, in case the King
my husband should not be found in it, and, if otherwise, they
were void. Besides which, his orders were to attack the King
my husband wherever he should find him.

I must acknowledge on every other occasion the Marshal showed me
the greatest respect, and appeared to be much my friend. During
the war my letters have frequently fallen into his hands, when
he as constantly forwarded them to me unopened. And whenever my
people have happened to be taken prisoners by his army, they
were always well treated as soon as they mentioned to whom they

I answered his message by the trumpeter, saying that I well knew
what he had done was strictly agreeable to the convention made
and the orders he had received, but that a gallant officer like
him would know how to do his duty without giving his friends
cause of offence; that he might have permitted me the enjoyment
of the King my husband's company in Nérac for three days, adding,
that he could not attack him, in my presence, without attacking
me; and concluding that, certainly, I was greatly offended by
his conduct, and would take the first opportunity of making my
complaint to the King my brother.


The war lasted some time longer, but with disadvantage to the
Huguenots. The King my husband at length became desirous to make
a peace. I wrote on the subject to the King and the Queen my
mother; but so elated were they both with Maréchal de Biron's
success that they would not agree to any terms.

About the time this war broke out, Cambray, which had been delivered
up to my brother by M. d'Ainsi, according to his engagement with
me, as I have before related, was besieged by the forces of Spain.
My brother received the news of this siege at his castle of
Plessis-les-Tours, whither he had retired after his return from
Flanders, where, by the assistance of the Comte de Lalain, he
had been invested with the government of Mons, Valenciennes,
and their dependencies.

My brother, being anxious to relieve Cambray, set about raising
an army with all the expedition possible; but, finding it could
not be accomplished very speedily, he sent forward a reinforcement
under the command of M. de Balagny, to succour the place until
he arrived himself with a sufficient force to raise the siege.
Whilst he was in the midst of these preparations this Huguenot
war broke out, and the men he had raised left him to incorporate
themselves with the King's army, which had reached Gascony.

My brother was now without hope of raising the siege, and to lose
Cambray would be attended with the loss of the other countries
he had just obtained. Besides, what he should regret more, such
losses would reduce to great straits M. de Balagny and the gallant
troops so nobly defending the place.

His grief on this occasion was poignant, and, as his excellent
judgment furnished him with expedients under all his difficulties,
he resolved to endeavour to bring about a peace. Accordingly he
despatched a gentleman to the King with his advice to accede to
terms, offering to undertake the treaty himself. His design in
offering himself as negotiator was to prevent the treaty being
drawn out to too great a length, as might be the case if confided
to others. It was necessary that he should speedily relieve Cambray,
for M. de Balagny, who had thrown himself into the city as I have
before mentioned, had written to him that he should be able to
defend the place for six months; but, if he received no succours
within that time, his provisions would be all expended, and he
should be obliged to give way to the clamours of the inhabitants,
and surrender the town.

By God's favour, the King was induced to listen to my brother's
proposal of undertaking a negotiation for a peace. The King hoped
thereby to disappoint him in his expectations in Flanders, which
he never had approved. Accordingly he sent word back to my brother
that he should accept his proffer of negotiating a peace, and
would send him for his coadjutors, M. de Villeroy and M. de
Bellièvre. The commission my brother was charged with succeeded,
and, after a stay of seven months in Gascony, he settled a peace
and left us, his thoughts being employed during the whole time
on the means of relieving Cambray, which the satisfaction he
found in being with us could not altogether abate.

The peace my brother made, as I have just mentioned, was so
judiciously framed that it gave equal satisfaction to the King
and the Catholics, and to the King my husband and the Huguenots,
and obtained him the affections of both parties. He likewise
acquired from it the assistance of that able general, Maréchal
de Biron, who undertook the command of the army destined to raise
the siege of Cambray. The King my husband was equally gratified
in the Marshal's removal from Gascony and having Maréchal de
Matignon in his place.

Before my brother set off he was desirous to bring about a
reconciliation betwixt the King my husband and Maréchal de Biron,
provided the latter should make his apologies to me for his conduct
at Nérac. My brother had desired me to treat him with all disdain,
but I used this hasty advice with discretion, considering that
my brother might one day or other repent having given it, as
he had everything to hope, in his present situation, from the
bravery of this officer.

My brother returned to France accompanied by Maréchal de Biron.
By his negotiation of a peace he had acquired to himself great
credit with both parties, and secured a powerful force for the
purpose of raising the siege of Cambray. But honours and success
are followed by envy. The King beheld this accession of glory to
his brother with great dissatisfaction. He had been for seven
months, while my brother and I were together in Gascony, brooding
over his malice, and produced the strangest invention that can
be imagined. He pretended to believe (what the King my husband
can easily prove to be false) that I instigated him to go to
war that I might procure for my brother the credit of making
peace. This is not at all probable when it is considered the
prejudice my brother's affairs in Flanders sustained by the war.
But envy and malice are self-deceivers, and pretend to discover
what no one else can perceive. On this frail foundation the King
raised an altar of hatred, on which he swore never to cease till
he had accomplished my brother's ruin and mine. He had never
forgiven me for the attachment I had discovered for my brother's
interest during the time he was in Poland and since.

Fortune chose to favour the King's animosity; for, during the
seven months that my brother stayed in Gascony, he conceived
a passion for Fosseuse, who was become the doting piece of the
King my husband, as I have already mentioned, since he had quitted
Rebours. This new passion in my brother had induced the King my
husband to treat me with coldness, supposing that I countenanced my
brother's addresses. I no sooner discovered this than I remonstrated
with my brother, as I knew he would make every sacrifice for
my repose. I begged him to give over his pursuit, and not to
speak to her again. I succeeded this way to defeat the malice
of my ill-fortune; but there was still behind another secret
ambush, and that of a more fatal nature; for Fosseuse, who was
passionately fond of the King my husband, but had hitherto granted
no favours inconsistent with prudence and modesty, piqued by his
jealousy of my brother, gave herself up suddenly to his will, and
unfortunately became pregnant. She no sooner made this discovery,
than she altered her conduct towards me entirely from what it
was before. She now shunned my presence as much as she had been
accustomed to seek it, and whereas before she strove to do me
every good office with the King my husband, she now endeavoured
to make all the mischief she was able betwixt us. For his part,
he avoided me; he grew cold and indifferent, and since Fosseuse
ceased to conduct herself with discretion, the happy moments that
we experienced during the four or five years we were together
in Gascony were no more.

Peace being restored, and my brother departed for France, as
I have already related, the King my husband and I returned to
Nérac. We were no sooner there than Fosseuse persuaded the King
my husband to make a journey to the waters of Aigues-Caudes,
in Béarn, perhaps with a design to rid herself of her burden
there. I begged the King my husband to excuse my accompanying
him, as, since the affront that I had received at Pau, I had
made a vow never to set foot in Béarn until the Catholic religion
was reestablished there. He pressed me much to go with him, and
grew angry at my persisting to refuse his request. He told me
that his _little girl_ (for so he affected to call Fosseuse)
was desirous to go there on account of a colic, which she felt
frequent returns of. I answered that I had no objection to his
taking her with him. He then said that she could not go unless
I went; that it would occasion scandal, which might as well be
avoided. He continued to press me to accompany him, but at length
I prevailed with him to consent to go without me, and to take
her with him, and, with her, two of her companions, Rebours and
Ville-Savin, together with the governess. They set out accordingly,
and I waited their return at Bavière.

I had every day news from Rebours, informing me how matters went.
This Rebours I have mentioned before to have been the object of my
husband's passion, but she was now cast off, and, consequently, was
no friend to Fosseuse, who had gained that place in his affection
she had before held. She, therefore, strove all she could to
circumvent her; and, indeed, she was fully qualified for such
a purpose, as she was a cunning, deceitful young person. She
gave me to understand that Fosseuse laboured to do me every ill
office in her power; that she spoke of me with the greatest
disrespect on all occasions, and expressed her expectations of
marrying the King herself, in case she should be delivered of
a son, when I was to be divorced. She had said, further, that
when the King my husband returned to Bavière, he had resolved
to go to Pau, and that I should go with him, whether I would
or not.

This intelligence was far from being agreeable to me, and I knew
not what to think of it. I trusted in the goodness of God, and
I had a reliance on the generosity of the King my husband; yet
I passed the time I waited for his return but uncomfortably,
and often thought I shed more tears than they drank water. The
Catholic nobility of the neighbourhood of Bavière used their utmost
endeavours to divert my chagrin, for the month or five weeks that
the King my husband and Fosseuse stayed at Aigues-Caudes.

On his return, a certain nobleman acquainted the King my husband
with the concern I was under lest he should go to Pau, whereupon
he did not press me on the subject, but only said he should have
been glad if I had consented to go with him. Perceiving, by my
tears and the expressions I made use of, that I should prefer
even death to such a journey, he altered his intentions and we
returned to Nérac.

The pregnancy of Fosseuse was now no longer a secret. The whole
Court talked of it, and not only the Court, but all the country. I
was willing to prevent the scandal from spreading, and accordingly
resolved to talk to her on the subject. With this resolution,
I took her into my closet, and spoke to her thus: "Though you
have for some time estranged yourself from me, and, as it has
been reported to me, striven to do me many ill offices with the
King my husband, yet the regard I once had for you, and the esteem
which I still entertain for those honourable persons to whose
family you belong, do not admit of my neglecting to afford you
all the assistance in my power in your present unhappy situation.
I beg you, therefore, not to conceal the truth, it being both
for your interest and mine, under whose protection you are, to
declare it. Tell me the truth, and I will act towards you as
a mother. You know that a contagious disorder has broken out
in the place, and, under pretence of avoiding it, I will go to
Mas-d'Agenois, which is a house belonging to the King my husband,
in a very retired situation. I will take you with me, and such
other persons as you shall name. Whilst we are there, the King
will take the diversion of hunting in some other part of the
country, and I shall not stir thence before your delivery. By
this means we shall put a stop to the scandalous reports which
are now current, and which concern you more than myself."

So far from showing any contrition, or returning thanks for my
kindness, she replied, with the utmost arrogance, that she would
prove all those to be liars who had reported such things of her;
that, for my part, I had ceased for a long time to show her any
marks of regard, and she saw that I was determined upon her ruin.
These words she delivered in as loud a tone as mine had been
mildly expressed; and, leaving me abruptly, she flew in a rage
to the King my husband, to relate to him what I had said to her.
He was very angry upon the occasion, and declared he would make
them all liars who had laid such things to her charge. From that
moment until the hour of her delivery, which was a few months
after, he never spoke to me.

She found the pains of labour come upon her about daybreak, whilst
she was in bed in the chamber where the maids of honour slept.
She sent for my physician, and begged him to go and acquaint
the King my husband that she was taken ill. We slept in separate
beds in the same chamber, and had done so for some time.

The physician delivered the message as he was directed, which
greatly embarrassed my husband. What to do he did not know. On
the one hand, he was fearful of a discovery; on the other, he
foresaw that, without proper assistance, there was danger of
losing one he so much loved. In this dilemma, he resolved to
apply to me, confess all, and implore my aid and advice, well
knowing that, notwithstanding what had passed, I should be ready
to do him a pleasure. Having come to this resolution, he withdrew
my curtains, and spoke to me thus: "My dear, I have concealed a
matter from you which I now confess. I beg you to forgive me,
and to think no more about what I have said to you on the subject.
Will you oblige me so far as to rise and go to Fosseuse, who is
taken very ill? I am well assured that, in her present situation,
you will forget everything and resent nothing. You know how dearly
I love her, and I hope you will comply with my request." I answered
that I had too great a respect for him to be offended at anything
he should do, and that I would go to her immediately, and do as
much for her as if she were a child of my own. I advised him,
in the meantime, to go out and hunt, by which means he would
draw away all his people, and prevent tattling.

I removed Fosseuse, with all convenient haste, from the chamber
in which the maids of honours were, to one in a more retired part
of the palace, got a physician and some women about her, and saw
that she wanted for nothing that was proper in her situation. It
pleased God that she should bring forth a daughter, since dead.
As soon as she was delivered I ordered her to be taken back to
the chamber from which she had been brought. Notwithstanding
these precautions, it was not possible to prevent the story from
circulating through the palace. When the King my husband returned
from hunting he paid her a visit, according to custom. She begged
that I might come and see her, as was usual with me when anyone of
my maids of honour was taken ill. By this means she expected to
put a stop to stories to her prejudice. The King my husband came
from her into my bedchamber, and found me in bed, as I was fatigued
and required rest, after having been called up so early. He begged
me to get up and pay her a visit. I told him I went according to
his desire before, when she stood in need of assistance, but
now she wanted no help; that to visit her at this time would
be only exposing her more, and cause myself to be pointed at
by all the world. He seemed to be greatly displeased at what I
said, which vexed me the more as I thought I did not deserve such
treatment after what I had done at his request in the morning;
she likewise contributed all in her power to aggravate matters
betwixt him and me.

In the meantime, the King my brother, always well informed of
what is passing in the families of the nobility of his kingdom,
was not ignorant of the transactions of our Court. He was
particularly curious to learn everything that happened with us,
and knew every minute circumstance that I have now related. Thinking
this a favourable occasion to wreak his vengeance on me for having
been the means of my brother acquiring so much reputation by the
peace he had brought about, he made use of the accident that
happened in our Court to withdraw me from the King my husband,
and thereby reduce me to the state of misery he wished to plunge
me in. To this purpose he prevailed on the Queen my mother to
write to me, and express her anxious desire to see me after an
absence of five or six years. She added that a journey of this
sort to Court would be serviceable to the affairs of the King
my husband as well as my own; that the King my brother himself
was desirous of seeing me, and that if I wanted money for the
journey he would send it me. The King wrote to the same purpose,
and despatched Manique, the steward of his household, with
instructions to use every persuasion with me to undertake the
journey. The length of time I had been absent in Gascony, and
the unkind usage I received on account of Fosseuse, contributed
to induce me to listen to the proposal made me.

The King and the Queen both wrote to me. I received three letters,
in quick succession; and, that I might have no pretence for staying,
I had the sum of fifteen hundred crowns paid me to defray the
expenses of my journey. The Queen my mother wrote that she would
give me the meeting in Saintonge, and that, if the King my husband
would accompany me so far, she would treat with him there, and
give him every satisfaction with respect to the King. But the
King and she were desirous to have him at their Court, as he
had been before with my brother; and the Maréchal de Matignon
had pressed the matter with the King, that he might have no one
to interfere with him in Gascony. I had had too long experience
of what was to be expected at their Court to hope much from all
the fine promises that were made to me. I had resolved, however,
to avail myself of the opportunity of an absence of a few months,
thinking it might prove the means of setting matters to rights.
Besides which, I thought that, as I should take Fosseuse with
me, it was possible that the King's passion for her might cool
when she was no longer in his sight, or he might attach himself
to some other that was less inclined to do me mischief.

It was with some difficulty that the King my husband would consent
to a removal, so unwilling was he to leave his Fosseuse. He paid
more attention to me, in hopes that I should refuse to set out
on this journey to France; but, as I had given my word in my
letters to the King and the Queen my mother that I would go,
and as I had even received money for the purpose, I could not
do otherwise.

And herein my ill-fortune prevailed over the reluctance I had
to leave the King my husband, after the instances of renewed
love and regard which he had begun to show me.



"Madame de Pompadour was not merely a grisette, as her enemies
attempted to say, and as Voltaire repeated in one of his malicious
days. She was the prettiest woman in Paris, spirituelle, elegant,
adorned with a thousand gifts and a thousand talents, but with a
sort of sentiment which had not the grandeur of an aristocratic
ambition. She loved the king for himself, as the finest man in the
kingdom, as the person who appeared to her the most admirable.
She loved him sincerely, with a degree of sentimentalism, if
not with a profound passion. Her ideal had been on arriving at
the court to fascinate him, to keep him amused by a thousand
diversions suggested by art or intellect, to make him happy and
contented in a circle of ever-changing enchantments and pleasures.
A Watteau-like country, plays, comedies, pastorals in the shade,
a continual embarking for Cytherea, that would have been the
setting she preferred. But once she had set foot on the shifting
soil of the court, she could only realize her ideal imperfectly.
Naturally obliging and good-hearted, she had to face enmity open
and concealed, and to take the offensive to avoid her downfall.
Necessity drove her into politics, and to become a minister of
state. Madame de Pompadour can be considered as the last king's
mistress, deserving of the name. The race of the royal mistresses
can then be said, if not ended, to have been at least greatly
broken. And Madame de Pompadour remains in our eyes the last
in our history, and the most brilliant."



It is one of the oldest of truisms that truth is stranger than
fiction. The present volume is but another striking example in
point. The legend of King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid palls
before the historic story of a certain Jeanne Poisson, an obscure
French girl who won a king's favor and wielded his sceptre for
twenty years. We do not hear anything further from the Beggar
Maid, after she became queen; but the famous Pompadour became
the most powerful figure of her day in all France, not excepting
the king himself.

These veritable _Memoirs_ of her reign are ascribed to her attendant,
Madame du Hausset, a woman of good family and, above all, of
good memory, who has here given us a faithful account of her
remarkable subject. Her opportunities for exact knowledge may
be gathered from her mistress's own words: "The king and I trust
you so completely that we look upon you as we might a cat or a
dog, and talk ahead with as much freedom as though you were not
there." And the critic, Sainte-Beuve, adds: "When the destiny of
a nation is in a woman's bedroom, the best place for the historian
is in the ante-chamber. Madame du Hausset seemed created for
this rôle of a Suetonius by her position and her character....
A good woman, furthermore, incapable of lying, and remaining
on the whole quite respectable."

After the death of Madame de Pompadour, the journal of this
waiting-woman fell into the hands of M. de Marigny, brother of
the favorite, with whom it remained in manuscript form for some
years. It was finally published, in 1802, ostensibly as "Drawn
from the Portfolio of the Maréchale D---- by Soulavie"; but the
French editors, MM. Vitrac and Galopin, assert that Soulavie
only lent his name to the work. They also call attention to the
fact that a _History of Madame de Pompadour_, by Mlle. Fouqué,
was published in London, as early as 1759. But no such general
history, or biography, could possibly have the intimate value of
a document written at the closest range of its subject. "These
_Memoirs_," say the French editors, "give a faithful portrait of
Madame de Pompadour.... They are clearly hostile, as are nearly
all documents preserved about her; for it was one of the evil
fortunes of Madame de Pompadour to be made known to us chiefly
through her enemies, D'Argenson, the Duc de Luynes, and Richelieu."

The above opinion sums up neatly the consensus of historical
opinion concerning this famous woman. She has, indeed, been in
the hands of her enemies, ever since the day of her death, in
1764. But this fact is not surprising. The mistress of a weak
monarch, she made use of her large influence over him to further
her own ends and appoint her own ministers to power. She was, in
fact, "the King." Michelet, the historian, asserts in so many words
that she "reigned twenty years," and he admits that "although of
mean birth, she had some patriotic ideas." However, leaving the
question of her political career aside, for the moment, the reader
will be interested to make the acquaintance of this remarkable
woman, herself. Who was she? What was the secret of her long
continued hold upon the King? Louis XV. was a notoriously fickle
monarch, whose many amours have become a part of history. But none
exercised the influence over him--and over all France, through
him--as did this person of "mean birth." Even her enemies have
had to admit her wonderful executive ability, in addition to
her womanly charms. These _Memoirs_, though rambling and without
strict sequence, answer our many questions interestingly. They
have been written, very evidently, by an inmate of the household.
They give, in addition, much of the secret history of the Court at
this important period, and point out, to the discerning reader,
a few of the chief causes which were to make possible the French
Revolution, at the century's close.

Madame de Pompadour's elevation to power was the result neither
of chance nor of romance. It was brought about by a carefully
laid plan, on the part of her parents and certain scheming
politicians, to make use of a beautiful girl to advance their
own interests. Jeanne Poisson was born in 1722, and at an early
age gave evidence of such unusual qualities, that her mother and
her guardian, M. Le Normant de Tournehem (who also is believed
to be her father), devoted their energies to making her worthy
of a place at court. She had a fine natural talent for music,
drawing, and engraving--some excellent examples of her work in
the latter field still being preserved--and she united with these
a rare physical beauty. M. Leroy, Keeper of the Park of Versailles,
thus describes her at the time of her meeting with the King: "She
was taller than the average, graceful, supple, and elegant. Her
features comported well with her stature, a perfect oval face,
framed by beautiful hair of a light shade, large eyes marked
by eyebrows of the same hue, a perfect nose, a charming mouth,
teeth of exceptional beauty displayed in a delicious smile, the
rarest of complexions," etc., etc. He continues his superlative
adjectives, indicating that the King was not the only susceptible
person in the Park, finally adding: "The features of the Marquise
were lighted by the play of infinite variety, but never could
one perceive any discordance. All was harmony and grace." Truly,
a worthy portrait of a famous beauty!

At the age of nineteen, Mlle. Poisson gave her hand to a kinsman
of her guardian, M. Le Normant d'Etoiles. The marriage seems
to have been the result of a sincere passion on his part, but
was looked upon merely as a matter of convenience by everybody
else; for not long thereafter we find her luring the King with
her "delicious smile," while he was hunting in the forest of
Senart; and in 1745 she was formally installed at Court, under
the title of the Marquise de Pompadour. This story, unadorned,
may sound paltry, even commercial, but we should not fall into
the error of judging it by twentieth century standards. The morals
of the French Court, never austere, were especially lax in the
reign of Louis XV., and _galanteries_ were the fashion, rather
than the exception; while for the post of King's favorite there
was a continual rivalry among high-born dames.

Once in this coveted position, the Marquise devoted her energies
to two things, and these she kept ever before her,--the pleasing
of her royal master, and the furthering of her party's interests.
How well she succeeded, this book shows. She entertained and
amused the King by elaborate pageants, in the various châteaux
which she built, or remodelled. Bellevue, Choisy, the Hermitage
at Versailles, Menars, La Celle, Montretout,--these are among
the monuments of her lavish career, and in these palaces she
accumulated costly art objects, such as the Saxe porcelains, the
Boulle marbles, and the sumptuous hangings and fittings which
have later been known as "Pompadour." Herself an artist and
connoisseur, she "set the pace" during a period of unbridled
luxury. She was patroness of the famous Sèvres ware. She drew
around her such painters and littérateurs as Bouchardon, Carle
Van Loo, Marmontel, Bernis, Crébillon, and Duclos. To her Voltaire
dedicated his _Tancrède_.

This was her brilliant side; but upon the deplorable side must
be reckoned her extravagance and her meddling in statecraft.
Ambitious for power, she surrounded the doting monarch with her
"creatures"--Rouillé, Saint Florentin, Puisieux, Machault. With the
exception of the Duc de Choiseul, her appointees were notoriously
weak--and this at a time when the War of the Austrian Succession
and the Seven Years' War called for strong government. Won over
by the cajoleries of Maria Theresa, who called her "cousin," she
induced the King to accept the Austrian Alliance; and again,
in 1758, despite Bernis and other ministers, she prevailed upon
him to maintain it throughout the disastrous war which was only
ended by the Treaty of Paris. In addition to this, she became
embroiled with the Church party, being especially bitter against
the Jesuits. It is no wonder, therefore, that she left her memory
in the hands of her enemies. It is no wonder that the seeds of
her folly and extravagance, as well as those of her successor, Du
Barry, resulted in the bloody harvest of the Revolution. "Après
nous le déluge!" ("After us the deluge") was her sinister motto, now
famous in history, and it carried with it the weight of prophecy.

To the end she remained, exteriorally, in full power. In 1752
the Marquise was made Duchesse de Pompadour; and four years later
"Dame d'Honneur" to the Queen, a title of charmingly unconscious
irony! The day of her demise (1764) was stormy, and the King is
said to have been genuinely grieved over the loss, remarking:
"Madame la Marquise has ill weather for her journey."

But to the last she herself was charming, débonnaire, masterful.
She had smiled her way into power, and she smiled even in the
face of death. "She felt it a duty to maintain to the end the
pose of elegance which she had established for herself," say
her French critics. "For the last time she applied the touch
of rouge to her cheeks, by which she had hidden, for several
years, the slow ravages of decay; set her lips in a final smile;
and with the air of a coquette uttered to the priest, who extended
to her the last rites of religion, this laughing quip (mot
d'élégance): "Attendez-moi, monsieur le curé, nous partirons
ensemble" ("Wait a moment, monsieur, and we will set forth





An early friend of mine, who married well at Paris, and who has
the reputation of being a very clever woman, has often asked
me to write down what daily passed under my notice; to please
her, I made little notes, of three or four lines each, to recall
to my memory the most singular or interesting facts; as, for
instance--_attempt to assassinate the King; he orders Madame
de Pompadour to leave the Court; M. de Machault's ingratitude_,
etc. I always promised my friend that I would, some time or other,
reduce all these materials into the form of a regular narrative.
She mentioned the "Recollections of Madame de Caylus," which were,
however, not then printed; and pressed me so much to produce a
similar work, that I have taken advantage of a few leisure moments
to write this, which I intend to give her, in order that she may
arrange it and correct the style. I was for a long time about
the person of Madame de Pompadour, and my birth procured for me
respectful treatment from herself, and from some distinguished
persons who conceived a regard for me. I soon became the intimate
friend of Doctor Quesnay, who frequently came to pass two or
three hours with me.

His house was frequented by people of all parties, but the number
was small, and restricted to those who were on terms of greatest
intimacy with him. All subjects were handled with the utmost
freedom; and it is infinitely to his honour and theirs that nothing
was ever repeated.

The Countess D---- also visited me. She was a frank and lively
woman, and much liked by Madame de Pompadour. The Baschi family
paid me great attention. M. de Marigny had received some little
services from me, in the course of the frequent quarrels between
him and his sister, and he had a great friendship for me. The
King was in the constant habit of seeing me; and an accident,
which I shall have occasion to relate, rendered him very familiar
with me. He talked without any constraint when I was in the room.
During Madame de Pompadour's illness I scarcely ever left her
chamber, and passed the night there. Sometimes, though rarely,
I accompanied her in her carriage with Doctor Quesnay, to whom
she scarcely spoke a word, though he was a man of great talents.
When I was alone with her, she talked of many affairs which nearly
concerned her, and she once said to me, "The King and I have such
implicit confidence in you, that we look upon you as a cat, or
a dog, and go on talking as if you were not there." There was a
little nook, adjoining her chamber, which has since been altered,
where she knew I usually sat when I was alone, and where I heard
everything that was said in the room, unless it was spoken in a
low voice. But when the King wanted to speak to her in private,
or in the presence of any of his Ministers, he went with her into
a closet, by the side of the chamber, whither she also retired
when she had secret business with the Ministers, or with other
important persons; as, for instance, the Lieutenant of Police,
the Postmaster-General, etc. All these circumstances brought to
my knowledge a great many things which probity will neither allow
me to tell or to record. I generally wrote without order of time,
so that a fact may be related before others which preceded it.
Madame de Pompadour had a great friendship for three Ministers;
the first was M. de Machault, to whom she was indebted for the
regulation of her income, and the payment of her debts. She gave
him the seals, and he retained the first place in her regard till
the attempt to assassinate the King. Many people said that his
conduct on that occasion was not attributable to bad intentions;
that he thought it his duty to obey the King without making himself
in any way a party to the affair, and that his cold manners gave
him the appearance of an indifference which he did not feel.
Madame de Pompadour regarded him in the light of a faithless
friend; and, perhaps, there was some justice on both sides. But
for the Abbé de Bernis, M. de Machault might, probably, have
retained his place.

The second Minister, whom Madame de Pompadour liked, was the
Abbé de Bernis. She was soon disgusted with him when she saw
the absurdity of his conduct. He gave a singular specimen of
this on the very day of his dismissal. He had invited a great
many people of distinction to a splendid entertainment, which was
to have taken place on the very day when he received his order
of banishment, and had written in the notes of invitation--_M. Le
Comte de Lusace will be there_. This Count was the brother of
the Dauphine, and this mention of him was deservedly thought
impertinent. The King said, wittily enough, "_Lambert and Molière
will be there_." She scarcely ever spoke of the Cardinal de Bernis
after his dismissal from the Court.

He was extremely ridiculous, but he was a good sort of man. Madame,
the Infanta, died a little time before, and, by the way, of such a
complication of putrid and malignant diseases, that the Capuchins
who bore the body, and the men who committed it to the grave,
were overcome by the effluvia. Her papers appeared no less impure
in the eyes of the King. He discovered that the Abbé de Bernis
had been intriguing with her, and that they had deceived him,
and had obtained the Cardinal's hat by making use of his name.
The King was so indignant that he was very near refusing him the
_barrette_. He did grant it--but just as he would have thrown
a bone to a dog. The Abbé had always the air of a protégé when
he was in the company of Madame de Pompadour. She had known him
in positive distress. The Duc de Choiseul was very differently
situated; his birth, his air, his manners, gave him claims to
consideration, and he far exceeded every other man in the art
of ingratiating himself with Madame de Pompadour. She looked
upon him as one of the most illustrious nobles of the Court,
as the most able Minister, and the most agreeable man. M. de
Choiseul had a sister and a wife, whom he had introduced to her,
and who sedulously cultivated her favourable sentiments towards
him. From the time he was Minister, she saw only with his eyes;
he had the talent of amusing her, and his manners to women,
generally, were extremely agreeable.

Two persons--the Lieutenant of Police and the
Postmaster-General--were very much in Madame de Pompadour's
confidence; the latter, however, became less necessary to her
from the time that the King communicated to M. de Choiseul the
secret of the post-office, that is to say, the system of opening
letters and extracting matter from them: this had never been
imparted to M. d'Argenson, in spite of the high favour he enjoyed.
I have heard that M. de Choiseul abused the confidence reposed in
him, and related to his friends the ludicrous stories, and the
love affairs contained in the letters which were broken open.
The plan they pursued, as I have heard, was very simple. Six
or seven clerks of the post-office picked out the letters they
were ordered to break open, and took the impression of the seals
with a ball of quicksilver. Then they put each letter, with the
seal downwards, over a glass of hot water, which melted the wax
without injuring the paper. It was then opened, the desired matter
extracted, and it was sealed again, by means of the impression. This
is the account of the matter I have heard. The Postmaster-General
carried the extracts to the King on Sundays. He was seen coming
and going on this noble errand as openly as the Ministers. Doctor
Quesnay often, in my presence, flew in such a rage about that
_infamous_ Minister, as he called him, that he foamed at the
mouth. "I would as soon dine with the hangman as with the
Postmaster-General," said the Doctor. It must be acknowledged
that this was astonishing language to be uttered in the apartments
of the King's mistress; yet it went on for twenty years without
being talked of. "It was probity speaking with earnestness,"
said M. de Marigny, "and not a mere burst of spite or malignity."

The Duc de Gontaut was the brother-in-law and friend of M. de
Choiseul, and was assiduous in his attendance on Madame de Pompadour.
The sister of M. de Choiseul, Madame de Grammont, and his wife
were equally constant in their attentions. This will sufficiently
account for the ascendency of M. de Choiseul, whom nobody would
have ventured to attack. Chance, however, discovered to me a
secret correspondence of the King, with a man in a very obscure
station. This man, who had a place in the Farmers General, of
from two to three hundred a year, was related to one of the young
ladies of the Parc-aux-cerfs, by whom he was recommended to the
King. He was also connected in some way with M. de Broglie, in
whom the King placed great confidence. Wearied with finding that
this correspondence procured him no advancement, he took the
resolution of writing to me, and requesting an interview, which
I granted, after acquainting Madame de Pompadour with the
circumstance. After a great deal of preamble and of flattery,
he said to me, "Can you give me your word of hour, and that of
Madame de Pompadour, that no mention whatever of what I am going
to tell you will be made to the King?" "I think I can assure you
that, if you require such a promise from Madame de Pompadour,
and if it can produce no ill consequence to the King's service,
she will give it you." He gave me his word that what he requested
would have no bad effect; upon which I listened to what he had to
say. He shewed me several memorials, containing accusations of
M. de Choiseul, and revealed some curious circumstances relative
to the secret functions of the Comte de Broglie. These, however,
led rather to conjectures than to certainty, as to the nature
of the services he rendered to the King. Lastly, he shewed me
several letters in the King's handwriting. "I request," said he,
"that the Marquise de Pompadour will procure for me the place
of Receiver-General of Finances; I will give her information
of whatever I send the King; I will write according to her
instructions, and I will send her his answers." As I did not
choose to take liberties with the King's papers, I only undertook
to deliver the memorials. Madame de Pompadour having given me
her word according to the conditions on which I had received
the communication, I revealed to her everything I had heard.
She sent the memorials to M. de Choiseul, who thought them very
maliciously and very cleverly written. Madame de Pompadour and
he had a long conference as to the reply that was to be given
to the person by whom those disclosures were made. What I was
commissioned to say was this: that the place of Receiver-General
was at present too important, and would occasion too much surprise
and speculation; that it would not do to go beyond a place worth
fifteen thousand to twenty thousand francs a year; that they
had no desire to pry into the King's secrets; and that his
correspondence ought not to be communicated to anyone; that this
did not apply to papers like those of which I was the bearer,
which might fall into his hands; that he would confer an obligation
by communicating them, in order that blows aimed in the dark,
and directed by malignity and imposture, might be parried. The
answer was respectful and proper, in what related to the King;
it was, however, calculated to counteract the schemes of the
Comte de Broglie, by making M. de Choiseul acquainted with his
attacks, and with the nature of the weapons he employed. It was
from the Count that he received statements relating to the war
and to the navy; but he had no communication with him concerning
foreign affairs, which the Count, as it was said, transacted
immediately with the King. The Duc de Choiseul got the man who
spoke to me recommended to the Controller-General, without his
appearing in the business; he had the place which was agreed
upon, and the hope of a still better, and he entrusted to me
the King's correspondence, which I told him I should not mention
to Madame de Pompadour, according to her injunctions. He sent
several memorials to M. de Choiseul, containing accusations of
him, addressed to the King. This timely information enabled him
to refute them triumphantly.

The King was very fond of having little private correspondences,
very often unknown to Madame de Pompadour: she knew, however,
of the existence of some, for he passed part of his mornings in
writing to his family, to the King of Spain, to Cardinal Tencin,
to the Abbé de Broglie, and also to some obscure persons. "It
is, doubtless, from such people as these," said she to me, one
day, "that the King learns expressions which perfectly surprise
me. For instance, he said to me yesterday, when he saw a man
pass with an old coat on, '_il y a là un habit bien examiné._'
He once said to me, when he meant to express that a thing was
probable, '_il y a gros_'; I am told this is a saying of the common
people, meaning, _il y a gros à parier_." I took the liberty to
say, "But is it not more likely from his young ladies at the
Parc, that he learns these elegant expressions?" She laughed,
and said, "You are right; _il y a gros_." The King, however,
used these expressions designedly, and with a laugh.

The King knew a great many anecdotes, and there were people enough
who furnished him with such as were likely to mortify the self-love
of others. One day, at Choisy, he went into a room where some
people were employed about embroidered furniture, to see how
they were going on; and looking out of the window, he saw at
the end of a long avenue two men in the Choisy uniform. "Who
are those two noblemen?" said he. Madame de Pompadour took up
her glass, and said, "They are the Duc d'Aumont, and ----." "Ah!"
said the King; "the Duc d'Aumont's grandfather would be greatly
astonished if he could see his grandson arm in arm with the grandson
of his _valet de Chambre_, L----, in a dress which may be called
a patent of nobility!" He went on to tell Madame de Pompadour a
long history, to prove the truth of what he said. The King went
out to accompany her into the garden; and, soon after, Quesnay
and M. de Marigny came in. I spoke with contempt of some one who
was very fond of money. At this the Doctor laughed, and said,
"I had a curious dream last night: I was in the country of the
ancient Germans; I had a large house, stacks of corn, herds of
cattle, a great number of horses, and huge barrels of ale; but I
suffered dreadfully from rheumatism, and knew not how to manage to
go to a fountain, at fifty leagues' distance, the waters of which
would cure me. I was to go among a strange people. An enchanter
appeared before me, and said to me, 'I pity your distress; here,
I will give you a little packet of the powder of _prelinpinpin_;
whoever receives a little of this from you will lodge you, feed
you, and pay you all sorts of civilities.' I took the powder,
and thanked him." "Ah!" said I, "how I should like to have some
powder of _prelinpinpin!_ I wish I had a chest full." "Well,"
said the Doctor, "that powder is _money_, for which you have so
great a contempt. Tell me who, of all the men who come hither,
receives the greatest attentions?" "I do not know," said I. "Why,"
said he, "it is M. de Monmartel, who comes four or five times a
year." "Why does he enjoy so much consideration?" "Because his
coffers are full of the powder of _prelinpinpin_. Everything in
existence," said he, taking a handful of louis from his pocket,
"is contained in these little pieces of metal, which will convey
you commodiously from one end of the world to the other. All men
obey those who possess this powder, and eagerly tender them their
services. To despise money, is to despise happiness, liberty, in
short, enjoyments of every kind." A _cordon bleu_ passed under
the window. "That nobleman," said I, "is much more delighted with
his _cordon bleu_ than he would be with ten thousand of your
pieces of metal." "When I ask the King for a pension," replied
Quesnay, "I say to him, 'Give me the means of having a better
dinner, a warmer coat, a carriage to shelter me from the weather,
and to transport me from place to place without fatigue.' But
the man who asks him for that fine blue ribbon would say, if
he had the courage and the honesty to speak as he feels, 'I am
vain, and it will give me great satisfaction to see people look
at me, as I pass, with an eye of stupid admiration, and make
way for me; I wish, when I enter a room, to produce an effect,
and to excite the attention of those who may, perhaps, laugh
at me when I am gone; I wish to be called _Monseigneur_ by the
multitude.' Is not all this mere empty air? In scarcely any country
will this ribbon be of the slightest use to him; it will give him
no power. My pieces of metal will give me the power of assisting
the unfortunate everywhere. Long live the omnipotent powder of
_prelinpinpin!_" At these last words, we heard a burst of laughter
from the adjoining room, which was only separated by a door from
the one we were in. The door opened, and in came the King, Madame
de Pompadour, and M. de Gontaut. "Long live the powder of
_prelinpinpin!_" said the King. "Doctor, can you get me any of
it?" It happened that, when the King returned from his walk, he
was struck with a fancy to listen to our conversation. Madame
de Pompadour was extremely kind to the Doctor, and the King went
out laughing, and talking with great admiration of the powder.
I went away, and so did the Doctor. I immediately sat down to
commit this conversation to writing. I was afterwards told that M.
Quesnay was very learned in certain matters relating to finance,
and that he was a great _économiste_. But I do not know very
well what that means. What I do know for certain is, that he
was very clever, very gay and witty, and a very able physician.

[Illustration: Madame de Pompadour learns of the likelihood of
her success in meeting her admirer, the King. _From the painting
by Casanova y Estorach._]

The illness of the little Duke of Burgundy, whose intelligence
was much talked of, for a long time occupied the attention of the
Court. Great endeavours were made to find out the cause of his
malady, and ill-nature went so far as to assert that his nurse,
who had an excellent situation at Versailles, had communicated to
him a nasty disease. The King shewed Madame de Pompadour the
information he had procured from the province she came from, as
to her conduct. A silly Bishop thought proper to say she had
been very licentious in her youth. The poor nurse was told of
this, and begged that he might be made to explain himself. The
Bishop replied, that she had been at several balls in the town in
which she lived, and that she had gone with her neck uncovered.
The poor man actually thought this the height of licentiousness.
The King, who had been at first uneasy, when he came to this,
called out, "_What a fool!_" After having long been a source of
anxiety to the Court, the Duke died. Nothing produces a stronger
impression upon Princes, than the spectacle of their equals dying.
Everybody is occupied about them while ill--but as soon as they
are dead, nobody mentions them. The King frequently talked about
death--and about funerals, and places of burial. Nobody could
be of a more melancholy temperament. Madame de Pompadour once
told me that he experienced a painful sensation whenever he was
forced to laugh, and that he had often begged her to break off
a droll story. He smiled, and that was all. In general, he had
the most gloomy ideas concerning almost all events. When there
was a new Minister, he used to say, "_He displays his wares like
all the rest, and promises the finest things in the world, not
one of which will be fulfilled. He does not know this country--he
will see._" When new projects for reinforcing the navy were laid
before him, he said, "This is the twentieth time I have heard
this talked of--France never will have a navy, I think." This
I heard from M. de Marigny.

I never saw Madame de Pompadour so rejoiced as at the taking
of Mahon. The King was very glad, too, but he had no belief in
the merit of his courtiers--he looked upon their success as the
effect of chance. Maréchal Saxe was, as I have been told, the
only man who inspired him with great esteem. But he had scarcely
ever seen him in his closet, or playing the courtier.

M. d'Argenson picked a quarrel with M. de Richelieu, after his
victory, about his return to Paris. This was intended to prevent
his coming to enjoy his triumph. He tried to throw the thing
upon Madame de Pompadour, who was enthusiastic about him, and
called him by no other name than the "_Minorcan_." The Chevalier
de Montaign was the favourite of the Dauphin, and much beloved
by him for his great devotion. He fell ill, and underwent an
operation called _l'empième_, which is performed by making an
incision between the ribs, in order to let out the pus; it had,
to all appearance, a favourable result, but the patient grew
worse, and could not breathe. His medical attendants could not
conceive what occasioned this accident and retarded his cure.
He died almost in the arms of the Dauphin, who went every day to
see him. The singularity of his disease determined the surgeons
to open the body, and they found, in his chest, part of the leaden
syringe with which decoctions had, as was usual, been injected into
the part in a state of suppuration. The surgeon, who committed
this act of negligence, took care not to boast of his feat, and
his patient was the victim. This incident was much talked of
by the King, who related it, I believe, not less than thirty
times, according to his custom; but what occasioned still more
conversation about the Chevalier de Montaign, was a box, found
by his bed's side, containing haircloths, and shirts, and whips,
stained with blood. This circumstance was spoken of one evening
at supper, at Madame de Pompadour's, and not one of the guests
seemed at all tempted to imitate the Chevalier. Eight or ten
days afterwards, the following tale was sent to the King, to
Madame de Pompadour, to the Baschi, and to the Duc d'Ayen. At
first nobody could understand to what it referred: at last, the
Duc d'Ayen exclaimed. "How stupid we are; this is a joke on the
austerities of the Chevalier de Montaign!" This appeared clear
enough--so much the more so, as the copies were sent to the Dauphin,
the Dauphine, the Abbé de St. Cyr, and to the Duc de V----. The
latter had the character of a pretender to devotion, and, in
his copy, there was this addition, "_You would not be such a
fool, my dear Duke, as to be a faquir--confess that you would
be very glad to be one of those good monks who lead such a jolly
life._" The Duc de Richelieu was suspected of having employed
one of his wits to write the story. The King was scandalised at
it, and ordered the Lieutenant of Police to endeavour to find
out the author, but either he could not succeed or he would not
betray him.

_Japanese Tale._

At a distance of three leagues from the capital of Japan, there
is a temple celebrated for the concourse of persons, of both
sexes, and of all ranks, who crowd thither to worship an idol
believed to work miracles. Three hundred men consecrated to the
service of religion, and who can give proofs of ancient and
illustrious descent, serve this temple, and present to the idol
the offerings which are brought from all the provinces of the
empire. They inhabit a vast and magnificent edifice, belonging
to the temple, and surrounded with gardens where art has combined
with nature to produce enchantment. I obtained permission to
see the temple, and to walk in the gardens. A monk advanced in
years, but still full of vigour and vivacity, accompanied me. I
saw several others, of different ages, who were walking there.
But what surprised me was to see a great many of them amusing
themselves by various agreeable and sportive games with young
girls elegantly dressed, listening to their songs, and joining in
their dances. The monk, who accompanied me, listened with great
civility and kindness to the questions I put to him concerning
his order. The following is the sum of his answers to my numerous
interrogations. The God Faraki, whom we worship, is so called
from a word which signifies the _fabricator_. He made all that
we behold--the earth, the stars, the sun, etc. He has endowed
men with senses, which are so many sources of pleasure, and we
think the only way of shewing our gratitude is to use them. This
opinion will, doubtless, appear to you much more rational than
that of the faquirs of India, who pass their lives in thwarting
nature, and who inflict upon themselves the most melancholy
privations and the most severe sufferings.

As soon as the sun rises, we repair to the mountain you see before
us, at the foot of which flows a stream of the most limpid water,
which meanders in graceful windings through that meadow--enamelled
with the loveliest flowers. We gather the most fragrant of them,
which we carry and lay upon the altar, together with various
fruits, which we receive from the bounty of Faraki. We then sing
his praises, and execute dances expressive of our thankfulness,
and of all the enjoyments we owe to this beneficent deity. The
highest of these is that which love produces, and we testify
our ardent gratitude by the manner in which we avail ourselves
of this inestimable gift of Faraki. Having left the temple, we
go into several shady thickets, where we take a light repast;
after which, each of us employs himself in some unoppressive
labour. Some embroider, others apply themselves to painting,
others cultivate flowers or fruits, others turn little implements
for our use. Many of these little works are sold to the people,
who purchase them with eagerness. The money arising from this
sale forms a considerable part of our revenue. Our morning is
thus devoted to the worship of God and to the exercise of the
sense of Sight, which begins with the first rays of the sun.
The sense of Taste is gratified by our dinner, and we add to it
the pleasure of Smell. The most delicious viands are spread for
us in apartments strewed with flowers. The table is adorned with
them, and the most exquisite wines are handed to us in crystal
goblets. When we have glorified God, by the agreeable use of the
palate, and the olfactory nerve, we enjoy a delightful sleep
of two hours, in bowers of orange trees, roses, and myrtles.
Having acquired a fresh store of strength and spirits, we return
to our occupations, that we may thus mingle labour with pleasure,
which would lose its zest by long continuance. After our work,
we return to the temple, to thank God, and to offer him incense.
From thence we go to the most delightful part of the garden,
where we find three hundred young girls, some of whom form lively
dances with the younger of our monks; the others execute serious
dances, which require neither strength nor agility, and which
only keep time to the sound of musical instruments.

We talk and laugh with our companions, who are dressed in a light
gauze, and whose tresses are adorned with flowers; we press them
to partake of exquisite sherbets, differently prepared. The hour
of supper being arrived, we repair to rooms illuminated with the
lustre of a thousand tapers fragrant with amber. The supper-room is
surrounded by three vast galleries, in which are placed musicians,
whose various instruments fill the mind with the most pleasurable
and the softest emotions. The young girls are seated at table
with us, and, towards the conclusion of the repast, they sing
songs, which are hymns in honour of the God who has endowed us
with senses which shed such a charm over existence, and which
promise us new pleasure from every fresh exercise of them. After
the repast is ended, we return to the dance, and, when the hour
of repose arrives, we draw from a kind of lottery, in which every
one is sure of a prize that is a sumptuously decorated sleeping
room for the night. These rooms are allotted to each by chance
to avoid jealousy, since some rooms are handsomer than others.
Thus ends the day and gives place to a night of exquisite repose
in which we enjoy well-earned sleep, that most divine of earthly

We admire the wisdom and the goodness of Faraki, who has implanted
an unconscious mutual attraction between the sexes that constantly
draws them towards each other. It is this mutual love, these
invisible ties, that make the world brighter, cheerier, happier.
It has been truly said that those who selfishly cut themselves
away from these ties, those that lead narrow, lonely, morbid lives,
lose most of life's joys. What should we say to the favourite of
a King from whom he had received a beautiful house, and fine
estates, and who chose to spoil the house, to let it fall in
ruins, to abandon the cultivation of the land, and let it become
sterile, and covered with thorns? Such is the conduct of the
faquirs of India, who condemn themselves to the most melancholy
privations, and to the most severe sufferings. Is not this insulting
Faraki? Is it not saying to him, I despise your gifts? Is it not
misrepresenting him and saying, You are malevolent and cruel,
and I know that I can no otherwise please you than by offering
you the spectacle of my miseries? "I am told," added he, "that
you have, in your country, faquirs not less insane, not less
cruel to themselves." I thought, with some reason, that he meant
the fathers of La Trappe. The recital of the matter afforded me
much matter for reflection, and I admired how strange are the
systems to which perverted reason gives birth.

The Duc de V---- was a nobleman of high rank and great wealth.
He said to the King one evening at supper, "Your Majesty does
me the favour to treat me with great kindness: I should be
inconsolable if I had the misfortune to fall under your displeasure.
If such a calamity were to befall me, I should endeavour to divert
my grief by improving some beautiful estates of mine in such
and such a province;" and he thereupon gave a description of
three or four fine seats. About a month after, talking of the
disgrace of a Minister, he said, "I hope your Majesty will not
withdraw your favour from me; but if I had the misfortune to
lose it, I should be more to be pitied than anybody, for I have
no asylum in which to hide my head." All those present, who had
heard the description of the beautiful country houses, looked at
each other and laughed. The King said to Madame de Pompadour,
who sat next to him at table, "_People are very right in saying
that a liar ought to have a good memory._"

An event, which made me tremble, as well as Madame, procured me
the familiarity of the King. In the middle of the night, Madame
came into my chamber, _en chemise_, and in a state of distraction.
"Here! Here!" said she, "the King is dying." My alarm may be
easily imagined. I put on a petticoat, and found the King in her
bed, panting. What was to be done?--it was an indigestion. We
threw water upon him, and he came to himself. I made him swallow
some Hoffman's drops, and he said to me, "Do not make any noise,
but go to Quesnay; say that your mistress is ill; and tell the
Doctor's servants to say nothing about it." Quesnay, who lodged
close by, came immediately, and was much astonished to see the
King in that state. He felt his pulse, and said, "The crisis is
over; but, if the King were sixty years old, this might have
been serious." He went to seek some drug, and, on his return, set
about inundating the King with perfumed water. I forget the name
of the medicine he made him take, but the effect was wonderful.
I believe it was the _drops of Général Lamotte_. I called up
one of the girls of the wardrobe to make tea, as if for myself.
The King took three cups, put on his _robe de chambre_ and his
stockings, and went to his own room, leaning upon the Doctor.
What a sight it was to see us all three half naked! Madame put
on a robe as soon as possible, and I did the same, and the King
changed his clothes behind the curtains, which were very decently
closed. He afterwards spoke of this short attack, and expressed
his sense of the attentions shown him. An hour after, I felt the
greatest possible terror in thinking that the King might have
died in our hands. Happily, he quickly recovered himself, and
none of the domestics perceived what had taken place. I merely
told the girl of the wardrobe to put everything to rights, and
she thought it was Madame who had been indisposed. The King,
the next morning, gave secretly to Quesnay a little note for
Madame, in which he said, _Ma chère amie must have had a great
fright, but let her reassure herself--I am now well, which the
Doctor will certify to you._ From that moment the King became
accustomed to me, and, touched by the interest I had shown for
him, he often gave me one of his peculiarly gracious glances,
and made me little presents, and, on every New Year's Day, sent
me porcelain to the amount of twenty louis d'or. He told Madame
that he looked upon me in the apartment as a picture or statue, and
never put any constraint upon himself on account of my presence.
Doctor Quesnay received a pension of a thousand crowns for his
attention and silence, and the promise of a place for his son. The
King gave me an order upon the Treasury for four thousand francs,
and Madame had presented to her a very handsome chiming-clock
and the King's portrait in a snuffbox.

The King was habitually melancholy, and liked everything which
recalled the idea of death, in spite of the strongest fears of
it. Of this, the following is an instance: Madame de Pompadour
was on her way to Crécy, when one of the King's grooms made a sign
to her coachman to stop, and told him that the King's carriage had
broken down, and that, knowing her to be at no great distance,
His Majesty had sent him forward to beg her to wait for him. He
soon overtook us, and seated himself in Madame de Pompadour's
carriage, in which were, I think, Madame de Château-Rénaud, and
Madame de Mirepoix. The lords in attendance placed themselves in
some other carriages. I was behind, in a chaise, with Gourbillon,
Madame de Pompadour's _valet de chambre_. We were surprised in a
short time by the King stopping his carriage. Those which followed,
of course stopped also. The King called a groom, and said to
him, "You see that little eminence; there are crosses; it must
certainly be a burying-ground; go and see whether there are any
graves newly dug." The groom galloped up to it, returned, and
said to the King, "There are three quite freshly made." Madame
de Pompadour, as she told me, turned away her head with horror;
and the little Maréchale gaily said, "_This is indeed enough to
make one's mouth water._" Madame de Pompadour spoke of it when
I was undressing her in the evening. "What a strange pleasure,"
said she, "to endeavour to fill one's mind with images which one
ought to endeavour to banish, especially when one is surrounded
by so many sources of happiness! But that is the King's way; he
loves to talk about death. He said, some days ago, to M. de
Fontanieu, who was seized with a bleeding at the nose, at the
levée, 'Take care of yourself; at your age it is a forerunner
of apoplexy.' The poor man went home frightened, and absolutely

I never saw the King so agitated as during the illness of the
Dauphin. The physicians came incessantly to the apartments of
Madame de Pompadour, where the King interrogated them. There
was one from Paris, a very odd man, called Pousse, who once said
to him, "You are a good papa; I like you for that. But you know
we are all your children, and share your distress. Take courage,
however; your son will recover." Everybody's eyes were upon the
Duc d'Orléans, who knew not how to look. He would have become
heir to the crown, the Queen being past the age to have children.
Madame de ---- said to me, one day, when I was expressing my
surprise at the King's grief, "It would annoy him beyond measure
to have a Prince of the blood heir apparent. He does not like
them, and looks upon their relationship to him as so remote,
that he would feel humiliated by it." And, in fact, when his
son recovered, he said, "The King of Spain would have had a fine
chance." It was thought that he was right in this, and that it
would have been agreeable to justice; but that, if the Duc d'Orléans
had been supported by a party, he might have supported his
pretensions to the crown. It was, doubtless, to remove this
impression that he gave a magnificent fête at St. Cloud on the
occasion of the Dauphin's recovery. Madame de Pompadour said to
Madame de Brancas, speaking of this fête, "He wishes to make
us forget the _château en Espagne_ he has been dreaming of; in
_Spain_, however, they build them of solider materials." The
people did not shew so much joy at the Dauphin's recovery. They
looked upon him as a devotee, who did nothing but sing psalms.
They loved the Duc d'Orléans, who lived in the capital, and had
acquired the name of the _King of Paris_. These sentiments were
not just; the Dauphin only sang psalms when imitating the tones
of one of the choristers of the chapel. The people afterwards
acknowledged their error, and did justice to his virtues. The Duc
d'Orléans paid the most assiduous court to Madame de Pompadour:
the Duchess, on the contrary, detested her. It is possible that
words were put into the Duchess's mouth which she never uttered;
but she, certainly, often said most cutting things. The King would
have sent her into exile, had he listened only to his resentment;
but he feared the éclat of such a proceeding, and he knew that
she would only be the more malicious. The Duc d'Orléans was, just
then, extremely jealous of the Comte de Melfort; and the Lieutenant
of Police told the King he had strong reasons for believing that
the Duke would stick at nothing to rid himself of this gallant,
and that he thought it his duty to give the Count notice, that he
ought to be upon his guard. The King said, "He would not dare to
attempt any such violence as you seem to apprehend; but there is
a better way: let him try to surprise them, and he will find me
very well inclined to have his cursed wife shut up; but if he
got rid of this lover, she would have another to-morrow. Nay,
she has others at this moment; for instance, the Chevalier de
Colbert, and the Comte de l'Aigle." Madame de Pompadour, however,
told me these two last affairs were not certain.

An adventure happened about the same time, which the Lieutenant
of Police reported to the King. The Duchesse d'Orléans had amused
herself one evening, about eight o'clock, with ogling a handsome
young Dutchman, whom she took a fancy to, from a window of the
Palais Royal. The young man, taking her for a woman of the town,
wanted to make short work, at which she was very much shocked.
She called a Swiss, and made herself known. The stranger was
arrested; but he defended himself by affirming that she had talked
very loosely to him. He was dismissed, and the Duc d'Orléans
gave his wife a severe reprimand.

The King (who hated her so much that he spoke of her without
the slightest restraint) one day said to Madame de Pompadour,
in my presence, "Her mother knew what she was, for, before her
marriage, she never suffered her to say more than yes and no.
Do you know her joke on the nomination of Moras? She sent to
congratulate him upon it: two minutes after, she called back
the messenger she had sent, and said, before everybody present,
'Before you speak to him, ask the Swiss if he still has the place.'"
Madame de Pompadour was not vindictive, and, in spite of the
malicious speeches of the Duchesse d'Orléans, she tried to excuse
her conduct. "Almost all women," she said, "have lovers; she
has not all that are imputed to her: but her free manners, and
her conversation, which is beyond all bounds, have brought her
into general disrepute."

My companion came into my room the other day, quite delighted.
She had been with M. de Chenevières, first Clerk in the War-office,
and a constant correspondent of Voltaire, whom she looks upon
as a god. She was, by the bye, put into a great rage one day,
lately, by a print-seller in the street, who was crying, "Here
is Voltaire, the famous Prussian; here you see him, with a great
bear-skin cap, to keep him from the cold! Here is the famous
Prussian, for six sous!" "What a profanation!" said she. To return
to my story: M. de Chenevières had shewn her some letters from
Voltaire, and M. Marmontel had read an _Epistle to his Library_.

M. Quesnay came in for a moment; she told him all this: and, as
he did not appear to take any great interest in it, she asked
him if he did not admire great poets. "Oh, yes; just as I admire
great bilboquet players," said he, in that tone of his, which
rendered everything he said diverting. "I have written some verses,
however," said he, "and I will repeat them to you; they are upon
a certain M. Rodot, an Intendant of the Marine, who was very
fond of abusing medicine and medical men. I made these verses
to revenge Æsculapius and Hippocrates.

  Antoine se medicina
    En decriant ta medicine,
  Et de ses propres mains mina
    Les fondemens de sa machine:
  Très rarement il opina
    Sans humeur bizarre ou chagrine,
  Et, l'esprit qui le domina
    Etait affiché sur sa mine.

"What do you say to them?" said the Doctor. My companion thought
them very pretty, and the Doctor gave me them in his handwriting,
begging me, at the same time, not to give any copies.

Madame de Pompadour joked my companion about her _bel-esprit_,
but sometimes she reposed confidence in her. Knowing that she
was often writing, she said to her, "You are writing a novel,
which will appear some day or other; or, perhaps, the age of Louis
XV.: I beg you to treat me well." I have no reason to complain
of her. It signifies very little to me that she can talk more
learnedly than I can about prose and verse.

She never told me her real name; but one day I was malicious
enough to say to her, "Some one was maintaining, yesterday, that
the family of Madame de Mar---- was of more importance than many
of good extraction. They say it is the first in Cadiz. She had very
honourable alliances, and yet she has thought it no degradation
to be governess to Madame de Pompadour's daughter. One day you
will see her sons or her nephews Farmers General, and her
granddaughters married to Dukes." I had remarked that Madame de
Pompadour for some days had taken chocolate, _à triple vanille
et ambré_, at her breakfast; and that she ate truffles and celery
soup: finding her in a very heated state, lone day remonstrated
with her about her diet, to which she paid no attention. I then
thought it right to speak to her friend, the Duchesse de Brancas.
"I had remarked the same thing," said she, "and I will speak
to her about it before you." After she was dressed, Madame de
Brancas, accordingly, told her she was uneasy about her health.
"I have just been talking to her about it," said the Duchess,
pointing to me, "and she is of my opinion." Madame de Pompadour
seemed a little displeased; at last, she burst into tears. I
immediately went out, shut the door, and returned to my place
to listen. "My dear friend," she said to Madame de Brancas, "I
am agitated by the fear of losing the King's heart by ceasing to
be attractive to him. Men, you know, set great value on certain
things, and I have the misfortune to be of a very cold temperament.
I, therefore, determined to adopt a heating diet, in order to
remedy this defect, and for two days this elixir has been of
great service to me, or, at least, I have thought I felt its
good effects." The Duchesse de Brancas took the phial which was
upon the toilet, and after having smelt at it, "Fie!" said she,
and threw it into the fire. Madame de Pompadour scolded her,
and said, "I don't like to be treated like a child." She wept
again, and said, "You don't know what happened to me a week ago.
The King, under pretext of the heat of the weather, lay down
upon my sofa, and passed half the night there. He will take a
disgust to me and have another mistress." "You will not avoid
that," replied the Duchess, "by following your new diet, and that
diet will kill you; render your company more and more precious to
the King by your gentleness: do not repulse him in his fond moments,
and let time do the rest; the chains of habit will bind him to you
for ever." They then embraced; Madame de Pompadour recommended
secrecy to Madame de Brancas, and the diet was abandoned.

A little while after, she said to me, "Our master is better pleased
with me. This is since I spoke to Quesnay, without, however,
telling him all. He told me, that to accomplish my end, I must
try to be in good health, to digest well, and, for that purpose,
take exercise. I think the Doctor is right. I feel quite a different
creature. I adore that man (the King), I wish so earnestly to be
agreeable to him! But, alas! sometimes he says I am a _macreuse_
(a cold-blooded aquatic bird). I would give my life to please

One day, the King came in very much heated. I withdrew to my
post, where I listened. "What is the matter?" said Madame de
Pompadour. "The long robes and the clergy," replied he, "are
always at drawn daggers, they distract me by their quarrels.
But I detest the long robes the most. My clergy, on the whole,
is attached and faithful to me; the others want to keep me in
a state of tutelage." "Firmness," said Madame de Pompadour, "is
the only thing that can subdue them." "Robert Saint Vincent is
an incendiary, whom I wish I could banish, but that would make
a terrible tumult. On the other hand, the Archbishop is an
iron-hearted fellow, who tries to pick quarrels. Happily, there
are some in the Parliament upon whom I can rely, and who affect
to be very violent, but can be softened upon occasion. It costs
me a few abbeys, and a few secret pensions, to accomplish this.
There is a certain V---- who serves me very well, while he appears
to be furious on the other side." "I can tell you some news of
him, Sire," said Madame de Pompadour. "He wrote to me yesterday,
pretending that he is related to me, and begging for an interview."
"Well," said the King, "let him come. See him; and if he behaves
well, we shall have a pretext for giving him something." M. de
Gontaut came in, and seeing that they were talking seriously,
said nothing. The King walked about in an agitated manner, and
suddenly exclaimed, "The Regent was very wrong in restoring to
them the right of remonstrating; they will end in ruining the
State." "Ah, Sire," said M. de Gontaut, "it is too strong to be
shaken by a set of petty justices." "You don't know what they
do, nor what they think. They are an assembly of republicans;
however, here is enough of the subject. Things will last as they
are as long as I shall. Talk about this on Sunday, Madame, with
M. Berrier." Madame d'Amblimont and Madame d'Esparbès came in.
"Ah! here come my kittens," said Madame de Pompadour; "all that
we are about is Greek to them; but their gaiety restores my
tranquillity, and enables me to attend again to serious affairs.
You, Sire, have the chase to divert you--they answer the same
purpose to me." The King then began to talk about his morning's
sport, and Lansmatte. It was necessary to let the King go on
upon these subjects, and even, sometimes, to hear the same story
three or four times over, if new persons came into the room.
Madame de Pompadour never betrayed the least ennui. She even
sometimes persuaded him to begin his story anew.

I one day said to her, "It appears to me, Madame, that you are
fonder than ever of the Comtesse d'Amblimont." "I have reason to
be so," said she. "She is unique, I think, for her fidelity to
her friends, and for her honour. Listen, but tell nobody--four
days ago, the King, passing her to go to supper, approached her,
under the pretence of tickling her, and tried to slip a note
into her hand. D'Amblimont, in her madcap way, put her hands
behind her back, and the King was obliged to pick up the note,
which had fallen on the ground. Gontaut was the only person who
saw all this, and after supper, he went up to the little lady,
and said, 'You are an excellent friend.' 'I did my duty,' said
she, and immediately put her finger on her lips to enjoin him to
be silent. He, however, informed me of this act of friendship of
the little heroine, who had not told me of it herself." I admired
the Countess's virtue, and Madame de Pompadour said, "She is giddy
and headlong; but she has more sense and more feeling than a
thousand prudes and devotees. D'Esparbès would not do as much--most
likely she would meet him more than half-way. The King appeared
disconcerted, but he still pays her great attentions." "You will,
doubtless, Madame," said I, "show your sense of such admirable
conduct." "You need not doubt it," said she, "but I don't wish
her to think that I am informed of it." The King, prompted either
by the remains of his liking, or from the suggestions of Madame
de Pompadour, one morning went to call on Madame d'Amblimont,
at Choisy, and threw round her neck a collar of diamonds and
emeralds, worth between fifty thousand and seventy-five thousand
francs. This happened a long time after the circumstance I have
just related.

There was a large sofa in a little room adjoining Madame de
Pompadour's, upon which I often reposed.

One evening, towards midnight, a bat flew into the apartment
where the Court was; the King immediately cried out, "Where is
General Crillon?" (He had just left the room.) "He is the General
to command against the bats." This set everybody calling out,
"_Où etais-tu, Crillon?_" M. de Crillon soon after came in, and
was told where the enemy was. He immediately threw off his coat,
drew his sword, and commenced an attack upon the bat, which flew
into the closet where I was fast asleep. I started out of sleep
at the noise, and saw the King and all the company around me. This
furnished amusement for the rest of the evening. M. de Crillon
was a very excellent and agreeable man, but he had the fault of
indulging in buffooneries of this kind, which, however, were
the result of his natural gaiety, and not of any subserviency of
character. Such, however, was not the case with another exalted
nobleman, a Knight of the Golden Fleece, whom Madame saw one day
shaking hands with her _valet de chambre_. As he was one of the
vainest men at Court, Madame could not refrain from telling the
circumstance to the King; and, as he had no employment at Court,
the King scarcely ever after named him on the Supper List.

I had a cousin at Saint Cyr, who was married. She was greatly
distressed at having a relation waiting woman to Madame de Pompadour,
and often treated me in the most mortifying manner. Madame knew
this from Colin, her steward, and spoke of it to the King. "I
am not surprised at it," said he; "this is a specimen of the
silly women of Saint Cyr. Madame de Maintenon had excellent
intentions, but she made a great mistake. These girls are brought
up in such a manner, that, unless they are all made ladies of
the palace, they are unhappy and impertinent."

Some time after, this relation of mine was at my house. Colin,
who knew her, though she did not know him, came in. He said to me,
"Do you know that the Prince de Chimay has made a violent attack
upon the Chevalier d'Henin for being equerry to the Marquise." At
these words, my cousin looked very much astonished, and said,
"Was he not right?" "I don't mean to enter into that question,"
said Colin--"but only to repeat his words, which were these: 'If
you were only a man of moderately good family and poor, I should
not blame you, knowing, as I do, that there are hundreds such, who
would quarrel for your place, as young ladies of family would,
to be about your mistress. But, recollect, that your relations
are princes of the Empire, and that you bear their name.'" "What,
sir," said my relation, "the Marquise's equerry of a princely
house?" "Of the house of Chimay," said he; "they take the name
of Alsace"--witness the Cardinal of that name. Colin went out
delighted at what he had said.

"I cannot get over my surprise at what I have heard," said my
relation. "It is, nevertheless, very true," replied I; "you may
see the Chevalier d'Henin (that is the family name of the Princes
de Chimay), with the cloak of Madame upon his arm, and walking
alongside her sedan-chair, in order that he may be ready, on
her getting in, to cover her shoulders with her cloak, and then
remain in the antechamber, if there is no other room, till her

From that time, my cousin let me alone; nay, she even applied
to me to get a company of horse for her husband, who was very
loath to come and thank me. His wife wished him to thank Madame
de Pompadour; but the fear he had lest she should tell him, that
it was in consideration of his relationship to her waiting-woman
that he commanded fifty horse, prevented him. It was, however,
a most surprising thing that a man belonging to the house of
Chimay should be in the service of any lady whatever; and the
commander of Alsace returned from Malta on purpose to get him
out of Madame de Pompadour's household. He got him a pension
of a hundred louis from his family, and the Marquise gave him
a company of horse. The Chevalier d'Henin had been page to the
Maréchal de Luxembourg, and one can hardly imagine how he could
have put his relation in such a situation; for, generally speaking,
all great houses keep up the consequence of their members. M. de
Machault, the Keeper of the Seals, had, at the same time, as
equerry, a Knight of St. Louis, and a man of family--the Chevalier
de Peribuse--who carried his portfolio, and walked by the side
of the chair.

Whether it was from ambition, or from tenderness, Madame de Pompadour
had a regard for her daughter, which seemed to proceed from the
bottom of her heart. She was brought up like a Princess, and,
like persons of that rank, was called by her Christian name alone.
The first persons at Court had an eye to this alliance, but her
mother had, perhaps, a better project. The King had a son by
Madame de Vintimille, who resembled him in face, gesture, and
manners. He was called the Comte du ----. Madame de Pompadour
had him brought to Bellevue. Colin, her steward, was employed
to find means to persuade his tutor to bring him thither. They
took some refreshment at the house of the Swiss, and the Marquise,
in the course of her walk, appeared to meet them by accident.
She asked the name of the child, and admired his beauty. Her
daughter came up at the same moment, and Madame de Pompadour
led them into a part of the garden where she knew the King would
come. He did come, and asked the child's name. He was told, and
looked embarrassed when Madame, pointing to them, said they would
be a beautiful couple. The King played with the girl, without
appearing to take any notice of the boy, who, while he was eating
some figs and cakes which were brought, his attitudes and gestures
were so like those of the King, that Madame de Pompadour was in
the utmost astonishment. "Ah!" said she, "Sire, look at ----"
"At what?" said he. "Nothing," replied Madame, "except that one
would think one saw his father."

"I did not know," said the King, smiling, "that you were so
intimately acquainted with the Comte du L----." "You ought to
embrace him," said she, "he is very handsome." "I will begin,
then, with the young lady," said the King, and embraced them
in a cold, constrained manner. I was present, having joined
Mademoiselle's governess. I remarked to Madame, in the evening,
that the King had not appeared very cordial in his caresses.
"That is his way," said she; "but do not those children appear
made for each other? If it was Louis XIV., he would make a Duc
du Maine of the little boy; I do not ask so much; but a place
and a dukedom for his son is very little; and it is because he is
his son that I prefer him to all the little Dukes of the Court.
My grandchildren would blend the resemblance of their grandfather
and grandmother; and this combination, which I hope to live to
see, would, one day, be my greatest delight." The tears came
into her eyes as she spoke. Alas! alas! only six months elapsed,
when her darling daughter, the hope of her advanced years, the
object of her fondest wishes, died suddenly. Madame de Pompadour
was inconsolable, and I must do M. de Marigny the justice to
say that he was deeply afflicted. His niece was beautiful as
an angel, and destined to the highest fortunes, and I always
thought that he had formed the design of marrying her. A dukedom
would have given him rank; and that, joined to his place, and
to the wealth which she would have had from her mother, would
have made him a man of great importance. The difference of age
was not sufficient to be a great obstacle. People, as usual, said
the young lady was poisoned; for the unexpected death of persons
who command a large portion of public attention always gives birth
to these rumours. The King shewed great regret, but more for
the grief of Madame than on account of the loss itself, though
he had often caressed the child, and loaded her with presents. I
owe it, also, to justice, to say that M. de Marigny, the heir
of all Madame de Pompadour's fortune, after the death of her
daughter, evinced the sincerest and deepest regret every time
she was seriously ill. She, soon after, began to lay plans for
his establishment. Several young ladies of the highest birth were
thought of; and, perhaps, he would have been made a Duke, but
his turn of mind indisposed him for schemes either of marriage
or ambition. Ten times he might have been made Prime Minister,
yet he never aspired to it. "That is a man," said Quesnay to me,
one day, "who is very little known; nobody talks of his talents
or acquirements, nor of his zealous and efficient patronage of the
arts: no man, since Colbert, has done so much in his situation:
he is, moreover, an extremely honourable man, but people will
not see in him anything but the brother of the favourite; and,
because he is fat, he is thought dull and heavy." This was all
perfectly true. M. de Marigny had travelled in Italy with very
able artists, and had acquired taste, and much more information
than any of his predecessors had possessed. As for the heaviness
of his air, it only came upon him when he grew fat; before that,
he had a delightful face. He was then as handsome as his sister.
He paid court to nobody, had no vanity, and confined himself to
the society of persons with whom he was at his ease. He went
rather more into company at Court after the King had taken him
to ride with him in his carriage, thinking it then his duty to
shew himself among the courtiers.

Madame called me, one day, into her closet, where the King was
walking up and down in a very serious mood. "You must," said she,
"pass some days in a house in the Avenue de St. Cloud, whither
I shall send you. You will there find a young lady about to lie
in." The King said nothing, and I was mute from astonishment.
"You will be mistress of the house, and preside, like one of
the fabulous goddesses, at the accouchement. Your presence is
necessary, in order that everything may pass secretly, and according
to the King's wish. You will be present at the baptism, and name
the father and mother." The King began to laugh, and said, "The
father is a very honest man;" Madame added, "beloved by every
one, and adored by those who know him." Madame then took from
a little cupboard a small box, and drew from it an aigrette of
diamonds, at the same time saying to the King, "I have my reasons
for it not being handsomer." "It is but too much so," said the
King; "how kind you are;" and he then embraced Madame, who wept
with emotion, and, putting her hand upon the King's heart, said,
"This is what I wish to secure." The King's eyes then filled
with tears, and I also began weeping, without knowing why.
Afterwards, the King said, "Guimard will call upon you every
day, to assist you with his advice, and at the critical moment
you will send for him. You will say that you expect the sponsors,
and a moment after you will pretend to have received a letter,
stating that they cannot come. You will, of course, affect to
be very much embarrassed; and Guimard will then say that there
is nothing for it but to take the first comers. You will then
appoint as godfather and godmother some beggar, or chairman,
and the servant girl of the house, and to whom you will give but
twelve francs, in order not to attract attention." "A louis,"
added Madame, "to obviate anything singular, on the other hand."
"It is you who make me economical, under certain circumstances,"
said the King. "Do you remember the driver of the _fiacre_? I
wanted to give him a louis, and Duc d'Ayen said, 'You will be
known;' so that I gave him a crown." He was going to tell the
whole story. Madame made a sign to him to be silent, which he
obeyed, not without considerable reluctance. She afterwards told
me that at the time of the fêtes given on occasion of the Dauphin's
marriage, the King came to see her at her mother's house in a
hackney-coach. The coachman would not go on, and the King would
have given him a louis. "The police will hear of it, if you do,"
said the Duc d'Ayen, "and its spies will make inquiries, which
will, perhaps, lead to a discovery."

"Guimard," continued the King, "will tell you the names of the
father and mother; he will be present at the ceremony, and make
the usual presents. It is but fair that you also should receive
yours;" and, as he said this, he gave me fifty louis, with that
gracious air that he could so well assume upon certain occasions,
and which no person in the kingdom had but himself. I kissed
his hand and wept. "You will take care of the _accouchée_, will
you not? She is a good creature, who has not invented gunpowder,
and I confide her entirely to your direction; my chancellor will
tell you the rest," he said, turning to Madame, and then quitted
the room. "Well, what think you of the part I am playing?" asked
Madame. "It is that of a superior woman, and an excellent friend,"
I replied. "It is his heart I wish to secure," said she; "and
all those young girls who have no education will not run away
with it from me. I should not be equally confident were I to
see some fine woman belonging to the Court, or the city, attempt
his conquest."

I asked Madame, if the young lady knew that the King was the
father of her child? "I do not think she does," replied she;
"but, as he appeared fond of her, there is some reason to fear
that those about her might be too ready to tell her; otherwise,"
said she, shrugging her shoulders, "she, and all the others,
are told that he is a Polish nobleman, a relation of the Queen,
who has apartments in the castle." This story was contrived on
account of the _cordon bleu_, which the King has not always time
to lay aside, because, to do that, he must change his coat, and
in order to account for his having a lodging in the castle so
near the King. There were two little rooms by the side of the
chapel, whither the King retired from his apartment, without
being seen by anybody but a sentinel, who had his orders, and who
did not know who passed through those rooms. The King sometimes
went to the Parc-aux-cerfs, or received those young ladies in
the apartments I have mentioned.

I must here interrupt my narrative, to relate a singular adventure,
which is only known to six or seven persons, masters or valets.
At the time of the attempt to assassinate the King, a young girl,
whom he had seen several times, and for whom he had manifested
more tenderness than for most, was distracted at this horrible
event. The Mother-Abbess of the Parc-aux-cerfs perceived her
extraordinary grief, and managed so as to make her confess that
she knew the Polish Count was the King of France. She confessed
that she had taken from his pocket two letters, one of which was
from the King of Spain, the other from the Abbé de Broglie. This
was discovered afterwards, for neither she nor the Mother-Abbess
knew the names of the writers. The girl was scolded, and M. Lebel,
first _valet de chambre_, who had the management of all these
affairs, was called; he took the letters, and carried them to
the King, who was very much embarrassed in what manner to meet a
person so well informed of his condition. The girl in question,
having perceived that the King came secretly to see her companion,
while she was neglected, watched his arrival, and, at the moment
he entered with the Abbess, who was about to withdraw, she rushed
distractedly into the room where her rival was. She immediately
threw herself at the King's feet. "Yes," said she, "you are King
of all France; but that would be nothing to me if you were not
also monarch of my heart: do not forsake me, my beloved sovereign;
I was nearly mad when your life was attempted!" The Mother-Abbess
cried out, "You are mad now." The King embraced her, which appeared
to restore her to tranquillity. They succeeded in getting her
out of the room, and a few days afterwards the unhappy girl was
taken to a madhouse, where she was treated as if she had been
insane, for some days. But she knew well enough that she was not
so, and that the King had really been her lover. This lamentable
affair was related to me by the Mother-Abbess, when I had some
acquaintance with her at the time of the accouchement I have
spoken of, which I never had before, nor since.

To return to my history: Madame de Pompadour said to me, "Be
constantly with the _accouchée_, to prevent any stranger, or
even the people of the house, from speaking to her. You will
always say that he is a very rich Polish nobleman, who is obliged
to conceal himself on account of his relationship to the Queen,
who is very devout. You will find a wet-nurse in the house, to
whom you will deliver the child. Guimard will manage all the
rest. You will go to church as a witness; everything must be
conducted as if for a substantial citizen. The young lady expects
to lie in in five or six days; you will dine with her, and will
not leave her till she is in a state of health to return to the
Parc-aux-cerfs, which she may do in a fortnight, as I imagine,
without running any risk." I went, that same evening, to the Avenue
de Saint Cloud, where I found the Abbess and Guimard, an attendant
belonging to the castle, but without his blue coat. There were,
besides, a nurse, a wet-nurse, two old men-servants, and a girl,
who was something between a servant and a waiting-woman. The young
lady was extremely pretty, and dressed very elegantly, though
not too remarkably. I supped with her and the Mother-Abbess, who
was called Madame Bertrand. I had presented the aigrette Madame
de Pompadour gave me before supper, which had greatly delighted
the young lady, and she was in high spirits. Madame Bertrand
had been housekeeper to M. Lebel, first _valet de chambre_ to
the King. He called her Dominique, and she was entirely in his
confidence. The young lady chatted with us after supper; she
appeared to be very _naïve_. The next day, I talked to her in
private. She said to me, "How is the Count?" (It was the King
whom she called by this title.) "He will be very sorry not to be
with me now; but he was obliged to set off on a long journey."
I assented to what she said. "He is very handsome," said she,
"and loves me with all his heart. He promised me an allowance;
but I love him disinterestedly; and, if he would let me, I would
follow him to Poland." She afterwards talked to me about her
parents, and about M. Lebel, whom she knew by the name of Durand.
"My mother," said she, "kept a large grocer's shop, and my father
was a man of some consequence; he belonged to the Six Corps, and
that, as everybody knows, is an excellent thing. He was twice
very near being head-bailiff." Her mother had become bankrupt at
her father's death, but _the Count_ had come to her assistance,
and settled upon her fifteen hundred francs a year, besides giving
her six thousand francs down. On the sixth day, she was brought
to bed, and, according to my instructions, she was told the child
was a girl, though it reality it was a boy; she was soon to be
told that it was dead, in order that no trace of its existence
might remain for a certain time. It was eventually to be restored
to its mother. The King gave each of his children about ten thousand
francs a year. They inherited after each other as they died off,
and seven or eight were already dead. I returned to Madame de
Pompadour, to whom I had written every day by Guimard. The next
day, the King sent for me into the room; he did not say a word
as to the business I had been employed upon; but he gave me a
large gold snuff-box, containing two rouleaux of twenty-five
louis each. I curtsied to him, and retired. Madame asked me a
great many questions of the young lady, and laughed heartily at
her simplicity, and at all she had said about the Polish nobleman.
"He is disgusted with the Princess, and, I think, will return to
Poland for ever, in two months." "And the young lady?" said I.
"She will be married in the country," said she, "with a portion
of forty thousand crowns at the most and a few diamonds." This
little adventure, which initiated me into the King's secrets,
far from procuring for me increased marks of kindness from him,
seemed to produce a coldness towards me; probably because he was
ashamed of my knowing his obscure amours. He was also embarrassed
by the services Madame de Pompadour had rendered him on this

Besides the little mistresses of the Parc-aux-cerfs, the King
had sometimes intrigues with ladies of the Court, or from Paris,
who wrote to him. There was a Madame de L----, who, though married
to a young and amiable man, with two hundred thousand francs a
year, wished absolutely to become his mistress. She contrived
to have n meeting with him: and the King, who knew who she was,
was persuaded that she was really madly in love with him. There
is no knowing what might have happened, had she not died. Madame
was very much alarmed, and was only relieved by her death from
inquietude. A circumstance took place at this time which doubled
Madame's friendship for me. A rich man, who had a situation in
the Revenue Department, called on me one day very secretly, and
told me that he had something of importance to communicate to
Madame la Marquise, but that he should find himself very much
embarrassed in communicating it to her personally, and that he
should prefer acquainting me with it. He then told me, what I
already knew, that he had a very beautiful wife, of whom he was
passionately fond; that having on one occasion perceived her
kissing a little _porte-feuille_, he endeavoured to get possession
of it, supposing there was some mystery attached to it. One day
that she suddenly left the room to go upstairs to see her sister,
who had been brought to bed, he took the opportunity of opening
the _porte-feuille_, and was very much surprised to find in it
a portrait of the King, and a very tender letter written by His
Majesty. Of the latter he took a copy, as also of an unfinished
letter of his wife, in which she vehemently entreated the King
to allow her to have the pleasure of an interview--the means
she pointed out. She was to go masked to the public ball at
Versailles, where His Majesty could meet her under favour of a
mask. I assured M. de ---- that I should acquaint Madame with
the affair, who would, no doubt, feel very grateful for the
communication. He then added, "Tell Madame la Marquise that my
wife is very clever and very intriguing. I adore her, and should
run distracted were she to be taken from me." I lost not a moment
in acquainting Madame with the affair and gave her the letter.
She became serious and pensive, and I since learned that she
consulted M. Berrier, Lieutenant of Police, who, by a very simple
but ingeniously conceived plan, put an end to the designs of this
lady. He demanded an audience of the King, and told him that there
was a lady in Paris who was making free with His Majesty's name;
that he had been given the copy of a letter, supposed to have
been written by His Majesty to the lady in question. The copy
he put into the King's hands, who read it in great confusion,
and then tore it furiously to pieces. M. Berrier added, that
it was rumoured that this lady was to meet His Majesty at the
public ball, and, at this very moment, it so happened that a
letter was put into the King's hand, which proved to be from
the lady, appointing the meeting; at least, M. Berrier judged
so, as the King appeared very much surprised on reading it, and
said, "It must be allowed, M. le Lieutenant of Police, that you
are well informed." M. Berrier added, "I think it my duty to
tell Your Majesty that this lady passes for a very intriguing
person." "I believe," replied the King, "that it is not without
deserving it that she has got that character."

Madame de Pompadour had many vexations in the midst of all her
grandeur. She often received anonymous letters, threatening her
with poison or assassination: her greatest fear, however, was
that of being supplanted by a rival. I never saw her in a greater
agitation than, one evening, on her return from the drawing-room
at Marly. She threw down her cloak and muff, the instant she
came in, with an air of ill-humour, and undressed herself in
a hurried manner. Having dismissed her other women, she said
to me, "I think I never saw anybody so insolent as Madame de
Coaslin. I was seated at the same table with her this evening,
at a game of _brelan_, and you cannot imagine what I suffered.
The men and women seemed to come in relays to watch us. Madame
de Coaslin said two or three times, looking at me, _Va tout_,
in the most insulting manner. I thought I should have fainted,
when she said, in a triumphant tone, I have the _brelan_ of kings.
I wish you had seen her courtesy to me on parting." "Did the
King," said I, "show her particular attention?" "You don't know
him," said she; "if he were going to lodge her this very night
in my apartment, he would behave coldly to her before people,
and would treat me with the utmost kindness. This is the effect
of his education, for he is, by nature, kind-hearted and frank."
Madame de Pompadour's alarms lasted for some months, when she,
one day, said to me, "That haughty Marquise has missed her aim;
she frightened the King by her grand airs, and was incessantly
teasing him for money. Now you, perhaps, may not know that the King
would sign an order for forty thousand louis without a thought,
and would give a hundred out of his little private treasury with
the greatest reluctance. Lebel, who likes me better than he would
a new mistress in my place, either by chance or design had brought
a charming little sultana to the Parc-aux-cerfs, who has cooled
the King a little towards the haughty Vashti, by giving him
occupation, ---- has received a hundred thousand francs, some
jewels, and an estate. Jannette has rendered me great service,
by showing the King extracts from the letters broken open at
the post-office, concerning the report that Madame de Coaslin
was coming into favour. The King was much impressed by a letter
from an old counsellor of the Parliament, who wrote to one of
his friends as follows: "It is quite as reasonable that the King
should have a female friend and confidante--as that we, in our
several degrees, should so indulge ourselves; but it is desirable
that he should keep the one he has; she is gentle, injures nobody,
and her fortune is made. The one who is now talked of will be as
haughty as high birth can make her. She must have an allowance
of a million francs a year, since she is said to be excessively
extravagant; her relations must be made Dukes, Governors of
provinces, and Marshals, and, in the end, will surround the King,
and overawe the Ministers."

Madame de Pompadour had this passage, which had been sent to
her by M. Jannette, the Intendant of the Police, who enjoyed the
King's entire confidence. He had carefully watched the King's
look, while he read the letter, and he saw that the arguments of
this counsellor, who was not a disaffected person, made a great
impression upon him. Some time afterwards, Madame de Pompadour said
to me, "The haughty Marquise behaved like Mademoiselle Deschamps,
and she is _turned off_." This was not Madame's only subject
of alarm. A relation of Madame d'Estrades, wife to the Marquis
de C----, had made the most pointed advances to the King, much
more than were necessary for a man who justly thought himself the
handsomest man in France, and who was, moreover, a King. He was
perfectly persuaded that every woman would yield to the slightest
desire he might deign to manifest. He, therefore, thought it a
mere matter of course that women fell in love with him. M. de
Stainville had a hand in marring the success of that intrigue;
and, soon afterwards, the Marquise de C----, who was confined
to her apartments at Marly, by her relations, escaped through
a closet to a rendezvous, and was caught with a young man in a
corridor. The Spanish Ambassador, coming out of his apartments
with flambeaux, was the person who witnessed this scene. Madame
d'Estrades affected to know nothing of her cousin's intrigues,
and kept up an appearance of the tenderest attachment to Madame
de Pompadour, whom she was habitually betraying. She acted as spy
for M. d'Argenson, in the cabinets, and in Madame de Pompadour's
apartments; and, when she could discover nothing, she had recourse
to her invention, in order that she might not lose her importance
with her lover. This Madame d'Estrades owed her whole existence
to the bounties of Madame, and yet, ugly as she was, she had
tried to get the King away from her. One day, when he had got
rather drunk at Choisy (I think, the only time that ever happened
to him), he went on board a beautiful barge, whither Madame,
being ill of an indigestion, could not accompany him. Madame
d'Estrades seized this opportunity. She got into the barge, and,
on their return, as it was dark, she followed the King into a
private closet, where he was believed to be sleeping on a couch,
and there went somewhat beyond any ordinary advances to him.
Her account of the matter to Madame was, that she had gone into
the closet upon her own affairs, and that the King had followed
her, and had tried to ravish her. She was at full liberty to
make what story she pleased, for the King knew neither what he
had said, nor what he had done. I shall finish this subject by
a short history concerning a young lady. I had been, one day,
to the theatre at Compiègne. When I returned, Madame asked me
several questions about the play; whether there was much company,
and whether I did not see a very beautiful girl. I replied, "That
there was, indeed, a girl in a box near mine, who was surrounded
by all the young men about the Court." She smiled, and said,
"That is Mademoiselle Dorothée; she went, this evening, to see
the King sup in public, and to-morrow she is to be taken to the
hunt. You are surprised to find me so well informed, but I know
a great deal more about her. She was brought here by a Gascon,
named Dubarré or Dubarri, who is the greatest scoundrel in France.
He founds all his hopes of advancement on Mademoiselle Dorothée's
charms, which he thinks the King cannot resist. She is, really,
very beautiful. She was pointed out to me in my little garden,
whither she was taken to walk on purpose. She is the daughter of
a water-carrier, at Strasbourg, and her charming lover demands
to be sent Minister to Cologne, as a beginning." "Is it possible,
Madame, that you can have been rendered uneasy by such a creature
as that?" "Nothing is impossible," replied she; "though I think
the King would scarcely dare to give such a scandal. Besides,
happily, Lebel, to quiet his conscience, told the King that the
beautiful Dorothée's lover is infected with a horrid disease;"
and, added he, "Your Majesty would not get rid of that as you
have done of the scrofula." This was quite enough to keep the
young lady at a distance.

"I pity you sincerely, Madame," said I, "while everybody else
envies you." "Ah!" replied she, "my life is that of the Christian,
a perpetual warfare. This was not the case with the woman who
enjoyed the favour of Louis XIV. Madame de La Vallière suffered
herself to be deceived by Madame de Montespan, but it was her
own fault, or, rather, the effect of her extreme good nature.
She was entirely devoid of suspicion at first, because she could
not believe her friend perfidious. Madame de Montespan's empire
was shaken by Madame de Fontanges, and overthrown by Madame de
Maintenon; but her haughtiness, her caprices, had already alienated
the King. He had not, however, such rivals as mine; it is true,
their baseness is my security. I have, in general, little to
fear but casual infidelities, and the chance that they may not
all be sufficiently transitory for my safety. The King likes
variety, but he is also bound by habit; he fears éclats, and
detests manoeuvring women. The little Maréchale (de Mirepoix)
one day said to me, 'It is your staircase that the King loves;
he is accustomed to go up and down it. But, if he found another
woman to whom he could talk of hunting and business as he does
to you, it would be just the same to him in three days.'"

I write without plan, order, or date, just as things come into
my mind; and I shall now go to the Abbé de Bernis. whom I liked
very much, because he was good-natured, and treated me kindly.
One day, just as Madame de Pompadour had finished dressing, M.
de Noailles asked to speak to her in private. I, accordingly,
retired. The Count looked full of important business. I heard
their conversation, as there was only the door between us.

"A circumstance has taken place," said he, "which I think it my
duty to communicate to the King; but I would not do so without
first informing you of it, since it concerns one of your friends
for whom I have the utmost regard and respect. The Abbé de Bernis
had a mind to shoot, this morning, and went, with two or three
of his people, armed with guns, into the little park, where the
Dauphin would not venture to shoot without asking the King's
permission. The guards, surprised at hearing the report of guns,
ran to the spot, and were greatly astonished at the sight of M. de
Bernis. They very respectfully asked to see his permission, when
they found, to their astonishment, that he had none. They begged
of him to desist, telling him that, if they did their duty, they
should arrest him; but they must, at all events, instantly acquaint
me with the circumstance, as Ranger of the Park of Versailles.
They added, that the King must have heard the firing, and that
they begged of him to retire. The Abbé apologized, on the score of
ignorance, and assured them that he had my permission. 'The Comte
de Noailles,' said they, 'could only grant permission to shoot in
the more remote parts, and in the great park.'" The Count made
a great merit of his eagerness to give the earliest information
to Madame. She told him to leave the task of communicating it
to the King to her, and begged of him to say nothing about the
matter. M. de Marigny, who did not like the Abbé, came to see
me in the evening; and I affected to know nothing of the story,
and to hear it for the first time from him. "He must have been out
of his senses," said he, "to shoot under the King's windows,"--and
enlarged much on the airs he gave himself. Madame de Pompadour
gave this affair the best colouring she could: the King was,
nevertheless, greatly disgusted at it, and twenty times, since
the Abbé's disgrace, when he passed over that part of the park,
he said, "This is where the Abbé took his pleasure." The King
never liked him; and Madame de Pompadour told me one night, after
his disgrace, when I was sitting up with her in her illness,
that she saw, before he had been Minister a week, that he was
not fit for his office. "If that hypocritical Bishop," said she,
speaking of the Bishop of Mirepoix, "had not prevented the King
from granting him a pension of four hundred louis a year, which he
had promised me, he would never have been appointed Ambassador.
I should, afterwards, have been able to give him an income of
eight hundred louis a year, perhaps the place of master of the
chapel. Thus he would have been happier, and I should have had
nothing to regret." I took the liberty of saying that I did not
agree with her. That he had yet remaining advantages, of which
he could not be deprived; that his exile would terminate; and that
he would then be a Cardinal, with an income of eight thousand
louis a year. "That is true," she replied; "but I think of the
mortifications he has undergone, and of the ambition which devours
him; and, lastly, I think of myself. I should have still enjoyed
his society, and should have had, in my declining years, an old
and amiable friend, if he had not been Minister." The King sent
him away in anger, and was strongly inclined to refuse him the
hat. M. Quesnay told me, some months afterwards, that the Abbé
wanted to be Prime Minister; that he had drawn up a memorial,
setting forth that in difficult crises the public good required
that there should be a _central point_ (that was his expression),
towards which everything should be directed. Madame de Pompadour
would not present the memorial; he insisted, though she said to
him, "_You will ruin yourself._" The King cast his eyes over it,
and said "_central point_"--that is to say himself, he wants to
be Prime Minister. Madame tried to apologize for him, and said,
"That expression might refer to the Maréchal de Belle-Isle." "Is
he not just about to be made Cardinal?" said the King. "This
is a fine manoeuvre; he knows well enough that, by means of that
dignity, he would compel the Ministers to assemble at his house,
and then M. l'Abbé would be the _central point_. Wherever there
is a Cardinal in the council, he is sure, in the end, to take
the lead. Louis XIV., for this reason, did not choose to admit
the Cardinal de Janson into the council, in spite of his great
esteem for him. The Cardinal de Fleury told me the same thing. He
had some desire that the Cardinal de Tencin should succeed him;
but his sister was such an intrigante that Cardinal de Fleury
advised me to have nothing to do with the matter, and I behaved
so as to destroy all his hopes, and to undeceive others. M.
d'Argenson has strongly impressed me with the same opinion, and
has succeeded in destroying all my respect for him." This is
what the King said, according to my friend Quesnay, who, by the
bye, was a great genius, as everybody said, and a very lively,
agreeable man. He liked to chat with me about the country. I
had been bred up there, and he used to set me a talking about
the meadows of Normandy and Poitou, the wealth of the farmers,
and the modes of culture. He was the best-natured man in the
world, and the farthest removed from petty intrigue. While he
lived at Court, he was much more occupied with the best manner of
cultivating land than with anything that passed around him. The
man whom he esteemed the most was M. de la Rivière, a Counsellor
of Parliament, who was also Intendant of Martinique; he looked
upon him as a man of the greatest genius, and thought him the
only person fit for the financial department of administration.

The Comtesse d'Estrades, who owed everything to Madame de Pompadour,
was incessantly intriguing against her. She was clever enough to
destroy all proofs of her manoeuvres, but she could not so easily
prevent suspicion. Her intimate connection with M. d'Argenson gave
offence to Madame, and, for some time, she was more reserved with
her. She, afterwards, did a thing which justly irritated the
King and Madame. The King, who wrote a great deal, had written
to Madame de Pompadour a long letter concerning an assembly of the
Chambers of Parliament, and had enclosed a letter of M. Berrier.
Madame was ill, and laid those letters on a little table by her
bedside. M. de Gontaut came in, and gossipped about trifles, as
usual. Madame d'Amblimont also came, and stayed but very little
time. Just as I was going to resume a book which I had been reading
to Madame, the Comtesse d'Estrades entered, placed herself near
Madame's bed, and talked to her for some time. As soon as she
was gone, Madame called me, asked what was o'clock, and said,
"Order my door to be shut, the King will soon be here." I gave
the order, and returned; and Madame told me to give her the King's
letter, which was on the table with some other papers. I gave
her the papers, and told her there was nothing else. She was
very uneasy at not finding the letter, and, after enumerating
the persons who had been in the room, she said, "It cannot be
the little Countess, nor Gontaut, who has taken this letter.
It can only be the Comtesse d'Estrades;--and that is too bad."
The King came, and was extremely angry, as Madame told me. Two
days afterwards, he sent Madame d'Estrades into exile. There was
no doubt that she took the letter; the King's handwriting had
probably awakened her curiosity. This occurrence gave great pain
to M. d'Argenson, who was bound to her, as Madame de Pompadour
said, by his love of intrigue. This redoubled his hatred of Madame,
and she accused him of favouring the publication of a libel,
in which she was represented as a worn-out mistress, reduced
to the vile occupation of providing new objects to please her
lover's appetite. She was characterised as superintendent of
the Parc-aux-cerfs, which was said to cost hundreds of thousands
of louis a year. Madame de Pompadour did, indeed, try to conceal
some of the King's weaknesses, but she never knew one of the
sultanas of that seraglio. There were, however, scarcely ever
more than two at once, and often only one. When they married, they
received some jewels, and four thousand louis. The Parc-aux-cerfs
was sometimes vacant for five or six months. I was surprised,
some time after, at seeing the Duchesse de Luynes, Lady of Honour
to the Queen, come privately to see Madame de Pompadour. She
afterwards came openly. One evening, after Madame was in bed, she
called me, and said, "My dear, you will be delighted; the Queen
has given me the place of Lady of the Palace; tomorrow I am to be
presented to her: you must make me look well." I knew that the
King was not so well pleased at this as she was; he was afraid
that it would give rise to scandal, and that it might be thought
he had forced this nomination upon the Queen. He had, however,
done no such thing. It had been represented to the Queen that
it was an act of heroism on her part to forget the past; that
all scandal would be obliterated when Madame de Pompadour was
seen to belong to the Court in an honourable manner; and that
it would be the best proof that nothing more than friendship now
subsisted between the King and the favourite. The Queen received
her very graciously. The devotees flattered themselves they should
be protected by Madame, and, for some time, were full of her
praises. Several of the Dauphin's friends came in private to see
her, and some obtained promotion. The Chevalier du Muy, however,
refused to come. The King had the greatest possible contempt for
them, and granted them nothing with a good grace. He, one day,
said of a man of great family, who wished to be made Captain
of the Guards, "He is a double spy, who wants to be paid on both
sides." This was the moment at which Madame de Pompadour seemed
to me to enjoy the most complete satisfaction. The devotees came
to visit her without scruple, and did not forget to make use
of every opportunity of serving themselves. Madame de Lu----
had set them the example. The Doctor laughed at this change in
affairs, and was very merry at the expense of the saints. "You
must allow, however, that they are consistent," said I, "and
may be sincere." "Yes," said he; "but then they should not ask
for anything."

One day, I was at Doctor Quesnay's, whilst Madame de Pompadour
was at the theatre. The Marquis de Mirabeau came in, and the
conversation was, for some time, extremely tedious to me, running
entirely on _net produce_; at length, they talked of other things.

Mirabeau said, "I think the King looks ill, he grows old." "So
much the worse, a thousand times so much the worse," said Quesnay;
"it would be the greatest possible loss to France if he died;"
and he raised his hands, and sighed deeply. "I do not doubt that
you are attached to the King, and with reason," said Mirabeau;
"I am attached to him too; but I never saw you so much moved."
"Ah!" said. Quesnay, "I think of what would follow." "Well,
the Dauphin is virtuous." "Yes; and full of good intentions;
nor is he deficient in understanding; but canting hypocrites
would possess an absolute empire over a Prince who regards them
as oracles. The Jesuits would govern the kingdom, as they did at
the end of Louis XIV.'s reign: and you would see the fanatical
Bishop of Verdun Prime Minister, and La Vauguyon all-powerful
under some other title. The Parliaments must then mind how they
behave; they will not be better treated than my friends the
philosophers." "But they go too far," said Mirabeau; "why openly
attack religion?" "I allow that," replied the Doctor; "but how
is it possible not to be rendered indignant by the fanaticism of
others, and by recollecting all the blood that has flowed during
the last two hundred years? You must not then again irritate
them, and revive in France the time of Mary in England. But what
is done is done, and I often exhort them to be moderate; I wish
they would follow the example of our friend Duclos." "You are
right," replied Mirabeau; "he said to me a few days ago, 'These
philosophers are going on at such a rate that they will force
me to go to vespers and high mass;' but, in fine, the Dauphin
is virtuous, well-informed, and intellectual." "It is the
commencement of his reign, I fear," said Quesnay, "when the imprudent
proceedings of our friends will be represented to him in the most
unfavourable point of view; when the Jansenists and Molinists will
make common cause, and be strongly supported by the Dauphine. I
thought that M. de Muy was moderate, and that he would temper the
headlong fury of the others; but I heard him say that Voltaire
merited condign punishment. Be assured, sir, that the times of
John Huss and Jerome of Prague will return; but I hope not to
live to see it. I approve of Voltaire having hunted down the
Pompignans: were it not for the ridicule with which he covered
them, that _bourgeois_ Marquis would have been preceptor to the
young Princes, and, aided by his brother, would have succeeded
in again lighting the faggots of persecution." "What ought to
give you confidence in the Dauphin," said Mirabeau, "is, that,
notwithstanding the devotion of Pompignan, he turns him into
ridicule. A short time back, seeing him strutting about with an
air of inflated pride, he said to a person, who told it to me,
'Our friend Pompignan thinks that he is something.'" On returning
home, I wrote down this conversation.

I, one day, found Quesnay in great distress. "Mirabeau," said
he, "is sent to Vincennes, for his work on taxation. The Farmers
General have denounced him, and procured his arrest; his wife
is going to throw herself at the feet of Madame de Pompadour
to-day." A few minutes afterwards, I went into Madame's apartment,
to assist at her toilet, and the Doctor came in. Madame said to
him, "You must be much concerned at the disgrace of your friend
Mirabeau. I am sorry for it too, for I like his brother." Quesnay
replied, "I am very far from believing him to be actuated by bad
intentions, Madame; he loves the King and the people." "Yes,"
said she; "his _Ami des Hommes_ did him great honour." At this
moment the Lieutenant of Police entered, and Madame said to him,
"Have you seen M. de Mirabeau's book?" "Yes, Madame; but it was
not I who denounced it?" "What do you think of it?" "I think he
might have said almost all it contains with impunity, if he had
been more circumspect as to the manner; there is, among other
objectionable passages, this, which occurs at the beginning:
_Your Majesty has about twenty millions of subjects; it is only
by means of money that you can obtain their services, and there
is no money._" "What, is there really that, Doctor?" said Madame.
"It is true, they are the first lines in the book, and I confess
that they are imprudent; but, in reading the work, it is clear
that he laments that patriotism is extinct in the hearts of his
fellow-citizens, and that he desires to rekindle it." The King
entered: we went out, and I wrote down on Quesnay's table what
I had just heard. I then returned to finish dressing Madame de
Pompadour: she said to me, "The King is extremely angry with
Mirabeau; but I tried to soften him, and so did the Lieutenant
of Police. This will increase Quesnay's fears. Do you know what
he said to me to-day? The King had been talking to him in my
room, and the Doctor appeared timid and agitated. After the King
was gone, I said to him, 'You always seem so embarrassed in the
King's presence, and yet he is so good-natured.' 'Madame,' said
he, 'I left my native village at the age of forty, and I have
very little experience of the world, nor can I accustom myself
to its usages without great difficulty. When I am in a room with
the King, I say to myself, 'This is a man who can order my head
to be cut off; and that idea embarrasses me.' 'But do not the
King's justice and kindness set you at ease?' 'That is very true
in reasoning,' said he; 'but the sentiment is more prompt, and
inspires me with fear before I have time to say to myself all
that is calculated to allay it.'"

I got her to repeat this conversation, and wrote it down immediately,
that I might not forget it.

An anonymous letter was addressed to the King and Madame de
Pompadour; and, as the author was very anxious that it should
not miscarry, he sent copies to the Lieutenant of Police, sealed
and directed _to the King, to Madame de Pompadour, and to M. de
Marigny_. This letter produced a strong impression on Madame, and
on the King, and still more, I believe, on the Duc de Choiseul, who
had received a similar one. I went on my knees to M. de Marigny,
to prevail on him to allow me to copy it, that I might show it
to the Doctor. It is as follows:

"Sire--It is a zealous servant who writes to Your Majesty. Truth
is always better, particularly to Kings; habituated to flattery,
they see objects only under those colours most likely to please
them. I have reflected, and read much; and here is what my
meditations have suggested to me to lay before Your Majesty.
They have accustomed you to be invisible, and inspired you with
a timidity which prevents you from speaking; thus all direct
communication is cut off between the master and his subjects.
Shut up in the interior of your palace, you are becoming every
day like the Emperors of the East; but see, Sire, their fate!
'I have troops,' Your Majesty will say; such, also, is their
support: but, when the only security of a King rests upon his
troops; when he is only, as one may say, a King of the soldiers,
these latter feel their own strength, and abuse it. Your finances
are in the greatest disorder, and the great majority of states
have perished through this cause. A patriotic spirit sustained
the ancient states, and united all classes for the safety of
their country. In the present times, money has taken the place
of this spirit; it has become the universal lever, and you are in
want of it. A spirit of finance affects every department of the
state; it reigns triumphant at Court; all have become venal; and
all distinction of rank is broken up. Your Ministers are without
genius and capacity since the dismissal of MM. d'Argenson and de
Machault. You alone cannot judge of their incapacity, because
they lay before you what has been prepared by skilful clerks, but
which they pass as their own. They provide only for the necessity
of the day, but there is no spirit of government in their acts.
The military changes that have taken place disgust the troops,
and cause the most deserving officers to resign; a seditious flame
has sprung up in the very bosom of the Parliaments; you seek
to corrupt them, and the remedy is worse than the disease. It is
introducing vice into the sanctuary of justice, and gangrene into
the vital parts of the commonwealth. Would a corrupted Parliament
have braved the fury of the League, in order to preserve the
crown for the legitimate sovereign? Forgetting the maxims of
Louis XIV., who well understood the danger of confiding the
administration to noblemen, you have chosen M. de Choiseul, and
even given him three departments; which is a much heavier burden
than that which he would have to support as Prime Minister, because
the latter has only to oversee the details executed by the
Secretaries of State. The public fully appreciate this dazzling
Minister. He is nothing more than a _petit-maître_, without talents
or information, who has a little phosphorus in his mind. There
is a thing well worthy of remark, Sire; that is, the open war
carried on against religion. Henceforward there can spring up no
new sects, because the general belief has been shaken, that no
one feels inclined to occupy himself with difference of sentiment
upon some of the articles. The Encyclopedists, under pretence of
enlightening mankind, are sapping the foundations of religion.
All the different kinds of liberty are connected; the Philosophers
and the Protestants tend towards republicanism, as well as the
Jansenists. The Philosophers strike at the root, the others lop
the branches; and their efforts, without being concerted, will
one day lay the tree low. Add to these the Economists, whose
object is political liberty, as that of the others is liberty of
worship, and the Government may find itself, in twenty or thirty
years, undermined in every direction, and will then fall with a
crash. If Your Majesty, struck by this picture, but too true,
should ask me for a remedy, I should say, that it is necessary to
bring back the Government to its principles, and, above all, to
lose no time in restoring order to the state of the finances,
because the embarrassments incident to a country in a state of
debt necessitate fresh taxes, which, after grinding the people,
induce them towards revolt. It is my opinion that Your Majesty
would do well to appear more among your people; to shew your
approbation of useful services, and your displeasure of errors
and prevarications, and neglect of duty: in a word, to let it be
seen that rewards and punishments, appointments and dismissals,
proceed from yourself. You will then inspire gratitude by your
favours, and fear by your reproaches; you will then be the object
of immediate and personal attachment, instead of which, everything
is now referred to your Ministers. The confidence in the King,
which is habitual to your people, is shewn by the exclamation,
so common among them, 'Ah! if the King knew it.' They love to
believe that the King would remedy all their evils, if he knew
of them. But, on the other hand, what sort of ideas must they
form of Kings, whose duty it is to be informed of everything,
and to superintend everything, that concerns the public, but who
are, nevertheless, ignorant of everything which the discharge
of their functions requires them to know? _Rex, roi, regere,
régir, conduire_--to rule, to conduct--these words sufficiently
denote their duties. What would be said of a father who got rid
of the charge of his children as of a burthen?

"A time will come, Sire, when the people shall be enlightened--and
that time is probably approaching. Resume the reins of government,
hold them with a firm hand, and act, so that it cannot be said
of you, _Foeminas et scorta volvit animo et hoec principatûs
proemia putat:_--Sire, if I see that my sincere advice should
have produced any change, I shall continue it, and enter into
more details; if not, I shall remain silent."

Now that I am upon the subject of anonymous letters to the King,
I must just mention that it is impossible to conceive how frequent
they were. People were extremely assiduous in telling either
unpleasant truths, or alarming lies, with a view to injure others.
As an instance, I shall transcribe one concerning Voltaire, who
paid great court to Madame de Pompadour when he was in France.
This letter was written long after the former.

"Madame--M. de Voltaire has just dedicated his tragedy of _Tancred_
to you; this ought to be an offering of respect and gratitude;
but it is, in fact, an insult, and you will form the same opinion
of it as the public has done if you read it with attention. You
will see that this distinguished writer appears to betray a
consciousness that the subject of his encomiums is not worthy of
them, and to endeavour to excuse himself for them to the public.
These are his words: 'I have seen your graces and talents unfold
themselves from your infancy. At all periods of your life I have
received proofs of your uniform and unchanging kindness. If any
critic be found to censure the homage I pay you, he must have a
heart formed for ingratitude. I am under great obligations to
you, Madame, and these obligations it is my duty to proclaim.'

"What do these words really signify, unless that Voltaire feels
it may be thought extraordinary that he should dedicate his work
to a woman who possesses but a small share of the public esteem,
and that the sentiment of gratitude must plead his excuse? Why
should he suppose that the homage he pays you will be censured,
whilst we daily see dedications addressed to silly gossips who have
neither rank nor celebrity, or to women of exceptional conduct,
without any censure being attracted by it? "

M. de Marigny, and Colin, Madame de Pompadour's steward, were
of the same opinion as Quesnay, that the author of this letter
was extremely malicious; that he insulted Madame, and tried to
injure Voltaire; but that he was, in fact, right. Voltaire, from
that moment, was entirely out of favour with Madame, and with
the King, and he certainly never discovered the cause.

The King, who admired everything of the age of Louis XIV., and
recollected that the Boileaus and Racines had been protected by
that monarch, who was indebted to them, in part, for the lustre
of his reign, was flattered at having such a man as Voltaire among
his subjects. But still he feared him, and had but little esteem
for him. He could not help saying, "Moreover, I have treated
him as well as Louis XIV. treated Racine and Boileau. I have
given him, as Louis XIV. gave to Racine, some pensions, and a
place of gentleman in ordinary. It is not my fault if he has
committed absurdities, and has had the pretension to become a
chamberlain, to wear an order, and sup with a King. It is not
the fashion in France; and, as there are here a few more men
of wit and noblemen than in Prussia, it would require that I
should have a very large table to assemble them all at it." And
then he reckoned upon his fingers, Maupertuis, Fontenelle, La
Mothe, Voltaire, Piron, Destouches, Montesquieu, the Cardinal
Polignac. "Your Majesty forgets," said some one, "D'Alembert and
Clairaut." "And Crébillon," said he. "And la Chaussée, and the
younger Crébillon," said some one. "He ought to be more agreeable
than his father." "And there are also the Abbés Prévôt and d'Olivet."
"Pretty well," said the King; "and for the last twenty years _all
that (tout cela)_ would have dined and supped at my table."

Madame de Pompadour repeated to me this conversation, which I
wrote down the same evening. M. de Marigny, also, talked to me
about it. "Voltaire," said he, "has always had a fancy for being
Ambassador, and he did all he could to make the people believe
that he was charged with some political mission, the first time
he visited Prussia."

The people heard of the attempt on the King's life with transports
of fury, and with the greatest distress. Their cries were heard
under the windows of Madame de Pompadour's apartment. Mobs were
collected, and Madame feared the fate of Madame de Châteauroux.
Her friends came in, every minute, to give her intelligence.
Her room was, at all times, like a church; everybody seemed to
claim a right to go in and out when he chose. Some came, under
pretence of sympathising, to observe her countenance and manner.
She did nothing but weep and faint away. Doctor Quesnay never
left her, nor did I. M. de St. Florentin came to see her several
times, so did the Comptroller-General, and M. Rouillé; but M.
de Machault did not come. The Duchesse de Brancas came very
frequently. The Abbé de Bernis never left us, except to go to
enquire for the King. The tears came in his eyes whenever he
looked at Madame. Doctor Quesnay saw the King five or six times
a day. "There is nothing to fear," said he to Madame. "If it
were anybody else, he might go to a ball." My son went the next
day, as he had done the day the event occurred, to see what was
going on at the Castle. He told us, on his return, that the Keeper
of the Seals was with the King. I sent him back, to see what
course he took on leaving the King. He came running back in half
an hour, to tell me that the Keeper of the Seals had gone to his
own house, followed by a crowd of people. When I told this to
Madame, she burst into tears, and said, "_Is that a friend?_"
The Abbé de Bernis said, "You must not judge him hastily, in
such a moment as this." I returned into the drawing-room about
an hour after, when the Keeper of the Seals entered. He passed
me, with his usual cold and severe look. "How is Madame de
Pompadour?" said he. "Alas!" replied I, "as you may imagine!"
He passed on to her closet. Everybody retired, and he remained
for half an hour. The Abbé returned and Madame rang. I went into
her room, the Abbé following me. She was in tears. "I must go, my
dear Abbé," said she. I made her take some orange-flower water,
in a silver goblet, for her teeth chattered. She then told me to
call her equerry. He came in, and she calmly gave him her orders,
to have everything prepared at her hotel, in Paris; to tell all
her people to get ready to go; and to desire her coachman not
to be out of the way. She then shut herself up, to confer with
the Abbé de Bernis, who left her, to go to the Council. Her door
was then shut, except to the ladies with whom she was particularly
intimate, M. de Soubise, M. de Gontaut, the Ministers, and some
others. Several ladies, in the greatest distress, came to talk
to me in my room: they compared the conduct of M. de Machault
with that of M. de Richelieu, at Metz. Madame had related to
them the circumstances extremely to the honour of the Duke, and,
by contrast, the severest satire on the Keeper of the Seals.
"He thinks, or pretends to think," said she, "that the priests
will be clamorous for my dismissal; but Quesnay and all the
physicians declare that there is not the slightest danger." Madame
having sent for me, I saw the Maréchale de Mirepoix coming in.
While she was at the door, she cried out, "What are all those
trunks, Madame? Your people tell me you are going." "Alas! my
dear friend, such is our Master's desire, as M. de Machault tells
me." "And what does he advise?" said the Maréchale. "That I should
go without delay." During this conversation, I was undressing
Madame, who wished to be at her ease on her chaise-longue. "Your
Keeper of the Seals wants to get the power into his own hands,
and betrays you; he who quits the field loses it." I went out. M.
de Soubise entered, then the Abbé and M. de Marigny. The latter,
who was very kind to me, came into my room an hour afterwards.
I was alone. "She will remain," said he; "but, hush!--she will
make an appearance of going, in order not to set her enemies
at work. It is the little Maréchale who prevailed upon her to
stay: her keeper (so she called M. de Machault) will pay for
it." Quesnay came in, and, having heard what was said, with his
monkey airs, began to relate a fable of a fox, who, being at
dinner with other beasts, persuaded one of them that his enemies
were seeking him, in order that he might get possession of his
share in his absence. I did not see Madame again till very late,
at her going to bed. She was more calm. Things improved, from day
to day, and de Machault, the faithless friend, was dismissed.
The King returned to Madame de Pompadour, as usual. I learnt,
by M. de Marigny, that the Abbé had been, one day, with M.
d'Argenson, to endeavour to persuade him to live on friendly
terms with Madame, and that he had been very coldly received.
"He is the more arrogant," said he, "on account of Machault's
dismissal, which leaves the field clear for him, who has more
experience, and more talent; and I fear that he will, therefore,
be disposed to declare _war till death_." The next day, Madame
having ordered her chaise, I was curious to know where she was
going, for she went out but little, except to church, and to
the houses of the Ministers. I was told that she was gone to
visit M. d'Argenson. She returned in an hour, at farthest, and
seemed very much out of spirits. She leaned on the chimney-piece,
with her eyes fixed on the border of it. M. de Bernis entered.
I waited for her to take off her cloak and gloves. She had her
hands in her muff. The Abbé stood looking at her for some minutes;
at last he said, "You look like a sheep in a reflecting mood." She
awoke from her reverie, and, throwing her muff on the easy-chair,
replied, "It is a wolf who makes the sheep reflect." I went out:
the King entered shortly after, and I heard Madame de Pompadour
sobbing. The Abbé came into my room, and told me to bring some
Hoffman's drops: the King himself mixed the draught with sugar,
and presented it to her in the kindest manner possible. She smiled,
and kissed the King's hands. I left the room. Two days after,
very early in the morning, I heard of M. d'Argenson's exile.
It was her doing, and was, indeed, the strongest proof of her
influence that could be given. The King was much attached to
M. d'Argenson, and the war, then carrying on, both by sea and
land, rendered the dismissal of two such Ministers extremely
imprudent. This was the universal opinion at the time.

Many people talk of the letter of the Comte d'Argenson to Madame
d'Esparbès. I give it, according to the most correct version:
"The doubtful is, at length, decided. The Keeper of the Seals
is dismissed. You will be recalled, my dear Countess, and we
shall be masters of the field."

It is much less generally known that Arboulin, whom Madame calls
Bou-bou, was supposed to be the person who, on the very day of
the dismissal of the Keeper of the Seals, bribed the Count's
confidential courier, who gave him this letter. Is this report
founded on truth? I cannot swear that it is; but it is asserted
that the letter is written in the Count's style. Besides, who
could so immediately have invented it? It, however, appeared
certain, from the extreme displeasure of the King, that he had
some other subject of complaint against M. d'Argenson, besides
his refusing to be reconciled with Madame. Nobody dares to show
the slightest attachment to the disgraced Minister. I asked the
ladies who were most intimate with Madame de Pompadour, as well
as my own friends, what they knew of the matter; but they knew
nothing. I can understand why Madame did not let them into her
confidence at that moment. She will be less reserved in time.
I care very little about it, since I see that she is well, and
appears happy.

The King said a thing, which did him honour, to a person whose
name Madame withheld from me. A nobleman, who had been a most
assiduous courtier of the Count, said, rubbing his hands with
an air of great joy, "I have just seen the Comte d'Argenson's
baggage set out." When the King heard him, he went up to Madame,
shrugged his shoulders, and said, "And immediately the cock crew."

I believe this is taken from Scripture, where Peter denies Our
Lord. I confess, this circumstance gave me great pleasure. It
showed that the King is not the dupe of those around him, and
that he hates treachery and ingratitude.

Madame sent for me yesterday evening, at seven o'clock, to read
something to her; the ladies who were intimate with her were at
Paris, and M. de Gontaut ill. "The King," said she, "will stay
late at the Council this evening; they are occupied with the
affairs of the Parliament again." She bade me leave off reading,
and I was going to quit the room, but she called out, "Stop." She
rose; a letter was brought in for her, and she took it with an
air of impatience and ill-humour. After a considerable time she
began to talk openly, which only happened when she was extremely
vexed; and, as none of her confidential friends were at hand, she
said to me, "This is from my brother. It is what he would not
have dared to say to me, so he writes. I had arranged a marriage
for him with the daughter of a man of title; he appeared to be
well inclined to it, and I, therefore, pledged my word. He now
tells me that he has made inquiries; that the parents are people
of insupportable hauteur; that the daughter is very badly educated;
and that he knows, from authority not to be doubted, that when
she heard this marriage discussed, she spoke of the connection
with the most supreme contempt; that he is certain of this fact;
and that I was still more contemptuously spoken of than himself.
In a word, he begs me to break off the treaty. But he has let me
go too far; and now he will make these people my irreconcilable
enemies. This has been put in his head by some of his flatterers;
they do not wish him to change his way of living; and very few of
them would be received by his wife." I tried to soften Madame,
and, though I did not venture to tell her so, I thought her brother
right. She persisted in saying these were lies, and, on the following
Sunday, treated her brother very coldly. He said nothing to me
at that time; if he had, he would have embarrassed me greatly.
Madame atoned for everything by procuring favours, which were the
means of facilitating the young lady's marriage with a gentleman
of the Court. Her conduct, two months after marriage, compelled
Madame to confess that her brother had been perfectly right.

I saw my friend, Madame du Chiron. "Why," said she, "is the Marquise
so violent an enemy to the Jesuits? I assure you she is wrong.
All-powerful as she is, she may find herself the worse for their
enmity." I replied that I knew nothing about the matter. "It
is, however, unquestionably a fact; and she does not feel that
a word more or less might decide her fate." "How do you mean?"
said I.

"Well, I will explain myself fully," said she. "You know what
took place at the time the King was stabbed: an attempt was made
to get her out of the Castle instantly. The Jesuits have no other
object than the salvation of their penitents; but they are men,
and hatred may, without their being aware of it, influence their
minds, and inspire them with a greater degree of severity than
circumstances absolutely demand. Favour and partiality may, on the
other hand, induce the confessor to make great concessions; and
the shortest interval may suffice to save a favourite, especially
if any decent pretext can be found for prolonging her stay at
Court." I agreed with her in all she said, but I told her that I
dared not touch that string. On reflecting on this conversation
afterwards, I was forcibly struck with this fresh proof of the
intrigues of the Jesuits, which, indeed, I knew well already. I
thought that, in spite of what I had replied to Madame du Chiron,
I ought to communicate this to Madame de Pompadour, for the ease of
my conscience; but that I would abstain from making any reflection
upon it. "Your friend, Madame du Chiron," said she, "is, I perceive,
affiliated to the Jesuits, and what she says does not originate
with herself. She is commissioned by some reverend father, and
I will know by whom." Spies were, accordingly, set to watch her
movements, and they discovered that one Father de Saci, and, still
more particularly, one Father Frey, guided this lady's conduct,
"What a pity," said Madame to me, "that the Abbé Chauvelin cannot
know this." He was the most formidable enemy of the reverend
fathers. Madame du Chiron always looked upon me as a Jansenist,
because I would not espouse the interests of the good fathers
with as much warmth as she did.

Madame is completely absorbed in the Abbé de Bernis, whom she
thinks capable of anything; she talks of him incessantly. Apropos
of this Abbé, I must relate an anecdote, which almost makes one
believe in conjurors. A year, or fifteen months, before her disgrace,
Madame de Pompadour, being at Fontainebleau, sat down to write at
a desk, over which hung a portrait of the King. While she was
shutting the desk, after she had finished writing, the picture
fell, and struck her violently on the head. The persons who saw
the accident were alarmed, and sent for Dr. Quesnay. He asked the
circumstances of the case, and ordered bleeding and anodynes. Just
as she had been bled, Madame de Brancas entered, and saw us all in
confusion and agitation, and Madame lying on her chaise-longue.
She asked what was the matter, and was told. After having expressed
her regret, and having consoled her, she said, "I ask it as a
favour of Madame, and of the King (who had just come in), that
they will instantly send a courier to the Abbé de Bernis, and
that the Marquise will have the goodness to write a letter, merely
requesting him to inform her what his fortune-tellers told him,
and to withhold nothing from the fear of making her uneasy."
The thing was done as she desired, and she then told us that La
Bontemps had predicted, from the dregs in the coffee-cup, in
which she read everything, that the head of her best friend was
in danger, but that no fatal consequences would ensue.

The next day, the Abbé wrote word that Madame Bontemps also said
to him, "You came into the world almost black," and that this was
the fact. This colour, which lasted for some time, was attributed
to a picture which hung at the foot of his mother's bed, and
which she often looked at. It represented a Moor bringing to
Cleopatra a basket of flowers, containing the asp by whose bite
she destroyed herself. He said that she also told him, "You have
a great deal of money about you, but it does not belong to you;"
and that he had actually in his pocket two hundred louis for
the Duc de La Vallière. Lastly, he informed us that she said,
looking in the cup, "I see one of your friends--the best--a
distinguished lady, threatened with an accident;" that he confessed
that, in spite of all his philosophy, he turned pale; that she
remarked this, looked again into the cup, and continued, "Her
head will be slightly in danger, but of this no appearance will
remain half an hour afterwards." It was impossible to doubt the
facts. They appeared so surprising to the King, that he desired
some inquiry to be made concerning the fortune-teller. Madame,
however, protected her from the pursuit of the Police.

A man, who was quite as astonishing as this fortune-teller, often
visited Madame de Pompadour. This was the Comte de St. Germain,
who wished to have it believed that he had lived several centuries.
One day, at her toilet, Madame said to him, in my presence, "What
was the personal appearance of Francis I.? He was a King I should
have liked." "He was, indeed, very captivating," said St. Germain;
and he proceeded to describe his face and person as one does
that of a man one has accurately observed. "It is a pity he was
too ardent. I could have given him some good advice, which would
have saved him from all his misfortunes; but he would not have
followed it; for it seems as if a fatality attended Princes,
forcing them to shut their ears, those of the mind, at least, to
the best advice, and especially in the most critical moments."
"And the Constable," said Madame, "what do you say of him?" "I
cannot say much good or much harm of him," replied he. "Was
the Court of Francis I. very brilliant?" "Very brilliant; but
those of his grandsons infinitely surpassed it. In the time of
Mary Stuart and Margaret of Valois it was a land of enchantment--a
temple, sacred to pleasures of every kind; those of the mind
were not neglected. The two Queens were learned, wrote verses,
and spoke with captivating grace and eloquence." Madame said,
laughing, "You seem to have seen all this." "I have an excellent
memory," said he, "and have read the history of France with great
care. I sometimes amuse myself, not by _making_, but by _letting_
it be believed that I lived in old times." "You do not tell me
your age, however, and you give yourself out for very old. The
Comtesse de Gergy, who was Ambassadress to Venice, I think, fifty
years ago, says she knew you there exactly what you are now."
"It is true, Madame, that I have known Madame de Gergy a long
time." "But, according to what she says, you would be more than
a hundred." "That is not impossible," said he, laughing; "but
it is, I allow, still more possible that Madame de Gergy, for
whom I have the greatest respect, may be in her dotage." "You
have given her an elixir, the effect of which is surprising.
She declares that for a long time she has felt as if she was
only four-and-twenty years of age; why don't you give some to
the King?" "Ah! Madame," said he, with a sort of terror, "I must
be mad to think of giving the King an unknown drug." I went into
my room to write down this conversation.

Some days afterwards, the King, Madame de Pompadour, some Lords
of the Court, and the Comte de St. Germain, were talking about
his secret for causing the spots in diamonds to disappear. The
King ordered a diamond of middling size, which had a spot, to
be brought. It was weighed; and the King said to the Count, "It
is valued at two hundred and forty louis; but it would be worth
four hundred if it had no spot. Will you try to put a hundred
and sixty louis into my pocket?" He examined it carefully, and
said, "It may be done; and I will bring it you again in a month."
At the time appointed, the Count brought back the diamond without
a spot, and gave it to the King. It was wrapped in a cloth of
amianthus, which he took off. The King had it weighed, and found
it but very little diminished. The King sent it to his jeweller
by M. de Gontaut, without telling him anything of what had passed.
The jeweller gave three hundred and eighty louis for it. The King,
however, sent for it back again, and kept it as a curiosity. He
could not overcome his surprise, and said that M. de St. Germain
must be worth millions, especially if he had also the secret of
making large diamonds out of a number of small ones. He neither
said that he had, nor that he had not; but he positively asserted
that he could make pearls grow, and give them the finest water.
The King paid him great attention, and so did Madame de Pompadour.
It was from her I learnt what I have just related. M. Quesnay
said, talking of the pearls, "They are produced by a disease
in the oyster. It is possible to know the cause of it; but, be
that as it may, he is not the less a quack, since he pretends
to have the _elixir vitoe_, and to have lived several centuries.
Our master is, however, infatuated by him, and sometimes talks
of him as if his descent were illustrious."

I have seen him frequently: he appeared to be about fifty; he was
neither fat nor thin; he had an acute, intelligent look, dressed
very simply, but in good taste; he wore very fine diamonds in his
rings, watch, and snuff-box. He came, one day, to visit Madame
de Pompadour, at a time when the Court was in full splendour, with
knee and shoe-buckles of diamonds so fine and brilliant that
Madame said she did not believe the King had any equal to them.
He went into the antechamber to take them off, and brought them to
be examined; they were compared with others in the room, and the
Duc de Gontaut, who was present, said they were both at least
eight thousand louis. He wore, at the same time, a snuff-box of
inestimable value, and ruby sleeve-buttons, which were perfectly
dazzling. Nobody could find out by what means this man became
so rich and so remarkable; but the King would not suffer him
to be spoken of with ridicule or contempt. He was said to be a
bastard son of the King of Portugal.

I learnt, from M. de Marigny, that the relations of the good
little Maréchale (de Mirepoix) had been extremely severe upon her,
for what they called the baseness of her conduct, with regard to
Madame de Pompadour. They said she held the stones of the cherries
which Madame ate in her carriage, in her beautiful little hands,
and that she sate in the front of the carriage, while Madame
occupied the whole seat in the inside. The truth was, that, in
going to Crécy, on an insupportably hot day, they both wished to
sit alone, that they might be cooler; and as to the matter of
the cherries, the villagers having brought them some, they ate
them to refresh themselves, while the horses were changed; and
the Maréchale emptied her pocket-handkerchief, into which they
had both thrown the cherry-stones, out of the carriage window. The
people who were changing the horses had given their own version
of the affair.

I had, as you know, a very pretty room at Madame's hotel, whither
I generally went privately. I had, one day, had visits from two or
three Paris representatives, who told me news; and Madame, having
sent for me, I went to her, and found her with M. de Gontaut. I
could not help instantly saying to her, "You must be much pleased,
Madame, at the noble action of the Marquis de ----." Madame replied,
drily, "Hold your tongue, and listen to what I have to say to
you." I returned to my little room, where I found the Comtesse
d'Amblimont, to whom I mentioned Madame's reception of me. "I
know what is the matter," said she; "it has no relation to you.
I will explain it to you. The Marquis de ---- has told all Paris,
that, some days ago, going home at night, alone, and on foot,
he heard cries in a street called Férou, which is dark, and,
in great part, arched over; that he drew his sword, and went
down the street, in which he saw, by the light of a lamp, a very
handsome woman, to whom some ruffians were offering violence;
that he approached, and that the woman cried out, 'Save me! save
me!' that he rushed upon the wretches, two of whom fought him,
sword in hand, whilst a third held the woman, and tried to stop
her mouth; that he wounded one in the arm; and that the ruffians,
hearing people pass at the end of the street, and fearing they
might come to his assistance, fled; that he went up to the lady,
who told him that they were not robbers, but villains, one of
whom was desperately in love with her; and that the lady knew
not how to express her gratitude; that she had begged him not
to follow her, after he had conducted her to a _fiacre_; that
she would not tell him her name, but that she insisted on his
accepting a little ring, as a token of remembrance; and that she
promised to see him again, and to tell him her whole history,
if he gave her his address; that he complied with this request
of the lady, whom he represented as a charming person, and who,
in the overflowing of her gratitude, embraced him several times.
This is all very fine, so far," said Madame d'Amblimont, "but
hear the rest. The Marquis de ---- exhibited himself everywhere
the next day, with a black ribbon bound round his arm, near the
wrist, in which part he said he had received the wound. He related
his story to everybody, and everybody commented upon it after
his own fashion. He went to dine with the Dauphin, who spoke
to him of his bravery, and of his fair unknown, and told him
that he had already complimented the Duc de C---- on the affair.
I forgot to tell you," continued Madame d'Amblimont, "that, on
the very night of the adventure, he called on Madame d'Estillac,
an old gambler, whose house is open till four in the morning;
that everybody there was surprised at the disordered state in
which he appeared; that his bagwig had fallen off, one skirt of
his coat was cut, and his right hand bleeding. That they instantly
bound it up, and gave him some Rota wine. Four days ago, the Duc
de C---- supped with the King, and sat near M. de St. Florentin.
He talked to him of his relation's adventure, and asked him if he
had made any inquiries concerning the lady. M. de St. Florentin
coldly answered, 'No;' and M. de C---- remarked, on asking him
some further questions, that he kept his eyes fixed on his plate,
looking embarrassed, and answered in monosyllables. He asked him
the reason of this, upon which M. de Florentin told him that it
was extremely distressing to him to see him under such a mistake.
'How can you know that, supposing it to be the fact?' said M.
de ----. 'Nothing is more easy to prove,' replied M. de St.
Florentin. 'You may imagine that, as soon as I was informed of
the Marquis de ----'s adventure, I set on foot inquiries, the
result of which was, that, on the night when this affair was said
to have taken place, a party of the watch was set in ambuscade
in this very street, for the purpose of catching a thief who
was coming out of the gaming house; that this party was there
four hours, and heard not the slightest noise.' M. de C---- was
greatly incensed at this recital, which M. de St. Florentin ought,
indeed, to have communicated to the King. He has ordered, or
will order, his relation to retire to his province.

[Illustration: Madame de Pompadour. _From the original painting
by Nattier in the Royal Gallery in Scotland._]

"After this, you will judge, my dear, whether you were very likely
to be graciously received when you went open-mouthed with your
compliment to the Marquise. This adventure," continued she, "reminded
the King of one which occurred about fifteen years ago. The Comte
d'E----, who was what is called _enfant d'honneur_ to the Dauphin,
and about fourteen years of age, came into the Dauphin's apartments,
one evening, with his bag-wig snatched off, and his ruffles torn,
and said that, having walked rather late near the piece of water
_des Suisses_, he had been attacked by two robbers; that he had
refused to give them anything, drawn his sword, and put himself
in art attitude of defence; that one of the robbers was armed
with a sword, the other with a large stick, from which he had
received several blows, but that he had wounded one in the arm,
and that, hearing a noise at that moment, they had fled. But
unluckily for the little Count, it was known that people were on
the spot at the precise time he mentioned, and had heard nothing.
The Count was pardoned, on account of his youth. The Dauphin made
him confess the truth, and it was looked upon as a childish freak
to set people talking about him."

The King disliked the King of Prussia because he knew that the
latter was in the habit of jesting upon his mistress, and the
kind of life he led. It was Frederick's fault, as I have heard it
said, that the king was not his most steadfast ally and friend,
as much as sovereigns can be towards each other; but the jestings
of Frederick had stung him, and made him conclude the treaty of
Versailles. One day, he entered Madame's apartment with a paper
in his hand, and said, "The King of Prussia is certainly a great
man; he loves men of talent, and, like Louis XIV., he wishes to
make Europe ring with his favours towards foreign _savans_. There
is a letter from him, addressed to Milord Marshal, ordering him
to acquaint a _supérieur_ man of my kingdom (D'Alembert) that he
has granted him a pension;" and, looking at the letter, he read
the following words: "You must know that there is in Paris a man
of the greatest merit, whose fortune is not proportionate to his
talents and character. I may serve as eyes to the blind goddess,
and repair in some measure the injustice, and I beg you to offer
on that account. I flatter myself that he will accept this pension
because of the pleasure I shall feel in obliging a man who joins
beauty of character to the most sublime intellectual talents."
The King here stopped, on seeing MM. d'Ayen and de Gontaut enter,
and then recommenced reading the letter to them, and added, "It
was given me by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to whom it
was confided by Milord Marshal, for the purpose of obtaining my
permission for this _sublime genius_ to accept the favour. But,"
said the King, "what do you think is the amount?" Some said six,
eight, ten thousand livres. "You have not guessed," said the
King; "it is twelve hundred livres." "For sublime talents," said
the Duc d'Ayen, "it is not much. But the philosophers will make
Europe resound with this letter, and the King of Prussia will have
the pleasure of making a great noise at little expense."

The Chevalier de Courten, who had been in Prussia, came in, and,
hearing this story told, said, "I have seen what is much better
than that: passing through a village in Prussia, I got out at the
post-house, while I was waiting for horses; and the post-master,
who was a captain in the Prussian service, showed me several
letters in Frederick's handwriting, addressed to his uncle, who
was a man of rank, promising him to provide for his nephews;
the provision he made for this, the eldest of these nephews,
who was dreadfully wounded, was the postmastership which he then
held." M. de Marigny related this story at Quesnay's, and added,
that the man of genius above mentioned was D'Alembert, and that
the King had permitted him to accept the pension. He added, that
his sister had suggested to the King that he had better give
D'Alembert a pension of twice the value, and forbid him to take
the King of Prussia's. This advice he would not take, because
he looked upon D'Alembert as an infidel. M. de Marigny took a
copy of the letter, which he lent me.

A certain nobleman, at one time, affected to cast tender glances
on Madame Adélaïde. She was wholly unconscious of it; but, as
there are Arguses at Court, the King was, of course, told of
it, and, indeed, he thought he had perceived it himself. I know
that he came into Madame de Pompadour's room one day, in a great
passion, and said, "Would you believe that there is a man in
my Court insolent enough to dare to raise his eyes to one of
my daughters?" Madame had never seen him so exasperated, and
this illustrious nobleman was advised to feign a necessity for
visiting his estates. He remained there two months. Madame told
me, long after, that she thought that there were no tortures to
which the King would not have condemned any man who had seduced
one of his daughters. Madame Adélaïde, at the time in question,
was a charming person, and united infinite grace, and much talent,
to a most agreeable face.

A courier brought Madame de Pompadour a letter, on reading which
she burst into tears. It contained the intelligence of the battle
of Rosbach, which M. de Soubise sent her, with all the details.
I heard her say to the Maréchal de Belle-Isle, wiping her eyes,
"M. de Soubise is inconsolable; he does not try to excuse his
conduct, he sees nothing but the disastrous fortune which pursues
him." "M. de Soubise must, however, have many things to urge in
his own behalf," said M. de Belle-Isle, "and so I told the King."
"It is very noble in you, Marshal, not to suffer an unfortunate
man to be overwhelmed; the public are furious against him, and
what has he done to deserve it?" "There is not a more honourable
nor a kinder man in the world. I only fulfil my duty in doing
justice to the truth, and to a man for whom I have the most profound
esteem. The King will explain to you, Madame, how M. de Soubise
was forced to give battle by the Prince of Saxe-Hildbourgshausen,
whose troops fled first, and carried along the French troops."
Madame would have embraced the old Marshal if she had dared,
she was so delighted with him.

M. de Soubise, having gained a battle, was made Marshal of France:
Madame was enchanted with her friend's success. But, either it
was unimportant, or the public were offended at his promotion;
nobody talked of it but Madame's friends. This unpopularity was
concealed from her, and she said to Colin, her steward, at her
toilet, "Are you not delighted at the victory M. de Soubise has
gained? What does the public say of it? He has taken his revenge
well." Colin was embarrassed, and knew not what to answer. As
she pressed him further, he replied that he had been ill, and
had seen nobody for a week.

M. de Marigny came to see me one day, very much out of humour. I
asked him the cause. "I have," said he, "just been intreating my
sister not to make M. le Normand-de-Mezi Minister of the Marine.
I told her that she was heaping coals of fire upon her own head. A
favourite ought not to multiply the points of attack upon herself."
The Doctor entered. "You," said the Doctor, "are worth your weight
in gold, for the good sense and capacity you have shewn in your
office, and for your moderation, but you will never be appreciated
as you deserve; your advice is excellent; there will never be
a ship taken but Madame will be held responsible for it to the
public, and you are very wise not to think of being in the Ministry

One day, when I was at Paris, I went to dine with the Doctor,
who happened to be there at the same time; there were, contrary
to his usual custom, a good many people, and, among others, a
handsome young Master of the Requests, who took a title from
some place, the name of which I have forgotten, but who was a
son of M. Turgot, the _prévôt des marchands_. They talked a great
deal about administration, which was not very amusing to me;
they then fell upon the subject of the love Frenchmen bear to
their Kings. M. Turgot here joined in the conversation, and said,
"This is not a blind attachment; it is a deeply rooted sentiment,
arising from an indistinct recollection of great benefits. The
French nation--I may go farther--Europe, and all mankind, owe to
a King of France" (I have forgotten his name) "whatever liberty
they enjoy. He established _communes_, and conferred on an immense
number of men a civil existence. I am aware that it may be said,
with justice, that he served his own interests by granting these
franchises; that the cities paid him taxes, and that his design
was to use them as instruments of weakening the power of great
nobles; but what does that prove, but that this measure was at
once useful, politic, and humane?" From Kings in general the
conversation turned upon Louis XV., and M. Turgot remarked that
his reign would be always celebrated for the advancement of the
sciences, the progress of knowledge, and of philosophy. He added
that Louis XV. was deficient in the quality which Louis XIV.
possessed to excess; that is to say, in a good opinion of himself;
that he was well-informed; that nobody was more perfectly master
of the topography of France; that his opinion in the Council was
always the most judicious; and that it was much to be lamented
that he had not more confidence in himself, or that he did not
rely upon some Minister who enjoyed the confidence of the nation.
Everybody agreed with him. I begged M. Quesnay to write down
what young Turgot had said, and showed it to Madame. She praised
this Master of the Requests greatly, and spoke of him to the
King. "It is a good breed," said he.

One day, I went out to walk, and saw, on my return, a great many
people going and coming, and speaking to each other privately: it
was evident that something extraordinary had happened. I asked
a person of my acquaintance what was the matter. "Alas!" said
he, with tears in his eyes, "some assassins, who had formed the
project of murdering the King, have inflicted several wounds
on a garde-du-corps, who overheard them in a dark corridor; he
is carried to the hospital; and as he has described the colour
of these men's coats, the Police are in quest of them in all
directions, and some people, dressed in clothes of that colour,
are already arrested." I saw Madame with M. de Gontaut, and I
hastened home. She found her door besieged by a multitude of
people, and was alarmed: when she got in, she found the Comte
de Noailles. "What is all this, Count?" said she. He said he was
come expressly to speak to her, and they retired to her closet
together. The conference was not long. I had remained in the
drawing-room, with Madame's equerry, the Chevalier de Sosent,
Gourbillon, her _valet de chambre_, and some strangers. A great
many details were related; but, the wounds being little more
than scratches, and the garde-du-corps having let fall some
contradictions, it was thought that he was an impostor, who had
invented all this story to bring himself into favour. Before the
night was over, this was proved to be the fact, and, I believe,
from his own confession. The King came, that evening, to see
Madame de Pompadour; he spoke of this occurrence with great _sang
froid_, and said, "The gentleman who wanted to kill me was a
wicked madman; this is a low scoundrel."

When he spoke of Damiens, which was only while his trial lasted,
he never called him anything but _that gentleman_.

I have heard it said that he proposed having him shut up in a
dungeon for life; but that the horrible nature of the crime made
the judges insist upon his suffering all the tortures inflicted
upon like occasions. Great numbers, many of them women, had a
barbarous curiosity to witness the execution; amongst others,
Madame de P----, a very beautiful woman, and the wife of a Farmer
General. She hired two places at a window for twelve louis, and
played a game of cards in the room whilst waiting for the execution
to begin. On this being told to the King, he covered his eyes
with his hands and exclaimed, "_Fi, la Vilaine!_" I have been
told that she, and others, thought to pay their court in this
way, and signalise their attachment to the King's person.

Two things were related to me by M. Duclos at the time of the
attempt on the King's life.

The first, relative to the Comte de Sponheim, who was the Duc
de Deux-Ponts, and next in succession to the Palatinate and
Electorate of Bavaria. He was thought to be a great friend to
the King, and had made several long sojourns in France. He came
frequently to see Madame. M. Duclos told us that the Duc de
Deux-Ponts, having learned, at Deux-Ponts, the attempt on the
King's life, immediately set out in a carriage for Versailles:
"But remark," said he, "the spirit of _courtisanerie_ of a Prince,
who may be Elector of Bavaria and the Palatinate to-morrow. This
was not enough. When he arrived within ten leagues of Paris, he
put on an enormous pair of jack-boots, mounted a post-horse,
and arrived in the court of the palace cracking his whip. If
this had been real impatience, and not charlatanism, he would
have taken horse twenty leagues from Paris." "I don't agree with
you," said a gentleman whom I did not know; "impatience sometimes
seizes one towards the end of an undertaking, and one employs
the readiest means then in one's power. Besides, the Duc de
Deux-Ponts might wish, by showing himself thus on horseback, to
serve the King, to whom he is attached, by proving to Frenchmen
how greatly he is beloved and honoured in other countries." Duclos
resumed: "Well," said he, "do you know the story of M. de C----?
The first day the King saw company, after the attempt of Damiens,
M. de C---- pushed so vigorously through the crowd that he was
one of the first to come into the King's presence, but he had
on so shabby a black coat that it caught the King's attention,
who burst out laughing, and said, 'Look at C----, he has had
the skirt of his coat torn off.' M. de C---- looked as if he was
only then first conscious of his loss, and said, 'Sire, there
is such a multitude hurrying to see Your Majesty, that I was
obliged to fight my way through them, and, in the effort, my
coat has been torn.' 'Fortunately it was not worth much,' said
the Marquis de Souvré, 'and you could not have chosen a worse
one to sacrifice on the occasion.'"

Madame de Pompadour had been very judiciously advised to get her
husband, M. le Normand, sent to Constantinople, as Ambassador.
This would have a little diminished the scandal caused by seeing
Madame de Pompadour, with the title of Marquise, at Court, and
her husband Farmer General at Paris. But he was so attached to a
Paris life, and to his opera habits, that he could not be prevailed
upon to go. Madame employed a certain M. d'Arboulin, with whom
she had been acquainted before she was at Court, to negotiate
this affair. He applied to a Mademoiselle Rem, who had been an
opera-dancer, and who was M. le Normand's mistress. She made
him very fine promises; but she was like him, and preferred a
Paris life. She would do nothing in it.

At the time that plays were acted in the little apartments, I
obtained a lieutenancy for one of my relations, by a singular
means, which proves the value the greatest people set upon the
slightest access to the Court. Madame did not like to ask anything
of M. d'Argenson, and, being pressed by my family, who could
not imagine that, situated as I was, it could be difficult for
me to obtain a command for a good soldier, I determined to go
and ask the Comte d'Argenson. I made my request, and presented
my memorial. He received me coldly, and gave me vague answers.
I went out, and the Marquis de V----, who was in his closet,
followed me. "You wish to obtain a command," said he; "there
is one vacant, which is promised me for one of my protégés; but
if you will do me a favour in return, or obtain one for me, I
will give it to you. I want to be a _police officer_, and you
have it in your power to get me a place." I told him I did not
understand the purport of his jest. "I will tell you," said he;
"_Tartuffe_ is going to be acted in the cabinets, and there is
the part of a police officer, which only consists of a few lines.
Prevail upon Madame de Pompadour to assign me that part, and
the command is yours." I promised nothing, but I related the
history to Madame, who said she would arrange it for me. The
thing was done, and I obtained the command, and the Marquis de
V---- thanked Madame as if she had made him a Duke.

The King was often annoyed by the Parliaments, and said a very
remarkable thing concerning them, which M. de Gontaut repeated
to Doctor Quesnay in my presence. "Yesterday," said he, "the
King walked up and down the room with an anxious air. Madame
de Pompadour asked him if he was uneasy about his health, as
he had been, for some time, rather unwell. 'No,' replied he;
'but I am greatly annoyed by all these remonstrances.' 'What
can come of them,' said she, 'that need seriously disquiet Your
Majesty? Are you not master of the Parliaments, as well as of
all the rest of the kingdom?' 'That is true,' said the King;
'but, if it had not been for these counsellors and presidents,
I should never have been stabbed by _that gentleman_, (he always
called Damiens so). 'Ah! Sire,' cried Madame de Pompadour. 'Read
the trial,' said he. 'It was the language of those gentlemen
he names which turned his head.' 'But,' said Madame, 'I have
often thought that, if the Archbishop could be sent to Rome--'
'Find anybody who will accomplish that business, and I will give
him whatever he pleases.'" Quesnay said the King was right in
all he had uttered. The Archbishop was exiled shortly after,
and the King was seriously afflicted at being driven to take
such a step. "What a pity," he often said, "that so excellent
a man should be so obstinate." "And so shallow," said somebody,
one day. "Hold your tongue," replied the King, somewhat sternly.
The Archbishop was very charitable, and liberal to excess, but
he often granted pensions without discernment. He granted one of
an hundred louis to a pretty woman, who was very poor, and who
assumed an illustrious name, to which she had no right. The fear
lest she should be plunged into vice led him to bestow such excessive
bounty upon her; and the woman was an admirable dissembler. She
went to the Archbishop's, covered with a great hood, and, when
she left him, she amused herself with a variety of lovers.

Great people have the bad habit of talking very indiscreetly before
their servants. M. de Gontaut once said these words covertly, as he
thought, to the Duc de ----, "That measures had been taken which
would, probably, have the effect of determining the Archbishop to
go to Rome, with a Cardinal's hat; and that, if he desired it,
he was to have a coadjutor."

A very plausible pretext had been found for making this proposition,
and for rendering it flattering to the Archbishop, and agreeable
to his sentiments. The affair had been very adroitly begun, and
success appeared certain. The King had the air, towards the
Archbishop, of entire unconsciousness of what was going on. The
negotiator acted as if he were only following the suggestions
of his own mind, for the general good. He was a friend of the
Archbishop, and was very sure of a liberal reward. A valet of
the Duc de Gontaut, a very handsome young fellow, had perfectly
caught the sense of what was spoken in a mysterious manner. He
was one of the lovers of the lady of the hundred louis a year,
and had heard her talk of the Archbishop, whose relation she
pretended to be. He thought he should secure her good graces
by informing her that great efforts were being made to induce
her patron to reside at Rome, with a view to get him away from
Paris. The lady instantly told the Archbishop, as she was afraid
of losing her pension if he went. The information squared so well
wit the negotiation then on foot, that the Archbishop had no
doubt of its truth. He cooled, by degrees, in his conversations
with the negotiator, whom he regarded as a traitor, and ended
by breaking with him. These details were not known till long
afterwards. The lover of the lady having been sent to the Bicêtre,
some letters were found among his papers, which gave a scent of
the affair, and he was made to confess the rest.

In order not to compromise the Duc de Gontaut, the King was told
that the valet had come to a knowledge of the business from a
letter which he had found in his master's clothes. The King took
his revenge by humiliating the Archbishop, which he was enabled
to do by means of the information he had obtained concerning
the conduct of the lady, his protégée. She was found guilty of
swindling, in concert with her beloved valet; but, before her
punishment was inflicted, the Lieutenant of Police was ordered
to lay before Monseigneur a full account of the conduct of his
relation and pensioner. The Archbishop had nothing to object to
in the proofs which were submitted to him; he said, with perfect
calmness, that she was not his relation; and, raising his hands
to heaven, "She is an unhappy wretch," said he, "who has robbed
me of the money which was destined for the poor. But God knows
that, in giving her so large a pension, I did not act lightly.
I had, at the time, before my eyes the example of a young woman
who once asked me to grant her seventy louis a year, promising me
that she would always live very virtuously, as she had hitherto
done. I refused her, and she said, on leaving me, 'I must turn
to the left, Monseigneur, since the way on the right is closed
against me.' The unhappy creature has kept her word but too well.
She found means of establish a faro-table at her house, which
is tolerated; and she joins to the most profligate conduct in
her own person the infamous trade of a corrupter of youth; her
house is the abode of every vice. Think, sir, after that, whether
it was not an act of prudence, on my part, to grant the woman
in question a pension, suitable to the rank in which I thought
her born, to prevent her abusing the gifts of youth, beauty,
and talents, which she possessed, to her own perdition, and the
destruction of others." The Lieutenant of Police told the King
that he was touched with the candour and the noble simplicity
of the prelate. "I never doubted his virtues," replied the King,
"but I wish he would be quiet." This same Archbishop gave a pension
of fifty louis a year to the greatest scoundrel in Paris. He is
a poet, who writes abominable verses; this pension is granted
on condition that his poems are never printed. I learned this
fact from M. de Marigny, to whom he recited some of his horrible
verses one evening, when he supped with him, in company with some
people of quality. He chinked the money in his pocket. "This
is my good Archbishop's," said he, laughing; "I keep my word
with him: my poem will not be printed during my life, but I read
it. What would the good prelate say if he knew that I shared my
last quarter's allowance with a charming little opera-dancer?
'It is the Archbishop, then, who keeps me,' said she to me; 'Oh,
la! how droll that is!'" The King heard this, and was much
scandalised at it. "How difficult it is to do good!" said he.

The King came into Madame de Pompadour's room, one day, as she
was finishing dressing. "I have just had a strange adventure,"
said he: "would you believe that, in going out of my wardroom
into my bedroom, I met a gentleman face to face?" "My God! Sire,"
cried Madame, terrified. "It was nothing," replied he; "but I
confess I was greatly surprised: the man appeared speechless
with consternation. 'What do you do here?' cried I, civilly.
He threw himself on his knees, saying, 'Pardon me, Sire; and,
above all, have me searched.' He instantly emptied his pockets
himself; he pulled off his coat in the greatest agitation and
terror: at last he told me that he was cook to -----, and a friend
of Beccari, whom he came to visit; that he had mistaken the
staircase, and, finding all the doors open, he had wandered into
the room in which I found him, and which he would have instantly
left: I rang; Guimard came, and was astonished enough at finding
me tête-à-tête with a man in his shirt. He begged Guimard to go
with him into another room, and to search his whole person. After
this, the poor devil returned, and put on his coat. Guimard said
to me, 'He is certainly an honest man, and tells the truth; this
may, besides, be easily ascertained.' Another of the servants of
the palace came in, and happened to know him. 'I will answer for
this good man,' said he, 'who, moreover, makes the best _boeuf
à l'écarlate_ in the world.' As I saw the man was so agitated
that he could not stand steady, I took fifty louis out of my
bureau, and said, 'Here, sir, are fifty louis, to quiet your
alarms.' He went out, after throwing himself at my feet." Madame
exclaimed on the impropriety of having the King's bedroom thus
accessible to everybody. He talked with great calmness of this
strange apparition, but it was evident that he controlled himself,
and that he had, in fact, been much frightened, as, indeed, he
had reason to be. Madame highly approved of the gift; and she
was the more right in applauding it, as it was by no means in
the King's usual manner. M. de Marigny said, when I told him
of this adventure, that he would have wagered a thousand louis
against the King's making a present of fifty, if anybody but
I had told him of the circumstance. "It is a singular fact,"
continued he, "that all of the race of Valois have been liberal
to excess; this is not precisely the case with the Bourbons, who
are rather reproached with avarice! Henri IV. was said to be
avaricious. He gave to his mistresses, because he could refuse
them nothing; but he played with the eagerness of a man whose whole
fortune depends on the game. Louis XIV. gave through ostentation.
It is most astonishing," added he, "to reflect on what might
have happened. The King might actually have been assassinated
in his chamber, without anybody knowing anything of the matter
and without a possibility of discovering the murderer." For more
than a fortnight Madame could not get over this incident.

About that time she had a quarrel with her brother, and both were
in the right. Proposals were made to him to marry the daughter of
one of the greatest noblemen of the Court, and the King consented
to create him a Duke, and even to make the title hereditary.
Madame was right in wishing to aggrandise her brother, but he
declared that he valued his liberty above all things, and that
he would not sacrifice it except for a person he really loved.
He was a true Epicurean philosopher, and a man of great capacity,
according to the report of those who knew him well, and judged
him impartially. It was entirely at his option to have had the
reversion of M. de St. Florentin's place, and the place of Minister
of Marine, when M. de Machault retired; he said to his sister,
at the time, "I spare you many vexations, by depriving you of a
slight satisfaction. The people would be unjust to me, however
well I might fulfil the duties of my office. As to M. de St.
Florentin's place, he may live five-and-twenty years, so that I
should not be the better for it. Kings' mistresses are hated enough
on their own account; they need not also draw upon themselves the
hatred which is directed against Ministers." M. Quesnay repeated
this conversation to me.

The King had another mistress, who gave Madame de Pompadour some
uneasiness. She was a woman of quality, and the wife of one of
the most assiduous courtiers.

A man in immediate attendance on the King's person, and who had
the care of his clothes, came to me one day, and told me that,
as he was very much attached to Madame, because she was good
and useful to the King, he wished to inform me that, a letter
having fallen out of the pocket of a coat which His Majesty had
taken off, he had had the curiosity to read it, and found it to
be from the Comtesse de ----, who had already yielded to the
King's desires. In this letter, she required the King to give
her fifty thousand crowns in money, a regiment for one of her
relations, and a bishopric for another, and to dismiss, Madame
in the space of fifteen days, etc. I acquainted Madame with what
this man told me, and she acted with singular greatness of mind.
She said to me, "I ought to inform the King of this breach of
trust of his servant, who may, by the same means, come to the
knowledge of, and make a bad use of, important secrets; but I
feel a repugnance to ruin the man: however, I cannot permit him
to remain near the King's person, and here is what I shall do:
Tell him that there is a place of ten thousand francs a year
vacant in one of the provinces; let him solicit the Minister of
Finance for it, and it shall be granted to him; but, if he should
ever disclose through what interest he has obtained it, the King
shall be made acquainted with his conduct. By this means, I think
I shall have done all that my attachment and duty prescribe. I rid
the King of a faithless domestic, without ruining the individual."
I did as Madame ordered me: her delicacy and address inspired
me with admiration. She was not alarmed on account of the lady,
seeing what her pretensions were. "She drives too quick," remarked
Madame, "and will certainly be overturned on the road." The lady

"See what the Court is; all is corruption there, from the highest
to the lowest," said I to Madame, one day, when she was speaking
to me of some facts that had come to my knowledge. "I could tell
you many others," replied Madame; "but the little chamber, where
you often remain, must furnish you with a sufficient number."
This was a little nook, from whence I could hear a great part
of what passed in Madame's apartment. The Lieutenant of Police
sometimes came secretly to this apartment, and waited there.
Three or four persons, of high consideration, also found their
way in, in a mysterious manner, and several devotees, who were,
in their hearts, enemies of Madame de Pompadour. But these men
had not petty objects in view: one required the government of a
province; another, a seat in the Council; a third, a Captaincy of
the Guards; and this man would have obtained it if the Maréchale
de Mirepoix had not requested it for her brother, the Prince de
Beauvan. The Chevalier du Muy was not among these apostates;
not even the promise of being High Constable would have tempted
him to make up to Madame, still less to betray his master, the
Dauphin. The Prince was, to the last degree, weary of the station
he held. Sometimes, when teased to death by ambitious people,
who pretended to be Catos, or wonderfully devout, he took part
against a Minister against whom he was prepossessed; then relapsed
into his accustomed state of inactivity and ennui.

The King used to say, "My son is lazy; his temper is Polonese--hasty
and changeable; he has no tastes; he cares nothing for hunting,
for women, or for good living; perhaps he imagines that if he
were in my place he would be happy; at first, he would make great
changes, create everything anew, as it were. In a short time
he would be as tired of the rank of King as he now is of his
own; he is only fit to live _en philosophe_, with clever people
about him." The King added, "He loves what is right; he is truly
virtuous, and does not want understanding."

M. de St. Germain said, one day, to the King, "To think well of
mankind, one must be neither a Confessor, not a Minister, nor
a Lieutenant of Police." "Nor a King," said His Majesty. "Ah!
Sire," replied he, "you remember the fog we had a few days ago,
when we could not see four steps before us. Kings are commonly
surrounded by still thicker fogs, collected around them by men
of intriguing character, and faithless Ministers--all, of every
class, unite in endeavouring to make things appear to Kings in
any light but the true one." I heard this from the mouth of the
famous Comte de St. Germain, as I was attending upon Madame, who
was ill in bed. The King was there; and the Count, who was a
welcome visitor, had been admitted. There were also present, M.
de Gontaut, Madame de Brancas, and the Abbé de Bernis. I remember
that the very same day, after the Count was gone out, the King
talked in a style which gave Madame great pain. Speaking of the
King of Prussia, he said, "That is a madman, who will risk all to
gain all, and may, perhaps, win the game, though he has neither
religion, morals, nor principles. He wants to make a noise in
the world, and he will succeed. Julian, the Apostate, did the
same." "I never saw the King so animated before," observed Madame,
when he was gone out; "and really the comparison with Julian,
the Apostate, is not amiss, considering the irreligion of the
King of Prussia. If he gets out of his perplexities, surrounded
as he is by his enemies, he will be one of the greatest men in

M. de Bernis remarked, "Madame is correct in her judgment, for
she has no reason to pronounce his praises; nor have I, though
I agree with what she says." Madame de Pompadour never enjoyed
so much influence as at the time when M. de Choiseul became one
of the Ministry. From the time of the Abbé de Bernis she had
afforded him her constant support, and he had been employed in
foreign affairs, of which he was said to know but little. Madame
made the Treaty of Vienna, though the first idea of I it was
certainly furnished her by the Abbé. I have been informed by
several persons that the King often talked to Madame upon this
subject; for my own part, I never heard any conversation relative
to it, except the high praises bestowed by her on the Empress
and the Prince de Kaunitz, whom she had known a good deal of.
She said that he had a clear head, the head of a statesman. One
day, when she was talking in this strain, some one tried to cast
ridicule upon the Prince on account of the style in which he
wore his hair, and the four _valets de chambre_, who made the
hair-powder fly in all directions, while Kaunitz ran about that
he might only catch the superfine part of it. "Aye," said Madame,
"just as Alcibiades cut off his dog's tail in order to give the
Athenians something to talk about, and to turn their attention
from those things he wished to conceal."

Never was the public mind so inflamed against Madame de Pompadour
as when news arrived of the battle of Rosbach. Every day she received
anonymous letters, full of the grossest abuse; atrocious verses,
threats of poison and assassination. She continued long a prey to
the most acute sorrow, and could get no sleep but from opiates.
All this discontent was excited by her protecting the Prince of
Soubise; and the Lieutenant of Police had great difficulty in
allaying the ferment of the people. The King affirmed that it
was not his fault. M. du Verney was the confidant of Madame in
everything relating to war; a subject which he well understood,
though not a military man by profession. The old Maréchal de
Noailles called him, in derision, the General of the flour, but
Maréchal Saxe, one day, told Madame that du Verney knew more
of military matters than the old Marshal. Du Verney once paid
a visit to Madame de Pompadour, and found her in company with
the King, the Minister of War, and two Marshals; he submitted to
them the plan of a campaign, which was generally applauded. It
was through his influence that M. de Richelieu was appointed to
the command of the army, instead of the Maréchal d'Estrées. He came
to Quesnay two days after, when I was with him. The Doctor began
talking about the art of war, and I remember he said, "Military
men make a great mystery of their art; but what is the reason
that young Princes have always the most brilliant success? Why,
because they are active and daring. When Sovereigns command their
troops in person what exploits they perform! Clearly, because
they are at liberty to run all risks." These observations made
a lasting impression on my mind.

The first physician came, one day, to see Madame: he was talking
of madmen and madness. The King was present, and everything relating
to disease of any kind interested him. The first physician said
that he could distinguish the symptoms of approaching madness
six months beforehand. "Are there any persons about the Court
likely to become mad?" said the King. "I know one who will be
imbecile in less than three months," replied he. The King pressed
him to tell the name. He excused himself for some time. At last
he said, "It is M. de Séchelles, the Controller-General." "You
have a spite against him," said Madame, "because he would not
grant what you asked." "That is true," said he, "but though that
might possibly incline me to tell a disagreeable truth, it would
not make me invent one. He is losing his intellects from debility.
He affects gallantry at his age, and I perceive the connection in
his ideas is becoming feeble and irregular." The King laughed;
but three months afterwards he came to Madame, saying, "Séchelles
gives evident proofs of dotage in the Council. We must appoint
a successor to him." Madame de Pompadour told me of this on the
way to Choisy. Some time afterwards, the first physician came to
see Madame, and spoke to her in private. "You are attached to M.
Berryer, Madame," said he, "and I am sorry to have to warn you that
he will be attacked by madness, or by catalepsy, before long. I saw
him this morning at chapel, sitting on one of those very low little
chairs, which are only meant to kneel upon. His knees touched his
chin. I went to his house after mass; his eyes were wild, and
when his secretary spoke to him, he said, '_Hold your tongue,
pen. A pen's business is to write, and not to speak._'" Madame,
who liked the Keeper of the Seals, was very much concerned, and
begged the first physician not to mention what he had perceived.
Four days after this, M. Berryer was seized with catalepsy, after
having talked incoherently. This is a disease which I did not
know even by name, and got it written down for me. The patient
remains in precisely the same position in which the fit seizes
him; one leg or arm elevated, the eyes wide open, or just as it
may happen. This latter affair was known to all the Court at
the death of the Keeper of the Seals.

When the Maréchal de Belle-Isle's son was killed in battle, Madame
persuaded the King to pay his father a visit. He was rather
reluctant, and Madame said to him, with an air half angry, half

  ----"Barbare! dont l'orgueil
  Croit le sang d'un sujet trop payé d'un coup d'oeil."

The King laughed, and said, "Whose fine verses are those?"
"Voltaire's," said Madame ----. "As barbarous as I am, I gave
him the place of gentleman in ordinary, and a pension," said
the King.

The King went in state to call on the Marshal, followed by all the
Court; and it certainly appeared that this solemn visit consoled
the Marshal for the loss of his son, the sole heir to his name.

When the Marshal died, he was carried to his house on a common
hand-barrow, covered with a shabby cloth. I met the body. The
bearers were laughing and singing. I thought it was some servant,
and asked who it was. How great was my surprise at learning that
these were the remains of a man abounding in honours and in riches.
Such is the Court; the dead are always in fault, and cannot be
put out of sight too soon.

The King said, "M. Fouquet is dead, I hear." "He was no longer
Fouquet," replied the Duc d'Ayen; "Your Majesty had permitted
him to change that name, under which, however, he acquired all
his reputation." The King shrugged his shoulders. His Majesty
had, in fact, granted him letters patent, permitting him not to
sign Fouquet during his Ministry. I heard this on the occasion
in question. M. de Choiseul had the war department at his death.
He was every day more and more in favour. Madame treated him with
greater distinction than any previous Minister, and his manners
towards her were the most agreeable it is possible to conceive,
at once respectful and gallant. He never passed a day without
seeing her. M. de Marigny could not endure M. de Choiseul, but
he never spoke of him, except to his intimate friends. Calling,
one day, at Quesnay's, I found him there. They were talking of
M. de Choiseul. "He is a mere _petit maître_," said the Doctor,
"and, if he were handsome just fit to be one of Henri the Third's
favourites." The Marquis de Mirabeau and M. de La Rivière came
in. "This kingdom," said Mirabeau, "is in a deplorable state.
There is neither national energy, nor the only substitute for

"It can only be regenerated," said La Rivière, "by a conquest,
like that of China, or by some great internal convulsion; but
woe to those who live to see that! The French people do not do
things by halves." These words made me tremble, and I hastened out
of the room. M. de Marigny did the same, though without appearing
at all affected by what had been said. "You heard De La Rivière,"
said he,--"but don't be alarmed, the conversations that pass
at the Doctor's are never repeated; these are honourable men,
though rather chimerical. They know not where to stop. I think,
however, they are in the right way; only, unfortunately, they
go too far." I wrote this down immediately.

"The Comte de St. Germain came to see Madame de Pompadour, who was
ill, and lay on the sofa. He shewed her a little box, containing
topazes, rubies, and emeralds. He appeared to have enough to
furnish a treasury. Madame sent for me to see all these beautiful
things. I looked at them with an air of the utmost astonishment,
but I made signs to Madame that I thought them all false. The
Count felt for something in his pocketbook, about twice as large
as a spectacle-case, and, at length, drew out two or three little
paper packets, which he unfolded, and exhibited a superb ruby.
He threw on the table, with a contemptuous air, a little cross
of green and white stones. I looked at it and said, "That is
not to be despised." I put it on, and admired it greatly. The
Count begged me to accept it. I refused--he urged me to take it.
Madame then refused it for me. At length, he pressed it upon me
so warmly that Madame, seeing that it could not be worth above
forty louis, made me a sign to accept it. I took the cross, much
pleased at the Count's politeness and, some days after, Madame
presented him with an enamelled box, upon which was the portrait
of some Grecian sage (whose name I don't recollect), to whom
she compared him. I shewed the cross to a jeweller, who valued
it at sixty-five louis. The Count offered to bring Madame some
enamel portraits, by Petitot, to look at, and she told him to
bring them after dinner, while the King was hunting. He shewed
his portraits, after which Madame said to him, "I have heard a
great deal of a charming story you told two days ago, at supper,
at M. le Premier's, of an occurrence you witnessed fifty or sixty
years ago." He smiled and said, "It is rather long." "So much
the better," said she, with an air of delight. Madame de Gontaut
and the ladies came in, and the door was shut; Madame made a
sign to me to sit down behind the screen. The Count made many
apologies for the ennui which his story would, perhaps, occasion.
He said, "Sometimes one can tell a story pretty well; at other
times it is quite a different thing."

"At the beginning of this century, the Marquis de St. Gilles
was Ambassador from Spain to the Hague. In his youth he had been
particularly intimate with the Count of Moncade, a grandee of
Spain, and one of the richest nobles of that country. Some months
after the Marquis's arrival at the Hague, he received a letter
from the Count, entreating him, in the name of their former
friendship, to render him the greatest possible service. 'You
know,' said he, 'my dear Marquis, the mortification I felt that
the name of Moncade was likely to expire with me. At length, it
pleased heaven to hear my prayers, and to grant me a son: he
gave early promise of dispositions worthy of his birth, but he,
some time since, formed an unfortunate and disgraceful attachment
to the most celebrated actress of the company of Toledo. I shut my
eyes to this imprudence on the part of a young man whose conduct
had, till then, caused me unmingled satisfaction. But, having learnt
that he was so blinded by passion as to intend to marry this girl,
and that he had even bound himself by a written promise to that
effect, I solicited the King to have her placed in confinement. My
son, having got information of the steps I had taken, defeated
my intentions by escaping with the object of his passion. For
more than six months I have vainly endeavoured to discover where
he has concealed himself, but I have now some reason to think he
is at the Hague.' The Count earnestly conjured the Marquis to
make the most rigid search, in order to discover his son's retreat,
and to endeavour to prevail upon him to return to his home. 'It
is an act of justice,' continued he, 'to provide for the girl,
if she consents to give up the written promise of marriage which
she has received, and I leave it to your discretion to do what
is right for her, as well as to determine the sum necessary to
bring my son to Madrid in a manner suitable to his condition.
I know not,' concluded he, 'whether you are a father; if you
are, you will be able to sympathise in my anxieties.' The Count
subjoined to this letter an exact description of his son, and the
young woman by whom he was accompanied. On the receipt of this
letter, the Marquis lost not a moment in sending to all the inns
in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague, but in vain--he could find
no trace of them. He began to despair of success, when the idea
struck him that a young French page of his, remarkable for his
quickness and intelligence, might be employed with advantage. He
promised to reward him handsomely if he succeeded in finding the
young woman, who was the cause of so much anxiety, and gave him
the description of her person. The page visited all the public
places for many days, without success; at length, one evening, at
the play, he saw a young man and woman, in a box, who attracted
his attention. When he saw that they perceived he was looking
at them, and withdrew to the back of the box to avoid his
observation, he felt confident that they were the objects of
his search. He did not take his eyes from the box, and watched
every movement in it. The instant the performance ended, he was
in the passage leading from the boxes to the door, and he remarked
that the young man, who, doubtless, observed the dress he wore,
tried to conceal himself, as he passed him, by putting his
handkerchief before his face. He followed him, at a distance,
to the inn called the _Vicomte de Turenne_, which he saw him
and the woman enter; and, being now certain of success, he ran
to inform the Ambassador. The Marquis de St. Gilles immediately
repaired to the inn, wrapped in a cloak, and followed by his
page and two servants. He desired the landlord to show him to
the room of a young man and woman, who had lodged for some time
in his house. The landlord, for some time, refused to do so,
unless the Marquis would give their name. The page told him to
take notice that he was speaking to the Spanish Ambassador, who
had strong reasons for wishing to see the persons in question.
The innkeeper said they wished not to be known, and that they had
absolutely forbidden him to admit anybody into their apartment
who did not ask for them by name; but that, since the Ambassador
desired it, he would show him their room. He then conducted them
up to a dirty, miserable garret. He knocked at the door, and
waited for some time; he then knocked again pretty loudly, upon
which the door was half-opened. At the sight of the Ambassador
and his suite, the person who opened it immediately closed it
again, exclaiming that they had made a mistake. The Ambassador
pushed hard against him, forced his way in, made a sign to his
people to wait outside, and remained in the room. He saw before
him a very handsome young man, whose appearance perfectly
corresponded with the description, and a young woman, of great
beauty, and remarkably fine person, whose countenance, form,
colour of the hair, etc., were also precisely those described by
the Count of Moncade. The young man spoke first. He complained
of the violence used in breaking into the apartment of a stranger,
living in a free country, and under the protection of its laws.
The Ambassador stepped forward to embrace him, and said, 'It
is useless to feign, my dear Count; I know you, and I do not
come here to give pain to you or to this lady, whose appearance
interests me extremely.' The young man replied that he was totally
mistaken; that he was not a Count, but the son of a merchant of
Cadiz; that the lady was his wife; and, that they were travelling
for pleasure. The Ambassador, casting his eyes round the miserably
furnished room, which contained but one bed, and some packages
of the shabbiest kind, lying in disorder about the room, 'Is
this, my dear child (allow me to address you by a title which
is warranted by my tender regard for your father), is this a
fit residence for the son of the Count of Moncade?' The young
man still protested against the use of any such language, as
addressed to him. At length, overcome by the entreaties of the
Ambassador, he confessed, weeping, that he was the son of the
Count of Moncade, but declared that nothing should induce him
to return to his father, if he must abandon a woman he adored.
The young woman burst into tears; and threw herself at the feet
of the Ambassador, telling him that she would not be the cause
of the ruin of the young Count; and that generosity, or rather,
love, would enable her to disregard her own happiness, and, for
his sake, to separate herself from him. The Ambassador admired her
noble disinterestedness. The young man, on the contrary, received
her declaration with the most desperate grief. He reproached his
mistress, and declared that he would never abandon so estimable
a creature, nor suffer the sublime generosity of her heart to be
turned against herself. The Ambassador told him that the Count
of Moncade was far from wishing to render her miserable, and
that he was commissioned to provide her with a sum sufficient
to enable her to return into Spain, or to live where she liked.
Her noble sentiments, and genuine tenderness, he said, inspired
him with the greatest interest for her, and would induce him
to go to the utmost limits of his powers, in the sum he was to
give her; that he, therefore, promised her ten thousand florins,
that is to say, about twelve hundred louis, which would be given
her the moment she surrendered the promise of marriage she had
received, and the Count of Moncade took up his abode in the
Ambassador's house, and promised to return to Spain. The young
woman seemed perfectly indifferent to the sum proposed, and wholly
absorbed in her lover, and in the grief of leaving him. She seemed
insensible to everything but the cruel sacrifice which her reason,
and her love itself, demanded. At length, drawing from a little
portfolio the promise of marriage, signed by the Count, 'I know
his heart too well,' said she, 'to need it.' Then she kissed it
again and again, with a sort of transport, and delivered it to
the Ambassador, who stood by, astonished at the grandeur of soul
he witnessed. He promised her that he would never cease to take
the liveliest interest in her fate, and assured the Count of his
father's forgiveness. 'He will receive with open arms,' said he,
'the prodigal son, returning to the bosom of his distressed family;
the heart of a father is an exhaustless mine of tenderness. How
great will be the felicity of my friend on the receipt of these
tidings, after his long anxiety and affliction; how happy do I
esteem myself, at being the instrument of that felicity!' Such
was, in part, the language of the Ambassador, which appeared to
produce a strong impression on the young man. But, fearing lest,
during the night, love should regain all his power, and should
triumph over the generous resolution of the lady, the Marquis
pressed the young Count to accompany him to his hotel. The tears,
the cries of anguish, which marked this cruel separation, cannot
be described; they deeply touched the heart of the Ambassador,
who promised to watch over the young lady. The Count's little
baggage was not difficult to remove, and, that very evening,
he was installed in the finest apartment of the Ambassador's
house. The Marquis was overjoyed at having restored to the
illustrious house of Moncade the heir of its greatness, and of
its magnificent domains. On the following morning, as soon as
the young Count was up, he found tailors, dealers in cloth, lace,
stuffs, etc., out of which he had only to choose. Two _valets
de chambre_, and three laquais, chosen by the Ambassador for
their intelligence and good conduct, were in waiting in his
antechamber, and presented themselves, to receive his orders. The
Ambassador shewed the young Count the letter he had just written
to his father, in which he congratulated him on possessing a son
whose noble sentiments and striking qualities were worthy of his
illustrious blood, and announced his speedy return. The young lady
was not forgotten; he confessed that to her generosity he was
partly indebted for the submission of her lover, and expressed
his conviction that the Count would not disapprove the gift he
had made her, of ten thousand florins. That sum was remitted, on
the same day, to this noble and interesting girl, who left the
Hague without delay. The preparations for the Count's journey
were made; a splendid wardrobe and an excellent carriage were
embarked at Rotterdam, in a ship bound for France, on board which
a passage was secured for the Count, who was to proceed from that
country to Spain. A considerable sum of money, and letters of
credit on Paris, were given him at his departure; and the parting
between the Ambassador and the young Count was most touching.
The Marquis de St. Gilles awaited with impatience the Count's
answer, and enjoyed his friend's delight by anticipation. At
the expiration of four months, he received this long-expected
letter. It would be utterly impossible to describe his surprise
on reading the following words. 'Heaven, my dear Marquis, never
granted me the happiness of becoming a father, and, in the midst
of abundant wealth and honours, the grief of having no heirs,
and seeing an illustrious race end in my person, has shed the
greatest bitterness over my whole existence. I see, with extreme
regret, that you have been imposed upon by a young adventurer,
who has taken advantage of the knowledge he had, by some means,
obtained, of our old friendship. But your Excellency must not
be the sufferer. The Count of Moncade is, most assuredly, the
person whom you wished to serve; he is bound to repay what your
generous friendship hastened to advance, in order to procure
him a happiness which he would have felt most deeply. I hope,
therefore, Marquis, that your Excellency will have no hesitation
in accepting the remittance contained in this letter, of three
thousand louis of France, of the disbursal of which you sent
me an account.'"

The manner in which the Comte de St. Germain spoke, in the characters
of the young adventurer, his mistress, and the Ambassador, made
his audience weep and laugh by turns. The story is true in every
particular, and the adventurer surpasses Gusman d'Alfarache in
address, according to the report of some persons present. Madame
de Pompadour thought of having a play written, founded on this
story; and the Count sent it to her in writing, from which I
transcribed it.

M. Duclos came to the Doctor's, and harangued with his usual
warmth. I heard him saying to two or three persons, "People are
unjust to great men, Ministers and Princes; nothing, for instance,
is more common than to undervalue their intellect. I astonished
one of these little gentlemen of the corps of the _infallibles_,
by telling him that I could prove that there had been more men
of ability in the house of Bourbon, for the last hundred years,
than in any other family." "You prove that?" said somebody,
sneeringly. "Yes," said Duclos; "and I will tell you how. The
great Condé, you will allow, was no fool; and the Duchesse de
Longueville is cited as one of the wittiest women that ever lived.
The Regent was a man who had few equals, in every kind of talent
and acquirement. The Prince de Conti, who was elected King of
Poland, was celebrated for his intelligence, and, in poetry,
was the successful rival of La Fare and St. Aulaire. The Duke of
Burgundy was learned and enlightened. His Duchess, the daughter
of Louis XIV., was remarkably clever, and wrote epigrams and
couplets. The Duc du Maine is generally spoken of only for his
weakness, but nobody had a more agreeable wit. His wife was mad,
but she had an extensive acquaintance with letters, good taste in
poetry, and a brilliant and inexhaustible imagination. Here are
instances enough, I think," said he; "and, as I am no flatterer,
and hate to appear one, I will not speak of the living." His
hearers were astonished at this enumeration, and all of them
agreed in the truth of what he had said. He added, "Don't we daily
hear of _silly D'Argenson_, because he has a good-natured air,
and a _bourgeois_ tone? and yet, I believe, there have not been
many Ministers comparable to him in knowledge and in enlightened
views." I took a pen, which lay on the Doctor's table, and begged
M. Duclos to repeat to me all the names he had mentioned, and
the eulogium he had bestowed on each. "If," said he, "you show
that to the Marquise, tell her how the conversation arose, and
that I did not say it in order that it might come to her ears,
and eventually, perhaps, to those of another person. I am an
historiographer, and I will render justice, but I shall, also,
often inflict it." "I will answer for that," said the Doctor,
"and our master will be represented as he really is. Louis XIV.
liked verses, and patronised poets; that was very well, perhaps,
in his time, because one must begin with something; but this
age will be very superior to the last. It must be acknowledged
that Louis XV., in sending astronomers to Mexico and Peru, to
measure the earth, has a higher claim to our respect than if he
directed an opera. He has thrown down the barriers which opposed
the progress of philosophy, in spite of the clamour of the devotees:
the Encyclopædia will do honour to his reign." Duclos, during
this speech, shook his head. I went away, and tried to write
down all I had heard, while it was fresh. I had the part which
related to the Princes of the Bourbon race copied by a valet,
who wrote a beautiful hand, and I gave it to Madame de Pompadour.
But she said to me, "What! is Duclos an acquaintance of yours? Do
you want to play the _bel esprit_, my dear good woman? That will
not sit well upon you." The truth is, that nothing can be further
from my inclination. I told her that I met him accidentally at
the Doctor's, where he generally spent an hour when he came to
Versailles. "The King knows him to be a worthy man," said she.

Madame de Pompadour was ill, and the King came to see her several
times a day. I generally left the room when he entered, but,
having stayed a few minutes, on one occasion, to give her a glass
of chicory water, I heard the King mention Madame d'Egmont. Madame
raised her eyes to heaven, and said, "That name always recalls
to me a most melancholy and barbarous affair; but it was not my
fault." These words dwelt in my mind, and, particularly, the
tone in which they were uttered. As I stayed with Madame till
three o'clock in the morning, reading to her a part of the time,
it was easy for me to try to satisfy my curiosity. I seized a
moment, when the reading was interrupted, to say, "You looked
dreadfully shocked, Madame, when the King pronounced the name
of D'Egmont." At these words, she again raised her eyes, and
said, "You would feel as I do, if you knew the affair." "It must,
then, be deeply affecting, for I do not think that it personally
concerns you, Madame." "No," said she, "it does not; as, however,
I am not the only person acquainted with this history, and as
I know you to be discreet, I will tell it you. The last Comte
d'Egmont married a reputed daughter of the Duc de Villars; but
the Duchess had never lived with her husband, and the Comtesse
d'Egmont is, in fact, a daughter of the Chevalier d'Orléans.
At the death of her husband, young, beautiful, agreeable, and
heiress to an immense fortune, she attracted the suit and homage
of all the most distinguished men at Court. Her mother's director,
one day, came into her room and requested a private interview; he
then revealed to her that she was the offspring of an adulterous
intercourse, for which her mother had been doing penance for
five-and-twenty years. 'She could not,' said he, 'oppose your
former marriage, although it caused her extreme distress. Heaven
did not grant you children; but, if you marry again, you run
the risk, Madame, of transmitting to another family the immense
wealth, which does not, in fact, belong to you, and which is
the price of crime.'

"The Comtesse d'Egmont heard this recital with horror. At the
same instant, her mother entered, and, on her knees, besought
her daughter to avert her eternal damnation. Madame d'Egmont
tried to calm her own and her mother's mind. 'What can I do?'
said she, to her. 'Consecrate yourself wholly to God,' replied the
director, 'and thus expiate your mother's crime.' The Countess,
in her terror, promised whatever they asked, and proposed to
enter the Carmelites. I was informed of it, and spoke to the
King about the barbarous tyranny the Duchesse de Villars and the
director were about to exercise over this unhappy young woman;
but we knew not how to prevent it. The King, with the utmost
kindness, prevailed on the Queen to offer her the situation of
Lady of the Palace, and desired the Duchess's friends to persuade
her to endeavour to deter her daughter from becoming a Carmelite.
It was all in vain; the wretched victim was sacrificed."

Madame took it into her head to consult a fortune-teller, called
Madame Bontemps, who had told M. de Bernis's fortune, as I have
already related, and had surprised him by her predictions. M. de
Choiseul, to whom she mentioned the matter, said that the woman
had also foretold fine things that were to happen to him. "I know
it," said she, "and, in return, you promised her a carriage,
but the poor woman goes on foot still." Madame told me this,
and asked me how she could disguise herself, so as to see the
woman without being known. I dared not propose any scheme then,
for fear it should not succeed; but, two days after, I talked
to her surgeon about the art, which some beggars practise, of
counterfeiting sores, and altering their features. He said that
was easy enough. I let the thing drop, and, after an interval
of some minutes, I said, "If one could change one's features,
one might have great diversion at the opera, or at balls. What
alterations would it be necessary to make in me, now, to render
it impossible to recognise me?" "In the first place," said he,
"you must alter the colour of your hair, then you must have a
false nose, and put a spot on some part of your face, or a wart,
or a few hairs." I laughed, and said, "Help me to contrive this
for the next ball; I have not been to one for twenty years; but
I am dying to puzzle somebody, and to tell him things which no
one but I can tell him. I shall come home, and go to bed, in a
quarter of an hour." "I must take the measure of your nose,"
said he; "or do you take it with wax, and I will have a nose
made: you can get a flaxen or brown wig." I repeated to Madame
what the surgeon had told me: she was delighted at it. I took
the measure of her nose, and of my own, and carried them to the
surgeon, who, in two days, gave me the two noses, and a wart,
which Madame stuck under her left eye, and some paint for the
eyebrows. The noses were most delicately made, of a bladder, I
think, and these, with the other disguises, rendered it impossible
to recognize the face, and yet did not produce any shocking
appearance. All this being accomplished, nothing remained but
to give notice to the fortune-teller; we waited for a little
excursion to Paris, which Madame was to take, to look at her
house. I then got a person, with whom I had no connection, to
speak to a waiting-woman of the Duchesse de Rufféc, to obtain an
interview with the woman. She made some difficulty, on account
of the Police; but we promised secrecy, and appointed the place of
meeting. Nothing could be more contrary to Madame de Pompadour's
character, which was one of extreme timidity, than to engage in
such an adventure. But her curiosity was raised to the highest
pitch, and, moreover, everything was so well arranged that there
was not the slightest risk. Madame had let M. de Gontaut, and
her _valet de chambre_, into the secret. The latter had hired
two rooms for his niece, who was then ill, at Versailles, near
Madame's hotel. We went out in the evening, followed by the _valet
de chambre_, who was a safe man, and by the Duke, all on foot.
We had not, at farthest, above two hundred steps to go. We were
shown into two small rooms, in which were fires. The two men
remained in one, and we in the other. Madame had thrown herself
on a sofa. She had on a night-cap, which concealed half her face,
in an unstudied manner. I was near the fire, leaning on a table,
on which were two candles. There were lying on the chairs, near
us, some clothes, of small value. The fortune-teller rang--a
little servant-girl let her in, and then went to wait in the
room where the gentlemen were. Coffee-cups, and a coffee-pot,
were set; and I had taken care to place, upon a little buffet,
some cakes, and a bottle of Malaga wine, having heard that Madame
Bontemps assisted her inspiration with that liquor. Her face,
indeed, sufficiently proclaimed it. "Is that lady ill?" said
she, seeing Madame de Pompadour stretched languidly on the sofa.
I told her that she would soon be better, but that she had kept
her room for a week. She heated the coffee, and prepared the two
cups, which she carefully wiped, observing that nothing impure
must enter into this operation. I affected to be very anxious
for a glass of wine, in order to give our oracle a pretext for
assuaging her thirst, which she did, without, much entreaty.
When she had drunk two or three small glasses (for I had taken
care not to have large ones), she poured the coffee into one
of the two large cups. "This is yours," said she; "and this is
your friend's; let them stand a little." She then observed our
hands and our faces; after which she drew a looking-glass from
her pocket, into which she told us to look, while she looked at
the reflections of our faces. She next took a glass of wine,
and immediately threw herself into a fit of enthusiasm, while
she inspected my cup, and considered all the lines formed by
the dregs of the coffee she had poured out. She began by saying,
"_That is well--prosperity--but there is a black mark--distresses.
A man becomes a comforter. Here, in this corner, are friends,
who support you. Ah! who is he that persecutes them? But justice
triumphs--after rain, sunshine--a long journey successful. There,
do you see these little bags! That is money which has been paid--to
you, of course, I mean. That is well. Do you see that arm?" "Yes."
"That is an arm supporting something: a woman veiled; I see her;
it is you. All this is clear to me. I hear, as it were, a voice
speaking to me. You are no longer attacked. I see it, because the
clouds in that direction are passed off_ (pointing to a clearer
spot). _But, stay--I see small lines which branch out from the
main spot. These are sons, daughters, nephews--that is pretty
well."_ She appeared overpowered with the effort she was making.
At length, she added, _"That is all. You have had good luck
first--misfortune afterward. You have had a friend, who has exerted
himself with success to extricate you from it. You have had
law-suits--at length fortune has been reconciled to you, and
will change no more._" She drank another glass of wine. "Your
health, Madame," said she to the Marquise, and went through the
same ceremonies with the cup. At length, she broke out, "_Neither
fair nor foul. I see there, in the distance, a serene sky; and
then all these things that appear to ascend--all these things
are applauses. Here is a grave man, who stretches out his arms.
Do you see?--look attentively." "That is true,"_ said Madame de
Pompadour, with surprise (there was, indeed, some appearance
of the kind). "_He points to something square--that is an open
coffer.--Fine weather.--But, look! there are clouds of azure
and gold, which surround you. Do you see that ship on the high
sea? How favourable the wind is! You are on board; you land in
a beautiful country, of which you become the Queen. Ah! what
do I see! Look there--look at that hideous, crooked, lame man,
who is pursuing you--but he is going on a fool's errand. I see a
very great man, who supports you in his arms. Here, look! he is
a kind of giant. There is a great deal of gold and silver--a few
clouds here and there. But you have nothing to fear. The vessel
will be sometimes tossed about, but it will not be lost. Dixi._"
Madame said, "When shall I die, and of what disease?" "I never
speak of that," said she; "_see here, rather--but fate will not
permit it. I will shew you how fate confounds everything_"--shewing
her several confused lumps of the coffee-dregs. "Well, never
mind as to the time, then, only tell me the kind of death." The
fortune-teller looked in the cup, and said, "_You will have time
to prepare yourself._" I gave her only two louis, to avoid doing
anything remarkable. She left us, after begging us to keep her
secret, and we rejoined the Duc de Gontaut, to whom we related
everything that had passed. He laughed heartily, and said, "Her
coffee-dregs are like the clouds--you may see what you please
in them."

There was one thing in my horoscope which struck me, that was
the comforter; because one of my uncles had taken great care of
me, and had rendered me the most essential services. It is also
true that I afterwards had an important lawsuit; and, lastly,
there was the money which had come into my hands through Madame de
Pompadour's patronage and bounty. As for Madame, her husband was
represented accurately enough by the man with the coffer; then the
country of which she became Queen seemed to relate to her present
situation at Court; but the most remarkable thing was the crooked
and lame man, in whom Madame thought she recognized the Duc de
V----, who was very much deformed. Madame was delighted with her
adventure and her horoscope, which she thought corresponded very
remarkably with the truth. Two days after, she sent for M. de St.
Florentin, and begged him not to molest the fortune-teller. He
laughed, and replied that he knew why she interceded for this woman.
Madame asked him why he laughed. He related every circumstance of
her expedition with astonishing exactness; but he knew nothing
of what had been said, or, at least, so he pretended. He promised
Madame that, provided Bontemps did nothing which called for notice,
she should not be obstructed in the exercise of her profession,
especially if she followed it in secret. "I know her," added he,
"and I, like other people, have had the curiosity to consult
her. She is the wife of a soldier in the guards. She is a clever
woman in her way, but she drinks. Four or five years ago, she
got such hold on the mind of Madame de Rufféc, that she made
her believe she could procure her an elixir of beauty, which
would restore her to what she was at twenty-five. The Duchess
pays high for the drugs of which this elixir is compounded; and
sometimes they are bad: sometimes, the sun, to which they were
exposed, was not powerful enough; sometimes, the influence of a
certain constellation was wanting. Sometimes, she has the courage
to assure the Duchess that she really is grown handsomer, and
actually succeeds in making her believe it." But the history of
this woman's daughter is still more curious. She was exquisitely
beautiful, and the Duchess brought her up in her own house. Bontemps
predicted to the girl, in the Duchess's presence, that she would
marry a man of two thousand louis a year. This was not very likely
to happen to the daughter of a soldier in the guards. It did
happen, nevertheless. The little Bontemps married the President
Beaudouin, who was mad. But, the tragical part of the story is,
that her mother had also foretold that she would die in child-birth
of her first child, and that she did actually die in child-birth,
at the age of eighteen, doubtless under a strong impression of her
mother's prophecy, to which the improbable event of her marriage
had given such extraordinary weight. Madame told the King of the
adventure her curiosity had led her into, at which he laughed,
and said he wished the Police had arrested her. He added a very
sensible remark. "In order to judge," said he, "of the truth or
falsehood of such predictions, one ought to collect fifty of
them. It would be found that they are almost always made up of
the same phrases, which are sometimes inapplicable, and sometimes
hit the mark. But the first are rarely mentioned, while the others
are always insisted on."

I have heard, and, indeed, it is certainly true, that M. de Bridge
lived on terms of intimacy with Madame, when she was Madame
d'Etioles. He used to ride on horseback with her, and, as he is
so handsome a man that he has retained the name of _the handsome
man_, it was natural enough that he should be thought the lover
of a very handsome woman. I have heard something more than this.
I was told that the King said to M. de Bridge, "Confess, now,
that you were her lover. She has acknowledged it to me, and I
exact from you this proof of sincerity." M. de Bridge replied,
that Madame de Pompadour was at liberty to say what she pleased
for her own amusement, or for any other reason; but that he, for
his part, could not assert a falsehood; that he had been her
friend; that she was a charming companion, and had great talents;
that he delighted in her society; but that his intercourse with
her had never gone beyond the bounds of friendship. He added,
that her husband was present in all their parties, that he watched
her with a jealous eye, and that he would, not have suffered him
to be so much with her if he had conceived the least suspicion
of the kind. The King persisted, and told him he was wrong to
endeavour to conceal a fact which was unquestionable. It was
rumoured, also, that the Abbé de Bernis had been a favoured lover
of hers. The said Abbé was rather a coxcomb; he had a handsome
face, and wrote poetry. Madame de Pompadour was the theme of
his gallant verses. He sometimes received the compliments of
his friends upon his success with a smile which left some room
for conjecture, although he denied the thing in words. It was,
for some time, reported at Court that she was in love with the
Prince de Beauvau: he is a man distinguished for his gallantries,
his air of rank and fashion, and his high play; he is brother
to the little Maréchale: for all these reasons, Madame is very
civil to him, but there is nothing marked in her behaviour. She
knows, besides, that he is in love with a very agreeable woman.

Now that I am on the subject of lovers, I cannot avoid speaking
of M. de Choiseul. Madame likes him better than any of those I
have just mentioned, but he is not her lover. A lady, whom I
know perfectly well, but whom I do not choose to denounce to
Madame, invented a story about them, which was utterly false.
She said, as I have good reason to believe, that one day, hearing
the King coming, I ran to Madame's closet door; that I coughed in
a particular manner; and that the King having, happily, stopped
a moment to talk to some ladies, there was time to adjust matters,
so that Madame came out of the closet with me and M. de Choiseul,
as if we had been all three sitting together. It is very true
that I went in to carry something to Madame, without knowing
that the King was come, and that she came out of the closet with
M. de Choiseul, who had a paper in his hand, and that I followed
her a few minutes after. The King asked M. de Choiseul what that
paper was which he had in his hand. He replied that it contained
the remonstrance from the Parliament.

Three or four ladies witnessed what I now relate, and as, with
the exception of one, they were all excellent women, and greatly
attached to Madame, my suspicions could fall on none but the
one in question, whom I will not name, because her brother has
always treated me with great kindness. Madame de Pompadour had
a lively imagination and great sensibility, but nothing could
exceed the coldness of her temperament. It would, besides, have
been extremely difficult for her, surrounded as she was, to keep
up an intercourse of that kind with any man. It is true that
this difficulty would have been diminished in the case of an
all-powerful Minister, who had constant pretexts for seeing her
in private. But there was a much more decisive fact--M. de Choiseul
had a charming mistress--the Princesse de R----, and Madame knew
it, and often spoke of her. He had, besides, some remains of
liking for the Princesse de Kinski, who followed him from Vienna.
It is true that he soon after discovered how ridiculous she was.
All these circumstances combined were, surely, sufficient to
deter Madame from engaging in a love affair with the Duke; but
his talents and agreeable qualities captivated her. He was not
handsome, but he had manners peculiar to himself, an agreeable
vivacity, a delightful gaiety; this was the general opinion of
his character. He was much attached to Madame, and though this
might, at first, be inspired by a consciousness of the importance
of her friendship to his interest, yet, after he had acquired
sufficient political strength to stand alone, he was not the
less devoted to her, nor less assiduous in his attentions. He
knew her friendship for me, and he one day said to me, with great
feeling, "I am afraid, my dear Madame du Hausset, that she will
sink into a state of complete dejection, and die of melancholy.
Try to divert her." What a fate for the favourite of the greatest
monarch in existence! thought I.

One day, Madame de Pompadour had retired to her closet with M.
Berryer. Madame d'Amblimont stayed with Madame de Gontaut, who
called me to talk about my son. A moment after, M. de Gontaut came
in and said, "D'Amblimont, who shall have the Swiss guards?" "Stop
a moment," said she; "let me call my council----, M. de Choiseul."
"That is not so very bad a thought," said M. de Gontaut, "but
I assure you, you are the first person who has suggested it."
He immediately left us, and Madame d'Amblimont said, "I'll lay
a wager he is going to communicate my idea to M. de Choiseul."
He returned very shortly, and, M. Berryer having left the room,
he said to Madame de Pompadour, "A singular thought has entered
d'Amblimont's head." "What absurdity now?" said Madame. "Not
so great an absurdity neither," said he. "She says the Swiss
guards ought to be given to M. de Choiseul, and, really, if the
King has not positively promised M. de Soubise, I don't see what
he can do better." "The King has promised nothing," said Madame,
"and the hopes I gave him were of the vaguest kind. I only told
him it was possible. But though I have a great regard for M.
de Soubise, I do not think his merits comparable to those of
M. de Choiseul." When the King came in, Madame, doubtless, told
him of this suggestion. A quarter of an hour afterwards, I went
into the room to speak to her, and I heard the King say, "You
will see that, because the Duc du Maine, and his children, had
that place, he will think he ought to have it, on account of
his rank as Prince (Soubise); but the Maréchal de Bassompièrre
was not a Prince; and, by the bye, the Duc de Choiseul is for him
to be. Her name was Romans. She was Majesty is better acquainted
with the history of France than anybody," replied Madame. Two
days after this, Madame de ---- said to me, "I have two great
delights; M. de Soubise will not have the Swiss guards, and Madame
de Marsan will be ready to burst with rage at it; this is the
first: and M. de Choiseul will have them; this is the greatest."

There was a universal talk of a young lady with whom the King was
as much in love as it was possible for him to be. Her name was
Romans. She was said to be a charming girl. Madame de Pompadour
knew of the King's visits, and her confidantes brought her most
alarming reports of the affair. The Maréchale de Mirepoix, who
had the best head in Madame's council, was the only one who
encouraged her. "I do not tell you," said she, "that he loves
you better than her; and if she could be transported hither by
the stroke of a fairy's wand; if she could entertain him this
evening at supper; if she were familiar with all his tastes,
there would, perhaps, be sufficient reason for you to tremble
for your power. But Princes are, above all, pre-eminently the
slaves of habit. The King's attachment to you is like that he
bears to your apartment, your furniture. You have formed yourself
to his manners and habits; you know how to listen and reply to
his stories; he is under no constraint with you; he has no fear
of _boring_ you. How do you think he could have resolution to
uproot all this in a day, to form a new establishment, and to
make a public exhibition of himself by so striking a change in
his arrangements?" The young lady became pregnant; the reports
current among the people, and even those at Court, alarmed Madame
dreadfully. It was said that the King meant to legitimate the
child, and to give the mother a title. "All that," said Madame
de Mirepoix, "is in the style of Louis XIV.--such dignified
proceedings are very unlike those of our master." Mademoiselle
Romans lost all her influence over the King by her indiscreet
boasting. She was even treated with harshness and violence, which
were in no degree instigated by Madame. Her house was searched,
and her papers seized; but the most important, those which
substantiated the fact of the King's paternity, had been withdrawn.
At length she gave birth to a son, who was christened under the
name of Bourbon, son of Charles de Bourbon, Captain of Horse.
The mother thought the eyes of all France were fixed upon her,
and beheld in her son a future Duc du Maine. She suckled him
herself, and she used to carry him in a sort of basket to the
Bois de Boulogne. Both mother and child were covered with the
finest laces. She sat down upon the grass in a solitary spot,
which, however, was soon well known, and there gave suck to her
royal babe. Madame had great curiosity to see her, and took me,
one day, to the manufactory at Sèvres, without telling me what
she projected. After she had bought some cups, she said, "I want
to go and walk in the Bois de Boulogne," and gave orders to the
coachman to stop at a certain spot where she wished to alight.
She had got the most accurate directions, and when she drew near
the young lady's haunt she gave me her arm, drew her bonnet over
her eyes, and held her pocket-handkerchief before the lower part
of her face. We walked, for some minutes, in a path, from whence
we could see the lady suckling her child. Her jet black hair was
turned up, and confined by a diamond comb. She looked earnestly
at us. Madame bowed to her, and whispered to me, pushing me by the
elbow, "Speak to her." I stepped forward, and exclaimed, "What
a lovely child!" "Yes, Madame," replied she, "I must confess
that he is, though I am his mother." Madame, who had hold of my
arm, trembled and I was not very firm. Mademoiselle Romans said
to me, "Do you live in this neighbourhood?" "Yes, Madame," replied
I, "I live at Auteuil with this lady, who is just now suffering
from a most dreadful toothache." "I pity her sincerely, for I
know that tormenting pain well." I looked all around, for fear
any one should come up who might recognise us. I took courage
to ask her whether the child's father was a handsome man. "Very
handsome, and, if I told you his name, you would agree with me."
"I have the honour of knowing him, then, Madame?" "Most probably
you do." Madame, fearing, as I did, some rencontre, said a few
words in a low tone, apologizing for having intruded upon her,
and we took our leave. We looked behind us, repeatedly, to see
if we were followed, and got into the carriage without being
perceived. "It must be confessed that both mother and child are
beautiful creatures," said Madame--"not to mention the father;
the infant has his eyes. If the King had come up while we were
there, do you think he would have recognised us?" "I don't doubt
that he would, Madame, and then what an agitation I should have
been in, and what a scene it would have been for the bystanders!
and, above all, what a surprise to her!" In the evening Madame
made the King a present of the cups she had bought, but she did
not mention her walk, for fear Mademoiselle Romans should tell
him that two ladies, who knew him, had met her there such a day.
Madame de Mirepoix said to Madame, "Be assured, the King cares
very little about children; he has enough of them, and he will
not be troubled with the mother or the son. See what sort of
notice he takes of the Comte de L----, who is strikingly like
him. He never speaks of him, and I am convinced that he will
never do anything for him. Again and again I tell you, we do not
live under Louis XIV." Madame de Mirepoix had been Ambassadress
to London, and had often heard the English make this remark.

Some alterations had been made in Madame de Pompadour's rooms,
and I had no longer, as heretofore, the niche in which I had
been permitted to sit, to hear Caffarelli, and, in later times,
Mademoiselle Fel and Jeliotte. I, therefore, went more frequently
to my lodgings in town, where I usually received my friends: more
particularly when Madame visited her little hermitage, whither
M. de Gontaut commonly accompanied her. Madame du Chiron, the
wife of the Head Clerk in the War-Office, came to see me. "I
feel," said she, "greatly embarrassed, in speaking to you about
an affair, which will, perhaps, embarrass you also. This is the
state of the case. A very poor woman, to whom I have sometimes
given a little assistance, pretends to be a relation of the Marquise
de Pompadour. Here is her petition." I read it, and said that
the woman had better write directly to Madame, and that I was
sure, if what she asserted was true, her application would be
successful. Madame du Chiron followed my advice. The woman wrote
she was in the lowest depth of poverty, and I learnt that Madame
sent her six louis until she could gain more accurate information
as to the truth of her story. Colin, who was commissioned to
take the money, made inquiries of M. de Malvoisin, a relation
of Madame, and a very respectable officer. The fact was found to
be as she had stated it. Madame then sent her a hundred louis,
and promised her a pension of sixty louis a year. All this was
done with great expedition, and Madame had a visit of thanks from
her poor relation, as soon as she had procured decent clothes
to come in. That day the King happened to come in at an unusual
hour, and saw this person going out. He asked who it was. "It
is a very poor relation of mine," replied Madame. "She came,
then, to beg for some assistance?" "No," said she. "What did
she come for, then?" "To thank me for a little service I have
rendered her," said she, blushing from the fear of seeming to
boast of her liberality. "Well," said the King; "since she is
your relation, allow me to have the pleasure of serving her too.
I will give her fifty louis a year out of my private purse, and,
you know, she may send for the first year's allowance to-morrow."
Madame burst into tears, and kissed the King's hand several times.
She told me this three days afterwards, when I was nursing her
in a slight attack of fever. I could not refrain from weeping
myself at this instance of the King's kindness. The next day,
I called on Madame du Chiron to tell her of the good fortune
of her protégée; I forgot to say that, after Madame had related
the affair to me, I told her what part I had taken in it. She
approved my conduct, and allowed me to inform my friend of the
King's goodness. This action, which showed no less delicate
politeness towards her than sensibility to the sufferings of
the poor woman, made a deeper impression on Madame's heart than
a pension of two thousand a year given to herself.

Madame had terrible palpitations of the heart. Her heart actually
seemed to leap. She consulted several physicians. I recollect that
one of them made her walk up and down the room, lift a weight,
and move quickly. On her expressing some surprise, he said, "I
do this to ascertain whether the organ is diseased; in that case
motion quickens the pulsation; if that effect is not produced,
the complaint proceeds from the nerves." I repeated this to my
oracle, Quesnay. He knew very little of this physician, but he
said his treatment was that of a clever man. His name was Rénard;
he was scarcely known beyond the Marais. Madame often appeared
suffocated, and sighed continually. One day, under pretence of
presenting a petition to M. de Choiseul, as he was going out,
I said, in a low voice, that I wished to see him a few minutes
on an affair of importance to my mistress. He told me to come as
soon as I pleased, and that I should be admitted. I told him that
Madame was extremely depressed; that she gave way to distressing
thoughts, which she would not communicate; that she, one day,
said to me, "The fortune-teller told me I _should have time to
prepare myself_; I believe it, for I shall be worn to death by
melancholy." M. de Choiseul appeared much affected; he praised
my zeal, and said that he had already perceived some indications
of what I told him; that he would not mention my name, but would
try to draw from her an explanation. I don't know what he said to
her; but, from that time, she was much more calm. One day, but
long afterwards, Madame said to M. de Gontaut, "I am generally
thought to have great influence, but if it were not for M. de
Choiseul, I should not be able to obtain a Cross of St. Louis."

The King and Madame de Pompadour had a very high opinion of Madame
de Choiseul. Madame said, "She always says the right thing in
the right place." Madame de Grammont was not so agreeable to
them; and I think that this was to be attributed, in part, to
the sound of her voice, and to her blunt manner of speaking;
for she was said to be a woman of great sense, and devotedly
attached to the King and Madame de Pompadour. Some people pretended
that she tried to captivate the King, and to supplant Madame:
nothing could be more false, or more ridiculously improbable.
Madame saw a great deal of these two ladies, who were extremely
attentive to her. She one day remarked to the Duc d'Ayen, that
M. de Choiseul was very fond of his sisters. "I know it, Madame,"
said he, "and many sisters are the better for that." "What do
you mean?" said she. "Why," said he, "as the Duc de Choiseul
loves his sister, it is thought fashionable to do the same; and
I know silly girls, whose brothers formerly cared nothing about
them, who are now most tenderly beloved. No sooner does their
little finger ache, than their brothers are running about to fetch
physicians from all corners of Paris. They flatter themselves
that somebody will say, in M. de Choiseul's drawing-room, "How
passionately M. de ---- loves his sister; he would certainly
die if he had the misfortune to lose her." Madame related this
to her brother, in my presence, adding, that she could not give
it in the Duke's comic manner. M. de Marigny said, "I have had
the start of them all, without making so much noise; and my dear
little sister knows that I loved her tenderly before Madame de
Grammont left her convent. The Duc d'Ayen, however, is not very
wrong; he has made the most of it in his lively manner, but it
is partly true." "I forgot," replied Madame, "that the Duke said,
'I want extremely to be in the fashion, but which sister shall
I take up? Madame de Caumont is a devil incarnate, Madame de
Villars drinks, Madame d'Armagnac is a bore, Madame de la Marck
is half mad.'" "These are fine family portraits, Duke," said
Madame. The Duc de Gontaut laughed, during the whole of this
conversation, immoderately. Madame repeated it, one day, when
she kept her bed. M. de G---- also began to talk of his sister,
Madame du Roure. I think, at least, that is the name he mentioned.
He was very gay, and had the art of creating gaiety. Somebody
said, he is an excellent piece of furniture for a favourite. He
makes her laugh, and asks for nothing either for himself or for
others; he cannot excite jealousy, and he meddles in nothing. He
was called the White Eunuch. Madame's illness increased so rapidly
that we were alarmed about her; but bleeding in the foot cured
her as if by a miracle. The King watched her with the greatest
solicitude; and I don't know whether his attentions did not
contribute as much to the cure as the bleeding. M. de Choiseul
remarked, some days after, that she appeared in better spirits.
I told him that I thought this improvement might be attributed
to the same cause.




The figure of Catherine de Medici is remarkable in history as being
the pivotal point for more controversy than has ever centred about
any other Queen of France. Of Italian descent, she became the wife
of one French monarch, the mother of three others, and the dominant
force behind that glittering Court which Brantôme eulogises. Both
of her daughters likewise ascended thrones,--Elisabeth, became
the wife of Philip II. of Spain; while Marguerite (whose memoirs
are found elsewhere in this volume) wedded Henry of Navarre, the
life-long rival of the ambitious Queen Mother, who was destined
to become Henry IV., displacing her tottering dynasty.

Brantôme's tribute to this famous Queen will be read with great
interest, but it is unnecessary to caution the reader to accept
it _cum grana salis_, for Brantôme's likes and dislikes are at
all times apt to run away with his historical judgment. Says
Louis Moland in an introduction to the French edition of the
Abbé's works: "The admiration which he professes for these grand
princesses whom he has the honour of depicting so influences him
that, despite his notorious credulity on this point, he shows
them all, or nearly all, as perfectly virtuous." Nevertheless,
his portraits, though coloured with the most favourable tints,
are of great value as portraits from life. "I saw it," "I was
there," are his favourite expressions in narrating an incident.

The study of Catherine is a typical example of his work. He had
lived at her Court and received many favours at her hands. He now
sets himself the task of answering her calumniators and paying
a tribute to her memory. This spirit of chivalry is certainly
admirable, albeit the results may show as more partisan than
accurate. It is interesting to compare this with Honoré de Balzac's
more extended work, "Sur Catherine de Medicis," which is designated
as a romance but is actually a careful historical portrait of
the Queen.

Catherine's whole life may be said to have combined romance with
history. She was the daughter of Lorenzo de Medici, that famous
ruler of Florence for whom Machiavelli wrote his "Prince." Having
been left an orphan at an early age, she was sent to a convent to
be educated, but left there at fourteen to become the wife of the
Dauphin, afterwards Henry II. of France. Her royal father-in-law
was the celebrated Francis I., the life-long rival of Henry VIII.
of England, on the one hand, and the Emperor Charles V., on the
other. During his reign Catherine remained in obscurity, and
was even threatened with divorce, as for ten years she remained
childless. On hearing that Francis was considering this decree for
state reasons, she planned her first bold stroke. With Italian
finesse she made her way to the King at a favourable moment, threw
herself at his feet, and expressed her willingness to submit to
the royal will. "Do with me as you choose, sire," she said; "let
me remain the dutiful wife of your son; or if it may please you to
choose another, let me serve as one of her humblest attendants."
Her speech won the heart of Francis, she was reinstated in favour,
and finally had the happiness of bringing him grandchildren ere
he died. This was one reason for the great veneration in which
Catherine always held his memory, and to which Brantôme alludes.

Indeed, the dominant trait with her throughout her long life was
loyalty to her family and their interests,--a loyalty fine in the
abstract, but which was to lead her along many doubtful and devious
ways. It caused her to match prince against prince, party against
party, religion against religion, until the culminating horror
of St. Bartholomew's Massacre was reached,--chargeable directly
to her, despite the strenuous denials of Brantôme. Henry IV.,
the royal son-in-law who suffered so much at her hands, was
broad-minded enough to palliate her offences on the ground of
this family loyalty. Claude Grouard quotes him as saying to a
Florentine ambassador in regard to Catherine: "I ask you what
a poor woman could do, left by the death of her husband, with
five little children on her arms, and two families in France
who were thinking to grasp the crown,--ours and the Guiges. Was
she not compelled to play strange parts to deceive first one and
then the other, in order to guard, as she has done, her sons
who have successively reigned through the wise conduct of that
shrewd woman? I am only surprised that she never did worse.

Sainte-Beuve in his "Causeries du Lundi" gives us additional
glimpses of this Queen, basing his views upon those of Mézeray,
author of the older "History of France": Mézeray, who never thinks
of the dramatic, nevertheless makes known to us at the start his
principal personages; he shows them more especially in action,
without detaching them too much from the general sentiment and
interests of which they are the leaders and representatives,
while, at the same time, he leaves to each his individual
physiognomy.... Catherine de Medici is painted there in all her
dissimulation and her network of artifices, in which she herself
was often caught; ambitious of sovereign power without possessing
either the force or the genius for it; striving to obtain it by
craft, and using for this purpose a continual system of what
we should call today 'see-sawing'--'rousing and elevating for a
time one faction, putting to sleep or lowering another; uniting
herself sometimes with the feeblest side out of caution, lest
the stronger should crush her; sometimes with the stronger from
necessity; at times standing neutral when she felt herself strong
enough to command both sides, but without intention to extinguish
either.' Far from being always too Catholic, there are moments when
she seems to lean to the Reformed religion and to wish to grant
too much to that party; and this with more sincerity, perhaps,
than belonged to her naturally. The Catherine de Medici, such
as she presents herself and is developed in plain truth on the
pages of Mézeray is well calculated to tempt a modern writer."

It is precisely to this temptation that Balzac has yielded, in
his book already mentioned. His summing-up of her character is
as follows: "Catherine de Medici has suffered more from popular
error than almost any other woman... and yet she saved the throne
of France, she maintained the royal authority under circumstances
to which more than one great prince would have succumbed. Face to
face with such leaders of the factions, and ambitions of the houses
of Guise and of Bourbon as the Cardinals de Lorraine and the two
'Balafrés,' the two Princes de Condé, Henry IV., Montmorency, the
Colignys, she was forced to put forth the rarest fine qualities,
the most essential gifts of statesmanship, under the fire of the
Calvinist press. These, at any rate, are indisputable facts. And
to the student who digs deep into the history of the sixteenth
century in France, the figure of Catherine de Medici stands out
as that of a great king...

"Hemmed in between a race of princes who proclaimed themselves
the heirs of Charlemagne, and a factious younger branch that was
eager to bury the Constable de Bourbon's treason under the throne;
obliged too, to fight down a heresy on the verge of devouring the
monarchy, without friends, and aware of treachery in the chiefs
of the Catholic party and of republicanism in the Calvinists,
Catherine used the most dangerous but the surest of political
weapons--Craft. She determined to deceive by turns the party
that was anxious to secure the downfall of the house of Valois,
the Bourbons who aimed at the Crown, and the Reformers.... Indeed,
so long as she lived, the Valois sat on the throne. The great
M. de Thou understood the worth of this woman when he exclaimed
on hearing of her death: 'It is not a woman, it is Royalty that
dies in her'!"

On the contrary, if one will follow the genial Dumas through
the pages of his Valois Romances, he will find a French writer
who, while loyal to the kingly line, does not hesitate to paint
this woman in unlovely colors. She is here the low intriguer who
does not stop at assassination to gain her ends. On only one
point, indeed, do historians and romancers seem to agree: she
is always interesting--never commonplace. She fills a definite
niche in an important period, and her personal reputation must
be handled as a thing apart.

This portrait of her by Brantôme is one of a series of papers
comprising his "Lives of Illustrious Ladies,"--or as he preferred
to call it, "Book of the Ladies." Brantôme himself lived an
adventurous life. Born in Perigord in 1537, he was only eighteen
years younger than the queen he here discusses. His family, the
de Bourdeilles, was one of the oldest and most respected in that
province. "Not to boast of myself," he says, "I can assert that
none of my race has ever been home-keeping; they have spent as
much time in travels and wars as any, no matter who they be,
in France." The young Pierre had his first experience in Court
life, at the Court of Marguerite, sister of Francis I., to whom
his mother was lady-in-waiting. As he was the youngest of the
family, he was destined for the priesthood--which he always regarded
from the militant, rather than the spiritual side--and when only
sixteen King Henry II. bestowed upon him the Abbey of Brantôme.

The record of his life thereafter is one of travel and adventure
in many lands. It is the period of the Renaissance, when wars and
conquests, intrigues and romances, poetry and song flourish,--in
all of which our Abbé is equally at home! He goes with the Duc
de Guise to escort the young widowed Queen, Mary, back to her
Scottish throne. He visits Marguerite de Valois in her retirement
and is so smitten by her beauty that he dedicates all his books to
her. And during his busy, adventurous life he finds time to set
down many things which he sees and hears. Some of these stories
smack of the scandalous, but all undoubtedly reflect the spirit
and manners of the time.

After a long life, Brantôme passed away in 1614, and although a
clause in his will expressly related to the publication of his
works they were left in MS. form, in his castle of Richemont,
for half a century. They were finally published in Leyden, in
1665, and have been frequently reprinted since.


I have wondered a hundred times, and been astonished, that, with
so many good writers as we have had in France in our day, none
of them have been inquisitive enough to bring out some sketches
on the life and deeds of the Queen-Mother, Catherine de Medici,
since she has given ample material, and did as much fine work
as ever was done by a queen--as once said the Emperor Charles
to Paolo Giovio on his return from his triumphant voyage in the
"Goulette," when wishing to declare war against King Francis,
that it was only necessary to be provided with paper and ink,
to supply him with any amount of work.

True it is that this Queen cut out so much work, that any clever
and industrious writer might build from it a complete Iliad;
but the writers have all proven lazy or ungrateful, although
she was never niggardly to learned men, or those writers of her
times. I could name several who derived favors from the Queen,
and for this reason do I accuse them of ingratitude.

There was one, however, who did attempt to write of her, and
who brought out a little book which he called "The Life of
Catherine," but it is an imposture and not worthy of belief,
since it is more full of lies than truth, as she herself said,
when she saw the book. The errors are so glaring as to be apparent
to all, and are thus easily noted and rejected.

The author wished her mortal harm, and was inimical to her name,
to her station, to her life, to her honor and to her nature,
and for this reason he should be rejected.

As for myself, I would that I could speak well, or that I had
a fluent pen at my command that I might exalt and praise her
as she deserves.

At any rate, be my pen what it may, I shall use it at all hazards.

This Queen is descended, on her father's side, from the race of
the Medici, one of the noblest and most illustrious families,
not only in Italy but in Christendom.

Whatever may be said, she was a foreigner to these parts, since
the alliances of the royal houses cannot commonly be made with
those within their kingdoms. Nor is it often for the best, since
foreign marriages are often more advantageous than those made
nearer home.

The House of the Medici has ever been allied with the Crown of
France, and still bears the _fleur-de-lys_ that King Louis XI
granted that house as a token of alliance and perpetual

On her mother's side she is descended from one of the noblest
houses of France; a house truly French in race, in heart and
in affection, that great house of Boulogne and of the County of

Thus it is difficult to say or to decide which of these two houses
is the grander, or which is the more memorable by its deeds.

Here is what is said of them by the Archbishop of Bourges, he of
the house of Beaune, as great a scholar and as worthy a prelate
as there is in Christendom (although there are some who say that
he was a trifle unsteady in belief, and of little worth in the
scales of M. Saint-Michel, who weighs good Christians for the
day of judgment, or so 'tis said). It is found in the funeral
oration which the Archbishop made upon the said Queen at Blois.

In the days when that great captain of the Gauls, Brennus, led
his forces through Italy and Greece, there were in his troop
two French nobles, one named Felsinus, the other named Bono,
who seeing the wicked designs of Brennus to invade and desecrate
the temple of Delphos, after his great conquests, withdrew their
forces and passed into Asia with their ships and followers.

They pushed on until they entered the sea of Medes, which is near
Lydia and Persia.

Thence, after gaining many victories and obtaining many conquests,
they retired, and while returning through Italy on their way to
France, Felsinus stopped on the site of what is now Florence,
beside the river Arno, a place which he saw was beautiful and
commanding and situated much as another place which had pleased
him much in the country of the Medes.

There he built the city which to-day is Florence.

His companion, Bono, built a second, and neighboring city which
he called Bononia, the modern Bologna.

Henceforth Felsinus was called Medicus by his intimates, in
commemoration of his victories and conquests among the Medes, a
name that became the family name, just as we read of Paulus being
surnamed Macedonicus, on account of his conquest of Macedonia
from Perseus, and of Scipio being called Africanus for doing the
like in Africa.

I do not know from what source M. de Beaune got his history,
but it is very probable, that, speaking as he did before the
King and such an august assembly, there convened for the funeral
of the Queen, M. de Beaune would not have made the statement
without good authority.

This descent is very different from the modern story invented
and attributed without cause to the Medici family, according to
that lying book on the life of the Queen, which I have mentioned.

Furthermore, continues the aforementioned Sieur de Beaune, one
reads in the chronicles that a certain Everard de Medici, Sieur
of Florence, many years afterwards, went with many of his subjects
to the assistance of Charlemagne in his expedition in Italy against
Didier, king of the Lombards, and having courageously succoured
and assisted him was granted and invested with the lordship of

Many years later, one Anemond de Medici, also a Sieur of Florence,
accompanied, with many of his subjects, Godefroy de Bouillon to
the Holy Land, where he died at the siege of Nicæa in Asia.

Such greatness continued in that family down to the time when
Florence was reduced to a republic by the internecine wars in
Italy between the emperors and the people, the illustrious members
of this family continually manifesting their valour and grandeur
from time to time, as we see in these later days, how Cosmo de
Medici, with his arms, his navy and ships struck terror into
the Turks on the Mediterranean and even in the distant East;
so that none since his time, no matter how great he may have
been, has surpassed him in strength, valour and wealth, as has
been recorded by Raffaelle Volaterano.

The temples and sacred shrines built by him, the hospitals founded
by him, even as far as Jerusalem, all give ample proof of his
piety and magnanimity.

Then there was Lorenzo de Medici, surnamed the Great on account
of his virtuous deeds, and the two great popes, Leo and Clement,
besides many cardinals and great personages of the name, including
the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosmo de Medici, a wise and wary man,
if there ever was one.

He succeeded in retaining his duchy, which he found invaded and
in great distress when he inherited it.

In short, nothing can rob this house of the Medici of its lustre,
and of its nobleness and grandeur in all ways.

As to the house of Boulogne and Auvergne, who can deny its greatness,
descending as it does from that noble Eustache de Boulogne, whose
brother, Godefroy de Bouillon, who bore his arms and escutcheons
with that vast number of princes, seigneurs, chevaliers, and
Christian soldiers even to Jerusalem and to the sepulchre of
our Saviour, where he would have made himself, by his sword and
by the favour of God, king, not only of Jerusalem, but also of
the greater part of the East, to the confusion of Mahomet, the
Saracens, and the Mahometans, to the amazement of all the rest
of the world, and would have replanted Christianity in Asia when
it had fallen to the lowest depths?

Besides this house had ever been sought in alliance by all the
monarchies of Christendom and by the great families, such as
those of France, England, Scotland, Hungary, and Portugal, which
latter kingdom belonged to it of right, as I have heard President
de Thou say, and as the Queen herself did me the honor to tell
me at Bordeaux, when she heard of the death of King Sebastian.
The Medici were even allowed to argue the justice of their claims
at the last Assembly of States previous to the death of King

And it was for this reason that she armed M. de Strozzi for an
invasion of Portugal, where the King of Spain had usurped the
kingdom. She was prevented from carrying out her well-chosen
plans by reasons which I will explain at another time.

I will leave it to you, therefore, whether the house of Boulogne
was great: yea, so great it is that I once heard Pope Pius IV
say, while sitting at table at a dinner he gave after he had
made Ferrara and Guise cardinals, that the house of Boulogne
was so great and noble he knew none in France, no matter which,
that could surpass it in antiquity, valour, and grandeur.

All this is much against those malicious detractors, who have
said that this Queen was a Florentine of lowly birth, as one
can see the contrary to be the case.

Moreover, she was not so poor since she brought to France as
portion of her marriage estates which are valued to-day twenty-six
thousand livres, such as the Counties of Auvergne and Lauragais, the
seigneuries of Leverons, Donzenac, Boussac, Gorrèges, Hondecourt,
and other lands--all inherited from her mother.

Her dowry included also more than two hundred thousand ducats,
which are worth to-day over four hundred thousand; as well as
great quantities of furniture, precious stones, jewels, including
the finest and the largest pearls ever seen in such quantities,
pearls that she afterwards gave to the Queen of Scotland [Mary
Stuart], her daughter-in-law, whom I have seen wearing them.
Besides all this, many manors, houses, deeds, and claims which
she possessed in Italy.

But, more than all else, her marriage caused a strengthening
in the fortunes of France, which had been so shaken by the
imprisonment of the King and by his losses at Milan and Naples.

King Francis, it is well known, knew that such a marriage greatly
helped his interests. Therefore there was given to this Queen, as
a device, a rainbow, which she bore as long as she was married,
with these words in Greek, _phos pherei aede galaenaen_, which is
the equivalent of saying that just as this fire and bow in the
heavens brings and signifies good weather, just so this Queen was
a true sign of clearness, of serenity and of the tranquillity of
peace. The Greek is thus translated: _Lucem fert et serenitatem_--she
brings light and serenity.

After that the Emperor [Charles V] no longer dared to push forward
his ambitious motto: "Ever farther." For, notwithstanding the
truce which existed between himself and King Francis, he was
nursing his ambition with the plan of gaining always from France
whatever he could; and he was much surprised at this alliance with
the Pope [Clement VII], yet recognising the latter as an able,
a courageous man, but vindictive on account of his imprisonment
by the imperial troops at the sack of Rome.

Such a marriage was displeasing to him so much that I have heard
a truthful lady of the Court say that if he had not been married
to the Empress, he would have made an alliance with the Pope
himself, and espoused his niece [Catherine de Medici], as much
for the help of so strong a party as because he feared the Pope
would help in losing for him Naples, Milan and Genoa; for the
Pope had promised King Francis, in an authentic document, when
he had delivered the money of his niece's dowry and her rings and
jewels, that he would make the dowry worthy of such a marriage
by adding to it three pearls of inestimable value, the excessive
splendour of which caused envy and covetousness among the greatest
of kings, meaning the three cities of Naples, Milan and Genoa.
And it cannot be doubted that if the Pope had lived the natural
span of his life he would have sold out the Emperor too, and
made him pay well for that imprisonment, in order to enrich his
niece and the kingdom to which she was joined. But Clement VII
died too soon and all these expected gains could not withstand
this blow. So that our Queen, having lost her mother, Magdelaine
de Boulogne, and Lorenzo de Medici, Duke of Urbino, her father,
in her early life, was given in marriage to France by her uncle,
Pope Clement VII, and was brought by sea in great triumph to
Marseilles, where at the age of fourteen she was wedded with great

She made herself so beloved by the King, her father-in-law, and
by King Henry, her husband, that after ten years had passed and
still no heir being born to her, and though many persons endeavoured
to persuade the King and the Dauphin, her husband, to divorce
her, neither one would consent, so greatly did they love her.
But after ten years, in accordance with the nature of the women
of the Medici family, who were ever slow in conceiving, she began
to furnish heirs, the first being King Francis II.

After him was born the Queen of Spain, and then consecutively,
that fine and illustrious progeny whom we have all seen, besides
others who were no sooner born than they died, by great misfortune
and fatality. For this reason the King, her husband, loved her
more and more, and in such manner that he, who was naturally
of an amorous temperament, and who greatly liked to make love
and to vary his loves, often said that of all the women in the
world there was none who excelled his wife for love-making, nor
did any equal her.

He had good cause for saying this, for she truly was a princess
beautiful as well as lovable. She was of fine and stately presence;
of great majesty, at the same time gentle when occasion required
it; of noble appearance and good grace, her face handsome and
agreeable, her bosom full, beautiful, and exquisitely fair, her
body also very fair, the flesh firm, the skin smooth, as I have
heard from several ladies-in-waiting; of a good plumpness as
well, the leg and thigh well formed (as I have heard too from
the same ladies).

She also took great pride in being well shod and in having her
stockings tightly drawn up without wrinkles. Besides all this
she possessed the most beautiful hand that was ever seen, as I
believe. The poets once praised Aurora for her fine hands and
tapering fingers; but I think our Queen would surpass her in
that; and she carefully guarded and maintained this beauty to
her dying day.

King Henry III, her son, inherited much of this beauty of the

Moreover she always dressed herself well and superbly, often
with some new and pretty conceit. In short, she had many charms
in herself to make her well loved. I remember that at Lyons one
day she went to see a painter named Corneille who had painted
and exhibited in a spacious room portraits of all the great
seigneurs, princes, cavaliers, queens, princesses, ladies and
maids of honour of the Court, and she being in this room with us
we all saw there her portrait painted true to life, showing her
in all her beauty and perfection, apparelled as a Frenchwoman with
a cap, showing her great pearls, and a gown whose wide sleeves of
silver tissue were trimmed with lynx--the whole picture, which
also showed the portraits of her three daughters, was so perfect
that speech alone seemed lacking.

The Queen took great pleasure in seeing the portrait, and the
assembled company did likewise, and praised and admired her beauty
above all.

She herself was so ravished at the sight of the portrait that
she could not take her gaze from it, until M. de Nemours came to
her and said, "Madame, I think you are so well portrayed there
that there remains nothing more to be said, and it seems to me,
too, that your daughters do you great honour, for they do not
excel you, nor surpass you."

To this the Queen replied, "My cousin, I think you can remember
the period, the age, and the dress represented in this portrait,
so that you can judge better than anyone present, you who have
seen me dressed as I am represented in this portrait, and can
say whether I was esteemed as much as they say, and whether I
ever looked as I am portrayed there."

There was not one in the whole company who did not lavish praise
and estimate her beauty highly, and who did not say that the mother
was worthy of the daughters and the daughters of the mother. And
this beauty remained her portion through life, while married and
while widowed, until her death; not that she had the freshness
of her more blooming and younger years, but still she remained
well preserved, always agreeable, always desirable.

Besides she was very good company, always of a good humour; loving
any becoming exercise, such as dancing, in which she exhibited
great grace and dignity.

She also greatly loved hunting; about which I heard a lady of the
Court tell this tale: King Francis having chosen and gathered a
few of his Court whom he called "the little band of Court ladies,"
which included the handsomest, daintiest and most favoured, often
escaped from the Court and went to other estates to hunt deer
and while away the time, sometimes staying thus in retreat eight
days, ten days, sometimes more, sometimes less, just as the humour
took him.

Our Queen (who was then simply Madame la Dauphine) seeing that
such parties were made up without her, and that even Mesdames her
sisters-in-law were included while she was left at home, begged
the King to always take her with him, and to further honour her
by never allowing her to go about without being accompanied by

It's said that she, who was always shrewd and clever, did this
as much or more to watch the King's movements and to learn his
secrets and to be able to hear and know all that went on, as
she did it from pure liking for the chase.

King Francis was so pleased with this request, showing, as it
seemed, the love she had for his company, that he heartily granted
her request. He loved her more now than ever before and showed
delight in giving her the pleasures of the hunt, which she followed,
riding at full speed and ever by his side.

She was a good and fearless horseback rider, sitting her horse
with easy grace, and was the first to ride with the leg around
the pommel, which was more graceful and becoming than the former
mode of sitting with feet upon a board. She loved to ride horseback
even up to the time she was sixty years old and over, and when
her growing feebleness prevented her riding she pined for it. It
was one of her greatest pleasures to ride far and fast, though
she had many falls, even breaking her leg and bruising her head
so severely that it had to be trepanned. After she became a widow
and had charge of the King and the kingdom, she accompanied the
King everywhere and took all her children with her; and when the
King, her husband, was still living she generally accompanied
him to the stag and other hunts. If he played pall-mall she often
watched him, and sometimes played herself. She was also fond of
shooting baked clay balls with a cross-bow, and she shot well
too; so that she always took with her her cross-bow when riding,
in order if any game was seen she could shoot it. When she was
kept indoors by bad weather she was forever devising some new
dance or beautiful ballet. She invented games as well and passed
her time by these devices, being quite unreserved, but knowing
how to be grave and austere when occasion demanded it.

She was fond of seeing comedies and tragedies enacted, but after
"Sophonisbe," a tragedy written by M. de Saint-Gélais, was well
presented at Blois by her daughters, maids-of-honor and other
ladies as well as gentlemen of her Court during the celebration
attendant on the marriages of M. du Cypière and the Marquis
d'Elboeuf, she took the notion that tragedies were unlucky for
state affairs and so would not let them be played again. But she
still listened readily enough to comedies and tragi-comedies,
even such as "Zani" and "Pantaloon" and took great pleasure in
them, laughing as heartily as anyone, for she liked laughter,
being naturally of a happy disposition, loving a witty word and
being ever ready with a witty rejoinder, knowing well when to
cast a jest or a stone, and when to withhold it.

In the afternoons she passed her time at work on her silk
embroideries, in which she was as perfect as possible.

In short the Queen liked and practiced all healthy exercises,
and there was not one that was worthy of herself or her sex that
the Queen did not wish to essay and practice.

This is a brief description, avoiding prolixity, of the beauty
of her person and of her various exercises.

When she called anyone "my friend" it was because she either
thought him a fool or was angry with him. This was so well known
that once when she had thus addressed one of her attendant gentlemen,
named M. de Bois-Fevrier, he made reply, "Alas, Madame, I would
rather have you call me 'enemy,' for to call me your friend is
the equivalent of saying either I am a fool or that you are angry
with me, for I have long known your nature."

As for her mind, it was great and admirable, as is shown by so
many fine and striking acts, by which her life has been made
illustrious forever.

The King, her husband, as well as his Council of State esteemed
her so highly that when the King left the kingdom on his journey
to Germany, he established and placed her as Regent and Governor
throughout his dominions during his absence by royal declaration
solemnly made before the Houses of Parliament in Paris. This
trust she exercised so wisely that there was no disturbance,
change, nor alteration in the State because of the King's absence;
but, on the contrary, the Queen so carefully saw to affairs that
she was able to assist the King with money, means, and men, and
other kinds of aid; which greatly aided him in his return and for
the conquest which he made of cities in the duchy of Luxembourg,
such as Yvoy, Montmedy, Dampvilliers, Chimay and others.

I leave it to you what must be thought of him who wrote that
fine life when he slanders her by saying that never did the King,
her husband, allow her to put her nose into matters of state.

Was not this making her Regent in his absence giving her ample
opportunities to have full knowledge of them? And she did this
during all the trips he made yearly in going to his armies.

What did she do after the battle of Saint-Laurens, when the state
was so shaken and the King had hastened to Compiègne to raise
a new army?

She became so wrapped up in state affairs that she so aroused
and stirred up the gentlemen of Paris that they gave prompt aid
to their King, which came at a good time, and included money
and other things very necessary in war.

Furthermore, when the King, her husband, was wounded, persons
who were there and saw it cannot be uninformed of the great care
she took for his cure, and the vigils she kept by his bedside; the
prayers she offered continuously; the processions and visitations
she made to the churches; and the hurried journeys she made in
all directions for doctors and surgeons. But the King's hour
had come; and when he passed from this world to the next, her
grief was so great and she shed so many tears that it would seem
she never could control them, and ever after, whenever his name
was spoken the tears welled up from the depths of her eyes. For
this reason she assumed a device in keeping and suitable to her
tears and mourning, namely, a mound of quicklime over which the
drops from heaven fall abundantly, with these words in Latin as
a motto: _Adorem extincta testantur vivere flamma_ (Although
the flame is extinguished, this testifies that the fire still
lives). The drops of water, like her tears, show ardour, though
the flame has been extinguished. This device is allegorical of
the nature of quicklime, which when watered burns strangely and
shows its fire though the flame is wanting. Thus did our Queen
show her zeal and affection by her tears, though the flame, which
typified her husband, was now extinct. And this was the same as
saying that, although he was dead, she wished to show by her
tears that she could never forget him, but would love him always.

A similar device was formerly borne by Madame Valentine de Milan,
Duchess d'Orléans, after the death of her husband, who was killed
in Paris, for whom she grieved so much, that as a solace and
comfort in her mourning, she assumed as device a watering pot,
above which was an S, meaning, it is said, _Seule, souvenir,
soucis, soupirer_ (Lonely, remembrance, solicitude, sighing).
And around the watering-pot were inscribed these words, _Rien
ne m'est plus; plus ne m'est rien_ (Nought is more to me; more
is to me nothing). This device is still to be seen in her chapel
in the Church of the Franciscans at Blois.

Good King René of Sicily having lost his wife Isabel, Duchess
de Lorraine, suffered such great grief that he never was happy
afterwards; and when his intimate friends and favourites tried
to console him he was wont to lead them to his bedroom and there
show them a picture, painted by himself (for he was an excellent
painter), depicting a Turkish bow unstrung, beneath, which was
written, _Arco per lentare piaga non sana_ (The bow although
unstrung heals not the wounds).

Then King René would thus address them: "My friends, with this
picture I answer all your arguments. By unstringing a bow, or
by breaking the string, the harm done by the arrow can quickly
be prevented, but the life of my dear spouse being broken and
extinguished by death, the wound to the loyal love that ever
filled my heart for her while she lived cannot be cured." In
various places in Angers these Turkish bows with broken strings
can be seen, with these words inscribed beneath, _Arco per lentare
piaga non sana_ (The loosened bow does not heal the wound). The same
is seen on the Franciscan church, in the Chapel of Saint-Bernardin,
which he decorated. He assumed this device after the death of
his Queen, although during her lifetime he had used another one.

Our Queen, around her device, which I have described, placed many
trophies, such as cracked mirrors, fans, rumpled plumes, pearls,
broken quivers, precious stones and jewels scattered about, bits
of broken chains, the whole to signify the abandoning of all
worldly pomp, since, now that her husband was dead, her mourning
for him was never to cease, and without the grace of God and the
courage which He had given her, she would have succumbed to her
great grief and distress. But she saw that her young children, as
well as France, needed her aid, as we ourselves have seen since
by experience; for, like a Semiramis, or a second Athalie, she
foiled, saved, guarded and preserved these same young children
from many enterprises planned against them during their early
years; and accomplished this with so much prudence and industry
that all thought her wonderful.

She was Regent of this kingdom after the death of King Francis,
her son, and during the minority of our kings by the ordinance
of the Estates of Orléans, and this, which well might have been
given to the King of Navarre, who as premier prince of the blood
wished to be Regent in her place, and to be Governor over all.
But she won over so easily and dexterously the said Estates that
if the King of Navarre had not gone elsewhere, she would have
had him attainted of the crime of _lèse-majesté_.

And it is possible that but for Madame de Montpensier, who had
great influence over her, she would still have done so on account
of the intrigue against the Estates into which he forced the
Prince de Condé.

So the aforementioned King was obliged to content himself to
serve under her, and this was one of the shrewd and subtle moves
she made in the beginning of her management of affairs. Afterwards
she knew how to maintain her rank and authority so imperiously
that no one dared deny it, no matter how grand or how strenuous
he might be, as was shown after a period of three months when,
during a stay of the Court at Fontainebleau, this same King of
Navarre, wishing to show the resentment still in his heart, took
offence because M. de Guise had the keys of the King's palace
brought to him each night, and kept them all night in his room
exactly like a grand master of the household (for that was one
of his appointments), so that no one could go out without his

This angered greatly the King of Navarre, who himself wished
to keep the keys. On being refused the keys, he grew spiteful
and rebellious to such an extent that one morning he suddenly
came to the King and Queen and announced his intention of taking
leave of the Court, and of taking with him all the princes of
the blood, whom he had won over, including M. le Connétable de
Montmorency, his children and nephew.

The Queen, who did not expect this move, was astounded at first,
and did all in her power to avert the blow, giving assurances
to the King of Navarre that if he would but be patient he would
some day be satisfied with affairs.

But fair words gained her nothing with the King, who was determined
to leave.

It was then that our Queen decided on this shrewd plan: She sent
orders to M. le Connétable, as principal, first and oldest officer
of the crown, to remain near the person of the King, his master,
as then his office demanded, and not to take his departure.

M. le Connétable, being a wise and judicious man, and being zealous
for his master's interests as well as alert to his grandeur and
honour, after reflecting on his duty and the orders sent him,
went to the King and announced himself ready to fulfil his office.

This greatly astonished the King of Navarre, who was on the point
of mounting his horse, waiting only the arrival of M. le Connétable
to depart.

M. le Connétable when he came explained his duty and the
responsibility of his office and endeavoured to persuade the
King of Navarre himself not to budge or take his departure. This
he did so well that the King of Navarre at his urging went to see
the King and Queen, and after conferring with their majesties he
gave up his journey and countermanded his orders for his mules,
they having by that time arrived at Melun.

So peace once more reigned, to the great joy of the King of Navarre.

Not that M. de Guise diminished any of his claims pertaining to
his office, or yielded one atom of his honour, for he retained
his pre-eminence and all that belonged to him, without being
shaken in the least, although he was not the stronger; but in
such affairs he was a man of the world and was never bewildered,
but knew well how to face things courageously and to keep to
his rank, and to hold what he had.

It cannot be doubted, as all the world knows, but that, if the
Queen had not bethought herself of this scheme regarding M. le
Connétable, all that party would have gone to Paris and stirred
up trouble for us, for which reason great credit should be given
the Queen for her makeshift.

I know, for I was there, that many said that the plan was not
of her invention, but rather that of Cardinal de Tournon, a wise
and judicious prelate; but this is false, for, old hand as he was
for prudence and counsel, my faith, the Queen knew more tricks
than he, or all the Council of the King put together.

For often, when he was at fault, she would help him and put him
on the track of what he ought to know, of which I might give
many examples; but it will be enough to cite this one instance,
which is recent, and about which the Queen herself did me the
honour to disclose.

It is as follows:

When she went to Guyenne, and, later, to Coignac to reconcile the
princes of the Religion and those of the League, and so give peace
to the kingdom again--for she saw that it would soon be ruined
by this division--she determined to declare a truce in order to
formulate this peace; because of which the King of Navarre and
the Prince de Condé became very discontented and mutinous--for
the reason, they said, that this proclamation did them great
harm because of their foreign troops, who, having heard of it,
might repent of their coming, or might delay in coming, thinking
that the Queen had made it with that very intention.

And they declared and resolved not to see the Queen nor to treat
with her until the said truce was revoked.

Her Council, whom she had with her, though composed of able men,
she found to be without much sense and weak, because they could
find no means by which this truce could be rescinded.

The Queen then said to them, "Truly, you are very stupid as to
finding a remedy. Don't you know any better? There is only one
solution to this. You have at Maillezais the Huguenot regiment
of Neufvy and of Sorlu. Send for me from here, from Niort, all
the arquebusiers you can muster and cut the regiment to pieces
and so you will have the truce broken and rescinded without any
further trouble."

And as soon as she commanded it, it was done, the arquebusiers
started, led by Captain l'Estelle, and forced their fort and
barricades so well that the Huguenot regiment was defeated, Sorlu
killed, who was a valiant man, Neufvy taken prisoner and many
others killed. Their flags were all captured and brought to the
Queen at Niort. She showed her accustomed clemency by pardoning
all, and sent them away with their ensigns and flags, which,
as regards flags, is a very rare thing.

But she wished to make this concession, she told me, on account
of its very rarity, so that the princes would now know that they
had to deal with a very able princess, and that they should not
apply to her such mockery as to make her revoke a truce by the
very heralds who had proclaimed it. For while they were planning
to give her this insult, she had fallen upon them, and now sent
word to them by the prisoners that it was not for them to affront
her by demanding of her unseemly and unreasonable things, since
it remained in her power to do them good or evil.

In this manner this Queen knew how to give and drill in a lesson
to her Council. I might tell of other instances, but I have other
points to treat upon, the first of which will be to answer those
whom I have often heard accuse her of being the first to fly
to arms, thus being the cause of our civil wars.

Whoever will look to the source of the thing will not believe
it; for, the triumvirate being created, with the King of Navarre
at its head, she, seeing the plots that were being concocted,
and knowing the change of faith made by the King of Navarre--who
from being Huguenot and very strict, had turned Catholic--and
knowing by this change she had cause to fear for the King, for
the kingdom, and for herself, and that he might move against
them, she reflected and wondered to what tended such plots, such
numerous meetings, colloquies and secret audiences; and, not being
able to fathom the mystery, it is said that one day she bethought
herself to go to the room above which the secret session was
being held, and there, by means of a tube which she had caused
to be surreptitiously inserted under the tapestry, she listened
unperceived to all their plans.

Among other things she heard one that was very terrible and bitter
for her, and that was when Maréchal de Saint-André, one of the
triumvirate, proposed that the Queen be taken, put in a sack and
flung into the river, since otherwise they would never succeed
in their plans.

But the late M. de Guise, who was always fair and generous, said
that such a thing must not be, for it was going too far, and
was too unjust to thus cruelly slay the wife and mother of our
kings, and that he was utterly opposed to the plan.

For this the said Queen has always loved him, and proved it by
her treatment of his children, after his death, by giving them
his entire possessions.

I leave to your imagination what such a sentence meant to the
Queen, hearing it as she did with her own ears, and also whether
she did not have cause for fear, notwithstanding her defence
by M. de Guise.

From what I have heard told by one of the Queen's intimates,
the Queen feared, as indeed she had cause to, that they would
strike the blow without the knowledge of M. de Guise. For, in
a deed so detestable, an upright man is to be distrusted, and
should never be informed of the act. She was thus compelled to
look out for her own safety, and to employ for it those who were
already under arms (the Prince de Condé and the leaders of the
Protestant party), imploring them to have pity for a mother and
her children.

Such as it was, this was the sole cause of the Civil War.

For this reason she would never go, with the others, to Orléans,
nor allow them to have the King and her children, as she could
have done; and she felt glad, and with reason, that amongst the
uproar and rumour of strife, she and the King, her son, and her
other children were in safety.

Moreover she begged and obtained the promise from others, that
when she should summon them to lay down their arms that they
would do so, but this they would not do when the time came,
notwithstanding the appeals she made to them, and the trouble
she took, and the great heat she endured at Talsy, trying to
induce them to listen to terms of peace which she could have
made favourable and lasting for France had they only listened
to her. And this conflagration, and others which we have seen
lighted from this first brand, would have been stamped out forever
in France had they but believed in her. I know the zeal she showed,
and I know what I myself have heard her say, with tears in her

This is why they cannot tax her with the first spark of the Civil
War, nor yet with the second, which was that day's work at Meaux,
for at that time she was thinking only of the hunt, and of giving
pleasure to the King at her beautiful house at Monceaux.

The warning came that M. le Prince and those of the Religion
were under arms and in the field to surprise and seize the King
under pretext of presenting a request.

God knows who was the cause of this new disturbance, and had
it not been for the six thousand Swiss troops, newly raised, no
one knows what might not have happened.

This levy of Swiss troops was the pretext for them to take up
arms, and of saying and spreading broadcast that it was done
to force them into war.

But it was they themselves who requested this levy of troops
from the King and Queen, as I know from being then at Court, on
account of the march of the Duke of Alva and his army, fearing
that, under pretext of marching on Flanders, he might descend upon
the frontiers of France, and besides urging that it was always
the custom to strengthen the frontiers whenever a neighbouring
state was arming.

No one can be uniformed of how urgently they pressed this upon
the King and Queen, both by letters and by embassies. Even M. le
Prince himself and M. l'Admiral (Coligny) came to see the King
on this subject, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where I saw them.

I should also like to ask (for all that I write here I saw myself),
who it was who took up arms on Shrove Tuesday, and who bribed and
begged Monsieur, the King's brother, and the King of Navarre to
listen to the schemes for which Mole and Coconas were executed
in Paris?

It was not the Queen, for it was by her wisdom that she prevented
them from uprising, holding Monsieur and the King of Navarre
so imprisoned in the forest of Vincennes that they could not
break out, and on the death of King Charles she held them as
tightly in Paris and the Louvre, even barring their windows one
morning--at least those of the King of Navarre, who was lodged
on the lower floor (this I know from the King of Navarre, who
told it me with tears in his eyes), and kept such strict watch
over them that they could not escape as they intended.

Their escape would have greatly embroiled the state and prevented
the return of Poland to the King, a thing for which they were

I know this from having been invited to the fracas, which was
one of the finest strokes of policy ever made by the Queen.

Starting from Paris, she carried them to the King at Lyons so
watchfully and skilfully that no one who saw them would think
that they were prisoners.

They journeyed in the same coach with her, and she herself presented
them to the King, who pardoned them soon after their arrival.

Again, who was it that enticed Monsieur, the King's brother,
to leave Paris one fine night, casting off the affection of his
brother who loved him so much, and to take up arms and embroil
all France?

M. de La Noue knows all this, and the plots which began at the
siege of La Rochelle, and what I told him about them.

It was not the Queen Mother, for on this open and abrupt departure
by her son, she felt such grief to see one brother banded against
another brother, his King, that she swore she would die of grief
if she could not reunite them as they were before, which she
accomplished. I have heard her say at Blois, in conversation
with Monsieur, that she prayed for nothing so much as that God
would grant the favour of this re-union, after which He might
send her death and she would accept it with the best of heart. Or
else she would retire to her houses of Monceaux and Chenonceaux
and never again meddle with the affairs of France, willing to
end her days in tranquillity.

In fact she really wished to do this, but the King begged her
to refrain, for both he and his kingdom had great need of her.

I am assured that had she not gained peace by this re-union,
all would have been up with France, for there were then fifty
thousand foreigners scattered over France who would have gladly
helped to humble and destroy her.

It was not, therefore, the Queen who brought about this taking
up of arms, nor was it the State Assembly at Blois, who wanted
but one religion and proposed to abolish all contrary to their
own, and who demanded that, if the spiritual sword did not suffice
to abolish it, recourse should be had to the temporal.

Some have stated that the Queen bribed them; this was wrong,
for in each province there were authorities who would not have
yielded to her wishes. I do not say that she did not win them
over later; that was a fine stroke of policy, showing her
resourcefulness. But it was not she who summoned the Assembly. On
the contrary, she laid all the blame on it, because it lessened
both the King's authority and her own. It was the Church party
which had long demanded the Assembly, and voluntarily called it
together, and required by the articles of the last peace that it
should be convened and held; to which the Queen strongly objected,
foreseeing this abuse of power. Nevertheless, to quiet their
incessant clamour, they were allowed to convoke it, to their
own confusion and injury, not to their profit and contentment
as they had thought; and for this reason they resorted to arms.
Again it was not the Queen who did so.

Neither was it she who caused certain of them to be seized when
they captured Mont-de-Marsan, La Fere in Picardy, and Cahors. I
recall what the King said to M. de Moissans, who came to him on
behalf of the King of Navarre. He repulsed him roughly, telling
him that while these men were cajoling him with fine speeches,
they were taking up arms and seizing cities.

This, then, is the way in which the Queen was the fomenter of
all our wars and civil fires, the which she not only did not
light but employed all her energies and efforts to extinguish,
abhorring to see the death of so many nobles and landed gentlemen.
And without that and her commiseration, those who bore against
her a mortal enmity would have found themselves in dire straits,
themselves laid beneath the sod, and their party not flourishing
as it now is. All this must be imputed to her goodness of heart,
of which we now stand in sore need--so everybody agrees and the
poor people cry: "We no longer have the Queen Mother to make
peace for us!" It was not through lack of her efforts that she
did not succeed when she went to Guienne recently to treat for
peace, at Coignac and Jarnac, with the King of Navarre and the
Prince de Condé. I know that which I have witnessed--the tears
in her eyes and the regret in her heart to which these princes
would not yield; and the result we possibly see in the evils
which afflict us to-day.

They have wished to accuse her of having been implicated in the
War of the League. Why, then, should she have undertaken to conclude
the peace I have just mentioned, if she had been? Why should she
have appeased the riots of the barricades of Paris; and why
reconciled the King with the Duc de Guise, as we have seen, if
it were only to destroy the latter?

In short, no matter how much they slander her, never shall we
have in France another so active in peace.

But the chief accusation against her is the massacre of Paris
[of Saint Bartholomew]. All that is a sealed book to me, for
I was just then setting out by boat from Brouage; but I have
heard it said on good authority that she was not the prime mover
in it. Three or four others, whom I might name, were much more
active in it than she, pushing her forward and making her believe,
from threats made upon the wounding of Admiral Coligny, that the
King was to be killed, with herself and all her children, or
else that the country was to be still worse involved in arms.
Certainly the Church party were very wrong to utter such threats
as they are said to have made, for they hastened the downward
steps of the poor Admiral and procured his death. If they had kept
their own counsel and uttered no word, and allowed the Admiral's
wounds to heal, he could have left Paris in safety and quiet,
and nothing else would have happened. M. de La Noue has been
strongly of this opinion. Indeed, he and M. de Strozze and I
have talked it over more than once, and he has never approved
the bravados, the bold threats and the like which were openly
made in the King's Court and his city of Paris. And he blamed
no less strongly his brother-in-law, M. de Theligny, who was
one of the hottest heads of them all, calling him a downright
fool and blockhead. The Admiral never was guilty of this loud
talk, at least not in public. I do not say that in secret or
with his closest friends he did not say things. And this was
the true cause of his death and of the massacre of his friends,
and not the Queen, as was charged, although there are many who
never have been able to get the idea out of their heads that this
was a train long laid and a fuse well concealed. It is false.
The least passionate agree with me, and the more violent and
obstinate think otherwise; and thus very often we credit to kings
and great princes the ordering of the natural course of events,
and say afterwards how prudent and provident they were and how
well they could dissimulate; when all the while they knew nothing
more about it than a plum.

To return again to the Queen, her enemies have given it out that
she was not a good Frenchwoman. God knows with what zeal she urged
that the English be driven from Havre de Grâce, and what she said
about it to M. le Prince, and how she made him go, with many
cavaliers of his party, with the crown-companies of M. Andelot,
and other Huguenots, and how she herself led this army, usually
on horseback, like a second beautiful Queen Marfisa, exposing
herself to the arquebusades and the cannonades like one of her
captains, always watching the batteries, and saying that she
would never be at ease until she had taken this city, and driven
the English out of France, and hating worse than poison those who
had sold it to them. And she accomplished so much that finally
she restored it to France.

When Rouen was besieged I saw her in the greatest of fury, when
she saw enter English reinforcements, by means of a French galley
captured the year before, fearing that this place, failing to
be captured by us, might fall into the control of the English.
For this reason she "pushed hard at the wheel," as the saying
is, to capture it, and never failed to come each day to the fort
Sainte-Catherine to hold council and to watch the bombardment.

I have often seen her passing along the covered way to
Sainte-Catherine, while the arquebusades and cannonades rained
shot around her, and her paying no attention to them. Those who
were there saw it as well as I. There are living to-day ladies
who accompanied her, to whom the firing was not pleasant (I know
this for I saw them there), and when M. le Connétable and M. le
Guise remonstrated with her, telling her some accident might
happen to her, she merely laughed and said that she saw no reason
why she should spare herself more than they, since her courage
was as good as theirs, although her sex had denied her the same
strength. As for hardship, she endured that very well, either
on foot or horseback. I think that for a long time there never
was a better queen or princess on horseback, nor one who sat
her mount with better grace; not seeming for all that like a
masculine woman, formed like some fantastic Amazon, but a noble
princess, beautiful, gracious and sweet.

It was said of her that she was strongly Spanish. Certainly while
her good daughter was alive [Elizabeth, wife of Philip II of
Spain] she loved the Spanish. But after her daughter died we
knew--at least some of us--whether she had cause to love either
the land or the people. It is true that she was always so prudent
that she desired to receive the Spanish King always as a good
son-in-law, to the end that he should treat her daughter the
better, as is the way with good mothers; and also that he might
never come to trouble us in France, nor make war here according
to his warlike tastes and natural ambition.

Others have charged that she never liked the nobles of France
and was always glad to shed their blood. I refute that by the
many times she made peace and spared bloodshed; and in addition
to this one should take notice of the fact that while she was
Regent and her children in their minority, there were not seen
at Court so many quarrels and duels as we have seen since, for
she would not countenance them, giving express orders against
such things and punishing those who disobeyed her. At other times,
I have often seen her at Court when the King had gone away for
some time leaving her absolutely alone, at a time when quarrels
were rife and duels common--which she never would permit--I have
seen her suddenly give orders to the captain of the guards to
make arrests, and to the marshals and officers to regulate all
such quarrels; so that, to speak the truth, she was more feared
than the King, for she well knew how to deal with the disobedient
and unruly and could reprimand them severely.

I remember once, when the King had gone to the baths at Bourbon,
that my late cousin La Chastaignerie had a quarrel with Pardailhan.
She sent to seek him, warning him on his life not to fight a
duel; but being unable to find him for two whole days she had
him shadowed so well that, on a Sunday morning, the Grand Provost
found him on the island of Louviers, where he was awaiting his
enemy, arrested him there, and took him as a prisoner to the
Bastille, by the Queen's orders. But he remained there only
overnight, and then she sent for him and gave him a reprimand
partly sharp, partly gentle, for she was naturally of good heart,
and harsh only when she wished to be. I know very well what she
said to me also, inasmuch as I was to be my cousin's second:
that as I was older I ought to know better.

The year that the King returned from Poland, a quarrel began
between De Grillon and D'Entaigues, both brave and valiant gentlemen,
who being called out and ready to fight, the King gave orders
for their arrest of M. de Rambouillet, one of his Captains of
the Guards on duty; and also ordered M. de Nevers and Marshal
de Retz to reconcile the two men, which they failed to do. The
Queen thereupon summoned them both, that evening, to her room;
and as their quarrel was in regard to two great ladies of her
household, she commanded them sternly and then besought them
gently to leave to her the settlement of their differences; for
since she had done them the honour to meddle in it, and the princes,
marshals, and captains had failed to bring them together, she
wished to have the credit and honour for so doing. By this means
she made them friends, and they embraced unreservedly, taking all
from her; so that by her prudence the subject of the quarrel,
which touched upon the honour of the two ladies and was rather
delicate, was never known publicly. This shows the great goodness
of the Princess! And then to charge that she never liked the
nobility! Ha! If the truth were known she liked and esteemed it
too much. I believe that there was not a house in her kingdom
with whom she was not personally acquainted. It is said that she
learned all about them from the great King Francis, who knew
all the genealogies of the great families of his kingdom; while
as for her husband, the King, he had this faculty that after he
had once seen a gentleman he recognised him ever after, knowing
not only his face but also his deeds and his reputation. I have
seen this Queen, frequently and as a usual thing, when her son the
King was a minor, take the trouble to present to him personally the
gentlemen of his realm, reminding him that "This one has rendered
good service to the King, your grandfather," and such and such
things "to the King, your father," and so on; and commanding
him to be mindful of them, to cherish them, look after their
interests, and remember them by name. And that he heeded her
advice was seen later, for, through this instruction, the King
was thoroughly informed of the gentlemen of rank and honourable
race who resided in his kingdom.

These detractors have also said that she never loved her people.
This does not appear. Did she ever levy as many taxes, subsidies,
imposts and other duties, while she directed the Government during
the minority of her children, as has been levied since in a single
year? Have they ever discoverd any hoards of money here or in
the banks of Italy, as has been believed? On the contrary, after
her death they never found a solitary coin; and I have heard
some of her creditors and ladies say that after her death she
was found to be in debt to the sum of eight thousand crowns, the
wages of her ladies, gentlemen, and officers of her household
for an entire year, and the income of a year spent in advance;
so that, some months before her death, her bankers remonstrated
with her over this deficit. But she laughed and said that one
must praise God for everything and enjoy it while one was alive.

This, then, was her avarice, and the great wealth which she is
said to have amassed. She never saved anything, for she had a
heart wholly noble, liberal and magnificent, in every way the equal
of that of her great-uncle, the Pope Leo, and of the celebrated
Lorenzo de Medici. She spent and gave everything away; erecting
buildings or applying it to memorable spectacles; and taking
delight in giving entertainments to her people or Court, such as
festivals, balls, dances, combats, and tourneys, three specially
superb events being given during her lifetime. The first was
at Fontainebleau, a carnival after the first troubles, where
there were tourneys, and breaking of lances, and combats at the
barrier; in brief, all sorts of joustings, followed by a comedy
on the subject of the beautiful Genevra of Ariosto which was
played by Madame d'Angoulême and her most beautiful and virtuous
princesses and ladies and demoiselles of her Court, who certainly
played it very well, so that nothing more beautiful was ever
seen. The next was at Bayonne, at the interview between the Queen
and her daughter, the Queen of Spain, where the magnificence was
such in all things that the Spaniards, who are very disdainful
of other countries besides their own, swore that they had never
seen anything more splendid, and that their King could hardly
rival it; and so they returned home greatly edified.

I know that many in France blamed this expense as quite unnecessary.
But the Queen said she had done it to show other nations that
France was not so totally ruined and poverty-stricken by reason
of her recent wars as was supposed; and that, since she was able
to spend so much for frivolity, she would be able to do far more
for affairs of consequence and importance; and that France was
all the more to be esteemed and feared, whether through the sight
of so much wealth and richness, or the spectacle of so great an
array of gentlemen, so brave and adroit at arms--for certainly
there was a goodly number and worthy to be admired. And so it
was for good and sufficient reason that our most Christian Queen
made this splendid festival; for be assured that if she had not
done so, the visitors would have derided us and returned home
with a poor opinion of France.

A third exceedingly fine entertainment was given by her on the
arrival of the Polish envoys in Paris, whom she dined superbly at
the Tuileries; and afterwards in a grand ball-room made especially
for the spectacle and entirely enclosed by a countless number
of torches, she presented the most beautiful ballet ever seen
on earth (if I may say so), which comprised sixteen ladies and
demoiselles who were best suited to it. They appeared in a great
grotto of silver, being seated in niches and clad as though in
vapour about its sides. These sixteen ladies represented the sixteen
provinces of France, with the most melodious music possible; and
after having made, in this grotto, the round of the hall like
a review of troops, giving an opportunity for all to see them,
they descended from the grotto and formed themselves into a little
company fantastically arranged, while an orchestra of thirty violins
discoursed sweet music, and marched to the melody of these violins
by a beautiful dance step, approaching and halting before their
majesties. After this they danced their ballet, so fantastically
invented, with so many turns and convolutions, twinings and
twistings, in which no lady failed to find her own place again,
that all the spectators were amazed at the accuracy and grace of
the evolutions. This unique ballet lasted for at least an hour,
after which the ladies representing, as I have said, the sixteen
provinces advanced to the King, the Queen, the King of Poland,
Monsieur his brother, the King and Queen of Navarre, and other
notables of France and Poland, tendering to each a golden salver
as large as the palm of the hand, finely enamelled and engraved,
showing the fruits and products peculiar to each province, as
for example: In Provence, citrons and oranges; in Champagne,
cereals; in Burgundy, wines; in Guienne, soldiers--certainly a
great honour to Guienne!--and so on through the various other

At Bayonne similar gifts were bestowed, and a combat was fought
which I would willingly describe, but it would take too much
space. But at Bayonne the men presented gifts to the ladies,
while here it was the ladies giving to the men. And note that
all these inventions were derived from no other bounty and brain
than that of the Queen. She was mistress and deviser of everything.
She had such a knack that, no matter what spectacles were offered
at Court, hers surpassed all the others. So they had a saying
that only the Queen Mother knew how to do fine things. And if
such shows were expensive, they also gave great pleasure, and
people used to say that she wished to imitate the Roman emperors,
who studied how to exhibit games to the people and give them
pleasure, and so amuse them that they had no time to get into

In addition to the fact that she delighted to give pleasure to
her people, she gave them much money to earn; for she greatly
preferred all kinds of skilled workmen and paid them well. Each
was kept busy at his own work, so that they never lacked employment,
especially masons and architects, as will be seen in her beautiful
mansions--the Tuileries (still unfinished), Saint Maur, Monceaux,
and Chenonceaux. Also she favoured men of genius and gladly read,
or had read to her, the works which they presented to her or
which she knew they had written, even the high-flown invectives
which they launched against her, at which she scoffed and laughed,
but took no other notice of, calling the writers prattlers and

She wished to know everything. On the journey to Lorraine, during
the second uprising, the Huguenots took with them a very fine
culverin which they nicknamed the "queen mother." They were obliged
to bury it at Villenozze as they were unable to drag it further
because of its excessive weight and poor harness; and they were
never able to find it again. The Queen Mother was curious to
know why they had named the gun for her, when she heard about
it. Finally some one, after being strongly pressed by her for
the reason, replied: "Because, Madame, she has a greater calibre
and is larger than any of the others." The Queen was the first
to laugh at this reply.

The Queen spared no pains to read anything which struck her fancy.
On one occasion I saw her embarking at Blaye on her way to dine
at Bourg, and occupying the whole journey by reading from a
parchment, like some reporter or lawyer, a deposition made by
Derdois, favourite secretary of the late M. le Connétable, concerning
certain actions and information of which he had been accused
and for which imprisoned at Bayonne. She never lifted her eyes
until she had finished reading the whole thing, and there were
more than ten pages of it. When she was not prevented she herself
read all letters of importance addressed to her, and often wrote
the reply with her own hand, whether to the most exalted or
insignificant person. I saw her once, after dinner, indite twenty
such letters of considerable length.

She wrote and spoke French very well, although an Italian. She
even addressed those of her own nation often in French, so much
did she honour it, making special effort to exhibit its fine
diction to strangers and ambassadors who came to pay her their
respects after seeing the King. She would reply to them very
pertinently, with grace and dignity, just as I have heard her
speak to the courts of parliament both publicly and privately;
often keeping them well in hand when they were extravagant or
over-cautious, and did not wish to yield to the royal edicts
or to the wishes of the King or herself. You may be sure that
she spoke as a Queen and made herself feared as such. I saw her
once at Bordeaux when she took her daughter, the Queen of Navarre,
to her husband. She had commanded the Court to come with her
and spoke urgently on the subject to these gentlemen, who did
not wish to abolish a certain fraternity which they had founded
and adhered to, and which she wished to dissolve, foreseeing
that it might lead to some end prejudicial to the state. They
came to visit her in the Bishop's garden, where she was walking
one Sunday morning. One of them, the spokesman, showed to her
the usefulness of this fraternity and its good offices for the
people. She, without preparation, responded so well, with such
apt words and cogent reasons to show why it was badly founded
and odious, that there was none present who could help but admire
the spirit of the Queen or remain astonished and confused at her
logic. She concluded with these words: "No, I wish it, and the
King my son wishes that this order shall be abolished and that
the subject may never again be discussed, for secret reasons
which I shall not give you, in addition to those which I have
given; otherwise I shall make you sensible of what it means to
disobey the King and me." After that they all went their way,
and nothing more was heard of the matter.

She assumed this manner very often and kept in line the princes
and haughty lords when they had committed some large indiscretion
and made her angry. Then she put on her grandest air, and no
other living person could be so proud and disdainful as she,
when it was necessary, sparing the truth to no one. I have seen
the late M. de Savoie, who was a friend of the Emperor, the King
of Spain, and many notables, fear and respect her more than if
she had been his mother; and M. de Lorraine the same--in short,
all the great people of Christendom. I could cite many instances,
which at another time and in their own place I may do, but at
present what I have said will suffice.

Among all her other fine qualities, she was a good Christian and
very devout, always observing her fast days and never failing to
attend daily service, either mass or vespers, which she made very
agreeable to worshippers by the good singers in her chapel, being
careful to select the finest artists. She had a natural taste
for music and often entertained the Court in her own apartment,
which was never closed to right-minded ladies and gentlemen.
She saw each and every one, not denying admittance as was the
custom in Spain and also in her own country, Italy; nor yet as
our other Queens, Elizabeth of Austria and Louise of Lorraine,
have done; but saying, like King Francis, her father-in-law, whom
she greatly honoured as he had raised her to her high position,
that she wished to maintain the true French spirit as the King
her husband had also desired. So her rooms were always accessible
to the Court.

Generally, she had very beautiful and virtuous maids of honour,
who could be seen every day in her antechamber chatting with
us and entertaining us so sensibly and modestly that none of
us would have dared do otherwise; for the gentlemen who fell
short of this were denied admittance, or warned of even worse
punishment, until she pardoned them and extended her favour again,
which out of her good heart she was ready to do.

In a word, her company and her Court were a real Paradise in
this world, and a school of honesty and virtue, the ornament
of France, as was well known and spoken of by its visitors; for
they were all well received, and in their honour her ladies were
commanded to adorn themselves like goddesses and devote themselves
to these guests instead of elsewhere; otherwise she would scold
and reprimand them severely.

Indeed, such was her Court, that when she died all said that
we would never have such another, and that never again would
France have a real Queen Mother. What a Court it was! Its equal,
I believe, was never held by an Emperor of Rome, in respect to
its ladies, nor by any of our Kings of France. It is true that
the great Emperor Charlemagne took great delight in maintaining
a splendid and overflowing Court, with many peers, dukes, counts,
paladins, barons, and chevaliers of France, with their wives and
daughters, and many from other countries to keep their company
at Court--as we read in many of the old romances of the time--and
that there were many jousts, tourneys and magnificent pageants.
But what of that? These gorgeous assemblages did not come together
more than three or four times a year, and at their close they
departed and retired to their own estates, to remain until the
next time. Moreover, others say that Charlemagne in his old age
was much given to women, although they were always of good family,
and that Louis the Debonair on ascending the throne was obliged
to banish some of his sisters from Court, by reason of scandalous
love affairs which they had with men; and also that he dismissed a
large number of ladies who were of the joyous band. These courts,
moreover, of Charlemagne were never long maintained in comparison
to his long reign, for he was chiefly devoted to his wars, as we
read in the old romances; and in his old age the Court was too
dissolute, as I have said. But the Court of our King, Henry II,
and the Queen his wife, was an established thing both in war and
peace, and whether held in one place or another for months at a
time, either in the pleasure houses or castles of our kings who
were never lacking in them, having more than any other sovereigns.
This elegant and distinguished company always kept together, at
least for the greater part of the time, going and coming with
the Queen; so that as a usual thing her Court contained at least
three hundred ladies and maids of honour.

The chiefs of households and royal stewards affirmed that they
always occupied at least one-half of all the apartments, as I
myself have seen during the thirty-three years that I lived at
Court, except during time of war, or while in foreign countries.
But upon my return I was habitually there, for life there was
most agreeable to me, and I never saw anything so attractive
elsewhere. And I think that the world, since then, has never
seen its equal; and as the list of those fair dames who assisted
our Queen to ornament the Court should not be slighted, I shall
mention some of them here as they occur to me, whom I saw after
the Queen's marriage and during her widowhood. Before that time
I was too young.

First of all, there were Mesdames, the daughters of France [the
Royal Princesses]. I head the list with them because they never
lost their high rank, and belong before all the others, so grand
and noble was their house, viz.: Madame Elizabeth of France,
afterwards Queen of Spain.

Madame Claude, since Duchess of Lorraine.

Madame Marguerite, afterwards Queen of Navarre.

Madame, the King's sister, afterwards Duchess of Savoie.

Mary Queen of Scots, afterwards Dauphiness and Queen of France.

The Queen of Navarre, Jeanne d'Albret.

Madame Catharine, her daughter, now Madame, the King's sister.

Madame Diane, natural daughter of King Henry II, afterwards
legitimatised and made Duchess d'Angoulême.

Madame D'Enghien, heiress of Estouteville.

Madame the Princess of Condé.

Madame de Nevers.

Madame de Guise.

Madame Diane de Poitiers [the King's favourite].

Mesdames, the Duchesses d'Aumale and de Bouillon, and their

Madame de Montpensier.[1]

[Footnote 1: The author here continues with a long catalogue
of names including some one hundred and fifty other ladies of
the Court, belonging to various noble houses of France.]

But why name any others? No, for my memory could not supply them
all. Indeed, there are so many other ladies and maidens that
I beg of them to excuse me if I pass them by with a stroke of
the pen. Not that I do not hold and esteem them highly, but I
should dream over them and devote myself to them too much. I will
say, to conclude this, that in all this company I can name none
who might be found fault with, for beauty abounded everywhere,
and all was majesty, gentleness and grace. Lucky was the man
who might be touched with the love of such fair ones, and very
lucky he who could escape it. I swear to you that I have named
none who were not very beautiful, agreeable and accomplished,
and so endowed as to fire the whole world with passion. Indeed,
some of them in their zenith did set fire to a good part of it,
including those of us gentlemen of the Court who approached too
close to the flames. Also to many were they sweet, amiable,
favourable, and courteous. I allude now to certain ones of whom
I wish to relate good stories in this book before I have ended
it, and of others who are not included. But all will be told
so quietly and without scandal that none can take offence, for
the curtain of silence will cover their names; so that if any
of them should happen to read stories of themselves they will
not be displeased. For although the pleasures of love cannot
last forever, on account of too many hindrances, accidents and
changes, the memories of past joys delight us none the less.

Now, in order to give proper consideration to them, it would
be necessary to see for oneself all this lovely array of dames
and demoiselles, creatures more divine than human; it would be
necessary to represent them in their entrances into Paris and
other cities, or at the holy and splendid nuptials of the royal
family--such as those of the Dauphin, King Charles, King Henry
III, the King of Spain, Madame de Lorraine, the Queen of Navarre,
as well as other grand weddings of princes and princesses, such
as that of M. de Joyeuse, which would have surpassed them all
if the Queen of Navarre had been present. Nor must we forget
the interview at Bayonne, the Polish embassy, and an infinite
number of similar spectacles which I should never be able to
finish counting, where could be seen an array of these ladies, each
seemingly more beautiful than the rest, and some more handsomely
apparelled than others, since at such festivities, in addition
to their own wealth, the King or the Queen gave them splendid
liveries of different kinds.

In a word, no one ever saw anything finer, more dazzling, attractive,
superb. The glory of Niquée [in the enchanted palace of "Amadis"]
never approached it; for one could see all this glowing in the
ballrooms at the Palace or the Louvre, like the stars of heaven
in the clear sky. The Queen desired and commanded that they should
always appear in lovely and expensive apparel, although she herself,
during her widowhood, never dressed in worldly silks, unless of
subdued tints, but always in good taste and well-fitting, so
that she looked the Queen above all others. It is true that on
the wedding days of her sons Charles and Henry she wore robes
of black velvet, wishing, she said, to solemnise these occasions
in this way beyond all others. But while her husband the King
was alive, she dressed very richly and superbly, and looked the
great lady that she was. It was a privilege to see and admire
her, in the general processions which were held both at Paris
and elsewhere, such as that of the Fête Dieu, and that of Palm
Sunday, carrying palms and torches with such grace, and that of
Candlemas Day, when all carried lighted candles whose flame vied
with their own splendour. In these three processions, which are
the most noteworthy, assuredly one could see nothing but beauty,
grace, noble bearing, stately I marching and fine array--at sight
of which all the bystanders were spellbound.

It was also a fine sight in the earlier days to see the Queen
going about in her litter, or on horseback, when she was attended
by forty or fifty ladies all well mounted on handsome steeds finely
caparisoned and sitting their mounts with such ease that the men
could not exceed them, either in horsemanship or accoutrement.
Their hats were richly decorated with plumes which floated back
in the air seeming to offer a challenge of love or war. Virgil,
who attempted to write of the beautiful apparel of Queen Dido
when she went hunting, does not rival in description the luxury
of our Queen and her ladies, whom I do not wish to displease, as
I have already said.

This Queen, established by the hand of the great King Francis,
who introduced this beautiful pageantry, did not wish to forget
or neglect anything that she ever learned, but always wished to
imitate it, to see if she could surpass it. I have heard her
talk on this subject three or four times. Those who have seen
all the things that I have will feel the same delight of the
soul that I do, for what I say is true and I have seen it myself.

This, then, was the Court of our Queen. How unfortunate was the
day she died! I have heard it related that our present King [Henry
IV], some eighteen months after he saw his prospects brightening
to become King, one day began to talk over with the late Marshal
de Biron the designs and projects which he would set on foot to
make his Court well established, elegant, and closely similar
to that which our Queen maintained; for it was then in the heyday
of its lustre and splendour. The Marshal replied: "It is not in
your power, nor in that of any King who is to succeed, unless
you make a compact with God that He resuscitate the Queen Mother
and bring her back to your aid." But that was not what the King
desired, for there was no one, at the time she died, whom he
hated so much, and without reason that I could see. But he ought
to know better than I.

How unlucky indeed was the day when such a Queen died, and at
the time when we had the greatest need of her, as we still have!

She died at Blois from melancholy over the massacre which occurred
there, and the sad tragedy which was enacted, seeing that
unthinkingly she had caused the princes to come there, thinking
to do the right thing; whereas, on the contrary, as the Cardinal
de Bourbon said to her: "Alas, Madame! you have led us all to
the slaughter, without intending it." That so touched her heart,
and also the death of these poor gentlemen, that she took to
her bed, having been previously ill, and never again rose from

They say that when the King told her of M. de Guise's death,
saying that now he was King indeed, without rival or master,
she asked him if he had put the affairs of his kingdom in order
before striking the blow. He replied that he had. "God grant
it, my son!" said she. Very prudent that she was, she foresaw
clearly what might happen to him and to all the kingdom.

Various reports have gone about concerning her death, some even
saying that it was from poison. Possibly so, possibly not; but
she is believed to have died of despair of soul, as she had reason
for. She was placed upon her bed of state, as I have heard said,
by one of her ladies, in pomp neither more nor less than Queen
Anne, of whom I have spoken elsewhere, and clad in the same royal
vesture, which has not served since her death for any others;
and was then carried into the church of the castle, in the same
pomp and solemnity as at the funeral of Queen Anne, where she
still lies and reposes. The King had wished to carry her body
to Chartres, and thence to Saint Denis, to place it by the side
of the King her husband, in the same imposing vault which he
had caused to be built, but the ensuing war prevented him.

This is what I can say at this time of our great Queen, who has
assuredly given us so worthy a subject to speak in praise of her,
that this brief essay is not long enough to sing her praises.
I know it well, and also that the quality of my mind does not
suffice, since better speakers than I would still be inadequate.
However, such as it is, I lay this discourse in all humility
and devotion at her feet. And also I wish to avoid too great
prolixity, for which indeed I feel myself liable. But I earnestly
hope that in my discourse I shall not defraud her of much, although
I am silent on many things, speaking only of essential matters
and those which her beautiful and unequalled virtues demand of
me; giving me ample material since I have seen all that I write
concerning her; while as for that which took place before my
day, I received it from very illustrious persons.

  This queen the mother of so many kings,
    And queens as well, within our realm of France,
  Died when we needed her in many things,
    For none save she could give us such assistance.

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