Precedence at the Communion Table.--The King Offended with Madame de
Torcy.--The King's Religion.--Atheists and Jansenists.--Project against
Scotland.--Preparations.--Failure.--The Chevalier de St. George.--His
Return to Court.
Death and Character of Brissac.--Brissac and the Court Ladies.--The
Duchesse de Bourgogne.--Scene at the Carp Basin.--King's Selfishness.--
The King Cuts Samuel Bernard's Purse.--A Vain Capitalist.--Story of Leon
and Florence the Actress.--His Loves with Mademoiselle de Roquelaure.--
Run--away Marriage.--Anger of Madame de Roquelaure.--A Furious Mother.--
Opinions of the Court.--A Mistake.--Interference of the King.--
Fate of the Couple .
The Duc d'Orleans in Spain.--Offends Madame des Ursins and Madame de
Maintenon.--Laziness of M. de Vendome in Flanders.--Battle of Oudenarde.
--Defeat and Disasters.--Difference of M. de Vendome and the Duc de
Conflicting Reports.--Attacks on the Duc de Bourgogne.--The Duchesse de
Bourgogne Acts against Vendome.--Weakness of the Duke.--Cunning of
Vendome.--The Siege of Lille.--Anxiety for a Battle.--Its Delay.--Conduct
of the King and Monseigneur.--A Picture of Royal Family Feeling.--Conduct
of the Marechal de Boufflers.
Equivocal Position of the Duc de Bourgogne.--His Weak Conduct.--
Concealment of a Battle from the King.--Return of the Duc de Bourgogne to
Court.--Incidents of His Reception.--Monseigneur.--Reception of the Duc
de Berry.--Behaviour of the Duc de Bourgogne.--Anecdotes of Gamaches.--
Return of Vendome to Court.--His Star Begins to Wane.--Contrast of
Boufflers and Vendome.--Chamillart's Project for Retaking Lille.--How It
Was Defeated by Madame de Maintenon.
Tremendous Cold in France.--Winters of 1708-1709--Financiers and the
Famine.--Interference of the Parliaments of Paris and Dijon.--Dreadful
Oppression.--Misery of the People.--New Taxes.--Forced Labour.--General
Ruin.--Increased Misfortunes.--Threatened Regicide.--Procession of Saint
Genevieve.--Offerings of Plate to the King.--Discontent of the People.--
A Bread Riot, How Appeased.
M. de Vendome out of Favour.--Death and Character of the Prince de
Conti.--Fall of Vendome.--Pursegur's Interview with the King.--Madame de
Bourgogne against Vendome.--Her Decided Conduct.--Vendome Excluded from
Marly.--He Clings to Meudon.--From Which He is also Expelled.--His Final
Disgrace and Abandonment.--Triumph of Madame de Maintenon.
Death of Pere La Chaise.--His Infirmities in Old Age.--Partiality of the
King.--Character of Pere La Chaise.--The Jesuits.--Choice of a New
Confessor.--Fagon's Opinion.--Destruction of Port Royal.--Jansenists and
Molinists.--Pascal.--Violent Oppression of the Inhabitants of Port Royal.
I went this summer to Forges, to try, by means of the waters there, to
get rid of a tertian fever that quinquina only suspended. While there I
heard of a new enterprise on the part of the Princes of the blood, who,
in the discredit in which the King held them, profited without measure by
his desire for the grandeur of the illegitimate children, to acquire new
advantages which were suffered because the others shared them. This was
the case in question.
After the elevation of the mass--at the King's communion--a folding-chair
was pushed to the foot of the altar, was covered with a piece of stuff,
and then with a large cloth, which hung down before and behind. At the
Pater the chaplain rose and whispered in the King's ear the names of all
the Dukes who were in the chapel. The King named two, always the oldest,
to each of whom the chaplain advanced and made a reverence. During the
communion of the priest the King rose, and went and knelt down on the
bare floor behind this folding seat, and took hold of the cloth; at the
same time the two Dukes, the elder on the right, the other on the left,
each took hold of a corner of the cloth; the two chaplains took hold of
the other two corners of the same cloth, on the side of the altar, all
four kneeling, and the captain of the guards also kneeling and behind the
King. The communion received and the oblation taken some moments
afterwards, the King remained a little while in the same place, then
returned to his own, followed by the two Dukes and the captain of the
guards, who took theirs. If a son of France happened to be there alone,
he alone held the right corner of the cloth, and nobody the other; and
when M. le Duc d'Orleans was there, and no son of France was present, M.
le Duc d'Orleans held the cloth in like manner. If a Prince of the blood
were alone present, however, he held the cloth, but a Duke was called
forward to assist him. He was not privileged to act without the Duke.
The Princes of the blood wanted to change this; they were envious of the
distinction accorded to M. d'Orleans, and wished to put themselves on the
same footing. Accordingly, at the Assumption of this year, they managed
so well that M. le Duc served alone at the altar at the King's communion,
no Duke being called upon to come and join him. The surprise at this was
very great. The Duc de la Force and the Marechal de Boufflers, who ought
to have served, were both present. I wrote to this last to say that such
a thing had never happened before, and that it was contrary to all
precedent. I wrote, too, to M. d'Orleans, who was then in Spain,
informing him of the circumstance. When he returned he complained to the
King. But the King merely said that the Dukes ought to have presented
themselves and taken hold of the cloth. But how could they have done so,
without being requested, as was customary, to come forward? What would
the king have thought of them if they had? To conclude, nothing could be
made of the matter, and it remained thus. Never then, since that time,
did I go to the communions of the King.
An incident occurred at Marly about the same time, which made much stir.
The ladies who were invited to Marly had the privilege of dining with the
King. Tables were placed for them, and they took up positions according
to their rank. The non-titled ladies had also their special place. It
so happened one day; that Madame de Torcy (an untitled lady) placed
herself above the Duchesse de Duras, who arrived at table a moment after
her. Madame de Torcy offered to give up her place, but it was a little
late, and the offer passed away in compliments. The King entered, and
put himself at table. As soon as he sat down, he saw the place Madame de
Torcy had taken, and fixed such a serious and surprised look upon her,
that she again offered to give up her place to the Duchesse de Duras; but
the offer was again declined. All through the dinner the King scarcely
ever took his eyes off Madame de Torcy, said hardly a word, and bore a
look of anger that rendered everybody very attentive, and even troubled
the Duchesse de Duras.
Upon rising from the table, the King passed, according to custom, into
the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, followed by the Princesses of the
blood, who grouped themselves around him upon stools; the others who
entered, kept at a distance. Almost before he had seated himself in his
chair, he said to Madame de Maintenon, that he had just been witness of
an act of "incredible insolence" (that was the term he used) which had
thrown him into such a rage that he had been unable to eat: that such an
enterprise would have been insupportable in a woman of the highest
quality; but coming, as it did, from a mere bourgeoise, it had so
affected him, that ten times he had been upon the point of making her
leave the table, and that he was only restrained by consideration for her
husband. After this outbreak he made a long discourse upon the genealogy
of Madame de Torcy's family, and other matters; and then, to the
astonishment of all present, grew as angry as ever against Madame de
Torcy. He went off then into a discourse upon the dignity of the Dukes,
and in conclusion, he charged the Princesses to tell Madame de Torcy to
what extent he had found her conduct impertinent. The Princesses looked
at each other, and not one seemed to like this commission; whereupon the
King, growing more angry, said; that it must be undertaken however, and
left the robes; The news of what had taken place, and of the King's
choler, soon spread all over the Court. It was believed, however, that
all was over, and that no more would be heard of the matter. Yet the
very same evening the King broke out again with even more bitterness than
before. On the morrow, too, surprise was great indeed, when it was found
that the King, immediately after dinner, could talk of nothing but this
subject, and that, too, without any softening of tone. At last he was
assured that Madame de Torcy had been spoken to, and this appeased him a
little. Torcy was obliged to write him a letter, apologising for the
fault of Madame de Torcy; and the King at this grew content. It may be
imagined what a sensation this adventure produced all through the Court.
While upon the subject of the King, let me relate an anecdote of him,
which should have found a place ere this. When M. d'Orleans was about to
start for Spain, he named the officers who were to be of his suite.
Amongst others was Fontpertius. At that name the King put on a serious
"What! my nephew," he said. "Fontpertius! the son of a Jansenist--of
that silly woman who ran everywhere after M. Arnould! I do not wish that
man to go with you."
"By my faith, Sire," replied the Duc d'Orleans, "I know not what the
mother has done; but as for the son, he is far enough from being a
Jansenist, I'll answer for it; for he does not believe in God."
"Is it possible, my nephew?" said the King, softening.
"Nothing more certain, Sire, I assure you."
"Well, since it is so," said the King, "there is no harm: you can take
him with you."
This scene--for it can be called by no other name--took place in the
morning. After dinner M. d'Orleans repeated it to me, bursting with
laughter, word for word, just as I have written it. When we had both
well laughed at this, we admired the profound instruction of a discreet
and religious King, who considered it better not to believe in God than
to be a Jansenist, and who thought there was less danger to his nephew
from the impiety of an unbeliever than from the doctrines of a sectarian.
M. d'Orleans could not contain himself while he told the story, and never
spoke of it without laughing until the tears came into his eyes. It ran
all through the Court and all over the town, and the marvellous thing
was, that the King was not angry at this. It was a testimony of his
attachment to the good doctrine which withdrew him further and further
from Jansenism. The majority of people laughed with all their heart.
Others, more wise, felt rather disposed to weep than to laugh, in
considering to what excess of blindness the King had reached.
For a long time a most important project had knocked at every door,
without being able to obtain a hearing anywhere. The project was this:--
Hough, an English gentleman full of talent and knowledge, and who, above
all, knew profoundly the laws of his country, had filled various posts in
England. As first a minister by profession, and furious against King
James; afterwards a Catholic and King James's spy, he had been delivered
up to King William, who pardoned him. He profited by this only to
continue his services to James. He was taken several times, and always
escaped from the Tower of London and other prisons. Being no longer able
to dwell in England he came to France, where he occupied himself always
with the same line of business, and was paid for that by the King (Louis
XIV.) and by King James, the latter of whom he unceasingly sought to re-
establish. The union of Scotland with England appeared to him a
favourable conjuncture, by the despair of that ancient kingdom at seeing
itself reduced into a province under the yoke of the English. The
Jacobite party remained there; the vexation caused by this forced union
had increased it, by the desire felt to break that union with the aid of
a King that they would have reestablished. Hough, who was aware of the
fermentation going on, made several secret journeys to Scotland, and
planned an invasion of that country; but, as I have said, for a long time
could get no one to listen to him.
The King, indeed, was so tired of such enterprises, that nobody dared to
speak to him upon this. All drew back. No one liked to bell the cat.
At last, however, Madame de Maintenon being gained over, the King was
induced to listen to the project. As soon as his consent was gained to
it, another scheme was added to the first. This was to profit by the
disorder in which the Spanish Low Countries were thrown, and to make them
revolt against the Imperialists at the very moment when the affair of
Scotland would bewilder the allies, and deprive them of all support from
England. Bergheyck, a man well acquainted with the state of those
countries, was consulted, and thought the scheme good. He and the Duc de
Vendome conferred upon it in presence of the King.
After talking over various matters, the discussion fell, upon the Meuse,
and its position with reference to Maastricht. Vendome held that the
Meuse flowed in a certain direction. Bergheyck opposed him. Vendome,
indignant that a civilian should dare to dispute military movements with
him, grew warm. The other remained respectful and cool, but firm.
Vendome laughed at Bergheyck, as at an ignorant fellow who did not know
the position of places. Bergheyck maintained his point. Vendome grew
more and more hot. If he was right, what he proposed was easy enough; if
wrong, it was impossible. It was in vain that Vendome pretended to treat
with disdain his opponent; Bergheyck was not to be put down, and the
King, tired out at last with a discussion upon a simple question of fact,
examined the maps. He found at once that Bergheyck was right. Any other
than the King would have felt by this what manner of man was this general
of his taste, of his heart, and of his confidence; any other than Vendome
would have been confounded; but it was Bergheyck in reality who was so,
to see the army in such hands and the blindness of the King for him! He
was immediately sent into Flanders to work up a revolt, and he did it so
well, that success seemed certain, dependent, of course, upon success in
The preparations for the invasion of that country were at once commenced.
Thirty vessels were armed at Dunkerque and in the neighbouring ports.
The Chevalier de Forbin was chosen to command the squadron. Four
thousand men were brought from Flanders to Dunkerque; and it was given
out that this movement was a mere change of garrison. The secret of the
expedition was well kept; but the misfortune was that things were done
too slowly. The fleet, which depended upon Pontchartrain, was not ready
in time, and that which depended upon Chamillart, was still more
behindhand. The two ministers threw the fault upon each other; but the
truth is, both were to blame. Pontchartrain was more than accused of
delaying matters from unwillingness; the other from powerlessness.
Great care was taken that no movement should be seen at Saint Germain.
The affair, however, began in time to get noised abroad. A prodigious
quantity of arms and clothing for the Scotch had been embarked; the
movements by sea and land became only too visible upon the coast. At
last, on Wednesday, the 6th of March, the King of England set out from
Saint Germain. He was attended by the Duke of Perth, who had been his
sub-preceptor; by the two Hamiltons, by Middleton, and a very few others.
But his departure had been postponed too long. At the moment when all
were ready to start, people learned with surprise that the English fleet
had appeared in sight, and was blockading Dunkerque. Our troops, who
were already on board ship, were at once landed. The King of England
cried out so loudly against this, and proposed so eagerly that an attempt
should be made to pass the enemy at all risks, that a fleet was sent out
to reconnoitre the enemy, and the troops were re-embarked. But then a
fresh mischance happened. The Princess of England had had the measles,
and was barely growing convalescent at the time of the departure of the
King, her brother. She had been prevented from seeing him, lest he
should be attacked by the same complaint. In spite of this precaution,
however, it declared itself upon him at Dunkerque, just as the troops
were re-embarked. He was in despair, and wished to be wrapped up in
blankets and carried on board. The doctors said that it would kill him;
and he was obliged to remain. The worst of it was, that two of five
Scotch deputies who had been hidden at Montrouge near Paris, had been
sent into Scotland a fortnight before, to announce the immediate arrival
of the King with arms and troops. The movement which it was felt this
announcement would create, increased the impatience for departure. At
last, on Saturday, the 19th of March, the King of England, half cured and
very weak, determined to embark in spite of his physicians, and did so.
The enemy's vessels hats retired; so, at six o'clock in the morning, our
ships set sail with a good breeze, and in the midst of a mist, which hid
them from view in about an hour.
Forty-eight hours after the departure of our squadron, twenty-seven
English ships of war appeared before Dunkerque. But our fleet was away.
The very first night it experienced a furious tempest. The ship in which
was the King of England took shelter afterwards behind the works of
Ostend. During the storm, another ship was separated from the squadron,
and was obliged to take refuge on the coast of Picardy. This vessel, a
frigate, was commanded by Rambure, a lieutenant. As, soon as he was able
he sailed after the squadron that he believed already in Scotland. He
directed his course towards Edinburgh, and found no vessel during all the
voyage. As he approached the mouth of the river, he saw around him a
number of barques and small vessels that he could not avoid, and that he
determined in consequence to approach with as good a grace as possible.
The masters of these ships' told him that the King was expected with
impatience, but that they had no news of him, that they had come out to
meet him, and that they would send pilots to Rambure, to conduct him up
the river to Edinburgh, where all was hope and joy. Rambure, equally
surprised that the squadron which bore the King of England had not
appeared, and by the publicity of his forthcoming arrival, went up
towards Edinburgh more and more surrounded by barques, which addressed to
him the same language. A gentleman of the country passed from one of
these barques upon the frigate. He told Rambure that the principal
noblemen of Scotland had resolved to act together, that these noblemen
could count upon more than twenty thousand men ready to take up arms, and
1. /Ivrel/Core Rules/Addendums/Monster Addendum 1 [Draconians].doc
|Chapter IV the article||Contents. Chapter I|
|Chapter 5 "Who are these aliens?"||Chapter cxiii|
|Chapter xcvii||Chapter LXXXVIII|
|Chapter LXXVIII||Chapter 9 a few Questions|