Chapter XLVII icon

Chapter XLVII

НазваниеChapter XLVII
Дата конвертации10.08.2012
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Death of D'Avaux.--A Quarrel about a Window.--Louvois and the King.--

Anecdote of Boisseuil.--Madame de Maintenon and M. de Beauvilliers.--

Harcourt Proposed for the Council.--His Disappointment.--Death of M. le

Prince.--His Character.--Treatment of His Wife.--His Love Adventures.--

His Madness.--A Confessor Brought.--Nobody Regrets Him.


Progress of the War.--Simplicity of Chamillart.--The Imperialists and the

Pope.--Spanish Affairs.--Duc d'Orleans and Madame des Ursins.--Arrest of

Flotte in Spain.--Discovery of the Intrigues of the Duc d'Orleans.--Cabal

against Him.--His Disgrace and Its Consequences.


Danger of Chamillart.--Witticism of D'Harcourt.--Faults of Chamillart.--

Court Intrigues against Him.--Behaviour of the Courtiers.--Influence of

Madame de Maintenon.--Dignified Fall of Chamillart.--He is Succeeded by

Voysin.--First Experience of the New Minister.--The Campaign in

Flanders.--Battle of Malplaquet.


Disgrace of the Duc d'Orleans.--I Endeavor to Separate Him from Madame

d'Argenton.--Extraordinary Reports.--My Various Colloquies with Him.--The

Separation.--Conduct of Madame d'Argenton.--Death and Character of M. le

Duc.--The After-suppers of the King.


Proposed Marriage of Mademoiselle.--My Intrigues to Bring It About.--The

Duchesse de Bourgogne and Other Allies.--The Attack Begun.--Progress of

the Intrigue.--Economy at Marly.--The Marriage Agreed Upon.--Scene at

Saint-Cloud.--Horrible Reports.--The Marriage.--Madame de Saint-Simon.--

Strange Character of the Duchesse de Berry


Birth of Louis XV.--The Marechale de la Meilleraye.--Saint-Ruth's

Cudgel.--The Cardinal de Bouillon's Desertion from France.--Anecdotes of

His Audacity.


Imprudence of Villars.--The Danger of Truthfulness.--Military Mistakes.--

The Fortunes of Berwick.--The Son of James.--Berwick's Report on the

Army.--Imprudent Saying of Villars.--"The Good Little Fellow" in a

Scrape.--What Happens to Him.


Duchesse de Berry Drunk.--Operations in Spain.
--Vendome Demanded by

Spain.--His Affront by the Duchesse de Bourgogne.--His Arrival.--

Staremberg and Stanhope.--The Flag of Spain Leaves Madrid.--Entry of the

Archduke.--Enthusiasm of the Spaniards--The King Returns.--Strategy, of

Staremberg.--Affair of Brighuega.--Battle of Villavciosa.--Its

Consequences to Vendome and to Spain.


The death of D'Avaux, who had formerly been our ambassador in Holland,

occurred in the early part of this year (1709). D'Avaux was one of the

first to hear of the project of William of Orange upon England, when that

project was still only in embryo, and kept profoundly secret. He

apprised the King (Louis XIV.) of it, but was laughed at. Barillon, then

our ambassador in England, was listened to in preference. He, deceived

by Sunderland and the other perfidious ministers of James II.; assured

our Court that D'Avaux's reports were mere chimeras. It was not until it

was impossible any longer to doubt that credit was given to them. The

steps that we then took, instead of disconcerting all the measures of the

conspirators, as we could have done, did not interfere with the working

out of any one of their plans. All liberty was left, in fact, to William

to carry out his scheme. The anecdote which explains how this happened

is so curious, that it deserves to be mentioned here.

Louvois, who was then Minister of War, was also superintendent of the

buildings. The King, who liked building, and who had cast off all his

mistresses, had pulled down the little porcelain Trianon he had made for

Madame de Montespan, and was rebuilding it in the form it still retains.

One day he perceived, for his glance was most searching, that one window

was a trifle narrower than the others. He showed it to Louvois, in order

that it might be altered, which, as it was not then finished, was easy to

do. Louvois sustained that the window was all right. The King insisted

then, and on the morrow also, but Louvois, pigheaded and inflated with

his authority, would not yield.

The next day the King saw Le Notre in the gallery. Although his trade

was gardens rather than houses, the King did not fail to consult him upon

the latter. He asked him if he had been to Trianon. Le Notre replied

that he had not. The King ordered him to go. On the morrow he saw Le

Notre again; same question, same answer. The King comprehended the

reason of this, and a little annoyed, commanded him to be there that

afternoon at a given time. Le Notre did not dare to disobey this time.

The King arrived, and Louvois being present, they returned to the subject

of the window, which Louvois obstinately said was as broad as the rest.

The King wished Le Notre to measure it, for he knew that, upright and

true, he would openly say what he found. Louvois, piqued, grew angry.

The King, who was not less so, allowed him to say his say. Le Notre,

meanwhile, did not stir. At last, the King made him go, Louvois still

grumbling, and maintaining his assertion with audacity and little

measure. Le Notre measured the window, and said that the King was right

by several inches. Louvois still wished to argue, but the King silenced

him, and commanded him to see that the window was altered at once,

contrary to custom abusing him most harshly.

What annoyed Louvois most was, that this scene passed not only before all

the officers of the buildings, but in presence of all who followed the

King in his promenades, nobles, courtiers, officers of the guard, and

others, even all the rolete. The dressing given to Louvois was smart and

long, mixed with reflections upon the fault of this window, which, not

noticed so soon, might have spoiled all the facade, and compelled it to

be re-built.

Louvois, who was not accustomed to be thus treated, returned home in

fury, and like a man in despair. His familiars were frightened, and in

their disquietude angled to learn what had happened. At last he told

them, said he was lost, and that for a few inches the King forgot all his

services, which had led to so many conquests; he declared that henceforth

he would leave the trowel to the King, bring about a war, and so arrange

matters that the King should have good need of him!

He soon kept his word. He caused a war to grow out of the affair of the

double election of Cologne, of the Prince of Bavaria, and of the Cardinal

of Furstenberg; he confirmed it in carrying the flames into the

Palatinate, and in leaving, as I have said, all liberty to the project

upon England; he put the finishing touch to his work by forcing the Duke

of Savoy into the arms of his enemies, and making him become, by the

position of his country, our enemy, the most difficult and the most

ruinous. All that I have here related was clearly brought to light in

due time.

Boisseuil died shortly after D'Avaux. He was a tall, big man, warm and

violent, a great gambler, bad tempered,--who often treated M. le Grand

and Madame d'Armagnac, great people as they were, so that the company

were ashamed,--and who swore in the saloon of Marly as if he had been in

a tap-room. He was feared; and he said to women whatever came uppermost

when the fury of a cut-throat seized him. During a journey the King and

Court made to Nancy, Boisseuil one evening sat down to play in the house

of one of the courtiers. A player happened to be there who played very

high. Boisseuil lost a good deal, and was very angry. He thought he

perceived that this gentleman, who was only permitted on account of his

play, was cheating, and made such good use of his eyes that he soon found

this was the case, and all on a sudden stretched across the table and

seized the gambler's hand, which he held upon the table, with the cards

he was going to deal. The gentleman, very much astonished, wished to

withdraw his hand, and was angry. Boisseuil, stronger than he, said that

he was a rogue, and that the company should see it, and immediately

shaking his hand with fury put in evidence his deceit. The player,

confounded, rose and went away. The game went on, and lasted long into

the night. When finished, Boisseuil went away. As he was leaving the

door he found a man stuck against the wall--it was the player--who called

him to account for the insult he had received. Boisseuil replied that he

should give him no satisfaction, and that he was a rogue.

"That may be," said the player, "but I don't like to be told so."

They went away directly and fought. Boisseuil received two wounds, from

one of which he was like to die. The other escaped without injury.

I have said, that after the affair of M. de Cambrai, Madame de Maintenon

had taken a rooted dislike to M. de Beauvilliers. She had become

reconciled to him in appearance during the time that Monseigneur de

Bourgogne was a victim to the calumnies of M. de Vendome, because she had

need of him. Now that Monseigneur de Bourgogne was brought back to

favour, and M. de Vendome was disgraced, her antipathy for M, de

Beauvilliers burst out anew, and she set her wits to work to get rid of

him from the Council of State, of which he was a member. The witch

wished to introduce her favourite Harcourt there in his place, and worked

so well to bring about this result that the King promised he should be


His word given, or rather snatched from him, the King was embarrassed as

to how, to keep it, for he did not wish openly to proclaim Harcourt

minister. It was agreed, therefore, that at the next Council Harcourt

should be present, as though by accident, in the King's ante-chamber;

that, Spanish matters being brought up, the King should propose to

consult Harcourt, and immediately after should direct search to be made

far him, to see if, by chance, he was close at hand; that upon finding

him, he should be conducted to the Council, made to enter and seat

himself, and ever afterwards be regarded as a Minister of State.

This arrangement was kept extremely secret, according to the express

commands of the King: I knew it, however, just before it was to be

executed, and I saw at once that the day of Harcourt's entry into the

Council would be the day of M. de Beauvilliers' disgrace. I sent,

therefore, at once for M. de Beauvilliers, begging him to come to my

house immediately, and that I would then tell him why I could not come to

him. Without great precaution everything becomes known at Court.

In less than half an hour M. de Beauvilliers arrived, tolerably disturbed

at my message. I asked him if he knew anything, and I turned him about,

less to pump him than to make him ashamed of his ignorance, and to

persuade him the better afterwards to do what I wished. When I had well

trotted out his ignorance, I apprised him of what I had just learnt. He

was astounded; he so little expected it! I had not much trouble to

persuade him that, although his expulsion might not yet be determined on,

the intrusion of Harcourt must pave the way for it. He admitted to me

that for some days he had found, the King cold and embarrassed with him,

but that he had paid little attention to the circumstance, the reason of

which was now clear. There was no time to lose. In twenty-four hours

all would be over. I therefore took the liberty in the first instance of

scolding him for his profound ignorance of what passed at the Court, and

was bold enough to say to him that he had only to thank himself for the

situation he found himself in. He let me say to the end without growing

angry, then smiled, and said, "Well! what do you think I ought to do?"

That was just what I wanted. I replied that there was only one course

open to him, and that was to have an interview with the King early the

next morning; to say to him, that he had been informed Harcourt was about

to enter the Council; that he thought the affairs of State would suffer

rather than otherwise if Harcourt did so; and finally, to allude to the

change that had taken place in the King's manner towards him lately, and

to say, with all respect, affection, and submission, that he was equally

ready to continue serving the King or to give up his appointments, as his

Majesty might desire.

M. de Beauvilliers took pleasure in listening to me. He embraced me

closely, and promised to follow the course I had marked out.

The next morning I went straight to him, and learned that he had

perfectly succeeded. He had spoken exactly as I had suggested. The King

appeared astonished and piqued that the secret of Harcourt's entry into

the Council was discovered. He would not hear a word as to resignation

of office on the part of M. de Beauvilliers, and appeared more satisfied

with him than ever. Whether, without this interview, he would have been

lost, I know not, but by the coldness and embarrassment of the King

before that interview, and during the first part of it, I am nearly

persuaded that he would. M. de Beauvilliers embraced me again very

tenderly--more than once.

As for Harcourt, sure of his good fortune, and scarcely able to contain

his joy, he arrived at the meeting place. Time ran on. During the

Council there are only the most subaltern people in the antechambers and

a few courtiers who pass that way to go from one wing to another. Each

of these subalterns eagerly asked M. d'Harcourt what he wanted, if he

wished for anything, and importuned him strongly. He was obliged to

remain there, although he had no pretext. He went and came, limping with

his stick, not knowing what to reply to the passers-by, or the attendants

by whom he was remarked. At last, after waiting long, he returned as he

came, much disturbed at not having been called. He sent word so to

Madame de Maintenon, who, in her turn, was as much disturbed, the King

not having said a word to her, and she not having dared to say a word to

him. She consoled Harcourt, hoping that at the next Council he would be

called. At her wish he waited again, as before, during another Council,

but with as little success. He was very much annoyed, comprehending that

the affair had fallen through.

Madame de Maintenon did not, however, like to be defeated in this way.

After waiting some time she spoke to the King, reminding him what he had

promised to do. The King replied in confusion that he had thought better

of it; that Harcourt was on bad terms with all the Ministers, and might,

if admitted to the Council, cause them much embarrassment; he preferred,

therefore, things to remain as they were. This was said in a manner that

admitted of no reply.

Madame de Maintenon felt herself beaten; Harcourt was in despair. M. de

Beauvilliers was quite reestablished in the favour of the King. I

pretended to have known nothing of this affair, and innocent asked many

questions about it when all was over. I was happy to the last degree

that everything had turned out so well.

M. le Prince, who for more than two years had not appeared at the Court,

died at Paris a little after midnight on the night between Easter Sunday

and Monday, the last of March and first of April, and in his seventy-

sixth year. No man had ever more ability of all kinds, extending even to

the arts and mechanics more valour, and, when it pleased him, more

discernment, grace, politeness, and nobility. But then no man had ever

before so many useless talents, so much genius of no avail, or an

imagination so calculated to be a bugbear to itself and a plague to

others. Abjectly and vilely servile even to lackeys, he scrupled not to

use the lowest and paltriest means to gain his ends. Unnatural son,

cruel father, terrible husband, detestable master, pernicious neighbour;

without friendship, without friends--incapable of having any jealous,

suspicious, ever restless, full of slyness and artifices to discover and

to scrutinise all, (in which he was unceasingly occupied, aided by an

extreme vivacity and a surprising penetration,) choleric and headstrong

to excess even for trifles, difficult of access, never in accord with

himself, and keeping all around him in a tremble; to conclude,

impetuosity and avarice were his masters, which monopolised him always.

With all this he was a man difficult to be proof against when he put in

play the pleasing qualities he possessed.

Madame la Princesse, his wife, was his continual victim. She was

disgustingly ugly, virtuous, and foolish, a little humpbacked, and stunk

like a skunk, even from a distance. All these things did not hinder M.

le Prince from being jealous of her even to fury up to the very last.

The piety, the indefatigable attention of Madame la Princesse, her

sweetness, her novice-like submission, could not guarantee her from

frequent injuries, or from kicks, and blows with the fist, which were not

rare. She was not mistress even of the most trifling things; she did not

dare to propose or ask anything. He made her set out from one place to

another the moment the fancy took him. Often when seated in their coach

he made her descend, or return from the end of the street, then

recommence the journey after dinner, or the next day. This see-sawing

lasted once fifteen days running, before a trip to Fontainebleau. At

other times he sent for her from church, made her quit high mass, and

sometimes sent for her the moment she was going to receive the sacrament;

she was obliged to return at once and put off her communion to another

occasion. It was not that he wanted her, but it was merely to gratify

his whim that he thus troubled her.

He was always of, uncertain habits, and had four dinners ready for him

every day; one at Paris, one at Ecouen, one at Chantilly, and one where

the Court was. But the expense of this arrangement was not great; he

dined on soup, and the half of a fowl roasted upon a crust of bread; the

other half serving for the next day. He rarely invited anybody to

dinner, but when he did, no man could be more polite or attentive to his


Formerly he had been in love with several ladies of the Court; then,

nothing cost too much. He was grace, magnificence, gallantry in person--

a Jupiter transformed into a shower of gold. Now he disguised himself as

a lackey, another time as a female broker in articles for the toilette;

and now in another fashion. He was the most ingenious man in the world.

He once gave a grand fete solely for the purpose of retarding the journey

into Italy of a lady with whom he was enamoured, with whom he was on good

terms, and whose husband he amused by making verses. He hired all the

houses on one side of a street near Saint Sulpice, furnished them, and

pierced the connecting walls, in order to be able thus to reach the place

of rendezvous without being suspected.

Jealous and cruel to his mistresses, he had, amongst others, the Marquise

de Richelieu; whom I name, because she is not worth the trouble of being

silent upon. He was hopelessly smitten and spent millions upon her and

to learn her movements. He knew that the Comte de Roucy shared her

favours (it was for her that sagacious Count proposed to put straw before
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Chapter XLVII iconДокументы
1. /Ivrel/Core Rules/Addendums/Monster Addendum 1 [Draconians].doc
2. /Ivrel/Core...

Chapter XLVII iconДокументы
1. /kachesov1/_contents.doc
2. /kachesov1/_preface.doc
Chapter XLVII iconChapter IV the article

Chapter XLVII iconContents. Chapter I

Chapter XLVII iconChapter 9 a few Questions

Chapter XLVII iconChapter 5 "Who are these aliens?"

Chapter XLVII iconChapter cxiii

Chapter XLVII iconChapter xcvii

Chapter XLVII iconChapter LXXXVIII

Chapter XLVII iconChapter LXXVIII

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