Character and Position of the Duc d\

Character and Position of the Duc d'Orleans-His Manners, Talents, and

НазваниеCharacter and Position of the Duc d'Orleans-His Manners, Talents, and
Дата конвертации10.08.2012
Размер339.75 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8



Character and Position of the Duc d'Orleans--His Manners, Talents, and

Virtues.--His Weakness.--Anecdote Illustrative Thereof.--

The "Debonnaire"--Adventure of the Grand Prieur in England.--Education

of the Duc d'Orleans.--Character of Dubois.--His Pernicious Influence.--

The Duke's Emptiness.--His Deceit.--His Love of Painting.--The Fairies at

His Birth.--The Duke's Timidity.--An Instance of His Mistrustfulness.


The Duke Tries to Raise the Devil.--Magical Experiments.--His Religious

Opinions.--Impiety.--Reads Rabelais at Church.--The Duchesse d'Orleans.--

Her Character.--Her Life with Her Husband.--My Discourses with the Duke

on the Future.--My Plans of Government.--A Place at Choice Offered Me.--

I Decline the Honour.--My Reason.--National Bankruptcy.--The Duke's Anger

at My Refusal.--A Final Decision.


The King's Health Declines.--Bets about His Death.--Lord Stair.--My New

Friend.--The King's Last Hunt.--And Last Domestic and Public Acts.--

Doctors.--Opium.--The King's Diet.--Failure of His Strength.--His Hopes

of Recovery.--Increased Danger.--Codicil to His Will.--Interview with the

Duc d'Orleans.--With the Cardinal de Noailles.--Address to His

Attendants.--The Dauphin Brought to Him.--His Last Words.--

An Extraordinary Physician.--The Courtiers and the Duc d'Orleans.--

Conduct of Madame de Maintenon.--The King's Death.


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

Ignorance.--Cause of the War with Holland.--His Mistakes and Weakness in

War.--The Ruin of France.--Origin of Versailles.--The King's Love of

Adulation, and Jealousy of People Who Came Not to Court.--His Spies.--

His Vindictiveness.--Opening of Letters.--Confidence Sometimes Placed in

Him--A Lady in a Predicament.


Excessive Politeness.--Influence of the Valets.--How the King Drove

Out.--Love of magnificence.--His Buildings. --Versailles.--The Supply of

Water.--The King Seeks for Quiet.--Creation of Marly.--Tremendous



Amours of the King.--La Valliere.--Montespan.
--Scandalous Publicity.--

Temper of Madame de Montespan.--Her Unbearable Haughtiness.--Other

Mistresses.--Madame de Maintenon.--Her Fortunes.--Her Marriage with

Scarron.--His Character and Society.--How She Lived After His Death.--

Gets into Better Company.--Acquaintance with Madame de Montespan.--

The King's Children.--His Dislike of Widow Scarron.--Purchase of the

Maintenon Estate.--Further Demands.--M. du Maine on His Travels.--

Montespan's Ill--humour.--Madame de Maintenon Supplants Her.--Her Bitter

Annoyance.--Progress of the New Intrigue.--Marriage of the King and

Madame de Maintenon.


Character of Madame de Maintenon.--Her Conversation.--Her Narrow-

mindedness.--Her Devotion.--Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.--Its Fatal

Consequences.--Saint Cyr.--Madame de Maintenon Desires Her Marriage to be

Declared.--Her Schemes.--Counterworked by Louvois.--His Vigorous Conduct

and Sudden Death.--Behaviour of the King.--Extraordinary Death of Seron.


Daily Occupations of Madame de Maintenon.--Her Policy--How She Governed

the King's Affairs.--Connivance with the Ministers.--Anecdote of

Le Tellier.--Behaviour of the King to Madame de Maintenon.--

His Hardness.--Selfishness.--Want of Thought for Others.--Anecdotes.--

Resignation of the King.--Its Causes.--The Jesuits and the Doctors.--The

King and Lay Jesuits.


The reign of Louis XIV. was approaching its conclusion, so that there is

now nothing more to relate but what passed during the last month of his

life, and scarcely so much. These events, indeed, so curious and so

important, are so mixed up with those that immediately followed the

King's death, that they cannot be separated from them. It will be

interesting and is necessary to describe the projects, the thoughts, the

difficulties, the different resolutions, which occupied the brain of the

Prince, who, despite the efforts of Madame de Maintenon and M. du Maine,

was of necessity about to be called to the head of affairs during the

minority of the young King. This is the place, therefore, to explain all

these things, after which we will resume the narrative of the last month

of the King's life, and go on to the events which followed his death.

But, as I have said, before entering upon this thorny path, it will be as

well to make known, if possible, the chief personage of the story, the

impediments interior and exterior in his path, and all that personally

belonged to him.

M. le Duc d'Orleans was, at the most, of mediocre stature, full-bodied

without being fat; his manner and his deportment were easy and very

noble; his face was broad and very agreeable, high in colour; his hair

black, and wig the same. Although he danced very badly, and had but ill

succeeded at the riding-school, he had in his face, in his gestures, in

all his movements, infinite grace, and so natural that it adorned even

his most ordinary commonplace actions. With much ease when nothing

constrained him, he was gentle, affable, open, of facile and charming

access; the tone of his voice was agreeable, and he had a surprisingly

easy flow of words upon all subjects which nothing ever disturbed, and

which never failed to surprise; his eloquence was natural and extended

even to his most familiar discourse, while it equally entered into his

observations upon the most abstract sciences, on which he talked most

perspicuously; the affairs of government, politics, finance, justice,

war, the court, ordinary conversation, the arts, and mechanics. He could

speak as well too upon history and memoirs, and was well acquainted with

pedigrees. The personages of former days were familiar to him; and the

intrigues of the ancient courts were to him as those of his own time.

To hear him, you would have thought him a great reader. Not so. He

skimmed; but his memory was so singular that he never forgot things,

names, or dates, cherishing remembrance of things with precision; and his

apprehension was so good, that in skimming thus it was, with him,

precisely as though he had read very laboriously. He excelled in

unpremeditated discourse, which, whether in the shape of repartee or

jest, was always appropriate and vivacious. He often reproached me, and

others more than he, with "not spoiling him;" but I often gave him praise

merited by few, and which belonged to nobody so justly as to him; it was,

that besides having infinite ability and of various kinds, the singular

perspicuity of his mind was joined to so much exactness, that he would

never have made a mistake in anything if he had allowed the first

suggestions of his judgment. He oftentimes took this my eulogy as a

reproach, and he was not always wrong, but it was not the less true.

With all this he had no presumption, no trace of superiority natural or

acquired; he reasoned with you as with his equal, and struck the most

able with surprise. Although he never forgot his own position, nor

allowed others to forget it, he carried no constraint with him, but put

everybody at his ease, and placed himself upon the level of all others.

He had the weakness to believe that he resembled Henry IV. in

everything, and strove to affect the manners, the gestures, the bearing,

of that monarch. Like Henry IV. he was naturally good, humane,

compassionate; and, indeed, this man, who has been so cruelly accused of

the blackest and most inhuman crimes, was more opposed to the destruction

of others than any one I have ever known, and had such a singular dislike

to causing anybody pain that it may be said, his gentleness, his

humanity, his easiness, had become faults; and I do not hesitate to

affirm that that supreme virtue which teaches us to pardon our enemies he

turned into vice, by the indiscriminate prodigality with which he applied

it; thereby causing himself many sad embarrassments and misfortunes,

examples and proofs of which will be seen in the sequel.

I remember that about a year, perhaps, before the death of the King,

having gone up early after dinner into the apartments of Madame la

Duchesse d'Orleans at Marly, I found her in bed with the megrims,

and M. d'Orleans alone in the room, seated in an armchair at her pillow.

Scarcely had I sat down than Madame la Duchesse began to talk of some of

those execrable imputations concerning M. d'Orleans unceasingly

circulated by Madame de Maintenon and M. du Maine; and of an incident

arising therefrom, in which the Prince and the Cardinal de Rohan had

played a part against M. d'Orleans. I sympathised with her all the more

because the Duke, I knew not why, had always distinguished and courted

those two brothers, and thought he could count upon them. "And what will

you say of M. d'Orleans," added the Duchesse, "when I tell you that since

he has known this, known it beyond doubt, he treats them exactly the same

as before?"

I looked at M. d'Orleans, who had uttered only a few words to confirm the

story, as it was being told, and who was negligently lolling in his

chair, and I said to him with warmth:

"Oh, as to that, Monsieur, the truth must be told; since Louis the

Debonnaire, never has there been such a Debonnaire as you."

At these words he rose in his chair, red with anger to the very whites of

his eyes, and blurted out his vexation against me for abusing him, as he

pretended, and against Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans for encouraging me

and laughing at him.

"Go on," said I, "treat your enemies well, and rail at your friends. I

am delighted to see you angry. It is a sign that I have touched the sore

point, when you press the finger on it the patient cries. I should like

to squeeze out all the matter, and after that you would be quite another

man, and differently esteemed."

He grumbled a little more, and then calmed down. This was one of two

occasions only, on which he was ever really angry with me.

Two or three years after the death of the King, I was chatting in one of

the grand rooms of the Tuileries, where the Council of the Regency was,

according to custom, soon to be held, and M. d'Orleans at the other end

was talking to some one in a window recess. I heard myself called from

mouth to mouth, and was told that M. d'Orleans wished to speak to me.

This often happened before the Council. I went therefore to the window

where he was standing. I found a serious bearing, a concentrated manner,

an angry face, and was much surprised.

"Monsieur," said he to me at once, "I have a serious complaint against

you; you, whom I have always regarded as my best of friends."

"Against me! Monsieur!" said I, still more surprised. "What is the

matter, then, may I ask?"

"The matter!" he replied with a mien still more angry; "something you

cannot deny; verses you have made against me."

"I--verses!" was my reply. "Why, who the devil has been telling you such

nonsense? You have been acquainted with me nearly forty years, and do

you not know, that never in my life have I been able to make a single

verse--much less verses?"

"No, no, by Heaven," replied he, "you cannot deny these;" and forthwith

he began to sing to me a street song in his praise, the chorus of which

was: 'Our Regent is debonnaire, la la, he is debonnaire,' with a burst of


"What!" said I, "you remember it still!" and smiling, I added also,

"since you are revenged for it, remember it in good earnest." He kept on

laughing a long time before going to the Council, and could not hinder

himself. I have not been afraid to write this trifle, because it seems

to me that it paints the man.

M. d'Orleans loved liberty, and as much for others as for himself. He

extolled England to me one day on this account, as a country where there

are no banishments, no lettres de cachet, and where the King may close

the door of his palace to anybody, but can keep no one in prison; and

thereupon related to me with enjoyment, that besides the Duchess of

Portsmouth, Charles the Second had many subordinate mistresses; that the

Grand Prieur, young and amiable in those days, driven out of France for

some folly, had gone to England to pass his exile and had been well

received by the King. By way of thanks, he seduced one of those

mistresses, by whom the King was then so smitten, that he sued for mercy,

offered money to the Grand Prieur, and undertook to obtain his

reconciliation in France. The Grand Prieur held firm. Charles

prohibited him the palace. He laughed at this, and went every day to the

theatre, with his conquest, and placed himself opposite the King. At

last, Charles, not knowing what to do to deliver himself from his

tormentor, begged our King to recall him, and this was done. But the

Grand Prieur said he was very comfortable in England and continued his

game. Charles, outraged, confided to the King (Louis XIV.) the state he

was thrown into by the Grand Prieur, and obtained a command so absolute

and so prompt, that his tormentor was afterwards obliged to go back into


M. d'Orleans admired this; and I know not if he would not have wished to

be the Grand Prieur. He always related this story with delight. Thus,

of ambition for reigning or governing, he had none. If he made a false

move in Spain it was because he had been misdirected. What he would have

liked best would have been to command armies while war lasted, and divert

himself the rest of the time without constraint to himself or to others.

He was, in fact, very fit for this. With much valour, he had also much

foresight, judgment, coolness, and vast capacity. It may be said that he

was captain, engineer, and army purveyor; that he knew the strength of

his troops, the names and the company of the officers, and the most

distinguished of each corps; that he knew how to make himself adored, at

the same time keeping up discipline, and could execute the most difficult

things, while unprovided with everything. Unfortunately there is another

side of this picture, which it will be as well now to describe.

M. d'Orleans, by disposition so adapted to become the honour and the

master-piece of an education, was not fortunate in his teachers. Saint-

Laurent, to whom he was first confided, was, it is true, the man in all

Europe best fitted to act as the instructor of kings, but he died before

his pupil was beyond the birch, and the young Prince, as I have related,

fell entirely into the hands of the Abbe Dubois. This person has played

such an important part in the state since the death of the King, that it

is fit that he should be made known. The Abbe Dubois was a little,

pitiful, wizened, herring-gutted man, in a flaxen wig, with a weazel's

face, brightened by some intellect. In familiar terms, he was a regular

scamp. All the vices unceasingly fought within him for supremacy, so

that a continual uproar filled his mind. Avarice, debauchery, ambition;

were his gods; perfidy, flattery, foot-licking his means of action;

complete impiety was his repose; and he held the opinion as a great

principle, that probity and honesty are chimeras, with which people deck

themselves, but which have no existence. In consequence, all means were

good to him. He excelled in low intrigues; he lived in them, and could

not do without them; but they always had an aim, and he followed them

with a patience terminated only by success, or by firm conviction that he

could not reach what he aimed at, or unless, as he wandered thus in deep

darkness, a glimmer of light came to him from some other cranny. He

passed thus his days in sapping and counter-sapping. The most impudent

deceit had become natural to him, and was concealed under an air that was

simple, upright, sincere, often bashful. He would have spoken with grace

and forcibly, if, fearful of saying more than he wished, he had not

accustomed himself to a fictitious hesitation, a stuttering--which

disfigured his speech, and which, redoubled when important things were in

question, became insupportable and sometimes unintelligible. He had wit,

learning, knowledge of the world; much desire to please and insinuate

himself, but all was spoiled by an odour of falsehood which escaped in

spite of him through every pore of his body--even in the midst of his

gaiety, which made whoever beheld it sad. Wicked besides, with

reflection, both by nature and by argument, treacherous and ungrateful,

expert in the blackest villainies, terribly brazen when detected; he

desired everything, envied everything, and wished to seize everything.

It was known afterwards, when he no longer could restrain himself, to

what an extent he was selfish, debauched, inconsistent, ignorant of

everything, passionate, headstrong, blasphemous and mad, and to what an

extent he publicly despised his master, the state, and all the world,

never hesitating to sacrifice everybody and everything to his credit, his

power, his absolute authority, his greatness, his avarice, his fears, and

his vengeance.

Such was the sage to whom M. le Duc d'Orleans was confided in early


Such a good master did not lose his pains with his new disciple, in whom

the excellent principles of Saint-Laurent had not had time to take deep

root, whatever esteem and affection he may have preserved through life

for that worthy man. I will admit here, with bitterness, for everything

should be sacrificed to the truth, that M. le Duc d'Orleans brought into

the world a failing--let us call things by their names--a weakness, which

unceasingly spoiled all his talents, and which were of marvellous use to

his preceptor all his life. Dubois led him into debauchery, made him

despise all duty and all decency, and persuaded him that he had too much

mind to be the dupe of religion, which he said was a politic invention to

frighten ordinary, intellects, and keep the people in subjection. He

filled him too with his favourite principle, that probity in man and

virtue in woman, are mere chimeras, without existence in anybody except a

few poor slaves of early training. This was the basis of the good

ecclesiatic's doctrines, whence arose the license of falsehood, deceit,

artifice, infidelity, perfidy; in a word, every villainy, every crime,

was turned into policy, capacity, greatness, liberty and depth of

intellect, enlightenment, good conduct, if it could be hidden, and if

suspicions and common prejudices could be avoided.

Unfortunately all conspired in M. d'Orleans to open his heart and his

mind to this execrable poison: a fresh and early youth, much strength and

health, joy at escaping from the yoke as well as vexation at his

marriage, the wearisomeness produced by idleness, the impulse of his

passions, the example of other young men, whose vanity and whose interest

it was to make him live like them. Thus he grew accustomed to

debauchery, above all to the uproar of it, so that he could not do

without it, and could only divert himself by dint of noise, tumult, and

excess. It is this which led him often into such strange and such
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8


Character and Position of the Duc d\Anecdote of Canaples. Death of the Duc de Coislin. Anecdotes of His

Character and Position of the Duc d\We are the writers and a writer, the characters and a character, the readers and a reader
К чему все? Она читала жизнь как роман, и когда он оборвался, к чему теперь жить? Мы были нескончаемой книгой, которую снова и снова...
Character and Position of the Duc d\Документы
1. /Ivrel/Core Rules/Addendums/Monster Addendum 1 [Draconians].doc
2. /Ivrel/Core...

Character and Position of the Duc d\Документы
1. /Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin/1969 - Led Zeppelin I/01-Good Times Bad Times.rtf

Character and Position of the Duc d\Документы
1. /elvis_presley/Elvis/(1956) Elvis 56/01 - Heartbreak Hotel.txt
2. /elvis_presley/Elvis/(1956)...

Разместите кнопку на своём сайте:

База данных защищена авторским правом © 2000-2014
При копировании материала обязательно указание активной ссылки открытой для индексации.
обратиться к администрации

Разработка сайта — Веб студия Адаманов