Anecdote of Madame de Charlus.--The 'Phillippaques'.--La Grange.--
Pere Tellier.--The Jesuits.--Anecdote----Tellier's Banishment.--Death of
Madame de Maintenon.--Her Life at Saint-Cyr.
Mode of Life of the Duchesse de Berry.--Her Illness.--Her Degrading
Amours.--Her Danger Increases.--The Sacraments Refused.--The Cure Is
Supported by the Cardinal de Noailles.--Curious Scene.--The Duchess
Refuses to Give Way.--She Recovers, and Is Delivered.--Ambition of Rion.
--He Marries the Duchess.--She Determines to Go to Meudon.--Rion Sent to
the Army.--Quarrels of Father and Daughter.--Supper on the Terrace of
Meudon.--The Duchess Again Ill.--Moves to La Muette.--Great Danger.--
Receives the Sacrament.--Garus and Chirac.--Rival Doctors.--Increased
Illness.--Death of the Duchess.--Sentiments on the Occasion.--Funeral
Ceremonies.--Madame de Saint-Simon Fails Ill.--Her Recovery.--We Move to
Meudon.--Character of the Duchesse de Berry.
The Mississippi Scheme.--Law Offers Me Shares.--Compensation for Blaye.--
The Rue Quincampoix.--Excitement of the Public.--Increased Popularity of
the Scheme.--Conniving of Law.--Plot against His Life--Disagreement with
Argenson.--Their Quarrel.--Avarice of the Prince de Conti.--His
Audacity.--Anger of the Regent.--Comparison with the Period of Louis
XIV.--A Ballet Proposed.--The marechal de Villeroy.--The Young King Is to
Dance.--Young Law Proposed.--Excitement.--The Young King's Disgust.--
Extravagant Presents of the Duc d'Orleans.
System of Law in Danger.--Prodigality of the Duc d'Orleans.--Admissions
of Law.--Fall of His Notes.--Violent Measures Taken to Support Them.--
Their Failure.--Increased Extravagance of the Regent.--Reduction of the
Fervour.--Proposed Colonies.--Forced Emigration.--Decree on the Indian
Company.--Scheming of Argenson. Attitude of the Parliament.--Their
Remonstrance.--Dismissal of Law.--His Coolness--Extraordinary Decree of
Council of State.--Prohibition of jewellery.--New Schemes.
The New Edict.--The Commercial Company.--New Edict.--Rush on the Bank.--
People Stifled in the Crowd.--Excitement against Law.--Money of the
Bank.--Exile of the Parliament to Pontoise.--New Operation.--The Place
Vendome.--The Marechal de Villeroy.--Marseilles.--Flight of Law.--
Character of Him and His Wife.--Observations on His Schemes.--Decrees of
Council on the Finances.--Departure of Law--A Strange Dialogue.--M. le
Duc and the Regent.--Crimes Imputed to Law during His Absence.--Schemes
Proposed.--End, of the Council.
Character of Alberoni.--His Grand Projects.--Plots against Him.--The
Queen's Nurse.--The Scheme against the Cardinal.--His Fall.--Theft of a
Will.--Reception in Italy.--His Adventures There.
Meetings of the Council.--A Kitten.--The Archbishopric of Cambrai.--
Scandalous Conduct of Dubois.--The Consecration.--I Persuade the Regent
Not to Go.--He Promises Not.--Breaks His Word.--Madame de Parabere.--The
Ceremony.--Story of the Comte de Horn.
To go back, now, to the remaining events of the year 1719.
The Marquise de Charlus, sister of Mezieres, and mother of the Marquis de
Levi, who has since become a duke and a peer, died rich and old. She was
the exact picture of an "old clothes" woman and was thus subject to many
insults from those who did not know her, which she by no means relished.
To relieve a little the seriousness of these memoirs, I will here relate
an amusing adventure of which she was heroine.
She was very avaricious, and a great gambler. She would have passed the
night up to her knees in water in order to play. Heavy gambling at
lansquenet was carried on at Paris in the evening, at Madame la Princesse
de Conti's. Madame de Charlus supped there one Friday, between the
games, much company being present. She was no better clad than at other
times, and wore a head-dress, in vogue at that day, called commode, not
fastened, but put on or taken off like a wig or a night-cap. It was
fashionable, then, to wear these headdresses very high.
Madame de Charlus was near the Archbishop of Rheims, Le Tellier. She
took a boiled egg, that she cracked, and in reaching for some salt, set
her head dress on fire, at a candle near, without perceiving it. The
Archbishop, who saw her all in flames, seized the head-dress and flung it
upon the ground. Madame de Charlus, in her surprise, and indignant at
seeing her self thus uncovered, without knowing why, threw her egg in the
Archbishop's face, and made him a fine mess.
Nothing but laughter was heard; and all the company were in convulsions
of mirth at the grey, dirty, and hoary head of Madame de Charlus, and the
Archbishop's omelette; above all, at the fury and abuse of Madame de
Charlus, who thought she had been affronted, and who was a long time
before she would understand the cause, irritated at finding herself thus
treated before everybody. The head-dress was burnt, Madame la Princesse
de Conti gave her another, but before it was on her head everybody had
time to contemplate her charms, and she to grow in fury. Her, husband
died three months after her. M. de Levi expected to find treasures;
there had been such; but they had taken wing and flown away.
About this time appeared some verses under the title of Philippiques,
which were distributed with extraordinary promptitude and abundance. La
Grange, formerly page of Madame la Princesse de Conti, was the author,
and did not deny it. All that hell could vomit forth, true and false,
was expressed in the most beautiful verses, most poetic in style, and
with all the art and talent imaginable. M. le Duc d'Orleans knew it, and
wished to see the poem, but he could not succeed in getting it, for no
one dared to show it to him.
He spoke of it several times to me, and at last demanded with such
earnestness that I should bring it to him, that I could not refuse. I
brought it to him accordingly, but read it to him I declared I never
would. He took it, therefore, and read it in a low tone, standing in the
window of his little cabinet, where we were. He judged it in reading
much as it was, for he stopped from time to time to speak to me, and
without appearing much moved. But all on a sudden I saw him change
countenance, and turn towards me, tears in his eyes, and himself ready to
"Ah," said he, "this is too much, this horrible poem beats me
He was at the part where the scoundrel shows M. le Duc d'Orleans having
the design to poison the King, and quite ready to execute his crime.
It is the part where the author redoubles his energy, his poetry, his
invocations, his terrible and startling beauties, his invectives, his
hideous pictures, his touching portraits of the youth and innocence of
the King, and of the hopes he has, adjuring the nation to save so dear a
victim from the barbarity of a murderer; in a word, all that is most
delicate, most tender, stringent, and blackest, most pompous, and most
moving, is there.
I wished to profit by the dejected silence into which the reading of this
poem had thrown M. le Duc d'Orleans, to take from him the execrable
paper, but I could not succeed; he broke out into just complaints against
such horrible wickedness, and into tenderness for the King; then finished
his reading, that he interrupted more than once to speak to me. I never
saw a man so penetrated, so deeply touched, so overwhelmed with injustice
so enormous and sustained. As for me, I could not contain myself. To
see him, the most prejudiced, if of good faith, would have been convinced
he was innocent of the come imputed to him, by the horror he displayed at
it. I have said all, when I state that I recovered myself with
difficulty, and that I had all the pains in the world to compose him a
This La Grange, who was of no personal value, yet a good poet--only that,
and never anything else--had, by his poetry, insinuated himself into
Sceaux, where he had become one of the great favourites of Madame du
Maine. She and her husband knew his life, his habits, and his mercenary
villainy. They knew, too, haw to profit by it. He was arrested shortly
afterwards, and sent to the Isle de Sainte Marguerite, which he obtained
permission to leave before the end of the Regency. He had the audacity
to show himself everywhere in Paris, and while he was appearing at the
theatres and in all public places, people had the impudence to spread the
report that M. le Duc d'Orleans had had him killed! M. le Duc d'Orleans
and his enemies have been equally indefatigable; the latter in the
blackest villainies, the Prince in the most unfruitful clemency, to call
it by no more expressive name.
Before the Regent was called to the head of public affairs, I recommended
him to banish Pere Tellier when he had the power to do so. He did not
act upon my advice, or only partially; nevertheless, Tellier was
disgraced, and after wandering hither and thither, a very firebrand
wherever he went, he was confined by his superiors in La Fleche.
This tyrant of the Church, furious that he could no longer move, which
had been his sole consolation during the end of his reign and his
terrible domination, found himself at La Fleche, reduced to a position as
insupportable as it was new to him.
The Jesuits, spies of each other, and jealous and envious of those who
have the superior authority, are marvellously ungrateful towards those
who, having occupied high posts, or served the company with much labour
and success, become useless to it, by their age or their infirmities.
They regard them with disdain, and instead of bestowing upon them the
attention merited by their age, their services, and their merit, leave
them in the dreariest solitude, and begrudge them even their food!
I have with my own eyes seen three examples of this in these Jesuits, men
of much piety and honour, who hid filled positions of confidence and of
talent, and with whom I was very intimate. The first had been rector of
their establishment at Paris, was distinguished by excellent works of
piety, and was for several years assistant of the general at Rome, at the
death of whom he returned to Paris; because the rule is, that the new
general has new assistants. Upon his return to the Paris establishment
he was put into a garret, at the very top of the house, amid solitude,
contempt, and want.
The direction of the royal conscience had been the principal occupation
of the two others, one of whom had even been proposed as confessor to
Madame la Dauphine. One was long ill of a malady he died of. He was not
properly nourished, and I sent him his dinner every day, for more than
five months, because I had seen his pittance. I sent him even remedies,
for he could not refrain from admitting to me that he suffered from the
treatment he was subjected to.
The third, very old and very infirm, had not a better fate. At last,
being no longer able to hold out, he asked to be allowed to pay a visit
to my Versailles house (after having explained himself to me), under
pretext of fresh air. He remained there several months, and died at the
noviciate in Paris. Such is the fate of all the Jesuits, without
excepting the most famous, putting aside a few who having shone at the
Court and in the world by their sermons and their merit, and having made
many friends--as Peres Bordaloue, La Rue, Gaillard--have been guaranteed
from the general disgrace, because, often visited by the principal
persons of the Court and the town, policy did not permit them to be
treated like the rest, for fear of making so many considerable people
notice what they would not have suffered without disturbance and scandal.
It was, then, in this abandonment and this contempt that Pere Tellier
remained at La Fleche, although he had from the Regent four thousand
livres pension. He had ill-treated everybody. When he was confessor of
the King, not one of his brethren approached him without trembling,
although most of them were the "big-wigs" of the company. Even the
general of the company was forced to bend beneath the despotism he
exercised upon all. There was not a Jesuit who did not disapprove the
violence of his conduct, or who did not fear it would injure the society.
All hated him, as a minister is hated who is coarse, harsh, inaccessible,
egotistical, and who takes pleasure in showing his power and his disdain.
His exile, and the conduct that drew it upon him, were fresh motives for
hatred against him, unveiling, as they did, a number of secret intrigues
he had been concerned in, and which he had great interest in hiding. All
these things together did not render agreeable to Tellier his forced
retirement at La Fleche. He found there sharp superiors and equals,
instead of the general terror his presence had formerly caused among the
Jesuits. All now showed nothing but contempt for him, and took pleasure
in making him sensible of it. This King of the Church, in part of the
State, and in private of his society, became a common Jesuit like the
rest, and under superiors; it may be imagined what a hell this was to a
man so impetuous and so accustomed to a domination without reply, and
without bounds, and abused in every fashion. Thus he did not endure it
long. Nothing more was heard of him, and he died after having been only
six months at La Fleche.
There was another death, which I may as well mention here, as it occurred
about the same time.
On Saturday evening, the 15th of April, 1719, the celebrated and fatal
Madame de Maintenon died at Saint-Cyr. What a stir this event would have
made in Europe, had it happened a few years earlier. It was scarcely
mentioned in Paris!
I have already said so much respecting this woman, so unfortunately
famous, that I will say but little more now. Her life at Saint-Cyr was
divided between her spiritual duties, the letters she received, from her
religious correspondents, and the answers she gave to them. She took the
communion twice a-week, ordinarily between seven and eight o'clock in the
morning; not, as Dangeau says in his Memoires, at midnight or every day.
She was very rich, having four thousand livres pension per month from the
Regent, besides other emoluments. She had, too, her estate at Maintenon,
and some other property. With all this wealth, too, she had not a
farthing of expense at Saint-Cyr. Everything was provided for herself
and servants and their horses, even wood, coals, and candles. She had
nothing to buy, except dress for herself and for her people. She kept a
steward, a valet, people for the horses and the kitchen, a coach, seven
or eight horses, one or two others for the saddle, besides having the
young ladies of Saint-Cyr, chambermaids, and Mademoiselle d'Aumale to
wait upon her.
The fall of the Duc du Maine at the Bed of justice struck the first blow
at her. It is not too much to presume that she was well informed of the
measures and the designs of this darling, and that this hope had
sustained her; but when she saw him arrested she succumbed; continuous
fever seized her, and she died at eighty-three years of age, in the full
possession of all her intellect.
Regret for her loss, which was not even universal in Saint-Cyr, scarcely
passed the walls of that community. Aubigny, Archbishop of Rouen, her
pretended cousin, was the only man I ever heard of, who was fool enough
to die of grief on account of it. But he was so afflicted by this loss,
that he fell ill, and soon followed her.
Madame la Duchesse de Berry was living as usual, amid the loftiest pride,
and the vilest servitude; amid penitence the most austere at the
Carmelite convent of the Faubourg Saint-Germain, and suppers the most
profaned by vile company, filthiness, and impiety; amid the most
shameless debauchery, and the most horrible fear of the devil and death;
when lo! she fell ill at the Luxembourg.
I must disguise nothing more, especially as what I am relating belongs to
history; and never in these memoirs have I introduced details upon
gallantry except such as were necessary to the proper comprehension of
important or interesting matters to which they related. Madame la
Duchesse de Berry would constrain herself in nothing; she was indignant
that people would dare to speak of what she did not take the trouble to
hide from them; and nevertheless she was grieved to death that her
conduct was known.
She was in the family way by Rion, but hid--it as much as she could.
Madame de Mouchy was their go-between, although her conduct was as clear
as day. Rion and Mouchy, in fact, were in love with each other, and had
innumerable facilities for indulging their passion. They laughed at the
Princess, who was their dupe, and from whom they drew in council all they
could. In one word, they were the masters of her and of her household,
and so insolently, that M. le Duc and Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, who
knew them and hated them, feared them also and temporised with them.
Madame de Saint-Simon, sheltered from all that, extremely loved and
respected by all the household, and respected even by this couple who
made themselves so much dreaded and courted, only saw Madame la Duchesse
de Berry during the moments of presentation at the Luxembourg, whence she
returned as soon as all was finished, entirely ignorant of what was
passing, though she might have been perfectly instructed.
The illness of Madame la Duchesse de Berry came on, and this illness, ill
prepared for by suppers washed down by wine and strong liquors, became
stormy and dangerous. Madame de Saint-Simon could not avoid becoming
assiduous in her attendance as soon as the peril appeared, but she never
would yield to the instances of M. le Duc and Madame la Duchesse
d'Orleans, who, with all the household; wished her to sleep in the
chamber allotted to her, and which she never put foot in, not even during
the day. She found Madame la Duchesse de Berry shut up in a little
chamber, which had private entrances--very useful just then, with no one
near her but La Mouchy and Rion, and a few trusty waiting-women. All in
attendance had free entrance to this room. M. le Duc and Madame la
Duchesse d'Orleans were not allowed to enter when they liked; of course
it was the same with the lady of honour, the other ladies, the chief
femme de chambre, and the doctors. All entered from time to time, but
ringing for an instant. A bad headache or want of sleep caused them
often to be asked to stay away, or, if they entered, to leave directly
afterwards. They did not press their presence upon the sick woman,
knowing only too well the nature of her malady; but contented themselves
by asking after her through Madame de Mouchy, who opened the door to
reply to them, keeping it scarcely ajar: This ridiculous proceeding
passed before the crowd of the Luxembourg, of the Palais Royal, and of
many other people who, for form's sake or for curiosity, came to inquire
the news, and became common town-talk.
The danger increasing, Languet, a celebrated cure of Saint-Sulpice, who
had always rendered himself assiduous, spoke of the sacraments to M. le
Duc d'Orleans. The difficulty was how to enter and propose them to
Madame la Duchesse de Berry. But another and greater difficulty soon
appeared. It was this: the cure, like a man knowing his duty, refused to
administer the sacrament, or to suffer it to be administered, while Rion
or Madame de Mouchy remained in the chamber, or even in the Luxembourg!
He declared this aloud before everybody, expressly in presence of M. le
Duc d'Orleans, who was less shocked than embarrassed. He took the cure
aside, and for a long time tried to make him give way. Seeing him
inflexible, he proposed reference to the Cardinal de Noailles. The cure
immediately agreed, and promised to defer to his orders, Noailles being
his bishop, provided he was allowed to explain his reasons. The affair
passed, and Madame la Duchesse de Berry made confession to a Cordelier,
her confessor. M. le Duc d'Orleans flattered himself, no doubt, he would
find the diocesan more flexible than the cure. If he hoped so he
The Cardinal de Noailles arrived; M. le Duc d'Orleans took him aside with
the cure, and their conversation lasted more than half an hour. As the
declaration of the cure had been public, the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris
judged it fitting that his should be so also. As all three approached
the door of the chamber, filled with company, the Cardinal de Noailles
said aloud to the cure, that he had very worthily done his duty, that he
expected nothing less from such a good, experienced, and enlightened man
as he was; that he praised him for what he had demanded before
administering the sacrament to Madame la Duchesse de Berry; that he
exhorted him not to give in, or to suffer himself to be deceived upon so
important a thing; and that if he wanted further authorisation he, as his
bishop, diocesan, and superior, prohibited him from administering the
sacraments, or allowing them to be administered, to Madame la Duchesse de
Berry while Rion and Madame de Mouchy were in the chamber, or even in the
It may be imagined what a stir such inevitable scandal as this made in a
room so full of company; what embarrassment it caused M. le Duc
d'Orleans, and what a noise it immediately made everywhere. Nobody, even
the chiefs of the constitution, the mass without, enemies of the Cardinal
de Noailles, the most fashionable bishops, the most distinguished women,
the libertines even--not one blamed the cure or his archbishop: some
because they knew the rules of the Church, and did not dare to impugn
them; others, the majority, from horror of the conduct of Madame la
Duchesse de Berry, and hatred drawn upon her by her pride.
Now came the question between the Regent, the Cardinal, and the cure,
which should announce this determination to Madame la Duchesse de Berry,
who in no way expected it, and who, having confessed, expected every
moment to see the Holy Sacrament enter, and to take it. After a short
colloquy urged on by the state of the patient, the Cardinal and the cure
withdrew a little, while M. le Duc d'Orleans slightly opened the door and
called Madame de Mouchy. Then, the door ajar, she within, he without, he
told her what was in debate. La Mouchy, much astonished, still more
annoyed, rode the high horse, talked of her merit, and of the affront
that bigots wished to cast upon her and Madame la Duchesse de Berry, who
would never suffer it or consent to it, and that she would die--in the
state she was--if they had the impudence and the cruelty to tell it to
The conclusion was that La Mouchy undertook to announce to Madame la
Duchesse de Berry the resolution that had been taken respecting the
sacraments--what she added of her own may be imagined. A negative
response did not fail to be quickly delivered to M. le Duc d'Orleans
through the half-opened door. Coming through such a messenger, it was
just the reply he might have expected. Immediately after, he repeated it
to the Cardinal, and to the cure; the cure, being supported by his
archbishop, contented himself with shrugging his shoulders. But the
Cardinal said to M. le Duc d'Orleans that Madame de Mouchy, one of the
two who ought to be sent away, was not a fit person to bring Madame la
Duchesse to reason; that it was his duty to carry this message to her,
and to exhort her to do her duty as a Christian shortly about to appear
before God; and the Archbishop pressed the Regent to go and say so to
her. It will be believed, without difficulty, that his eloquence gained
nothing. This Prince feared too much his daughter, and would have been
but a feeble apostle with her.
Reiterated refusals determined the Cardinal to go and speak to Madame la
Duchesse de Berry, accompanied by the cure, and as he wished to set about
it at once, M. le Duc d'Orleans, who did not dare to hinder him, but who
feared some sudden and dangerous revolution in his daughter at the sight
and at the discourses of the two pastors, conjured him to wait until
preparations could be made to receive him. He went, therefore, and held
another colloquy through the door with Madame de Mouchy, the success of
which was equal to the other. Madame la Duchesse de Berry flew into
fury, railed in unruly terms against these hypocritical humbugs, who took
advantage of her state and their calling to dishonour her by an unheard-
of scandal, not in the least sparing her father for his stupidity and
feebleness in allowing it. To have heard her, you would have thought
that the cure and the Cardinal ought to be kicked downstairs.
M. le Duc d'Orleans returned to the ecclesiastics, looking very small,
and not knowing what to do between his daughter and them. However, he
said to them that she was so weak and suffering that they must put off
their visit, persuading them as well as he could. The attention and
anxiety of the large company which filled the room were extreme:
everything was known afterwards, bit by bit, during the day.
The Cardinal de Noailles remained more than two hours with M. le Duc
d'Orleans, round whom people gathered at last. The Cardinal, seeing that
he could not enter the chamber without a sort of violence, much opposed
to persuasion, thought it indecent and useless to wait any longer. In
going away, he reiterated his orders to the cure, and begged him to watch
so as not to be deceived respecting the sacraments, lest attempts were
made to administer them clandestinely. He afterwards approached Madame
de Saint-Simon, took her aside, related to her what had passed, and
deplored with her a scandal that he had not been able to avoid. M. le
Duc d'Orleans hastened to announce to his daughter the departure of the
Cardinal, at which he himself was much relieved. But on leaving the
chamber he was astonished to find the cure glued against the door, and
still more so to hear he had taken up his post there, and meant to
remain, happen what might, because he did not wish to be deceived
respecting the sacraments. And, indeed, he remained there four days and
four nights, except during short intervals for food and repose that he
took at home, quite close to the Luxembourg, and during which his place
was filled by two priests whom he left there. At last, the danger being
passed, he raised the siege.
Madame la Duchesse de Berry, safely delivered of a daughter, had nothing
to do but to re-establish herself; but she remained firm against the cure
and the Cardinal de Noailles, neither of whom she ever pardoned. She
became more and more bewitched by the two lovers, who laughed at her, and
who were attached to her only for their fortune and their interest. She
remained shut up without seeing M. and Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans,
except for a few moments; no one, commencing with Madame de Saint-Simon,
showed any eagerness to see her, for everybody knew what kept the door
Madame la Duchesse de Berry, infinitely pained by the manner in which
everybody, even the people, looked upon her malady, thought to gain a
little lost ground by throwing open the gardens of the Luxembourg to the
public, after having long since closed them. People were glad: they
profited by the act; that was all. She made a vow that she would give
herself up to religion, and dress in white--that is, devote herself to
the service of the Virgin--for six months. This vow made people laugh a
Her illness had begun on the 26th of March, 1719, and Easter-day fell on
the 9th of April. She was then quite well, but would not see a soul. A
new cause of annoyance had arisen to trouble her. Rion, who saw himself
so successful as the lover of Madame la Duchesse de Berry, wished to
improve his position by becoming her husband. He was encouraged in this
desire by his uncle, M. de Lauzun, who had also advised him to treat her
with the rigour, harshness--nay, brutality, which I have already
described. The maxim of M. de Lauzun was, that the Bourbons must be ill-
used and treated with a high hand in order to maintain empire over them.
Madame de Mouchy was as strongly in favour of this marriage as Rion. She
knew she was sure of her lover, and that when he became the husband of
Madame la Duchesse de Berry, all the doors which shut intimacy would be
thrown down. A secret marriage accordingly took place.
This marriage gave rise to violent quarrels, and much weeping. In order
to deliver herself from these annoyances, and at the same time steer
clear of Easter, the Duchess resolved to go away to Meudon on Easter
Monday. It was in vain that the danger was represented to her, of the
air, of the movement of the coach, and of the change of place at the end
of a fortnight. Nothing could make her endure Paris any longer. She set
out, therefore, followed by Rion and the majority of her ladies and her
M. le Duc d'Orleans informed me then of the fixed design of Madame la
Duchesse de Berry to declare the secret marriage she had just made with
Rion. Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans was at Montmartre for a few days, and
we were walking in the little garden of her apartments. The marriage did
not surprise me much, knowing the strength of her passion, her fear of
the devil, and the scandal which had just happened. But I was
astonished, to the last degree, at this furious desire to declare the
marriage, in a person so superbly proud.
M. le Duc d'Orleans dilated upon his troubles, his anger, that of Madame
(who wished to proceed to the most violent extremities), and the great
resolve of Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans. Fortunately the majority of the
officers destined to serve against Spain, (war with that country had just
been declared) were leaving every day, and Rion had remained solely on
account of the illness of Madame la Duchesse de Berry, M. le Duc
d'Orleans thought the shortest plan would be to encourage hope by delay,
in forcing Rion to depart, flattering himself that the declaration would
be put off much more easily in his absence than in his presence. I
strongly approved this idea, and on the morrow, Rion received at Meudon a
curt and positive order to depart at once and join his regiment in the
army of the Duc de Berwick. Madame la Duchesse de Berry was all the more
outraged, because she knew the cause of this order, and consequently felt
her inability to hinder its execution. Rion on his side did not dare to
disobey it. He set out, therefore; and M. le Duc d'Orleans, who had not
yet been to Meudon, remained several days without going there.
Father and daughter feared each other, and this departure had not put
them on better terms. She had told him, and repeated it, that she was a
rich widow, mistress of her own actions, independent of him; had flown
into a fury, and terribly abused M. le Duc d'Orleans when he tried to
remonstrate with her. He had received much rough handling from her at
the Luxembourg when she was better; it was the same at Meudon during the
few visits he paid her there. She wished to declare her marriage; and
all the art, intellect, gentleness, anger, menace, prayers, and interest
of M. le Duc d'Orleans barely sufficed to make her consent to a brief
If Madame had been listened to, the affair would have been finished
before the journey to Meudon; for M. le Duc d'Orleans would have thrown
Rion out of the windows of the Luxembourg!
The premature journey to Meudon, and quarrels so warm, were not
calculated to re-establish a person just returned from the gates of
death. The extreme desire she had to hide her state from the public, and
to conceal the terms on which she was with her father ( for the rarity of
his visits to her began to be remarked), induced her to give a supper to
him on the terrace of Meudon about eight o'clock one evening. In vain
the danger was represented to her of the cool evening air so soon after
an illness such as she had just suffered from, and which had left her
health still tottering. It was specially on this account that she stuck
more obstinately to her supper on the terrace, thinking that it would
take away all suspicion she had been confined, and induce the belief that
she was on the same terms as ever with M. le Duc d'Orleans, though the
uncommon rarity of his visits to her had been remarked.
This supper in the open air did not succeed. The same night she was
taken ill. She was attacked by accidents, caused by the state in which
she still was, and by an irregular fever, that the opposition she met
with respecting the declaration of her marriage did not contribute to
diminish. She grew disgusted with Meudon, like people ill in body and
mind, who in their grief attribute everything to the air and the place.
She was annoyed at the few visits she received from M. le Duc and Madame
la Duchesse d'Orleans,-her pride, however, suffering more than her
In despite of all reason, nothing could hinder her from changing her
abode. She was transferred from Meudon to the Muette, wrapped up in
sheets, and in a large coach, on Sunday, the 14th of May, 1719. Arrived
so near Paris, she hoped M. le Duc and Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans would
come and see her more frequently, if only for form's sake.
This journey was painful by the sufferings it caused her, added to those
she already had, which no remedies could appease, except for short
intervals, and which became very violent. Her illness augmented; but
hopes and fears sustained her until the commencement of July. During all
this time her desire to declare her marriage weakened, and M. le Duc and
Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans, as well as Madame, who passed the summer at
Saint-Cloud, came more frequently to see her. The month of July became
more menacing because of the augmentation of pain and fever. These ills
increased so much, in fact, that, by the 14th of July, fears for her life
began to be felt.
The night of the 14th was so stormy, that M. le Duc d'Orleans was sent to
at the Palais Royal, and awakened. At the same time Madame de Pons wrote
to Madame de Saint-Simon, pressing her to come and establish herself at
La Muette. Madame de Saint-Simon, although she made a point of scarcely
ever sleeping under the same roof as Madame la Duchesse de Berry (for
reasons which need no further explanation than those already given),
complied at once with this request, and took up her quarters from this
time at La Muette.
Upon arriving, she found the danger great. Madame la Duchesse de Berry
had been bled in the arm and in the foot on the 10th, and her confessor
had been sent for. But the malady still went on increasing. As the pain
which had so long afflicted her could not induce her to follow a regimen
necessary for her condition, or to think of a future state, relations and
doctors were at last obliged to speak a language to her, not used towards
princesses, except at the most urgent extremity. This, at last, had its
effect. She submitted to the medical treatment prescribed for her, and
received the sacrament with open doors, speaking to those present upon
her life and upon her state, but like a queen in both instances. After
this sight was over, alone with her familiars, she applauded herself for
the firmness she had displayed, asked them if she had not spoken well,
and if she was not dying with greatness and courage.
A day or two after, she wished to receive Our Lord once more. She
received, accordingly, and as it appeared, with much piety, quite
differently from the first time.
At the extremity to which she had arrived, the doctors knew not what to
do; everybody was tried. An elixir was spoken of, discovered by a
certain Garus, which made much stir just then, and the secret of which
the King has since bought. Garus was sent for and soon arrived. He
found Madame la Duchesse de Berry so ill that he would answer for
nothing. His remedy was given, and succeeded beyond all hopes. Nothing
remained but to continue it. Above all things, Garus had begged that
nothing should, on any account, be given to Madame la Duchesse de Berry
except by him, and this had been most expressly commanded by M. le Duc
and Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans. Madame la Duchesse de Berry continued
to be more and more relieved and so restored, that Chirac, her regular
doctor, began to fear for his reputation, and taking the opportunity when
Garus was asleep upon a sofa, presented, with impetuosity, a purgative to
Madame la Duchesse de Berry, and made her swallow it without saying a
word to anybody, the two nurses standing by, the only persons present,
not daring to oppose him.
The audacity of this was as complete as its villainy, for M. le Duc and
Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans were close at hand in the salon. From this
moment to that in which the patient fell into a state worse than that
from which the elixir had drawn her, there was scarcely an interval.
Garus was awaked and called. Seeing this disorder, he cried that a
purgative had been given, and whatever it might be, it was poison in the
state to which the princess was now reduced. He wished to depart, he was
detained, he was taken to Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans. Then followed a
great uproar, cries from Garus, impudence and unequalled hardihood of
Chirac, in defending what he had done.
He could not deny it, for the two nurses had been questioned, and had
told all. Madame la Duchesse de Berry drew near her end during this
debate, and neither Chirac nor Garus could prevent it. She lasted,
however, the rest of the day, and did not die until about midnight.
Chirac, seeing the death-agony advance, traversed the chamber, made an
insulting reverence at the foot of the bed, which was open, and wished
her "a pleasant journey" (in equivalent terms), and thereupon went off to
Paris. The marvel is that nothing came of this, and that he remained the
doctor of M. le Duc d'Orleans as before!
While the end was yet approaching, Madame de Saint-Simon, seeing that
there was no one to bear M. le Duc d'Orleans company, sent for me to
stand by him in these sad moments. It appeared to me that my arrival
pleased him, and that I was not altogether useless to him in relieving
his grief. The rest of the day was passed in entering for a moment at a
time into the sick-chamber. In the evening I was nearly always alone
He wished that I should charge myself with all the funeral arrangements,
and in case Madame la Duchesse de Berry, when opened, should be found to
be enceinte, to see that the secret was kept. I proposed that the
funeral should be of the simplest, without show or ceremonial. I
explained my reasons, he thanked me, and left all the orders in my hands.
Getting rid of these gloomy matters as quickly as possible, I walked with
him from time to time in the reception rooms, and in the garden, keeping
him from the chamber of the dying as much as possible.
The night was well advanced, and Madame la Duchesse de Berry grew worse
and worse, and without consciousness since Chirac had poisoned her. M.
le Duc d'Orleans returned into the chamber, approached the head of the
bed--all the curtains being pulled back; I allowed him to remain there
but a few moments, and hurried him into the cabinet, which was deserted
just then. The windows were open, he leaned upon the iron balustrade,
and his tears increased so much that I feared lest they should suffocate
him. When this attack had a little subsided, he began to talk of the
misfortunes of this world, and of the short duration of its most
agreeable pleasures. I urged the occasion to say to him everything God
gave me the power to say, with all the gentleness, emotion, and
tenderness, I could command. Not only he received well what I said to
him, but he replied to it and prolonged the conversation.
After we had been there more than an hour, Madame de Saint-Simon gently
warned me that it was time to try and lead M. le Duc d'Orleans away,
especially as there was no exit from the cabinet, except through the
sick-chamber. His coach, that Madame de Saint-Simon had sent for, was
ready. It was without difficulty that I succeeded in gently moving away
M. le Duc d'Orleans, plunged as he was in the most bitter grief. I made
him traverse the chamber at once, and supplicated him to return to Paris.
At last he consented. He wished me to remain and give orders, and
begged, with much positiveness, Madame de Saint-Simon to be present when
seals were put upon the effects, after which I led him to his coach, and
he went away. I immediately repeated to Madame de Saint-Simon the orders
he had given me respecting the opening of the body, in order that she
might have them executed, and I hindered her from remaining in the
chamber, where there was nothing now but horror to be seen.
At last, about midnight, on the 21st of July, 1819, Madame la Duchesse de
Berry died, ten days after Chirac had consummated his crime. M. le Duc
d'Orleans was the only person touched. Some people grieved; but not one
of them who had enough to live upon appeared ever to regret her loss.
Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans felt her deliverance, but paid every
attention to decorum. Madame constrained herself but little. However
affected M. le Duc d'Orleans might be, consolation soon came. The yoke
to which he had submitted himself, and which he afterwards found heavy,
was severed. Above all, he was free from all annoyance on the score of
Rion's marriage, and its results, annoyance that would have been all the
greater, inasmuch as at the opening of the poor princess she was found to
be again enceinte; it was also found that her brain was deranged. These
circumstances were for the time carefully hidden. It may be imagined
what a state Rion fell into in learning at the army the death of Madame
la Duchesse de Berry. All his romantic notions of ambition being
overturned, he was more than once on the point of killing himself, and
for a long time was always kept in sight by his friends. He sold out at
the end of the campaign. As he had been gentle and polite to his
friends, they did not desert him. But he ever afterwards remained in
On account of this death the theatres were closed for eight days.
On Saturday, the 22nd of July, the heart of Madame la Duchesse de Berry
was taken to the Val-de-Grace.
On Sunday, the 23rd of July, her body was carried in an eight-horse coach
to Saint-Denis. There was very little display; only about forty torches
were carried by pages and guards.
The funeral service was performed at Saint-Denis in the early part of
September. There was no funeral oration.
Madame de Saint-Simon had been forced, as I have shown, to accept the
post of lady of honour to Madame la Duchesse de Berry, and had never been
able to quit it. She had been treated with all sorts of consideration,
had been allowed every liberty, but this did not console her for the post
she occupied; so that she felt all the pleasure, not to say the
satisfaction, of a deliverance she did not expect, from a princess
twenty-four years of age. But the extreme fatigue of the last days of
the illness, and of those which followed death, caused her a malignant
fever, which left her at death's portal during six weeks in a house at
Passy. She was two months recovering herself.
This accident, which almost turned my head, sequestered me from anything
for two months, during which I never left the house, scarcely left the
sick-chamber, attended to nothing, and saw only a few relatives or
When my wife began to be re-established, I asked M. le Duc d'Orleans for
a lodging at the new chateau at Meudon. He lent me the whole chateau;
completely furnished. We passed there the rest of this summer, and
several other summers afterwards. It is a charming place for rides or
drives. We counted upon seeing only our friends there, but the proximity
to Paris overwhelmed us with people, so that all the new chateau was
sometimes completely filled, without reckoning the people of passage.
I have little need to say anything more of Madame la Duchesse de Berry.
These pages have already painted her. She was a strange mixture of pride
and shamelessness. Drunkenness, filthy conversation, debauchery of the
vilest kind, and impiety, were her diversions, varied, as has been seen,
by occasional religious fits. Her indecency in everything, language,
acts, behaviour, passed all bounds; and yet her pride was so sublime that
she could not endure that people should dare to speak of her amid her
depravity, so universal and so public; she had the hardihood to declare
that nobody had the right to speak of persons of her rank, or blame their
most notorious actions!
Yet she had by nature a superior intellect, and, when she wished, could
be agreeable and amiable. Her face was commanding, though somewhat
spoiled at last by fat. She had much eloquence, speaking with an ease
and precision that charmed and overpowered. What might she not have
become, with the talents she possessed! But her pride, her violent
temper, her irreligion, and her falsehood, spoiled all, and made her what
we have seen her.
Law had established his Mississippi Company, and now began to do marvels
with it. A sort of language had been invented, to talk of this scheme,
language which, however, I shall no more undertake to explain than the
other finance operations. Everybody was mad upon Mississippi Stock.
Immense fortunes were made, almost in a breath; Law, besieged in his
house by eager applicants, saw people force open his door, enter by the
windows from the garden, drop into his cabinet down the chimney! People
talked only of millions.
Law, who, as I have said, came to my house every Tuesday, between eleven
and twelve, often pressed me to receive some shares for nothing, offering
to manage them without any trouble to me, so that I must gain to the
amount of several millions! So many people had already gained enormously
by their own exertions that it was not doubtful Law could gain for me
even more rapidly. But I never would lend myself to it. Law addressed
himself to Madame de Saint-Simon, whom he found as inflexible. He would
have much preferred to enrich me than many others; so as to attach me to
him by interest, intimate as he saw me with the Regent. He spoke to M.
le Duc d'Orleans, even, so as to vanquish me by his authority. The
Regent attacked me more than once, but I always eluded him.
At last, one day when we were together by appointment, at Saint-Cloud,
seated upon the balustrade of the orangery, which covers the descent into
the wood of the goulottes, the Regent spoke again to me of the
Mississippi, and pressed me to receive some shares from Law.
The more I resisted, the more he pressed me, and argued; at last he grew
angry, and said that I was too conceited, thus to refuse what the King
wished to give me (for everything was done in the King's name), while so
many of my equals in rank and dignity were running after these shares.
I replied that such conduct would be that of a fool, the conduct of
impertinence, rather than of conceit; that it was not mine, and that
since he pressed me so much I would tell him my reasons. They were,
that since the fable of Midas, I had nowhere read, still less seen,
that anybody had the faculty of converting into gold all he touched;
that I did not believe this virtue was given to Law, but thought that all
his knowledge was a learned trick, a new and skilful juggle, which put
the wealth of Peter into the pockets of Paul, and which enriched one at
the expense of the other; that sooner or later the game would be played
out, that an infinity of people would be ruined; finally, that I abhorred
to gain at the expense of others, and would in no way mix myself up with
the Mississippi scheme.
M. le Duc d'Orleans knew only too well how to reply to me, always
returning to his idea that I was refusing the bounties of the King.
I said that I was so removed from such madness, that I would make a
proposition to him, of which assuredly I should never have spoken, but
for his accusation.
I related to him the expense to which my father had been put in defending
Blaye against the party of M. le Prince in years gone by. How he had
paid the garrison, furnished provisions, cast cannon, stocked the place,
during a blockade of eighteen months, and kept up, at his own expense,
within the town, five hundred gentlemen, whom he had collected together.
How he had been almost ruined by the undertaking, and had never received
a sou, except in warrants to the amount of five hundred thousand livres,
of which not one had ever been paid, and that he had been compelled to
pay yearly the interest of the debts he had contracted, debts that still
hung like a mill-stone upon me. My proposition was that M. le Duc
d'Orleans should indemnify me for this loss, I giving up the warrants, to
be burnt before him.
This he at once agreed to. He spoke of it the very next day to Law: my
warrants were burnt by degrees in the cabinet of M. le Duc d'Orleans, and
it was by this means I paid for what I had done at La Ferme.
Meanwhile the Mississippi scheme went on more swimmingly than ever. It
was established in the Rue Quincampoix, from which horses and coaches
were banished. About the end of October of this year, 1817, its business
so much increased, that the office was thronged all day long, and it was
found necessary to place clocks and guards with drums at each end of the
street, to inform people, at seven o'clock in the morning, of the opening
of business, and of its close at night: fresh announcements were issued,
too, prohibiting people from going there on Sundays and fete days.
Never had excitement or madness been heard of which approached this.
M. le Duc d'Orleans distributed a large number of the Company's shares to
all the general officers and others employed in the war against Spain.
A month after, the value of the specie was diminished; then the whole of
the coin was re-cast.
Money was in such abundance--that is to say, the notes of Law, preferred
then to the metallic currency--that four millions were paid to Bavaria,
and three millions to Sweden, in settlement of old debts. Shortly after,
M. le Duc d'Orleans gave 80,000 livres to Meuse; and 80,000 livres to
Madame de Chateauthiers, dame d'atours of Madame. The Abbe Alari, too,
obtained 2000 livres pension. Various other people had augmentation of
income given to them at this time.
Day by day Law's bank and his Mississippi increased in favour. The
confidence in them was complete. People could not change their lands and
their houses into paper fast enough, and the result of this paper was,
that everything became dear beyond all previous experience. All heads
were turned, Foreigners envied our good fortune, and left nothing undone
to have a share in it. The English, even, so clear and so learned in
banks, in companies, in commerce, allowed themselves to be caught, and
bitterly repented it afterwards. Law, although cold and discreet, felt
his modesty giving way. He grew tired of being a subaltern. He hankered
after greatness in the midst of this splendour; the Abbe Dubois and M. le
Duc d'Orleans desired it for him more than he; nevertheless, two
formidable obstacles were in the way: Law was a foreigner and a heretic,
and he could not be naturalised without a preliminary act of abjuration.
To perform that, somebody must be found to convert him, somebody upon
whom good reliance could be placed. The Abbe Dubois had such a person
all ready in his pocket, so to speak. The Abbe Tencin was the name of
this ecclesiastic, a fellow of debauched habits and shameless life, whom
the devil has since pushed into the most astonishing good fortune; so
true it is that he sometimes departs from his ordinary rules, in order to
recompense his servitors, and by these striking examples dazzle others,
and so secure them.
As may be imagined, Law did not feel very proud of the Abbe who had
converted him: more especially as that same Abbe was just about this time
publicly convicted of simony, of deliberate fraud, of right-down lying
(proved by his own handwriting), and was condemned by the Parliament to
pay a fine, which branded him with infamy, and which was the scandal of
the whole town. Law, however, was converted, and this was a subject
which supplied all conversation.
Soon after, he bought, for one million livres, the Hotel Mazarin for his
bank, which until then had been established in a house he hired of the
Chief-President, who had not need of it, being very magnificently lodged
in the Palace of the Parliament by virtue of his office. Law bought, at
the same time, for 550,000 livres, the house of the Comte de Tesse.
Yet it was not all sunshine with this famous foreigner, for the sky above
him was heavy with threatening clouds. In the midst of the flourishing
success of his Mississippi, it was discovered that there was a plot to
kill him. Thereupon sixteen soldiers of the regiment of the Guards were
given to him as a protection to his house, and eight to his brother, who
had come to Paris some little time before.
Law had other enemies besides those who were hidden. He could not get on
well with Argenson, who, as comptroller of the finances, was continually
thrown into connection with him. The disorder of the finances increased
in consequence every day, as well as the quarrels between Law and
Argenson, who each laid the blame upon the other. The Scotchman was the
best supported, for his manners were pleasing, and his willingness to
oblige infinite. He had, as it were, a finance tap in his hand, and he
turned it on for every one who helped him. M. le Duc, Madame la
Duchesse, Tesse, Madame de Verue, had drawn many millions through this
tap, and drew still. The Abbe Dubois turned it on as he pleased. These
were grand supports, besides that of M. le Duc d'Orleans, who could not
1. /Ivrel/Core Rules/Addendums/Monster Addendum 1 [Draconians].doc
|Chapter V the adjective||Chapter 5 "Who are these aliens?"|
|Contents. Chapter I||Chapter cxiii|
|Chapter IV the article||Chapter LXXXVIII|
|Chapter LXXVIII||Chapter XLVII|