Chapter cxiii icon

Chapter cxiii

НазваниеChapter cxiii
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Attempted Reconciliation between Dubois and Villeroy.--Violent Scene.--

Trap Laid for the Marechal.--Its Success.--His Arrest.


I Am Sent for by Cardinal Dubois.--Flight of Frejus.--He Is Sought and

Found.--Behaviour of Villeroy in His Exile at Lyons.--His Rage and

Reproaches against Frejus.--Rise of the Latter in the King's Confidence.


I Retire from Public Life.--Illness and Death of Dubois. --Account of His

Riches.--His Wife.--His Character.--Anecdotes.--Madame de Conflans.--

Relief of the Regent and the King.


Death of Lauzun.--His Extraordinary Adventures.--His Success at Court.--

Appointment to the Artillery.--Counter--worked by Louvois.--Lauzun and

Madame de Montespan.--Scene with the King.--Mademoiselle and Madame de



Lauzun's Magnificence.--Louvois Conspires against Him.--He Is

Imprisoned.--His Adventures at Pignerol.--On What Terms He Is Released.--

His Life Afterwards.--Return to Court.


Lauzun Regrets His Former Favour.--Means Taken to Recover It.--Failure.--

Anecdotes.--Biting Sayings.--My Intimacy with Lauzun.--His Illness,

Death, and Character.


Ill-Health of the Regent.--My Fears.--He Desires a Sudden Death.--

Apoplectic Fit.--Death.--His Successor as Prime Minister.--The Duc de

Chartres.--End of the Memoirs.


Few events of importance had taken place during my absence in Spain.

Shortly after my return, however, a circumstance occurred which may

fairly claim description from me. Let me, therefore, at once relate it.

Cardinal Dubois, every day more and more firmly established in the favour

of M. le Duc d'Orleans, pined for nothing less than to be declared prime

minister. He was already virtually in that position, but was not

publicly or officially recognised as being so. He wished, therefore, to

be declared.

One great obstacle in his path was the Marechal de Villeroy, with whom he

was on very bad terms, and whom he was afraid of transforming into an

open and declared enemy, owing to the influence the Marechal exerted over

others. Tormented with agitating thoughts, every day that delayed his

nomination seemed to him a year.
Dubois became doubly ill-tempered and

capricious, more and more inaccessible, and accordingly the most pressing

and most important business was utterly neglected. At last he resolved

to make a last effort at reconciliation with the Marechal, but

mistrusting his own powers, decided upon asking Cardinal Bissy to be the

mediator between them.

Bissy with great willingness undertook the peaceful commission; spoke to

Villeroy, who appeared quite ready to make friends with Dubois, and even

consented to go and see him. As chance would have it, he went,

accompanied by Bissy, on Tuesday morning. I at the same time went, as

was my custom, to Versailles to speak to M. le Duc d'Orleans upon some

subject, I forget now what.

It was the day on which the foreign ministers had their audience of

Cardinal Dubois, and when Bissy and Villeroy arrived, they found these

ministers waiting in the chamber adjoining the Cardinal's cabinet.

The established usage is that they have their audience according to the

order in which they arrive, so as to avoid all disputes among them as to

rank and precedence. Thus Bissy and Villeroy found Dubois closeted with

the Russian minister. It was proposed to inform the Cardinal at once, of

a this, so rare as a visit from the Marechal de Villeroy; but the

Marechal would not permit it, and sat down upon a sofa with Bissy to wait

like the rest.

The audience being over, Dubois came from his cabinet, conducting the

Russian minister, and immediately saw his sofa so well ornamented. He

saw nothing but that in fact; on the instant he ran there, paid a

thousand compliments to the Marechal for anticipating him, when he was

only waiting for permission to call upon him, and begged him and Bissy to

step into the cabinet. While they were going there, Dubois made his

excuses to the ambassadors for attending to Villeroy before them, saying

that his functions and his assiduity as governor of the King did not

permit him to be long absent from the presence of his Majesty; and with

this compliment he quitted them and returned into his cabinet.

At first nothing passed but reciprocal compliments and observations from

Cardinal Bissy, appropriate to the subject. Then followed protestations

from Dubois and replies from the Marechal. Thus far, the sea was very

smooth. But absorbed in his song, the Marechal began to forget its tune;

then to plume himself upon his frankness and upon his plain speaking;

then by degrees, growing hot in his honours, he gave utterance to divers

naked truths, closely akin to insults.

Dubois, much astonished, pretended not to feel the force of these

observations, but as they increased every moment, Bissy tried to call

back the Marechal, explain things to him, and give a more pleasant tone

to the conversation. But the mental tide had begun to rise, and now it

was entirely carrying away the brains of Villeroy. From bad to worse was

easy. The Marechal began now to utter unmistakable insults and the most

bitter reproaches. In vain Bissy tried to silence him; representing to

him how far he was wandering from the subject they came to talk upon; how

indecent it was to insult a man in his own house, especially, after

arriving on purpose to conclude a reconciliation with him. All Bissy

could say simply had the effect of exasperating the Marechal, and of

making him vomit forth the most extravagant insults that insolence and

disdain could suggest.

Dubois, stupefied and beside himself, was deprived of his tongue, could

not utter a word; while Bissy, justly inflamed with anger, uselessly

tried to interrupt his friend. In the midst of the sudden fire which had

seized the Marechal, he had placed himself in such a manner that he

barred the passage to the door, and he continued his invectives without

restraint. Tired of insults, he passed to menaces and derision, saying

to Dubois that since he had now thrown off all disguise, they no longer

were on terms to pardon each other, and then he assured Dubois that,

sooner or later, he would do him all the injury possible, and gave him

what he called good counsel.

"You are all powerful," said he; "everybody bends before you; nobody

resists you; what are the greatest people in the land compared with you?

Believe me, you have only one thing to do; employ all your power, put

yourself at ease, and arrest me, if you dare. Who can hinder you?

Arrest me, I say, you have only that course open."

Thereupon, he redoubled his challenges and his insults, like a man who is

thoroughly persuaded that between arresting him and scaling Heaven there

is no difference. As may well be imagined, such astounding remarks were

not uttered without interruption, and warm altercations from the Cardinal

de Bissy, who, nevertheless, could not stop the torrent. At last,

carried away by anger and vexation, Bissy seized the Marechal by the arm

and the shoulder, and hurried him to the door, which he opened, and then

pushed him out, and followed at his heels. Dubois, more dead than alive,

followed also, as well as he could--he was obliged to be on his guard

against the foreign ministers who were waiting. But the three disputants

vainly tried to appear composed; there was not one of the ministers who

did not perceive that some violent scene must have passed in the cabinet,

and forthwith Versailles was filled with this news; which was soon

explained by the bragging, the explanations, the challenges, and the

derisive speeches of the Marechal de Villeroy.

I had worked and chatted for a long time with M. le Duc d'Orleans. He

had passed into his wardrobe, and I was standing behind his bureau

arranging his papers when I saw Cardinal Dubois enter like a whirlwind,

his eyes starting out of his head. Seeing me alone, he screamed rather

than asked, "Where is M. le Duc d'Orleans?" I replied that he had gone

into his wardrobe, and seeing him so overturned, I asked him what was the


"I am lost, I am lost!" he replied, running to the wardrobe. His reply

was so loud and so sharp that M. le Duc d'Orleans, who heard it, also ran

forward, so that they met each other in the doorway. They returned

towards me, and the Regent asked what was the matter.

Dubois, who always stammered, could scarcely speak, so great was his rage

and fear; but he succeeded at last in acquainting us with the details I

have just given, although at greater length. He concluded by saying that

after the insults he had received so treacherously, and in a manner so

basely premeditated, the Regent must choose between him and the Marechal

de Villeroy, for that after what had passed he could not transact any

business or remain at the Court in safety and honour, while the Marechal

de Villeroy remained there!

I cannot express the astonishment into which M. le Duc d'Orleans and I

were thrown. We could not believe what we had heard, but fancied we were

dreaming. M. le Duc d'Orleans put several questions to Dubois, I took

the liberty to do the same, in order to sift the affair to the bottom.

But there was no variation in the replies of the Cardinal, furious as he

was. Every moment he presented the same option to the Regent; every

moment he proposed that the Cardinal de Bissy should be sent for as

having witnessed everything. It may be imagined that this second scene,

which I would gladly have escaped, was tolerably exciting.

The Cardinal still insisting that the Regent must choose which of the two

be sent away, M. le Duc d'Orleans asked me what I thought. I replied

that I was so bewildered and so moved by this astounding occurrence that

I must collect myself before speaking. The Cardinal, without addressing

himself to me but to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who he saw was plunged Memoirs

in embarrassment, strongly insisted that he must come to some resolution.

Upon this M. le Duc d'Orleans beckoned me over, and I said to him that

hitherto I had always regarded the dismissal of the Marechal de Villeroy

as a very dangerous enterprise, for reasons I had several times alleged

to his Royal Highness: but that now whatever peril there might be in

undertaking it, the frightful scene that had just been enacted persuaded

me that it would be much more dangerous to leave him near the King than

to get rid of him altogether. I added that this was my opinion, since

his Royal Highness wished to know it without giving me the time to

reflect upon it with more coolness; but as for the execution, that must

be well discussed before being attempted.

Whilst I spoke, the Cardinal pricked up his ears, turned his eyes upon

me, sucked in all my words, and changed colour like a man who hears his

doom pronounced. My opinion relieved him as much as the rage with which

he was filled permitted. M. le Duc d'Orleans approved what I had just

said, and the Cardinal, casting a glance upon me as of thanks, said he

was the master, and must choose, but that he must choose at once, because

things could not remain as they were. Finally, it was agreed that the

rest of the day (it was now about twelve) and the following morning

should be given to reflection upon the matter, and that the next day, at

three o'clock in the afternoon, I should meet M. le Duc d'Orleans.

The next day accordingly I went to M. le Prince, whom I found with the

Cardinal Dubois. M. le Duc entered a moment after, quite full of the

adventure. Cardinal Dubois did not fail, though, to give him an abridged

recital of it, loaded with comments and reflections. He was more his own

master than on the preceding day, having had time to recover himself, we

cherishing hopes that the Marechal would be sent to the right about. It

was here that I heard of the brag of the Marechal de Villeroy concerning

the struggle he had had with Dubois, and of the challenges and insults he

had uttered with a confidence which rendered his arrest more and more


After we had chatted awhile, standing, Dubois went away. M. le Duc

d'Orleans sat down at his bureau, and M. le Duc and I sat in front of

him. There we deliberated upon what ought to be done. After a few words

of explanation from the Regent, he called upon me to give my opinion. I

did so as briefly as possible, repeating what I had said on the previous

day. M. le Duc d'Orleans, during my short speech, was very attentive,

but with the countenance of a man much embarrassed.

As soon as I had finished, he asked M. le Duc what he thought. M. le Duc

said his opinion was mine, and that if the Marechal de Villeroy remained

in his office there was nothing for it but to put the key outside the

door; that was his expression. He reproduced some of the principal

reasons I had alleged, supported them, and concluded by saying there was

not a moment to lose. M. le Duc d'Orleans summed up a part of what had

been said, and agreed that the Marechal de Villeroy must be got rid of.

M. le Duc again remarked that it must be done at once. Then we set about

thinking how we could do it.

M. le Duc d'Orleans asked me my advice thereon. I said there were two

things to discuss, the pretext and the execution. That a pretext was

necessary, such as would convince the impartial, and be unopposed even by

the friends of the Marechal de Villeroy; that above all things we had to

take care to give no one ground for believing that the disgrace of

Villeroy was the fruit of the insults he had heaped upon Cardinal Dubois;

that outrageous as those insults might be, addressed to a cardinal, to a

minister in possession of entire confidence, and at the head of affairs,

the public, who envied him and did not like him, well remembering whence

he had sprung, would consider the victim too illustrious; that the

chastisement would overbalance the offence, and would be complained of;

that violent resolutions, although necessary, should always have reason

and appearances in their favour; that therefore I was against allowing

punishment to follow too quickly upon the real offence, inasmuch as M. le

Duc d'Orleans had one of the best pretexts in the world for disgracing

the Marechal, a pretext known by everybody, and which would be admitted

by everybody.

I begged the Regent then to remember that he had told me several times he

never had been able to speak to the King in private, or even in a whisper

before others; that when he had tried, the Marechal de Villeroy had at

once come forward poking his nose between them, and declaring that while

he was governor he would never suffer any one, not even his Royal

Highness, to address his Majesty in a low tone, much lest to speak to him

in private. I said that this conduct towards the Regent, a grandson of

France, and the nearest relative the King had, was insolence enough to

disgust every one, and apparent as such at half a glance. I counselled

M. le Duc d'Orleans to make use of this circumstance, and by its means to

lay a trap for the Marechal into which there was not the slightest doubt

he would fall. The trap was to be thus arranged. M. le Duc d'Orleans

was to insist upon his right to speak to the King in private, and upon

the refusal of the Marechal to recognise it, was to adopt a new tone and

make Villeroy feel he was the master. I added, in conclusion, that this

snare must not be laid until everything was ready to secure its success.

When I had ceased speaking, "You have robbed me," said the Regent; "I was

going to propose the same thing if you had not. What do you think of it,

Monsieur?" regarding M. le Duc. That Prince strongly approved the

proposition I had just made, briefly praised every part of it, and added

that he saw nothing better to be done than to execute this plan very


It was agreed afterwards that no other plan could be adopted than that of

arresting the Marechal and sending him right off at once to Villeroy, and

then, after having allowed him to repose there a day or two, on account

of his age, but well watched, to see if he should be sent on to Lyons or

elsewhere. The manner in which he was to be arrested was to be decided

at Cardinal Dubois' apartments, where the Regent begged me to go at once.

I rose accordingly, and went there.

I found Dubois with one or two friends, all of whom were in the secret of

this affair, as he, at once told me, to put me at my ease. We soon

therefore entered upon business, but it would be superfluous to relate

here all that passed in this little assembly. What we resolved on was

very well executed, as will be seen. I arranged with Le Blanc, who was

one of the conclave, that the instant the arrest had taken place, he

should send to Meudon, and simply inquire after me; nothing more, and

that by this apparently meaningless compliment, I should know that the

Marechal had been packed off.

I returned towards evening to Meudon, where several friends of Madame de

Saint-Simon and of myself often slept, and where others, following the

fashion established at Versailles and Paris, came to dine or sup, so that

the company was always very numerous. The scene between Dubois and

Villeroy was much talked about, and the latter universally blamed.

Neither then nor during the ten days which elapsed before his arrest,

did it enter into the head of anybody to suppose that anything worse

would happen to him than general blame for his unmeasured violence, so

accustomed were people to his freaks, and to the feebleness of M. le Duc

d'Orleans. I was now delighted, however, to find such general

confidence, which augmented that of the Marechal, and rendered more easy

the execution of our project against him; punishment he more and more

deserved by the indecency and affectation of his discourses, and the

audacity of his continual challenges.

Three or four days after, I went to Versailles, to see M. le Duc

d'Orleans. He said that, for want of a better, and in consequence of

what I had said to him on more than one occasion of the Duc de Charost,

it was to him he intended to give the office of governor of the King:

that he had secretly seen him that Charost had accepted with willingness

the post, and was now safely shut up in his apartment at Versailles,

seeing no one, and seen by no one, ready to be led to the King the moment

the time should arrive. The Regent went over with me all the measures to

be taken, and I returned to Meudon, resolved not to budge from it until

they were executed, there being nothing more to arrange.

On Sunday, the 12th of August, 1722, M. le Duc d'Orleans went, towards

the end of the afternoon, to work with the King, as he was accustomed to

do several times each week; and as it was summer time now, he went after

his airing, which he always took early. This work was to show the King

by whom were to be filled up vacant places in the church, among the

magistrates and intendants, &c., and to briefly explain to him the
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Chapter cxiii iconДокументы
1. /Ivrel/Core Rules/Addendums/Monster Addendum 1 [Draconians].doc
2. /Ivrel/Core...

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

Chapter cxiii iconContents. Chapter I

Chapter cxiii iconChapter 9 a few Questions

Chapter cxiii iconChapter 5 "Who are these aliens?"

Chapter cxiii iconChapter xcvii

Chapter cxiii iconChapter LXXXVIII

Chapter cxiii iconChapter LXXVIII

Chapter cxiii iconChapter XVIII

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