Vulgar words in Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Complete (Page 1)
This book at a glance
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CHAPTER XV The Farrier of Salon.--Apparition of a Queen.--The Farrier Comes to Versailles.--Revelations to the Queen.--Supposed Explanation.-- New Distinctions to the Bastards.--New Statue of the King.-- Disappointment of Harlay.--Honesty of Chamillart.--The Comtesse de Fiesque.--Daughter of Jacquier.--Impudence of Saumery.--Amusing Scene.-- Attempted Murder.
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CHAPTER LXVII Maisons Seeks My Acquaintance.--His Mysterious Manner.--Increase of the Intimacy.--Extraordinary News.--The Bastards Declared Princes of the Blood.--Rage of Maisons and Noailles.--Opinion of the Court and Country.
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CHAPTER XCII The Material Preparations for the Bed of Justice--Arrival of the Duc d'Orleans:--The Council Chamber.--Attitude of the Various Actors.--The Duc du Maine.--Various Movements.--Arrival of the Duc de Toulouse.-- Anxiety of the Two Bastards.--They Leave the Room.--Subsequent Proceedings.--Arrangement of the Council Chamber.--Speech of the Regent.
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--Countenances of the Members of Council.--The Regent Explains the Object of the Bed of Justice.--Speech of the Keeper of the Seals.--Taking the Votes.--Incidents That Followed.--New Speech of the Duc d'Orleans.-- Against the Bastards.--My Joy.--I Express My Opinion Modestly.--Exception in Favour of the Comte de Toulouse.--New Proposal of M. le Duc.--Its Effect.--Threatened Disobedience of the Parliament.--Proper Measures.-- The Parliament Sets Out.
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CHAPTER XCIII Continuation of the Scene in the Council Chamber.--Slowness of the Parliament.--They Arrive at Last.--The King Fetched.--Commencement of the Bed of Justice.--My Arrival.--Its Effect.--What I Observed.--Absence of the Bastards Noticed.--Appearance of the King.
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The King, ravished with joy to see himself delivered from a Prince whom he disliked, could not hide his satisfaction--his eagerness--to get rid of a Prince whose only faults were that he had no bastard blood in his veins, and that he was so much liked by all the nation that they wished him at the head of the army, and murmured at the little favour he received, as compared with that showered down upon the illegitimate children.
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The Prince did not think in the same manner, and flatly refused; saying, that the House of Orange was accustomed to marry the legitimate daughters of great kings, and not their bastards.
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Hearing the magpie repeat again and again the same word, he took it into his head that by a miracle, like the observation Balaam's ass made to his master, the bird was reproaching him for his sins.
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Assisted also by the King, she took steps to make her bastard son canon of Strasbourg; intrigued so well that his birth was made to pass muster, although among Germans there is a great horror of illegitimacy, and he was received into the chapter.
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He thought, very properly, that a person who bore the name of Lorraine should not put herself so much on the footing of a buffoon; and, as he was a rough speaker, he sometimes said the most abominable things to her at table; upon which the Princess would burst out crying, and then, being enraged, would sulk.
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She proposed this therefore; and our King, out of regard for his brother monarch, and from a natural affection for bastards, consented to the appointment; but as the Duke of Berwick had never before commanded an army, he stipulated that Pursegur, known to be a skilful officer, should go with him and assist him with his counsels and advice.
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Scarcely had he ascended into his chamber, than everybody, princes, bastards and all the rest, ran after him.
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In the next place he assured to her forty-five thousand livres a year, nearly all the capital of which would belong to the son he had had by her, whom he had recognised and made legitimate, and who has since become Grandee of Spain, Grand Prieur of France, and General of the Galleys (for the best of all conditions in France is to have none at all, and to be a bastard).
~ ~ ~ Sentence 7,566 ~ ~ ~
There he placed himself in a fauteuil, Monsieur, while he was there, in another; the Duchesse de Bourgogne, Madame (but only after the death of Monsieur), the Duchesse de Berry (after her marriage), the three bastard-daughters, and Madame du Maine (when she was at Versailles), on stools on each side.
~ ~ ~ Sentence 7,567 ~ ~ ~
Monseigneur, the Duc de Bourgogne, the Duc de Berry, the Duc d'Orleans, the two bastards, M. le Duc (as the husband of Madame la Duchesse), and afterwards the two sons of M. du Maine, when they had grown a little, and D'Antin, came afterwards, all standing.
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We were in the golden age of bastards, and Berwick was a man who had reason to think so.
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Bastard of James II., of England, he had arrived in France, at the age of eighteen, with that monarch, after the Revolution of 1688.
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This was making a rapid fortune with a vengeance, under a King who regarded people of thirty-odd as children, but who thought no more of the ages of bastards than of those of the gods.
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Thus the Duke of Richmond, bastard of Charles II., had the name of "Lennox;" the Dukes of Cleveland and of Grafton, by the same king, that of "Fitz-Roi," which means "son of the king;" in fine, the Duke of Berwick had the name of "Fitz-James;" so that his family name for his posterity is thus "Son of James;" as a name, it is so ridiculous in French, that nobody could help laughing at it, or being astonished at the scandal of imposing it in English upon France.
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In this way she had acquired a familiarity with them such as none of the King's children, not even the bastards, had approached.
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All the Princes of the blood, the bastards, the peers and the parliament, were assembled in the palace.
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Then he related to Madame de Saint-Simon, in the midst of sobs, how he had stuck fast at the Parliament, without being able to utter a word, said that he should everywhere be regarded as an ass and a blockhead, and repeated the compliments he had received from Madame de Montauban, who, he said, had laughed at and insulted him, knowing well what had happened; then, infuriated against her to the last degree, he called her by all sots of names.
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I was taught only to play and to hunt, and they have succeeded in making me a fool and an ass, incapable of anything, the laughing-stock and disdain of everybody."
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In a word, all the work evidently appeared composed in order to persuade people--under the simple air of a man who set aside prejudices with discernment, and who only seeks the truth--that the majority of the Kings of the first race, several of the second, some even of the third, were, bastards, whom this defect did not exclude from the throne, or affect in any way.
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Foreign countries did not swallow quite so readily these stories that declared such a number of our early kings bastards; but great care was taken not to let France be infected by the disagreeable truths therein published.
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The long winter's night pissed thus; the cold was, terrible, there was nothing to ward it off; the coachman actually lost the use of one hand.
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This ignorance so intimidated him, that he could scarcely open his mouth before strangers, or perform the most ordinary duties of his rank; he had persuaded himself that he was an ass and a fool; fit for nothing.
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At the first glance I saw two dismayed men, who said to me in an exhausted manner, but after a heated though short preface, that the King had declared his two bastards and their male posterity to all eternity, real princes of the blood, with full liberty to assume all their dignities, honours, and rank, and capacity to succeed to the throne in default of the others.
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I argued with them and said, that after all I preferred to see the bastards princes of the blood, capable of succeeding to the throne, than to see them in the intermediary rank they occupied.
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to overthrow the most holy laws, that have existed ever since the establishment of monarchy; to extinguish a right the most sacred--the most important--the most inherent in the nation: to make succession to the throne, purely, supremely, and despotically arbitrary; in a word, to make of a bastard a crown prince, is a crime more black, more vast, more terrible, than that of high treason against the chief of the State.
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Excepting Marechal, his chief surgeon, who laboured unceasingly to cure him of his suspicions, Madame de Maintenon, M. du Maine, Fagon, Bloin, the other principal valets sold to the bastard and his former governors,--all sought to augment these suspicions; and in truth it was not difficult to do so.
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He flattered himself that the feeling he had excited against M. d'Orleans in the Court, in Paris, and in the provinces would be powerfully strengthened by dispositions so dishonourable; that he should find himself received as the guardian and protector of the life of the royal infant, to whom was attached the salvation of France, of which he would then become the idol; that the independent possession of the young King, and of his military and civil households, would strengthen with the public applause the power with which he would be invested in the state by this testament; that the Regent, reviled and stripped in this manner, not only would be in no condition to dispute anything, but would be unable to defend himself from any attempts the bastard might afterwards make against him.
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Some days before the news transpired, the King, full of the enormity of what he had just done for his bastards, looked at them in his cabinet, in presence of the valets, and of D'Antin and D'O, and in a sharp manner, that told of vexation, and with a severe glance, suddenly thus addressed himself to M. du Maine: "You have wished it; but know that however great I may make you, and you may be in my lifetime, you are nothing after me; and it will be for you then to avail yourself of what I have done for you, if you can."
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Everybody present trembled at a thunder-clap so sudden, so little expected, so entirely removed from the character and custom of the King, and which showed so clearly the extreme ambition of the Duc du Maine, and the violence he had done to the weakness of the King, who seemed to reproach himself for it, and to reproach the bastard for his ambition and tyranny.
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Five days after the King's will had been walled up, in the manner I have described, he came to me and made a pathetic discourse upon the injustice done to M. le Duc d'Orleans by this testament, and did all he could to excite me by railing in good set terms against dispositions intended to add to the power and grandeur of the bastards.
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Astonishment will be felt at what I am going to say, and yet, however, nothing is more strictly true: it is, that at the bottom of her soul she believed that she, bastard of the King, had much honoured M. d'Orleans in marrying him!
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Upon his return he appeared much knocked up.
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The bastards, or to speak exactly, M, du Maine saw it; Madame de Maintenon also; but they did nothing.
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He saw four other physicians, who, like the first four, did nothing but admire the learned and admirable treatment of Fagon, who made him take towards evening some Jesuit bark and water and intended to give him at night, ass's milk.
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The ministers, even the most powerful, openly studied their caprices; and the Princes of the blood, nay, the bastards,--not to mention people of lower grade, did the same.
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When he travelled, his coach was always full of women; his mistresses, afterwards his bastards, his daughters-in-law, sometimes Madame, and other ladies when there was room.
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The bastards, a few favourites; and the valets alone were left.
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It was also the grand day taken advantage of by the bastards, the valets, etc., because the King had nothing to do.
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This also was the time for the bastards and the valets.
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He passed a little less than an hour there, seated in an armchair, with his legitimate children and bastards, his grandchildren, legitimate and otherwise, and their husbands or wives.
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We found it already assembled, and a few Dukes who had not attended our meeting, but had promised to be guided by us, were also present; and then a quarter of an hour after we were seated the bastards arrived.
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I will not dwell upon these two documents, in which nothing is provided but the grandeur and the power of the bastards, Madame de Maintenon and Saint-Cyr, the choice of the King's education and of the council of the regency, by which M. le Duc d'Orleans was to be shorn of all authority to the advantage of M. le Duc du Maine.
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I am quite prepared, if ever these memoirs see the day, to find that this statement will be laughed at; that it will throw discredit on others, and cause me to be regarded as a great ass, if I think to make my readers, believe it; or for an idiot, if I have believed it myself.
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The Regent and all the Princes of the blood were there, the bastards also.
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At the first movements of the Parliament, of the bastards, and of those who had usurped the name of nobility, I had warned him.
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I was the oldest, the most attached, the freest spoken of all his servitors; I had given him the best proofs of this in the most critical times of his life, and in the midst of his universal abandonment; the counsels I had offered him in these sad days he had always found for his good; he was accustomed to repose in me the most complete confidence; but, whatever opinion he might have of me, and of my truth and probity, he was on his guard against what he called my warmth, and against the love I had for my dignity, so attacked by the usurpations of the bastards, the designs of the Parliament, and the modern fancies of a sham nobility.
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M. le Duc, who had been admitted to our councils, and who was heart and soul against the bastards, proposed that at the Bed of justice the education of the young King should be taken out of the control of M. du Maine and placed in his hands.
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I had seen the bastards grow in rank and importance with an indignation and disgust I could scarcely contain.
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Thus everything went on satisfactorily, and I began to count the hours, by day as well as by night, until the great day was to arrive on which the arrogant pride of the Parliament was to receive a check, and the false plumage which adorned the bastards was to be plucked from them.
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The eyes of all, occupied with the Regent, had been removed from the door, so that the absence of the bastards was by no means generally remarked.
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The Duc de Guiche, who sat on the other side of me, left a seat between us, and still waited for the bastards.
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I denied it, and yet each seated himself slowly, because intent only upon looking around, and divining what all this could mean, and because it was a long time before any one could comprehend that we must proceed to business without the bastards, although nobody opened his mouth.
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From the first moment of this reading and the departure of the bastards, everybody saw that something was in preparation against them.
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All, according as they were allied to the Parliament or to the bastards, seemed to wait in fear what was to be proposed.
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A profound silence followed this discourse, so unexpected, and which began to explain the absence of the bastards.
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Scarcely had we risen when M. le Duc came to me, rejoiced at the success that had hitherto been had, and much relieved by the absence of the bastards.
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I asked if he was not afraid the bastards would come to the Bed of justice; but he was certain they would not.
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The departure of the bastards from the cabinet of the Council had redoubled attention, but everybody did not know of that departure; now everybody perceived their absence.
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Others who had noticed the absence of the bastards, guessed it was something that affected them; but nobody divined what, much less its extent.
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I compared the years and the time of servitude; the grievous days, when dragged at the tail of the Parliamentary car as a victim, I had served as a triumph for the bastards; the various steps by which they had mounted to the summit above our heads; I compared them, I say, to this court of justice and of rule, to this frightful fall which, at the same time, raised us by the force of the shock.
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I represented to the Regent what an ill-chosen messenger I should be to carry to Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans news of the disgrace of her brother the Duc du Maine; I, who had always been such an open and declared enemy to the bastards!
~ ~ ~ Sentence 13,360 ~ ~ ~
She was delighted at the humiliation of the Parliament, and of the bastards, and that her son had at last displayed some firmness.
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The conspirators counted upon the Parliaments of Paris and of Brittany, upon all the old Court accustomed to the yoke of the bastards, and to that of Madame de Maintenon; and they flung about promises with an unsparing hand to all who supported them.
~ ~ ~ Sentence 15,149 ~ ~ ~
The plains even are so dry, so hard, so full of deep crevices (that are not perceived until their brink is reached), that the best hounds or harriers would soon be knocked up, and would have their feet blistered, nay lamed, for a long time.
~ ~ ~ Sentence 15,645 ~ ~ ~
My spirit was ulcerated at this; I saw approaching the complete re-establishment of the bastards; my heart was cleft in twain, to see the Regent at the heels of his unworthy minister.
~ ~ ~ Sentence 15,891 ~ ~ ~
Here and there he credulously interrupted her with questions, the better to entrap her; then, drawing near her, he told her she was a liar, a hussy, a harlot, and repeated to her, word for word, her conversation with the King!
~ ~ ~ Sentence 15,982 ~ ~ ~
Feeling, therefore, that the King, hopelessly estranged from her, and consenting to give liberty to Lauzun only from his passion for elevating and enriching his bastards, would not cease to persecute her until she had consented--despairing of better terms, she agreed to the gift, with the most bitter tears and complaints.
~ ~ ~ Sentence 15,986 ~ ~ ~
This firmness did not suit the King, intent upon the fortune of his well- beloved bastard.