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easy to restore peace to all Europe than the suffering that he had inflicted upon between two women, and that we took the gentle spirit of her who had passed fire upon trifles.”
away, to which among the women whom Assisted by Louvois, Madame de he loved or had loved could he turn for Montespan sought out and resuscitated consolation with so free a conscience as all the ancient scandals which had been to her whom Maria-Theresa had called promulgated against the widow Scarron. friend? There are no grounds for beWriting to her brother about this time, lieving that this communion ever exceedMadame de Maintenon says : "All are ed the bounds of propriety. That Louis mad against me, and do everything in frequently importuned her is past a doubt, their power to injure me : if they do not but she who could at fifteen become the succeed, we shall laugh at them; if they wife of the paralytic cripple Scarron was do, we will endure with fortitude." Deter- not likely to yield to passion at forty-five. mined, strong-minded, prepared for either Yet while she drew back from such adfortune, she calmly faced her enemies —vances, she did not finally reject them, and conquered. In testimony of his dis- as is proved by the following line, which belief in the vile stories circulated, Louis occurs in one of her letters: “I send created her, in 1680, second lady in wait- him away always afflicted, but never in ing to the Dauphine. One of the first despair." Thus she strengthened her uses she made of this position was to empire over his fickle affections, and win the assistance of that princess to tempted him into a more honourable bring about a permanent separation be- mode of gratifying them. tween the King and his mistress.
From the hour in which the Queen Her star was now in full ascendant ; died, Madame de Maintenon proposed to the esteemed and honored friend of the herself but one object in life — to beQueen and the Dauphine, and the com- come the wife of Louis the Fourteenth. panion for four or five hours each even- And in that object there is little doubt ing of the King, who took great pleasure but that she succeeded. Here is Saintin her conversation, so admirable for its Simon's testimony: well-chosen language, its sagacity, terseness, great knowledge of the world, and He, the King, passed the first days after the brilliant wit, the whole so intoned with Queen's death at St. Cloud, at Monsieur's reverential piety. Added to these charms whence he went to Fontainebleau, where he of the mind were the well-preserved re- spent the autumn. On his return, it is said, mains of her youthful beauty, an infinite for it is necessary to distinguish what is cer?
tain from what is not, that the King spoke grace and ease of demeanor, and a certain pleasing deference of manner which that she, venturing to try her power, skilfully
more freely to Madame de Maintenon, and she had acquired in her days of poverty, entrenched herself behind her prudery and and which she still displayed in the royal devotion ; that the King was not discouraged; presence.
that she preached to him, and put him in fear This was the period of Louis's amour of the devil, and that she played his love and with Mademoiselle de Fontanges, which her conscience with so much' art one against the death of that lady terminated within the other that she brought to pass that which a year. It does not appear that Madame our eyes have seen, but which posterity will dé Maintenon's moral sense was in
refuse to believe. But what is very certain and
any way, shocked by this intrigue ; nay, it very true is, that in the middle of the winter
whích followed the Queen's death, a thing would seem that she rather rejoiced at it, which posterity will scarcely credit, although as a further loosening of the bonds which perfectly true and authenticated, Father la held him to De Montespan. Had the Chaise, the King's confessor, performed mass young girl lived, her reign would have at midnight in one of the King's cabinets at been brief, for although exceedingly Versailles. Bontems, governor of Versailles, beautiful, she was inanely insipid, and first valet de chambre in waiting, and the most being so could never have obtained any in the King's confidence of the four, served permanent influence over the King. Such this mass where the monarch and Maintenon rivals troubled not De Maintenon, in were married, in the presence of Harlay, whose designs passion found no place; both of whom had' obtained a promise from
archbishop of Paris, as diocesan, of Lourois, she aspired only to govern his mind.
the King that he would never acknowledge In 1683 the Queen, who had conceived this marriage, and of Montchevreuil, as the a great regard for De Maintenon, died in third witness. * that lady's arms.
This created a new tie to still further attach her to the King: # As a further confirmation of this fact I subjoin a Smote with remorse by the memory of " letter, still preserved in the library of the Louvre Madame de Maintenon erased from now the fashion to sneer at that agnomen, her carriage the arms of her first hus. Louis was in those days a great king: band, substituting her own in their place. But the third epoch was one of gloom and Apartments were given her at the top of disaster ; Condé and Turenne were gone, the grand staircase, opposite those of the and victory no longer attended their King; here he passed several hours of country's arms ; Colbert was dead: that each day, and wherever he went she was great genius who, after the devastating lodged near him. Ministers, generals, civil wars, had rescued France from the royal family, all were at her feet; bankruptcy, revived her trade, given such affairs of state, of justice, of religion, all an impetus to her manufactures as they were in her hands. “What she was ; had never known before, and raised her how she governed without interruption, finances from the lowest to the highest without obstacle, without the lightest condition of prosperity; and Louvois, cloud, more than thirty entire years, and that impetuous war-counselling minister even thirty-two, is the incomparable spec- to whom France owed many troubles, but tacle which has been presented to the who, in spite of many failings, was still a eyes of all Europe.”'
great man, followed soon afterwards. For a time, unable to realize her down-And none were left to fill the places they fall, Madame de Montespan still lin- had left vacant. gered about the Court, wearing away her And so with a scared conscience, with heart with the sight of her rival's triumph, a haunting feeling of an ill-spent life, the until that rival, weary of her reproachful present darkened by the dread shadow of presence, backed by the authority of the the hereafter, the greatness of his youth King, signified to her that she had better fading day by day as the faithful old serretire from the Court altogether ; and, to vants dropped one by one, Louis became give a sharper edge to the harsh message, the mere tool of the priests and of a Madame de Maintenon caused it to be priest-ridden ambitious woman. What conveyed to her by her own son the Duc but evil could come out of the influence de Maine. She died at Bourbon in the of such counsellors ? Against the Huyear 1707 at the age of sixty-six, being, it guenots, left in peace for many years by is said, even then in almost full posses- the Edict of Nantes, and now forming sion of her matchless beauty.
the most industrious, intelligent, and This secret marriage may be said to some of the wealthiest portion of the commence the third and last epoch of population, were their machinations first the reign of Louis the Fourteenth. The directed. They danced the cloven feet first was troubled and obscured by the and the horns before the eyes of the Fronde and the rebellion of the princes superstitious King, and persuaded him of the blood ; the second was the greatest that the only way to avoid them and to in French history, great in the splendour get to heaven was to root out heresy ; of its court, the grandeur of its King, the they flattered his worldly pride by pointnobleness of its literature, the commanding out to him the giory which would ing talents of its generals and ministers, attach itself to his name by accomplishthe successes of its arms. France mighting a feat that had surpassed all the powwell in after years look back with melan- er of his predecessors; they painted the choly pride upon that brilliant period Huguenots in the blackest colours, reand epithetize the central figure as “la minded him of their revolts, their foreign Grande Monarque”; for much as it is alliances, how they had imposed laivs
upon their kings, and how by destroying (Archives de Noailles), written to her by Paul, bishup their power he would be more than ever of Chartres :
absolute in authority, since at present “ Love the King with all your heart, be submissive to they, by their different usages and relihim as Sara was to Abraham. God has ordained that gion, formed, as it were, a state within a ihe place of queens, and yet you shall not have any state. And he listened to the counsel of more freedom than a citizen's wife. Tender yourself to these wretched bigots, and the spirit of chosen you for his consolation and to obey him. The persecution was sent abroad. Little by King still regards virtue too much as an austere and little the Protestants were deprived of disagreeable ihing; but when he beholds it personified their civil rights. Bodies of troops, acperfect innocence, cheerfulness of spirit, and an ardent companied by a locust swarm of monks, devotion to good works, God will give him the grace to overspread the land, compelled the Protan unholy inan ; what then will she be to a Christian!" estants to renounce their faith, and put Such words could have been written by such a man to death their preachers. But this was only to awife.
only the beginning : such crumbs of persecution did not satisfy the ravening maws The King, to again quote his words, reof these worthy apostles of the merciful ceived from all parts the news of these per
Those who had Saviour; and on the 23d of October, 1685, secutions and conversions. the King struck a blow against her great- abjured and received the communion were ness and prosperity, from which, even at in one place, six thousand in another. The
counted to him by thousands — two thousand the present day, France has never wholly King applauded his power and his piety. He recovered. It was on that day that, yield- believed that the days of the preachings of the ing at last to the solicitations of his de- Apostles had returned, and attributed to himvout wife, and his confessor la Chaise, he self all the honour. The bishops wrote panerevoked the Edict of Nantes, blotted out gyrics upon him, the Jesuits made the pulpits all the previous glory of his reign, and resound with his praises. All France vas raised for himself á hideous, blood- filled with horror and confusion, with triumph stained monument in the Pantheon of and joy and eulogy. The King entertained no bigots.
doubt of the sincerity of those conversions, the The effects of this act of criminal mad- bishops took care that he should not, and
beatified him beforehand. He swallowed this ness are thus eloquently depicted by poison in deep draughts. He believed that he Saint-Simon :
had never been so great in men's eyes, had The revocation of the Edict of Nantes, never done so much in God's eyes to atone for without the least pretext and without any need his sins and the scandals of his life. and the various proscriptions, rather than proclamations, which followed, were the fruits All the mistresses with whom he had of that abominable conspiracy which depopu- lived in sin had never wrought a tithe lated a fourth of the kingdom, ruined its com- part of the mischief brought about by merce, weakened it in all its parts, delivered it this devout wife. Only one thing was over to the pillage of dragoons, who au wanted to content Madame de Maiathorized the torments and punishments by tenon's most ambitious aspirations which thousands of innocent people of both
of the public acknowledgment of her sexes perished; which ruined a great body of the population, destroyed a world of families, marriage ; but to this Louis, guided armed kinsmen against kinsmen to rob each to a great extent by the councils of Bosother of their possessions and to leave the suet and Fénélon, would not consent. weakest to die of hunger; which sent away our Finding that point not to be gained, she, manufactures to foreign nations, causing them with her usual prudence, freely abanto flourish at the expense of our own, raising doned it, and by this self-sacrificing resamong them new cities, which presented the ignation established a further claim upon picture of a vast body of people, proscribed, his love and confidence. naked, fugitive, outcasts, without crime, seeking an asylum far from their native land; and severe ; even the King's daughters
In private her conduct was haughty which sent the noble, the wealthy, the old people, esteemed for their piety, their learn- approached her with fear and trembling, ing, their virtue, people bred in every com- and quitted her presence seldom without fort, weak, delicate, to the galleys, in order tears. She received but few people, that there might be only one religion! in fine, visited fewer. It was more difficult to which filled the provinces of the kingdom with obtain an audience with her than with perjury and sacrilege and with the groans of Majesty itself. When she was at Verthose unfortunate victims of error, while many sailles, people, even of the greatest conothers sacrificed their consciences to their pos: sequence, who desired speech with her, sessions and repose, and purchased both by could obtain it only by watching for her pretended abjurations, which compelled them to worship that in which they had no belief, egress or ingress, and even then it was and to receive in reality the divine body of the of the briefest. Her usual daily routine holy of holies while they were still firmly con
was as follows: upon rising, after having vinced that they were eating only bread, which performed her devotions, she would go it was still their duty to abhor. Such was the away to St.-Cyr, a magnificent conventgeneral abomination, born of flattery and ual establishment, which she had foundcruelty.
ed in Paris for the education of young He goes on to say how the bishops girls. There she would dine alone in her lent themselves to this impious work, apartment or with some favourite of the and used every means to swell the num- house ; dispense her charities, which ber of their pretended converts in order were very large, amounting to between to gain for themselves the reward and fifty and sixty thousand livres a year: consideration of the Court; and how in- read and reply to the enormous mass of tendants, lieutenants, governors, soldiers, letters she daily received, principally pursued the same course for the same upon church affairs, and, these desobject.
patched, return in time to receive the King at the hour in which he was accus- any particular person. But the minister tomed to visit her apartments. At nine had received his instructions beforehand, o'clock she partook of a light supper, for he cared make no proposition preafter which her women put her to bed, vious to having consulted her. Then and that in the presence of the King and followed much finessing between the two, any one of the ministers with whom he she still appearing perfectly unconcerned might be engaged that evening, and who and impartial, and yet almost invariably still continued their work as before. At contriving to gain her proposed point; ten the King went to supper, the curtains and it was thus that three-fourths of the of the bed were drawn, and Madame de business of the State was decided Maintenon was left to her repose. When Louis imagined, by his sole authority, present at the Court dinners her man- but in reality it was by hers. ners were singularly unassuming, ceding Little by little a sad change came over the first places not only to Monseigneur, the Court of France; the dark shadows to Monsieur, and to the English Court, of remorse and fanaticism wbich haunted but even to ladies not of royal blood. the King overspread its atmosphere and
The King always showed her the extinguished its brilliancy. Even from greatest respect, more especially during ! De Maintenon herself, the creator of this their, promenades and rides in the gar- ; régime, a querulous plaint burst forth at dens of Marly. Saint-Simon says:
times. In one of her later letters she He would have been a hundred times more ! says (writing of her royal spouse), “ I am free with the Queen, and with less gallantry, obliged to endure his griefs, his "silence, It was a respect the most marked, although in his vapours ; he often sheds tears, which the midst of the Court. Their carriages
he cannot repress, when he feels greatly moved along side by side, for she seldom sat
troubled. He has no conversation.' in the King's chariot, in which he sat alone, The courtiers were dull and half dead while she used a sedan chair. If the Dau- with ennui. Literature lost its joyousphine, or the Duchess du Berry, or the King's ness ; Molière was dead ; Corneille, his daughters were in the suite they followed or genius passed away, wrote lugubriously; gathered about the conveyances on foot; or if La Fontaine pretended devotion, transthey rode in the carriages with the ladies in lated the Scriptures, wrote commentaries waiting they still remained in the rear. King frequently walked beside her chair, upon them, and penned an extravagant always uncovered and stooping when ad eulogy upon the revocation of the Edict dressing her or listening to her. "At the end of Nantes. Racine, however, was in the of the promenade he conducted her as far as height of his fame; he was De Maintethe house, took leave of her and continued his non's poet. It was for the use of her eswalk or ride.
tablishment at St.-Cyr that he wrote
“ Athalie ” and “Esther.” * But, with As she grew older she took up her her customary heartless selfishness, she abode at Marly, and no longer appeared abandoned “ her poet” in his disgrace. in public ; “and when by chance one
Darker and darker grew the clouds caught sight of her, one could see noth- that lowered over the closing years of ing but hoods and black wrappings.
that long eventful reign. Domestic In her chamber, on either side of the troubles, the terrible and mysterious fireplace, there were two arm-chairs : one deaths of the Dauphin and Dauphine, for herself
, the other for the King; be- the plots and cabals of the bastards and fore each was a table, and in front of the the legitimists, an empty treasury, a begKing's table were two stools, one of gared people, villages depopulated by which was for the attending minister to war and by the Huguenot exodus, weak sit upon, the other for his bag. On bus- ministers, incapable generals ; the crushiness days the royal pair were alone to-ing defeats of Hochstadt, Ramilies, Turin, gether but a very short time before the Oudenarde, Malplaquet; France, stripped minister arrived, and a still shorter time of her conquests, suing for peace; the after he had left. During these councils King, broken in health, devoured by reMadame de Maintenon read or worked upon tapestry, heard all that passed, but ered, rheumatic 'old woman, cowering
morse, insidiously governed by a withrarely spoke. Sometimes the King would over the fire in the gloomy cell-like ask her advice, which she gave with great chamber at Marly, querulously complaincircumspection. She never appeared to ing, weeping, groaning. What a change have any bias, or to interest herself for
In the latter production she herself figured as Saint-Simon.
Esther, de Montespan as Vashti, Louvois as Aman.
from the France of Colbert, of Condé,
From Blackwood's Magazine. and Turenne! What a change from the
THE PARISIANS. lover of la Vallière and De Montespan !
BY LORD LYTTON.
CHAPTER I During the sad time Madame de Mainte- GRAHAM VANE had heard nothing for non showed little or no sensibility ; her months from M. Renard, when one morneyes were dry, her face cold and resigned. ing he received the letter I translate :A Catholic by profession, and doubtless by conviction, she was by nature a Cal
“ MONSIEUR, - I am happy to inform vinist -- cold, sour, fatalistic. Four days you that I have at last obtained one piece before the King's death she left him and of information which may lead to a more retired to St.-Cyr. He took this much to important discovery. When we parted heart, and never ceased asking for her after our fruitless research in Vienna, we until she was compelled to return. Two
had both concurred in the persuasion, days after his death she was again at St.- that for some reason known only to the Cyr, calmly arranging her chamber and two ladies themselves, Madame Marigny superintending the affairs of the estab- and Madame Duval had exchanged lishment as if nothing had happened.
names that it was Madame Marigny Beyond a few of his immediate attend
who had deceased in the name of ants Louis was little regrerted, even by Madame Duval, and Madame Duval who his own children. The nation • trembled survived in that of Marigny. with joy.” Overwhelmed with taxation,
" It was clear to me that the beau Noncrushed beneath the horrors of unceasing sieur who had visited the false Dural war, the despairing people offered up must have been cognizant of this exthanks to God for their deliverance; a
change of name, and that if his name and hideous nightmare, a nightmare of priest- whereabouts could be ascertained, he, in craft, of war, of famine, seemed to have all probability, would know what had been lifted from off them. Louis had become of the lady who is the object of outlived his age.
our research ; and after the lapse of so From the day that she finally returned many years he would probably have very to St.-Cyr her foot never again passed slight motive to preserve that concealbeyond 'its gloomy cloisters. Orleans ment of facts which might, no doubt, continued her pension to the last ; but in have been convenient at the time. The the hour that Louis passed away her star lover of the soi-disant Mademoiselle Duwas extinguished, and the great world va! was by such accounts as we could thought of her no more.
She received gain a man of some rank - very possibly but few visitors, only those with whom a married man; and the liaison, in short, she had been intimate at Marly. The was one of those which, while they last, Duc de Maine, however, spent three or
necessitate precautions and secrecy. four hours with her in each week, and
“ Therefore, dismissing all attempts at her affection for him never cooled.' She further trace of the missing lady, I redied in 1719, at the age of eighty-four.
selved to return to Vienna as soon as the And for such a life and for such an
business that recalled me to Paris was end, unloving and unloved, she had lied, concluded, and devote myself exclusive. and schemed, and betrayed, repressed ly to the search after the amorous and every natural instinct, and played the mysterious Monsieur. hypocrite, for forty years! The game
** I did not state this determination to was scarcely worth the candle.
you, because, possibly, I might be in
error - or, if not in error, at least too She had shown a similar callousness at the death of sanguine in my expectations - and it is the Dauphine, to whom she had always pretended to be best to avoid disappointing an honourgreatly attached. She was at St.-Cyr during the agony able client. of that unfortunate princess, although she was well aware that a fatal termination to her illness was immi
“ One thing was clear, that, at the time nent. When the Duchess and afterwards the Duke of of the soi-disant Duval's decease, the Burgundy were attacked with scarlet fever the King at- beau Monsieur was at Vienna. tended upon both until the last hour, but Madame de Maintenon was not with them.
“ It appeared also tolerably clear that when the lady friend of the deceased quitted Munich so privately, it was to Vienna she repaired, and from Vienna