THE MEMOIRS OF MADAME DE MONTESPAN - V3
THE MEMOIRS OF MADAME DE MONTESPAN - V3
MADAME LA MARQUISE DE MONTESPAN
Written by Herself
Being the Historic Memoirs of the Court of Louis XIV.
M. de Lauzun and Mademoiselle de Montpensier.--Marriage of the One and
Passion of the Other.--The King Settles a Match.--A Secret Union.--
The King Sends M. de Lauzun to Pignerol.--The Life He Leads There.--
Mademoiselle's Liberality.--Strange Way of Acknowledging It.
They are forever talking about the coquetry of women; men also have their
coquetry but as they show less grace and finesse than we do they do not
get half as much attention.
The Marquis de Lauzun having one day noticed a certain kindly feeling
for him in the glances of Mademoiselle endeavoured to seem to her every
day more fascinating and agreeable. The foolish Princess completely fell
into the snare and suddenly giving up her air of noble indifference
which till then had made her life happy she fell madly in love with a
schemer who despised and detested her.
Held back for some months by her pride as also by the exigencies of
etiquette she only disclosed her sentimental passion by glances and a
mutual exchange of signs of approval; but at last she was tired of self-
restraint and martyrdom and detaining M. de Lauzun one day in a recess
she placed her written offer of marriage in his hand.
The cunning Marquis feigned astonishment pretending humbly to renounce
such honour while increasing his wiles and fascinations; he even went so
far as to shed tears his most difficult feat of all.
Mademoiselle de Montpensier older than he by twelve or fourteen years
never suspected that such a disparity of years was visible in her face.
When one has been pretty one imagines that one is still so and will
forever remain so. Plastered up and powdered consumed by passion and
above all blinded by vanity she fancied that Nature had to obey
princes and that to favour her Time would stay his flight.
Though tired and bored with everything Lauzun the better to excite her
passion put on timid languid airs like those of some lad fresh from
school. Quitting the embraces of some other woman he played the lonely
pensive melancholy bachelor the man absorbed by this sweet new mystery
Having made mutual avowal of their passion which was fill of esteem
Lauzun inquired merely from motives of caution as to the Princess's
fortune; and she did not fail to tell him everything even about her
plate and jewels. Lauzun's love grew even more ardent now for she had
at least forty millions not counting her palace.
He asked if by the marriage he would become a prince and she replied
that she herself had not sufficient power to do this; that she was most
anxious to arrange this if she could; but anyhow that she could make
him Duc de Montpensier with a private uncontrolled income of five
hundred thousand livres.
He asked if on the family coat-of-arms the husband's coronet was to
figure or the wife's; but as she would not change her name her arms
she decided could remain as heretofore--the crown the fleur-de-lis
and so forth.
He inquired if the children of the marriage would rank as princes and
she said that she saw nothing to prevent this. He also asked if he would
be raised higher in the peerage and might look to being made a prince at
last and styled Highness as soon as the contract had been signed.
This caused some doubt and reflection. "The King my cousin" said
Mademoiselle "is somewhat strict in matters of this sort. He seems to
think that the royal family is a new arch-saint at whom one may look
only when prostrate in adoration; all contract therewith is absolutely
forbidden. I begin to feel uneasy about this; yes Lauzun I have fears
for our love and marriage."
"Are you then afraid?" asked Lauzun quite crestfallen.
"I knew how to point the Bastille cannon at the troops of the King" she
replied; "but he was very young then. No matter I will go and see him;
if he is my King I am his cousin; if he has his crotchets I have my
love and my will. He can't do anything my dear Lauzun; I love you as
once he loved La Valliere as to-day he loves Montespan; I am not afraid
of him. As for the permission I know our history by heart and I will
prove to him by a hundred examples that from the time of Charlemagne up
to the present time widows and daughters of kings have married mere
noblemen. These nobleman may have been most meritorious--I only know
them from history--but not one of them was as worthy as you."
So saying she asked for her fan her gloves and her horses and
attended by her grooms-in-waiting she went to the King in person.
The King listened to her from beginning to end and then remarked "You
refused the Kings of Denmark Portugal Spain and England and you wish
to marry my captain of the guard the Marquis de Lauzun?"
"Yes Sire for I place him above all monarchs--yourself alone
"Do you love him immensely?"
"More than I can possibly say; a thousand a hundred thousand times more
"Do you think he is equally devoted to you?"--"That would be impossible"
she tranquilly answered; "but his love for me is delicate tender; and
such friendship suffices me."
"My cousin in all that there is self-interest. I entreat you to
reflect. The world as you know is a mocking world; you want to excite