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The Memoirs of Louis XIV
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Mademoiselle De Valois, Charlotte-Aglae, Consort Of
The Prince Of Modena
Mademoiselle de Valois is not, in my opinion, pretty, and yet occasionally she does not
look ugly. She has something like charms, for her eyes, her colour and her skin are good.
She has white teeth, a large, ill-looking nose, and one prominent tooth, which when she
laughs has a bad effect. Her figure is drawn up, her head is sunk between her shoulders,
and what, in my opinion, is the worst part of her appearance, is the ill grace with which
she does everything. She walks like an old woman of eighty. If she were a person not
very anxious to please, I should not be surprised at the negligence of her gait; but she
likes to be thought pretty. She is fond of dress, and yet she does not understand that a
good mien and graceful manners are the most becoming dress, and that where these are
wanting all the ornaments in the world are good for nothing. She has a good deal of the
Mortemart family in her, and is as much like the Duchess of Sforza, the sister of
Montespan, as if she were her daughter; the falsehood of the Mortemarts displays itself in
her eyes. Madame d'Orleans would be the most indolent woman in the world but for
Madame de Valois, her daughter, who is worse than she. To me nothing is more
disgusting than a young person so indolent. She cares little for me, or rather cannot bear
me, and, for my part, I care as little for a person so educated.
She is not upon good terms with her mother, because she wanted to marry her to the
Prince de Dombes, the Duc du Maine's eldest son. The mother says now reproachfully to
her daughter that, if she had married her nephew, neither his father's nor his own
misfortunes would have taken place. She cannot bear to have her daughter in her sight,
and has begged me to keep her with me.
My son has agreed to give his daughter to the Prince of Modem, at which I very sincerely
rejoice. On the day before yesterday (28th November, 1719) she came hither with her
mother to tell me that the courier had arrived. Her eyes were swollen and red, and she
looked very miserable. The Duchess of Hanover tells me that the intended husband fell in
love with Mademoiselle de Valois at the mere sight of her portrait. I think her rather
pretty than agreeable. Her hawk nose spoils all, in my opinion. Her legs are long, her
body stout and short, and her gait shows that she has not learnt to dance; in fact, she
never would learn. Still, if the interior was as good as the exterior, all might pass; but she
has as much of the father as of the mother in her, and this it is that I dislike.
Our bride-elect is putting, as we say here, as good a face as she can upon a bad bargain;
although her language is gay her eyes are swollen, and it is suspected that she has been
weeping all night. The Grand Prior, who is also General of the Galleys, will escort his
sister into Italy. The Grand Duchess of Tuscany says that she will not see Mademoiselle
de Valois nor speak to her, knowing very well what Italy is, and believing that
Mademoiselle de Valois will not be able to reconcile herself to it. She is afraid that if her
niece should ever return to France they will say, "There is the second edition of the Grand
Duchess; "and that for every folly she may commit towards her father-in-law and