The Memoirs of Louis XIV
Philip V., King Of Spain
Louis XIV. wept much when his grandson set out for Spain. I could not help weeping,
too. The King accompanied him as far as Sceaux. The tears and lamentations in the
drawing-room were irresistible. The Dauphin was also deeply affected.
The King of Spain is very hunchbacked, and is not in other respects well made; but he is
bigger than his brothers. He has the best mien, good features, and fine hair. What is
somewhat singular, although his hair is very light, his eyes are quite black; his
complexion is clear red and white; he has an Austrian mouth; his voice is deep, and he is
singularly slow in speaking. He is a good and peaceable sort of a person, but a little
obstinate when he takes it in his head. He loves his wife above all things, leaves all
affairs to her, and never interferes in anything. He is very pious, and believes he should
be damned if he committed any matrimonial infidelity. But for his devotion he would be
a libertine, for he is addicted to women, and it is for this reason he is so fond of his wife.
He has a very humble opinion of his own merit. He is very easily led, and for this reason
the Queen will not lose sight of him. He receives as current truths whatever is told him by
persons to whom he is accustomed, and never thinks of doubting. The good gentleman
ought to be surrounded by competent persons, for his own wit would not carry him far;
but he is of a good disposition, and is one of the quietest men in the world. He is a little
melancholy, and there is nothing in Spain to make him gay.
He must know people before he will speak to them at all. If you desire him to talk you
must tease him and rally him a little, or he will not open his mouth. I have seen Monsieur
very impatient at his talking to me while he could not get a word from him. Monsieur did
not take the trouble to talk to him before he was a King, and then he wished him to speak
afterwards; that did not suit the King. He was not the same with me. In the apartment, at
table, or at the play, he used to sit beside me. He was very fond of hearing tales, and I
used to tell them to him for whole evenings: this made him well accustomed to me, and
he had always something to ask me. I have often laughed at the answer he made me when
I said to him, "Come, Monsieur, why do not you talk to your uncle, who is quite
distressed that you never speak to him."
"What shall I say to him?" he replied, "I scarcely know him."
It is quite true that the Queen of Spain was at first very fond of the Princesse des Ursins,
and that she grieved much when that Princess was dismissed for the first time. The story
that is told of the Confessor is also very true; only one circumstance is wanting in it, that
is, that the Duc de Grammont, then Ambassador, played the part of the Confessor, and it
was for this reason he was recalled.