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The Memoirs of Louis XIV

The Duchesse Du Maine, Louise-Benoite, Daughter Of
Henri-Jules De Conde
Madame du Maine is not taller than a child ten years old, and is not well made. To appear
tolerably well, it is necessary for her to keep her mouth shut; for when she opens it, she
opens it very wide, and shows her irregular teeth. She is not very stout, uses a great
quantity of paint, has fine eyes, a white skin, and fair hair. If she were well disposed, she
might pass, but her wickedness is insupportable.
She has good sense, is accomplished, and can talk agreeably on most subjects. This
brings about her a host of learned men and wits. She flatters the discontented very
adroitly, and says all ill things of my son. This is the secret by which she has made her
party. Her husband is fond of her, and she in turn piques herself upon her love for him;
but I should be sorry to swear to her sincerity. This at least is certain, that she rules the
Duc du Maine absolutely. As he holds several offices, he can provide for a great number
of persons, either in the regiment of Guards, of which he is General; or in the Artillery, of
which he is Grand Master; or in the Carabineers, where he appoints all the officers;
without reckoning his regiments, by which he attracts a great number of persons.
Madame du Maine's present lover is the Cardinal de Polignac; but she has, besides, the
first Minister and some young men. The Cardinal is accused of having assisted in the
refutation of Fitz-Morris's letters, although he has had this very year (1718) a long
interview with my son, and has sworn never to engage in anything against his interests,
notwithstanding his attachment to the Duchesse du Maine.
The Comte d'Albert, who was here last winter, took some pains to make himself
agreeable to Madame du Maine, and succeeded so well as to make the Cardinal de
Polignac very jealous. He followed them masked to a ball; but upon seeing the Duchess
and the Count tete-a-tete, he could not contain his anger this betrayed him; and when the
people learned that a Cardinal had been seen at a masked ball it caused them great
Her being arrested threw Madame du Maine into such a transport of rage that she was
near choking, and only recovered herself by slow degrees.
[The Marquis d'Ancenis, Captain of the Guards, who came early in the morning to arrest
the Princess, had supped with her on the preceding evening, when he entered, the.
Duchess cried out to him, "Mon Dieu! what have I done to you, that you should wake me
so early?" The chief domestics of the household were taken to the Bastille or to
Vincennes; the Prince of Dombes and the Comte d'Eu were carried to Eu.]