The Memoirs of Louis XIV
Anecdotes And Historical Particulars Relating To
Some horrible books had been written against Cardinal Mazarin, with which he pretended
to be very much enraged, and had all the copies bought up to be burnt. When he had
collected them all, he caused them to be sold in secret, and as if it were unknown to him,
by which contrivance he gained 10,000 crowns. He used to laugh and say, "The French
are delightful people; I let them sing and laugh, and they let me do what I will."
In Flanders it is the custom for the monks to assist at all fires. It appeared to me a very
whimsical spectacle to see monks of all colours, white, black and brown, running hither
and thither with their frocks tucked up and carrying pails.
The Chevalier de Saint George is one of the best men in the world, and complaisance
itself. He one day said to Lord Douglas, "What should I do to gain the good-will of my
countrymen?" Douglas replied, "Only embark hence with twelve Jesuits, and as soon as
you land in England hang every one of them publicly; you can do nothing so likely to
recommend you to the English people."
It is said that at one of the masked balls at the opera, a mask entered the box in which
were the Marechals de Villars and d'Estrees. He said to the former, "Why do you not go
below and dance?" The Marshal replied, "If I were younger I could, but not crippled as
you see I am."--"Oh, go down," rejoined the mask, "and the Marechal d'Estrees too; you
will cut so brilliant a figure, having both of you such large horns." At the same time he
put up his fingers in the shape of horns. The Marechal d'Estrees only laughed, but the
other was in a great rage and said, "You are a most insolent mask, and I do not know
what will restrain me from giving you a good beating."--"As to a good beating;" replied
the mask, "I can do a trifle in that way myself when necessary; and as for the insolence of
which you accuse me, it is sufficient for me to say that I am masked." He went away as
he said this, and was not seen again.
The King of Denmark has the look of a simpleton; he made love to my daughter while he
was here. When they were dancing he used to squeeze her hand, and turn up his eyes
languishingly. He would begin his minuet in one corner of the hall and finish it in
another. He stopped once in the middle of the hall and did not know what to do next. I
was quite uneasy at seeing him, so I got up and, taking his hand, led him away, or the
good gentleman might have strayed there until this time. He has no notion of what is
becoming or otherwise.
The Cardinal de Noailles is unquestionably a virtuous man; it would be a very good thing
if all the others were like him. We have here four of them, and each is of a different
character. Three of them resemble each other in a certain particular--they are as false as
counterfeit coin; in every other respect they are directly opposite. The Cardinal de
Polignac is well made, sensible, and insinuating, and his voice is very agreeable; but he