The Memoirs of Louis XIV
The Queen--Consort Of Louis XIV
Our Queen was excessively ignorant, but the kindest and most virtuous woman in the
world; she had a certain greatness in her manner, and knew how to hold a Court
extremely well. She believed everything the King told her, good or bad. Her teeth were
very ugly, being black and broken. It was said that this proceeded from her being in the
constant habit of taking chocolate; she also frequently ate garlic. She was short and fat,
and her skin was very white. When she was not walking or dancing she seemed much
taller. She ate frequently and for a long time; but her food was always cut in pieces as
small as if they were for a singing bird. She could not forget her country, and her
manners were always remarkably Spanish. She was very fond of play; she played basset,
reversis, ombre, and sometimes a little primero; but she never won because she did not
know how to play.
She had such as affection for the King that she used to watch his eyes to do whatever
might be agreeable to him; if he only looked at her kindly she was in good spirits for the
rest of the day. She was very glad when the King quitted his mistresses for her, and
displayed so much satisfaction that it was commonly remarked. She had no objection to
being joked upon this subject, and upon such occasions used to laugh and wink and rub
her little hands.
One day the Queen, after having conversed for half-an-hour with the Prince Egon de
Furstemberg,--[Cardinal Furstemberg, Bishop of Strasbourg.]--took me aside and said to
me, "Did you know what M. de Strasbourg has been saying? I have not understood him at
A few minutes afterwards the Bishop said to me, "Did your Royal Highness hear what
the Queen said to me? I have not comprehended a single word."
"Then," said I, "why did you answer her."
"I thought," he replied, "that it would have been indecorous to have appeared not to
understand Her Majesty."
This made me laugh so much that I was obliged precipitately to quit the Chamber.
The Queen died of an abscess under her arm. Instead of making it burst, Fagon, who was
unfortunately then her physician, had her blooded; this drove in the abscess, the disorder
attacked her internally, and an emetic, which was administered after her bleeding, had the
effect of killing the Queen.
The surgeon who blooded her said, "Have you considered this well, Sir? It will be the
death of my Mistress!"
Fagon replied, "Do as I bid you."