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The Memoirs of Louis XIV

Madame Elizabeth-Charlotte Of Bavaria, Duchesse D'
Orleans
If my father had loved me as well as I loved him he would never have sent me into a
country so dangerous as this, to which I came through pure obedience and against my
own inclination. Here duplicity passes for wit, and frankness is looked upon as folly. I am
neither cunning nor mysterious. I am often told I lead too monotonous a life, and am
asked why I do not take a part in certain affairs. This is frankly the reason: I am old; I
stand more in need of repose than of agitation, and I will begin nothing that I cannot,
easily finish. I have never learned to govern; I am not conversant with politics, nor with
state affairs, and I am now too far advanced in years to learn things so difficult. My son, I
thank God, has sense enough, and can direct these things without me; besides, I should
excite too much the jealousy of his wife--[Marie- Francoise de Bourbon, the legitimate
daughter of Louis XIV. and of Madame de Montespan, Duchesse d'Orleans.]--and his
eldest daughter,--[Marie- Louise-Elizabeth d'Orleans, married on the 17th of July, 1710,
to Charles of France, Duc de Berri.]--whom he loves better than me; eternal quarrels
would ensue, which would not at all suit my views. I have been tormented enough, but I
have always forborne, and have endeavoured to set a proper example to my, son's wife
and his daughter; for this kingdom has long had the misfortune to be too much governed
by women, young and old. It is high time that men should now assume the sway, and this
is the reason which has determined me not to intermeddle. In England, perhaps, women
may reign without inconvenience; in France, men alone should do so, in order that things
may go on well. Why should I torment myself by day and by night? I seek only peace and
repose; all that were mine are dead. For whom should I care? My time is past. I must try
to live smoothly that I may die tranquilly; and in great public affairs it is difficult, indeed,
to preserve one's conscience spotless.
I was born at Heidelberg (1652), in the seventh month. I am unquestionably very ugly; I
have no features; my eyes are small, my nose is short and thick, my lips long and flat.
These do not constitute much of a physiognomy. I have great hanging cheeks and a large
face; my stature is short and stout; my body and my thighs, too, are short, and, upon the
whole, I am truly a very ugly little object. If I had not a good heart, no one could endure
me. To know whether my eyes give tokens of my possessing wit, they must be examined
with a microscope, or it will be difficult to judge. Hands more ugly than mine are not
perhaps to be found on the whole globe. The King has often told me so, and has made me
laugh at it heartily; for, not being able to flatter even myself that I possessed any one
thing which could be called pretty, I resolved to be the first to laugh at my own ugliness;
this has succeeded as well as I could have wished, and I must confess that I have seldom
been at a loss for something to laugh at. I am naturally somewhat melancholy; when
anything happens to afflict me, my left side swells up as if it were filled with water. I am
not good at lying in bed; as soon as I awake I must get up. I seldom breakfast, and then
only on bread and butter. I take neither chocolate, nor coffee, nor tea, not being able to
endure those foreign drugs. I am German in all my habits, and like nothing in eating or
drinking which is not conformable to our old customs. I eat no soup but such as I can take
with milk, wine, or beer. I cannot bear broth; whenever I eat anything of which it forms a
 
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