The Memoirs of Louis XIV
Marie-Anne Christine Victoire Of Bavaria, The First
She was ugly, but her extreme politeness made her very agreeable. She loved the
Dauphin more like a son than a husband. Although he loved her very well, he wished to
live with her in an unceremonious manner, and she agreed to it to please him. I used often
to laugh at her superstitious devotion, and undeceived her upon many of her strange
opinions. She spoke Italian very well, but her German was that of the peasants of the
country. At first, when she and Bessola were talking together, I could not understand a
She always manifested the greatest friendship and confidence in me to the end of her
days. She was not haughty, but as it had become the custom to blame everything she did,
she was somewhat disdainful. She had a favourite called Bessola--a false creature, who
had sold her to Maintenon. But for the infatuated liking she had for this woman, the
Dauphine would have been much happier. Through her, however, she was made one of
the most wretched women in the world.
This Bessola could not bear that the Dauphine should speak to any person but herself: she
was mercenary and jealous, and feared that the friendship of the Dauphine for any one
else would discredit her with Maintenon, and that her mistress's liberality to others would
diminish that which she hoped to experience herself. I told this person the truth once, as
she deserved to be told, in the presence of the Dauphine; from which period she has
neither done nor said anything troublesome to me. I told the Dauphine in plain German
that it was a shame that she should submit to be governed by Bessola to such a degree
that she could not speak to whom she chose. I said this was not friendship, but a slavery,
which was the derision of the Court.
Instead of being vexed at this, she laughed, and said, "Has not everybody some
weakness? Bessola is mine."
This wench often put me in an ill-humour: at last I lost all patience, and could no longer
restrain myself. I would often have told her what I thought, but that I saw it would really
distress the poor Dauphine: I therefore restrained myself, and said to her, "Out of
complaisance to you, I will be silent; but give such orders that Bessola may not again
rouse me, otherwise I cannot promise but that I may say something she will not like."
The Dauphine thanked me affectionately, and thus more than ever engaged my silence.
When the Dauphine arrived from Bavaria, the fine Court of France was on the decline: it
was at the commencement of Maintenon's reign, which spoilt and degraded everything. It
was not, therefore, surprising that the poor Dauphine should regret her own country.
Maintenon annoyed her immediately after her marriage in such a manner as must have
excited pity. The Dauphine had made her own marriage; she had hoped to be