The Memoirs of Louis XIV HTML version
Philippe I., Duc D'orleans
Cardinal Mazarin perceiving that the King had less readiness than his brother, was
apprehensive lest the latter should become too learned; he therefore enjoined the
preceptor to let him play, and not to suffer him to apply to his studies.
"What can you be thinking of, M. la Mothe le Vayer," said the Cardinal; "would you try
to make the King's brother a clever man? If he should be more wise than his brother, he
would not be qualified for implicit obedience."
Never were two brothers more totally different in their appearance than the King and
Monsieur. The King was tall, with light hair; his mien was good and his deportment
manly. Monsieur, without having a vulgar air, was very small; his hair and eye-brows
were quite black, his eyes were dark, his face long and narrow, his nose large, his mouth
small, and his teeth very bad; he was fond of play, of holding drawing-rooms, of eating,
dancing and dress; in short, of all that women are fond of. The King loved the chase,
music and the theatre; my husband rather affected large parties and masquerades: his
brother was a man of great gallantry, and I do not believe my husband was ever in love
during his life. He danced well, but in a feminine manner; he could not dance like a man
because his shoes were too high-heeled. Excepting when he was with the army, he would
never get on horseback. The soldiers used to say that he was more afraid of being sun-
burnt and of the blackness of the powder than of the musket-balls; and it was very true.
He was very fond of building. Before he had the Palais Royal completed, and particularly
the grand apartment, the place was, in my opinion, perfectly horrible, although in the
Queen-mother's time it had been very much admired. He was so fond of the ringing of
bells that he used to go to Paris on All Souls' Day for the purpose of hearing the bells,
which are rung during the whole of the vigils on that day he liked no other music, and
was often laughed at for it by his friends. He would join in the joke, and confess that a
peal of bells delighted him beyond all expression. He liked Paris better than any other
place, because his secretary was there, and he lived under less restraint than at Versailles.
He wrote so badly that he was often puzzled to read his own letters, and would bring
them to me to decipher them.
"Here, Madame," he used to say, laughing, "you are accustomed to my writing; be so
good as to read me this, for I really cannot tell what I have been writing." We have often
laughed at it.
He was of a good disposition enough, and if he had not yielded so entirely to the bad
advice of his favourites, he would have been the best master in the world. I loved him,
although he had caused me a great deal of pain; but during the last three years of his life
that was totally altered. I had brought him to laugh at his own weakness, and even to take
jokes without caring for them. From the period that I had been calumniated and accused,
he would suffer no one again to annoy me; he had the most perfect confidence in me, and
took my part so decidedly, that his favourites dared not practise against me. But before