The Memoirs of Louis XIV HTML version
The Duke Of Burgundy, The Second Dauphin
He was quite humpbacked. I think this proceeded from his having been made to carry a
bar of iron for the purpose of keeping himself upright, but the weight and inconvenience
of which had had a contrary effect. I often said to the Duke de Beauvilliers he had very
good parts, and was sincerely pious, but so weak as to let his wife rule him like a child. In
spite of his good sense, she made him believe whatever she chose. She lived upon very
good terms with him, but was not outrageously fond, and did not love him better than
many other persons; for the good gentleman had a very disagreeable person, and his face
was not the most beautiful. I believe, however, she was touched with his great affection
for her; and indeed it would be impossible for a man to entertain a more fervent passion
than he did for his wife. Her wit was agreeable, and she could be very pleasant when she
chose: her gaiety dissipated the melancholy which sometimes seized upon the devout
Dauphin. Like almost all humpbacked men, he had a great passion for women; but at the
same time was so pious that he feared he committed a grievous sin in looking at any other
than his own wife; and he was truly in love with her. I saw him once, when a lady had
told him that he had good eyes, squint immediately that he might appear ugly. This was
really an unnecessary trouble; for the good man was already sufficiently plain, having a
very ill-looking mouth, a sickly appearance, small stature, and a hump at his back.
He had many good qualities: he was charitable, and had assisted several officers
unknown to any one. He certainly died of grief for the loss of his wife, as he had
predicted. A learned astrologer of Turin, having cast the nativity of the Dauphine, told
her that she would die in her twenty-seventh year.
She often spoke of it, and said one day to her husband, "The time is approaching when I
shall die; you cannot remain without a wife as well on account of your rank as your piety;
tell me, then, I beg of you, whom you will marry?"
"I hope," he replied, "that God will not inflict so severe a punishment on me as to deprive
me of you; but if this calamity should befall me, I shall not marry again, for I shall follow
you to the grave in a week."
This happened exactly as he said it would; for, on the seventh day after his wife's death,
he died also. This is not a fiction, but perfectly true.
While the Dauphine was in good health and spirits she often said, "I must enjoy myself
now. I shall not be able to do so long, for I shall die this year."
I thought it was only a joke, but it turned out to be too true. When she fell sick she said
she should never recover.