Letters historical and gallant from two ladies of quality to each other; [manuscript].

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LETTERS HISTORICAL AND GALANT [GALLANT] By two ladies; the one in Paris, and the other in the country

THE FIRST VOLUME

LETTER 1. From Avignon

You are greatly mistaken, Madam, if you think there are no pleasures but in Paris; you are as much out as were the Greeks of old, who took all the world but themselves for barbarians. There are very polite people, I assure you in the places I rambled through since we parted. Nor do I think there can be a more agreeable part of the world to be a sojourner in than Avignon, where my husbands [husband's] affairs have detained me for some time.

This is an old city; it was formerly called Avenio, and belonged to the Counts of Tholouse [Toulouse?]. The Pope took it from Raymund [Raymond?] in the time of the Albigenses, and obtained the fee of it, and of the whole County of Venaissin of which it is the capital, from Joanna Queen of Naples and Countess of Provence, the daughter of Robert King of Sicily. The Popes resided here for sixty six years successively from Clement the Fifth, to Gregory the Eleventh, who was the eleventh Pope of Avignon that disputed St. Peter's succession with the Popes of Rome. The town is enchantingly situated. It's [Its] walls are washed by the Rhone. Without you see nothing but gardens and meadows, and magnificent buildings within. The best houses are those of Messieurs Montreal and Grillon. In the former is a gallery, where all the adventures in the romance of Chariclea are done by the best hands. Connoisseurs will tell you that Versailles has not finer pieces. Mr. Grillons [Grillon's] is somewhat more in the modern taste. But your acquaintance the Marquis of Essards has lately built a house that outdoes them all, the taste is so new and beautiful. Convents of either sex add to the embellishment of this charming city, which stands in the finest aire [air], and is under the mildest government in the world. Acknowleding [Acknowledging] none but the Pope's authority, which is exercised by a Vice-Legate, who is always a man of quality, and easy to be dealt with. The present Legate is Delfini a noble Venetian, and very polite. He is waiting for the Nunciature of France, and a Cardinal's hat, dignities to which this Vice-Legateship is generally a step. Imposts and capitations are not known here; every one is rich, and every thing breathes joy. The ladies are genteel, the men expensive, and gaming, that universal passion, is carried as far as you please. Besides peaceable parties of Ombre, you will have Bassette and Lansquenet in houses of quality, where numbers of both sexes assemble every afternoon, and may see fine ladies genteely dressed, some fretting at Lansquenet, others punting at Bassette, and others lolling on couches in gay chat with the polite chevaliers. Besides the inhabitants, there are always a number of strangers here, who come out of curiosity, and are detained by the agreeableness of the place. The Chevalier Bouillon cannot stir from it; he is in love with the Marchioness d'Urban, daughter to the unhappy Marchioness de Ganges, whose tragical end you are doubtless no stranger to. This lady is very amiable, and 'tis thought, that the glory of bringing a prince under her chains, will prejudice her reputation, which has been spared hitherto, tho it is in very bad hands, the chevalier you know being the most indiscreet man alive.

The Duke de Villars has for some time been attached to Madam de Fortia sister to [?] Marquis of Sassenage whom we saw at the Palace Royal. Her presence is majestick [majestic], but mixed with a good deal of haughtiness. Madam de Castellet, sister to your friend the Marquis d'Essards is infinitely more amiable, and might pass for one of the finest women in this country, if her daughter, the Marquis Daubignan's young widow, did not dispute the prize with her. And I fancy some people would decide in the mother's favour. The Marchioness de Veleron [Velleron?], Cardinal [I?]anson's sister, has five or six daughters, all Countesses, or Marchionesses. In short we have a number of people of quality here. The families are good, and the [business?] of most importance is, the endeavouring to please. Love is not mischeivous [mischievous], jealousy and despair are unknown. The husbands are generally tractable, and allow their wives as much liberty as they take themselves. Judge then, Madam, whether in a country which may be called the Island of Cythera, whither the smiles and jokes, through the misery of the times, banished from France, have fled for shelter, where we live well, drink Hermitage, and Cante Perdrix wines, which may be called the wine of the gods, since it is what is sent to Rome for the lips of the Holy Father. Judge, I say, whether I can be tired of so delicious a country, especially

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when the man I love is with me. For you know I am candid enough to own that I love my husband, tho' this weakness is looked upon at Paris as one of the vices in fashion in John le Verd's time, and is accordingly corrected by the morals of the present age. Whether it be a vice or a virtue, it is really the case with me. You need not there pity me too much, since I know no other uneasiness here but what is occasioned by your absence. I fancy you take mine with tolerable patience, and carry some idea of me to the opera, playhouse, and a thousand parties of pleasure. It would please me greatly that it was so: for I cannot endure those tyrannical friendships that produce the same effects with hatred. Do you divert your self then as well as you can without me, as I shall try to take my diversion without you, in hopes we may entertain one another again. I should be glad we could do it in [climate?] of entire liberty, where we might sing a catch of Maintenon and Noailles without being afraid of the Bastille, and where I can write publickly [publicly] on my windows, what, Ill [I'll] lay you a wager at present you dare whisper no farther than your fingers.

If I had you here I would take you to the famous fountain of Vaucluse, so celebrated by Petrarch, and show you the tomb of that famous poet's mistress, the fair Laura. It lies in the Church of the Cordeliers, and has an inscription in [?] made by King Francis 1 in honour of that heroine, and engraved in letters of gold. I fancy Marot could have made [?] but the verses of a king have always their merit. We might visit the Abby [Abbey] of the Celestines, where lie the bodies of St. Beneset, and St. Peter of Luxembourg; the former by divine inspiration built the bridge of Avignon, and when it was broke [down?] by the [ice?], his body was found entire under one of the arches. The latter was a Cardinal in the time of the schism of Popes, and attached to him that sat at Avignon; he became famous on account of a great number of miracles performed by him after his death, the most surprizing [surprising] of which was the resurrection of a little boy, who had got up on one of his [Highness's?] towers, called the Tower of Trouillas to look for birds [birds'] nests, and fell down and was made mummy of. His mother without amusing her self with cries or tears, gathered up the shattered limbs of her child, put them in a bag, and carried them to the Saint's tomb, where whilst she was at her prayers she saw the bag stir, and the child come out, asking for his sparrow. [?] is the fact, as I read it at large in the Church of the Celestines; and I give it to you as I found it. And to speak freely, I think one may be saved without believing it. After satisfying your devotion, and curiosity, I might think of getting you [some?] good cheer. You should not want patridges [partridges] and ortolans on ordinary days, and for fast days, I could get you cray fish, [?] and admirable sturgeon. This last is a fish in great plenty here, tho' you have none at Paris. Tis thicker than salmon, and I never eat better in my life. I wish that all I have said would engage you to come here. For I believe I shall not return very soon to Paris. I shall be obliged to you, to let me know what passes there, and in return I will send you country [news?]

The Answer from Paris

Your letter gives me real pleasure, Madam: I admire your candid confession, that you can bear the absence of your friends, and am in love with your tranquility, tho' I cannot imitate it. I have not indeed bid adieu to pleasure, but believe me, I taste it imperfectly when I do not share it with you. Were I my own mistress, I would most willingly take a trip [to?] Avignon, and make you own that you must give up the art of knowing how to love to me, as I do several other things to you. I should with pleasure view the Fountain of Vaucluse, fair Laura's tomb, and should like your fare for fat and lean days very well; but for your miraculous Saints, I should have nothing to do with them. I should chuse [choose] to go to those [?] you mention, and either punt at Bassette, or make one on a couch with one of your fair indolent ladies. By what I [?] you give a very good account of life where you are: you eat well, play, make love, and to use Colombines [Colombine's] phrase, you do the very same there as here. The husbands are complaisant, the ladies complying, in short, every thing with you is the same as here. The Chevalier de Bouillon, I find, is endeavouring to console himself after his disgrace. You know that his sister in law the Princess of Turenne brought a great fortune into his family, which he knew he was to give up, [?] she had no children. To avoid refunding, he thought proper to make love to her. She is young, and beautiful, and no other defect but that of being lame. The Chevalier is handsome enough, he could see her at all hours without [offending?] decency, and in short succeeded so well, that he obliged her to declare publickly [publicly] that she would marry him, and something more than her heart was engaged in the affair. Cardinal Bouillon who had great interest at the Court of Rome, was sure of obtaining a dispensation for the marriage, because it is granted in like cases to sovereigns, [?] the gentlemen of this house pretend to the same right. In short all steps were taken; Madam de Vantadour made [?] opposition; but the Duke of Vantadour, who was taking his diversion at Vivarets, left it as soon as he heard the affair was [going?] on, and posted away to Paris like a fury, determined either to break it off, or cut the Chevalier's throat. The first thing he did [?] to carry his daughter to his hotel, where he never lost sight of her, till he married her to the Prince of Rohan, [?] to the Prince of Soubize [Soubise]. He is very comely, and formerly wore a cassock, till he became the head of the family by the death [of?] his brother. --------------- He was not very delicate -- in regard to what had passed [?]

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chevalier probably he did believed no more of it than was necessary for his repose. Be that as it will, the Mar. was shortly celebrated to the great content of the Parties, [???] The Duke of Vantadour shewed more vigour on occasion than was expected of him, and the chevalier finding himself abandoned is gone to Provence to divert his [unea???], which is more the effect of interest than love. For he is the least in the world capable of an attachment. He is [handsome???] and well made, but an honest woman would gain no great honour here by the conquest of him; and whatever idea you [leased???] to give me of Avignon, methinks Princes are very scarce there, since the Chevalier Bouillon makes such a bustle, and a woman of quality thinks it glorious, to bring him under her chains. I believe she'll make but a bad market of him, [--ity???] her beforehand for delivering her self up to the indiscretion of the most depraved of mankind. I hope we shall be rid of [???] for some time; he is neither loved nor esteemed at court and has talked so ill of the King, that I don't know how he will [???] ever to appear before him; "Alas, said the Chevalier, I am very unhappy, that the only tooth he has left, rotten as it is, should [???] in his mouth to bite me." See what may be expected from the prudence of such a man, and whether a woman is not in [???] hands with him: I dye with impatience to know how Madam d'Urban will get [shut???] of him; for I interest myself in [???] ever regards her, tho' I never saw her, and was so moved at the sad fate of her mother, whose story I heard formerly, that [???] not help having a sensibility for the children of that unfortunate lady. I know she left two: We saw the son, who is [???] the Marquis of Ganges. Colonel of a regiment of dragoons, he is very well made and is married very advantageously [???] a farther account for I would know a family that I have so much at heart.

You pass over a little too slightly the Marquis of Sassenage's sister, and I am astonished you don't say a word of {???] Marquis of Castres's who is married at Avignon to a man of birth and great fortune. Give me then a more particular [???-ant??] of your ladies, their diversions and intrigues; we have none here but citizens wives, nay the Court does not furnish me [???] one pretty novel for you. Madam de Maintenon, hunting, and some jaunts to Marli, limit all the King's pleasures. [Monsieur??] and Madam the Princess of Conti have their's by themselves: The Dutchess (Daughter to the King and Madam de [???] and wife to the Duke of Bourbon) has none but at table, wine is her [hypocrene??] and when she is a little fuddled makes the prettiest verses that can be, and spares neither the King her dear Papa, nor the Duke her husband nor anyone living. [???] she sets her self losse above all against the poor Marquis of Lasse, taking him to be her little husband's mercury. King [???] lives content at St. Germains; the Jesuits call it a force of mind: but every one else attributes such great tranquility [???] nothing but weakness. His son, or the one that passes for such, is educated with care as well as his little sister. The [Quern-???] [???] a melancholy look ever since she was dethroned. In effect, his falling from a great height, and I thank the [indiffe-???] [???] of my condition for preserving me from such a fall.

They bathe this summer at the Gate of St. Bernard; the whole town led away by this spectacle has entirely deserted [???-ing???] and you see nothing but coaches on the banks of the water. One day the two [Loisons???[ were bathing, and had found their [???] Mr. the Duke and a number of other sea gods; a counsellor's wife, we might give you other names, unhappy and forsaken would have [???] -itted you very well--- the Loison's took fire, though they were in the water, and animated with the Princes presence cryed immediately, "My Lord Duke do you hear this! See how we are used"--- But my Lord Duke replyed, "Ladies, I should be [???] to share in your diversions, but not in your quarrels." This answer was thought a very good one, and I therefore let [???] know it.

The opera and playhouse go on still at the old rate, and furnish our Princes with mistresses. Monseigneur has chosen [???], and tis said that that comedian has entirely supplanted the Marchioness of Roure, whom the King has banished, you may see [???] they say she is at Monpelier. The poor Count D' Estrades would be glad to get permission to hunt in Monseigneurs Pleasures; but [???] not in his power, and he must decamp from Raisin. Forence, the opera dancer has made a conquest of the Duke of Chartres [???] never could relish his wife, tho' he had her from the King's hand (she is the King's Daughter by [Montesparl???] The Grand Prior and [???] Moreau still lead the same life; she has an enchanted house at Clichi, where numbers of people of quality visit her, and entertains them every week. The Duke of Valentinois, who has one of the finest women of the court neglects her for little Dufort [???] opera dancer; so great is the taste at present for ladies of the theatre.

Adieu, they talk still of peace, and every body desires it. We feel the disorders of the war here, as most as much as [???] frontiers: for every body is ruined, and France has great occasion of your Workers of Miracles, to raise her out of the sad [????-sion??] she is in. Burn this letter, for fear it may make me burned; and give me a fuller description of Avignon, that [???] should happen to go there. I may not be an entire stranger. [I am ???]

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Letter iii. From Avignon

I am very glad, Madam, that you like our country diversions, and dont [don't] deprive me of all hopes of seeing you here. You'[?] be a stranger any where, and much less here than else where, since merit is naturalized in all countries, and Avignon is one of those knows best how to do it justice. You'll find here the Marquis d'Essards, and the Count de Suze your old friends; they hold the [?] here, and are the arbiters of gallantry. Their amours however are transient. The Marquis has a devout wife that takes [in?] good part all the mortifications her husband's infidelities give her; and he often furnishes her with matter enough to merit. The [?] lives single, he has parted with his wife, without children; and with a pension of sixteen thousand livres, paid him by his loyal relations, to whom he has given up his estate, keeps a table, and makes a figure like a prince: I don't know whether he [?] do so so cheap at Paris. Since he has broke the chains of that enchantress Madam de Rhut, he has rambled from fair [?] without fixing with any.

The Commander Maldachini, who commands the Italian cavalry here, and is brother to the Cardinal of the same name [is?] another of our heroes. His gallantry is a little antique, but his purse is not drained. He has a very pretty garden where he [?] the ladies, and lends some times to his friends for the same use. The Marquis of Castres's sister, that you desired me to send you news of used to go there often with the late Vice Legate, but she has not been abled to manage the present one as well. [Fired by?] her former conquest, and the purple of Cardinal de Bonsi her uncle, she thought that all the Vice Legates ought to pay her [homage?] and that it was one of the functions of their employments; but Signior Delfini made her know her error. One day as she was asking with a little too much haughtiness some favour for one of her creatures; he dryly refused her, and whilst she was [complaining?] of it with a little too much sharpness, the Marquis of Onis her husband, who never opens his mouth but to say some silly thing, [said to?] her, "Madam, why do you trouble your self with him? Leave the pantaloon?" ----- The Vice Legate did not say a word, in a moment the Marquis and his spouse had orders to quit his Holinesses [Holiness's] territories. This news disconcerted them a little. Their relations assembled at Mr. de Gau's the Marquis of Onis's father's, where it was resolved to implore the clemency of the Vice Legate. But he was inexorable, and refused all the satisfactions they offered to make him; tho' the Archbishop who is of the illustrious house of Fiesque, concerned himself in the accommodation: they were therefore to go off. The Marquis with his usual eloquence proposed to his wife to take post in a litter, in order to get away the sooner: In short, they truss'd up their baggage, nurse, and children. All their train partly upon mules and partly upon horses, left Avignon in very great disorder. The Marquis then [reported?] on the danger his gilt coach escaped, and told some of his friends that saw him going off, that his coach house had taken fire [?] days before, and his coach had like to have been burned alive." And when one was commending the good care of his horses, "[?] how should they be lean, replyed [replied] our witty Marquis, they eat such hay as the King cannot eat better." This is Madamoiselle de Castres's spouse. Cardinal de Bonsi had a mind to carry him to Rome some time ago, to see whether he could give the [lie?] to the old proverb (Man or beast never mended by going to Rome). When they were at Florence, the Cardinal presented [?] to the Grand Duke, and told him it was his nephew, whose family was originally of Florence. The Grand Duke asked him [how?] long since his ancestors had left the country? ----- "Ever since, replyed [replied] the Marquis, with an air of confidence, the [?] "usurp'd the government of it." The Grand Duke seemed not to hear him, but the Cardinal blushed up to the ears, and [?] never to carry that nephew with him any where again. I should never have done if I was to relate all his sayings: there are people that have made a collection of them, for my part, I never had the pleasure of hearing him. When I arrived here I went to [see?] his wife; he was present; but she was so much upon her guard, doubting shrewdly of my intention, that she never let him speak a word. 'Twas to no purpose that I addressed my self to him, she always answered for him, and their trouble [happened a?] few days after. But I leave them in their exile to satisfy your curiosity about Madam d'Urban.

You have heard the sad fate of Madam de Ganges her mother, who lost her life by the hands of her husband's [?] brothers, who made use of the sword and poison to be rid of that fair unfortunate woman. Their motives could never be [penetrated?]. Many believed that the husband had engaged them to make him that sacrifice. However the Parliament of Toulouse were content to condemn him to perpetual banishment, and confiscate his estate, and people were surprized [surprised] at such a mild sentence, that [tribunal?] being either too gentle or too rigourous, for one of their sentences cost the Marquise of Douse his life. That Marquis was accused of the same crime, namely for ordering his wife to be put to death. He was cast into the prisons of Thoulouse in a short time after Marquis de Ganges left them, and when his relations sued His Majesty for a pardon for him, he replyed [replied]: "there was no need of" pardon, since he was before the Parliament of Thoulouse, and since Mr. de Ganges got off so well." Those gentlemen thought they were under a necessity of showing the world, that they knew how to punish. Mr. Douse was the victim of it, and had his [head?] cut off some time after, whilst Mr. de Ganges who no doubt was as guilty, remained unpunished. The gibbet you see is [?] for the most unhappy. Madam de Ganges's executioners took flight; the King gave the confiscation to one of their younger brothers who was one of his pages, and too young to be concerned in the crime of his family. Madam de Ganges left two children, one of whom is the young Marquis you saw at Paris, and the other the Lady we are about. The Lady Dowager of Ganges her grandmother [took?]

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[???] iii Letters Historical and Gallant 19

care of her education, and at twelve years she married the Marquis of Peraut, who was above seventy, and had formerly been [???] admirer of the grandmothers. This young creature gave herself to him without resistance, he had a large estate, birth, and [???] the politeness of the old court. He had a brother whom he thought unworthy of his friendship or sucession, and to deprive [???] it he had resolved upon marriage, but he took his measures a little too late. He might have spared his vows, no [???] could be had. Knowing therefore his own weakness, he endeavoured to apply some remedy to it. He loved his amiable [???] passionately, and hated his brother mortally. Those two passions inspired him with a design that seem'd a little strange; [???] a very pretty page of a very good family; he took him aside and after making him promis inviolable secrecy, and [???] [???] him by some presents, opened his heart to him how greatly he longed to have a child if not from himself, at least from [???] wife. The page trembled, he was in love with the Marchioness, without daring to declare it, and imagined his master had [???] his thoughts, and had laid this snare to find it out the better. Very little would have made him own it all, and [???] himself at his master's feet to beg his pardon and a discharge. The Marquis who perceived his concern promised to au- [???] all that he should do to please Madam de Peraut; and to facilitate the means gave him wherewithal to [dress and spend???] [???] may well think that our Marquis found his page very obedient. He never served him with so good a heart: In three days [???] all magnificence, and his dress added to the joy so agreeable a commission gave him, made him twice as handsome as [???]. He was continually near Madam de Peraut, eager to divert her. She being young and sprightly, made no scruple to [???] with him, and all things seemed well disposed, when the page, after making his eyes and his care sometimes speak, [resolv'd???] [???] to speak himself of his passion, but he was cruelly turned out and threatened that ever he returned again during his [???] he should be delivered up to the vengeance of the Marquis. This menace did not make him much afraid, he ran to him [???] told him the success of his declaration; the Marquis bid him not to be discouraged and it was a case new enough to [???]husband a confidant to his rival, giving him advice and consoling him for the rigours of his mistress. The page [???] more bold, returned again to his charge: and one morning as Madam de Peraut was busy at her toilette, as [???] the opportunity favoured him after sighing and shedding some tears, he threw himself at her feet and gave [???] the little liberties that passion might excuse in a lad of seventeen. The Marchioness full of indignation called [???] women: but the page by his master's advice had gained one of them and she had dispersed the rest. The Marchioness was greatly [???] to find her self alone with the page, and after repulsing him and casting a menacing air at him ran all dishevelled [???] husband's appartment. She look'd more beautiful than the morning in this disorder; the page that followed her seemd an Adonis; [???] accused him to her husband of having failed in respect to her, and of designing to seduce her. But she was greatly surprised, [???] of the resentment she expected to burst out the Marquis answered her coldly that what she said was not credible, [???] he took the page to be a sober youth; that in all appearance she had a design upon him, and that she found out that pretence [???] him to dismiss him, but he begg'd her not to insist upon that; for that young man was very well recommended to him [???] he was obliged to take care of him. The Marchioness was greatly astonished at this answer. She did not know what to think, and [???] she was to have no relief but from her own severity, she exercised it so strongly upon the poor page, that it threw him into [???] He related his torments every day to his master, who was in despair too for having too vertuous a wife. There are few [???] now a days would complain of such a thing. This one finding his wife's heart was inaccessable since the finest lad in the world could not touch it, resolved at last to try the last means; and after giving the page the word, rose up at night out of [???] wife's bed when she was in her first sleep, and put the page in his place. As he did not come there to sleep, the lady woke and perceived it was not her husband. She cryed out for help! And finding none come, she got up and made a dreadful shrieking [???] husband who was upon the watch, still cryed to the page to appease his mistress and that the noise would cease at last. But [???] he could do nothing, he entered the chamber and after discovering the whole mystery to his wife, told her that the page acted [???] orders and begg'd her to give him an heir, adding, that to make it dear to him it would be enough that it belonged to her. She [???] then knew whence her husband's indulgence proceeded, and answered him with a firmness above her age that the [???] he had over her did not extend so far and that whatever desire she had to please him, it should never be at the expence of [???] salvation and her honour. The husband, in confusion to find so much virtue in so young a creature, resolved to let her alone. [???] recompenced the page for his good intentions gave him his discharge and dyed in a little time after, with the grief of leaving his [???] to those he looked upon as his enemies. But before he dyed he told all I have now said to one of his intimate friends. That friend [???] a son very well made; he thought it would be the happiest thing in the world to marry him to the young widow: and as the house of [???] is one of the best in the region, the marriage was solemnized when her mourning was over. The young Marquis of [Duiban???] found in a beautiful widow all the charms of a maid, and she found him quite different from her deceased husband. He had no need of a page for [???] and without any foreign assistance saw his family increase every year. They lived in the finest union in the world, till the Chevalier [???] to disturbe it. You must be satisfied to let me leave them here for this time. This letter is too long already. In my next you shall [???] the continuation of this history. [Iam. ??]

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