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

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20 Letters Historical and Galant. Vol. Letter. iv. From Paris.

You are very cruel to give people a taste of thing, and then leave them; In truth, Madam, you ought not to do so. You know [???] curiosity for Madam D'Urban's adventures; you put your self in the way of relating them, and then stop all at once. I assure you [???] should be in a humour to fall out with you, if I had not designed to keep fair with you to know the rest of the history: Let me have it then speedily, and don't fear I shall think your letters too long, they give me too much pleasure for that, and if I was not angry I would write you one of ten or twelve pages to shew you an example. I have matter enough to fill it too.

Mr. Harlai our archbishop is dead, and the Dutchess of Lediguiere's grief for this employes our satyrick poets. [???] King has nominated in the room of that prelate the Bishop of Chalons, brother to the Marshal Duke of [Noailles???] and has given the [???] of Chalons to the abbot [Noeilles??] their brother. This family has feathered it's nest well, because it has taken care to keep in the good graces of Madam de Maintenon, which is the only way to gain those of the King. She is going to marry her neice, [???] to the Count of Aubigne to the Duke of Noailles's son. He already married one of his daughters to Madam la [Valiere's??] nephew. He wants nothing now but to get another into Madam Montespans family, to lean entirely on the Kings left side, the [???] Montespan would be but a weak support now. The King has dismissed her from court, after dismissing her long before from his [???] for tis said he could never endure her since [Pontange's???] death, and only waited till her children were settled to get rid of her entirely. He has fixed them very well, as you know; since the eldest has married the first Prince of the Blood, and the young [???] the Duke of Chartres, the King's only brother, and heir to the crown if monseigneur's children should chance to fail. The Duke [???] [Maine??] as he is, has espoused Mr. the Prince's daughter, and enjoys the principality of [Dombes???], and all the other estatest of the late Madamoiselle Montpensier. The Count of Toulouse is Admiral and won't fail marrying well. In short Madam Montespan, in her misfortune, has the pleasure of seeing her children hold the first rank. It was the Duke of Maine her [???] that was so hard hearted as to tell her she must leave the court, and that the King had occasion for her apartment and the [???] morning this son was lodged there. You may easily judge that the mother took the thing as she ought: she desired to speak to the King for the last time and finding she had nothing more to expect, flew out into a passion, and reproached him with what she [???] done for him and his ingratitude. The King bore with her passion because she was a woman and he knew it would be the last. [???] passed her days sometimes with the Abbess of Fontevraux her sister, and sometimes in the suburbs of St. Germains, in the [???] of St. Joseph that she had founded there. They say that our new archbishop has a mind to reconcile her with her husband, but after all the scenes she has given the publick, he'll be laugh'd at if he takes her again.

Madam de Maintenon triumphs in the mean time and [influences???] all the measures of this court in her chamber. The King [???] has taken the air after [dinner??] never fails of going to [???] with her till about ten o'clock when he leaves her to go to supper. Mr. De [Pontchartreau???] comptroller general of the finances repairs there likewise; whilst they are in [???] Madam Maitenon sits at her wheel in a corner of the [???] not seeming to give the least attention to what is said. Yet the minister never makes a proposal to the King but his majesty [???] towards her and says "What say you to this [???] Madam." She gives her opinion modestly and whatever she says is done. Tis very extraordinary that after her youth and beauty were [???] [???] been able to tkeep entire the affection of the King so many years. But as the Prince of Orange said, "The King of France in his conduct [???] opposite to other Princes: for he makes choice of young ministers and an old mistress." She never appears in publick, but when she goes to take air with the King: And then she sits in the boot of the coach with her spectacles on; working a piece of embroidery: Every morning she goes with St. Cyr to give her orders to that nursery of young ladies, whom the poverty of their relations sends there from all parts; she returns thence about the time the King rises and never fails going to him to bid him good morrow. She goes to mass by break of day to avoid the [???] people that curiosity or necessity would bring about her, and except Madam Chevreuse Segnelai, Monchevreuil, the Princess of [???] court, Madam Udicourt, and the Master of the Wolfhunters lady, she is almost inaccessible to every body. I have had the [???] however to speak with her sometimes, and find her very kind and civil whether it be that she would by this conduct avoid envy as some think, or as others would have it, that she is afraid the rank which she thinks due to her should be disputed in all visits, and publick places [???] It is certain, that upon all occasions, she declines the taking of any rank nay her title of Marchioness is suppressed and she is called nothing but plain Madam de Maintenon; she has no greater mind to accept the title of Dutchess; she aspires to something more; and her projects for it have lately caused the disgrace of the Abbot de Fenelon archbishop of Cambray, who is accused of being a [Quietist???]. He is deprived of the government of the Duke of Burgandy, and they would [???] to strip him of his archbishoprick too. As he is an old friend of yours, I am sure you would be glad to know the particulars of this story which makes great noise in the world, but this is a good pl;ace to be revenged on you for this trick you played on me in your last letter and therefore you shall know no more of it for this time; in hte mean time, please to be so good as to let me have the rest of Madam Durban's history.

In short, there is nothing like travelling, to make one sharp, and Fontaine's [frondelle??] signfies nothing. You know [???] Avignon was called in our forefather's time. This is proof of your learning. But not to be behind hand with you. I shall tell you that Cesar says Paris was anciently called Lutetia and the name of Paris was given it from a people that [were???]

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[??] v. Letters Historical and Galant. 25

[???] Parisci, which name they had from Paris the son of Rhomus the eighteenth King of the Celtick Gauls. You see what [???] does. I should never have known as much, if I had not copied after you; adieu, without spleen I am. Madam, [??] most.

Letter. V. From Avignon.

I see very well, Madam, that no quarters are to be had from you; and therefore without beginning with compliments, which is now out of fashion, return to Madam Durban, whom I think I left in good intelligence with her husband, till the arrival of the Cavalier Bouillon, who brought division into that family; he saw Madam Durban at the assemblies, and found her much to his tastes, finding that calumny had spared her, resolved out of vanity rather than tenderness to give some stain to her reputation. He shewed great affection at first. Mr. Durban who thought himself sure of his Wife, left her liberty entirely but as there is a time for [???] her hour of loving was come and that great piece of virtue began to yield to the attacks of that Prince. He soon perceived progress he had made in her heart, and as he looked for nothing but a publick triumph, he took care to acquaint the whole town with it. He sat up with her every night and when he retired, ran through all the streets with a song in his hand. The citizens surprised at the unusualness of the thing opened their windows, and said one to another, tis the Prince that is making love to Madam Durban that just left her. Every body added his comment too, and very few thought they pass'd their evenings at [Ombre??]. In short he [???] little care that Mr. Durban's relations were obliged to tell him the town talk. He then opened his eyes, and forbid his wife that commerce. As soon as he left her, she sent to the Chevalier to acquaint him with their common disgrace; but [???] very far from feeling it to the quick as she did. He told her it was no fault of his; in the mean time, the husband, who had seriously begg'd the Chevalier not to visit his house, was told he had got in, and came with a design to use him very ill. [???] he took out the key of the door, after locking it inside, and waited with some valets in the antichamber, as it [???] very easy to hear his Wife's conversation with the Chevalier, he came softly to the door, and did not lose a word of it. The Chevalier who gave no great attention to what Madam Durban was saying, lent his ear to the other side, and perceived [???] storm preparing against him. To avoid it he opened a window that look'd into the street and after bidding Madam Durban to get her self out of trouble as well as she could, leap'd without harm and so escaped Mr. Durban's resent [???]. His first care was to tell this last adventure every where, and afterwards selected some of the greatest young [???] in Avignon, and went with them to sup at one Le Coq's, a pastry cook, brother to the famous Le Coq of Montorqueil [???]. That poor man made them welcome and the found their entertainment so good that they pass'd the night there. Madam Durban was lampooned finely; in short about morning, being neither able to eat nor drink, because they were ready [???] with doing both; the called poor Le Coq and after making him drink with them, the Chevalier told him, "he was too fat for a cock and that will make a capon of him"; and after making four of them hold him, and sharpened two knives against another, he performed origen's operation upon him, which sent him in some hours to the other World. The vice [???] whose physick had kept awake all day, immediately had notice of this action, and was filled with horror at it. The [???] he had for Cardinal Bouillon prevented his ordering the Chevalier to be arrested upon the spot; but he rent to let [???] know, that if he did not immediately leave the town, he would deliver him up to justice. The Chevalier desired no more, and ordered his chaise wheels to be greas'd in an instnat, and whilst all things were preparing, it came into his head to pay Madam Durban a visit. After all the noise had been made, he had no great circumspection to use there: Mr. Durban had not [???] in his wife's chamber, since the Chevalier had leap'd out of the window, and she was all alone, lamenting her misfortune, when the Chevalier appeared at the door. The chambermaid being in his interest had introduced him without noise, while the rest of the house were asleep, for it was not more than seven in the morning. Madam Durban who had a great weakness for him, saw him with pleasure, and suspended the grief she was overwhelmed in for some moments. He told her his misfortune, or rather [???] crime; she accused nothing but the wine for it, such a bias had she towards excusing him. He told her he quitted her [???] regret, and complained of her not having taken care to let him have her picture. Madam Durban, charmed with [???] return of tenderness, took down a large picture that stood by the bedside, near her husbands, and having no other [???] the Chevalier, she tore off the canvas from the frame, roll'd it up, and begg'd the Chevalier to put it in his pocket; [???] it on the table, and after an adieu Cavalier like, went off without thinking of carrying it away. As soon as he had gone Madam Durban's fears came on afresh. The Chevaliers precipitate departure gave her a new subject of affliction [???] her woman could find no way to console her. "No, my dear Laura, said she to her, I can live no longer with honour nor pleasure! I love the only man I ever loved! I gave him all my tenderness and his costs me my reputation, the confidence of my husband, the esteem of the publick, and now I am without a lover, and without domestick peace, [???] still, alas, if I could find my self without love too." As she was venting those complaints she [observ'd???]

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the picture the Chevalier had left upon the table. "Ah, cryed she, how unhappy am I! The poor young fellow will be in [???] when he finds he has not my picture; alas! he was in such trouble that he did not think of taking it with im. I beg you [???] get somebody to run after him. [???] what it will, and give it to him." Laura executed speedily her mistresses orders: [???] gave the picture in charge to one that she could depend upon. The man rid post and overtook the Chevalier, when he was ready to change his horses. He cryed out as loud as he could to the [Postilion??] to stop. But the Chevalier being recovered from his fright desired [???] to return and take his picture with him for that for his part he did not know what to do with it. The man insisted and said he had orders to give it to him and that he durst not shew himself to Madam Durban without executing them. The Chevalier [???] that the man was obstinately bent upon following him ask'd the Postillion for a hammer and four nails and nailed the [???] himself behind the chaise, in the place where the arms are fixed: afterwhich he got in, and bid Madam Durban's envoy good morrow, who returned home very ill satisfied. At the second stage, after changing his horses again, the postillion who was returning home demanded his hire; The Chevalier told him he had no money and at last by composition, he gave him Madam Durban's picture. The postilion hung it up publickly in Avignon where the story was immediately known. This circumspect augmented Madam Durban's despair, and her husband's resentment: she so greatly dreaded the terrible effects of it, the next morning she disappeared. Tis said she has taken the road to Paris, some say, she has follow'd the Chevalier thither, and others judge more charitably, that she is gone to see a son she loves greatly who is a Pensioner with Le Jeune (a famous [???] that keeps a boarding school) in the suburbs of St. Germains. In the mean time, this affair engrosses the conversation of the whole town. Mr. Durban's relations have assembled together and resolved to apply for a letter de cachet to confine Madam Durban; one of the relations who was going to Paris was charged with this commission but he begg'd to be excused and the thing may possibly stop there. Every body pities poor Mr. Durban; but all allow that it is his unlucky planet that has conquered his [???] virtue. And indeed tis not natural, that, after shewing such fidelity to an old husband of seventy, she should fail in it to the [???] who is young and handsome, unless the influence of the stars was not concerned in it. The poor pastry cook's relations [???] by two hundred pistoles paid by Cardinal de Bouillon's friends, give out that the good man dyed of an apoplexy, and the story of the Chevalier's crime was no more than a story made for pleasure: He is therefore acquitted you see, nay in the King's mind [???] who wanted to know the truth of the matter, and was very glad when he was told 'twas but a fable. However nothing is more [???] money does all Kings. This is what you wanted to know of those unfortunate amours: you reasonsed very justly when you said tehy would end in some catastrophe or other. All this happened in a very little time, namely, since my last letter.

You would have had this sooner, if I had not taken a jaunt into a neighbouring state; I mean the Principality of [???]. Methinks I am in a fairy country, where there are so many sovreigns that they sometimes meet one another hunting [???] I was astonished to pass the same day through three different dominions, which I thought must have been by enchantment. [???] Beauty of the country persuaded me to it too, for the country of Orange is the finest imaginable, and exceeds the idea that Mr. Durfe gives us of the banks of the Lignon. I took pleasure in seeing this town, the sovereign of which has made his name so lustrious and is so very illustrious himself that I doubtour posterity will raise William above Alexander. He has, like that hero of Greece performed actions that may be counted miraculous and finding like him, his ancestors estate too [???] has extended his dominions over three great Kingdoms : So when I entered this little state, I took it for the macedon of our modern Alexander. This country was so ill used in our last wars, that it has nothing but its natural beauties left : The fortifications of its capital were demolished, its walls rased; in short, it looks piteously. As I drew near Orange, I saw in the suburbs a monument left there by the Romans : tis a triumphal arch erected in honour of Caius Marius, when he returned victorius from the Cimbri, who he defeated in that great Main of Provence, now called after his name [Camargue???] all their Roman's actions are represented very naturally upon that arch; you see his battles, trophies, nay the very sorceress carried every where with him. And tho its very old, being built a long time before the Emporers, tis notwithstanding very [???] entire still. And travellers esteem it greatly. The town is small but very pretty; they long to get under their Prince's Government again and call him King, tho France has not acknowledged him such as yet. They are sure he will be so, and say that [???] placed him upon hte throne, and upon it told me a story that I make some difficulty to believe, for I don't give much into the Catholicks and Protestants. Tis said, then, that when the Prince that reigns at present in England, had attain'd his fourteenth year, he gave a general amnesty to his subjects, who had taken no great care of their conduct in his minority. This amnesty was published in the Circus, which is in the middle of the town, and is still a fine piece of remains of antiquity. A kind of throne was erected there, where they had placed the Effigy of the Prince from who the amnesty proceeded.

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all the people were assembled and when the ceremony began a crown was seen in the air, which came and stopp'd opposite the Prince's chair, at a very little distance, and continued there three hours. The whole assembly cryed out a miracle, and that moment made no doubt but that their Prince would be a King. This is fact that cannot be contested, though it was extraordinary for it is notoriously publick; and was confirmed to me at Avignon where I am at present, and have been for some days; and where I shall expect, if you please, an account of the cause of the Archbishop of Cambray's disgrace. [???] a real concern for it, and know him too well to suspect him of heresy, so that there must be something in it that I cannot comprehend. Adieu. I always fall into the fault of making my letters too long, though the pleasure I take in entertaining you [???] you may possibley find them so as well as I , and may be tired at the end of a long letter. I am, Madam [V.S???]

Letter. vi. From Paris

I never think your letters too long, Madam. therefore pray make no more scruples about them. Methinks Madam Durban [???] got rid of hers finely, and has answered the [idea???] she formerly gave of her virtue, very ill. She has found means to enrage two husbands, whom she might have contented by anticipating her coquetry, and transferring her wisdom to her second marriage. I would have [???] all the sam, and nothing was wanting but to change the time: but they say with reason that our sex are [crossgrained???] and must [???] act upon cross purposes. I deliver her up to her bad conduct and am no more concerned as much as formerly for her, tho' destiny makes me still have some pity for her. The Chevalier's crimes inspire me with horrour; they don't know half of them [???] and he shews himself as formerly. I saw him at a ball the day I received your letter, and perplex'd him greatly when I talked to him of Madam Durban, and the picture nailed behind the chaise. He denied it all, for all villanous actions are disowned, [???] I got away from him before he could know me.

But I plainly see you have Mr. De Cambray at heart and that I must tell you his story. To do this, I must reveal a mystery that is known but by very few. You know, we make no doubt here, of the King being married this long time to Madam de Maintenon; this [???] from several proofs and particularly from the little respect she has shewn Monseigneur and the Princess of Conti. In short, [???] said that her ambition of being declared Queen has broke out at last and that she was resolv'd to give the King no quiet till it was done. He resisted for some time [???] [solicitations???] upon that head last in one of his fits of tenderness, he promised her to confessor upon this point. Madam de Maintenon was pleased with this, not doubting but that Father la Chaise would be glad of this [???] to make his court to her: but [???] too subtle a [courtier???] and knew too well that he could not declare himself of one side without being a victim to the other; [???] therefore had address enough to bring himself out of the serape like a subtle Jesuit; He told the King that he did not think himself a [???] able enough to decide a question of such importance and for that reason desired he might consult with some men of skill and learning for whose [???] he would be responsible. The King was afraid lest this might make the matter too publick. But when Father la Chaise named Mr. Fenelon [???] were over and he desired the Father to bring him to him. As soon as the confessor had communicated his business to the Bishop he was greatly [???] and said to the Jesuit, "What have I done, Father, that you should ruin me"--- No matter, replyed the other, let us away to the King." His Majesty was in his closet expecting them. The Bishop no sooner entered but he threw himself at the King's feet & begg'd him to sacrifce him. The King promised he would not and then told him the case. Mr. Fenelon, with his usual sincerity represented [???] the great prejudice he would do himself by declaring his marriage, together with the ill consequences such a proceeding might be [atten-???] with. The King very much approved of his reasons, and resolved to proceed to farther in this affair. In vain did Madam de Maintenon press [???] he told her it was not to be done. She ask'd him whether it was Father de Chaise that had dissuaded him from it. The King refused [???] some time to tell her who it was; but at last out of a weakness that cannot but be condemned he told her everything as it passed. Madam de Maintenon dissembled her resentment and meditated revenge. The first marks of it fell upon the prelate, but the Jesuit will have his turn too, tho' his was no more than a sin of omission. Twas under consideration a long time where to attack Mr. de Cambray [???] never gave any one a hold of him. At last, the Bishop of Meaux, vex'd at the King's not entrusting him with the education [???] the Duke of Burgandy and at the Abbot de Fenelon's taking it from him, by often turning over a book where that prelate treats [???] love, thought he might be able, with the help of his subtleties, to give a bad interpretation to some expressions that are [???] more extravagant than those of St. Teresa and many others whom the church reveres. He gave Madam de Maintenon an [???] of this, who had committed the care of her revenge to him, and she would not miss so fair an opportunity. Tis feared it will [???] carried too far. Mr. de Cambray is in his diocese, where he waits the effects of it with a tranquility that a good conscience [???]. He is no longer preceptor to the Princes. They have cashiered all the relations he had in the service; and one of his brothers was in the marines has been dismissed likewise.

The Jesuits expect much the same fate; and I can't conceive by what politicks they have already begun acts of hostility; They have printed and sell at Lyons the works of Scaron, which Madam de Maintenon woudl surpress. Perhaps by the little respect they shew her, they think to oblige her to have some for them, and to make themselves formidable. But Madam de Maintenon may happen to take down their spirits. The Italian comedians have felt the effects of her bad humour; they are driven away

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for having a comedy called the false prude, which was reported to reflect upon Madam de Maintenon in particular. All Paris regrets this loss, which tis thought will be followed with that of the French Players and the Opera, so far does our new Archbishop's zeal carry him. The ladies of pleasure have given him thanks for it in a very pretty address they have presented him with, thinking they'll have much more practise, when there will be no more diversions to amuse so many idlers at Paris, and offering him a tribute for the poor. This address made him see the ridiculousness he was giving into: he has given the French comedians and the opera quarters; provided [???] pay a subsidy according to the prices of several seats, for the use of the poor, whose intereste it will now be that the houses [???] be crowded. So our preachers will not dare to cry out against them.

Adieu. You mentioned in one of your letters one Madam de Rhut an enchantress; that epithet alarms my curiosity and methinks that character reigns at present: Let me therefore have some account of the person you give it to; I don't doubt [???] but it fits her very well and that her history is agreeable. Let me have it therefore if you please, and in return you shall have every thing that passes here. I am, Madam [V.S???]

Letter vii. From Avignon

Mr. de Cambray's story gives me real concern: he deserved a better fate; but, in short, Madam, he suffers for Justice, for he might have avoided it had he less sincerity.

Since you desire to know who Madam de Rhut is, I am going to satisfy you as well as I can. This woman has made herself famous by her address. She was married at Carpantras; a little town dependent on Avignon, seated on the river Sorgu. She was never handsome I believe, at least she has remains of beauty in her face and yet she has inspired great passions, and done the most extraordinary things in the world. Her husband who knew she had a better genius than he, let her govern, and blindly subscribed all she did. When the King passed through Avignon desiring to shew her talents, she attached herself to Madam de Mazarin, who was look'd upon as that [???] future mistress. Madam de Macarin took her to court, and it is she that wrote the memoirs that appeared in the world under the [???] of that Dutchess. As Madam de Rhut had only followed her to seek her fortune, she quitted her when she found she turned to the other side, and reteruned to Provence, where she endeavoured to please the Count of Suse. She succeeded, as she has in every thing she ever undertook. The Count had espoused Madamoiselle de Marinville, daughter to the Governor of Narbonnes, and as he was always the [???-ape???] of the court, he thought he ought not to amuse himself with loving his wife, and threw himself desperately into intrigues. He had an uncle that had the authority of a father over him; this was the Bishop of Viviers, a prelate venerable for his age, and commended for his merit. The Countess of Suse, who bore her husband's slights impatiently, complained him to Mr. de Viviers: who reconciled them together; but the reconciliation did not last long. The Count turned quite a fool with Madam de Rhut, and could not endure his wife, who resolved to quit him. She went to Viviers to tell the Bishop, she could live no longer with him, and resolved to return to her father. The Bishop begg'd her to stay a few days with him? She consented with a very good grace, and in that time the Bishop ordered his nephew, who durst not refuse him, to come to him. After giving him a great [Rally???] he carryed him to his wife's chamber and it being time to go to bed, left him there, after exhorting them to forget what had passed and to manage better for the time [???] comes the Countess consented with all her heart: She was an honest woman, and loved her husband, but for his part his sentiments were very different, he could not bear the sight of her, and as [???] as he was out of his uncles, he prevailed on the [mask???] of the palace, upon some light pretence he alledged, to give him another chamber. This made the Countess lose all patience: [???] slighted love changes into fury. She took a flambeau, went into the chamber where her faithless husband lay., and set fire [???] his bed. The Count woke just time enough to save himself from being burned alive, and all hands were immediately at work in the Episcopal Palace to stop the progress of the fire. The Bishop got up immediately, surprised at the fire; and when he [???] the cause of it, blamed the Countesses transport, but much more the Count, who had given room to it; and seeing plainly there was no liklihood of reconciliation, consented that the Countess should retire to her relations. But to punish his nephew and endeavour to draw him from his unhappy passion, he gave him all the uneasiness imaginable. He prevailed on his [creditors???] to seize all his estate, even to his moveables, and not to leave him a knife to lay on his table. The Bishop thought that [???] would bring him to himself; but he was mistaken; Madam de Rhut alone had influence upon him: in the mean time she did not forget her own interest, and filling some blanks, which the Count had signed and given her, with what sums she thought proper, she appeared too upon the stage as a creditor, and settled an estate of fifty thousand crowns. She was so cunnning, as to persuade the Count, that it was to keep it for him, and at the same time to dazzle her husband, who began, she said, to be [???] at their commerce. The Count fell into the snare, and he was seen soliciting the judges in favour of Madam de Rhut against himself. This made people begin to think she was a witch: The Count, quite stripp'd as he was, thought himself the happiest man breathing when he could be with her; and he was often seen in that house, where he had nothing [???]

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