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

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the bare walls, to send for a pullet, and spread his handkerchief upon the floor, by way of tablecloth, to [cat??] with Madam de [???] in the Eastern fashion. She endeavour'd to persuade him, that a desert with him would be full of charms in her eyes; in the mean time she had the estate, and has taken care to keep it carefully. Her husband charmed with this acquisition troubled himself very little about the judgement the publick pass'd upon it; and the Count saw himself stripp'd with pleasure, so [???] was he by that woman; and I believe he would have been so all his life, if she had not quitted him after [???] the market of him that I told you. The Count then saw his fault, but it was too late to repair it; he wrote to his wife [???] would not come back to him; and his only son dying, he gave up all his estate to his brother's children, to whom it was [???] and who, by the advice of the Bishop of Viviers, who was always the tutor of the whole family obliged them. [???] to pay him six thousand livres yearly, with which he cuts a figure her and turns out a petit maitre

In the mean time Madam de Rhut was seeking her fortune, and after turning her self on all sides, she found she could not do better than attach herself to Mr. d'Arnoux, who was very rich, and an intimate friend of Mr. Colberts. Mr. d' Arnoux had a wife that was very old and infirm, a son that was educated with the Marquis of Segnelai, and a daughter in a convent. Madam de Rhut was immediately mistresss of the house, and pass'd in the opinion of the world for Mr. d'Arnoux's [???] I can't tell whether it was so, but old Madam d'Arnoux took no umbrage at it, and Madam de Rhut knew so well to make her self necessary that that good woman could never be without her. This correspondence held some time without any trouble; but when it was least expected, Mr. d'Arnoux dyed. Madam de Rhut, who always turned every thing to her advantage, studied to make this death so too, tho one would have thought it would have been quite [other-???]; and thus she brought it about. She had two sons; the elder called Mr. de St. Sauveur, and the young Mr. de Soissons; Madam d'Arnoux who was always in a dying way, and yet would remove death as far from her as possible, had for that purpose a physician continually hanging at her elbow, who amused her and enrich'd himself by it, for she was very rich, her husband had left her mistress of her children's fortunes. Madam de Rhut thought to gain this physician, which was no hard matter for her to do, and obliged him to persuade Madam D'Arnoux, that to be cured of all her disorders & [???] her death, it was absolutely necessary that she should marry, and espouse some healthy and robust young fellow; [???] her that he would bring her out of all her infirmities and communicate his good health to her too. He strengthened his reasoning with several arguments out of Galen and Hippocrates and was dwelling upon them, when Madam de Rhut came into the chamber. "Ah, madam, said Madam de Arnoux to her, after making her sit down, you'd never guess what medicine the doctor here is prescribing to me?-- I can't tell indeed, replyed Madam de Rhut coldly, but I wish it may restore you to your health, which to me at least, is as dear as my own---when you hear what the medicine is, said the good woman, you'll easily see tis not proper for me---[Sta??] why not? replyed Madam de Rhut, and pray what is this medicine that is so terrible."---Tis marriage, said Madam d'Arnoux; and to a young man too he says; See what I should expose myself too and what would the world think of such a step, tho it should be ever so necessary to [???] my health; which I cannot think it is---Madam, replyed Madam de Rhut, I expected it was some medicine more difficult to take, and am surprized what should make you so much afraid of this: the very circumstances of it ought not to make it disagreeable and the youth of a husband is no great fault.--- What! cryed Madam D'Arnoux, do you give into it too, and can you advise me, after living with honour in the world, to draw the censures of the publick upon me and expose my self to the slights of some hot headed young fellow who will marry me only to have wherewithall to live in debauchery, and won't give him self much trouble about my health. I must be a fool to expect any thing else: at my age I am not set up for sparks, and should deserve to be [hisid???] if I was capable of making such a step to preserve the rest of my days, which my years will not permit to be very many more; nor it would not be worth my while to give a bad idea of myself and tarnish my memory for the hopes of spinning out the thread a little longer.---Madam, replyed Madam de Rhut, I have nothing to say to you about it; but with regard to the effects of the remedy, the gentleman ought to be master of his profession, said she, turning to the physician, and you know him well enough to judge whether you ought to depend upon him; besides, tis none of your business at present to think of immortalizing your memory; and those fools deserve to be laughed at that formerly put a period to their lives to immortalise their names. Give me leave to tell you, Madam, that your case is much the same, since to neglect the care of life is the same as self murder; and I don't know whether you can do so in conscience. People of sense that know your motives will never blame you, and you need not care whether you have the approbation of the rest or no: The Publick has no inspection over you, and your rank places you above several things. I own the other consideration appears to me much stronger and the danger of falling into bad hands would stagger me; but Madam you must make a good choice; honest people are scarce, but they may be found by well looking after, and if there was no more than this difficulty, we might easily remove it, and I would offer you my son, who is such a man as the physician wants, and

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"who will take all the care he can to execute his orders, and reestablish a health that will be dear to him upon several accounts. He is an honest man, and his religion, and that will preserve you from all ill consequences. You see, Madam, I advise you to [???] thing, but I offer you all that I can offer: and all that is most dear to me." The physician promised her immortality as it were in favour of this affire, and threatened to forsake her if she refused. The good lady was greatly shaken already, when her confessor came in; he was a Jesuit and in the plot and as soon as he entred he ask'd what could their conversation turn on, which seemed to him to be very lively? He was told what it was about, as they had settled it before. The Father made a case of conscience of it to Madam d'Arnoux, and told her he could not give her absolution if she refused the lawful means that were offered her for preserving life, and begg'd Madam de Rhut to send for her son. He was soon found, for he had orders not to be out of the way. He threw himself immediately at the feet of his superannuated mistress, saying she was one of the most charming creatures in the world, and assured her of a submission upon all occasions. Madam D'Arnoux loved life; she found a very sweet way to [???] it, and heaven and Earth engaged her to it, so she consented to it all, and as at Avignon they follow the council of Trent implicitly, where consent alone makes the marriage, they made no more ado, but the confessor gave them his benediction upon the spot aftermaking the lady sign a little donation of a certain sum in favoour of the Cavalier, telling her that in conscience she was obliged to recompense a man that sacrificed his youth for her service and ought to leave that to the discretion of her children. He did not forget a legacy to his convent for saying masses, and after all this was done, he left the Cavalier to do the rest. The physician went out with Madam de Rhut, who pay'd him for what he had done; after which she went into Mr. d'Arnoux's apartment, who knew nothing of what had passed in his mother's. Madam De Rhut, after a little preamble, told it to him, and threw him into astonishment, and a dreadfull passion. "Get out, said he, you Megara, you witch, that after possessing my father when he was alive, have come to bewitch my mother too! You deserve to be burned alive and I shall in all my interest to make you stand your tryal for it!--Go on, sir, cryed Madam de Rhut, without being moved, [Go on;???] when you ahve done, I shall let you know the greatest of my crimes, which you know nothing of yet: I love you, sir; you have always been my strongest passion; notwithstanding the disproportion of our ages and your indifference. Tis an inelination I have not been able to get the better of, what ever my reason says to me upon it: and 'tis this htat brought me first into your house; your father loved me, and I never used the power I had over him but to do you good offices: You know it, sir; but of all that I have done for you, nothing deserves so much acknowledgement that which causes your present resentment. You cannot but know that Madam your mother brought a very great fortune into your family, and that your father left her mistress of his: You know the weakness she has for life, her physician, gained by some people, had persuaded her to marry and she would have made a choice that would have ruined you; happily I came in before the bargain was quite concluded, and finding I could not dissuade her from marrying. I at least prevented her from taking the Count of **, who would soon squander away your fortune, and have sacrificed my own son to your interests: He'll do nothing but what I please, or rather what you please; and you have a creature with your mother, to turn her mind to your advantage: See, sir, what this Megara this witch has done for you, and see what recompence she has received from you---" As she ended those words, she got up and left him in such surprize at what he heard, that he did not know where he was. As he had a very good heart he ran after her. "Return, generous creature, return, cryed he with all his strength---"No, said Madam de Rhut, I have told you too much to desire a longer conversation with you, and I deliver you to your repentance." Poor Mr. D'Arnoux was a long time before he could make his peace with you; at last, when she thought it was time, she [???] appeared. In the mean time the remedy that Madam D'Arnoux had recourse too did not operate at all, and the good woman grew worse every day. Madam de Rhut redoubled her compliance, the husband did no less, and all this because they had their views. In short Madam de Rhut, with the help of her son, found means to marry Mr. de Soissans her young son to Madamoiselle D'Arnoux: and as she had a good deal of credit already with the brother, she told him that his mother had designed to make Madamoiselle d'Arnoux her heiress, and marry her to a man of quality, whose name she told him; [???] her son who still watched for his interest, had discovered that secret, entrusted to him, and that the only way to ward off that blow was to marry Mademoiselle D'Arnoux with her youngest son Mr. de Soissans. Mr. de Arnoux, alarmed with the fear of losing so large an inheritance, consented to every thing. Mr. de Soissans espoused the lady, and was made [Captain???] of the galleys by his brother in law's interest, who was Intendant of the Marine. After which, poor Madam D'Arnoux being no longer necessary to Madam de Rhut's designs, they let her dye, and Mr. de St. Sauveur, finding himself at his ease by the fortune she left him, chose afterwards a wife for himself. Mr. de Rhut dyed too very seasonabe: and his wife [???] Mr. D'Arnoux's family, and finding she had acquired an absolute power over him, resolved to oblige him to marry her. Mr. D'Arnoux had been educated with Mr. de Segnelai and had the misfortune to be hated by him, because that in their infancy, Mr. Colbert always proposed him for a pattern to his son; so that after Mr. Colbert's death, Mr D'Arnoux

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apprehensive of some change for the worse in his fortune: which Mr. de Segnelay's equity preserved him from, for he persuaded that Mr. D'Arnoux did his duty. Some time after Mr. Colbert's death, Mr. D'Arnoux received an order from de Segnelai to go to him. He shewed this order to Madam de Rhut whom he always consulted in every thing; she told him he should lose no time, but go and wait on the minister: "But sir, said she, as he never had any inclination to love you [???] a mind to make you purchas his good graces by marrying one of his creatures; if you refuse, as you know his humour you make him your enemy, and if you consent, you'll certainly make but a bad marriage--- I forsee all those inconveninces, reply'd Mr. D'Arnoux, but what way is there to remedy them---Nothing is easier, said Madam de Rhut, marry me, and when Mr. de Segnelai proposes marriage to you, you may tell him you are so already; and this marriage which will unsettle nothing in your way of living, will prevent your falling into some troublesome affair. You know I have loved you this long time: my whole conduct has given you proof enough of it: you have received no harm yet by taking my advice: and believe me do not neglect this: tis for your interest alone I give it to you, and my tenderness for you never lets me consider my own. I shall never force you; you may have mistresses, you may live as a batchelor, and I shall even dispense with the tribute that Hymen requires if you have any aversion to it, and you'll remember that you have a wife only to avoid engaging yourself to another--- Ah Madam, said Mr. D'Arnoux, could it be possible for me to have any aversion to one like you? No, you triumph over that which I always have had for marriage, and which was the only reason that hindered me from offering you my little fortune: since Mr. de Rhut's death permitted me to have the views I have, I thought we might pass our time together without entring into stronger engagements: but I see well I should be deprived of many pleasures, and shall never be perfectly happy till I give myself entirely to you. Too happy still, that you are so good as to receive me and preserve a tenderness for me that I have not deserved: Let us go, Madam, let us go to the altar to authorize all that you have done for me?--- Tho' my inclination would lead me there, replyed Madam de Rhut, I would never go there, if I did not see it was for your advantage, and you'll remember sir that I am the third victim that my love sacrifices to your interest---Yes, Madam, replyed the grateful Mr. D'Arnoux, I shall remember whilst I live that I am indebted to you for every thing and you shall see how far my gratitude shall go." After this they [???] sure of a priest who marrried them without noise, and some days after he took post to visit Mr. De Degnelay, in despair [???] leave his dear spouse, who was above sixty years old. Mr. de Segnelai was greatly surprised at [??] extravagant a marraige, [???] the Parliament of Paris say, he no longer doubted that she was a witch: and Mr. D'Arnoux after receiving that [minister's???] orders, returned to his dear wife, more amorous than the Amadis's of Gaul; and tho' they have been several years together, he has not altered; he is continually toying with her, clasping her in his arms in short, his passion is one of the strongest ones in the world: This is what I think most extraordinary of all the wonders of Madam de Rhut's life, that she could inspire love and that with such passion and constancy, at an age that should cause not thing but disgust. This is a second example that the present age furnishes us with and I doubt whether succeding ones will find such another. Madam de Rhut has fallen into devotion; she has founded a convent of men up0on a mountain near Carpantras, who are a kind of hermits. She has made more foundations besides and as she has credit and friends enough, she does services with a very good grace to numbers of people. She sees her children well settled; the youngest son will have all Mr. D'Arnoux's estate, whose sister he married; and the oldest has reason to be satisfied with what old Madam D'Arnoux left him. Some see her to be a witch, others a saint; and for my part I take her to be neither the one nor the other, but only cunning, {???] woman, seconded by fortune. You'll make what judgement of her you please.

But now, I must tell you, that it is enough here for one to come from Paris, to be obliged to know all the news; the [???] of this country are curious. One cannot get rid of them by teaching them the new songs, and telling them of Fontanges [???] they will now all that passes at court, and think one never was inside it, if they do not tell them all it's intrigues [???] I knew enough of it, they have been very well pleased with me till now; I have told them all I knew of it: but at last [???] quite exhausted. The other day I read one of your letters to a lady who told me she had heard talk of the Marquis [???] that you quote, and begg'd me to tell her his adventures, which have made a great noise in the world. I told her it was true that I knew nothing of them but confusedly, but I promised her that I would beg you to give me his story more particularly. She waits for it, and I expect this mark of your [complaisance???[. This is not by way of valuing [???] to you in writing you such a long letter, for I have need that you should have some your self to read it. Adieu, let me know what passes about Mr. de Cambray, and all the cross purposes our Archbishop of Paris puts himself upon by his [???] without knowledge: for as the song says. Ev'ry [noailles??] is weak. I am Madam your most humble

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Letter viii. From Paris

I am greatly obliged to you for your complaisance, Madam. The history of Madam de Rhut is so extraordinary, that if I had heard it from any but you, I should take it for a romance: I kind that woman has a great resemblance with the heroine of our time; but it would be dangerous to press the comparison too far, and there are some people that we are never to talk of.

It shall be one of my fault if you don't satisfy the curiosity of your ladies. I shall begin to do it with the history of the Marquis of Lasse. You have seen him, and know that he's well made, and very well mannered. He quitted his province lucky enough to shew himself in Paris, turned out expensive, gave himself great airs and by that means disordered his affairs greatly; he had ambition; and as he thought that the Protestant religion which he professed from his infancy might be an [???] to his fortune, he turned Catholick to be in the fashion. His change procured him several friends, and was in the finest way in the world when love seized him: it was a laundress called Mary Anne, that made this fine conquest. That girl had an infinite stock of merit, beauty, sense, a good heart, in short she wanted nothing but family and fortune to make her an accomplished person. The Old Duke of Lorraine would have married her, and she refused mounting to that rank, thinking she was not worthy of it and fearing she would never be able to maintain it. Every body praised her prudence and discretion; and Mr. de Lasse who loved her to madness, began with her by proposing marriage; but he was greatly surprised when she refused it modestly. She was too wise for any one to imagine there could be any other way of being happy with her; so Mr. de Lsse found himself greatly embarassed. "What, Madam, said he to her one day, Won't you have me, is it my passion that displeases you? Cannot you like my fortune? We have nothing to say to reasons of state or politicks here. I am a gentleman and no prince, and besides that your merit repairs what you want in birth, that of a woman is not very necessary: There are several Dukes, Peers and Marshals of France, that have married girls of no better family than you, and are certainly far from being as valuable as you. In short, I am my own master, I have fortune enough to make you happy, and to supply what fate has refused you. what reason have you to drive me into despair? and what must I do to please you?---You have done every thing, Sir, said Mary Anne, you please me, I esteem you, I should think my self the happiest woman in the world with you; but I will not purchase my happiness at the expence of yours. I refused the Duke of Lorrain's offers, for whom I had no regard but that which was due to his rank. Would you have me shew less generosity with regard to you, and ruin the fortune of that man who if I may be so bold as to say it, is the dearest to me in the world: No, sir. I can never do it: your passion makes you think every thing easy; but mine does not blind me: Your family is good, but you must make a good marriage to support it, and mine would bring you neither [???] nor fortune, and you might reckon upon nothing but a repentance, which would throw me into despair, and to which I shall not expose you: I desire nothing but a little share of your esteem, and shall endeaver to deserve it by not abusing the kindness you have for me. After the confession I have made you, you may plainly see I have reason to mistrust my heart: therefore Sir, I beg you will be generous in your turn, and give your self no farther trouble in seeing me." The Marquis though he said all he could, could get no more out of her, and tho' her resolution threw him into despair, he could not help admiring her. She carefully avoided all opportunities of seeing him, and to be the less exposed to it, retired to a convent. Three months had pass'd without the Marquis's seeing her, when he received a billet from her in which she begg'd him to come to her instantly about a pressing affair. He did not lose a moment but appeared at the grate with all the [???] of a man deeply in love, and in hopes to find his mistress in the sentiments he would have inspired her with: but hers were much more disinterested. As soon as she saw him, she ask'd him was he in love still? and as he was making her very [passionate???] protestations; she interrupted his transports and told him he must persuade her of it by his actions, and not by his words and as he was going to promise her to attempt the most difficult enterprises and to take the moon in his teeth for her services she insisted upon his marrying a young lady extremely rich, that she had obtained for him by the intrigues of some of the nuns. Mr. de Lasse rejected this proposal: love fought against interest in his heart: but Mary Anne made so [???] use of the power she had over him that the marriage was finished as she had projected it. The Marquis carried home his wife to his estate, and retreived his affairs by the great fortune she brought him. Mary Anne continued in her [???] and begg'd the Marquis not to trouble her there. A whole year had pass'd without his presuming to disobey her orders of not writing to her, when Madam de Lasse dyed. The Marquis, who never had more for her than the regard an honest man ought to have for his wife, did not follow her to the grave; and after giving some time to Deceney, he came to throw at Mary Anne's feet his heart and his fortune that her care had greatly augmented. Mary Anne hesitated still

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Lett. viii Letters Historical and Galant 29 t at cast her Inclination for Mr. de Laffé prevailed. All the fortune he had by his first wife was owing to her, that she could not scruple her not bringing him anything, nor fear that he should want. but she had other Delicacies, d when he pressed her to hasten his happiness, could not avoid making Conditions. "If I loved you less, said she, my Eyes would be open to nothing but the Advantages you offer me. But, Sir, This is not enough for me: my happiness depends upon my being beloved by you; I am willing to believe that I am so now, and should be ungrateful if I doubled it, but who can answer for the time to come? I love you so tenderly, that it would be death to me to see the least diminution in your Affection. Consider then, Sir, whether you can bring your self to like a woman, who when she gives her self entirely up to you, expects you will do the same by her, and thinks she can never, keep you to her self amidst the [?] of os irregular a Court as this. My Proposal my frighten you, it is the same which the Manhater made to his mistrels: You must resolve, Sir, either to spend your days quietly on your Estate, or renounce me for ever. e Amorous Marquis consented, and enjoyed the amiable Marianne. They went to the country to avoid their Happiness ing ecchoed about the town. Marianne thought that hers could not be greater, and would not have changed conditions th the greatest Queen in the Universe. But the Marquis grew weary of this Innocent way of Life, and found means to cio an old Law Suit, to have a pretence for going to Paris. Marianne felt this Separation to the quick: her heart misgave er that it would bring her into some Trouble. The Marquis endeavoured to encourage her by the Tenderness of his dicus, and set out with great pleasure to reisit the Court. As soon as he arrived at Paris, he thought more of his leasures [pleasures] than of his Lawsuit. He wrote to her very regularly at first, but afterwards grew remiss. Marianne tenrly reproach'd him, and in her Melancholy, filled up some rhymes, and sent them to the Marquis, which I am able send you likewise, because I have them by heart. The Rhymes are hard enough too, Madam des Houlieris forerly filled them up in praise of the Duke of [St.?] Aignan.

Thyrius, love you, I own it to every body You dont do so and this is what grieves me; What! must your ardor dayly relax After Exacting Tribute from "my Fires." Who could inspire you with a Sentiment so shameful? Why am not I Daphne and you Phebus? Of What use is my Ranh, my Credit, and my Fortune? If far from you, here I my bit must champ you write to me no longer. That is terrible You come no more, that's worre and worre to me. Of all the Painst of Love the worst is Absence Ye fair to whom th' Ingrate shall mention Love Believe him not, take my advice and read There lines dictated by Woeful Experience.

Neither his Wife's Verses nor Prose touched the Marquis. She soon knew from fame that her husband led a very irregur Life at Paris; which so touched her, that, as she will foresaw, all her firmness forsook her, and she broke her heart d died for love of the most ungrateful man in the world. The Marquis received the news at a time when he ought least of it; His Remorse for being the Cause of the Death of so vertuous a Wife, awakened all his nderness, and threw him into dispair. he shut himself up in a Convent, and had a mind to throw himself to La [Grape?]. But as Violent passions are seldom lasting, he consoled himself, and returned to shine at Court ayer than ever, where he married the Princess Natural Daughter. Tis not known who is her Mother, but every dy believes her to be the Countess of Mare daughter to Marshal de Grance; and for her Geneology [Prefer?] you to e Count de Busey - who has wrote the amours of the Prince and Madam de Mare. This is all I know, Madam, nd this Relationship, tho' on the wrong side is what Occasions inr. de Lase to make one in the Duke. Pleasures nd makes the Dutchess suspect him of procuring him some that are not to her Advantage Our Archbishop still does what he pleases; he has made the Bishop of Meaux join in seconding Madam de aintenon's Vengeance, and has taken upon him to write against the Archbishop of Cambray, whom they have charged.

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