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

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charged with a new crime for a book entitled Telemachus, which he is said to be the author of, and in which he is accused of speaking against the government. The book is prohibited, but this only makes it sell better; every one is for having it, and nothing is better wrote. Tis ['Tis] an imitation of Homer's Odysses [Odyssey], and is said to be a collection of the themes he gave his pupil the Duke of Burgundy, which he has reduced into a volume. His intention was to give that Prince, who was born to a throne, a notion of gentle government; our present one is not so, and therefore it is thought that this Prelate designed to criticize on it. It were much better for them to take example from the instructions which he makes Mentor (who is the goddess Minerva disguised in human shape) give the son of Ulysses. The book is very ingenious, and contains both the agreeable and the useful. If you have not yet seen it, no doubt you will soon, and will like it very well. Adieu, let us, if you please, continue our correspondence: I shall make no excuse for the length of my letter, which has been wholly taken up with Mr. de Lasse's history. I am, Madam [?]

Letter ix. From Avignon.

I am much obliged to you, Madam, for the history of Mr. de Lasse: our ladies read it with pleasure. We pity the fate of the incomparable Marianne, and greatly blame the Marquis's conduct.

But I must tell you for news, that Madam d'Urban has gone home again. She was at Bagnols, with a relation of her husband, the same that refused applying for the letter de cachet to confine her. He received her into his house, and her being entertained there, made others visit her without scruple; and her husband, who still loves her, authorised [authorized] by the example of his family, went to her to Bagnols, and brought her home. Not a word is said of what is past. Madam d'Urban has given her husband sufficient reasons for her journey, at least he has taken them as such, and they are now upon the best terms together. Scandal is quite silent, for whether out of regard to Mr. d'Urban, or from a principle of conscience, every thing is hush'd, and you would think that the Rhone is become the River Lethe, and that all the people of Avignon have lost their memories. I was the other day in the Commander Maldachini's garden, which, like the house of Polemon in Cassandra is a true stage, where some new scene or other is acted every day: There I was walking with some good company, when we saw a fine, genteel cavalier come in, who was looking for Madam d'Urban in all corners of the garden, and when he had found her out, threw himself on her neck, and embraced her tenderly. As Mr. d'Urban was present at these caresses, we could have no room to suspect them, and thought that the gentleman must be some near relation, and indeed he was no less than her father. I never was so surprized [surprised] as when I heard it. I was so strongly prejudiced against him, that my imagination gave me a frightful idea of him. I thought he must have seared every body with savage eyes, and a wild mien. And besides, as it was a long time since I had heard his name mentioned, I represented him to my self as a decrepit old man. But I was astonished to see a man that did not seem to exceed forty, tho' I believe he is more than sixty, as handsome as an angel, and with the sweetest countenance in the world. Yet I could not help feeling a secret horror for him, when I thought of the deplorable end of his wife. He had with him a little flat nosed man, not as handsome, nor of so good a person as himself. Mr. & Madam d'Urban paid him great respect, and carried him home. We all retired to our respective lodgings, and in the evening the whole talk was of the arrival of the Marquis of Ganges and his brother; for the little man I saw was the Count de Ganges, Colonel of a regiment of dragoons in Languedoc, and husband to the fair Gevaudan, mistress to Cardinal de Bonsi, with whom he has lately quarreled. It was to him the King formerly gave the forfeiture of Mr. de Ganges's estate, and he was so generous as to restore it to the son, when he was of age to enjoy it. You know that the young Marquis married a young lady of quality, rich and amiable, and carried her to Ganges, where he was obliged to leave her, in order to join his regiment and do his duty. His father Mr. de Ganges was in the castle, where he was suffered to stay, because none troubled themselves to think of his affair, or was interested enough to declare against him, and oblige him to keep to his banishment. At first he lay close, but in some time he found means to please Mr. de Baville, by forcing his vassals to go to mass. That intendant often wrote to him upon it, and even made him go to Montpelier to confer with him, whose protection made him hide himself no longer. His son recommended his wife to him tenderly, and left her under his conduct. But she being a new Catholick [Catholic], in order to signalize his zeal, he immediately took from her a young woman whom she was very fond of, and had for a long time lived with her. The young Marchioness dissembled her chagrin, and received more of the same kind: She was alone in the castle with this terrible father in law, who had the command of the family, and could not sit down with him to dinner in the same apartment where her mother in law had

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had ended her days so tragically, without being under some Apprehensions for her self. But her fears increased, when she found in this Father in law a passionate Lover. She was extremely embarrassed how to behave. Her Duty and Inclination forbid her to flatter so criminal a passion, but it was dangerous to provoke a man, whose passions had such terrible Effects, and of which there were sad Examples. She could not tell how to get out of so ticklish an affair: Should she think of quitting the Castle, her Religion would have been a good Pretence for her father in Law's preventing it; And besides, she could not tell whom to trust, and suspected every Creature in the Castle. The Baron de Moisac her Father was a new Catholick as well as her self, and had suffered a good deal too for his Religion, and there. fore she thought that if she wrote to him, her Father in law would open her Letters, and make a merit of it with the Intendant, who would rather praise, than blame him for it. For every thing is permitted where con tributing to the Propagation of the Faith is concerned. She had therefore but on Remedy left, and could expect but very slow effects from it. however she had recourse to it. and this was to write to her husband. He was an old Catholick. and so there could be no pretence to open his Letters. The Marquis received her Letter: he trembled when he considered the danger she was in, and [listning?] to nothing but his first Transports, rode past to paris, threw himself at the King's feet, and begged him to oblige his Father to return to the Place of his Exile, promising his Majesty to supply him with necessaries, in what ever part of the World he should please to retire to. The King seemed to be surprised to hear that Mr. de Ganges had returned from Exile, and ordered, that if he should be found in the Kingdom, his [Tryal?] should be brought on again. This Step of the Son was censured by those who did not know his reasons: The King blamed him, and I cannot excuse him, tho I know with what concern he was obliged to take it. In the mean time the Count de Ganges, who was then at Court, having an account of what passed against his Brother rode post to Ganges, and carryed him to Avignon, where he had but just arrived as we were going into the Commandant Maldachini's Gardens. Madam D'urban did what she could to engage her Father to stay at Avignon, but that place not agreeing with his present situation, he chose to retire to the Isle, which is an enchanting little town near the Fountain of Vaucluse. His Brother the Count, who is grown quite solitary since he fell out with his wife, has followed him in his retreat.

Much less notice is taken of their Departure, than of the Arrival of Mr. de Phelippeaux [fan?] to Mr. de Pontchartrain, Comptroller general of the Finances, and consequently Fortunes' Minion. tho he it neither Handsome nor genteel, our bodies are under arms to make their court to him. The Marquis de Essards, rich and child. Less as heir, yet has some notion of adding to his Fortune still, and attends this little [fop?] in his Progress. He Lately met with a very humourous tho' not a very pleasing Adventure. Inn. de Phelippeaux would need visit the Port of Celte: Mr. de Baville accompanied him in that Journey, and Des Essard, the Courtier must make one too. they took Boat in order to cross a Bason which joins the Mediterranean there. The Wind was contrary, and they wore a long, time before they could get over. However they bore the delay with Patience, as Mr. Baville had taken care to provide them a good Dinner before they embarked. But the poor Marquis who had eaten very heartily, wanted to step aside to answer a pressing call from natrue, and was greatly embarrassed to find no the least private corner in the Little boat, wherein he might ease himself. he did all that he could to contain himself; there was no possibility for him to step aside, he turned pale, and they observed him making frightful Faces. They rubbed him with Hungary Water to no purpose, but at last, in spite of all that he could do, the Load dropped from him, and certain Effluvia soon discovered the cause of his Disorder. Mr. de Phelippeaux blamed him for not acquainting them with his necessities, and to remedy them, gave him leave to expose his Backside to the air, and to sit on the Edge of the Boat. Des Esards gladly embraced the Permission, which nature had not been complaisant enough to wait for: And as the Scene passed in publick, the whole company saw his Posteriors and Breeches in very great disorder, and he had the mortification to see them all very merry at his Expence. Mr. Phelippeaux had not for some time his Share of the Sport. For coming near the Gallies of Cette, the noise of an Engine that had been played off in honour of him, made one of his Eyes flip out of his head. Happily for him it was but a Glass one., had the shot given but half a turn to the right, it would have sent him to the shades on the spot. But his Palet de Chambre took out a fresh Eye of the same kind out of a Portmanteau, and put it in it's place, and in a moment his Master looked as well as ever. See how necessary it is for people to have Change. Essards would have been very glad that he had a Change of Breeches too; but he was forcd to have patience, and to sit in his ordure till he got to Montpellier, where he changed himself from Top to toc, and then went to the Count of Broglio's, who gave a magnificent Entertainment to Mr. de Phelippeaux. That

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That Count commands the troops in Languedoc, and is brother in law to Mr. de Baville the Intendant of the province, who, by apprehending some preachers from time to time, persuades the court that his brother in law's stay there is absolutely necessary, whereby he has not only a substinance, but is able to provide for a large family and save money too. The Intendant at the same time does not forget himself, he takes care to fill his coffers well and is said to be no less greedy of the money than he is of the blood of the Huguenots, and that he sheds the one only to amass the others.

The Countess of Ganges was at Mr. Broglio's entertainment. Tho there is no very good understanding between them she did not seem much concerned at the absence of her husband, who is pining away with regret in this country. I think to go to Montpelier soon, and long to see this lady and her cardinal, who they say is still very amiable. I have heard much of their intrigues, and when I know the particulars, you shall have them. Since my news gives you pleasure, pray let me have some of yours still.

I am every day asked a hundred questions here about Madam de Maintenon: Who she is? when she came? and who are her parents? I vow I don't know, tho' I dare not say so for credit's sake. I know she was Scaron's widow and that is all. I never was curious about her genealogy, and but for her brother, whom every body knows, I always took her for a Mechizedeck. Pray bring me out of trouble, and give me what account you can of her; nay I request you will inform your self in any point relating to her which you do not yet know, but above all things take care to send me memoirs I can depend upon: for tis of the last consequence to be very nice in matters of fact, especially in the country, where people give the greatest attention to things of this kind. Iam Madam [???]

Letter X. From Paris

You don't know, Madam, what a request you make, when you desire me to send you the history of Madam de Maintenon. The undertaking is dangerous in every shape and therefore nobody has yet ventured to attempt it. Her life will one day or other afford employment for the best pens; and I told you already it is dangerous to talk of some people. Yet, as I depend on your discretion, all these considerations shall not prevent me from giving you marks of my confidence, and I shall tell you all that I know of her.

Her name is Frances Daubigne: Mr. Daubigne, her grandfather, was not only a person of condition, but likewise of great merit: he was a Protestant, and his body is interred in St. Peter's Church of Geneva. The father of our heroine was son of tht illustrious Daubigne. When he was very young he had the misfortune to fall in the hands of justice, for what reason I cannot learn, but that he felt the rigour of it and would have done so all his life, if the keeper of the prison's daughter, touched with his misfortunes and merit had not determined with her self to set him at liberty. She was amiable and very generous. Mr. Daubigne, knowing the tenderness of her heart, and the necessity he was under to keep fair with her, took the greatest care to please her, and succeeded. When he thought he might depend upon her regard for him, he offered her a life, which he could not preserve without her assistance, and swore to her that it was only the hopes of spending it with her that made him desire it. The girl, softened by this obliging discourse, made sure of him by oaths and promised to let him out of prison, and go off with, and follow him to the very Antipodes, if necessary, provided he would marry her in form the first opportunity. Having thus agreed, they thought of nothing but their liberty. He left the care of it to her, who took such just measures, that she gave him notice to be ready the night following. She chose a very dark one to favour her design and after making her lover grope alon through places where love was the guide, she brought him to a street where horses were prepared by a man whom they could trust, who conducted with all possible speed to a place of safety, where Mr. Daubigne, like a man of honour, acquitted himself of the promise he had given his fair deliverer, and married her publickly. Their flight made a great noise in the place they had left; they were pursued, but their pursuers finding their labour to be in vain, deserted and there was no more talk about them. And Mr. Daubigne and his new spouse enjoyed in their retreat, the sweets of liberty. She had taken with her what she found at home most valuable and easy to be carried off: all this was converted into money, and whils't their little treasure lasted, our new married couple thought themselves to be the happiest persons living. But their fund, being not very considerable, was soon drained and as love is but a slender diet, Mr. Daubigne found himself in a bad condition as that from which he had so lately escaped, being ready to perish with hunger. But what afflicted him most was to see that his dear wife, whom he loved so tenderly must be reduced to the utmost necessity, and that too at a time when she was big with child.

Pressed with these difficulties Mr. Daubigne formed to himself a very hazardous resolution, and since the danger he saw in it was only to his own person, he executed it without consulting his wife. The purpose he entered upon was to venture back in to France and to endeavour there to get up some of his effects and in a short time to have th pleasure of returning to his wife with some little means of substinence. He flattered himself that he was no longer thought of in his own country, and that by the help of a friend, he might continue there unknown for a time. But upon tryal it happened quite otherwise. For he was betrayed by those in whom he confided, so that he was a second time cast into prison. I should not have mentioned that he left his wife without ever taking leave, and that the first notice she had of his design was by a letter sent her from the place where he lay the first night. Upon reading it she was immediately alarmed for the life of a husband so very dear to her, but she fell into the last affliction when she received the news of his being imprisoned again. If one could dye of

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grief. Madam Daubigne had no doubt, died that moment, but she armed herself with resolution, and despairing ever to be able to deliver him a second time she resolved to share in his misfortune. Therefore without the least regard to the danger of a woman's travelling in her condition (for she was now far gone with child, she entered upon her journey, and having found out her husband, voluntarily gave her self up to remain a prisoner with him. And her it was that she was delivered of this famous daughter, who has since proved the wonder of the age.

Mr. Daubigne's relations, dissatisfied with his conduct and marriage, had abandoned him; and Madam de Villette his sister was the only one of them that visited him; she could not but be touched at the condition she found him in, entirely destitute of all conveniences and almost the very necessaries of life: but what most moved her to compassion, was to see the poor helpless infant covered with old rags exposed to the horrors of hunger, and making such languishing cries, as might pierce the hardest heart. Madam Daubigne's milk quite failed though misery and trouble, and having nothing else to give the infant, she expected every moment to see it expire thro' hunger in her arms. Madam de Villette had a little daughter, who has since been Madam de St. Germine; and her nurse having a great deal of milk, she carried home little Miss Daubigne, and the nurse nursed them both. She also sent her brother linen for himself and his wife, and some time after Mr. Daubigne found means by changing his religion to get out of prison and he was discharged upon condition he would quit the Kingdom. And knowing he was likely never to see France more, he got together what little substance he could, in order to make a long voyage, and so with a small family he embarked for America, where he and his wife lived in quiet and made it their principal care to give their children (a son and a daughter good education. They succeeded but with the daughter, who is certainly a prodigy of wit. The son, now the Count de Daubigne does not want it, but we may truly say that merit, in this family, fell to the [distaff???]

These unfortunate parents died both in their exile, leaving their children very young. The daughter, who was elder than her brother, as she grew up, began to be very desirous to see her native country. This together with the hopes she had of recovering something of that which once belonged to her father, made her willing to take the first opportunity of returning into France. Finding therefore a ship ready to sail thither, she went on board and landed at Rochelle. From thence she proceeded directly to Poitou, and there made it her business first to inquire out Madam Villette her aunt, who she knew very well was the person to whom she owed her life. Madam Villette received her with great marks of affection, and after informing her that, she must not expect to recover any thing of what had belonged to her father, since that was all irreparably lost and dissipated by his banishment, and the prceedings against him, she added, that she should be welcome to live with her, where at least she should never be reduced to want a substinance.

Mademoiselle Daubigne accepted her aunt's offer, and studied by all means imaginable to make herself necessary to a person without whom she could not live. She particularly took care to make her self agreeable to that cousin with whom she had one common nurse; and to omit nothing that might please them, shewed a great desire to be instructed in the religion of her ancestors; she was impatient to see the ministers and to frequent their sermons so that in a short time she began to take a great liking to the Protestant religion; and it is not to be doubted but that she would have openly professed this way of worship, if some of their father's relations that were Catholick's, who forsook him in his adversity and had not offered her the least assistance in her necessities, had not to make their own court, been busy in advertising some great men of the danger Mademoiselle Daubigne was in as to her salvation and in demanding thereupon an order to have her put into the hands of Catholicks. This information was very well received at court, and orders were immediately given that she should be taken from Madam Villettes and put into the hands of her officious and zealous relations. This was soon executed; and Mademoiselle Daubigne was in a manner forced by violence from Madam Villette, who was the only relation that ever had any care of her. She shed abundance of fears at parting, and assured her aunt and cousin (who was now married to Mr. St. Hermine) that she would never forget their favours, nor the good impressions she had received of their religion, and never fail to acknowledge both the one and the other, when she found a time and occasion proper for it. They, who never thought of offering violence to her inclinations about religion, tho' they had been charged with it, embraced her tenderly, without daring to talk further with her upon that head.

She was conducted to a relation, who had a lawsuit then depending at Paris; and being for that reason obliged to go thither, she carried Mademoiselle Daubigne with her, imagining that her wit and the charms of her person might be of use to her solicitations. This lady hired apartments in the same house where the famous Scaron was lodged: She made an acquaintence with him, and one day, being obliged to go abroad alone upon a visit, she desired he would give her cousin leave, in the mean time to come and sit with him; knowing very well that a young lady was in no danger from such a person, and perhaps it might turn to her advantage. Every one knows that Scaron had nothing sound about him but his wit; that he was a poor wrynecked cripple, not able to walk, and that his infirmities made him assume the name of the Queen's Almsman, a title which brought him a yearly pension of five hundred crowns; so that a lady's honour was in no great danger of suffering by him. Scaron was charmed with the conversation of Mademoiselle Daubigne, and her kinswoman, who used to take her with her when she went out in a coach to solicitate her judges, took frequent opportunities, when she went in a sedan to her proctors, or advocates, to leave her with Scaron. This gave him occasion to discover still new beauties in her from time to time. She would sometimes entertain him with the story of her adventures and her misfortunes, beginning even with what she suffered before she was born: all which she knew how to describe in so expressive and moving a manner that he found himself touched with a strong compassion for her and resolved with himself, if not to make her happy, at least to set her at ease by placing her in a nunnery at his own expense. But upon farther deliberation, he found himself very much inclined to lay before her an alternative, which in all likelihood she never expected. "Madam, said he to her one day, when her relation had left her alone with him as usual, I am not a little moved with your misfortunes; I am likewise very sensible of the uneasy circumstances under which you labour at present, and I have been now for some days contriving how to extricate you out of them. At last I have falledn upon two ways of doing what I so much desire: I leave you to determine, according to your inclination in the choice of the one or the other; or if neither of them please you, to refuse them both. I wish it was in my power to procure you a fortune, answerable to your merit, mine is too narrow for this; all that I am capable of doing is, either to make you a joint partaker with my self of the little I have, or to place you at my own expense in any convent you shall chuse. I wish I could do better for you, consult your own inclination, and do what you think most agreeable to your self. I know I make but a scurvy figure, but I am not able to new mould myself. I offer my self to you such as I am, and yet I do assure you, I would dispose of this ungainly person of mine to another and that I much have a great esteem for you ever to propose a marriage, which of all things in the word I have had the least in my

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thought hitherto. Consider, therefore and take your final resolution, either to turn nun or to marry me,or to continue in your present condition without repining, since these do all of them depend upon your own choice.

Mademoiselle Daubigne returned Mr. Scaron the thanks he so well deserved. She was too sensible of the disagreeableness of a dependent state, not to be glad to accept of a settlement, which, if it was not much to her advantage, would place her at least above want. Finding therefore in her self no calls towards a nunnery, she answered Mr. Scaron without hesitation, that she had too great a sense of her obligations to him not to be desirous of that way of life that would give her the most frequent occasions of shewing her gratitude to him. Scaron, who was prepossessed with the flattering hopes of passing his life with a person he liked so well, was charmed by her answer. They both came to a resolution that she should ask her relation's consent that very evening: She gave it very frankly, and this marriage, so soon concluded, was, as it were, the inlet to all the future fortunes of Madam de Maintenon. She led a very quiet life with this illustrious husband; he had wherewithal to live so that she wanted nothing: but his pension being attached to his life, she lost all when she lost him: and found herself again reduced to the same indigent condition in which she had been before her marriage.

Upon this she retired to the Hospitalliers of the Place Royal, founded for the relief of necessitious persons, where her deceased husband's friends took care of her. Here it was that the friendship commenced which she still preserves for Madam de St. Basil, a nun who she very often visits still in the Convent de la Raquette, where she now lives. And to the honour of Madam de Maintenon it must be allowed, that she has always been of a grateful temper, and mindful in her rich fortunes of her old friends, to whom she had formerly been obliged; which sufficiently appears from what she has done for Madam de Villette, and Madam de St. Hermine, when their changing their religion removed the obstacles that opposed her inclinations to do them services. She has married her daughter to the Count de Matti, and given him millions with her, and loaded St. Hermine with favours. Mr. de Villette is in the greatest employments, and had he not in his old days destroyed his fortune by a bad marriage, might have pushed it much further. Young Muree his son, through the care of Madam de Maintenon has married a very rich heiress, the daughter of Mr. Le Moine, Lieutenant General of Chaumont. One of the conditions was that Madam de Maintenon should pay the lady a visit, which she punctually performed and went Alencon's Quay to Honest Mr. Le Moine's house, who had assemble all his relations to be witnesses of the honour he had of receiving her under his roof. But this digression has carried me a little too far out of my way. And I must return to Madam Scaron, whom I left in the Convent of the Place Royal.

Her husband's friends did all they coudl to prevail upon the court to continue to her the pension which the late Mr. Scaron had enjoy'd during his life, and accordingly presented petitions to the King, which began always with The Widow Scaron most humbly prays your majesty. But they all signified nothing, and the King was at last so weary of them, that he has been heard to say: "Must I always be pestred with the Widow Scaron?" Notwithstanding which her friends were resolved not to be discouraged in their endeavour to serve her.

After this she quitted the convent, and went to lodge at the Hotel d' Albert, where her husband had always been very much esteemed. Here a very remarkable thing happened to her which is known but to very few, and I can take upon me to answer for the truth of it. Some masons were at work at the house, not far from her apartment; one of them came into her chamber, and seeing two or three visitants of her own sex, deisred to speak with her in private. She carried him into her closet, where he took upon him to tell her all the future events of her life. But whence he drew this knowledge, which time has so wonderfully verified, is a mystery still to me. As to her, she saw then so little appearance of probability in his predictions, that she hardly gave the least heed to them. However the company, upon her return, observed some alteration in her countenance, and one of the ladies said: "Surely this man has brought you some very pleaseing news, for you look more chearfully than you did before he came in--I should have a great deal of reason to do so, said Madam Scaron, if I could give any credit to what that fellow has promised me.-- [???] a pray, what promise did he make you, cryed the ladies, may not one know it? No, replyed Madam Saron, laughing, but in case there be any thing in it, you will do well to make your court to me before hand." The ladies could not prevail on her to satisfy their curiosity any farther, but she communicated the whole secret to a bosom friend after they were gone, and from that lady it come to be known, when the events foretold were come to pass, and is scrupulous a secrecy in that point did no longer seem necessary.

Some time after this Madam Scaron was advised to seek all occasions of insinuating her self into the favour of Madam de Montespan, who was the King's mistress and had an absolute influence over him. She was accordingly presented to her, and at that time spoke to her with so good a grace, that Madam de Montespan, pitying her circumstances and resolving to make them more easy, took upon her to carry a petition from her to the King and to deliver it with her own hands. "What, cryed the King smiling, the Widow Scaron again! Shall I never see any thing else!--- Indeed, Sire, said Madam de Montespan, it is a long time since you ought not to have had her name mentioned to you anymore, and it is something extraordinary that your majesty has done nothing all this while for that poor woman, who really deserves a much better condition as well upon account of her own merit, as of the reputation of her husband." The King, who was glad of every opportunity to please Madam de Montespan, granted Madam Scaron's Petition. She came to thank her patroness, and Madam de Montespan took such a liking to her, tha she resolved to present her to the King and afterwards proposed to him that she might be made governess of their children. The King consented to it, and Madam Scaron by her address and good conduct won so much upon the affections and esteem of Madam Montespan, that in a little time she became her favourite and confidante.

Itr happened one night that Madam de Montespan who concealed nothing from Madam Scaron, sent for her to tell her that she was in great perplexity. She had just then it seems received a billet from the King, which required an immediate answer, and tho' she did by no means want wit, yet in that instant she found herself incapable of writing any thing with

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