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Memoirs of Madame de Montespan — Volume 5

Produced by David Widger

MEMOIRS OF MADAME LA MARQUISE DE MONTESPAN

Written by Herself

Being the Historic Memoirs of the Court of Louis XIV.

BOOK 5.

CHAPTER I.

The Prince de Mont-Beliard.--He Agrees to the Propositions Made Him.--The King's Note.--Diplomacy of the Chancellor of England.--Letter from the Marquis de Montespan.--The Duchy in the Air.--The Domain of Navarre, Belonging to the Prince de Bouillon, Promised to the Marquise.

There was but a small company this year at the Waters of Bourbonne,--to begin with, at any rate; for afterwards there appeared to be many arrivals, to see me, probably, and Mademoiselle de Nantes.

The Chancellor Hyde was already installed there, and his establishment was one of the most agreeable and convenient; he was kind enough to exchange it for mine. A few days afterwards he informed me of the arrival of the Prince de Mont-Beliard, of Wurtemberg, who was anxious to pay his respects to me, as though to the King's daughter. In effect, this royal prince came and paid me a visit; I thought him greatly changed for such a short lapse of years.

We had seen each other--as, I believe, I have already told--at the time of the King's first journey in Flanders. He recalled all the circumstances to me, and was amiable enough to tell me that, instead of waning, my beauty had increased.

"It is you, Prince, who embellish everything," I answered him. "I begin to grow like a dilapidated house; I am only here to repair myself."

Less than a year before, M. de Mont-Billiard had lost that amiable princess, his wife; he had a lively sense of this loss, and never spoke of it without tears in his eyes.

"You know, madame," he told me, "my states are, at present, not entirely administered, but occupied throughout by the officers of the King of France. Those persons who have my interests at heart, as well as those who delight at my fears, seem persuaded that this provisional occupation will shortly become permanent. I dare not question you on this subject, knowing how much discretion is required of you; but I confess that I should pass quieter and more tranquil nights if you could reassure me up to a certain point."

"Prince," I replied to him, "the King is never harsh except with those of whom he has had reason to complain. M. le Duc de Neubourg, and certain other of the Rhine princes, have been thick-witted enough to be disloyal to him; he has punished them for it, as Caesar did, and as all great princes after him will do. But you have never shown him either coldness, or aversion, or indifference. He has commanded the Marechal de Luxembourg to enter your territory to prevent the Prince of Orange from reaching there before us, and your authority has been put, not under the domination, but under the protection, of the King of France, who is desirous of being able to pass from there into the Brisgau."


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