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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

And that I am unmanning you also


been by the reverses and sorrows

of late; meanwhile the appetite was diminishing, the thinness went on increasing, a sore on the leg appeared, the king suffered a great deal. On the 24th of August he dined in bed, surrounded as usual by his courtiers; he had a difficulty in swallowing; for the first time, publicity was burdensome to him; he could not get on, and said to those who were there that he begged them to withdraw. Meanwhile the drums and hautboys still went on playing beneath his window, and the twenty-four violins at his dinner. In the evening, he was so ill that he asked for the sacraments. There had been wrung from him a codicil which made the will still worse. He, nevertheless, received the Duke of Orleans, to whom he commended the young king. On the 26th he called to his bedside all those of the court who had the entry. "Gentlemen," he said to them, "I ask your pardon for the bad example I have set you. I have to thank you much for the way in which you have served me, and for the attachment and fidelity you have always shown me. I am very sorry not to have done for you what I should have liked to do. The bad times are the cause of that. I request of you, on my great-grandson's behalf, the same attention and fidelity that you have shown me. It is a child who will possibly have many crosses to bear. Follow the instructions my nephew gives you; he is about to govern the kingdom, and I hope that he will do it well; I hope also that you will all contribute to preserve unity. I feel that
I am becoming unmanned, and that I am unmanning you also; I ask your pardon. Farewell, gentlemen; I feel sure that you will think of me sometimes."

The princesses had entered the king's closet; they were weeping and making a noise. "You must not cry so," said the king, who asked for them to bid them farewell. He sent for the little dauphin. His governess, the Duchess of Ventadour, brought him on to the bed. "My child," said the king to him, "you are going to be a great king. Render to God that which you owe to Him; recognize the obligations you have towards Him; cause Him to be honored by your subjects. Try to preserve peace with your neighbors. I have been too fond of war; do not imitate me in that, any more than in the too great expenses I have incurred. Take counsel in all matters, and seek to discern which is the best in order to follow it. Try to relieve your people, which I have been so unfortunate as not to have been able to do." He kissed the child, and said, "Darling, I give you my blessing with all my heart." He was taken away; the king asked for him once more and kissed him again, lifting hands and eyes to Heaven in blessings upon him. Everybody wept. The king caught sight in a glass of two grooms of the chamber who were sobbing. "What are you crying for?" he said to them; "did you think that I was immortal?" He was left alone with Madame de Maintenon. "I have always heard say that it was difficult to make up one's mind to die," said he; "I do not find it so hard." "Ah, Sir," she replied, "it may be very much so, when there are earthly attachments, hatred in the heart, or restitutions to make!" "Ah!" replied the king, "as for restitutions to make, I owe nobody any individually; as for those that I owe the kingdom, I have hope in the mercy of God."


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