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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

The Count of Toulouse promised me so


[Illustrations:

The Duchess of Maine----72]

The Duke of Bourbon was not satisfied with their exclusion from the succession to the throne; he claimed the king's education, which belonged of right, he said, to the first prince of the blood, being a major. In his hatred, then, towards the legitimatized, he accepted with alacrity the Duke of St. Simon's proposal to simply reduce them to their rank by seniority in the peerage, with the proviso of afterwards restoring the privileges of a prince of the blood in favor of the Count of Toulouse alone, as a reward for his services in the navy. The blow thus dealt gratified all the passions of the House of Conde and the wrath of Law, as well as that of the keeper of the seals, D'Argenson, against the Parliament, which for three months past had refused to enregister all edicts. On the 24th of August, 1718, at six in the morning, the Parliament received orders to repair to the Tuileries, where the king was to hold a bed of justice., The Duke of Maine, who was returning from a party, was notified, as colonel of the Swiss, to have his regiment under arms; at eight o'clock the council of regency was already assembled; the Duke of Maine and the Count of Toulouse arrived in peer's robes. The Regent had flattered himself that they would not come to the bed of justice, and had not summoned them. He at once advanced towards the Count of Toulouse, and said out loud that he was surprised to see him in his robes, and that he had

not thought proper to notify him of the bed of justice, because he knew that, since the last edict, he did not like going to the Parliament. The Count of Toulouse replied that that was quite true, but that, when it was a question of the welfare of the State, he put every other consideration aside. The Regent was disconcerted; he hesitated a moment, then, speaking low and very earnestly to the Count of Toulouse, he returned to St. Simon. "I have just told him all," said he, "I couldn't help it; he is the best fellow in the world, and the one who touches my heart the most. He was coming to me on behalf of his brother, who had a shrewd notion that there was something in the wind, and that he did not stand quite well with me; he had begged him to ask me whether I wished him to remain, or whether he would not do well to go away. I confess to you that I thought I did well to tell him that his brother would do just as well to go away, since he asked me the question; that, as for himself, he might safely remain, because he was to continue just as he is, without alteration; but that something might take place rather disagreeable to M. du Maine. Whereupon, he asked me how he could remain, when there was to be an attack upon his brother, seeing that they were but one, both in point of honor and as brothers. I do believe, there they are just going out," added the Regent, casting a glance towards the door, as the members of the council were beginning to take their places: "they will be prudent; the Count of Toulouse promised me so." "But, if they were to do anything foolish, or were to leave Paris?" "They shall be arrested, I give you my word," replied the Duke of Orleans, in a firmer tone than usual. They had just read the decree reducing the legitimatized to their degree in the peerage, and M. le Duc had claimed the superintendence of the king's education, when it was announced that the Parliament, in their scarlet robes, were arriving in the court of the palace. Marshal de Villeroi alone dared to protest. "Here, then," said he with a sigh, "are all the late king's dispositions upset; I cannot see it without sorrow. M. du Maine is very unfortunate." "Sir," rejoined the Regent, with animation, "M. du Maine is my brother-in-law, but I prefer an open to a hidden enemy."


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