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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

And Marshal Villeroy was escorted to Lyons


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day, at noon, Marshal Villeroy repaired to the Duke of Orleans' to excuse himself, fancying he might attempt an explanation as equal with equal. He crosses with his grand airs, in the midst of the whole court, the rooms which preceded the prince's closet; the crowd opens and makes way for him respectfully. He asks, in a loud tone, where the Duke of Orleans is; the answer is that he is busy. 'I must see him, nevertheless,' says he; 'announce me!' The moment he advances towards the door, the Marquis of La Fare, captain of the Regent's guards, shows himself between the door and the marshal, arrests him, and demands his sword. Le Blanc hands him the order from the king, and at the same instant Count d'Artagnan, commandant of the musketeers, blocks him on the opposite side to La Fare. The marshal shouts, remonstrates; he is pitched into a chair, shut up in it, and passed out by one of the windows which opens door-wise on to the garden; at the bottom of the steps of the orangery behold a carriage with six horses, surrounded by twenty musketeers. The marshal, furious, storms, threatens; he is carried into the vehicle, the carriage starts, and in less than three hours the marshal is at Villeroi, eight or nine leagues from Versailles." The king wept a moment or two without saying a word; he was consoled by the return of the Bishop of Frejus, with whom it was supposed to be all over, but who was simply at Baville, at President Lamoignon's; his pupil was as much attached to him as
he was capable of being; Fleury remained alone with him, and Marshal Villeroy was escorted to Lyons, of which he was governor. He received warning not to leave it, and was not even present at the king's coronation, which took place at Rheims, on the 25th of October, 1722. Amidst the royal pomp and festivities, a significant formality was for the first time neglected; that was, admitting into the nave of the church the people, burgesses and artisans, who were wont to join their voices to those of the clergy and nobility when, before the anointment of the king, demand was made in a loud voice for the consent of the assembly, representing the nation. Even in external ceremonies, the kingship was becoming every day more and more severed from national sentiment and national movement.

The king's majority, declared on the 19th of February, 1723, had made no change in the course of the government; the young prince had left Paris, and resumed possession of that Palace of Versailles, still full of mementoes of the great king. The Regent, more and more absorbed by his pleasures, passed a great deal of time at Paris; Dubois had the government to himself.

His reign was not long at this unparalleled pinnacle of his greatness; he had been summoned to preside at the assembly of the clergy, and had just been elected to the French Academy, where he was received by Fontenelle, when a sore, from which he had long suffered, reached all at once a serious crisis; an operation was indispensable, but he set himself obstinately against it; the Duke of Orleans obliged him to submit to it, and it was his death-blow; the wretched cardinal expired, without having had time to receive the sacraments.


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