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The fair fame of a woman was deli- Hanover; from six to eight I drive with cately stabbed with a needle-point; Monsieur and our ladies of honor ; three a man's honor hinted away with a times a week I go to Paris, and every day smile and a shrug. Madame disdained I write to my friend there ; I hunt once necdle-points ; the bludgeon was her or twice a week. This is how my life is
spent. weapon. It must be remembered that in these
VERSAILLES, March 8, 1700.
On Sunday we had a long sermon, and I days what we call refinement was an
wrote to my aunt, the Electress of Brunsunknown quantity. Virtuous women wick ; Monday I went wolf-hunting with openly discussed questions which, now- Monseigneur, but we did not find. Tuesadays, no woman with the barest pre-day we attended a stag-hunt in the forest tence of a shred of decency could bring of St. Germains, and in the evening herself to speak of. Madame was not went to the play, Wednesday, I wrote behind her age in that respect — nay, to Lorraine and Modena, and attended she so far surpassed it that no compiler the sermon ; Thursday, I again went wolfhas ever been found daring enough to hunting, and after I came home, finished a print her letters in extenso; and she long letter to my aunt ; Friday, there was united to this a German fearlessness
another sermon, and I had a very busy and a complete indifference to what the and he who takes his place will have to
day ; for my first gentleman is just dead, world might say which a Frenchwoman
the widow forty-two thousand francs. could never have comprehended. Her This occupied me the whole day, and I nursery was
conducted on German also received a great number of letters. principles, in flat defiance of Parisian Saturday, we again went wolf-hunting ; on custom and precedent; and all her life my return I wrote to my daughter. Sunshe had a habit of saying what she day I wrote to Hanover, and attended the liked, of whom and to whom she liked, sermon, which was remarkably long. I which was embarrassing to her
also wrote to Paris ; Monday, I write to temporaries, delightful to the readers you. of her correspondence, and utterly
MARLY, May 5, 1709.
Monday, I have to write to the two contrary to the ways and manners of
queens of Spain, also to the Duchess of her time.
Savoy, and wish to settle with my men of Her life after marriage was spent business my bills and payments. Tuesalmost entirely between Versailles, St. day, I shall receive the visit of the amCloud, and Marly, and was chiefly oc- bassadors and envoys ; in the afternoon I cupied, except when her presence was must write to my daughter, and to three necessary at some State ceremony, of her children, who already write to me. with hunting, of which she was pas- Wednesday, I write to the electress and to sionately fond, and in writing innumer- Modena, and I reply to the letters that I able letters to her numerous kindred. have not yet answered. Thursday, I write Three extracts from her voluminous again to Hanover, and I sometimes attend correspondence, in different years, will evening prayers and benedictions on that show the strangely monotonous condi- day, as well as on Sunday. Friday, I write
to Lunéville. Saturday is the only day I tions under which she lived.
have no carrier to send out. ST. CLOUD, June 17, 1698. "Every letter which arrives in, or In the midst of this great court I live goes out of France,” she calmly anretired as in a desert ; there are but few nounces to her sister, “is opened and people whom I see frequently ; I spend read. But this is a matter of indifferlong days shut up in my rooms, writing ence to me; I go on writing all that and reading. If any one comes to pay me
comes into my head, just the same." a visit, I only receive them for a moment ;
When she was married to Monsieur, I talk of the weather, or of any court gossip, and then retire again. Four times a
Madame became, nominally a Roman week come my letter days : Monday, Sa- Catholic. Changing one's religion was voy ; Wednesday, Modena ; Thursday and a thing of course in those days, if temSunday I write long letters to my aunt in poral advantages resulted therefrom;
and Madame's father would have been them a great consolation." Religious much horrified had his daughter made books she did not appreciate. “I do any objection. Practically, she re- not know," she remarks, “whether mained exactly what she had always English religious books are livelier been ; perhaps rather more of a free-than those written in French and Gerthinker on subjects theological than man; I find them all extremely dull, either a sincere Protestant or Romanist with the exception of the Bible, of would have approved ; but with a good which I never tire. I always go to deal of every-day Christianity, and a sleep over the others.” Madame had shrewd common sense in her way of a pronounced opinion that pricsts and regarding her own and her neighbor's Christianity were poles asunder. Posduties, that served her in good stead. sibly the scandalous life of the Abbé The then alniost unknown virtue of Dubois, her son's boon companion and toleration had a strong advocate in her. evil adviser, may have strengthened “I must own," she says, writing of this belief. Her views on religion Louis XIV., “ that when I hear the generally, intermingled with diatribes great man praised in a sermon for his against “these gentry,” as she calls persecution of the reformed, I am al- them, are pretty well exenıplified in ways impatient; I cannot bear bad the following extracts, chiefly from actions being praised.” She had very letters to her sister, the Margravine decided ideas (about what had she not Louise. decided ideas ?) anent the whole duty of sovereigos. “I do not like kings It is a very unfortunate thing that the thinking that they please the Lord clergy try to set Christians, one against niuch by prayer. It is not for that that the other. If they followed my advice, he has placed them on thrones, but to the three Christian religions should join do good, and to administer justice fairly
together, and become one, and not trouble and rightly. In these actions ought and only care that all should live according
us as to what each thought individually, we to see kings' devotions. Also they to the law of the Gospel. Those who lead ought to see that priests keep to their evil lives would then alone be rebuked by prayers, and not meddle with anything the preachers. Christians ought also to else. When a king says his morning be allowed to contract marriage together in and evening prayers, he has done all any Church, without being blamed by their he need ; again, he ought to make his fellows. If all this were done, they would subjects as happy as he can.”
be more united than they are now ... All her life she went on reading her The end to be attained being the same with German Bible, and singing her German all Christians, the differences among them psalms. “To-day,” she writes, when are only priests' business, and do not con
cern honest people ; but we ought to live quite an old woman, “is my birthday.
worthily, and in a Christian manner, being I have already read four psalms, four merciful, charitable, and virtuous. Preachchapters of the Old Testament, anders ought to try to inculcate this, and not three of the New. Apropos of Bibles, to quarrel among themselves on a quantity a Berlin pastor has sent me a New of small matters ; but to do so would greatly Testament. It has been translated diminish the authority of these gentry, so in an entirely impartial manner, and they continue quarrelling, leaving aside the pleased me for that reason ; for I can- most important and essential of things not bear translations influenced by the
. . Do not imagine that those who are private feelings of the translators.” always talking of piety, and the fear of
“ You are wrong,” she says to Caro- God, are the most worthily pious. They line of Anspach, then Princess of
often use religion as a cloak to cover many
iniquities. True devotion is a special grace Wales, with whom she carried on an
which God does not give to all men, and it active correspondence, though they consists, I think, in charity and love of never met, “ to think that I never sing God . . . It is far from Christian to torthe Lutheran psalms and hymns ; on ment people about religion, for when one the contrary, I often do so, and find examines the thing seriously, one
plainly that religion is made the pretext | eat fish, and I am convinced that one for ambitious dealings and self-interest may do many better things than spoil
. . To trust God implicitly in all circum- one's stomach by eating too much stances is a great comfort . . . Dr. Luther fish.” Apropos of eating fislı, Mabehaved as all the clergy do. They all dame's singular predilections in the wish to govern, and be the head. Had he thought more of the general profit of Chris- way of food were patriotically German, tianity, he would not have made a schism and, to a non-German, astoundiug.
Think of the petits soupers of the time, I know that you are too strict to go to the play on Sunday ; but, to my think- with everything the quintessence of ing, paying and receiving visits is more daintiness, and hear the Teutonic prindangerous than doing so, for during the cess's calm avowals. course of a visit it is difficult not to speak
I cannot bear tea, coffee, or chocolate, ill of one's neighbors, and this is a far and cannot understand how any one can greater sin than going to the play. I do like that sort of thing. I find that tea not approve of people going to the play in- tastes of hay and rotten straw, coffee of stead of to church; but, after having ful- soot, and chocolate is too sweet and soft. filled one's religious duties, I consider that what I would willingly partake of, would the playhouse is better than a visit to one's be a good cup of Biran brot, or beer soup; friends . . . If my advice was followed, these things will do no harm to one's inside there should be laws made against Chris
Sausages and ham suit my stomach tians ever speaking ill of one another. All best . . . Nobody seems surprised to see religious differences would then be abol-me eating black pudding with pleasure. I ished, and people would live together ac- have also brought raw ham into fashion. cording to the Gospel, which recommends Every one takes it now; and many of our in so many places the virtue of charity other German dishes, such as sauer-kraut, ... To speak of one's neighbors as being sweetened cabbage, beans, and bacon, have certainly damned, is to commit an act been adopted ; they are really good here against charity, and shows hatred instead
I have so accustomed myself to Gerof love. This ought to be strictly forbid. man dishes, that I cannot bear any French den, but I fear that my advice never will
concoction .. Where eating and drinkbe followed.
ing are concerned, I am a thorough GerA delicious touch reveals her view man, and have been so all my life. They of sermons. “ Between ourselves they do not know how to fry things properly
The butter and milk are not so do not give me pleasure. I think the
good here as in our country. They have thing correct and proper, but not divert
no taste, and are as insipid as clear water. ing.”
The cabbages are not good either, owing Writing in her old age, she sums up to the earth being sandy and poor subher creed thus : “ When one has at- stance. Ah ! how glad I shall be to partained the age of sixty-three years, one take of some of the dishes your cook makes has naturally one's religious opinions for you! They would be more to my taste really settled. I share St. Paul's be- than all the fine things concocted by my lief, that it matters little whether one maître d' hotel ... Although I have been is a disciple of Paul or of Cephas, so here fifty-three years, I have not yet bethat one belongs to Christ. I hope, come used to this country's detestable
cookery. with God's help, to live and die in this persuasion." The persecuted Hugue- Madame took her husband's death, nots had a steady friend in Madame, in 1701, with much philosophy. Her who never missed doing them a good great dread was being forced to retire turn when she could ; and on one occa- into a nunnery. " Pas de couvent! sion intervened successfully to have pas de couvent !” she reiterated, and thirty released from prison. Possibly her wishes were respected. Possibly she thought that in so doing she was it would have been a difficult matter to acting more meritoriously than in fast- send Madame where she did not wish ing strictly, which she bad no great to go. She did not go to the funeral, opinion of. “I could not fast,” she but records the fact that she cried ali informs her sister, “being unable to day. She is loyal to him throughout
her correspondence. There is nothing comes with curious unexpectedness. spiteful said of him; indeed, he is “ I was truly grieved to hear of the rarely mentioned ; but that her mar- death of your great - niece ; but ried life cannot have been a happy one woman's life is so seldom happy, my is obvious from her repeated, and dear Louise, that oue ought rather to always highly depreciatory allusions to be glad of the death of a little girl ; marriage. Sometimes marriages turn for it is a brand saved from the burnout well, but quite as exceptions, noting.” two in a thousand. It may be said of happy marriages as of the phenix,
All my life (she says, in 1701] I have rethere is but one in a century.' “ It is
gretted being a woman ; and, to tell the
truth, it would have suited me better to indeed true that to live single is to have become Elector, than Madame. I choose the better part ; the best of should not have taxed the poor people as husbands is good for nothing." “ He does the present Elector, and I should have who marries does well, but he who allowed freedom of worship to all faiths. remains single does better. This is I should even prefer being Elector to being quite my belief ; had my life been at king of England, for neither the temper my own disposal, I should have fol. nor the Parliament of these English would lowed St. Paul's advice."
suit me. I do not envy my aunt (the Concerning second marriages, she Electress Sophia) her birthright, though no discourses with admirable, and, indeed, should have done.
doubt she will manage them better than I unanswerable logic.
dear Louise, cannot understand people mar- It must be remembered that, as only rying again. Evidently, one has either surviving child of Elizabeth Stuart's loved or hated the defunct. Has one eldest son, Madame herself would have loved bim ? Then how can one put been heiress-apparent of England, iu another in his place ? Has one been place of her aunt, had she not abjured unhappy? Then how can one expose the reformed religion on her marriage. oneself to a renewal of one's wretched- To have missed such an inheritance ness, unless one is dying of hunger, would have been a bitter pill to some and warries for a piece of bread ? women, but Madame was philosophOnly in this last case is the thing ad- ical. She had, as she says, never missible.”
wished to be a queen; and it is a Madame had no romantic ideas as to lamentable fact that her opinion of the the permanence of love's young dream. English was of the lowest possible “Generally,” she says trenchantly, quality. “A good German is worth all " when one marries for love, hate fol- the English put together,” she says; lows after a short time spent in each and again, more trenchautly, “ The other's company.” “Happy couples,” English are so false that I would not she remarks again, are things rarely trust them with a single hair.” “The met with. I have seen people who English are a false and singular peohave married for love soon after fall ple,” she wrote to her sister ; and to bating each other like the very when the latter was staying in Eudevil.”
gland, warned her, “ You must not be Her view of the whole duty of wives surprised at an Englishman behaving was this : “ The wisest way is to love rudely to you; for, between ourselves, one's husband reasonably and duti- that nation is worth very little.” Nevfully, but not with passion ; to live ertheless, she had been anxious that with him peacefully and kindly, and her daughter should have married Wilnot to trouble oneself on account of liam III. ; and when her wishes proved his conduct. In this way the husband fruitless, naïvely remarked, “I find and wife remain good friends, and that many things are spoilt in this life harmony resides in the household.” by religion ; especially since my daughIn one of her letters to the Margravine ter cannot wed King William." Louise, she strikes a sad note which She said much of the exiled English
royal family, James II., his wife and If he made himself more feared by his son, and was curiously divided in her wicked relations, they would hesitate feelings towards them, and her aunt, before beginning their wicked machithe electress, and her son George ; nations against him.” not able to decide whether she would “My son,” she writes to her sister, prefer the restoration of the Stuarts or “cares but little for the country. He the establishment of the Hanoverian only likes town life. He is not unlike dynasty – finally declaring that she Madame de Longueville, who used to wished the Pretender could be king of feel extremely dull in her husband's England, and George I. emperor of castle in Normandy. Those with her Germany. Of Mary of Modena she said, Madame, will you not try to speaks in terms which, coming from divert yourself somewhat? There are her, express unlimited esteem — she hounds and forests, will you hunt ?' had “every royal quality, generosity, No,' answered she, “I do not care courtesy, and judgment; never spoke for hunting.' 'Do you care for emunkindly of any oue — and was clean !” broidery ?' 'No, I do not care for Imagine the state of society when per- work.' 'Do you like walking, or playsonal cleanliness was a sufficient re- ing at some game?' “No, I ke markable quality to merit special neither the one nor the other.' • What mention ! á Her only failing - no one do you care for, then ?' they asked is perfect in this world — was her ex- her. She answered, 'What would you treme piety.”
have me say? I do not care for innoKing James she did not think so cent pleasures 1'” Morality was not highly of, though she pitied him ; but the fashion in those days. Madame she was much disgusted with him for herself, whose own reputation was undesiring the court of France not to go blemished, could calmly write, “Eninto mourning for his daughter Mary. gland certainly owes much to the “ This greatly surprised me, for I think Duchess of Portsmouth. She is the that one cannot forget one's own chil- best sort of woman I have ever met!” dren, however badly they have be- Probably the greatest trouble of Mahaved ; surely blood is thicker than dame's life was that her son had been water.” Madame herself was a very married to Mademoiselle de Blois, the loving mother, and had that merciful illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV. blindness which is one of the preroga- and Madame de Montespan. Her Gertives of motherhood. We have not man horror of a mésalliance was inbeen used to consider the Regent Duc tense.
cause of her d'Orleans an ideal character. Hear vigorous and enduring hatred of Mahow his mother speaks of him a year dame de Maintenon - another reason before her death. “My son is very being the latter's persevering efforts to good to me, and shows me much affec- get the Duc de Maine legitimized, tion. I believe that he would be really which, in case of the dauphin's death, grieved to lose me. His visits do me might have seriously affected the prosfar more good than does the physic I pects of Madame's own son as next am ordered to take, for they rejoice heir. “There is an old German proymy heart, and do not give me pains in erb,” she writes, “ which is, that when my stomach ; and he always tells me the devil himself cannot go to a place, something funny, which makes me he sends an old woman; the truth of laugh. He is so witty and agreeable. this is patent to all we members of the I should be indeed an unnatural mother royal family.” did I not love him with my whole Always vigorous in her powers of deheart. If you knew him you would nunciation, Madame did not spare her see how entirely free he is from malice unacknowledged sister-in-law. and ambition. Ah! he is only too old serpent,” “the old toad," "the good ! He forgives everybody, and king's old wretch," are terms that redoes nothing but laugh at his enemies.'cur constantly whenever she has to