In the Memoirs of Saint-Simon

   That year I had spent the eve of Low Sunday at La Ferté and I was alone in my study with a gentleman retired many a long year from the abbey church of M. de la Trappe, when a messenger sent by Madame de Saint-Simon delivered me a letter from her in which she advised me to be at Meudon for an affair of the utmost importance concerning M. le Duc d'Orléans.

   That year saw the marriage of the good lady Blumenthal with L. de Talleyrand-Périgord that has oft been spoken of in the course of these memoirs. The Rohans transacted their nuptials among those people of perforce good stock. She ventured the dust cover on her chair and incontinently had herself named Duchesse de Montmorency, by which she was promoted not one bit. The campaign continued against the Imperialists who despite the discontents in Hungary caused by the price of bread, encountered some successes in front of Château-Thierry. It was there that we saw for the first time the impropriety of M. de Vendôme's public treatment of the Imperial Highnesses. The gangrene spread as far as the lieutenants general and did not permit me to express my suspicions against which I held my courage with difficulty, so much so that I went, far away from Court, to spend the Easter fortnight at La Ferté in the company of a gentleman who had served in my regiment and was highly considered by the late king, when on the eve of Low Sunday a messenger sent by Madame de Saint-Simon delivered me a letter from her in which she advised me to be at Meudon as soon as possible for an affair of the utmost importance concerning M. the Duc d'Orléans. It has been stated in its time how much that unfortunate prince, having no just and extended knowledge, about births, family histories, the distinctions of rank of which he had never understood the intrinsic qualities nor the art of marking it to everyone, had never known how to take pleasure in the elixir of court and the most select society, to so far and to such extent that he had come to devote himself to chemistry, to painting, to the opera from whence musicians frequently came to bring him their books and their violins that to him held no sectrets. We have seen too with what pernicious artistry his enemies and lowest of them all the Maréchal de Villeroy had used against him on account of his taste for chemistry, at the time of the deaths of the Dauphin and the Dauphine. However far these frightful noises, artfully spread by all those that approached Madame de Maintenon, would have made M. the Duc d'Orléans repent of his researches that were so strange for a man of his sort, we have seen that he spent his nights with Mirepoix who kept his alembics in the quarries of Montmartre to toil over some charcoal in which this prince who did not believe in God hoped to see the devil - It was the moment when, against my advice, the edict against gemstones had been delivered, concerning which everyone knew to keep their own well hidden, so that it did nothing to remedy other than very little and very momentarily the distress to the public finances. Madame de Saint-Simon told me that an adventurer called Lemoine wishing to flatter M. the Duc d'Orléans's penchant for chemistry and the urgent need that this prince felt to replenish other than by Law's papers and the Mississipi affair the empty state coffers, claimed to have discovered the secret of manufacturing gemstones and principally diamonds by heating carbon in some sort of furnaces that he had invented; that on this account he had requested an audience with M. the Duc d'Orléans; that having spent his life in the most mysterious and base debauchery and not knowing it is true to say any man of any possible name, he found himself refused initially. But we know that M. the Duc d'Orléans was not very hard on those he invited to his parvulos1 and his suppers where only good company was kept to one side in a precise seclusion. Lemoine redoubled his entreaties, at first to no avail, but in the end la Mouchi took to the stage. At first I thought to go to the king through the Maréchal. But I feared setting off the bomb and that it would hit M. the Duc d'Orléans first who the king had never liked, and I resolved to repair to the Palais-Royal. I was wanting to arrive during the day on which M. the Duc d'Orléans was in the habit of ending by going off to supper in the strange company that I have already mentioned. I was impatient for my carriage and I threw myself inside as soon as it was ready. I have often said to M. the Duc d'Orléans that I was not a man to importune him with my advice but when I did give him any he must consider it as urgent and to have the grace not to have me removed to the antechamber. This prince bade me come in forthwith at his side, and after I had greeted him with a rather indifferent and rather curt bow which was exactly returned to me: "Well, what is it then, you seem displeased" he said to me with an air of indulgence and embarrassment.
   "There is something, Sir", said I fierily setting my eyes upon his that he was endeavouring to lower and remove, "that you are in a mind to lose before the public the little respect and esteem" - these were my very words, I felt not a little shame saying such a thing as a man of my rank speaking to a prince of his rank - "the little esteem and respect that you have retained", I repeated with force and so as to deliver myself once and for all of this bitter pill.


   I represented to him all the villainous things that his enemies would draw from the so-called inventions of Le Moine, so as to cast the most detestable accusations against him; that in truth they would take on the appearance of having nothing to do with that rogue, but would profit from him so as to constrain themselves so much the less over a Prince who had yet to know what these villainous inventions could bring against him, so much more dangerous as they were fatuous; I still shudder in my bed sometimes when I recall that I felt no qualms about using language concerning poisoning and incest and of making a commemoration of the abominable taste - these were my words - that Monsieur his father had; to tell the real truth - if he had inherited the propensity for perfumes - (by which he had so strongly offended the King who could not bear them, and gave rise to the inflammatory rumour that he had made an attempt on the Dauphine's life) and the detestable maxim of dividing to conquer with the help of repeated rumours from one person to another which were the plague of the Palais Royal, as they had been that of Monsieur's court; that no one feared attacking him by the most horrible, the most affecting, the most odious calumny that would be spread that he was holding out for nothing less by this ruse of having this profusion of false diamonds manufactured than winning the Spanish throne, which he had never been able to achieve in war, and to profit from the weakness of Rome before the Emperor, to have his marriage to Mme the Duchesse d'Orléans dissolved - I drew a line at that point and satisfied myself with saying a few words on the bastardy that could serve in the renunciation of his wife - and marry Mme d'Argenton. I then raised my eyes that I had kept lowered for a moment and I saw a man more downcast than a lifeless bird, indeed downcast is not saying enough, destroyed by what I had just said, without the strength to decide between accepting or responding to my words, so that it already seemed a good augury for this first effort to have succeeded in making him understand. After a few moments' pause attributable more to his weariness than to mine and if I may say so at the same time to the pity and the joy that his distress inspired in me and where I saw none of the resistance I feared may take form, I left him no time to recover himself from such a rude blow and I immediately went on to enumerate the measures that must be meticulously taken and in the greatest secrecy against this Le Moine, whereafter to attend to their execution with the utmost energy. These last words alone caused some words of his own to emerge from the up until then mute mouth of the Duc d'Orléans. He was not malicious, rather he was weak.
   "What, then," he said to me in a complaining tone, "arrest him? But what if his invention happens to be real?"
   "What's this, Monsieur," I replied, "how can you think that, and so soon after being so lately deceived by the gross imposture of the false Marquis de Ruffec, you still maintain your confidence in Le Moine?" He reddened at the memory of what my brother had written, that he had requested of me through Biron as has been related in its proper place along with the sorrow it had caused me.
   "But after all," said I, "if you have even one doubt, call for the man who knows more than anyone else in France on matters of chemistry, and whose character, along with his illustrious name, his stainless life, are your guarantee of his word." He understood that I was speaking of the Duc de Guiche.
   "Yes, that's it, I ought to have had it done sooner, have him sent for," he said with the joyful air of a man caught between conflicting choices - who suddenly finds himself freed from having to take any decision and to whom another is decreed which is the favourable one and that must be followed. As you may imagine the Duc de Guiche seldom came to the Palais Royal, into that court where it was libertines, not even noblemen of good extraction who held the highest ranks and the premier positions, rather than men like himself. But in the end the Regent demanded of him, he felt, the respect due to his birth, if not for his person, for the good of the state, perhaps of his own safety, and he did what was expected of him without allowing any visible sign of his reluctance to be seen, because no man ever showed more grace than he. He united the most solid, the most brilliant, the most delightful merit in the diverse sciences which he possessed in their full intrinsicality, not in the manner of the Regent de Mirepoix and of their detestable sect, but rather in the manner of the celebrated Descartes. He was called Gramont, from that illustrious family whose true name is Aure and is descended from the two Maréchals de Gramont, father and son of the gallant Guiche, flower of the first court of Louis XIV whose grace is reaffirmed in him.
   "I shall go myself, Monsieur, if it pleases you," I told him, knowing that the Duc de Guiche came but rarely, and [...] [incomplete]


   It has been seen that I had endured strange disunities with Monsieur the Duc d'Orléans and I hardly visited the Palais Royal any longer after the affairs of Prince Murat and Don Ferdinand Luis, commonly and most improperly called the Spanish Infanta, which I have stated in their place and to which I return now merely for greater clarity. The King of England had come to France quite incognito, under the name of the Earl of Stanhope and it had been agreed that Monsieur the Duc d'Orléans would go and await him at Meudon where he was to give a parvulo in his honour. The Duc de Gramont and Prince Murat were to be there when, the day before the King's arrival, the Ducs de Montemart and de Chevreuse came to warn me as one who has at heart the right and proper concern for the ancient and incontestable privileges of Dukes, that Prince Murat had claimed the royal hand for dinner, claiming precedence over the Duc de Gramont, that he had explained his pretension to M. d'Orléans through Effiat, and that he had been the chief support of the court of Monsieur his father, so that Monsieur the Duc d'Orléans, embarrassed to the highest degree, apt on account of his natural diffidence to cede before audacious pretensions and moreover not having that pure, clear, profound, decisive training that permits one to reduce them to naught finally replied that he would see, that he would speak about it with Madame d'Orléans. Strange sproposito2 to take oneself off and entrust the most vital interests of the French crown in which the Dukes are the veritable jewels, to a person who was connected with them only by the most shameful and undeclared ties and had in any case never known what was proper to herself, much less to Monsieur her husband and to the entire peerage. This very curious and unprecedented reply had been relayed by the Duchesse Sforze to Messieurs de Montemart and de Chevreuse who surprised in the extreme had immediately come to find me [...] [Manuscript torn and incomplete]


   One single Murat lady could marry one so celebrated for his wit and aspire to his hand, and that was the daughter of the Prince de Léon, since the Duc de Rohan-Chabot. Indeed she had married Lucien Murat, Prince de Mingrélie, which is a sort of independent state. But her father had not been able to obtain the rank of foreign Prince even though he believed himself, and not without reason, to be from an equally good family as was M. de Bouillon. His daughter thought, and she was not wrong in this, that the positive in the situation lay with the house of Rohan rather than with the Muscovites and she abandoned this chimera of princeship. But J. Murat attached himself there and dared, which is sufficient in a country where impudence is all that is required to succeed when it is contrary to justice and the law. Not one of these Ducs attended the parvulo at Meudon. The affair [...] [incomplete]


1. Parvulo: an exclusive dinner party given by Louis XIV at Meudon; the term was coined by Saint-Simon himself.

2. Sproposito: Italian for a blunder.


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