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The chain of power did not end in Madame de Maintenon. She, indeed, ruled the Sovereign of France; but she was herself ruled by an humbler favourite. Nanon Balbieux, or Babbicux (the various orthography of her name in different writers is indicative of her origin and her education), had long been her only servant, and after the death of Scarron was accustomed to make their joint bed, and to dress their plate of soup, in the little bedroom which was their only dwelling. It is one of the most honourable facts in the history of Mad. de Maintenon, that this faithful servant followed her through all her changes of fortune. With the boundless prodigality which is more often practised to a favourite than to a friend, Madame de Maintenon at last bestowed on her the office of Superintendo ent of the almost Royal Household, and she ended by dictating as many promotions as she desired. Such is the ascendancy of inferior attendants, to which long habit, constant access, and the skilful use of favourable moments, so generally subject the great; or, if we look at man from another point of view, so urgent is the need which compels the coldest natures to seek, in the pleasure of feeling attachment and of seeming to inspire it, some amends for a life of joyless selfishness and painful hypocrisy.

The present publication consists of a Correspondence of Mad. de Maintenon with the Princess Ursini, or, as she was called in France, Des Ursins; a French lady who had married two husbands of the noble houses of Talleyrand and Ursini, and who was sent in her second widowhood to Madrid, to govern Philip, through the young Princess of Savoy his first Queen. The letters are correct, cold, wary, unbending; the production of a woman who never dared to express the little feeling she had, and was too sensible to make a display of talent in her correspondence. Whoever is desirous of reading letters of natural effusion, graceful ease, and sometimes agreeable negligence, occasionally lighted up by happy phrases, struck out by feeling and taste, must look elsewhere for these epistolary graces. The old politician in petticoats had her caution too constantly on the stretch to indulge herself in such elegant relaxation. The subjects are either court news, which never could have interested any but court ladies, or remarks on political events, which have long ceased to interest the general reader. But in spite of the stiff and wary writer, the former part contains some strokes of character and manners, and the latter contributes some materials for the history of the war and

A few extracts may please many who would not have patience to read the book. We shall select, in the first

the peace.

place, those which relate to Warfare and Negociations. They begin immediately after the great battle of Ramillies.

20th June 1706.- The designs of God are impenetrable. Three great and most Christian Kings appear to be abandoned.'_One of these three was the unfortunate son of James II.)— Heresy and injustice triumph.' --- Villeroi is full of bitterness and despair.

16th April 1707.— I am overjoyed that eighty Spaniards have beaten five hundred English. I naturally love the Spaniards, and the lowest of the populace cannot at present hate the English more than I do.'

4th March 1708.— The King of England is to set out on the 9th, and to embark at Dunkirk for Scotland on the 10th. The King gives him six thousand men. The Scotch lads have written repeatedly that they will receive him. If God blesses this enterprise, it will make a great division, and perhaps peace. If you have any saints in Spain, let them pray

for its success. I went to St Germains yesterday. The Queen is in a wretched state. She has gout, some fever, and a cold in the head, besides her agitation of mind.

25th March 1708.-" The expedition to Scotland interests all the world. Every one here was full of consternation at the delay, and are rejoiced at the King of England's sailing.'

4th April 1708.- We have just had accounts of the failure of the Scotch expedition.'

15th April 1708.— I am the only person of the Court who has not been at St Germains to condole with the Queen. You know her courage ; but she cannot speak a word without sighing.'

25th April 1708.— I have had a fever, which Fagon call the Scotch fever.- No enterprise was so much applauded as that against Scotland, except (I tell you in confidence) by the King, who always had a bad opinion of it, and yielded only to the universal cry. The King of England had the measles, which detained him ten days at Dunkirk. The wind changed an hour after he set sail, which kept him twentyfour hours off Ostend. He mistook the entrance of the Frith of Edinburgh, and nothing but the ability and good fortune of Forbin saved the fleet.

28th April 1708.- An officer of one of our smaller ships of war landed in Scotland, and was told by some Highland gentlemen that they would always be ready to receive the King. Mareschal de Matignon was appointed to command the troops, not for his own merit, but from the objections to others.

8th June 1708.- Our great want is money.' September and October 1708.-A deep gloom covers every thing, relieved only by the gallant defence of Lisle by the Mareschal de Boufflers. The Duke of Burgundy was sent to take the nominal command of the army, with instructions to follow the advice of the Duke of Berwick. Vendome was also sent. These two Generals were of opposite character, and jealous of each other's almost equal pretensions. Vendome was one of the boldest, and Berwick was one of the most cautious of able commanders. The inexperience and timidity of the Duke of

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Burgundy, and his disgust at the moral character of Vendome, disposed him, as well as his instructions, to prefer the counsel of Berwick, which was in all probability the wisest. Vendome was confident, negligent, and regardless of discipline; but Berwick was sent to command on the Upper Rhine.

230 November 1708. The general cry ascribes the failure of the campaign to the Duke of Burgundy. The libertines dislike his severe manners, the Jansenists object to his Jesuit confessor. It is said that those who dread the re-appearance of the Archbishop of Cambray at Court, represent his pupil to be as pacific as Telemachus, and to have been pleased with the surrender of Lisle, both because it would tend to peace, and because it was acquired by an unjust war.'

9th December 1708.— The Duke of Burgundy needs all his spirit to bear the unjust invectives of the world.'

230 December 1708.—' You are right in considering all as coming from God. Our King was too glorious, and was to be humbled in order to be saved ! France had spread too far and perhaps unjustly. She was to be confined within narrow, but perhaps more safe limits. Our nation was insolent and disorderly. God determined to chastise them.' . But,' she adds, with exemplary modesty, ‘I confess I do not see so clearly the


misfortunes in Spain.' 27th January 1709.- Distress as well as alarm has reached its height at Paris.'

17th February 1709.- Our enemies triumph every where. We have only to bow our heads under the hand of God, which seems heavy against us, and to support heresy and injustice against the nations who serve him best. Yet he is just !

18th March 1709.-— It is now the general opinion at Court that M. de Vendome has nothing but boldness and boasting. . M. de Boufflers said the other day, that an army was not to be commanded from a night chair—the usual seat of Vendome. The Abbé Alberoni is his private companion at Anet.'

29th April 1709.— Torcy is gone to Holland to try to make peace.'

10th June 1709.— Our greatest enemy is famine. Every thing is to be dreaded from a people dying of hunger, who believe that the King secretly buys up corn in order to sell it with a profit.'

17th June 1709.—You are angry at our concessions. Yet they did not satisfy the enemy; and the negociation is broken off.'

14th July 1709.—You condemn us for being willing to submit to the hard terms offered to us. But

Frenchman wishes it. Boufflers, Villeroi, and Harcourt, are of that opinion.'


5th August 1709.—You are too good a Frenchman to wish to see France destroyed for the sake of saving Spain. Perhaps we may be obliged to make peace on worse conditions than those which we refused.'

14th September 1709, (three days after the battle of Malplaquet.) ! M. de Boufflers calls the battle glorious and unfortunate. We are on the eve of wanting seed. God declares against us so visibly, that it would be resistance to him not to desire peace,',


29th September 1709.— I make allowance for your attachment to their Catholic Majesties. But would you ruin France, and see the English at Paris There are no longer two opinions on the subject. M. de Villars, with all his boldness, thinks about peace as I, with all my fears, do.'

20th October 1709.- Nobody doubts here that the Spaniards will abandon the Archduke, when they see the King abandoned by France.'

3d February 1710.— All Paris are reduced to pray most fervently for any peace however cruel.'

2d March 1710.— I hope you will not blame me for dreading the loss of France more than that of Spain.'

24th March 1710.-" The affairs of Spain are thought so desperate, that nobody can be prevailed upon to go there as physician to the Royal family.

29th June 1710.—' God grant that so good a Prince and such affeetionate subjects as those of Spain may not be separated; but it is impossible to see how that work can be accomplished.'

10th November 1710.— God grant their Catholic Majesties may make a peace which will leave them something ; but to imagine that the : enemy will leave Spain to a French Prince, is an idea that appears here quite chimerical.'

So utterly did the Court of Spain despair of maintaining a Bourbon on the throne of Spain at the moment of the fall of the Whig administration, and the accession of the Tories to power in England! It is evident that, up to that moment, they were ready to consent to conditions of peace which might be agreeable to the original principle of the grand alliance. But, as soon as it was found that the new ministers of England were resolved to make peace without much regard to the terms, in order to smooth the


for a counter revolution, a very different spirit arose at Versailles, which soon manifests itself in the language of Mad. de Maintenon to her correspondent.

12th January 1711.– The intrigues in England augment daily. There is really a movement visible there, from which it is thought that we shall profit!'

11th October 1711.— I can consider no peace as disadvantageous which will establish Philip V. on his Throne. Whatever it may cost to us or to others, it is greatness enough for our King to have got 'ish monarchy for his family, in spite of all Europe armed against him ? Many believe that if peace be made the King of England will be restored. The Princess Anne is threatened with a dropsy. It would be a great disadvantage to us if she were to die now ?'

19th November 1711.- • Their Catholic Majesties will remain on the throne. I always hoped in the time of my greatest despair, that this might have been effected by a miracle. Pensionary Heinsius will hang himself for having refused the dreadful peace which we should have

probably submitted to two years ago. But I have no charity for liim. All my tenderness is now for Queen Anne,' (for so Madame de Maintenon

the Span

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