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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Selected Letters to her Cousin, M. de Coulanges
By Madame de Sévigné (1626–1696)
 
PARIS, Monday, December 15th, 1670.    
I AM going to tell you something most astonishing, most surprising, most miraculous, most triumphant, most bewildering, most unheard-of, most singular, most extraordinary, most incredible, most unexpected, most important, most insignificant, most rare, most ordinary, most startling, most secret (until to-day), most brilliant, most enviable; finally, something of which past ages furnish only one example, and that example is not exactly similar. Something which we in Paris can hardly credit, and how then can it be believed at Lyons? Something which makes all the world cry “Bless me!” Something which overwhelms Madame de Rohan and Madame d’Hauterive with joy. 1 Something, finally, which is to happen on Sunday, when those who will see it will think they are blind. Something which will happen on Sunday, and yet by Monday may not be done. I can’t make up my mind to tell you,—you must divine it. I’ll give you three guesses. Do you give it up? Well, then, I must tell you: M. de Lauzun 2 is to marry on Sunday, at the Louvre,—can you imagine whom? I’ll give you three guesses, I’ll give you ten, I’ll give you a hundred! I know Madame de Coulanges will say, “That is not difficult to imagine. It is Mademoiselle de La Vallière.” Not at all, madame. “Is it then Mademoiselle de Retz?” By no means; you are far astray. “Ah, yes; we are stupid: it must be Mademoiselle Colbert!” you say. Still less. “It certainly is then Mademoiselle de Créqui?” You are not right yet. I shall have to tell you. He is to marry—on Sunday at the Louvre, by permission of the King—Mademoiselle—Mademoiselle de—Mademoiselle—now tell me her name! On my word—on my sacred word—on my word of honor— MADEMOISELLE! LA GRANDE MADEMOISELLE; Mademoiselle the daughter of the late Monsieur; 3 Mademoiselle the granddaughter of Henry the Fourth; Mademoiselle d’Eu; Mademoiselle de Dombes; Mademoiselle de Montpensier; Mademoiselle d’Orleans; Mademoiselle, first cousin to the King; Mademoiselle, destined to a throne; Mademoiselle, the only match in France who was worthy of Monsieur! 4 This is a pretty subject for reflection! If you exclaim, if you are beside yourself, if you say I am telling a lie, that it is all false, that I am making fun of you, that it is a joke and rather a stupid one too,—we shall agree that you are right: we have said the same thing. Adieu: the letters which go by this post will show you whether we are telling the truth or not.
  1
 
PARIS, Friday, December 19th, 1670.    
WHAT happened yesterday evening at the Tuileries is what one might call a fall from the clouds—but I must begin at the beginning. You heard of the joy, of the transports, of the bliss, of the princess and her fortunate lover. It was on Monday that the affair was announced as I wrote you. Tuesday passed in talking—in wondering—in complimenting. On Wednesday Mademoiselle made a donation to M. de Lauzun, with the object of endowing him with the titles, names, and necessary decorations, that they might be enumerated in the marriage contract, which was made the same day. She gave him, in preparation for something better, four duchies: the first was the county of Eu, which is the first peerage in France; the duchy of Montpensier, whose title he bore through that day; the duchy of Saint Fargeau; the duchy of Châtellerault,—the whole valued at twenty-two millions. The contract was finally prepared, in which he took the name of Montpensier. On Thursday morning—which was yesterday—Mademoiselle hoped that the King would sign the contract, as he had agreed to do; but about seven o’clock in the evening, the Queen, Monsieur, and some busybodies convinced the King that this affair would injure his reputation. Accordingly, having summoned Mademoiselle and M. de Lauzun, his Majesty announced to them, before M. le Prince, that he forbade them absolutely to think of the marriage. M. de Lauzun received this order with all the respect and submission, all the firmness and all the despair, which became so great a fall. But Mademoiselle—characteristically—burst into tears, shrieks, and groans, and bitter complaints. She kept her bed the whole day, taking nothing but bouillons.
  2
 
Note 1. From seeing a royal lady marry below her rank as they had done. [back]
Note 2. The Duke of Lauzun. [back]
Note 3. Gaston, Duke of Orleans, uncle to Louis XIV. [back]
Note 4. Philippe, Duke of Orleans (brother of Louis XIV.), whom she had refused. [back]
 
 
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