“As for you, my lord,” said his Majesty to the English nobleman, “if the misfortune of last night prove disastrous in more ways than one, pray wait for a while before you go back to the smouldering ashes of a half-extinguished fire. My sister takes pleasure in your company; indeed, the Marquise is charmed to be able to entertain three such distinguished guests, and begs to place her chateau at your disposal until such time as your own shall be restored. We shall speak of you to the King, and he will certainly endeavour to induce King Charles, his cousin, to recall you to your native country.”
Then, after saying one or two words to me in private, he bowed to the gentlemen and withdrew. We went out on to the balcony to see him get into his coach, when, to the surprise and astonishment of my guests, as the carriage passed along the avenue, about a hundred peasants, grouped near the gateway, threw off their hats and cried, “Long live the King!”
Prince Comnenus and his son were inconsolable; I excused myself by saying that it was at the express desire of our royal visitor, and my lord admitted that at last he recollected his features, and recognised him by his grand and courtly address.
Before I end my tale, do not let me forget to say that the King strongly recommended Prince Comnenus to the Republic of Genoa, and obtained for him considerable property in Corsica and a handsome residence at Ajaccio. He accepted five or six beautiful jewels that had belonged to Andronicus, and caused the sum of twelve hundred thousand francs to be paid to the young Comnenus from his treasury.
The Universal Jubilee.—Court Preachers.—King David.—Madame de Montespan is Obliged to go to Clagny.—Bossuet’s Mission.—Mademoiselle de Mauleon.—An Enemy’s Good Faith.
I do not desire to hold up to ridicule the rites of that religion in which I was born and bred. Neither would I disparage its ancient usages, nor its far more modern laws. All religions, as I know, have their peculiarities, all nations their contradictions, but I must be suffered to complain of the abuse sometimes made in our country of clerical and priestly authority.
A general jubilee was held soon after the birth of my second son, and among Christian nations like ours, a jubilee is as if one said, “Now all statutes, divine and earthly, are repealed; by means of certain formula recited, certain visits paid to the temples, certain acts of abstinence practised here and there, all sins, misdemeanours, and crimes are forgiven, and their punishment cancelled.” It is generally on the occasion of the proclamation of a new pontificate at Rome that such great papal absolutions are extended over the whole universe.
The jubilee having been proclaimed in Paris, the Court preachers worked miracles. They denounced all social irregularities and friendships of which the Church disapproved. The opening sermon showed plainly that the orator’s eloquence was pointed at myself. The second preacher showed even less restraint; he almost mentioned me by name. The third ecclesiastic went beyond all bounds, actually uttering the following words: