Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 11 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 111 pages of information about Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 11.
rapid; nay, precipitous, his will uncertain, and not to be constrained or contradicted in anything.  Often his table was but little decent, much less so were the attendants who served, often too with an openness of kingly audacity everywhere.  What he proposed to see or do was entirely independent of means; they were to be bent to his pleasure and command.  His desire for liberty, his dislike to be made a show of, his free and easy habits, often made him prefer hired coaches, common cabs even; nay, the first which he could lay his hands on, though belonging to people below him of whom he knew nothing.  He jumped in, and had himself driven all over the city, and outside it.  On one occasion he seized hold of the coach of Madame de Mattignon, who had come to gape at him, drove off with it to Boulogne and other country places near Paris.  The owner was much astonished to find she must journey back on foot.  On such occasions the Marechal de Tesse and his suite had often hard work to find the Czar, who had thus escaped them.

CHAPTER LXXXVI

The Czar was a very tall man, exceedingly well made; rather thin, his face somewhat round, a high forehead, good eyebrows, a rather short nose, but not too short, and large at the end, rather thick lips, complexion reddish brown, good black eyes, large, bright, piercing, and well open; his look majestic and gracious when he liked, but when otherwise, severe and stern, with a twitching of the face, not often occurring, but which appeared to contort his eyes and all his physiognomy, and was frightful to see; it lasted a moment, gave him a wild and terrible air, and passed away.  All his bearing showed his intellect, his reflectiveness, and his greatness, and was not devoid of a certain grace.  He wore a linen collar, a round-brown wig, as though without powder, and which did not reach to his shoulders; a brown coat tight to the body, even, and with gold buttons; vest, breeches, stockings, no gloves or ruffles, the star of his order over his coat, and the cordon under it, the coat itself being frequently quite unbuttoned, his hat upon the table, but never upon his head, even out of doors.  With this simplicity ill-accompanied or ill mounted as he might be, the air of greatness natural to him could not be mistaken.

What he ate and drank at his two regular meals is inconceivable, without reckoning the beer, lemonade, and other drinks he swallowed between these repasts, his suite following his example; a bottle or two of beer, as many more of wine, and occasionally, liqueurs afterwards; at the end of the meal strong drinks, such as brandy, as much sometimes as a quart.  This was about the usual quantity at each meal.  His suite at his table drank more and ate in proportion, at eleven o’clock in the morning and at eight at night.  There was a chaplain who ate at the table of the Czar, who consumed half as much again as the rest, and with whom the monarch, who was fond of him, much amused himself.  Prince Kourakin went every day to the Hotel de Lesdiguieres, but lodged elsewhere.

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