Funny And Not So Funny Things That Happened At The Court Of Louis XIV, Part Three

Court Concert, 1694.
Court Concert, 1694.

Paule-Marguerite Françoise de Gondi, the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres, cared neither for writing, reading, cards or other amusements. She spent most of her day drinking tea or coffee. When she drank tea, her ladies-in-waiting had to dress in Indian fashion. When she turned her attention to coffee, they were expected to attire themselves a la Turque. The Duchesse switched between the beverages several times a day and thus her ladies had to change their attire just as often.

Madame de Saint-Herem had a great fear of thunder. Whenever a storm came on she used to crawl under her bed and make her servants arrange themselves on it in a pyramid, in order that, if the lightning hit, it might exhaust its power for harm on them before reaching her.

The Princesse d’Harcourt lodged in the rooms above Liselotte von der Pfalz and had a habit of treating her servants badly. Liselotte often heard her chase them through the rooms, stick in hand and shouting, but then the Princesse met her match. She hired a sturdy peasant-woman as housemaid, which she treated just the same. This woman submitted for a while to the Princesse, but then, one day, was eager for revenge. After packing and sending all her belongings out of the house, she went to the room of the Princesse, when she knew the Princesse would be alone, and locked herself in with the Princesse. She slipped the key into her pocket and upon asked what she was doing there, answered in quite the impertinent way. The Princesse lifted her cane, ready to strike a blow, but her housemaid was faster and snatched the cane to give the Princesse a good beating with her own weapon.  When justice had been done, she left the Princesse screaming on the floor and let herself out of the room, double-locked the door behind her, and disappeared. The other servants, who were in the secret, took care to be in distant parts of the house at the time. They had grievances of their own, for the Princesse paid her domestics badly, or not at all.

As Louis XIV was still a child, his Governess showed him a portrait of Cardinal Richelieu with the words ‘Here he is, the scoundrel!’ to which Louis replied ‘Give me my musket and I shoot him.’.

 

 

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