The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 28, 1715

A wax portrait of Louis XIV made in 1705 by Antoine Benoist. Using real hair.
A wax portrait of Louis XIV made in 1705 by Antoine Benoist. Using real hair.

August 28, 1715

Wednesday, nineteen days after Louis XIV first complained of a pain in his leg.
A ‘quack’ makes a appearance at Versailles, bringing a miracle elixir. He comes from Marseilles and calls himself le Brun. His elixir, so he claims, can cure gangrene at the most advanced stages. After a consultation with the doctors, in which he explained the nature of this rather vile smelling elixir, it was given to the King in a glass of Alicante wine. Louis XIV drank it reluctantly. He did not think it would help or even cure him completely, but drank it because in his condition, as he said, he must obey his doctors.

The Marquis de Dangeau notes: “About seven in the morning, the King sent for father le Tellier, and while he was conversing with him about God, he perceived, in the mirror, two grooms of the bed-chamber, who were weeping at the foot of his bed, and said to them : “Why do you weep? Did you imagine that I was immortal? For myself, I had no such idea, and at my age, you should have prepared yourselves to lose me.” They have given him a quack medicine, from which no great hopes are entertained. Madame de Maintenon went in the evening to sleep at Saint Cyr. He was advised to take some broth in the morning: “You must not,” said he, “talk to me now as to another man. It is not broth I require, let my confessor be called.” Towards evening, his senses failed him for a time and as soon as he came to himself again, he said to father le Tellier : “Give me again a general absolution of all my sins.” His confessor asked him if he suffered much : “No,” said he, “that is what makes me uneasy. I wish I suffered more for the expiation of my sins.””

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