Funny And Not So Funny Things That Happened At The Court Of Louis XIV, Part Five
As the Trianon de Porcelaine was taken down and what is now the Grand Trianon was built in 1687, Louis XIV visited the construction side regularly. Having a accurate eye for measurements, he noticed during one of his visits that something was wrong with one of the windows. Louis thus pointed it out to Louvois, his Minister of War and the person in charge of the building works done. The relationship between Louis and his Minister had become a bit tense in the last years.
Louis thought Louvois is doing a bit of a Fouquet, Louvois thought the King is treating him unjust. Perhaps vexed in his pride or angry to be found at fault, Louvois replied there was nothing wrong with the window in question. The King continued his inspection in silence, just to come back with Le Notre the next day. Louis asked Le Notre, an architect as well as landscape gardener, whether he had been recently to Trianon. Le Notre replied that he had not. Louis thus explained him what was amiss, concerning the window, and told Le Notre to have a look at it. Le Notre found himself in a odd situation, he did not want to anger the King by saying he was wrong and everything is fine with that window, nor did he want to annoy Louvois by saying there was something wrong with that window. Finding various excuses not to look at the window, he delayed his inspection for days, until the point that Louis XIV now got rather annoyed. He ordered both, Le Notre and Louvois, to meet him at the Trianon. Louis then ordered Le Notre to go and measure the window and to bring back a report. While he was doing so, Louvois kept on to repeat all was fine with the window. It was just like the rest and there was certainly no need to make such a fuss about it. The King remained silent and waited for Le Notre’s report. Le Notre, not wanting to offend King or Minister, seemed to delay his answer. Again, Louis got a little annoyed and ordered him to speak clear and not in vague phrases. At last, Le Notre spoke. There was really something wrong with that window. Louis at once turned upon Louvois and, in the presence of courtiers, valets, and workmen, rated him soundly, saying that his obstinacy was intolerable, and that, had he been allowed to have his way, the whole building would have had to come down again as soon as it was finished.
While visiting Marly in winter, the Duchesse de Bourgogne and her companions broke into the bedroom of the Princesse d’Harcourt and snowballed her in her bed. Shortly after, the Duc de Bourgogne placed petards under the chair of the Princesse d’Harcourt on which she used to sit at the cart-table. Fortuanetly for her, a friend of the Duc said the explosion might tear the Princesse into pieces and kept the Duc from firing them.
Liselotte von der Pfalz, shortly after marrying Monsieur and becoming Madame, had a longing for fresh air one evening and decided to go for a moonlight stroll in the gardens of Versailles. She only just had reached the gardens as she was stopped by a Swiss Guard on duty, who inquired what she was doing in the gardens in the very middle of the night. “My good man, let me take my walk. I am the wife of the King’s brother.“, she replied. The guard raised a brow. “So, the King has a brother?” “What?” replied Madame, “You don’t know that!? How long have you been in his Majesty’s service?“. Thirty years, the guard answered. “What! And you don’t yet know that the King has a brother? Why, you have to present arms to him when he passes!” “I dare say,” the guard replied ; “when they beat the drum, I present arms, but it makes no difference to me for whom. I have never asked whether the king has a wife, or children, or a brother. I don’t bother my head about such things.” Both Madame and the King had a good laugh as she told him the story.