Monsieur, Madame, their bed and the Virgin Mary…

I do love court anecdotes and this is probably my favourite of them all. It’s cute, hilarious and took place in the bed of Monsieur and Madame…. and thanks to the latter’s habit to write pretty much everything down in various letters, we can have a bit of a laugh about it today.

The letter that contains this lovely anecdote was written by Liselotte von der Pfalz to Caroline von Brandenburg-Ansbach after the death of Monsieur and goes as follows:

“Monsieur, God bless him, made me laugh very heartily once. He always took a Chapelet, a rosary to which many medals were attached, to bed. He always worshipped it before he went to sleep. Afterwards I always heard a loud noise from the medals, as if he was moving them around beneath the duvet. I said to him “Dieu me le pardonne, mais je soupconne que vous faites promener vos réliques et vos images de la Vierge dans un Pays qui lui est inconnú.” -May God forgive me, but I believe you may move your relics and images of the Virgin to a land unknown to them.- Monsieur said to me “Taisés vous, dormés. Vous ne savez ce que vous dites.” -Be silent and sleep. You do not know what you talk of.- One day I rose with no haste and placed our night-light so that it shone on the bed and as I saw he moved his medals under the duvet, I took him firm by the arm and said to him laughing “Pour le cou vous ne sauriez plus me nier.” -This time you have to tell me.- Monsieur laughed as well and said “Vous, qui avez été Huguenotte, vous ne savez pas le pouvoir des réliques et des images de la sainte Vierge. Elles garantissent de tout mal les parties qu’on en frotte.” -You as former Protestant are not aware of the power of the relics and images of the Holy Virgin. They keep all evil from the parts of the body they are placed on.- I replied “Je vous demande pardon Monsieur mais vous ne me parsuaderez point, que c’est honorer la Vierge, que de promener son image sur la parties déstinées á ôter la virginité.” -Forgive me, Monsieur, but you can not make me believe that it honours the Virgin to move her image over parts meant to rob virginity.- Monsieur laughed again and said “Je vous pries ne le dittes á personne.” -I beg you, tell not a person of it.-”

This is not the only quite amusing story that comes straight from the bed of Madame and Monsieur. In a other letter she tells us of how it was not always pleasant to share a bed with her husband. She was quite glad as Monsieur proposed lit á part -separate beds- after the birth of their daughter Élisabeth-Charlotte in 1676. This might be why:

“When Monsieur slept in my bed, I had to sleep on the very edge of it, so that I fell out of it several times while asleep. And if it happened that, while asleep, I stretched a leg and my foot touched him, he woke me at once and scolded me for half an hour. I was quite pleased, as Monsieur suggested by himself not to sleep in my bed anymore but in his own chamber, so that I could sleep in peace, without fearing to be scolded in the middle of the night or to fall out of bed.”

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  • Fran

    Glad you’ve included this brilliant story in your blog. I wonder how long it took for Monsieur to come up with this resolution to an awkward situation?!
    The second bit of the story shows that he must have been a very light sleeper and Liselotte days how he didn’t like being touched while he was asleep. I wonder if this was a result of his insecure childhood during the Fronde?

    • Aurora von Goeth

      It could have to do with her being a female. There’s a story of how he was teased to touch the Mademoiselle that acted as his mistress as he was not out yet and he was not able to do so with his bare hands. He had to put gloves on. A other story says that Madame de Monaco flirted with him once and tried to touch him and he was quite in a shock after it. As if it was most traumatic to him.

  • Susan Chapek

    I recall that Nancy Mitford, in her gossipy history The Sun King, theorized that Monsieur “applied” the holy medals in order to motivate his reluctant body to do its husbandly duty. But I never knew the source behind Mitford’s assertion.

    I really must read all of Liselotte’s letters!

    Thank you for a chuckle to go with the morning coffee.

  • Adele

    Truly a woman before her time. She must have been a riot to be around. I’m hoping to read many of her letters this summer when time permits.
    As always, thankyou for your always informative, and interesting stories, and opinions!

  • Wearedustinthewind

    I love to read about what Madame wrote about life in Versailles and would like to see those days from her perspective.

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