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of this description, when he was My lord Mareschal answered, in a almost sixty years old, became in love careless, negligent way, that she was with the eldest of these two sisters. the marchioness D'Argens.“What!” She was rather plain than handsome, replied the king, in a severe tone,“ is about five and twenty, of an excel- the marquis married ?” “ Yes, sire.' lent understanding, and endowed with “ How long ?” “ Some years, my considerable talents. She drew very liege.” " Eh ! what? without acwell, and was an excellent musician. quainting me?” “ It was during the Besides French, she knew the Ger. war, and he would not venture to man, Italian, and Latin languages, trouble you on such a trifling matas well as a woman had occasion to ter."

" And whom did he marry ?” do, and even a little Greek, which “ Mademoiselle Cochois !" " 'Tis a she learned out of complaisance to folly I shall not suffer." the marquis. Her character was The king after some time grew mild, and of a thinking turn. She calm ; but the marquis was a consi. had the art of uniting, under the derable time without seeing him ; appearance of the greatest simplicity, and, even afterwards, when their inall those attentions which please so timacy was resumed as before, Fre. well, and conciliate esteem. M. derick never spoke to him of his Thiebault has furnished this account wife. of her.

Not but that the king knew well The marquis, after having paid that he lived with Mademoiselle his addresses to her for some time, Cochois. The marquis had taken married her. The marriage took her with him in the journey he made place during the course of the Seven to France in 1747. And it appears Years' War, and without the king's by his correspondence, that he freknowledge. That was one of the cau- quently mentioned her to the king, ses that lessened the friendship of who was afraid she would not return Frederick for him. They knew it in time to perform in the opera at would displease the king; consequent Berlin, as he wished her. ly were much embarrassed in making D'Argens possessed that lively the declaration.

They waited till wit, and the vivacity so natural to his peace was concluded, and then held countrymen, the Provençals, which a meeting of all those who belonged always raised a laugh. He often utto the philosophical society of Sans tered his jests in such a style of Souci. After a long consultation upon naïveté, as afforded the king ample the best mode of acquainting the matter; for he was fond of relating king with what had happened, it was the adventures of his youth, and the agreed that the marchioness D’Ar- anecdotes of his life, with which he gens should walk in the gardens of instructed Europe, though he did not Sans Souci, at the hour when the edify it, in the memoirs which he inonarch was accustomed to take the air; that her dress should be such as He had frequently some little might attract attention, but plain and whims, which, added to the assielegant; and that lord Mareschal duity which detained him near Made. should settle the rest. This plan moiselle Cochois, made him absent was followed. This lord, who gene- himself from the king, who wished rally accompanied Frederick in his to see the men of genius at his supwalks, in passing by one of the alleys, per table, as exact, and with the same a short distance from the marchio regularity, as the secretaries of the ness, saluted her, as a lady of his different departments came to their acquaintance, with much respect. offices in the morning. This salute gave occasion to the Having once asked the marquis, king to inquire who ile lady was? why he had not scen him for some.

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days, he excused himself by saying, but that it was the sacrament going he had been unwell. The king knew to a person dangerously ill. La to the contrary, and resolved to be Pierre, the marquis's servant, went revenged of him.

to see the procession, and soon saw Mademoiselle Cochois had made a what it was. In order not to be present to the marquis of a very fine found out, and consequently pass morning loose dressing-gown, or for a liar, the pretended sick man wrapper. This was before their mar- hastened to get into bed without unriage. Delighted with this present, dressing, or even taking off his fine he put it on immediately, and found dressing gown with gold flowers. it so much to his taste, that he did The procession immediately after not put it off the whole evening. The entered the chamber in a slow and king, however, sent to let him know solemn manner, and ranged them. he expected him to supper. The selves in order before the bed. The same answer was returned, that he king, who closed the procession, was ill.

placed himself in the middle of the The monarch, in order to disturb circle; and addressing the marquis, the felicity of the marquis's little par- telling him, that the church, always ty, took it into his head to send him a tender mother, and full of anxiety word, that having heard of his ill for her children, had sent him that state of health, fearful of the fatal assistance the most proper to fortify consequences of so dangerous a dis. him the critical situation in which order as that with which he was at- he was placed. He exhorted him tacked, and anxious he should die strenuously to resign himself; and like a good Christian, he had com- then raising the counterpane of the manded two catholick priests to ad- bed, he poured a whole flask of sweet minister the sacrament of extreme oil over the fine dressing-gown, tellunction to him, and that they would ing his dying brother, that this emvisit him that very evening to fulfil blem of grace would infallibly give this pious duty. The marquis knew him faith and courage, necessary to not what to think of this intimation. pass in a proper manner from this He well knew the king was capable world to the next. After which the of giving similar orders to the catho- procession retired in the same grave lick priests; but he doubted much and solemn manner as it entered. whether he would dare to be guilty It is by no means difficult to conof such a scandal within the walls of ceive what amusement this scene afhis own palace. The most essential forded to the whole court, and at the thing for him was, to make it appear marquis's expense ; but what afflicted as if he were really ill. He, there- him the most was the loss of the fore, wrapped up his head, and coun- dressing gown, which, by this farce, terfeited the appearance of a man was so completely soiled as not to quite unwell.

be fit to wear again. The marchioThe king covered himself with a ness had no idea of such a complete surplice and a stole, put two or three and holy mystery ; but Frederick persons who were in his confidence, had already played several such into black cloaks, and the whole par- pranks, in which the marquis himty descended in a solemn procession, self had born no inconsiderable part, as if they were bearing extreme unc- and which made him fully acquainted tion to the marquis, whose apart- with what he had to expect from him ments were below the king's. The on similar occasions. person who went first carried a small D'Argens passed much of his time bell, which was heard in all the apart- in reading ancient books and authors, ments, as soon as they got upon the particularly the holy fathers, from staircase. No one had any doubt, which he made several extracts; which he applied to the subjects he he returned home full of impatience treated of, either in his writings or and anxiously wished the night were conversation.

over, that he might go and take a M. de Nicolai relates an anecdote view of this new acquisition. Next on this subject, which deserves a morning, notwithstanding his lazi. place here.

ness, he rose very early, and was The king was fond of contradicting driven to his new mansion. He ran him on his taste for this species of over the garden, examined the aparte erudition; he used frequently to say ments, found every thing charming, to him : “ Do no: talk to me of your and in the neatest taste.

He went fathers; they are bodies without into the saloon, which was a very souls.” When he allotted him apart- handsome room, and full of picments in the new palace of Sans Souci tures : but what was his astonishhe himself conducted the marquis ment, when, on looking at them, and his lady, and pointed out to them instead of landscapes, battle, or seatheir agreeable situation and their pieces, he beheld the most humourconvenience. He had given orders ous scenes, and most comick anec. to have a handsome bookcase, where, doles of his life. on folios handsomely bound, appeared Here, the marquis, as an officer, in large letters The works of the found himself drawn at the siege of Holy Fathers.” “ Here marquis," Philipsburg, and expressing strong said the king, as they entered the symptoms of fear: there he was on room, “you will find here your good his knees to his handsome comedian. friends in all their glory.” When A little further, his father disinheritthey got to the bed-chamber—" It ed him. Another painting representwould be wrong," said he,“ to stay ed him at Constantinople. In another, here long; we must not disturb the

a surgeon was seen performing an marquis, but leave himn to his ease operation, which his adventures of and his night cap." So saying he gallantry had rendered necessary. withdrew.

Again, nuns were seen pulling him The king had no sooner retired, up by night in a basket through than the marquis, in eager haste, the window of their convent. In all flew to the bookcase to examine these pictures the marquis, who was the works with which it was filled. easily recognised, was represented He quickly opened one of the vo- in the most ludicrous and comick lumes of the “ Holy Fathers;" but attitudes. in place of the homilies of St. Chry- This unexpected spectacle put him sostom, he found nothing but blank into the most violent rage. paper; and the same was the case amined them all, and then sent for a with all the rest.

house painter, and made him efface The king amused himself much them. by playing similar tricks on the mar- The king, informed of this scene, quis. We shall relate another, more was highly delighted with it, and repointed than the preceding one, and lated it to every one who would have which was a subject of great mortifi- patience to hear it. cation to the marquis.

In spite, however, of these species One evening that he was at supper of warfare, which the monarch carwith Frederick, that prince said to ried on, and the sarcastick jokes he him : " Marquis, I have made a pur- passed upon his lazy habits, and his chase for you near this, of a very imaginary illness, still he loved him neat house and garden-here is the not the less. He one day wished to deed, you may take possession of it give him a fresh proof by augmenting when you please.” The marquis was the pension he had settled on him ; not insensible to this mark of favour; but D'Argens answered him in pres

He ex


sence of several persons : “Sire, I or a wind rather cold, or more viohave enough. Your majesty has ma- lent than usual, were seen or felt, ny poor but deserving officers ; let it it was enough to chagrin him, and be given to them.” The king, charm. put him in a melancholy humour; ed with this honourable and disinter- to compel him to remain at home, ested reply, esteemed him the more, and to resist even the pressing invi. without, however, ceasing from time tations of the king. He has been to time to joke with and play tricks known to have remained thus imon him.

mured for whole weeks together, The marquis, on his part, appear. from similar causes. ed to be attached to the king as much M. de Nicolai has furnished us if not more, than to any of the wits with another example of his laughawho were about the court.

ble susceptibility, and of his ridicoOne of the most singular traits in lous extravagant whims, in a like the character of D'Argens, was that fact. mixture of superstition and incredulity During the seven years' war, the so remarkable in him, and which ap- king had permitted him to reside at peared in a thousand different cir. Sans Souci, and had given orders, cumstances. He believed most firmly that all the apartments of the palace in predestination, and the knowledge should be open to him, as freely as of future events. A salt-cellar over, if they were his own. Just about turned ; a sudden meeting with an old this time, Cothenius read a treatise woman ; a herd of hogs; or a man at the academy, upon the danger of dressed in black; was enough to fill using copper utensils in kitchens. him with alarm and uneasiness. As The marquis was so struck with this soon as ever he got out of bed, he treatise, that he was fearful every drew the curtains close with great hour of being poisoned ; could talk care, and wo to whoever opened of nothing else every time he sat them, either by accident or other. down to table, and made his wife wise : it was a presage of the most promise most solemnly to banish fearful nature.

every sort of copper utensil from her He was no less alarmed at the ap- kitchen. pearance of a cold or cough ; always The family of the marquis (con. ill through the fear of being so, and tinues M. de Nicolai) lived at Sans dreading death to such a degree, Souci in a very retired manner; and that he nearly died through the ap- his wife, though a reasonable woman prehension of it. Those who speak enough, loved amusement. One of him, all agree in relating the same evening she took a fancy to give a weaknesses, and altesting his state little family dance at the house of of hypochondriack. Nothing was the king's head gardener. The marmore easy than to make him believe quis gave his consent ; but as they he was ill ; and if he was only told dreaded that his singularities might

; that he looked pale, no more was disturb the entertainment, they took wanting to make him shut himself great care to remark to him that the up in his room, and go to bed direct- air was very cold, and that the sky ly. He never went out of it, but was lowering. They were well aware when he went to visit the king. When that an observation of that kind was he was in his bedchamber, two or sufficient to make him believe he was three loose morning gowns heaped taken ill, and induce him to take to on each other, kept out the cold ; a his bed immediately. This was excotton night cap covered his ears; actly the case; and they went directly and over that was a thick woollen to the gardener's house, full sure that one which completed his head-dress. the marquis would soon be fast asleep. If a few passing clouds, a slight rain, He very soon was so; but before long he awoke, his thoughts, sleeping as and at last succeeded in getting him well as waking, being fixed on cop. to his apartments. per and on poison, and loudly called These incidents afforded Frederick for La Pierre ; but no one answered a great subject for amusement, but him ; all were at the ball. He re- without lessening any of the esteem collected this, and was not sorry for he had for the marquis ; they merely it; but finding himself alone in the weakened the consideration with which house, he took advantage of the cir- he had at first inspired him. The cumstance to pay a visit to the kitch- scrupulous and habitual superstition en at his ease, and to see if every which he remarked in him, still added article of copper was banished from to the discredit of the philosopher, it, as they had promised him it should in the opinion of the king. be. He got up, and, without putting M. Thiebault has preserved some on his small-clothes, wrapt himself traits of this last kind of weakness in up in a robe de chambre, and having the marquis. They deserve to be relighted a wax taper at his night-lamp, lated here, since they confirm what he went straight to the kitchen. The we have already said, and will be an first things that met his eyes were example of the strange, if not ridicusome copper sauce-pans; and to com- lous contradictions of men of learning plete his terrour, one of them con- of that day, employed during the tained the remains of a ragout off whole of their lives in combating suwhich he had dined. Rage imme- perstition, or what they were pleased diately got full possession of him; to call so; descanting upon matters he took up the stew-pan, and, just as which no person regarded, they have he was, ran to the place where the been frequently seen, towards the entertainment was given, to scold his conclusion of their lives, to possess wife and servants. He was obliged the weakness of old women, and to to descend by a terrace, and cross the die with all the signs of a tardy congarden, which was tolerably large, in version. order to reach the gardener's house. The second cause of the discredit The marquis effected his purpose in into which the marquis fell (says M. the dark with great celerity. He Thiebault) was his own weakness suddenly opened the door of the and folly, and particularly on the subballroom, and the marquis, to their ject of superstition. He had such a utter astonishment, appeared in his dread of death, that the very idea of night-gown, bare-footed (for he had being threatened with it could make lost his slippers) and two or three him be guilty of the most ridiculous night-caps on his head, his shirt extravagance. Owing to this dispoblowing about at the pleasure of the sition it was, that, having heard, that wind, holding in his hand the stew- the water of those who approached the pan with the fragments of the ragout, conclusion of their existence turned and crying out: “I am poisoned ! I black in four-and-twenty hours, he am poisoned !” He then broke out was a long time in the habit of keepin reproaches against his wife, and ing his own in glasses, which he ex. threatened his servants to discharge amined frequently in the day, till them all, for having used copper some people, who were let into the stew-pans, contrary to his orders. secret of this weakness, discovered They had much difficulty in appeas- the depot, and privately mixed ink ing him ; but reflecting suddenly on with it. This so dreadfully alarmed the situation in which he was, and him, that they were obliged to conthe danger he ran in being exposed fess the trick they had played upon almost naked to the cold night air, him, in order to save him from a sehe again relapsed into passion. How- rious illness. ever, they wrapped him up warm, The marquis had made an agrees

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