Diaries of the French Court: Victoire de Bourdeille

Chapter IV


3 September 1666 — French Court

I cannot begin to tell how what a bore the Court has become. There is the usual gossip about affairs, the War and new arrivals at court. I have not seen Adéle since her slandering at the masquerade. Louis has not seen me since either. I fear that I have lost my favour with the king. Will he send me away? I cannot risk being cast out from court. Some mornings, I feel like sobbing and other mornings…I cannot rise from my bed. I have begun to feel the overwhelming emotions take hold of me. Perhaps I am merely driving myself mad. I can do nothing about madness…unless if I lock myself away in an asylum. Then the courtiers would have something to talk of. It has indeed been a maddening season here. Not even the peacefulness of the garden is putting me at ease. Constanze is with the troubadour, Sébastien and I am sitting under a large oak tree away from the sun. Even as I write, I cannot help but worry over many things. Writing oftentimes does not help me.

Heaven forbid.

Tell me. You must tell me. What am I to do? Should I abandon His Majesties' court and spend the rest of my years at Chaumont? Speaking of the chateaux! I failed to tell you…an envoy was sent by His Majesty this morning. Constanze read the letter out to me. Louis has bequeathed me Chaumont at the Loire Valley, with an expense of two thousand francs a-year! How could he afford to give me such a salary with the ongoing war and other needs throughout the kingdom? Has he treated other mistresses as well as me? I wonder. I wonder indeed. Likewise, I shall accept his gift graciously. I know I mustn't refuse such a gift but if I refuse, then I refuse His Majesty as well. I have given His Majesty my full devotion and my heart. There is my conclusion. I know if word spreads, it will spread like wildfire and His Majesties' women at court will be envious. Oh, to see their faces! It would be a delight and quite amusing.


Later In the Evening — the Bedchamber

It is as I feared. I am with His Majesties' child. Louis had sent one of his best court physicians to me for examination after I had experience severe nausea and—as Constanze had told me—I fainted. I am early but, indeed pregnant. I had been curious as to why I had been overwhelmed with morning sickness these past few previous mornings; as well as cravings for pomegranate and mutton mostly occasionally fish. Oh, if Mama knew of my condition…I wonder if she would have moments of hysterical weeping or grow dizzy and faint. When she discovered the news of Adéle and her stable boy, I remember she came down with depression and wept throughout the days. She could feel the, "fluttering spasms of depression all around me", our poor Mama.

I have decided. I will stay in court for another few months, after the New Year I shall leave and retire to Chaumont. I can no longer withstand this life. Our family is ruined enough. And, I could not wish to see the same thing happening to Constanze. My darling little sister is still innocent enough but I wish for it to remain that way. I fear she has been spending far too much of her days with His Majesties' brother and our troubadour. Her innocence is fading. I will ask Constanze to come and stay with me at Chaumont and help me raise my illegitimate child. Bastard is such a harsh word and I will not call my child thus. Others may do as they please, but I shall not; even if that is what he or she is.

Victoire of Lorraine


15 December 1666 — the Bedchamber

Oh! What a delight it was when I found you again, my darling little diary. I was afraid that one of my chamber maids had found it and…oh, to think the dreadful things they would do. I had recently discovered you and found you underneath some old dresses I had stored away in a trunk. I have come a long way in my pregnancy, though there isn't so much to see from my growing stomach. It is not quite as swollen as it should be yet. There is some important news I must say. I am leaving Paris and instead of returning to Lorraine, I have chosen to part for the south of France where I will stay and live at Chaumont. Constance has agreed to move with me.

Let me tell you news of Adéle. Louis had her in bed about a fortnight ago and sent her off after. And she has fled the court life as well, presumably off to marry that stable boy. I am, guiltily, in high spirits that she has left us at last in tranquility. There will be no more attempts of murder or poisoning — or spiteful words from her.

Before I forget, I confronted Louis last night and I heard multiple voices coming from his bedchamber last night. I went to bid him my last farewell. He pleaded with me to stay but I refused. Oh but kissing him again was like igniting a spark of flame. I could not allow myself to succumb to his temptations again. Despite all this, I will always love His Majesty no matter what the cost. He is my temptation and my siren, ever drawing me closer until I drown in his lavishing presence…which is why I must dismiss myself at once. One season is enough at court to last me a life time. I shall return to write more once we have arrived at Chaumont.

Victoire of Lorraine