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LETTERS FROM LISELOTTE: Elisabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine and Duchess of Orleans, 'Madame' 1652-1722 by Maria--Trans. & Ed. Kroll

LETTERS FROM LISELOTTE: Elisabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine and Duchess of Orleans, 'Madame' 1652-1722

By

Pub Date: March 1st, 1971
Publisher: McCall

Poor square-peg Madame, though the first lady of Louis XIV's court and evidently popular with the untitled masses, she never adapted herself to the moeurs and amusements of her home by marriage. Scarcely any wonder since one of the worst exemplars was her husband, Philippe I d'Orleans, and it was not long before the two retired with their differences to separate beds. But it was all the same to Madame, who found cohabitation as tedious as gambling, dancing, sewing, and getting herself properly dressed (the last couldn't be avoided, but she simplified it by having her under and outer garments sewn together into one step-in bundle). Stubbornness and plain speech endeared her to Louis but to few others at court, and plots against her -- real or imagined, and mostly involving that ""old whore (by your leave, by your leave)"" Mme. de Maintenon -- were constant. Nevertheless she had compensating enthusiasms -- walking and riding while she still could, her menagerie of ""little dogs"" and birds, collecting medals and looking through a magnifying glass, hating doctors (which she did with such gusto it can fairly be counted a pleasure). The greatest of these was her letter-writing, to her aunt Sophie, Electress of Hanover, and her former governess among others who must have been delighted. Samples: ""It may be a great honour to sit next to the King in church, but I would gladly relinquish it because His Majesty won't let me sleep""; ""The good King of England, with tears of love for you welling up in his eyes. . . said, 'O-o-o pour-pour cela eh-eh-eh-elle me-m'a tou-toujours aime.' His stutter is worse than ever."" Much historical interest, plus the charm of eccentric esprit and marvelous tattletale drollery.