A perpetual carnival where masks replace each other never to reveal the face is a theme in the writings of La Bruyere: A woman who disguises her passion for a man, the man who simulates the passion he does not feel for the woman. Casanova does not remove his mask after the ball, and this is not a metaphor. The masks are worn routinely any time a man or a woman step outside the house. Versailles keeps its secrets: Only Louis XIV knows the identity of the Iron Mask. Only Louis XV knows the real name of count Saint Germain….
After the Ball of Ifs count Tesse goes to see his chef. This domestic being from Madrid, the count needs his help to identify the noble hidalgo who danced the night away at Chateau Versailles with the daughter of the king of Spain. The ball was in the honor of our Spanish princess recently arriving from Madrid to marry the son of Louis XV. “Nothing could be easier,” says the cook, “provided we keep his name a secret…. After all, it was none other than… myself.”