Saint-Simon And His Creatures


We owe him a lot. Saint-Simon is a creator of a long gallery of literary characters: Princess d’Harcourt, an obsessive gambler, often incontinent at cards and a victim of numerous pranks, occasionally she had been abandoned by her domestics, and was found in the middle of nowhere, not knowing where to go; a wooden-leg tennis player, Liuteneat General Rivarollles, whose prosthesis had once been blown off by an enemy canon, which made him crack jokes about two more wooden legs in his suitcase; Madam de Saint-Herem, pathologically afraid of thunder and hiding under beds with all her domestics piling on top to protect her against the lightning; Marquis de Termes, a notorious whistle-blower, sometimes beaten in public by those he had been sniching upon….

The cartoon strip is long, but the best character penned by Saint-Simon is himself. As an adolescent he is brought to Versailles to join the Musketeers. Louis XIV remarks that the boy is too young. Saint-Simon’s father assures the king that this way his son will serve longer. Saint-Simon serves about six years. After that the little duke becomes an observant courtier of Louis XIV. He gets married, which is done in a unique way: coming to ask Marechal-duc de Lorge to give his daughter in marriage, Saint-Simon encounters a small problem: de Lorge has two daughters and would like to know which one the young man has chosen; Saint-Simon says that it does not really matter; and so, he marries the elder, with whom he has three children and an apartment at the Chateau Versailles.

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This entry was posted in Chateau Versailles, Chateau Versailles In Literature, Louis XIV and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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