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Sold By: Newegg All Sellers. View: 36 60 96 36 list view. Xbox One Video Games. Usually, however, the spies recounted casual discussions about all sorts of subjects among ordinary Parisians; and, during the early years of Louis XV's reign, the talk sounded favorable to the monarchy. For a list, see Figure 5. Others said, "If so, then there could be some big changes. I don't think the king has any inclination in that direction, because he has always been kept away from women. It would be far more desirable if he liked hunting better than that kind of thing.

French translation of 'bestseller'

As always, the royal sex life provided prime material for gossip, but the reports all indicate that the talk was friendly. Royal magnificence choreographed to perfection in the heart of the city—that was what Parisians wanted from their king, according to the. In the shop of the wigmaker Gaujoux, this individual [Jules Alexis Bernard] read aloud in the presence of Sieur Dazemar, an invalid officer, an attack on the king in which it was said that His Majesty let himself be governed by ignorant and incompetent ministers and had made a shameful, dishonorable peace [the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle], which gave up all the fortresses that had been captured What had happened between those two dates, and ?

A great deal, of course: a flare-up of the Jansenist religious controversy, a running battle between the parlements and the crown, a major war, some disastrous harvests, and the imposition of unpopular taxes. But I would like to stress another factor: the end of the royal touch. Let me tell you a story. Call it "The Three Sisters.

But that is a delicate subject, so I had better disguise their names and set the story in Africa. So: Once upon a time, in the African kingdom of the Kofirans, a young monarch, Zeokinizul, began to eye the ladies in his court. The king was a timid soul, interested in nothing except sex, and he was pretty timid at that, too. But the first sister, Mme. She had been coached by the chief minister, a mullah prelate named Jeflur Fleury , who used her influence to fortify his own. But then the second sister, Mme.

She died, however, after giving birth to a child. So the king took up the third sister, Mme. She, too, accepted counsel from the wicked Kelirieu, and she conquered the king so completely that soon she was ruling the kingdom. Blinded by passion, Zeokinizul took her with him to the front, when he set off to repulse an invasion of the Maregins Germans. His subjects grumbled that kings should leave their mistresses at home when they did battle. In fact, the attempt to make love as well as war proved to be more than Zeokinizul's constitution could bear. He fell ill, so deathly ill, that the doctors gave him up for lost, and the mullahs prepared to give him the last rites.

But it looked as though the king might die unshriven, because Mme.

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Finally, one mullah broke into the bedroom. He warned Zeokinizul of the danger of damnation. As the price for administering confession and extreme unction, he demanded that the king renounce his mistress.


Lenertoula departed under a volley of insults, the king received the sacraments, and then—miracle! His people rejoiced. His enemies retreated. He returned to his palace The mullah had been awfully insistent about hellfire. So the king called her back. And then she promptly died. End of story.


What is the moral of this tale? For Parisians, it meant that the king's sins would bring down the punishment of God; and everyone would suffer, as Bernard proclaimed during the discussion of The Three Sisters , the version of the story that he declaimed in the shop of the wigmaker Gaujoux. For historians, the story can be taken as a symptom of a rupture in the moral ties that bound the king to his people.

After the death of Mme.

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He had also ceased to touch the sick who lined up in the Great Gallery of the Louvre in order to be cured of the King's Evil, or scrofula. This breakdown in ritual signaled the end—or at least the beginning of the end—of the roi-mage , the sacred, thaumaturgic king known to us through the work of Marc Bloch. By mid-century, Louis XV had lost touch with his people, and he had lost the royal touch. That conclusion, I admit, is much too dramatic. Desacralization or delegitimation was a complex process, which did not occur all at once but rather by fits and starts over a long time span.

In recounting this tale about Louis's love life, I did not mean to argue that he suddenly lost his legitimacy in , although I believe he badly damaged it.

My purpose was to suggest the way stories struck the consciousness of Parisians by the middle of the century. To modern Americans, the story of the three sisters may read like an unconvincing blend of folklore and soap opera. But to eighteenth-century Parisians, it served as a gloss on current events—Louis XV's brush with death at Metz in August , the disgrace of Mme. The story also conveyed a prophecy of doom.

Louis XV had compounded adultery with incest, because fornicating with sisters had an incestuous character in eighteenth-century eyes. Thus the report of a spy who warned the police about the public's consternation at the king's affair with Mme. Clergymen, especially the Jansenists, take that view and dare to think and to say aloud that the evils that will soon overwhelm the kingdom come from above, as punishment for the incest and irreligion of the king.

They cite passages from Scripture, which they apply [to the present circumstances]. The government should pay attention to this class of subjects. They are dangerous. Sin on such a scale would call down punishment from heaven, not merely on the king but on the entire kingdom.

Having been anointed with the holy oil preserved since the conversion of Clovis in the cathedral of Reims, Louis XV had sacred power. He could cure subjects afflicted with scrofula, simply by touching them. After his coronation in , he had touched more than 2,, and he continued to touch the diseased for the next seventeen years, particularly after taking Communion on Easter. In order to exercise that power, however, he had to cleanse himself from sin by confession and Communion. But his confessors would not admit him to the Eucharist unless he renounced his mistresses, and he refused to renounce them after , when he began openly to exhibit his adultery with Mme.

From that time on, Louis never again took Easter Communion and never again touched the sick. The Metz crisis revived hope that he would recover his spiritual potency, but its denouement, the death of Mme. That was the conclusion reached by Bernard after declaiming The Three Sisters to his audience in the wigmaker's shop. At this point, I should pause to deal with an objection. You may concede that the police reports provide evidence about the public's fear of divine retribution for the king's sins, but you also might protest that my version of "The Three Sisters" does not necessarily coincide with the story recounted in the s by Parisians.

Perhaps in a fit of postmodern permissiveness, I simply made it up.

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I did not.