[Pepys in his Diary, Nov. 22nd, 1660, says, "The Princess Henrietta is very pretty, but much below my expectation; and her dressing of herself with her hair frizzed short up to her ears, did make her seem so much the less to me. But my wife standing near her with two or three black patches on, did seem to me much handsomer than she."]
[Evelyn gives the following account of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion and his execution, June 14th, 1685. "There was now certaine intelligence of the Duke of Monmouth landing at Lyme in Dorsetshire, and of his having set up his standard as King of England. I pray God deliver us from the confusion which these beginnings threaten!".
June 17th. "The duke landed with but 150 men, but the whole kingdom was alarm'd, fearing that the disaffected would joyn them, many of the train'd bands nocking to him. At his landing be published a declaration, charging his maty with usurpation and several horrid crimes, on pretence of his owne title, and offering to call a free parliament. This declaration was order'd to be burnt by the hangman, the duke proclaim'd a traytor, and a reward of 5,000l. to any who should kill him."
July 2nd. "No considerable account of the troops sent against the duke, tho' greate forces sent. There was a smart skirmish, but he would not be provok'd to come to an encounter, but still kept in the fastnesses."
July 8th. "Came news of Monmouth's utter defeate, and the next day of his being taken by Sr Wm Portman and Lord Lumley with the militia of their counties. It seemes the horse, commanded by Lord Grey, being newly rais'd and undisciplin'd, were not to be brought in so short a time to endure the fire, which expos'd the foote to the king's, so as when Monmouth had led the foote in greate silence and order, thinking to surprise Lieutt Genl Lord Feversham newly encamp'd, and given him a smart charge, interchanging both greate and small shot, the horse, breaking their owne ranks, Monmouth gave it over, and fled with Grey, leaving their party to be cut in pieces to the number of 2,000. The whole number reported to be above 8,000, the king's but 2,700. The slaine were most of them Mendip-miners, who did greate execution with their tooles, and sold their lives very dearely, whilst their leaders flying were pursu'd and takea the next morning, not far from one another. Monmouth had gone sixteen miles on foote, changing his habite for a poore coate, and was found by Lord Lumley in a dry ditch cover'd with fern-brakes, but without sword, pistol, or any weapon, and so might have pass'd for some country man, his beard being grown so long and so grey as hardly to be known, had not his George discover'd him, which was found in his pocket. 'Tis said he trembl'd exceedingly all over, not able to speake. Grey was taken not far from him. Most of his party were Anabaptists and poore clothworkers of ye country, no gentlemen of account being come in to him. The arch-boutefeu Ferguson, Matthews, &c. were not yet found. The 5,000l. to be given to whoever should bring Monmouth in, was to be distributed among the militia by agreement between Sr Wm Portman and Lord Lumley. The battail ended, some words, first in jest, then in passion, pass'd between Sherrington Talbot (a worthy gentn, son to Sr John Talbot, and who had behav'd himselfe very handsomely) and one Capt. Love, both commanders of the militia, as to whose souldiers fought best, both drawing their swords and passing at one another. Sherrington was wounded to death on the spot, to the greate regret of those who knew him. He was Sir John's only son."
July 15th. "Monmouth was this day brought to London and examin'd before the king, to whom he made great submission, acknowledged his seduction by Ferguson the Scot, whom he nam'd ye bloudy villain. He was sent to ye Tower, had an interview with his late dutchesse, whom he receiv'd coldly, having lived dishonestly with ye Lady Henrietta Wentworth for two yeares. He obstinately asserted his conversation with that debauch'd woman to be no sin, whereupon, seeing he could not be persuaded to his last breath, the divines who were sent to assist him thought not fit to administer the Holy Communion to him. For ye rest of his faults he profess'd greate sorrow, and so died without any apparent feare; he would not make use of a cap or other circumstance, but lying downe, bid the fellow do his office better than to the late Lord Russell, and gave him gold; but the wretch made five chopps before he had his head off; wch so incens'd the people, that had he not been guarded and got away, they would have torn him to pieces.
"The duke made no speech on the scaffold (wch was on Tower-hill), but gave a paper containing not above five or six lines, for the king, in which he disclaims all title to ye crown, acknowledges that the late king, his father, had indeede told him he was but his base sonn, and so desir'd his maty to be kind to his wife and children. This relation I had from Dr. Tenison (rector of St. Martin's), who, with the Bishops of Ely and Bath and Wells, were sent to him by his maty, and were at the execution.
"Thus ended this quondam duke, darling of his father and ye ladies, being extreamly handsome and adroit; an excellent souldier and dancer, a favourite of the people, of an easy nature, debauched by lust, seduc'd by crafty knaves who would have set him up only to make a property, and took the opportunity of the king being of another religion, to gather a party of discontented men. He fail'd, and perish'd.
"He was a lovely person, had a virtuous and excellent lady that brought him greate riches, and a second dukedom in Scotland. He was master of the horse, general of the king his father's army, gentleman of the bedchamber, knight of the garter, chancellor of Cambridge, in a word, had accumulations without end. See what ambition and want of principles brought him to! He was beheaded on Tuesday, 14th July. His mother, whose name was Barlow, daughter of some very meane creatures, was a beautiful strumpet, whom I had often seene at Paris; she died miserably without any thing to bury her; yet this Perkin had ben made to believe that the king had married her; a monstrous and ridiculous forgerie; and to satisfy the world of the iniquity of the report, the king his father (if his father he really was, for he most resembl'd one Sidney, who was familiar with his mother) publickly and most solemnly renounc'd it, to be so enter'd in the council booke some yeares since, with all the privy councellors attestation."]
The following anecdotes are also preserved: -- "On one occasion, Killegrew entered the king's apartment without ceremony, equipped in boots, &c., as if he was going a journey. 'What, Killegrew,' cried Charles, 'where are you going in such a violent hurry?' 'To hell!' said Killegrew, 'to fetch up Oliver Cromwell, to look after the affairs of England, for his successor never will.'"
"The council had one day assembled, and the king, as usual, not making his appearance, the Duke of Lauderdale hastened to remonstrate with him, but his entreaties were of no avail. On quitting the presence-chamber he met Killegrew, who, on learning his errand, offered to bet him 100l. that Charles should attend the council in half an hour, which the duke, feeling certain of winning the money, instantly accepted. Killegrew immediately entered the king's apartment, and related to him the whole circumstance. 'I know,' he proceeded, 'that your majesty hates Lauderdale; now, if you go only this once to the council, I know his covetous disposition so well, that, rather than pay the 100l., he will hang himself, and never plague you again.' Charles could not refrain from laughing: -- 'Well, Killegrew,' he cried, 'I positively will go!' He kept his word, and the wager was won."]
1663. Sir John Knight, mayor. John Broadway, Richard Stremer, sheriffs.
"The 5th of September, the king and queen, with James, Duke of York, and his duchess, and Prince Rupert, &c., came to Bristol, and were splendidly received and entertained by the mayor, at a dinner provided on the occasion. They returned to Bath at four o'clock. 150 pieces of ordnance were discharged in the Marsh, at three distinct times." -- Barrett's History, &c. of Bristol, p. 692.
"Of all the men that ever I knew in my life (and I knew him extremely well), the late Duke of Marlborough possessed the graces in the highest degree, not to say engrossed them; and indeed he got the most by them; for I will venture (contrary to the custom of profound historians, who always assign deep causes to great events) to ascribe the better half of the Duke of Maryborough's greatness and riches to those graces. He was eminently illiterate, wrote bad English, and spelled it still worse. He had no share of what is commonly called parts; that is, he had no brightness, nothing shining in his genius. He had, most undoubtedly, an excellent good plain understanding, with sound judgment. But these alone would probably have raised him but something higher than they found him, which was page to King James II.'s queen. There the graces protected and promoted him; for while he was an ensign of the guards, the Duchess of Cleveland, then favourite mistress to King Charles II., struck by those very graces, gave him five thousand pounds: with which he immediately bought an annuity for his life, of five hundred pounds a year, of my grandfather, Halifax; which was the foundation of his subsequent fortune. His figure was beautiful; but his manner was irresistible by either man or woman. It was by this engaging, graceful manner, that he was enabled, during all his wars, to connect the various and jarring powers of the grand alliance, and to carry them on to the main object of the war, notwithstanding their private and separate views, jealousies, and wrong-headednesses. Whatever court he went to (and he was often obliged to go himself to some resty and refractory ones), he as constantly prevailed, and brought them into his measures. The pensionary Heinsius, a venerable old minister, grown grey in business, and who had governed the republic of the United Provinces for more than forty years, was absolutely governed by the Duke of Marlborough, as that republic feels to this day. He was always cool; and nobody ever observed the least variation in his countenance. He could refuse more gracefully than other people could grant; and those who went away from him the most dissatisfied, as to the substance of their business, were yet personally charmed with him, and, in some degree, comforted by his manner. With all his gracefulness, no man living was more conscious of his situation or maintained his dignity better." -- Chest. Letters, letter 136.
---------- I walk, because I die
Out of my calling in a tragedy.
And from the same authority it may be collected that her person was small, and she was negligent in her dress. Her son, the Duke of St. Albans, was born before she left the stage, viz. May 8, 1670. Bishop Burnet speaks of her in these terms: -- "Gwyn, the indiscreetest and wildest creature that ever was in a court, continued, to the end of the king's life, in great favour, and was maintained at a vast expense. The Duke of Buckingham told me, that when she was first brought to the king, she asked only 500 pounds a year, and the king refused it. But when he told me this, about four years after, he said she had got of the king above sixty thousand pounds. [The editor has seen her signature to a receipt dated Nov. 20th, 1682, for 250l., being a quarter of a year's pension. Also a banker's order for payment of a similar sum, dated Oct. 15th, 1683, signed by Lord Rochester, Sir Edw. Dering, Sir Stephen Fox, &c.] She acted all persons in so lively a manner, and was such a constant diversion to the king, that even a new mistress could not drive her away; but. after all, he never treated her with the decencies of a mistress." -- History of his own Times, vol. i. p. 369. The same author notices the king's attention to her on his death-bed. Cibber, who was dissatisfied with the bishop's account of Nell, says, -- "If we consider her in all the disadvantages of her rank and education, she does not appear to have had any criminal errors, more remarkable than her sex's frailty, to answer for; and if the same author, in his latter end of that prince's life, seems to reproach his memory with too kind a concern for her support, we may allow it becomes a bishop to have had no eyes or taste for the frivolous charms or playful badinage of a king's mistress. Yet, if the common fame of her may be believed, which, in my memory, was not doubted, she had less to be laid to her charge than any other of those ladies who were in the same state of preferment: she never meddled in matters of serious moment, or was the tool of working politicians; never broke into those amorous infidelities which others, in that grave author, are accused of; but was as visibly distinguished by her particular personal inclination to the king, as her rivals were by their titles and grandeur." -- Cibber's Apology, 8vo., p. 450. One of Madame Sevigné's letters exhibits no bad portrait of Mrs. Gwyn. -- "Mademoiselle de K------ (Kerouaille, afterwards Duchess of Portsmouth) has not been disappointed in any thing she proposed. She desired to be mistress to the king, and she is so: he lodges with her almost every night, in the face of all the court: she has had a son, who has been acknowledged, and presented with two duchies: she amasses treasure, and makes herself feared and respected by as many as she can. But she did not foresee that she should find a young actress in her way, whom the king dotes on; and she has it not in her power to withdraw him from her. He divides his care, his time, and his health, between these two. The actress is as haughty as Mademoiselle: she insults her, she makes grimaces at her, she attacks her, she frequently steals the king from her, and boasts whenever he gives her the preference. She is young, indiscreet, confident, wild, and of an agreeable humour: she sings, she dances, she acts her part with a good grace. She has a son by the king, and hopes to have him acknowledged. As to Mademoiselle, she reasons thus: This duchess, says she, pretends to be a person of quality: she says she is related to the best families in France: whenever any person of distinction dies, she puts herself in mourning. -- If she be a lady of such quality, why does she demean herself to be a courtesan? She ought to die with shame. As for me, it is my profession: I do not pretend to any thing better. He has a son by me: I pretend that he ought to acknowledge him; and I am well assured he will; for he loves me as well as Mademoiselle. This creature gets the upper hand, and discountenances and embarrasses the duchess extremely." -- Letter 92. Mr. Pennant says, "-- she resided at her house, in what was then called Pall-Mall. It is the first good one on the left hand of St. James's square, as we enter from Pall-Mall. The back-room on the ground floor was (within memory) entirely of looking-glass, as was said to have been the ceiling. Over the chimney was her picture; and that of her sister was in a third room." -- London, p. 101. At this house she died, in the year 1691, and was pompously interred in the parish church of St. Martin's in the Fields; Dr. Tennison, then vicar, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, preaching her funeral sermon. This sermon, we learn, was shortly afterwards brought forward at court by Lord Jersey, to impede the doctor's preferment; but queen Mary having heard the objection, answered -- "What then?" in a sort of discomposure to which she was but little subject; "I have heard as much: this is a sign that that poor unfortunate woman died penitent; for, if I can read a man's heart through his looks, had not she made a pious and Christian end, the doctor could never have been induced to speak well of her." -- Life of Dr. Thomas Tennison, p. 20. Cibber also says, he had been unquestionably informed that our fair offender's repentance appeared in all the contrite symptoms of a Christian sincerity. -- Cibber's Apology, p. 451.
[The following anecdotes which are still preserved of the merry, open-hearted Nell, will be found highly illustrative of her lively wit and generous disposition. They are taken from various sources, including the Diaries of Evelyn and Pepys; Granger's Biography and Letters; Colley Cibber's Life; Gentleman's Magazine; Mrs. Jameson; Jesse; &c. &c.
"Mrs. Pierce tells me that the two Marshalls at the king's house, are Stephen Marshall's the great Presbyterian's daughters: and that Nelly and Beck Marshall falling out the other day, the latter called the other my Lord Buckhurst's mistress. Nell answered her, 'I was but one man's mistress, though I was brought up in a brothel, to fill strong water to the gentlemen: and you are a mistress to three or four, though a presbyter's praying daughter.'"
"Boman, when a youth and famous for his voice, was appointed to sing some part in a concert, at the private lodgings of Mrs. Gwynn; at which were only present the king, the Duke of York, and one or two more, who were usually admitted upon those detached parties of pleasure. When the performance was ended, the king expressed himself highly pleased, and gave it extraordinary commendations: 'Then, Sir,' said the lady, 'to shew you don't speak like a courtier, I hope you will make the performers a handsome present.' The king said he had no money about him, and asked the duke if he had any? To which the duke replied, 'I believe, Sir, not above a guinea or two.' Upon which the laughing lady, turning to the people about her, and drolly mimicking the king's tone and common expression, cried, 'Odd's fish, what company am I got into!'"
"Nell Gwynn was one day passing through the streets of Oxford, in her coach, when the mob mistaking her for her rival, the Duchess of Portsmouth, commenced hooting and loading her with every opprobrious epithet. Putting her head out of the coach window, 'Good people,' she said, smiling, 'you are mistaken; I am the Protestant whore.'"
"Once as she was driving up Ludgate-hill in a superb coach, some bailiffs were hurrying a clergyman to prison; she stopped, sent for the persons whom the clergyman named as attestators to his character, and finding the account a just subject for pity, paid his debt instantly, and procured him a preferment."
"An expedient adopted by the light-hearted actress, to procure the advancement of her young son to the same rank which had been conferred by Charles on his other natural children, is amusing enough. The king hap-pened to be in her apartments, when the boy was engaged in some childish sport. 'Come here, you little bastard!' -- was the free-spoken summons. Charles, to whose ears the term sounded somewhat harsh, blamed her, in his good-natured way, for the expression. 'Indeed,' she said, demurely, 'I am very sorry, but I have no other name to give him, poor boy!' A few days afterwards, this nameless young gentleman was created Baron of Heddington and Earl of Burford."
"Nelly was highly favoured by Dryden. For many years he gave her the most snowy and fantastic parts in his comedies. It looks as if he played her at the monarch a considerable time; and he wrote on purpose for her a whimsical and spirited prologue, prefixed, I think, to Aurengzebe. At the rival theatre (viz. the Duke's, under Killegrew's patent), Nokes had appeared in a hat larger than Pistol's, which gave the town wonderful delight, and supported a bad play by its pure effect. Dryden, piqued at this, caused a hat to be made the circumference of a hinder coach-wheel, and as Nelly was low of stature, and what the French call mignonne et piquante, he made her speak under the umbrella of that hat, the brims thereof being spread out horizontally to their full extension. The whole theatre was in a convulson of applause; nay, the very actors giggled, a circumstance none had observed before. Judge, therefore, what a condition 'the merriest prince alive' was in at such a conjuncture. It was beyond 'odds 'and 'odsfish;' for he wanted little of being suffocated with laughter."
"She was the most popular of all the king's mistresses, and most acceptable to the nation. The king having made a handsome present of plate to the Duchess of Portsmouth, a large concourse of people gathered round the goldsmith's shop, and loudly hooted at the duchess, wishing the silver was melted and poured down her throat, and saying that it was a thousand pities his majesty had not bestowed this bounty on Madam Ellen."
"Before Nelly became the mistress of Charles II., she was under the protection of two others of the name of Charles. She accordingly used to speak of him as her Charles III. Etherege says,
"The house in which Nell Gwynn lived was a freehold, and granted to her by a long lease by Charles II. Upon her discovering it to be only a lease under the crown, she returned him the lease and conveyance, saying she had always conveyed free under the crown, and always would; and would not accept it till it was conveyed free to her by an act of parliament, made on and for that purpose. Upon Nelly's death it was sold, and has been conveyed free ever since."
"Before her acquaintance with the king she is by some said to have been mistress to a brother of Lady Castlemaine, who studiously concealed her from Charles. One day, however, in spite of his caution, his majesty saw her, and that very night possessed her. Her lover carried her to the play, at a time when he had not the least suspicion of his majesty's being there; but as that monarch had an aversion to his robes of royalty, and was incumbered with the dignity of his state, he chose frequently to throw off the load of kingship, and consider himself as a private gentleman. Upon this occasion he came to the play incog., and sat in the next box to Nelly and her lover. As soon as the play was finished, his majesty, with the duke of York, the young nobleman, and Nell, retired to a tavern together, where they regaled themselves over a bottle; and the king shewed such civilities to Nell, that she began to understand the meaning of his gallantry. The tavern keeper was entirely ignorant of the quality of the company; and it was remarkable, that when the reckoning came to be paid, his majesty, upon searching his pockets, found that he had not money enough about him to discharge it, and asked the sum of his brother, who was in the same situation: upon which Nell observed, that she had got into the poorest company that she ever was in at a tavern. The reckoning was paid by the young nobleman, who that night lost both his money and mistress."
"'Oh Nell,' said Charles to her one day, l what shall I do to please the people of England? I am torn to pieces by their clamours.' 'If it please your majesty,' she answered, 'there is but one way left.' 'What is that?' said the king. 'Dismiss your ladies, may it please your majesty, and mind your business.'"
"One day she was driving in her coach to Whitehall, when a dispute arose between her coachman and another who was driving a countess, who in the midst of the discussion told his rival, that he himself drove a countess, whilst his lady was neither more nor less than a whore. The indignant Jehu jumped from his seat, and administered to the offender a severe beating. When Nell learnt from him the cause of the quarrel, she told him to 'go to, and never to risk his carcase again but in defence of truth.'"
Evelyn, who, like Dr. Burnet, was highly scandalized at the king's fondness for his mistresses, thus notices her in his Diary, March 1st, 1671:-- "I walked through St. James's Park to the gardens, where I both saw and heard a very familiar discourse between [the king] and Mrs. Nellie, as they called an impudent comedian, she looking out of her garden on a terrace at the top of the wall, and [the king] standing on the green walk under it. I was heartily sorry at this scene."
Charles loved her to the last, and she is said to be the only one of his mistresses who was faithful to him. His last words were, "Let not poor Nelly starve." According to a writer in the Gent.'s Magazine, "she left a handsome sum yearly to St. Martin's church, on condition, that on every Thursday evening in the year, there should be six men employed, for the space of one hour, in ringing, for which they were to have a roasted shoulder of mutton and ten shillings for beer. She, however, is more justly remembered for her exertions in behalf of Chelsea Hospital, which would never have been completed, at least not in the reign of Charles, but for her persevering and benevolent enthusiasm."]
[Pepys thus speaks of her in his Diary, March 7th, 1666-7. -- "To the duke's playhouse, where little-Miss Davis did dance a jig after the 2nd of the play, in boy's clothes; and the truth is, there is no comparison between Nell's dancing the other day at the king's house in boy's clothes and this, this being infinitely beyond the other." Jan. 11th, 1667-8. "Knipp told me how Miss Davis is for certain going away from the duke's house, the king being in love with her; and a house is taking for her and furnishing; and she hath a ring given her already, worth 600l." Jan. 14th. "Miss Davis is now the most impertinent slutin the world; and the more now the king do shew her countenance; and is reckoned his mistress even to the scorn of the whole world; the king gazing on her, and my Lady Castlemaine being melancholy and out of humour, all the play not smiling once. It seems she is a bastard of Colonel Howard, my Lord Berkshire, and he hath got her for the king: but Pierce says that she is a most homely jade as ever he saw, though she dances beyond any thing in the world." A story is told that Lady Castlemaine (Granger says it was Nell Gwynn) administered jalap at supper to Mary Davis on the first night of her introduction to Charles, the object of which need not be commented upon. It is sufficient (says Granger) to hint at the violence of the operation, and its disastrous effects."]
Chiffinch's more important duties are intimated in the beginning of a satirical poem of the time, entitled "Sir Edmondbury Godfrey's Ghost."
"It happen'd, in the twilight of the day,
As England's monarch in his closet lay,
And Chiffinch stepp'd to fetch the female prey,
The bloody shape of Godfrey did appear," &c.
[His character is well drawn in Sir Walter Scott's novel of "Peveril of the Peak."]
[Pepys thus relates the marriage in his Diary, April 26th, 1667:-- "Mr. Evelyn told me the whole story of Mrs. Stewart's going away from court, he knowing her well; and believes her, up to her leaving the court, to be as virtuous as any woman in the world; and told me, from a lord, that she told it to but yesterday with her own mouth, and a sober man, that when the Duke of Richmond did make love to her, she did ask the king, and he did the like also; and that the king did not deny it, and told this lord that she was come to that pass, as to resolve to have married any gentleman of 1,500l. a year that would have had her in honour: for it was come to that pass, that she could not longer continue at court without prostituting herself to the king, whom she had so long kept off, though he had liberty more than any other had, or he ought to have, as to dalliance. She told this lord, that she had reflected upon the occasion she had given to the world, to think her a bad woman, and that she had no way but to marry and leave the court, rather in this way of discontent than otherwise, that the world might see that she sought not any thing but her honour; and that she will never come to live at court, more than when she comes to kiss the queen her mistress's hand; and hopes, though she hath little reason to hope, she can please her lord so as to reclaim him, that they may yet live comfortably in the country on his estate. She told this lord that all the jewels she ever had given her at court, or any other presents (more than the king's allowance of 700l. per annum out of the privy-purse for her clothes), were at her first coming, the king did give her a necklace of pearl, of about 1,100l.; and afterwards, about seven months since, when the king had hopes to have obtained some courtesy of her, the king did give her some jewels, I have forgot what, and I think a pair of pendants. The Duke of York, being once her Valentine, did give her a jewel of about 800l.; and my Lord Mandeville, her Valentine this year, a ring of about 300l.; and the King of France would have had her mother (who, he says, is one of the most cunning women in the world), to have let her stay in France, saying that he loved her not as a mistress, but as one that he could marry as well as any lady in France; and that, if she might stay, for the honour of his court, he would take care that she should not repent. But her mother, by command of the queen-mother, thought rather to bring her into England; and the King of France did give her a jewel; so that Evelyn believes she may be worth in jewels about 6,000l., and that this is all she hath in the world; and a worthy woman; and in this hath done as great an act of honour as ever was done by woman. That now the Countess Castlemaine do carry all before her; and among other arguments to prove Mrs. Stewart to have been honest to the last, he says that the king's keeping in still with my Lady Castlemaine do shew it; for he never was known to keep two mistresses in his life, and would never have kept to her, had he prevailed any thing with Mrs. Stewart. She is gone yesterday with her lord to Cobham."]
Count Grammont and his lady left England in 1669. King Charles, in a letter to his sister, the Duchess of Orleans, dated 24th October, in that year, says, "I writt to you yesterday, by the Compte de Grammont, but I beleeve this letter will come sooner to your handes; for he goes by the way of Diep, with his wife and family; and now that I have named her, I cannot chuse but againe desire you to be kinde to her; for, besides the meritt her family has on both sides, she is as good a creature as ever lived. I beleeve she will passe for a handsome woman in France, though she has not yett, since her lying-inn, recovered that good shape she had before, and I am afraide never will." -- Dalrymple's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 26.
"The Count de Grammont fell dangerously ill in the year 1696; of which the king (Lewis XIV.) being informed, and knowing, besides, that he was inclined to libertinism, he was pleased to send the Marquis of Dangeau to see how he did, and to advise him to think of God. Hereupon Count de Grammont, turning towards his wife, who had ever been a very devout lady, told her, 'Countess, if you don't look to it, Dangeau will juggle you out of my conversion.' Madame de l'Enclos having afterwards written to M. de St. Evremond that Count de Grammont was recovered, and turned devout, -- 'I have learned,' answered he to her, 'with a great deal of pleasure, that Count de Grammont has recovered his former health, and acquired a new devotion. Hitherto I have been contented with being a plain honest man; but I must do something more; and I only wait for your example to become a devotee. You live in a country where people have wonderful advantages of saving their souls; there, vice is almost as opposite to the mode as to virtue; sinning passes for ill breeding, and shocks decency and good manners, as much as religion. Formerly it was enough to be wicked; now one must be a scoundrel withal, to be damned in France. They who have not regard enough for another life, are led to salvation by the consideration and duties of this.' -- 'But there is enough upon a subject in which the conversion of the Count de Grammont has engaged me. I believe it to be sincere and honest. It well becomes a man who is not young, to forget he has been so.' "-- Life of St. Evremond, by Des Marzeaux, p. 136; and St. Evremond's Works, vol. ii. p. 431.
It appears that a report had been spread, that our hero was dead. St. Evremond, in a letter to de l'Enclos, says, "They talk here as if the Count de Grammont was dead, which touches me with a very sensible grief." -- St. Evremond's Work's, vol. iii. p. 39. And the same lady, in her answer, says, "Madame de Coulange has undertaken to make your compliments to the Count de Grammont, by the Countess de Grammont. He is so young, that I think him as light as when he hated sick people, and loved them after they had recovered their health." -- St. Evremond's Works, p. 59.
At length Count de Grammont, after along life, died, the 10th January, 1707, at the age of eighty-six years.
See a letter from St. Evremond to Count de Grammont on the death of his brother, Count de Toulongeon. -- St. Evremond's Works, vol. ii. p. 327.
Memoirs of Count Grammont