Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bedtime Reading: When all else Fails ...

When all else fails, try the Duc de Saint-Simon.  There's nothing quite so cozy as tucking down with the Court of the Sun King.  It might even put you to sleep, but with luck, you'll come across something really entertaining along the way:
Chamillart was appointed in the place of Barbezieux, as Secretary of State; and wanted to give up the Finance, but the King, remembering the disputes of Louvois and Colbert, insisted on his occupying both posts. Chamillart was a very worthy man, with clean hands and the best intentions; polite, patient, obliging, a good friend, and a moderate enemy, loving his country, but his King better; and on very good terms with him and Madame de Maintenon. His mind was limited and; like all persons of little wit and knowledge, he was obstinate and pig-headed— smiling affectedly with a gentle compassion on whoever opposed reasons to his, but utterly incapable of understanding them—consequently a dupe in friendship, in business, in everything; governed by all who could manage to win his admiration, or on very slight grounds could claim his affection. His capacity was small, and yet he believed he knew everything, which was the more pitiable, as all this came to him with his places, and arose more from stupidity than presumption—not at all from vanity, of which he was divested. The most remarkable thing is that the chief origin of the King's tender regard for him was this very incapacity.
Duc de Saint-Simon (2012-05-16). Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency - Complete (Kindle Locations 3226-3234).  . Kindle Edition.   Who--Andre Gide?--said that the less we respect Saint-Simon as an historian, the more we admire him as a novelist?

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