Short summary - Historiettes - Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Historiettes
Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux

The author brought together oral evidence, his own observations and historical writings of his time and, on their basis, recreated the life of French society at the end of the 16th - first half of the 17th century, presenting it as a kaleidoscope of short stories, the heroes of which were 376 characters, including crowned heads.
Henry IV, had he reigned in peacetime, would never have become so famous, for "he would have been mired in voluptuous pleasures." He was not too generous, he did not always know how to be grateful, he never praised anyone, "but one cannot remember a more merciful sovereign who would love his people more." Here is what they say about him: one day, a representative of the third estate, wanting to address the king with a speech, kneels down and stumbles upon a sharp stone that has caused him such pain that he cannot stand it and cries out: "You are a louse!" "Excellent!" - Heinrich exclaims and asks not to continue, so as not to spoil the glorious beginning of the speech. Another time Heinrich, passing through the village where he has to stop for lunch, asks to call some local wit to him. A peasant, nicknamed the Funny, is brought to him. The king sits him down opposite him, on the other side of the table, and asks: "Is it far from a womanizer to an amusing man?" “Yes, there is only a table between them, sir,” the peasant replies. Heinrich was very pleased with the answer. When Heinrich appoints de Sully as superintendent of finance, the boast Sully hands him an inventory of his property and vows that he intends to live solely on a salary. However, Sully soon began to make numerous acquisitions. Once, welcoming the king, Sully stumbles, and Heinrich declares to the courtiers around him that he is more surprised that Sully did not stretch to his full height, because he should be pretty dizzy from the magarychs he received. Heinrich himself was a thief by nature and took everything that came to his hand; however, he returned what he had taken, saying that if he had not been a king, "he would have been hanged."
Queen Margot was beautiful in her youth, although she had "slightly saggy cheeks and a somewhat long face." There was no more loving woman in the world; for love notes she even had a special paper, the edges of which were decorated with "emblems of victories in the field of love." “She wore large tansies with many pockets, each of which contained a box with the heart of a deceased lover; for when one of them died, she immediately took care to embalm his heart. " Margarita quickly put on weight and went bald very early, so she wore a chignon, and extra hair in her pocket so that she was always at hand. They say that when she was young, the Gascon nobleman Salignac fell madly in love with her, but she did not respond to his feelings. And then one day, when he reproaches her for callousness, she asks if he agrees to take the poison in order to prove his love. Gascon agrees, and Margarita gives him the strongest laxative with her own hand. He swallows the potion, and the queen locks him in the room, vowing that she will return before the poison takes effect. Salignac sat in the room for two hours, and since the medicine worked, when the door was unlocked, next to the Gascon "it was impossible to stand for a long time."
Cardinal de Richelieu has always sought to advance. He went to Rome to be ordained bishop. Dedicating him, the pope asks if he has reached the required age, and the young man answers in the affirmative. But after the ceremony, he goes to the Pope and asks for his forgiveness for lying to him, “saying that he had reached the due age, although he had not yet reached them. Then dad said that in the future this boy will become a "big rogue." The cardinal hated the king's brother and, fearing that he would not get the crown, for the king was in poor health, he decided to enlist the favor of Queen Anne and help her in the birth of an heir. To begin with, he sows discord between her and Louis, and then, through intermediaries, offers her to let him "take the place of the king beside her." He assures the queen that while she is childless, everyone will neglect her, and since the king clearly will not live long, she will be sent back to Spain. If she has a son from Richelieu, the cardinal will help her run the state. The queen "resolutely rejected this offer," but she did not dare to push the cardinal away completely, so Richelieu made several attempts to be in the same bed with the queen. Having failed, the cardinal began to persecute her and even wrote the play "Miram", where the cardinal (Richelieu) beats the protagonist (Buckingham) with sticks. The following story is told about how everyone was afraid of the cardinal. A certain colonel, a very respectable man, is driving down Tikton Street and suddenly feels that he is "propping up". He throws himself into the gate of the first house he comes across and relieves himself right on the path. The runaway homeowner makes a noise. Here the colonel's servant declares that his master is serving the cardinal. The citizen humbles himself: "If you serve with His Eminence, you can ... wherever you want." As you can see, many people disliked the cardinal. Thus, the Queen Mother (Maria de Medici, wife of Henry IV), who believed in the predictions, "almost went mad with anger when she was assured that the cardinal would live in good health for a very long time." It was said that Richelieu was very fond of women, but "was afraid of the king, who had an evil tongue." The famous courtesan Marion Delorme claimed that he visited her twice, but paid only one hundred pistols, and she threw them back to him. One day, the cardinal tried to seduce Princess Mary and accepted her while lying in bed, but she got up and left. The cardinal was often seen with flies on his face: "one was not enough for him."
Wanting to entertain the king, Richelieu slipped him Saint-Mara, the son of Marshal d'Effia. The King never loved anyone as dearly as Saint-Mara; he called him "a dear friend." At the siege of Arras, Saint-Mar wrote to the king twice a day. In his presence, Louis talked about everything, so he was aware of everything. The cardinal warned the king that such carelessness could end badly: Saint-Mar is still too young to be initiated into all state secrets. Saint-Mar was terribly angry with Richelieu. But even more angry at the cardinal a certain Fontrail, at whose ugliness Richelieu dared to laugh. Fontrail was involved in a conspiracy that nearly cost Richelieu's life. When it became clear that the conspiracy had been discovered, Fontrail warned Saint-Mar, but he did not want to flee. He believed that the king would be lenient towards his youth, and confessed everything. However, Louis did not spare either him or his friend de Tu: both laid their heads on the scaffold. This is not surprising, for the king loved what Saint-Mar hated, and Saint-Mar hated everything that the king loved; they agreed only on one thing - in hatred of the cardinal.
It is known that the king, pointing to Treville, said: "Here is a man who will relieve me of the cardinal as soon as I want it." Treville commanded the mounted musketeers who accompanied the king everywhere, and he himself picked them up. Treville was from Béarn and had curry favor with the lower ranks. They say that the cardinal bribed Treville's cook by paying her four hundred livres in pension to spy on her master. Richelieu really did not want the king to have a man whom he fully trusted. Therefore, he sent Monsieur de Chavigny to Louis to persuade the king to drive Treville away. But Treville serves me well and is devoted to me, answered Louis. But the cardinal serves you well and is devoted to you, and in addition he is still needed by the state, objected Chavigny. Nevertheless, the cardinal's messenger achieved nothing. The cardinal was indignant and again sent Chavigny to the king, ordering him to say this: "Sovereign, this must be done." The king was unusually afraid of responsibility, as well as of the cardinal himself, since the latter, occupying almost all important posts, could play a bad joke with him. "In a word, Treville had to be driven out."
In love, King Louis began with his coachman, then he felt a "penchant for the hound," but he burned with a special passion for de Luigne. The cardinal was afraid that the king would not be called Louis the Zaika, and he "was delighted when the opportunity turned up to call him Louis the Just." Louis sometimes reasoned quite cleverly and even "prevailed" over the cardinal. But most likely, he just gave him this little pleasure. For some time, the king was in love with the queen's maid of honor, Madame d? Otfor, which, however, did not prevent him from using the chimney tongs to get a note from this lady's bodice, as he was afraid to touch her breast with his hand. The king's love interests were generally "strange", for of all the feelings he was most inherent in jealousy. He was terribly jealous of Madame d'Otford for d'Aiguillon-Vasse, although she assured him that he was her relative. And only when the connoisseur of genealogy d'Ozier, knowing what was the matter, confirmed the words of the court beauty, the king believed her. With Madame d? Otfor, Louis often talked "about horses, dogs, birds and other similar objects." And I must say that the king was very fond of hunting. In addition to hunting, he "knew how to make leather trousers, snares, nets, arquebus, minting coins", grew early green peas, made window frames, shaved well, and was also a good pastry chef and gardener.