A laughing matter only at Versailles

From the Duc de Saint-Simon’s Memoires.

Mademoiselle, the great Mademoiselle, as she was called to distinguish her from the daughter of Monseiur, or, to call her by her name, Mlle de Montpensier, eldest daughter of Gaston and the only one from his first marriage, died in her palace in the Luxembourg on Sunday April 5 (1693)

….

Her funeral rites were observed in full and her body was watched over for several days … There occurred here a quite absurd incident.  In the middle of the day and with the whole ceremony underway, the urn, which was on a sideboard and contained the entrails, shattered with an incredible noise and a stench both sudden and intolerable.  At that very instant some of the ladies swooned in fright, others took flight.  The heralds and psalmodists were smothered at the doors along with the crowd who also fled.  The confusion was extreme.  Most people won their way to the garden and the surrounding avenues.  It was the entrails, poorly embalmed, which through their fermentation had caused this crash.  Everything was perfumed and set back up, and this fright became a common subject for jokes.  These entrails were carried to the Celestins, the heart to Val-de-Grace, and the body brought to Saint-Denis ….

 

Mademoiselle, la grande Mademoiselle, qu’on appelait [ainsi] pour la distinguer de la fille de Monsieur, ou, pour l’appeler par son nom, Mlle de Montpensier, fille aînée de Gaston, et seule de son premier mariage, mourut en son palais de Luxembourg, le dimanche 5 avril,

….

Sa pompe funèbre se fit en entier, et son corps fut gardé plusieurs jours ….. Il y arriva une aventure fort ridicule. Au milieu de la journée et toute la cérémonie présente, l’urne, qui était sur une crédence et qui contenait les entrailles, se fracassa avec un bruit épouvantable et une puanteur subite et intolérable. À l’instant voilà les dames les unes pâmées d’effroi, les autres en fuite. Les hérauts d’armes, les feuillants qui psalmodiaient, s’étouffaient aux portes avec la foule qui gagnait au pied. La confusion fut extrême. La plupart gagnèrent le jardin et les cours. C’étaient les entrailles mal embaumées qui, par leur fermentation, avaient causé ce fracas. Tout fut parfumé et rétabli, et cette frayeur servit de risée. Ces entrailles furent portées aux Célestins, le coeur au Val-de-Grâce, et le corps conduit à Saint-Denis…

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s