Madame de Pompadour (New York Review Books Classics)
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When Madame de Pompadour became the mistress of Louis XV, no one expected her to retain his affections for long. A member of the bourgeoisie rather than an aristocrat, she was physically too cold for the carnal Bourbon king, and had so many enemies that she could not travel publicly without risking a pelting of mud and stones. History has loved her little better.Nancy Mitford's delightfully candid biography re-creates the spirit of eighteenth-century Versailles with its love of pleasure and treachery. We learn that the Queen was a "bore," the Dauphin a "prig," and see France increasingly overcome with class conflict. With a fiction writer's felicity, Mitford restores the royal mistress and celebrates her as a survivor, unsurpassed in "the art of living," who reigned as the most powerful woman in France for nearly twenty years.
that the father and mother are arrogant, and the daughter spoilt, that she knows all about the proposed marriage and has spoken of it in terms of the utmost contempt, and that she despises both of us, me even more than him. He says he knows that this is all quite true. Yes—well, perhaps, but these people will be my deadly enemies from now on; he should have thought of it sooner.” She was very angry indeed with Marigny. However, she arranged another good marriage for the little girl, whose conduct
Cordon Bleu.” Though devoted to the King, he never cared for Versailles; he was a real Parisian and his life and pleasures were centered in the capital. Very rightly and wisely he refused various ministries proposed to him by his sister, who, as she became more and more involved in politics, would have liked to have his support. He pointed out that it would be sheer folly for him to be in charge of a government department; the moment anything went wrong she would be doubly blamed. All he wanted
Pompadour, Bleu du Roi, Gros Bleu, and apple green were invented; the shapes were highly original, sometimes more reminiscent of silver than of porcelain; while the biscuit figures, by Pajou, Pigalle, Clodion, Falconet, Caffieri, and so on, have never been surpassed. To French taste, its products were superior to those of the Meissen factory. Once a year a sale of this china was held at Versailles in a room in the King’s apartments, and the courtiers knew that it pleased him enormously when they
blood. On the whole the King leant towards the Jesuits, though he was far from approving everything they did. His family was blindly on their side. Madame de Pompadour, with her philosophical upbringing, should have provided a counter weight, but the years at Court had not been without their effect on her; the word Parlement seemed to strike rather a dubious note, evoking Cromwell, and dreadful republicanism. Besides she knew quite well that the Magistrates disapproved of her extravagance, at a
Marquise had to a great extent lost her looks. She never ceased to mourn her little girl. Her heart troubled her, she was hardly ever well, and often in pain. She worried very much over public events. The great compensation for all this in her eyes was the companionship of the King. He went out hunting, he went off to his brothel, he saw a certain amount of his children, he performed his public duties; all the rest of the day he was with her. Their relationship was that of a couple happily