The Princess of Cleves - Madame de Lafayette - Страница 1 из 221

Madame de Lafayette
Grandeur and gallantry never appeared with more lustre in France, than
in the last years of Henry the Second's reign. This Prince was amorous
and handsome, and though his passion for Diana of Poitiers Duchess of
Valentinois, was of above twenty years standing, it was not the less
violent, nor did he give less distinguishing proofs of it.
As he was happily turned to excel in bodily exercises, he took a
particular delight in them, such as hunting, tennis, running at the
ring, and the like diversions. Madam de Valentinois gave spirit to all
entertainments of this sort, and appeared at them with grace and beauty
equal to that of her grand-daughter, Madam de la Marke, who was then
unmarried; the Queen's presence seemed to authorise hers.
The Queen was handsome, though not young; she loved grandeur,
magnificence and pleasure; she was married to the King while he was
Duke of Orleans, during the life of his elder brother the Dauphin, a
prince whose great qualities promised in him a worthy successor of his
father Francis the First.
The Queen's ambitious temper made her taste the sweets of reigning, and
she seemed to bear with perfect ease the King's passion for the Duchess
of Valentinois, nor did she express the least jealousy of it; but she
was so skilful a dissembler, that it was hard to judge of her real
sentiments, and policy obliged her to keep the duchess about her
person, that she might draw the King to her at the same time. This

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