Replying to a letter from Charles V, in which that emperor had given himself a long string of high sounding titles, he contented himself with simply signing his letter, "<"François, baron de Gonesse.>" Louis XV was very fond of borrowed appellations.
The conversation became lively and animated, the merits of men of letters were discussed, the French and Italian theatre passed in review before us, and finally, we amused ourselves with anecdotes relative to the intrigues of court. The baron de Gonesse related to us a circumstance which had just been communicated to him by a county magistrate.
He came as far as Gonesse to do the job he had promised to Philip, but having heard that Henry had reinforced himself with four thousand Swiss from the garrison of Lagny, he fell back to Soissons. The King sent him a most abject message, imploring him not to expose his sovereign to so much danger, by setting his foot at that moment in the capital.
Many correspondents, "special," "our own," and "occasional," had arrived, and were girding up their loins for the benefit of the British public. Baron Rothschild had been kind enough to give me a pass which enabled me to take the Amiens train at the goods station within the walls of the city, instead of driving, as those less fortunate were obliged to do, to Gonesse.
"'First, the baron de Gonesse." "Who is he?" "The king himself." "Well, who next?" "The duc de Richelieu." "Who else?" "The marquis de Chauvelin." "Well?" "The duc de la Vauguyon." "What, the devotee?" "The hypocrite. But never mind: the main point is, that you must not appear to recognize the king. Instruct your sister-in-law to this effect."
One morning, two bourgeoises of Paris, the wife of Adam de la Gonesse and her niece, went abroad to have a little flutter and eat two sous' worth of tripe in a new inn. On their way they met Dame Tifaigne, the milliner, who recommended the tavern of the "Maillez," where the wine was excellent. Thither they went and fared not wisely but too well.
A stout, ruddy, thick-set matronly woman was waiting for them, but the coachman looked as though he were in the service of well-to-do people. General Pelissier's son, who had not uttered a word since we had left Gonesse, had disappeared like a ball from the hands of a conjurer. Theodore Joussian politely offered to accompany us, and I was so weary that I accepted his offer.
Replying to a letter from Charles V, in which that emperor had given himself a long string of high sounding titles, he contented himself with simply signing his letter, "Francois, baron de Gonesse." Louis XV was very fond of borrowed appellations.
The former was already filled; so, as a bullock, I embarked I may add, as an ill-used bullock; for I had no straw to sit on. At St. Denis, a Prussian official inspected our passes, and at Gonesse about 200 passengers struggled into the bullock vans. We reached Creil, a distance of thirty miles, at 11.30. I and my fellow-bullocks here made a rush at the buffet. But it was closed.
Money was sent to Gonesse to induce the bakers to come as usual, and for fear they should refuse bank notes, like the Paris workmen and shopkeepers, nearly all of whom would no longer receive any paper, the regiment of the guards had orders to hold itself ready, and the musketeers to keep within their quarters, their horses saddled and bridled.