Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Extravagances


"Everything here costs three times more than it did a year ago. It is incredible how costly everything has become; what used to be 30 francs is 100 now, and everything is sky-high. I do not demand anything from the King or my son, let alone from Monsieur Law; but I do like to be paid exactly, so that my servants do not suffer want So far, I am happy to say, I do not owe anything to any merchants or anyone, and it would upset and grieve me very much if I had to go into debt.

That reminds me of something that once made me laugh quite heartily. When the late King was still alive and the Duchesse du Maine was spending such horrendous sums on lavish parties, theatre performances, ballets, fireworks, and so forth, she and her husband sent for the superintendent of my household because they were jealous that I was keeping up my rank and asked my superintendent, "Tell us, how does Madame manage not to make any debts? After all she is not rich." My superintendent coolly replied, "Madame is never extravagant; she only spends what she can afford, and in this manner she does not owe anything and does not have to borrow." To this they had no reply, and they dismissed him."

14 September 1720
Saint Claude, France

From Duchess de Orléans to Raugräfin Luise

(Letters of Liselotte vand der Pfalz, Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchess d'Orléans. 1652-1722. Translated and edited (splendidly) by Elborg Forster.)

Remember that:
"Madame is never extravagant."

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