us splendours of a garden fete, her talent was not merely devoted to things frivolous and trivial. She had the proverbial 'esprit des Mortemart'. Armed with beauty and sarcasm, she won a leading place for herself at Court, and held it in the teeth of all detractors.
Her beauty was for the King, her sarcasm for his courtiers. Perhaps little of this latter quality appears in the pages bequeathed to us, written, as they are, in a somewhat cold, formal style, and we may assume that her much-dreaded irony resided in her tongue rather than in her pen. Yet we are glad to possess these pages, if only as a reliable record of Court life during the brightest period of the reign of Louis Quatorze.
As we have hinted, they are more, indeed, than this. For if we look closer we shall perceive, as in a glass, darkly, the contour of a subtle, even a perplexing, personality.
P. E. P.
MADAME DE MONTESPAN.
Beauty, charm, acerbic wit and through worldliness-- Athenais de Montespan seems more like a character in fiction than a real-life personage in history. Contemporary records show that she was suspected of resorting to witchcraft to acquire the affections of the monarch Louis XIV. Her memoirs are interesting as they give glimpses not only of life at the French court but more importantly, of what the Marquise thought of herself in relation to those around her.