Moliere breakfasts with Louis XIV

Louis XIV and Moliere

Louis XIV and Moliere, via Wikipedia

A plum: the great French playwright Molière gets an unexpected and extraordinary benefit from someone else’s misjudgement: an anecdote from Madame Campan‘s memoirs of the French court:



“An old medical gentleman, who had been physician in ordinary to Louis XIV, and was still living at the time of the marriage of Louis XV [1725], told M. Campan’s father an anecdote which seems too remarkable to have remained unknown; nevertheless he was a man of honour, incapable of inventing this story. His name was Lafosse. He said that Louis XIV was informed that the officers of his table evinced, in the most disdainful and offensive manner, the mortification they felt at being obliged to eat at the table of the comptroller of the kitchen along with Molière, valet de chambre to his Majesty, because Molière had performed on the stage; and that this celebrated author consequently declined appearing at that table. Louis XIV, determined to put an end to insults which ought never to have been offered to one of the greatest geniuses of the age, said to him one morning at the hour of his private levée, ‘They say you live very poorly here, Molière; and that the officers of my chamber do not find you good enough to eat with them. Perhaps you are hungry; for my part I awoke with a very good appetite this morning: sit down at this table. Serve up my ‘in case’ for the night there.’ The King, then cutting up his fowl, and ordering Molière to sit down, helped him to a wing, at the same time taking one for himself, and
ordered the persons entitled to familiar entrance, that is to say the most distinguished and favourite people at Court, to be admitted. ‘You see me,’ said the King to them, ‘engaged in entertaining Molière, whom my valets de chambre do not consider sufficiently good company for them.’ From that time Molière never had occasion to appear at the valets’ table; the whole Court was forward enough to send him invitations.”

Memoires of the Court of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, being the historic memoirs of Mme J L H Campan, First lady-in-waiting to the Queen,  vol 1

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