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THE DECADENCE OF VERSAILLES

real power, while nominally making Orleans the Regent. And strange as it may seem, it is said this will was made at the persistent request of de Maintenon, so viciously hated by the proud de Montespan. But you know she was the teacher of this little Duke, and they are very much attached to each other. Were the Duke of Maine a more vigorous man, there would be no doubt of his success. If 'that little wasp of Sceaux,' as Madame Orleans calls the wife of the Duke of Maine, were the man of the family, she would surely be the Regent. She's a wonderful woman. Madame du Maine hates Bienville because she can not use him in her dealings with Spain. She has duped the Bretons by the promise of an independent provincial government, but Bienville stands true to his King. So they seek by every means to discredit him. You may surmise from this how unfortunately our affairs here are complicated in the affairs of great personages, where lesser men lose their lives at the first breath of suspicion."

After a little I had ample opportunity to observe the man more closely, for he kept his seat to examine at leisure the dispatches I had brought. He was evidently not entirely pleased with this inspection, giving vent at times to low expressions of annoyance.

"Always the same trouble, la Salle and de la Vente, spies in Biloxi—Ah, here is the fine hand of Madame du Maine, currying favor with the Spaniard in aid of her cripple husband. If we could only make this plain to Louis; this stirring up of strife. Fancy a son of de Montespan on the throne of France. Yes, yes, yes,