The Secret of Kings: A Monograph

“‘The Queen will permit me to have a weakness common to many persons. I never like to tell my age; that brings misfortune.’

“‘As for me, the Royal Almanac does not allow of any illusion about my own. Farewell, Monsieur; the pleasure of the King shall be communicated to you.’

“This was a dismissal; we retired, and in returning home with me M. de Saint-Germain said to me:–

“‘I too am about to leave you, Madame, and for a long time, for I do not propose to remain more than four days in France.’

“‘What is it that makes you decide to start so quickly?’

“‘The Queen will repeat to the King what I have said to her, Louis XVI. will tell it again in his turn to M. de Maurepas, this Minister will draw up a warrant (lettre de cachet) against me, and the head of the police will have orders to put it into execution. I know how these things are done, and I have no desire to go to the Bastille.’

“‘What would it matter to you? You would get out through the key-hole.’

“‘I prefer not to need recourse to a miracle. Farewell, Madame.’

“‘But if the King should summon you?’

[p. 69]

“‘I will return.’

“‘How shall you know it?’

“‘I have the means of doing so: do not trouble yourself on that point.’

“‘Meanwhile, I shall be compromised!’

“‘Not so; farewell.’

“He departed, as soon as he had taken off my livery. I remained greatly troubled. I had told the Queen that in order to be the better able to carry out her wishes, I would not leave the chateau. . . . Two hours after, Madame de Misery came to seek me on behalf of her Majesty. I augured no good from this eagerness. I found the King with Marie-Antoinette. She appeared to me embarrassed; Louis XVI., on the contrary, came up to me in a frank way, and took my hand, which he kissed with infinite grace, for he had charming manners when he pleased.

“‘Madame d’Adhemar,’ he said to me, ‘what have you done with your wizard?’

“‘The Comte de Saint-Germain, Sire? He has started for Paris.’

“‘He has seriously alarmed the Queen. Had he previously spoken in the same way to you?”

“‘Not with so many details.’

“‘I bear no ill-will to you for it, nor does the Queen either, for your intentions are good; but I blame the stranger for daring to foretell reverses to us which all the four quarters of the globe

[p. 70]

could not offer in the course of a century. Above all, he is wrong in concealing himself from the Comte de Maurepas, who would know how to lay aside his personal enmities if it were necessary to sacrifice them to the interests of the monarchy. I shall speak to him on the subject, and if he advises me to see Saint-Germain, I shall not refuse to do so. He is credited with intellect and ability; my grandfather liked his society; but before granting him a conference, I wished to reassure you as to the possible consequences of the fresh appearance of this mysterious personage. Whatever may happen, you will be held clear.’

“My eyes filled with tears at this striking proof of the kindness of their Majesties, for the Queen spoke to me as affectionately as did the King. I returned calmer, but vexed, nevertheless, at the turn that this affair had taken, and I inwardly congratulated myself that M. de Saint-Germain had foreseen all.

“Two hours later, I was still in my room, absorbed in my own thoughts, when there was a knock at the door of my modest dwelling. I heard an unusual commotion, and almost immediately the two folding doors opened, and Monseigneur le Comte de Maurepas was announced. I rose to receive him with rather more briskness than if it had been the King of France. He came forward with a smiling countenance.

[p. 71]

“‘Pardon me, Madame,’ he said, ‘for the unceremoniousness of my visit; but I have some enquiries to make of you, and politeness required that I should come to seek you.’

“The courtiers of this period showed an exquisite politeness to women, which was no longer to be found in its purity after the storm which overturned everything. I replied, as I was bound to do, to M. de Maurepas, and these preliminaries over:–

“‘Well!’ he resumed, ‘our old friend the Comte de Saint-Germain has returned? . . . He is already at his old tricks, and has recommenced his jugglery.’

“I was about to exclaim; but stopping me with a gesture of entreaty:–

“‘Believe me,’ he added, ‘I know the rogue better than you do, Madame. One thing only surprises me; the years have not spared me, and the Queen declares that the Comte de Saint-Germain presented the appearance of a man of forty. However that may be, we must know whence he has gained this information, so circumstantial, so alarming. . . . He did not give you his address, I will warrant?’

“‘No, Monsieur le Comte.’

“‘It will be discovered, our police hounds have a keen scent. . . . Further . . . the King thanks you for your zeal. Nothing grievous will befall

[p. 72] [paragraph continues] Saint-Germain, except the being shut up in the Bastille, where he will be well fed, well warmed, until he condescends to tell us where he has got at so many curious things.’

“At this moment our attention was diverted by the noise made by the opening of the door of my room. . . . It was the Comte de Saint-Germain who entered! A cry escaped me, while M. de Maurepas hurriedly rose, and I must say that his countenance changed a little. The thaumaturgist, approaching him, said:–

“‘M. le Comte de Maurepas, the King summoned you to give him good advice, and you think only of maintaining your own authority. In opposing yourself to my seeing the Monarch, you are losing the monarchy, for I have but a limited time to give to France and, this time over, I shall not be seen here again until after three consecutive generations have gone down to the grave. I told the Queen all that I was permitted to tell her; my revelations to the King would have been more complete; it is unfortunate that you should have intervened between His Majesty and me. I shall have nothing to reproach myself with when horrible anarchy devastates all France. As to these calamities, you will not see them, but to have prepared them will be sufficient memorial of you. . . . Expect no homage from posterity, frivolous and incapable Minister! You will be

[p. 73]

ranked among those who cause the ruin of empires.’

“M. de Saint-Germain, having spoken thus without taking breath, turned towards the door again, shut it, and disappeared” [*1].


* *

All efforts to find the Count failed!


^53:1 Since this was written I have been able to get this work; and the present Comtesse d’Adhemar informed me that there are documents concerning the Comte de St. Germain in their family papers.

Madame H. P. Blavatsky was visiting the family and stayed at the Chateau d’Adhemar in 1884. This was one of the numerous aristocratic families which were ruined in the Revolution. The present Comtesse d’Adhemar is an American; the documents are in America.

^55:1 ADHEMAR, op. cit., vol. I, p. 294.

^73:1 ADHEMAR, Op. cit., ii., pp. 52-72.

The Comte de St. Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, [1912], at

[p. 74]



THE most deeply interesting of all the incidents recorded in this diary of Madame d’Adhemar are those which show how M. de St.–Germain strove to warn the Royal Family of the evils which were overshadowing it. He had evidently watched over the unfortunate young Queen from the time of her entry into France. He was the “mysterious adviser” of whom mention is frequently made.

He it was who strove to make the King and Queen understand that M. de Maurepas and their other advisers were wrecking their kingdom. The friend of Royalty, he was yet the one most accused by the Abbe Barruel of leading the Revolution. “Time proves all,” and time has allowed the accuser to sink into a well-deserved oblivion, while the accused stands out as true friend and true prophet. Let the voice of the dead woman bear its own witness:–

“The future was darkening; we were nearing the terrible catastrophe which was about to overwhelm France. The abyss was at our feet; yet averting our heads, struck with a fatal blindness,

[p. 75]

we hurried from fete to fete, from pleasure to pleasure. It was like a kind of frenzy which thrust us gaily on to our destruction. Alas! how can a storm be controlled when one sees it not?

“Meanwhile, from time to time, some troubled or observant minds tried to snatch us from this fatal security. I have already said that the Comte de St.–Germain had tried to unseal the eyes of Their Majesties, by making them perceive the approach of danger; but M. de Maurepas, not wishing the salvation of the country to come from any one but himself, ousted the thaumaturgist, and he re-appeared no more.” [*1]

The date at which these events were taking place was 1788; the final crash, however, did not culminate until 1793. Madame d’Adhemar is reviewing events and does not in every case put the exact date. The attacks upon the King and Throne were increasing in violence and bitterness year by year, owing to the fatal blindness already alluded to by our writer. The frivolity of the Court increased pari passu with the hatred of its enemies. The unfortunate Queen, indeed, did make efforts to understand the condition of affairs, but in vain. Madame d’Adhemar gives some of the details as follows:

“I cannot refrain from copying here, in order

[p. 76]

to give an idea of these sad debates [in the National Assembly], a letter written by M. de Sallier, parliamentary adviser to the Chambres de Requetes, and addressed to one of his friends, a member of the parliament at Toulouse. . . . This account was spread abroad and read with avidity; many copies of it were circulated in Paris. Before the original reached Toulouse, it was spoken of in the drawing-room of the Duchesse de Polignac.

“The Queen, turning to me, asked me if I had read it, and requested me to procure it for her. This request caused me real embarrassment; I wished to obey Her Majesty, and at the same time I feared to displease the ruling Minister; however my attachment to the Queen prevailed.

“Marie-Antoinette read the article in my presence, and then sighing, ‘Ah! Madame d’Adhemar,’ she said, ‘how painful all these attacks on the authority of the King are to me! We are walking on dangerous ground; I begin to believe that your Comte de St.–Germain was right. We were wrong not to listen to him, but M. de Maurepas imposed a skilful and despotic dictatorship upon us. To what are we coming? [*1]

“. . . The Queen sent for me, and I hastened to her sacred order. She held a letter in her

[p. 77]

hand. ‘Madame d’Adhemar,’ she said, ‘here is another missive from my unknown. Have you not heard people talking again of the Comte de St.–Germain?’

“‘No,’ I replied; ‘I have not seen him, and nothing has reached me from him.’

“‘This time,’ added the Queen, ‘the oracle has used the language which becomes him, the epistle is in verse; it may be bad, but it is not very cheering. You shall read it at your leisure, for I have promised an audience to the Abbe de Ballivieres. I wish that my friends could live on good terms!’

“‘Especially,’ I ventured to add, ‘as their enemies triumph in their quarrels.’

“‘The unknown says the same as you do; but who is wrong or right?’

“‘The Queen may satisfy both parties by means of the first two vacant Bishoprics.’

“‘You are mistaken; the King will give the episcopal mitre neither to the Abbe d’Erse nor to the Abbe de Ballivieres. The protectors of these gentlemen and our Abbe will believe that the ill-will is on my side; you might, since you are compared to the heroes of Ariosto (the speech of the Baroness de Stael had occurred to the Queen), play the part of peace-maker of the good King Sobrir; behold the Countess Diana, make her listen to reason.’

[p. 78]

“‘I will talk reason to her,’ said I, trying to laugh in order to dispel the melancholy of the Queen.

“‘Diana is a spoilt child,’ replied Her Majesty, ‘however, she loves her friends.’

“‘Yes, Madam, even to showing herself implacable to their enemies! I will obey the Queen.’

“They came to inform Marie-Antoinette that the Abbe de Ballivieres had arrived according to her command. I passed into the small closet, where having asked Madame Campan for pen, ink, and paper, I copied the following passage, obscure then, but which afterwards became only too clear.

“‘The time is fast approaching when imprudent France,

Surrounded by misfortune she might have spared herself,

Will call to mind such hell as Dante painted.

This day, O Queen! is near, no more can doubt remain,

A hydra vile and cowardly, with his enormous horns

Will carry off the altar, throne, and Themis;

In place of common sense, madness incredible

Will reign, and all be lawful to the wicked.

Yea! Falling shall we see sceptre, censer, scales,

Towers and escutcheons, even the white flag:

Henceforth will all be fraud, murders and violence,

Which we shall find instead of sweet repose.

Great streams of blood are flowing in each town;

Sobs only do I hear, and exiles see!

On all sides civil discord loudly roars,

And uttering cries on all sides virtue flees,

As from the assembly votes of death arise.

Great God! who can reply to murderous judges?

And on what brows august I see the sword descend! [p. 79]

What monsters treated as the peers of heroes!

Oppressors, oppressed, victors, vanquished . . .

The storm reaches you all in turn, in this common wreck,

What crimes, what evils, what appalling guilt,

Menace the subjects, as the potentates!

And more than one usurper triumphs in command,

More than one heart misled is humbled and repents.

At last, closing the abyss and born from a black tomb

There rises a young lily, more happy, and more fair.’

“These prophetic verses, written by a pen we already knew, astonished me. I racked my brains to guess their meaning; for how could I believe that it was their simplest meaning that I ought to give them! How imagine, for instance, that it was the King and Queen who would die a violent death, and as the result of iniquitous sentences? We could not, in 1788, have such clear sight; it was an impossibility.

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Methinks I am a conspiracy theorist. Art thou? Thou block, thou stone, thou worse than senseless thing, for whilst thou slept didst this become a badge of honor. Informed dissent shall always prevail, wherefore art thou worthy, or art thou this unwholesome fool in the group conformity experiment herein?

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