The French Revolution Tested by Mirabeau's Career: Twelve Lectures on the History of the French Revolution, Delivered at the Lowell Institute, Boston, Mass. - Vol. 1

By H. Von Holst | Go to book overview

LECTURE III.
Mending the Old Garment with New Cloth.

LOUIS XV. proved himself not only a monstrous cynic, but also a keen observer and sound reasoner, when he uttered that word, which would alone secure unenviable immortality to his memory," Après nous le déluge!"1 He risked nothing in leering with contemptuous unconcern at the lowering clouds, but when he died it was proposed to bestow upon his young heir the surname "le désiré," the longed-for. By sheer force of habit the loyal attachment to the Bourbons was still so strong that the successor of Louis XIV. "le Roi-Soleil," could defile the purple to any ex-

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1
The phrase is perhaps more correctly attributed to Mme. Pompadour, if, indeed, either of them is the author of it. But though it be apocryphal, it characterizes Louis XV.'s way of feeling, thinking and acting as correctly as the L'Etat c'est moi that of Louis XIV. The other phrase attributed to him: Cela durera autant que nous, is probably more authentic, and it amounts to pretty much the same thing.

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