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Panat Times

Volume 1, redone Dec. 2014


Volume 1


Orest's Pages

Patricia's Musings



Musical Rhetoric

Transcribed Sources


1675: A Guise child dies, and the Infant Jesus becomes one of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's principal subjects

"Ma sœur cria, et mademoiselle de Guise fut fort affligée; mais elle ne se déconcerta pas. M. l'évêque d'Autun étoit là ...." This is the tableau that Mlle de Montpensier (Mlle de Guise's niece and Mme de Guise's half-sister) paints of the moments that followed the death of Mme de Guise's young son, François-Joseph de Lorraine, in March 1675 — which doomed the House of Guise to extinction. The two Guise princesses lamented, but (if one takes Montpensier at her word) Mlle de Guise did not lose her calm: for Gabriel de Roquette, Bishop of Autun, her Tartuffe, was at her side, advising her spiritually and watching out for her — and his — financial interests.

A little lead coffin, and a wooden one that fit inside it, were quickly prepared, as were "des boestes pour mettre le cœur et les entrailles." The child's body was prepared for burial at Montmartre, near his father's body and his maternal grandmother's heart. Mlle de Guise "emmena madame de Guise à Montmartre, où elle fut trois ou quatre semaines. Tout le monde l'alla la voir là." In reality, the grieving princesses remained in seclusion there until summer, refusing categorically to see any outsiders.

The Gazette announced the child's death and provided the public with a few bits of information about the little prince's final hours and his funeral:

François-Joseph de Lorraine, unique héritier, et le dernier de la Maison de Guyse, âgé de quatre ans et six mois, décéda au Palais d'Orléans le 16 du courant, sur le midy. Quelques heures auparavant, on avoit fait les cérémonies de son Baptesme en présence du Curé de S. Sulpice, qui le nomma François Joseph. Le 19, à quatre heures du matin, il fut porté en l'abbaye de Montmartre où Madame de Guyse s'est retirée. Le Roy luy fit l'honneur de l'y visiter & sa Majesté fut reçeüe par Mademoiselle d'Orleans [the daughter of Philippe d'Orléans], qui s'y estoit expres rendüe. Monsieur [Philippe] y avoit esté le 18. La Reyne, & Madame qui estoyent indisposées, luy envoyerent témoigner le part qu'elles prenoyent à son affliction. Tous les princes et les Seigneurs ont esté luy faire leurs complimens de condoleance, sur cette grande perte.1

The sources say nothing about the funeral itself; nor do they suggest that the child's body lay in state for a month, as his father's had. Judging from the protocol for the burial of Louis XIV's five year-old daughter in 1672, the boy's body lay in state for a day, surrounded by chanting priests from the parish Church of Saint-Sulpice; and the next day the body was embalmed and placed in the coffin, and the heart in an inscribed silver box. At six that evening, both coffin and box were covered with an ornate white pall and were then carried to a coach and, followed by coaches bearing mourners and the Guise household officers, processed to the foot of Montmartre hill. At that point the body was removed from the coach, and the pallbearers carried it up the steep path to the abbey, followed by those mourners who were vigorous enough to make the climb. At the abbey church, whose nave had been draped in white hangings decorated with the prince's arms, the abbess (Mademoiselle de Guise's sister), greeted the procession.2

The funeral mass was said either that evening or on one of the days that followed. Was the service conducted in private for the closest members of the family? Or was a pontifical mass celebrated in a packed church? Did music accompany the mass? The sources do not permit a ready answer.

The abbey's ritual does shed some light on the content of this ceremony, which tolled the knell not only of little François-Joseph but of the House of Guise. At the sound of the bell, the nuns assembled and walked to the church "avec leurs grands habits." The priests then advanced, "tous en surplis processionellement à la porte de l'Eglise, avec la Croix et les chandeliers, l'Officiant le dernier revestu d'une Chappe et Estolle Noire." (The "officiant" may well have been Gabriel de Roquette, who had participated in the services sung at Montmartre for Louis-Joseph de Lorraine in 1671 and for Marguerite de Lorraine in 1672.) The officiant approached the coffin, sprinkled it with holy water and recited a Pater Noster and a Requiem. As the procession moved through the church, the nuns began to chant. Once the coffin had been placed before the grill that separated the nuns' choir from the public nave, the officiant began the "grande Messe ou Vigile, selon que se doit faire l'enterrement."3

Either a "high mass" or a "vigil": did Charpentier hastily assemble some of the musicians who had sung the Messe pour les Trépassez (H. 2) in August 1671? Or who had performed the Prose des morts (H. 12), which borrows phrases from the vigil for the dead? Neither option can be ruled out, for the chronology of that week shows that the composer had several free days in which to assemble and rehearse musicians. At the time, he was working on Circé, which had opened on Sunday, March 17, the day after the child's death; the second performance was not given until Tuesday, just a few hours after the probable arrive of the boy's body at Montmartre; and the third performance took place on Friday. His schedule would therefore have permitted the Guise composer to get in touch with the musicians on Saturday afternoon, rehearse them on Monday and direct their performance on either very late Tuesday evening or the following morning. True, the ritual for the abbey suggests that, even for noble children, the funeral took place immediately after the cortege accompanying the coffin reached the church. But if the actual burial mass was delayed for just a day or so — for example, until Wednesday, March 20, or Thursday, March 21 — there would have been no conflict in Charpentier's work schedule, since he was free from the morning of Wednesday, March 20, until the next performance of Circé on Friday, March 22.

The reuse of the Prose des morts appears a distinct possibility, for at the head of his copy of this work, Charpentier noted that a prelude could be found in cahier XVII, which dates from 1674. This prelude apparently went astray prior to the sale of Charpentier's manuscripts to the royal library, for it is not mentioned in the Mémoire drawn up in 1726 (which has incorrectly been attributed to the composer's nephew, Jacques Édouard). Today, cahier XVII contains nothing but the revised version of Le Malade imaginaire of 1674, and cahier XVIII begins with the music for Circé, which was being rehearsed when the little prince died. In other words, the composer had apparently written a prelude for another work in 1674, had copied it into cahier XVII at some point in 1674, and then, in March 1675, reused it for the hastily arranged burial of the little Duke of Alençon.

 The plausibility of this hypothesis is, of course, affected by the fact that Charpentier does not seem to have added the notebook numbers to his growing collection of cahiers until the early 1680s. This raises the possibility that he did not add the allusion to a prelude until six or more years after the child's death. Even so, judging from the fact that the Mémoire of 1726 contains information that is not in Charpentier's manuscripts and that clearly was on a paper sleeve surrounding each notebook, since destroyed, it seems quite probable that the composer scribbled a note to this effect in 1675 one the notebook's sleeve, and added the permanent reference on the notebook itself when numbering the notebooks some years later. Indeed, unless we posit a really quite disturbing hypothesis — that the grief-stricken princesses permitted the last male of the House of Guise to be buried with virtually no ceremony — the only practical solution, in March 1675, for the bereaved and for their extremely busy composer, was to reuse an existing work.

Together, the Mémoire of 1726 and annotations in Charpentier's notebooks suggest that the Guises resolved their problem by keeping the funeral service extremely simple and intimate, and that three of the abbey's talented nuns — or three of the Guise house musicians — performed a hastily composed Languentibus [in purgatorio] à trois voix that Charpentier eventually copied onto the outside sheet (or sheets) of cahier 9 and that were subsequently lost.4 In addition, marginalia added to the Ah! Penis crucior (H. 311 [6]) of 1672 suggest that this work for two treble voices and continuo was reused for little Alençon's funeral. In the margin of folio 31v, Charpentier noted, in an ink that has aged differently than the ink he used in 1672: "après la ritornelle" for two treble instruments and continuo. In other words, I should like to propose that, in the spring of 1675, Charpentier prepared music for a modest service focusing on Purgatory: a Languentibus in purgatorio, plus the lament of the souls in Purgatory, Plaintes des âmes du purgatoire that had been sung for the little prince's father and grandmother. The boy therefore seems to have been buried to the sound of Charpentier's music, performed by the women and instrumentalists of the Hôtel de Guise, and his funeral was conceived as a prayer not only for the soul of a blameless child but for the souls of the Guises and Orléans from whom he sprung.

In May 1675, shortly after her son's death, Mme de Guise singled out another Parisian convent: the Italian community of the Theatine fathers, who had founded the Church of Sainte-Anne-la-Royale in 1650. (I have written about this link to the Theatines in the Bulletin Charpentier, but I will summarize the evidence here from a different perspective.) Her reasons for being attracted to this church are far from clear, but the chapter records suggest that the grieving princess took the initiative and specifically requested the chapel dedicated to the founder of the order, who was known for his devotion to the Infant Jesus. At his birth, St Gaetano of Thiene had been "given" to the Virgin. Then, one Christmas, Christ appeared to him in the form of a newborn child. The Virgin having permitted Gaetano to hold the child, he ecstatically caressed the Infant for a long while. To commemorate this vision, the saint was often portrayed holding the Infant Jesus in his arms. A statue of this sort apparently already graced the saint's chapel at Sainte-Anne in May 1675 when Isabelle d'Orléans made it known to the Theatine fathers that she wished to create ornate frame for the devotional image:

Son Altesse Royalle Mme la Duchesse de Guise ayant témoigné au R.P. Supérieur qu'elle vouloit faire faire quelques ornementz dans la chapelle de St Gaetan et ayant pour cet effet fait donner audit R.P. Superieur dès le 15 may dernier la somme de 80 louis d'or [880 livres] à condition que l'on imiteroit la Chapelle de la Ste Vierge qui est aux Carmes Dechausséz, et ayant faict travailler plusieurs designateurs depuis ce temps là et plusieurs architectes pour en lever le plan et faire le dessein, et chacun nous ayant assuré que pour lad. somme cy dessus on ne pourroit seulement fournir les bois necessaires à cause des recoupes et pentes dudit bois, ainsy ayant faict faire plusieurs autres desseins, et cherchéz tous les bons marchéz que l'on pourroit faire pour cette somme, D. François Jourdon en présenta dernierement un à Son Altesse Royalle et Elle agréa, lequel estoit fait par ordre de Mr Vigarani, [...] lequel sera passé pardevant notaires et sera executé ponctuellement suivant l'intention de S.A. Royalle, qui a donné la somme cy dessus pour faire des ornemens et embellissemens de lad. Chapelle, [... et] le Chapitre n'accepte cette somme que pour concourrir à la devotion de cette grande princesse.5

On July 7 it was therefore agreed that the "maître des théâtres du Roy" who was to do the work should "rendre ledit rétable fait et parfait dans les trois mois [...], Mr Vigarani se portant pour caution."

Brice's description of the chapel at the Carmes déchaussés suggests why Mme de Guise was so eager to put her mark on the chapel of St. Gaetano: she saw a parallel between the famous statue of the Virgin and Child at Saint-Joseph-des-Carmes, and the portrayal of an ecstatic St. Gaetano caressing the Holy Child. This description also permits us to imagine the theatrical décor that Carlo Vigarani and Guillaume Feuillet designed for the princess:

La première [chapelle] à main gauche sous le Dôme ests dédiée à la sainte Vierge, dont il y a une Statuë en marbre blanc, des plus belles que l'on puisse voir, d'un nommé xxx disciple du fameux Cavalier Bernin, qui l'a faite à Rome, d'où elle a esté amenée avec beaucoup de dépence. Il est difficile de rien desirer de plus beau que cette figure, qui represente la sainte Vierge assise, tenant sous [sic] ses genoux son Enfant; qui la caresse & qui la veut embrasser. Tout ce que l'on demande dans une Statuë achevée se trouve en celle-ci; & on la doit considerer commela plus belle piece du Roïaume. La Niche où elle est au dessus de l'Autel, est du dessin du Cavalier Bernin. Elle est ornée de quatre colonnes Corinthiennes de marbre veiné qui forment un corps d'architecture dont l'ordonnance semble représenter l'entrée, ou la portique d'un petit temple.6

The grieving woman's insistence that this chapel be completed with the utmost dispatch is doubtlessly related to her rather obsessive behavior a few months later, when she journeyed to meet her sister, known as Mme de Toscane, who had separated from her Medici husband and was on her way back to Paris. All along the road, whenever Mme de Guise saw a church, she would stop and meditate. Then, as Paris loomed in the distance and the two sisters were expected for lunch at the abbey of Saint-Victor, Mme de Guise again ordered her coachman to stop and left her sister to wait in the coach for the better part of an hour while she prayed in yet another church.7

The year 1675, which brought the death of a little prince in a room all hung in white, saw the birth of two institutions dedicated to the Infant Jesus. The historical evidence I have been able to assemble suggests that the two Guise princesses were the material and spiritual protectors of these institutions. The first was called the "Hôtel de l'Enfant Jésus," and the second soon would be known as the "Institut des écoles charitables du Saint Enfant Jésus." Through a parallel that artists of the time incorporated into their works, placing these establishments in the service of the Infant Jesus honored not only little Alençon but Louis XIV as well, who in his youth had been portrayed as a crowned Infant Jesus. In other words, by dedicating these schools to the Holy Child, the Guise women were dedicating them both to Louis the God-given and to the people over whom he ruled.

On September 20, 1675, a young lawyer named Nicolas Le Jeune de Franqueville purchased a property called the "Clos Galand," which consisted of a house with a carriage entrance "située dans la plaine de Grenelle entre les chemins de Vaugirard et de Sèvres," not far from the convent of Notre-Dame-de-Liesse (named after the marian site that to all intents and purposes "belonged" to the Guise family). The purchase price was 13,000 livres, a sum ostensibly provided by several old friends of the houses of Orléans and of Guise. The project in reality seems to have been a brainchild of Alexandre Le Ragois de Bretonvilliers, curé of Saint-Sulpice. Bretonvilliers was the nephew of Séraphim Le Ragois, who had been the treasurer of both Marguerite de Lorraine (Mme de Guise's mother) and Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse (Mlle de Guise's mother) during the 1645s and 1650s. He was also the brother of Marie Malier (Mme Nicolas de Bailleul), a "friend" of Jean Edouard and Elisabeth Charpentier.8 [Mme Bailleul is discussed in my Musing on the friends of the Edouards]. In short, not only does his position in the Guise household raise the possibility that Marc-Antoine Charpentier may have composed for this establishment, but a long-standing family friendship also linked the composer to this pedagogical venture. This is but one of several instances where the Guise composer probably could not totally distinguish compositions he might well have written on his own initiative from those he wrote to please his protectors.

Said to be the "wealthiest ecclesiastic in France" (each year his annuities alone provided the curate with 40,000 livres to spend on charitable ventures), Bretonvilliers had been put in charge of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice in 1652, when poor health forced Jean Olier, the titulary curé, to pass these responsibilities to a younger and more vigorous man. Like Olier, Bretonvilliers was especially devoted to the Virgin: he would go on pilgrimages to the French Loretto — that is, to the Church of Notre-Dame at Liesse, adjacent to Mlle de Guise's chateau at Marchais. (In this way, Bretonvilliers he modeled himself upon Olier, who had been cured at Loretto and who had experienced a religious conversion there that drove him for the rest of his life.) Bretonvilliers's motto — indeed, the motto of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice — was "Jésus vivant en Maria."9

Of the four men who signed the contract for the purchase of the house on the Grenelle plain in September 1675, only Le Jeune de Franqueville lived in Saint-Sulpice parish. If he was previously connected to one of the Guise women, it was to Mlle de Guise rather than to the royal princess who dwelled in his parish.10 Indeed, the purchase seems at first glance to have nothing to do with Bretonvilliers or Saint-Sulpice. Appearances are, however, misleading. The men who financed the purchase may well have been Bretonvilliers's strawmen. One of the lenders was a certain Cornille François, sieur de Montbayen, the nephew (and doubtlessly the godson) of Cornille Roger, jeweler and guard of the cabinets of Anne of Austria — and, how surprising, an in-law of the Oliers.11 Another of Roger's sisters had married Denis Neret, a draper of the rue Saint-Honoré, who later purchased the office of collector of the tailles. The Pierre Neret who signed the notarial act with Franqueville in 1675 was born to this couple.12 By another strange coincidence, Denis Neret happened to be the grandson of a supporter of the Guises during the League13; and he also happened to be the cousin of two of Gaston d'Orléans's faithful servants, Jacques I and Jacques II Dalibert.14 [I discuss Jacques II in my Musing on Charpentier in Rome.]In other words, Neret was linked to both the Guises and the Orléans. Other sources reveal that, like Le Jeune de Franqueville, the Rogers knew Mlle de Guise.15 In short, not only did Cornille François and Pierre Neret belong to orléanist and guisard circles, they were also related to Jean Olier, the curé of Saint-Sulpice who had left such a profound mark upon the spirituality of his successor, Le Ragois de Bretonvilliers.

In reality, the house on the Grenelle plain apparently was acquired at the instigation of the curé of Saint-Sulpice, although the purchase was conducted in such way that the notaries would be unable to identity the true purchaser. A highly reliable source asserts that it was Alexandre Le Ragois de Bretonvilliers who created the "Académie de l'Enfant-Jésus, sous la conduite de M. Le Jeune de Franqueville" and who, with his own money, "a fait bâtir une maison magnifique et acquis un très grand enclos."16 In the parish of Saint-Sulpice there were already several academies where boys of high social rank could learn to dance, ride and use the sword, but these establishments all emphasized preparation for the courtly life. By contrast, the founders of the Academy of the Enfant Jésus sought to keep their pupils in the "innocence de leur baptême" and "les préserver de la corruption du siècle, en les élevant d'une manière noble et digne de leur naissance."17 The "innocence of their baptism," the "corruption of the century": these expressions are the echo of Marie de Lorraine's words of 1671, when she stated her determination to protect little Alençon, her great-nephew, from the "world."

I would like to propose that Franqueville's academy was created in memory of little François-Joseph de Lorraine, duke of Alençon, who had died just six months earlier. Working closely with Mme de Guise, his most illustrious parishoner, Bretonvilliers (who had come to the Luxembourg to baptize the dying child) was the driving force behind the creation of a school where the "plus belle jeunesse du royaume," some eighty children in all, "fils de ducs et pairs, gouverneurs de provinces et présidens à mortier" could learn "les humanitez, la rhetorique, la philosophie, à écrire, à danser, et tous les autres exercices qui convenoient à des gens de leur qualité et de leur âge."18 The directors of the school had set for themselves a very precise mission: they were preparing France's future. "Cette Académie est comme un Seminaire pour faire de bons Chrétiens dans tous les états," that is, in each of the three estates of the social hierarchy. And so these future servants of the Crown studied German and Latin and were being prepared to one day "succéder à leurs pères dans leurs biens et dans leurs charges."19

The boys who boarded at the school were automatically enrolled in a confraternity devoted to the Infant Jesus and that assembled regularly in the school chapel:

Tous les dimanches ils chantoient ensemble l'office de l'Enfant Jésus et un écclesiastique de Saint- Sulpice alloient leur faire le catéchisme. Tous les 25 de chaque mois, il y avait deux qui se relevoient toute la nuit en adoration devant l'Image de l'Enfant Dieu, dans la confrérie duquel ils étoient tous enrôlez et avoient chacun leur employ.20

In other words, the children were being raised "dans une si grande dévotion pour l'Enfant Jésus" that they commemorated the birth of Christ each month: "Ils sont en adoration devant le berceau de l'Enfant-Dieu, deux à deux, depuis minuit jusques au jour, se confessent, communient et chantent l'office de l'Enfant Jésus."21

These brief allusions to the office that the boys sang each month leave no doubt that the school was part of a devotional movement that was dear to the heart of Chancellor Pierre Séguier and in which he participated actively, with his wife and his daughter, the Duchess of Sully.22 Viewing themselves as humble "domestics of Jesus the Holy Child," the schoolboys sang the office devised by the Carmelites of Beaune (the second edition of the office, published in 1683, was dedicated to Mme Séguier)23 which used a fifteen-bead rosary. This confraternity may also have been connected to the "confrérie du Saint Enfant Jésus et de l'esclavage de la très Sainte Vierge" that had been created at Saint-Sulpice in 1663 and to which Mme de Guise can be presumed to have belonged.

As "domestics" of the Christ Child, the directors of the Hôtel de l'Enfant Jésus were obliged to create a chapel consacrated to Him: a "lieu particulier en leurs maisons, en forme de chapelle, où serait un tableau en l'état de son enfance."25 This "special place" often was a manger scene, sometimes set up in a wardrobe cabinet, sometimes in a chapel. And indeed, the eye-witness description of the services held in the chapel of the Academy, just quoted, refers not only an "image de l'Enfant-Dieu" but to an actual "cradle," that is, a crêche. Two notarial documents provide further details about this "grande chapelle pavée de dalles de pierre" and "plafoné à l'italienne." There was a "grand tableau représentant l'Enfant Jésus"26 that, since it is not called a "Nativity," can be presumed to have portrayed the swaddled Child surrounded by angels and clouds. Although these documents make no mention of a crêche that was either kept on permanent display or set up just prior to the twenty-fifth of each month, it appears that the schoolboys did in fact conduct their vigils beside a "cradle" of this sort, under a painted representation of the serious and wise Child who never fell prey to the follies of the "world."27

The decoration of the school chapel fits into a larger framework, the so-called "cult" of the Infant Jesus. In the church of the Carmel of Beaune, the faithful could come at any time of year and seek inspiration as they contemplated a Neapolitan-style manger scene, with life-size statues. Like the boys of the rue de Sèvres, the nuns of Beaune were members of a confraternity and recited the litany of the Enfant Jésus each day. Once a month they would go in procession to the "hermitage of the Infant Jesus," wearing their dress mantles and bearing candles.28 In the capital, the Parisians could admire a similar crêche at the Hospital of the Pity — albeit only at Christmastide, for after Twelfth Night the tableau became a "naïve représentation du ménage de la Ste Vierge, consistant particulièrement en figure de cire, lesquelles représentent S. Joseph, la Vierge & le petit Jésus qui travaillent."29 Mlle de Guise's apartment at the Hôtel de Guise boasted a similar scene. She owned a model of the Casa Santa of Loretto (to which she had made a pilgrimage during her exile in Italy in the 1640s). The little house made of exotic woods and was trimmed with gold and jewels. As she contemplated this devotional dollhouse, she could see the Virgin making soup in a "marmite d'or émaillé" or spinning with her "rouet à filer avec sa quenouille [...] orné d'or émaillé et de petitz diamans et rubis." She could meditate as she contemplated a "Saint Joseph qui travaille [...] devant son estably de menuisier [...] avec ses outils, orné d'or et de petitz diamans et rubis" and an "Enfant Jésus tenant un balet [balais]."30

Indeed, Mlle de Guise felt a particular veneration for the Christ Child. While Le Jeune de Franqueville was acquiring the Hôtel de l'Enfant Jésus, she too was focusing on the Infant Jesus. Doubtlessly motivated by rivalry with Mme de Guise as well as by sincere devotion, she was establishing a pedagogical institute that was dedicated to the Enfant Jésus. The aims of this institute were, however, quite different from those of the academy on the rue de Sèvres. Emphasizing the poverty and the humiliation that the Child accepted in becoming man — and therefore focusing on the poor and deprived children of the realm who, despite outward appearances, were a "cachette de Dieu" — Mlle de Guise had decided to create a teachers' training school that would prepare school-masters and school-mistresses who would either work in the poorest sections of the cities or go out into the countryside, where most children were being raised in the most profound ignorance and were not even taught the catechism. The sources reveal that, circa 1675, Bishop Gabriel de Roquette of Autun was extremely concerned about about these children — and about the shortcomings of rural teachers. Wherever he went in his diocese, he observed how few male and female teachers there were whose morality was unquestioned and who were, at the same time, well-versed in the rudiments of spelling and arithmetic.(31) Perhaps the prelate known as "Mlle de Guise's Tartuffe" should be credited with the idea of creating the normal school.

Since Marie de Lorraine had sentimental and political ties to the Norman city of Rouen, the archbishopric once held by her maternal great-uncle, Cardinal de Joyeuse, she apparently had been following from afar the work of a Minim. For some ten years, Father Nicolas Barré, an old friend of Olier of Saint-Sulpice, had been preparing respectable bourgeois girls from Rouen to be school-mistresses. It was, however, no easy task to convince Father Barré to settle in the capital, for during an earlier stay in Paris, the fogs of the river basin had caused irreparable damage to his health. Mlle de Guise therefore turned to Mme de Guise To make sure of Barré's orthodoxy, she also sought advice from various ecclesiastics (Roquette of Autun, no doubt, as well as some of the clercis at the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice) and from the "communauté des gentilshommes" of the parish (who included Marie Talon-Voisin's brother, Denis Talon, a member of the charity committee of Saint-Sulpice). These were days when the slightest tinge of Jansenism could kill this sort of project, as it had the Enfance of Toulouse, a normal school that Louis XIV ordered suppressed in 1662 for heresy.32 Since Barré bore the same family name as the notoriously Jansenist curé of Saint-Merry, and since M. Du Bois ( Mlle de Guise's pillar of strength and her impresario and musical director) was a close friend of "Messieurs of Port Royal," it was absolutely essential to make the sure that the Minim's religious beliefs were orthodox.

Barré's superior forced the Minim to journey to the capital in the fall of 1675. "Disposé à se présenter devant la princesse avec le respect dû à son rang," Barré went to the "palais" of this "Altesse Royale," where he had a long conversation, first with Mme de Guise and a number of gentlemen, and then with some clerics. From start to finish, the scenario smacks of a pre-arranged testing of Father Barré:

Une des princesses du sang royal le fit venir, dans le dessein d'éprouver sa docrine et de le tenter, en lui proposant plusieurs difficultés sur la vie spirituelle et mystique. [...] Dès qu'il fut entré dans le Palais, il fut introduit devant la noble Princesse qui, comme autrefois la Reine de Saba à Salomon, lui confia tout ce qu'elle avoit à cœur d'éclaircir; le père Barré satisfit à toutes ses questions, rien n'échappa à sa pénétration et ne demeura sans réponse. Toutefois, il ne plut pas à tous, à ces hommes qui n'aiment que les paroles recherchées et emphatiques, et qui préferent aux sages discours les harangues pompeuses et séduisantes. [...] Sa conduite fut pourtant approuvée des hommes sages. [...] Plusieurs des Réguliers et des Ecclesiastiques qui entouraient la Princesse, voyant en quel honneur était ce Religieux auprès d'elle, et combien elle se plaisait à le consulter sur les sujets théologiques, demandèrent à le voir, à assister aux entretiens, et avec l'agrément de la Princesse, à poser des questions [...]. L'auguste Princesse ayant consenti à leurs désirs, les admit aux entretiens.33

Having given his word to the "princess of royal blood," Barré did not withdraw it when he learned that he was in reality going to collaborate with the other Guise princess. By October 1675, the new institute had opened its doors in Mlle de Guise's parish: "On y a envoyé deus [filles] dans la paroisse St Jean [en Grève], elles y ont eu la protection de M. le Curé et de S.A. Mlle de Guise," read the archives of the institute.34 It was not long before Mlle de Guise could send these teachers to Guise and eventually to her other properties: Liesse, Remigny, Eclaron, Le Nouvion and Ancerville. The project also received the guidance of a more experienced group of educators, the "Filles de sainte Geneviève" whom Mme de Guise's dear friend, Mme de Miramion (Have you seen my Fugitive Piece on one of Miramion's schools?), had created some years earlier, with the cooperation of the Seminary of Saint-Nicolas-du- Chardonnet. Indeed, Mme de Miramon and Mlle de Guise are said to have vowed to merge their efforts, should one of the teaching groups encounter financial or administrative problems. That this tale is more than legend seems confirmed by three acts that Mlle de Guise signed in December 1676, the first for a six-month loan that would permit her to repay the 16,000 livres owed to the Seminary by her late brother's estate, the second a recipit for that sum signed by the Seminary, and the third a declaration by Miramion that the rente that  Mlle de Guise had created for her with 10,000 livres actually belonged to the priests at the Seminary, "lesquels ont fourny de leurs deniers les 10,000 lt payez à Mlle de Guise pour le prix de ladite constitution" in Miramion's name.(35) In other words, Mlle de Guise paid the Seminary the 16,000 livres owed by her late brother, but most of this sum was (in Mlle de Guise's name) promptly converted into annuity of 500 livres a year in Miramion's name (on 10,000 of those livres). It was, of course, the Seminary who had actually forked out the 10,000 livres; so Miramion planned to pay them the 500 livres that were supposed to go to her each year...... If you haven't followed  the meanderings of that monetary exchange, you aren't the only one !  It is typical of thow the Barré organization functioned: it would conceal the ownership and the sponsorship of schools, behind just this sort of confusing exchanges of capital. Indeed, the various acts I unearthed for Franqueville's academy are just as confusing as the Miramion-Guise acts.

In sum, the tragedy that had plunged the Hôtel de Guise and the Luxembourg Palace into mourning in March 1675 brought an abrupt about-face in the preoccupations of Mlle de Guise and Mme de Guise. They turned their sorrowing eyes to the Child and his Mother. Convinced that they had nothing to live for, they looked to Them for consolation and for a new meaning to existence. They prayed, they meditated — and they decided that they could best serve the Christ Child by promoting childhood education. It therefore comes as no surprise that although Charpentier copied virtually no music devoted to the Christ Child into his notebooks prior to mid- 1675, with the year of Grace 1676, he began to compose (and copy into the "French" notebooks that contained Guise commissions) a considerable number of works destined for the high feast days of the Infant Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. Nor does it come as a surprise that on the walls of Mlle de Guise's music room hung two paintings of the Virgin, plus Nocret's depiction of the "Enfant Jésus."36 Under the watchful gazes of the Mother and the Child, every sound that Mlle de Guise's musicians made, be it religious, be it secular, became a prayer ascending.


Post Scriptum: These materials that center on the Infant Jesus have been excerpted from the draft of a chapter on what was going on in the Guise world in 1675. Now that I have decided to provide my explanation of the sources, I am putting the remaining evidence about 1675 (primarily dealing with Mme de Toscane's arrival in Paris and the sudden focus on "oratorios") in another Musing: "Toscane and Oratorios."


1. Gazette, 1675, p. 195. See also the Gazeta de Amsterdam, March 22, 1675 (Library of the University of Amsterdam, Rosenthaliana, 19 C 10), which asserts that the dead child's grandmother, the Duchess of Angoulême, withdrew to Montmartre with Mme de Guise.

2. Based on B.N., ms. fr. 23322, p. 34, preserved by Gaignières.

3. Rituel monastique pour l'abbaye royale de Montmartre (Paris, 1664), pp. 318-327.

4. H.W. Hitchcock, "Mémoire," p. 13.

5. A.N., LL 1587, fol. 10, Deliberation dated July 7, 1675. John Burke, "Sacred Music à Notre Dame des Victoires, Recherches 20 (1981):19, confuses Marie de Lorraine  (Mlle de Guise) with Isabelle d'Orléans (Mme de Guise).

6. Germain Brice, Description nouvelle de ce qu'il y a de plus remarquable dans la Ville de Paris (Paris: Le Gros, 1684) 1:166.

7. Archivio di Stato, Florence, Med. del Prin., 4819, "Diversi," narration of Toscane's return to France.

8. B.N., ms., D.B., 554, "Ragois," fol. 2.B.N., ms., D.B., 554, "Ragois," fol. 2.

9. On Bretonvilliers, see Yves Poutet, Le XVIIe Siècle et les origines lasalliennes (Rennes, 1970), pp. 317 ff.

10. On June 3, 1670, Le Jeune signed an obligation to a certain Noël Lefevre, bourgeois de Paris, A.N., M.C., XCI, 369. Only a few months later, Mlle de Guise paid Lefevre 1500 livres because Charles de Fioravanti had ceded to him part of the money the princess had promised to pay him subsequent to his dismissal as Mme de Guise's secretary, XCI, 374, March 20, 1671.

11. On May 7, 1634, his close relative, Marie Roger, married François Olier, the curé's brother, A.N., M.C., XXIV, 340, fol. 601. See also B.N., ms., D.B., 576, "Roger," fol. 6.

12. A.N., M.C., CXII, 371, constitution, September 20, 1675.

13. Robert Descimon, Qui étaient les Seize?, pp. 195-96.

14. Denis Neret's mother was Marie Lescuyer. Her sister Nicole was the mother of Jean Boulanger, who married Marie Dalibert in 1647, in the presence of her brother, Jacques II and of a Neret, B.N., ms., D.B., 485, "Neret," fol. 3; A.N., M.C., XX, 265, October 1, 1647.

15. In 1658, François Roger (Pierre's father) loaned Mlle de Guise 12,000 livres, A.N., M.C., CX, 136, constitution, May 22, 1658.

16. Joseph Grandet, Mémoires: Histoire du Séminaire d'Angers, ed. G.Letourneaux (Paris, 1893), II, p. 296. This statement is slightly inaccurate. The school used the existing building and eventually enlarged it, but this expansion did not occur until some years after Bretonvilliers's death.

17. Joseph Grandet, Les Saints prêtres français, ed. G. Letourneaux (Angers, 1897), II, p. 297.

18. Grandet, Histoire, II, p. 296.

19. Grandet, Histoire, II, p. 560. See also the methods published by Nicolas Le Jeune de Franqueville, Le Miroir de l'Art et de la Nature (Paris, 1691), which teaches German and Latin by means of small, trilingual engraved illustrations; and La Grammaire abrégée et méthodique (Paris, 1686), a Latin grammar that went through at least five printings. I have proposed elsewhere (my article in Recherches) that the Guise musician Loulié wrote some of his musical teaching methods for this school.

20. Grandet, Les Saints prêtres, II, p. 297.

21. Grandet, Histoire, II, pp. 559-60.

22. Leskoutoff, La Sainte et la Fée, pp. 49, 52. A reminder: Charpentier's cousin, Sevin, had been "given" to Mme Sully to take care of her business affairs.

23. Denis Amelote, Le Petit Office du Saint Enfant Jésus, by Sœur Marguerite du Saint-Sacrement, Carmelite of Beaune (Paris, 1683).

24. Simon de Doncourt, Remarques historiques sur l'Eglise et la Paroisse de Saint-Sulpice (Paris, 1773), p. 102. The confraternity intially met at Notre-Dame-de-Liesse, the closest neighbor to the house that became the Academy of the Enfant Jésus.

25. Leskoutoff, La Sainte et la Fée, p. 55, who quotes Parisot

26. A.N., Y 2802, licitation and adjudication, March 29, 1732. According to the inventory drawn up on August 31, 1720, A.N., M.C., VIII, 937, there were two paintings of Jesus in the chapel: "un grand tableau représentant notre seigneur dans le temple, au milieu des docteurs" (clearly put there to inspire the boys to study), and "un autre tableau [..] représentant notre seigneur" (probably in the form of an "Enfant Jésus," that is to say, an infant-king surrounded by angels and nimbuses).

27. For this serious child, see Leskoutoff, La Sainte et la Fée, pp. 35-36.

28. G. Thiriot, "Les Carmélites de Metz," Mémoires de l'Académie nationale de Metz (1925), pp. 102 ff.

29. L'Almanach du Palais, bound with Louis de Bailleul's journal, Arsenal, 8o S 13762.

30. A.N., R4* 1056, item 876, quoted in Langlois, Hôtel de Guise, and in Jules Guiffrey, "Inventaire des meubles précieux...," Nouvelles Archives de l'art français, 3e série, 13 (1896):230. The 1660s and 1670s saw a great vogue for dollhouses, albeit usually representing laymen's homes. See for example the house created by/for a wealthy Amsterdam woman, Jet Pijzel-Dommisse, Poppenhuis van Petronella de la Court (Utrecht: Veen/Reflex, 1987). On the walls of this house, which was considered so precious that its contents were itemized in the owner's death inventory, hung the portraits of the French Royal family and of Mazarin, circa 1664.

31. See Anatole de Charmasse, Etat de l'instruction primaire dans l'ancien diocèse d'Autun (Paris, 1873), pp. 27-109.

32. To learn more about this suspect but highly effective school, Dr. Vallant acquired a copy of the "Mémoire touchant les filles establies à Toulouse," B.N., ms. fr. 17049, fols. 88-90.

33. René Thuillier, Vie et Éloge du T.R.P. Nicolas Barré, written circa 1700 and translated from the original Latin by Julien Loth, B.N., 8o Ln27 58254, pp. 22-25.

34. Sacra congregatio pro causis sanctorum officium historicum, 8, Parisien. Beatificationis et canonizationis servi dei Nicolai Barré (Rome, 1970), B.N., Fo H 234; (8), doc. VII, p. 132, and doc. IX, which states that the institute opened its doors in "October 1675-January 1676." On Barré and the "filles de l'Enfant Jésus," see also Farcy, Institut des Sœurs du Saint Enfant Jésus dites de la Providence de Rouen (Rouen, 1939), and Le Révérend Père Barré (Paris, 1942); Charles Cordonnier, Le R.P. Nicolas Barré (Paris, 1938); Nicolas Barré (and Montigny-Servien), Maximes Spirituelles (Paris, 1694) and Statuts et Règlements des Escoles chrestiennes et charitables du S. Enfant Jésus (Paris, 1685); A.N., S 7045, S 7048-7050 and M 57, the archives of the institute; and Poutet, Les origines lasalliennes.

35. A.N., M.C., XCIX, 270, obligation of December 10, 1676, quittance of December 11 and déclaration of September 12.

36. The inventory of this room made in 1688 refers to a Virgin by Corneille, a "Descent from the Cross" and the "Enfant Jésus of Nocret," A.N., R 4* 1056, numbers 658 to 662.