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Volume 1, redone Dec. 2014


Volume 1


Orest's Pages

Patricia's Musings



Musical Rhetoric

Transcribed Sources


The "Regular" Life of Two Devout Princesses

This long Musing is divided into sections:

The regular life
A "regular" day
Guise devotion, Charpentier's notebooks
Some Guise chapels (Liesse, the Mercy ...
Five tables showing services at the Mercy
More Guise chapels ...

 and it is complemented by excerpts presented in a Fugitive Piece entitled: Guise Funeral Oration, which summarizes her life and devotion.

What follows is my summary of the materials I assembled about 7 years ago, in order to deepen my understanding of the constraints under which Marc-Antoine Charpentier worked during the 1670s and 1680s — and more specifically, after the death of the little Duke of Alençon in March 1675. 

My approach for this projected chapter was the following:  First of all, I thought I had discerned, in the composer's "French" notebooks, a pattern of works honoring the Virgin and the Infant Jesus — generally written for the same small ensemble. So I began to read devotional handbooks in order to reconstruct the daily devotional activities of a typical devout woman, asking myself: "What role does the cult of the Virgin and of the Child play in their devotion?" Next I compared this evidence with descriptions of the devotional activities of several contemporary Highnesses, to see whether our princesses observed a similar devotion regimen. After that, I went through the materials I had accumulated about Marie de Lorraine  ("Mlle de Guise") and Elisabeth / Isabelle d'Orléans ("Mme de Guise"), looking for evidence about Their Highnesses' private and/or public devotion. Finally, I synthesized all these materials into the following tableau of the "regular" life of a devout seventeenth-century woman.

I cannot emphasize too strongly that this tableau focuses on the typicality of the two princesses' devotion. As such, it casts light on Charpentier's production during the Guise years. But this same tableau is intended as a point of departure for any atypicality  that may mark their devotions, as seen in Charpentier's "French" notebooks. I plan to present some of these atypicalities in future Musing

The "Regular" Life of Two Devout Princesses

After the death of the little Duke of Alençon — the last male of the House of Guise —  in the spring of 1675, Marie de Lorraine and Isabelle d'Orléans sought other outlets for their energy. Above all, they sought to understand why God had taken the child, why He was ringing the curtain down on the House of Guise. Since both princesses had been raised in extremely devout milieux, each in her own way turned increasingly toward religion.

Mlle de Guise had already begun to turn her back on the "world" after the death of her nephew (little Alençon's father) in July 1672. After March 1675, this break became almost complete. Of course, no princess of her rank could refuse to entertain guests in a manner befitting their position in the social hierarchy, so sixty year-old Marie de Lorraine kept the Hôtel de Guise ready for receptions. Indeed, she continued to do so until shortly before her death, when she ordered the felt replaced on the billiard table in her antechamber! Despite seeing to such worldly obligations, she lived the "regular" life of a would-be Capucine nun, as her mother had done before her; and, in her will she would express her desire to be buried in the habit of that order, as her mother had been.

Mme de Guise, by contrast, was still a young woman when her only son died. As a petite-fille de France, she could not renounce the courtier's life without royal permission, and that permission never came. For almost a decade Isabelle d'Orléans therefore moved back and forth between Paris, Alençon and the palaces of her first cousin the King. Becoming closer to Queen Marie-Thérèse with each passing season at court, Isabelle d'Orléans emulated her devout friend:

Notre princesse [Isabelle] s'attacha à [la reine] et lui fut plus étroitement unie par les liens de la vertu que par ceux du sang, elle admira la simplicité de ses moeurs, la vivacité de sa foy, l'étenduë de son zele, elle étudia ses sentimens, elle se forma sur sa conduite. Si la Reine faisoit quelque partie de devotion, la Princesse y étoit appellée, & partageoit avec elle l'execution & le merite de ses bonnes oeuvres. [...] Therese alloit aux prés des Autels [...] Elisabeth offroit à son exemple tout l'éclat qui en rejalissoit sur elle. L'une étoit regardée comme l'ornement de sa Religion, le bonheur de son Peuple, le modèle des Reines. L'autre [...] étoit la copie la plus achevée de ce modèle. (1)

SSo strong a friendship developed between the two women that Mme de Guise could not seriously entertain the idea of entering a convent, for Marie-Thérèse did not wish to be parted from her companion in devotion. Not until the Queen's death in 1683 would Isabelle d'Orléans at last be able to withdraw from the world and pursue, in her different palaces, the "regular" life of a would-be Carmelite — and eventually be buried in the habit of that order.

It was not unusual for a princess or a queen to adopt what was known as the "regular" life, all the while feigning to enjoy the pleasures of the court. Indeed, the art of delicately balancing the obligations imposed by these two distinctly different ways of life enhanced any success the devout noblewoman might achieve. Queen Mother Anne of Austria's successful juggling of these two worlds during her widowhood had made her a model for the next generation. Queen Marie-Thérèse continued this tradition during her two decades as wife of Louis XIV:

La pompe, les veilles de la Cour, & la delicatesse de son sexe ne l'avoient jamais empêchée de se lever matin plusieurs jour de la semaine, & d'aller faire ses devotions à la Paroisse du lieu où elle estoit, ou à quelque Couvent. Toute la Cour reposoit pendant ce temps. Le Roy estoit au Conseil, la Reine au pied des autels, & le sommeil faisoit souvent regner encore le calme par tout quand cette Princesse revenoit de ses devotions. Elle ne laissoit pas de se trouver à la Messe du Roy à l'heure ordinaire.(2)

The regular life

Devotional books dating from the reign of Louis XIV describe in considerable detail the vie réglée — the expression that is translated here as the "regular life," even though this rendering obscures the evocation, in the original French, of  the strict "rule" that, hour by hour, determined the devotions and the practical activities of cloistered nuns. These handbooks propose a daily schedule that approaches the one observed by the late Queen Mother and by Louis XIV's young wife. Anne's strictly regulated life conferred upon her a "magnificence/i>"" that had little to do with her social position and her costly clothes:

Il n'est point nouveau de voir la Magnificence à la Cour [...] Mais [...] il est bien rare de voir à la Cour, une Magnificence ordonnée & sujette aux regles; purifiée de l'enflure & de l'orgueil, guerie de l'ostentation & et du luxe, degagée des sens & sans attachement aux matieres qu'elle manie. Et cette Magnificence d'ordre & reguliere, spirituelle & déchargée, est d'un autre force [...].(3)

IIt is toward this "magnificence," born of the "regular" life, that Mlle de Guise and Mme de Guise strove after the spring of 1675.

Why the "regular" life? The author of one devotional book written for women emphasizes the importance of following a strict daily schedule that will permit the devout woman to fulfill her earthly obligations and still find ample time for prayer and good deeds:

Comme il n'est rien de plus desagreable dans le monde que d'y voir des personnes d'un rang distingué qui menent une vie erante, qui ne sçavent à quoi passer leur tems, & qui marchent durant tout le jour sans regle & sans conduite, au gré de leurs aveugles desirs: Il n'est rien aussi qui plaise d'avantage, ni qui soit plus charmant, que d'en voir d'autres de ce même rang, qui vivent avec methode, qui s'appliquent à fixer leur esprit naturellement volage, & qui malgré les embarras & les differentes occupations où elles se trouvent, marchent toûjours d'un pas ferme dans l'exercice de la pieté et dans la pratique des bonnes oeuvres.(4)

Their contemporaries were aware that Queen Anne of Austria, Queen Marie-Thérèse, Isabelle d'Orléans and Marie de Lorraine had espoused this "regular" life. M. Du Bois stated as much in print when he alludes to Mlle de Guise's "fond de Religion et de foy" and to the "reglement de vie toujours égale à lui même et digne d'être proposé en exemple à toutes les personnes de son rang."(5) In like manner, a eulogy of Mme de Guise emphasizes that she upheld "les interests de Dieu par une vie reglée et édifiante." (6)

IIn short, as a first step toward understanding the devotional habits of our two princesses and the repercussions these habits may have had upon the production of their composer, one can learn more about Anne of Austria's "regular" life, then search for evidence of similar conduct in Marie de Lorraine and Isabelle d'Orléans. This behavior can then be compared with the "regular" life described in contemporary handbooks written for "the woman who wishes to be sanctified in the world." If a common pattern of behavior can be discerned, it is possible to conclude that the above sources are trustworthy. And indeed, our two princesses did adopt the "regular" life: their daily schedule provided ample time for prayers and good deeds, ample time to carry out their administrative duties and their social responsibilities — and, as the years went by, ample reasons for openly rejecting the pleasures of the world.

The notebooks of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's French series would seem to provide many insights into the "regular" lives led by the two Guise women between 1676 and 1688, but this hypothesis must be tested against the activities of the women themselves. Clues scattered throughout Charpentier's notebooks only have meaning if we are informed about the princesses' daily devotional schedule and, therefore, about the religious services they can be expected to have attended day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out. Once this general liturgical framework has been deduced, it is possible to focus upon the various chapels of the capital to which the princesses were linked and, perhaps, to identify specific services for which Charpentier may have composed music.

The broad outlines of the "regular" life observed by a great noblewoman during the 1670s and 1680s can be reconstructed thanks to scattered evidence in Mme de Motteville, in handbooks written for pious women and dedicated to the queen mother, in a historiographer-royal's eulogy of the young queen, in a manuscript description of the conduct of the young Catholic queen of England Mary of Modena, and in documents referring specifically to the two Guise princesses. Into this framework, details can then eventually be inserted about services held in the chapels that our two princesses attended.

Let us first reconstruct the daily schedule of a pious noblewoman, as exemplified by Louis XIV's mother, Anne of Austria, and by the conduct of Mary of Modena (the bride of Mme de Guise's English cousins, the Stuarts) a generation later.(7) Each morning, when Anne of Austria rose, "elle faisoit une longue prière avant que d'appeller celle qui couchoit auprès d'elle"; and, having donned a skirt and a peignoir, "elle entendoit la messe fort dévotement."(8) In like manner, Mary of Modena, according to a "person of great merit" in the young queen's entourage, "se leve tous les jours à cinq heures hyver et esté. Elle entre en son oratoire, et y est en priere jusques à dix, qu'elle se met à sa toilette." We have, of course, seen that Marie-Thérèse began her day in the very same way. The three queens put into practice — or perhaps served as models for — the advice that authors of handbooks gave devout women in general: "Faites en sorte que vôtre premiere pensée soit de Dieu, en Dieu & pour Dieu. [...] Vous vous mettrez à genoux dans vôtre Oratoire, devant une image de nôtre Seigneur," states a typical handbook. "Vous lui ferez une offrande de tout ce que vous êtes, de tout ce que vous pouvez & de tout ce que vous ferez dans la journée."(9)

Since her youth, Mlle de Guise had had an oratory in her private apartment. Although the Hôtel de Guise boasted a splendid chapel decorated by Primaticcio, the princess worshipped in her private chapel adjacent to her bedroom. Here, surrounded by blue velvet curtains lined with yellow and white damask and decorated with fine gold lace, she would kneel on her "priedieu avec son écran de satin bleu sur son pied de pareil bois," contemplating now the "Saint Esprit d'argent garny d'une dentelle d'or fin" that hung above the altar, now the ivory crucifix, now the "Vierge aussy d'ivoire enrichy de perles et diamants," and now some of the precious rock-crystal reliquaries that decorated the room. The altar itself was covered with a blue velvet cloth trimmed with gold lace. During the months before her death, she apparently used her chapel for writing or dictating: in this room were "deux petits pupitres," each "garny d'un encrier et poudrier d'argent." (10) Her intention to be buried without pomp in the habit of a Capucine did not cause Marie de Lorraine (whom Saint-Simon would describe as "magnifique" ) to strip her oratory of the sumptuous objects with which she clearly enjoyed being surrounded. For example, she did not proclaim her devoutness by chosing relatively modest furnishings for her private rooms, as Mme de Longueville had done:

Madame de Longueville devint si dévote, que cela se connoissoit jusqu'à l'ameublement de sa chambre. Quelqu'un qui ne voyoit que des chenets de fer ou de cuivre lui dit assez plaisamment, que c'étoit le porter bien haut.(11)

Instead, Marie de Lorraine's fireplace was ornamented by a decorative iron grill. By contrast, the chapel at Alençon where Mme de Guise prayed during her last year of life was worthy of the Great Carmel where she would be interred: the Virgin, a wooden candlestick, a dried bouquet, a linen altarcloth, a wooden priedieu . On the walls of the cabinet/i> where her harpsichord stood, were sentences composed by the monks of La Trappe.(12)

Queen Anne was careful to avoid ostentation: "Elle s'habilloit avec le soin et la curiosité permise aux personnes qui veulent être bien sans luxe, sans or ni argent, sans fard, et sans façon extraordinaire." Mary of Modena did likewise: "Elle est vestue fort simplement sans or ni argent. Jamais elle ne se regarde dans le miroir. Souvent on luy en a presenté qu'elle a refusé disant qu'elle ne se paroit que pour les autres, et que c'estoit à eux de juger [...]  et il est à remarquer qu'elle [...] ne se pare que lorsqu'elle reçoit des ambassadeurs." That Mlle de Guise and Mme de Guise dressed modestly compared with other women of their station is evident in the inventories drawn up after their deaths. Marie de Lorraine avoided gold and silver and instead wore cut velvet, satin, damask, taffetas, crêpe, wool — generally black, white or blue.(13) Some of Isabelle d'Orléans dresses were cut from costly fabrics in a variety of colors, but many were black; some of the court gowns were livened by gold or silver threads.(14)

Queen Mother Anne carefully allocated part of her week to her official functions and part of it to her private life. She would spend hours in her private apartment with her closest friends, most of who likewise led a "regular" life:

Elle prit alors la coutume de garder la chambre un jour ou deux, pour se reposer de temps en temps, et ne voir que les personnes qui lui étoient plus familières et la pouvoient moins importuner. Dans les autres jours, elle donnoit facilement audience à tous ceux qui la lui demandoient, tant sur les affaires générales que sur les particulères. [... Elle] ne dinoit pas souvent en public servie par ses officiers, mais presque toujours dans son petit cabinet, servie par ses femmes. Après son diner, elle alloit tenir le cercle, ou bien elle sortoit et alloit voir des religieuses, ou faire quelques dévotions.

Mary of Modena's social life did not differ markedly from that of Anne of Austria. At two in the afternoon, "illa reyne entre dans son oratoire pour lire et pour prier. Elle y est jusques à cinq heures que ses femmes viennent la trouver pour dire le grand rosaire avec elle. A six heures elle sort de son oratoire pour aller au cercle qui dure une heure où elle parle peu." Young Marie-Thérèse did the same: "Pendant une partie de la journée, elle estoit en retraite dans son Cabinet. Elle y prioit ou travailloit à quelques ouvrages pour l'ornement des Autels." In like manner, the reader of the devotional handbooks being published during these years was permitted to see friends and to "rendre les visites ausquelles la bienséance vous engage," but "immediatement après dîner, vous renouvellerez vôtre intention du matin, vous retirant quelques momens dans la solitude. [...] Ensuite vous pourrez prendre quelques petits divertissemens durant une heure ou deux."(15)

What Mme de Motteville wrote about Anne of Austria's close ties to the nuns at the Val de Grâce could doubtlessly have been written about our two princesses:

Elle demeuroit [à Val de Grâce] quelques jours, retirée de tout le monde, et elle prenoit plaisir d'y faire des conversations avec les religieuses. Elle cherchoit les plus saintes, et s'accommodoit de celles qui n'avoient qu'un mérite médiocre; mais quand elles avoient pu toucher son estime, elle les honoroit de son amitié. Les bons sermons et les plus sévères prédicateurs étoient ceux qui lui plaisoient le plus. Elle a été quelquefois, mais rarement, visiter les prisons, déguisée en suivante; [...] Elle avoit une femme de chambre, dame pieuse et dévote, qui [...] s'enfermoit les soirs avec elle dans son oratoire. Toute l'occupation de cette dame étoit d'instruire la Reine des nécessités journalières, publiques et particuliers de tous les pauvres, et de lui demander de l'argent pour y remédier.

Aside from her documented visits to the abbey of Montmartre, the sources do not permit us to identify with absolute certainty any other Parisians convents that Marie de Lorraine visited regularly. Still, she doubtlessly visited the Capucines often, for in her will she expressed her desire to be buried in their convent, near her late mother. She also doubtlessly visited the Great Carmel on the rue Saint-Jacques, for the nuns showed their affection and/or gratitude by giving her some orange trees. The sources reveal that Isabelle d'Orléans was a frequent visitor to the convent at Charonne, where she had been raised, and to the Carmelites of the rue du Bouloir, which she generally attended as part of Queen Marie-Thérèse's entourage. But it was at Alençon that the princess was free to live like a veritable nun: she would dine with the Clarice nuns, would "hide" among them and "se conformoit dans l'esprit de leur état dont elle-même étoit animée."(16)

When Anne of Austria returned from an outing of this sort, she would receive various noblewomen who "venoient faire leur cour"; yet she did not forget to withdraw for awhile into her room, "pour être quelque temps seule, et donnoit souvent une heure à Dieu par quelque lecture dévote qu'elle faisoit dans son oratoire." The woman who wished to be "sanctified in the world" did the same: having completed a brief mid-afternoon recreational period, "vous vous retirez dans vôtre chambre, où dans votre cabinet, pour y lire un chapitre de l'Imitation de Jesus Christ ou de quelque autre livre de dévotion"(17) (or perhaps Father Le Moyne's Gallerie des Femmes fortes which I consulted for this Musing?)

Mlle de Guise's relatively small library was composed principally of devotional books: numerous "moral books" and "prayer books," the lives of the saints and of the church fathers, a life of Saint Theresa of Avila, an Institution chrétienne, a history of the Bible and another of the Old Testament, Godeau's history of the Church, and a book about the "monastic life." The rest of the library was composed of history books.(18)

Mme de Guise's well-stocked library adjacent to the "petite chapelle" of the Luxembourg Palace was, on the other hand, both devotional and scholarly. From these volumes bound in "maroquin incarnat," Her Royal Highness could select sermons, letters or homilies by saints (John Chrysostom, Bernard, Jerome, Gregory the Great or Augustine); the lives of saints (Louis; Basil; Gregory of Nazianzus; Francesco Borgia; Jean Eudes, to whose marial cult, the "Sacred Heart of the Virgin," she had given 12,000 livres in 1673; or Philip Neri, founder of the oratory movement); or writings by Rancé, abbot of La Trappe, her spiritual advisor; by the abbé de Choisy, the son of one of her late father's household officers; and by Goibault du Bois, translator of Saint Augustine and intendant of the Guise music. This library also included some basic reference books: Mabillon's Traité des études monastiques , an anonymous Dictionnaire Chretien, and a Concorde des Evangiles by a "doctor of the Sorbonne." Beside these learned writings — and beside the "spiritual works of Mme de Bellefonds" — stood an intriguing mixture of Jansenist and Jesuit texts. There were writings by Jesuit fathers (Dauzenne's La morale de Jesus Christ; La Chaize's Histoire de Saint Louis, and D'Orléans Vie du Pere Coton) , and these publications were intermingled with works that had either been written by Jansenists (for example, Le Maître de Sacy's Bible in 21 volumes, plus his Lettres spirituelles; or a New Testament "avec des notes du Pere Quesnel") or that evoke St Augustine or Port-Royal (Les Psaumes de David avec des notes de St.Augustin; Explication de St Augustin sur le Nouveau Testament; Sentences Chretiennes tirées des oeuvres de St Augustin; plus "La vie des saints de Port Royal" in four volumes and "14 volumes in-12o contenans divers traités contre les jesuites." (Are we to conclude that Mme de Guise was a crypto-Jansenist?  Or rather, had her early studies in preparation for being abbess of Remiremont prompted her to learn more about both sides of the controversy?) There were, in addition, dozens and dozens of "differends livres de dévotion." Her Royal Highness also owned several dozen manuscript volumes — some of them illuminated — containing "prières manuscrites" and "des prieres saintes et chretiennes tirées de l'escriture et des peres de l'Eglise pour demander à Dieu la grace d'accomplir fidellement tous les devoirs du Christianisme." For her more personal meditations, Mme de Guise could chose from among the 146 volumes in-12o of devotional readings and prayers. To follow the mass, she used Le Tourneur's Roman breviary written in both Latin and French, and an anoymous French and Latin missel.(19) The little library adjoining her private chapel at Alençon housed a similar collection of devotional books — 250 volumes in all. (20) In sum, what the "person of merit" wrote about Mary of Modena could have been written about Mme de Guise, who had studied Latin and Italian in her youth: "Elle est fort scavante, scait plusieurs langues et est fort instruite dans notre religion. Elle ne lit que de bons livres."

The weekly schedule of the two Guise princesses resembled Anne of Austria's in another way. The queen "communioit réglément les dimanches et les fêtes. Les veilles des bonnes fêtes, elle alloit coucher à Val de Grâce," the convent she had founded and where she had a private apartment known as the "Hermitage." If the queen spent the eve of a high feast at Val de Grâce, it was for devotional rather than social reasons: handbooks advise devout women to take communion "au moins tous les premiers dimanches du mois, & les principales fêtes de l'année," and to prepare themselves by going to church the evening before "pour y purifier vôtre ame." (21) The sources show that the two Guise princesses would likewise withdraw to their apartments at Montmartre on the eve of a religious event. Were they as preoccupied with the mortification of the flesh as was Mary of Modena?

Elle jeûne le Carême et l'Advent si austerement qu'elle ne fait qu'un repas par jour et à l'huile. Elle fait maigre trois fois la semaine toute l'année. Elle se prepare à la communion par un jeune et une veille de toute la nuict. Le soir sur les neuf heures on luy met de la bougie sur son prie dieu dans son oratoire. Ses femmes la laissent seule, se couchent et la trouvent le lendemain à la meme place, ses livres et chapellets aupres d'elle. Le Jeudy saint au soir elle entre dans son oratoire où elle est jour et nuict, jusqu'au jour de Pasque, à midy, sans en sortir que pour prendre deux doits de pain et un verre d'eau. Durant les trois jours une seule fois elle change de linge sans dormir ni se coucher durant ce tems-là. Elle en fait tant à Noël et à la Pentecoste. Elle communie tous les dimanches et festes de devotion. Elle assiste à tout l'office et aux tenebres qui durent trois heures à chanter. Elle scait si bien le Rituel, le ceremonial et les rubriques que les prestres ne font pas la moindre faute que sortant de l'autel elle ne les reprenne severement. Elle est dans l'eglise comme une statue, tant elle est appliquée à Dieu. Elle est si detachée des choses de la terre qu'elle paroit indifferent à tout.

Influenced perhaps by a chambermaid, like her aunt Queen Anne, but more likely urged on by one of the priests at Saint-Sulpice, Mme de Guise increasingly gave her attention to the poor and the sick after her son's death. She became a pillar of the charity committee of Saint-Sulpice, where, in the late 1670s, she was working closely with Marie Talon's brother (a reminder: Marie Talon signed Elisabeth Charpentier's wedding contract in 1662). And, by 1676, Isabelle d'Orléans would be the "superior" for her parish in a city-wide service organization known as the "Dames de Charité" that had formed around Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac and remained vigorous after the saints' deaths. The devout women who participated in this organization supervised the feeding and the nursing the sick and the poor of Paris, and they also ministered to the physical and spiritual needs of the unfortunates incarcerated in the prisons of the capital.(22) Mme de Guise's name does not always appear on the printed pleas for alms signed by Mme de Miramion, a close friend of Her Royal Highness's, but neither are the names of Anne of Austria and Mme d'Aiguillon (Richelieu's niece) to be found on similar brochures distributed a decade or so earlier. Unimpeachable sources  (to which I will return in a future Musing that will propose links between Charpentier's compositions and Mme de Guise's pious and charitable activities) nonetheless state that Isabelle d'Orléans was one of the Dames de Charité in the late 1670s and 1680s.

Had it not been for her responsibilities in these "charitable assemblies," Her Royal Highness would doubtlessly have moved definitively to Alençon, where she devoted much of her time to helping the poor.(23) Despite the veritable hagiography written about devout women after their deaths, did a princess of Mme de Guise's rank actually nurse the sick and ladle soup to beggars? Or did she instead provide funds from her own pocket whenever the alms collected in churches fell short of expectations, and now and then retreat to meditate in one of the houses run by the Sisters of Charity? The ironic but credible picture of the Dames sketched by a modern academician suggests that the latter was the case:

Car ces Dames des confréries de Paris, pour être charitables, n'en étaient pas moins de grande famille, par conséquent sujettes à toutes sortes d'obligations mondaines, à commencer par celle de s'habiller.[...] Ce n'était pas une petite affaire d'élever chaque jour ces édifices de brocart, de dentelle et de joaillerie. [...] Lorsqu'elles partaient en mission chez les pauvres, il leur fallait prévoir un délai de trois heures pour changer de toilette; aussi leur arrivait-il assez souvent de se faire remplacer par quelque domestique. [...] D'autre part il était difficile de leur demander certain travaux pratiques de nettoyage ou d'infirmerie qui exigent une poigne robuste et un coeur mieux accroché qu'à un fil de batiste.(24)

IIf we suppose that Isabelle d'Orléans was unable to do the heavy tasks involved in ministering to the poor and that she sublimated this ministry into less physically exhausting tasks, the same suppositions would apply to sixty year-old Marie de Lorraine. Since Mme de Guise usually went directly from a weekly Wednesday lunch with Mlle de Guise to a meeting of the Dames de Charité, it is possible that Her Highness of Guise was also a member of this organization. Indeed, one of these groups — called "Messieurs et Dames des assemblées de la Charité pour les familles honteuses et malades" — was active in Marie de Lorraine's parish of Saint-Jean-en-Grève.(25) Be she or be she not a Dame de Charité, Marie de Lorraine made a point of helping the poor; she also founded schools and hospitals in most of her lands. The sources remain silent about any visits that Mlle de Guise may have paid to the poor or the imprisoned, but they do state that Mme de Guise regularly visited the sick of the Hôtel Dieu of Paris and the poor of Alençon.(26) In short, the two princesses were guided by the same devotional principles as the far less wealthy but doubtlessly equally devout women for whom handbooks about the "regular" life were being written and who were being urged to visit "les affligez qui languissent dans les prisons & dans les hôpitaux"(27) — an exhortation that is tantamount to urging them to join one of the many confréries de la charité that had been approved by the Church during the years that followed the pioneering efforts of St. Vincent de Paul.

It is not yet clear whether, in addition to their business meetings, the Dames de Charité attended worship services in the chapel of one of the confraternities that had been created to care for the sick and that encouraged devout women to participate in distributing soup and medicines. If so, Mme de Guise — and perhaps Mlle de Guise as well — can be presumed to have attended the devotions of the confraternity, and even the processions after Sunday vespers at which the Litanies of the Virgin were recited.(28)

The parallels are convincing between the conduct of Anne of Austria, Marie-Thérèse, Mary of Modena, the two Guises and the modest devout women all across France who strove to live a "regular life." The very general and potentially suspect assertions made by the princesses' contemporaries can clearly be trusted: Marie de Lorraine and Isabelle d'Orléans indeed led the "regular" life of the "woman who wishes to be sanctified in the world." We can therefore posit, as a working hypothesis, that their day was built around the sort of schedule proposed in devotional handbooks.

A "regular" day

Let us look at that schedule.

At six in the morning in the summer, and at seven in the winter, devout women would rise — without having lingered in bed — and would dress modestly (honnêtement) with the help of a chambermaid. Kneeling in their oratory, they placed themselves and their day's activities in God's hands. Unless their almoner said a private mass for them, they attended mass in a nearby church, "non pas pour y voir, & pour y être vûë; non seulement de corps, mais aussi d'esprit; non pas en compagnie, [...] mais seule, les yeux modestement baissez." Like Mary of Modena, they kept themselves unusually clean for the era and, like her, even risked taking baths. In the "hermitage" of the Hôtel de Guise (yes, Mlle de Guise used the same term for her intimate retreat as Anne of Austria had!) stood a copper bathtub.(29) Mme de Guise insisted on bathing, despite Dr. Vallant's advice to the contrary.(30) "Elle est extremement propre," the "person of merit" commented about the Queen of England. "Elle se baigne une fois en six semaines, Eté et hyver. Personne ne la voit dans le bain, pas meme ses femmes, ses rideaux estant tirés autour de la baignoire."

The woman who led a "regular" life was expected to shun the limelight, to keep her devotion hidden from the public. Wherever Marie de Lorraine attended mass — be it at the Mercy, at Montmartre, at her parish church of Saint-Jean-en-Grève — she may often have done so incognita, entering the church in her curtained sedan chair, by a private or concealed entrance. Her chapels doubtlessly had curtains that could be drawn, in the manner of Mme de Guise's private chapel at Saint Sulpice.(31) Indeed, it is likely that the princesses strove to "entrez en l'Eglise comme un Ange entre dans le Ciel," and to behave like that angel, meditating about their "vices," and preferably about a "capital vice" such as gossiping or impure thoughts. If Their Highnesses planned to take communion, they surely did not fail to go to church the previous afternoon, to "adore" the Holy Sacrament and then to confess their sins and do penance.(32) In other words, they probably spent approximately one hour every morning praying in their oratories and hearing mass in a nearby church. Only then would they feel free to tend to the details of administering their huge households and vast lands. During these working hours, M. Du Bois doubtlessly came to Mlle de Guise's apartment, the musique in tow, to divert her during her administrative tasks. On one occasion it was her attention/i> that was diverted from the administrative chores at hand:

Je ne sçaures m'empecher de vous dire que la musique me distrait d'une telle manière que je ne scai se ce j'écris. M. du Bois c'est mis dans la teste de me rejouir parce que j'ay bien eu des affaires tout le jour. Il y resuit ci bien que je ne puis casi songer qu'à ce que j'entends et cela me fait faire tant de fautes dans ma lettre que je ne scai si vous la pouvez lire.(33)

At the midday meal, which was known as the dîner, devout women were supposed to "always mortify themselves by refusing some tidbit that appeals to them."(34) For our princesses did this mortification approach the excessive frugality of Mary of Modena, who was described as being "si sobre qu'on ne lui sert jamais que trois sortes de mets dont elle ne mange que d'un"? Like the women who sought to sanctify herself in the world, when they had finished the meal, the princesses probably withdrew to their private quarters to meditate briefly before going to a nearby church to spend "une demie heure devant le très-saint Sacrement de l'Autel, dans l'Église où vous sçaurez qu'il sera exposé: Et après lui avoir rendu vos hommages & vos adorations durant ce temps, vous irez entendre le Sermon."(35) Having fulfilled devotional obligations, Their Highnesses could spend "an hour or two" of the afternoon in "recreation," that is, embroidering, playing games (but not gambling, unless their winnings went to charity as they did at Mme de Guise's parties) or reading "quelque histoire agréable qui puisse récréer votre esprit." These moments of recreation included listening to music, for Mlle de Guise's apartment boasted a music room, complete with harpsichord and benches and music stands for the musicians, while a harpischord stood in Mme de Guise's private cabinet at Alençon.(36) Drinking songs and love songs were frowned upon, for devout women were expected to feel "horeur de ces Romans, de ces villains ouvrages de Poësie, de ces chansons mal honètes [...] qui sont maintenant si communs & si familiers."(37)

Although Marc-Antoine Charpentier's notebooks include only a limited amount of secular music destined for his protectresses, the sources reveal that music and dance were not banished from the Hôtel de Guise and the Luxembourg Palace during the 1670s and 1680s:. Like Queen Marie-Thérèse, the two Guises entertained their guests in the manner of the court. Indeed, their social conduct was patterned after that of Louis XIV's young wife:

Sa devotion n'avoit rien d'incommode ny d'hipocrite. Elle sçavoit qu'il falloit occuper la Cour, qui hors de sa presence pouvoit s'attacher à des divertissemens dangereux. C'est ce qui l'obligeoit à tenir cercle, & mesme à jouer souvent, mais elle joüoit en Reine, c'est à dire sans aucun attachement pour le jeu, & quand elle gagnoit, ce qui arrivoit fort rarement, parce qu'elle n'estoit pas assez appliquée, les Pauvres profitoient du gain qu'elle faisoit. Elle n'aimoit les plaisirs qu'autant que l'éclat de sa grandeur l'obligeoit à les aimer.

Devout though they were, the princesses did not derogate, that is, they did not cast off the fierté, the magnificence, and the preoccupation with the gloire of their house that characterized the grands of the Grand Siècle. Ever attentive to the prerogatives due a person of their rank, and informed about the painful moments when they must yield to a social superior, the princesses adopted a point of view not unlike that of Queen Marie-Thérèse:

Elle estoit familiere sans bassesse & quoy qu'elle ne descendist point du rang que Dieu luy avoit donné, & qu'elle estoit obligée de soutenir, elle faisoit neanmoins connoistre qu'elle estoit Reine à ceux qu'elle voyoit sur le point de l'oublier, & c'étoit alors un plaisir qu'elle leur faisoit dont ils devoient toujours se souvenir. Enfin elle sçavoit accorder ensemble l'humilité, la devotion, & la majesté.

"Majesty," yes, but not the esprit, or "wit," wielded by the egotist who sought to call attention to herself at the risk of wounding the person she was clawing verbally. Indeed, like Marie-Thérèse, whose "bonté l'empêchoit de laisser paroistre tout son esprit," Isabelle d'Orléans eschewed wit to the point of being described as lacking "esprit."

Afternoons spent gambling or listening to music and pretending to be part of the courtly "world," were followed by a return to the privacy and the withdrawal that characterized the "regular" life. For, as five o'clock approached, vespers and salut services called the princesses to the churches and chapels they held dear. Indeed, they doubtlessly were as assiduous in these devotions as was Marie-Thérèse: "Tous les soirs elle entendoit quelque Salut, ou assistoit à des Prieres publiques. Ce temps qu'elle donnoit tous les jours à Dieu, luy laissoit encore celuy d'entendre quelques Sermons chaque mois & d'assister à l'Office des Parroisses & des Couvents, les jours des Festes particulieres qu'on y celebroit." Whatever her social rank, the woman who led the "regular" life was expected to attend salut "avec beaucoup de devotion, [...] Ensuite vous retournerez chez vous, [...] parlant avec douceur & honneteté à tous ceux avec qui vous aurez à traiter," and doing all their afternoon chores in a way that would please God and Jesus. The truly devout woman was nonetheless careful not to flaunt her piety: "Aïez des manieres affabales, humbles & respectueuses à l'égard de tout le monde; & prenez garde de ne pas tomber dans les défauts de ces dévotes superbes & orgueilleuses, qui tournent tous leurs discours à leur avantage; qui ne s'humilient que pour s'attirer des loüanges."(38) The anonymity that characterized Marc-Antoine Charpentier's eighteen years at the Hôtel de Guise attests to the princesses' successful adherence to this rule: they either managed to conceal their patronage of these musical events, or else the press knew who was sponsoring these musical devotions but respected Their Highnesses' desire for anonymity (as it did for the musical event at the Mercy described in the Bulletin Charpentier, 1996).

Indeed, throughout the day, the devout woman's mission was to ensure that her participation in religious services would be discreet, unostentatious and brief:

Bornez la durée de vôtre Oraison à une demie-heure et ne faites pas comme quantité de dévotes indiscretes qui negligent leurs affaires domestiques pour entendre deux ou trois Messes, ou pour reciter certaines prieres de Confrerie; et qui sous prétexte de direction ou d'Oraison mental passent la plus grande partie du jour dans l'Eglise, tandis que tout est en desordre chez elles, où leur devoir les appelle.(39)

Whenever they had a few minutes to themselves, our pious princesses can be expected to have withdrawn into their bedroom or to a cabinet to read a devotional work; and, as complins approached, they would go to the "church that is the closest to your residence," first to recite the prayers that their spiritual advisor had given them, "et qui ne doivent pas être longues," and then to do their "oraison mentale" for twenty or thirty minutes. (Before setting off, did Mme de Guise stop in her library and select one of her manuscript volumes of prayers?) If they followed this rule to the letter, Marie de Lorraine attended complins at the Mercy, while Isabelle d'Orléans went to Saint-Sulpice or to another of the chapels near her palace. (The Theatin church of Saint-Anne-la-Royale, where she had been granted a chapel in 1675, was prohibitively far from the Luxembourg.) During these meditations, the devout woman was exhorted to think, for example, of Jesus, humbled in the manger, and of his passion.(40) (Is it a coincidence that the Christmas music Charpentier that wrote prior to 1688 evokes these very same themes?)

Returning home, the princesses supped and, perhaps, strolled in their gardens before ending the day as it had begun: kneeling in her oratory each woman examined her conscience and the deeds of the day. Bedtime came at ten in the winter and by eleven at the latest in summer. As she settled into her curtained bed, each Guise reflected on her mortality and told herself that "peut-être on vous en retirera demain ou quelques jours aprés, pour vous porter au tombeau."(41)

In sum, a devout woman was a daily spectator at — or, when she took communion, a brief participant in — a predictable series of religious services, most of which were conducted in a church near her residence, but not necessarily her parish church. Each morning she went to mass, although she did not always take communion. After her noonday meal, she made her way to the closest church where the Holy Sacrament was exposed for worshippers, and she spent a half-hour in mediation. She attended vespers and salut and, whenever there was a sermon, she prolonged her stay in order to benefit from the wisdom and advice of the preacher. At the end of the day she returned to the church for complins and for a brief period of meditation. Into this intense devotional schedule she fit her household and her social obligations as well as brief periods of private worship.

Guise devotion, Charpentier's notebooks

If one assumes that most of the works in Charpentier's French notebooks were composed for one or more of the churches where Mlle de Guise and Mme de Guise worshipped, and that the better part of these works were intended for performance during the services typically attended by women leading the "regular" life, it appears likely that many of these works were intended for vespers, complins and salut services and for other liturgical moments when the faithful "adored" the Holy Sacrament. To these devotions can be added services honoring saints for whom one or both princesses felt an especially strong devotion. And, although information about the numerous Parisian confraternities is scant at best, a certain number of these works doubtlessly were intended for such services. In short, Charpentier's music can be expected to mirror the devotional priorities of his patronesses. It can also be expected to reflect those aspects of a service that most appealed to devout laywomen. For example, the princesses may have preferred the devotional message of one psalm over the others that were recited during a given service, because that particular text had powerful religious or personal resonances for them. It is also likely that they associated certain hymns with a specific service and preferred the hymns they had sung since their childhood. Assuming that they were members of one or more confraternities, as seems to have been the case, Their Highnesses can be expected to have cherished certain texts that the members recited together — especially the litanies prescribed by the group's ritual. The offertoire and the élévation were other moments when the devout woman participated actively in the service. For example, sources frequently show princesses distributing pain bénit to the assembled faithful; but worshippers of all social ranks doubtlessly felt especially close to God when the host was being elevated.

In other words, Marie de Lorraine and Isabelle d'Orléans can be expected to have preferred a few devotional moments — perhaps their favorite psalm for that day, but far more likely litanies, a favorite hymn or a personalized text that could be sung during the elevation of the host — and to have felt especially close to God whenever they heard their musicians express these words in song. This is exactly the sort of music that Charpentier copied into his French notebooks between 1670 and 1688!

Notebooks 1-50 contain 146 works (exclusive of the lenten music Charpentier wrote for the Abbaye-aux-Bois and three more pieces that he says were written for nuns). Only 12 of these works are prophane, while 134 are religious. Of these 134 devotional compositions, 95 were intended for a small ensemble of three singers or less. After the spring of 1676, that small ensemble is either a mixed trio (a haut dessus, a dessus and a bass, plus a continuo and/or two treble instruments) or a male trio (a haute contre, a taille and a bass, plus a continuo and/or two treble instruments). In other words, approximately 70 percent of the works in the French notebooks are for a small ensemble that performs predominantly religious music. Of the 95 works written for this group of approximately three men and three women, 52 are settings of texts that were sung during the services conducted by confraternities of the Virgin. (To these can be added 3 works that bear the names of the full Guise ensemble of the 1680s.) This means that 54 percent of the religious works composed for this group of musicians were suitable for use by a confraternity dedicated to the Glorious Virgin Mary. Many of the remaining works — for example, several Domine salvum fac regem or prayers for members of the royal family — appear in handbooks published by the different confraternities. This raises to 70 percent the proportion of works for a small ensemble that were suitable for use by a confraternity of the Virgin.(42) This does not, of course, mean that all these works were written exclusively for such an organization; it does however suggest that the Virgin was the principal focus of the Guises' chapels during the final decade of Charpentier's protection by Their Highnesses.

Iconographical evidence gleaned from inventories of the princesses' apartments strengthens this statistical evidence. On the walls of the Hôtel de Guise hung hundreds of paintings, large and small. From the multitude of artworks at her disposal, Marie de Lorraine singled out less than a dozen paintings and had them hung in the most private spaces in her apartment, that is, in the very rooms to which a woman seeking to be "sanctified in the world" was supposed to withdraw and meditate: her private chapel, her music room and her "hermitage." In the 1650s, the oratory and adjacent cabinet that Mlle de Guise shared with her mother contained representations of St. Philip Neri (the founder of the Oratory), the Virgin and Child accompanied by Joseph and John the Baptist, and a nun carrying a cross. By the 1680s, the devotional program had changed: her "oratory" had become a "chapel" from which paintings had been banished. Instead, she meditated before a crucifix, a statue of the Virgin and a silver Holy Spirit that hung above the altar. The ajacent cabinet that served as a sacristy contained another object before which she could meditate, especially on the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth days of each month, when devotees of the cult of the Virgin were instructed to contemplate an image related to the Nativity. In this small room stood what can be described as a "devotional dollhouse" built of exotic wood — her "petite maison et meubles, dite la maison de Nostre Dame de Lorette." There the Infant Jesus slept in his cradle: "un petit berceau, aussy de bois de calembour, avec l'Enfant Jésus orné d'or et de petiz diamans." The other rooms of this model of the Santa Casa of Loreto — richly furnished with a "petit lit de repos de bois de calembour, enrichy de petits diamans et rubis" and "deux petiz fauteuils enrichy de petits rubis et diamans" — were peopled with "l'enfant Jésus de bois avec les instrumens de la Passion, orné d'or enrichi de diamans," a Virgin, an Annunciation, Jesus weilding a broom, Joseph working at his lathe.43 Since no mention of this miniature house appears in her relatives' death inventories of the 1640s, 1650s and 1660s, it would seem that the house, and perhaps the bulk of its precious contents, was shipped to Mlle de Guise over the years by her friend Vittoria delle Rovere, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and that this wonderous little Casa Santa of Loreto was Mlle de Guise's way of keeping alive the memories of her own pilgrimage to that shrine in 1642.

No paintings or statues decorated Mlle de Guise's bedroom in 1688. Indeed, the music room was the only room of her private apartment where paintings could be found, and most of them were devotional: a Virgin by Corneille, a Descent from the Cross, a Death of the Virgin by "Carlo, Venitien," and an "Enfant Jésus" by Nocret — plus the portraits of two of Mlle de Guise's late brothers. In sum, Marie de Lorraine could contemplate the images of the Virgin and the Infant Jesus as her musicians performed music in Their honor. The music room was not, however, an entirely private place, nor was it purely devotional. Here her concerts were held several times a week; here she entertained her guests with music, impromptu dancing and the sort of "learned and galant conversation" I evoked in the Bulletin Charpentier, January 1995.(44)

When Mlle de Guise wished to be totally alone, she would withdraw to her "hermitage," in emulation of  the saintly hermits who withdrew to the wilderness to meditate. To reach this exotic world peopled by saints, hermits and religious, Marie de Lorraine descended her private staircase to the "Chambre des Hermites," on the mezzanine floor of the Hôtel de Guise. In the low-ceiling rooms of this apartment that opened onto the garden, she could recline on a daybed covered in white and blue silk; or, seated in a blue-and-grey upholstered chair of carved cedar, she could read one of the devotional books tucked away in a small bookcase. In her hermitage, furnished and decorated entirely in exotic woods, her chambermaids-musicians helped her bathe in a copper tub and dress. On every wall hung bas-reliefs carved from tropical wood or cedar and representing hermits in the desert. Even more indicative of the princess's private devotions is the cluster of nine paintings she assembled in the principal room of her hideaway. These paintings all had personal resonances for her own life: one represented a skull, another a nun of the Carthusian order, a third depicted St. Benedict (the patron of the nuns of Montmartre) preaching in the desert. There was also a pair of paintings representing women in ecstasy or meditation: St. Theresa of Avila and the repentant Magdalene. The remaining three pictures portrayed some of Mlle de Guise's relatives: Philippes de Gueldre, the first Duke of Guise's mother, who became a nun after her husband's death; Marguerite de Lorraine, Mme de Guise's late mother, who ended her life as a virtual nun of the Third Order; and Père Ange de Joyeuse, Mlle de Guise's maternal grandfather, a courtier turned Capuchin. This inconographic ensemble focused on meditation, on repentance and above all on withdrawal from the world — as well as on that final and definitive withdrawal, death. Into this devotional program were woven the members of her family who had been buried in the habit of a religious, as Marie de Lorraine would ask to be in 1688.

When fair weather tempted her to leave the city, Mlle de Guise would go to Bercy, to the house known as the "Ménagerie" that she had inherited from her mother. If she ever spent the night there, it was on a campbed set up in a tiny room off the landing that led to the attic, quarters more appropriate for a servant than for a princess. It would however seem more likely that Marie de Lorraine used the house as both a picnic place where she could entertain guests and a retreat where, for a few hours, she could meditate alone. Indeed, during the late 1670s was the Ménagerie the destination of the rides in the Bois de Vincennes that followed many of her luncheon parties with Mme de Guise and her sister, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany? At the Ménagerie Marie de Lorraine had created one of those galeries de portraits that were then the rage. Two dozen family portraits hung in this gallery, which looked onto the garden, with its oleanders, orange trees and jasmine plants and its taffeta and damask parasols. Every room of the Ménagerie was decorated in red and white — down to the large collection of red and white "porcelaine de Portugal" displayed on every mantlepiece. Family portraits lined the walls of every room — save the two rooms that were the princess's private retreats.

One of these rooms, which opened onto the portrait gallery, was Marie de Lorraine's writing room. The paintings that hung there suggest the subjects upon which the princess's mind turned during her more private visits to this house: there was a Crucifixion, a Magdelene, and two paintings of the Holy Family. At the other end of the portrait gallery was another private room, a sitting room that contained an armchair, several straw-seated walnut straight chairs and a table. Here too hung pictures that suggest Mlle de Guise's devotional preoccupations during the 1670s and 1680s: The "Enfant Jésus tenant sa croix," several paintings of the Holy Family by Sébastien Bourdon, a "Notre Dame de Monsarat," and a portrayal of the "adulterous woman" — plus several landscapes, Flemish scenes and paintings of birds and flowers that the princess clearly considered appropriate for the rustic decor she had artfully created. Again, the Infant Jesus, the Virgin, the Holy Family — the very images before which "domestics" of the Infant Jesus were supposed to meditate. (In the "adulterous woman" did Marie de Lorraine see the image of herself, weeping as she penned missive after missive to Montrésor during the early 1650s?)

Can it be a coincidence that Charpentier's French notebooks for the 1670s and 1680s mirror the inconography with which Marie de Lorraine surrounded herself?

Evidence is far more scanty about any paintings that hung in Isabelle d'Orléans' private quarters during these same two decades. We do know that she created a "grand cabinet aux tableaux" at the Luxembourg , and that she peopled it with her Bourbon relatives as far back as Henri IV and Marie de Médicis, and with the various princes and princesses of the houses of Orléans, Lorraine and Lorraine de Guise — and even the members of the houses of Joyeuse, Savoy and Medici to whom she was related by marriage. The surviving fragments of her death inventory unfortunately discuss neither Isabelle d'Orléans's private rooms nor the decor of her chapel.44A We do know, however, that a painting of her mother holding a book — opened to the Litanies de la Vierge, that is, the Litany of Loreto — hung at Alençon. Like the mother she so revered, Mme de Guise doubtlessly recited this same litany many times each week during the years when Charpentier was setting this text to music for the Guise ensemble.

In the 1690s, her private apartment at Alençon was ornamented with three paintings: an Infant Jesus, a Virgin, and a St. Theresa of Avila, the founder of the Carmelite order in whose habit Isabelle d'Orléans would ask to be buried. (The devotional program implicit in Mme de Guise's choice of subject recalls, of course, the program suggested by the paintings displayed in Mlle de Guise's most private rooms.) An undated receipt (it apparently dates from 1676) reveals that Mme de Guise commissioned two paintings from Sieur Saint-Yves, but this receipt does not reveal where these works were hung. The subjects of these pictures reveal the psychological mechanisms to which Mme de Guise resorted after the personal tragedies of the early 1670s. One painting showed Louis XIV: "Un Saint Michel où est le portraict du Roy avec un dragon sous le pied, ce tableau de sinq pied de haut sur trois de large." (Did the dragon represent the Huguenots whom Louis XIV — and the two Guises — were determined to bring back into the fold?) The other painting showed Mme de Guise's late husband and son: "Plus un autre tableau representant l'ange gardien qui mesne un enfant par la main où est le portrait de Monsieur de Guise et celuy de Monsieur d'Alençon. Ce tableau est de la même grandeur que le précedent."45 These life-sized portraits clearly formed a pair. Were they intended for her private quarters, or for the public rooms of the Luxembourg? Be that as it may, as she contemplated these images, the princess could imagine Louis-Joseph leading his son through heavenly pastures, while Louis XIV stamped out heresy (assisted by Mme de Guise, who would draw parallels between herself and Judith and Saint Caecilia the convertor). These half-dozen paintings suggest Isabelle d'Orléans's devotional priorities after 1675: seeking guidance and solace from the Virgin and the Infant Jesus, she would help poor children and convert heretics, until the day came when she could sleep eternally within the high walls of the Great Carmel.

This excursion into the princesses' private quarters raises two crucial questions. Does the iconography with which they surrounded themselves in fact reflect of their devotional activities, their devotional preferences? If so, to what extent did this devotion shape Marc-Antoine Charpentier's artistic production during the first eighteen years of his career? If the chapels attended by these women can be identified, an answer to the first of these questions may be possible, for it is likely that the paintings they selected for their private quarters were somehow connected to the churches they frequented and the religious services they attended. Now, both Marie de Lorraine and Isabelle d'Orléans were closely linked to several religious establishments and, in some instances, had been even granted private chapels there. Both women seem to have played active roles in the creation of confraternities and privileged altars in several of these churches between August 1671 and the summer of 1675. Let us therefore look more closely at the chapels that "belonged" to these princesses.

Some Guise chapels (Liesse and the Mercy)

Across the generations, the Guises had literally collected chapels, just as they collected precious reliquaries, miniatures, paintings and agate vases. The jewel of their collection was the Church of Notre Dame de Liesse, the French Loreto, to which the faithful flocked, seeking the intercession of a miraculous Black Virgin. Our Lady of Liesse stood only a short distance from the Guise château of Marchais. "Marchais n'est pas tant un heritage de la maison de Guise, qu'une marque de sa dévotion. Ce Cardinal de Lorraine [Mlle de Guise's great-great- ncle, d. 1574], qui a merité le nom de grand dans l'histoire, ayant une tres sensible devotion à la Reine du Ciel, acheta cette Terre pour la commodité [du roi], qui venoit parfois visiter cette sainte Chapelle."46 Visiting her property of Liesse was one of Mlle de Guise's great joys.

As a former pilgrim to Liesse, Marie de Lorraine was eligible for membership in the Confraternity of Notre Dame de Liesse, which met in the chapel of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, an orphanage situated just behind the Hôtel de Ville and the Guises' parish church of Saint-Jean-en-Grève.47 However, the men and women who assembled in the chapel near the Grève were not the only Parisian confraternity dedicated to Notre Dame de Liesse. In the 1660s the nuns at the convent of Notre-Dame-de-Liesse (the future neighbors of the Hôtel of the Enfant Jésus, founded in 1676 under the patronage of Mme de Guise) created a confraternity by that name. This confraternity moved to Saint-Sulpice on August 8, 1672. (Did Mme de Guise have something to do with this move, which occurred shortly after her late husband's bout de l'an?)

Membership in the confraternity that met at Saint-Sulpice was extremely loose and flexible. A "brother" (or a "sister") joined the organization on one of the Virgin's feast days and made an annual offering to the confraternity. "Associates," who enrolled in the sacristy before a service, had only one obligation to fulfill: they must spend one hour a year either in the chapel at Saint-Sulpice "ou devant une image de la Sainte Vierge," and they must implore Her intercession in favor of the confraternity. It cost nothing to become an associate, although the organization hoped that alms would be forthcoming. Brothers or sisters were expected to fulfill specific duties, many of which did not require their physical presence at the chapel. For example, they were expected to pray each day, to say the names of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as often as they could, and to recite the rosary each day if possible. They were also expected to feel "une singulière dévotion pour le saint Enfant Jésus," and for the Virgin, St. Anne, the Holy Innocents, St. Michael and John the Baptist. High masses were said in the Virgin's chapel at Saint-Sulpice on Her feast days, and low masses were conducted for brothers and sisters on the second Sunday of each month and to honor dead members. This chapel housed the privileged altar for the dead that was created in March 1673, with prayers every Monday and indulgences for invoking the "Sacred Name of Jesus."(48) (A connection between the creation of this altar for the dead and the bout de l'an of Marguerite de Lorraine cannot be ruled out.)

Only a relatively small number of the many handbook-prayerbooks published for confraternities during the seventeenth century have survived. Those written for "penitents" who wished to demonstrate their devotion for the Virgin have many points in common. By an alteration in the weekly devotional calendar, these services — which are closely modeled on the Saturday Petit Office de la Vierge shown in Roman breviaries — were often scheduled for Sunday, but were not supposed to be part of the parish mass. (We shall look at more closely at this service later in this Musing.) Confraternity services honoring the "Glorious Virgin Mary" did, however, differ from the "little office" in one important way: they ended with the recitation of the "Litanies de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie," known today as the Loretan litany.49 That Marc-Antoine Charpentier set this litany to music twice prior to 1688 (the second of these works bears the names of the full Guise ensemble) strongly supports the hypothesis that many of his works honoring the Virgin were intended for use by a confraternity. Tables 1-3 , below, show schematically the principal psalms, antiphons, hymns and cantiques recited by the devotees of the Glorious Virgin Mary during each of the three seasons into which these confraternities divided the liturgical year. (These tables are based primarily upon the Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie, Rodez, T 6711.) Texts set to music by Charpentier and transcribed into the French notebooks between 1670 and 1688 are shown in bold-face type in 5 tables showing how Guise devotions reflect the "regular" life Table 1 covers February 3 to early December, Table 2 covers Advent, and Table 3 shows December 24 to February 3.

During their worship services, the members are sometimes described as forming a "chorus" that responded to the "rector" (the elected head of that confraternity) and that either chanted or sang the psalms alternately with him. (The French verb chanter can mean either to "chant," as in plain-song, or to "sing," as in music.) At the end of complins, the chorists would either "solemnly sing" or "solemnly chant" (again the verb is chanter) the Litanies of the Virgin, "presque toujours en fauxbourdon"; and, on the Virgin's high feast days and on the third Sunday of each month, they would "chanter d'un ton plus relevé et plus beaux" the psalms of matins.50 Since "chanting in chorus" and "in fauxbourdon" was an integral part of these worship services, allowing the Guise singers to part-sing some of these texts during special services did not constitute a total break with the established practices of the confraternity.

The organization and program of these confraternities of the Glorious Virgin were patterned after those of the Roman "Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Gonfalon." Introduced into France circa 1570 by the Capucin friars, the cult spread rapidly. Just as rapidly it assumed a variety of names: le Saint Sacrement de l'Autel, le Nom de Jésus, Notre Dame de Consolation, les Stigmates de Saint François.(51) In short, Marc-Antoine Charpentier's H. 310, which alludes to the stigmata, can conceivably have been composed for a confraternity honoring simultaneously St. Françis and the Glorious Virgin, and so forth for many of his pieces. Despite this diversity of names, all these confraternities apparently adhered quite closely to the liturgy created in the sixteenth century. That Mlle de Guise's maternal grandfather, Frère Ange de Joyeuse, had played an active role in the implantation of the Confraternity of Notre Dame du Gonfalon in the French capital, sheds light on both the choice of the princess's first name and her devotion to the Virgin during her mature years: they were, of course, related to her birth on August 15, but they were also a prolongation of Frère Ange's own devotion to Mary.

These confraternities accepted both male and female members.(52) Although no lists of members seem to have survived for the confraternities of the Virgin of Liesse that met in the chapel near the Hôtel de Ville and at Saint-Sulpice, it seems highly probable that Marie de Lorraine (among whose titles was "Dame de Liesse") and Isabelle d'Orléans were "sisters," or at least "associate" members. It is, of course, impossible to say whether any of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's works honoring the Virgin were performed during the services of these two confraternities. Indeed, given the looseness of the obligations imposed upon members, it cannot be ruled out that the princesses' devotion to Our Lady of Liesse fused with services held by another marial cult and were therefore conducted in churches or chapels far from the Grève.

The "closest" church to Mlle de Guise's residence — that is, the church that a lady who wanted to be sanctified in the world was supposed to attend regularly — stood just across the rue du Chaume from the Porte Clisson of the Hôtel de Guise. This church, familiarly called the "Mercy," was part of the convent of the Mercedari, that is, the fathers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy and of the Redemption of Captives, a Spanish order created in the thirteenth century to redeem Christians captured by Moslem pirates. As might be expected, the principal feast days of the convent were the high feasts of the Virgin, the same feasts that were celebrated with varying intensity by every religious establishment and that had become national holidays in France.(53) At the Mercy these celebrations were especially lavish, and the fathers were proud of their musical services. (For one of them, see my "Il y a aujourd'hui Musique a la Mercy," in the Bulletin Charpentier, no 13.) In addition to these ubiquitous feasts, the Mercy had its own special feast in honor of the Virgin, a moveable feast held on "the Sunday closest to the Calends of August," that is, shortly before or shortly after August 15, the Feast of the Assumption.(54) (Another source places this feast day close to the Feast of Saint Mary of the Snows, August 5.) In other words, when Marie de Lorraine was granted a chapel in the church of the Mercy, she may have fused her devotion to Our Lady of Liesse and Our Lady of Loreto with the cult of Our Lady of Mercy.

The convent of the Mercy had opened its doors to several confraternities. For example, there was the "Confraternity of the rachapt des fideles Chretiens esclaves," which participated in processions that greeted the arrival of freed captives.(55)  More interesting for our investigation is the "Confraternity of the Scapulaire de Notre Dame de la Mercy," which had existed for centuries. The surviving archives of the order shed no light on this organization, merely mentioning its name in passing and stating that it was active in 1668.56 We know that the confraternity celebrated five holidays: January 17, the feast of St. Anthony Abbot; January 31, the feast of St. Pierre Nolasque, a Mercy father; Ash Wednesday; August 10, the feast of St. Lawrence; and November 23, the feast of St. Catherine.57 In addition to the special services that marked these days (but about which no source seems to provide details), the fathers conducted a monthly "procession du scapulaire." Indulgences were obtained by all worshippers who attended this procession. The name of this group would seem to be a variant of the well-known marial confraternity, Notre Dame du Scapulaire, itself offshoot of the Confraternity of the Gonfalon.(58) Its members wore a white scapulary emblasoned with the arms of Aragon patterned after the scapulary that formed an integral part of the habit of the Mercy fathers. Even the Virgin of the Mercy wore this scapulary.

The lacunae in our knowledge of the workings of the Mercy confraternity can be filled to some degree by evidence gleaned from the handbook of another Parisian group, the Confraternity of the Very Holy Trinity and Redemption of Captives, an organization sponsored by the "Mathurins," who were the Mercy's rivals in the business of redeeming captives. Members of this confraternity likewise wore a scapulary — this one modeled after the distinctive red, white and blue scapulary of  the Mathurin fathers. They were expected to recite the prayers in the handbook, observe the feast days of the Mathurins and participate in the processions of redeemed galley-slaves that periodically wended their way through the capital. Above all, they were to do as many charitable and pious deeds as possible.(59) Their statutes were similar to those that had been drawn up for the confraternity of the Gonfalon in the late sixteenth century: on Sundays, and on high holidays, members attended masses as the Mathurins, then ended the day with vespers and complins. Each day they opened their breviary and recited in private the "Office of Our Lady," by which the source apparently means the petit office, "little office" that the breviary shows for the Saturday of each week. At least once a month they went to confession and took communion. Throughout the year they participated in the processions organized by the confraternity, gave alms to the poor, cared for the sick and visited prisoners.60 We shall see that these activities are quite similar to those stipulated by a confraternity that was created at the Mercy in 1672.

The Mercy's long-established Confraternity of the Scapulary in no way conflicted with the activities of this new confraternity, which, as if by coincidence, appeared on the scene not long after Louis-Joseph de Lorraine's death in 1671.(61) The new confraternity, whose membership was open to both men and women, was called the "Agonisans en l'Eglise du Couvent des Frères de l'Ordre de Nostre Dame de la Mercy Rédemption des Captifs de Paris." It announced publicly that it was offering membership to "Confreres et Soeurs ... [qui] ont coûtume de pratiquer beaucoup de bonnes oeuvres de pieté & charité." Archbishop Harlay de Chanvallon's description of the mission of the new organization sheds only a modicum of additional light upon the activities of the members:

On a estimé qu'on ne pourroit pas trouver un meilleur moyen pour soulager les Agonisans, que d'établir une Confrerie où plusieurs personnes qui y sont, ou seront associées, outre les saints Sacrifices qu'elle procureront estre offerts à Dieu, entreprendront des prieres presque continuelles, & quantité d'autres bonnes oeuvres, afin d'impetrer de luy ses plus puissantes misericordes en faveur des malades qui sont accablez de langueur, & qui agonisent.(62)

In short, members of the confraternity not only prayed and gave alms, they did "other good works" that would seem to be linked to caring for, or consoling the sick and the dying.

The impetus for this new organization came from "une personne de qualité, laquelle a procuré l'establissement de cette Confrerie." The expression "personne de qualité" suggests that someone of very high social rank was involved. This person of quality had already founded "tous les Vendredis de l'année [...] dans ladite Eglise de la Mercy environ les dix heures une Messe basse fondée à perpetuité pour les Agonisans." And the person in question was a woman: the "mesme Dame" had also previously founded a "Messe basse pour les deffunts" to be said immediately after the mass for the dying.63 Who was this "lady," this "person of quality"? Neither the publication nor the archives of the Mercy name her. They do reveal, however, that this individual's petition to create the confraternity was approved by the Pope on August 20, 1672, just a year after Louis-Joseph de Lorraine's lavish funeral mass at Saint-Jean-en-Grève. Now, the rich bourgeois and the parlementaires who made pious bequests to the Mercy inevitably did so before a notary, thereby permitting a late seventeenth-century scribe of the convent to list these donations meticulously. By contrast, the "person of quality" apparently gave the money to the fathers in private, so that no written record of the agreement could find its way into the hands of gossips who might tear aside the veil of anonymity surrounding the origins of the confraternity.

Only a few years later, Marie de Lorraine would wrap her founding of the Enfant Jésus, the teaching institute of Father Barré, in just this sort of anonymity. No notarial acts for the institute seem to have survived. In fact, they apparently never existed, because the financial details were worked out privately and the sums were passed from the princess to the priest with the confidentiality that characterized the alms-giving of devout men and women. (I should write a Musing about the Enfant Jésus!) In short, a similar pattern of confidentiality at the Mercy and in the Sulpician circle that brought Barré to Paris suggests that Marie de Lorraine was the motivating force, both spiritually and financially, behind the creation of the Confraternity of the Agonisants.

This hypothesis is supported by another bit of evidence: the Institution of the organization states that the members' duties included "praying for peace and concord among Christian princes, the extirpation of heresies, and the exaltation of our Mother, the Holy Church."64 Marc-Antoine Charpentier's notebooks confirm the extent to which Marie de Lorraine — and Isabelle d'Orléans — prayed for peace and for their king, looked to Saint Cecilia as a model for converting heretics (I plan to write about this in the fall...), and acted for the exaltation (M. Du Bois used instead the word "utility") of the Church.

The obligations imposed on members of the Confraternity of the Agonisants were not onerous. Once a year they were expected to come and pray in "l'Eglise, Chapelle ou Oratoire de ladite Confrerie, au jour & Feste principale de la mesme Confrerie; depuis les premieres Vespres jusques au Soleil couchant." Members who did some act of piety and charity, who attended the processions of the Mercy fathers or who came to the convent church on the "quatre jours de l'année festez, au choix desdits Confreres" and prayed for peace and the end of heresy, would be granted special indulgences.

Attendance at several other services was, by contrast, virtually compulsory. Once a member's name had been "couché sur l'Etat de la Reine des Cieux," he or she became one of the Virgin's adopted children and was expected to attend the high mass for the Virgin "qui tous les Samedis de l'année est chantée dans l'Eglise de la Mercy devant sept heures du matin pour leurs Religieux & leurs bien-faicteurs vivans, & une autre pour les deffuncts, qui se celebre tous les Lundis à pareille heure."65 In short, if Mlle de Guise was, as it seems, a pillar of this confraternity, she rose early every Saturday and slipped across the rue du Chaume to a high mass sung partly in her honor (she and her family were longtime benefactors of the convent); and, every Monday she did the same, in order to pray for her dear, dead predecessors. Her musicians doubtlessly accompanied her on many, if not all occasions. On June 22, the high feast day of St. Paulin, "qui se rendit esclave pour donner la liberté au fils d'une pauvre veufve," was Her Highness among the faithful who assembled at ten in the morning for the "grande Messe, qui est chantée à la Mercy pour les fidelles esclaves vivans"? Did she attend the "grandes Messes de Requiem que les Religieux de la Mercy, aprés l'Office des morts à neuf leçons, celebrent le 21 Fevrier pour leurs peres & meres defuncts; le 12 Juillet pour tous les deffuncts enterrez dans les Eglises de leur Ordre; le 25 Septembre pour leurs bienfaicteurs [among them the Guises], & Confreres de la Confrerie du rachapt des fideles Chrêtiens esclaves"?(66)

Long before the creation of this confraternity, the Guises had been benefactors of the Mercy; but once again, neither the notaries of the Guises nor the notary of the Mercy set down in detail the financial obligations that one or another of the Guises had incurred for the stained-glass windows or the sculptures they had given to the convent church. By contrast, the Mercy notaries committed to paper every detail about the far more modest contributions of a variety of laymen who over the years had made pious foundations to encourage worshippers to go to the church to recite the litanies of the Virgin or attend commemorative masses. For example, Mme Sevin (it is impossible to say which of the numerous Sevins she had married and whether she was, therefore, a "sort of cousin" of the Charpentiers) founded services for the dead on July 20; and in 1664, Marthe Croyer, Marc-Antoine Charpentier's relative, had founded a low mass to be said every Wednesday, "afin d'augmenter le service divin qui se dit en ladite église et participer aux prières desdits religieux."(67) Then too, back in 1665 the Bruneaus had founded a "Salut du Saint Sacrement pour estre chanté et cellebré tous les jeudys de l'année à l'issue des complins."68 (Although the Guises gave many precious objects to the chapel, they seem to have reserved such foundations for their parish church and for religious houses more intimately linked to the House of Guise.)

Five tables showing services at the Mercy

Of all the services held at the Mercy each week, Charpentier's French notebooks most closely mirror the Petit office de la bien-heureuse Vierge Marie as it had been adopted and adapted by various confraternities, and as its three seasonal variants are shown schematically in:

 Five Tables that suggest devotions at the Mercy.

Table 1 covers February 3 to early December, Table 2 covers Advent, and Table 3 shows December 24 to February 3. This doubtlessly was the service that the members of the Confrérie du Scapulaire de Notre Dame de la Mercy recited each week.

Guided by these sources about the devotional activities at the Mercy, and by the content of Charpentier's French notebooks, one can conclude that members of the confraternities that met within the precincts of the Mercy convent and that focused on the Virgin and on the "Agonisants" (the dying), attended services twice each Sunday and twice a day on the various high feast days of the Virgin. To these devotional events can be added the daily services that were specified by the order's ceremonial or that had been founded by lay people. In these tables, services that celebrate Notre Dame de la Mercy are highlighted by bold type, those sponsored by the Confraternity of the Scapulary are underlined, and those organized by the Confraternity of the Agonisants appear within double sets of curved brackets: {{     }}. In the tables about the Mercy, Table 4 shows feasts and special services at the Mercy, and Table 5 shows weekly services at the Mercy.

During these services, a handful of liturgical texts were recited over and over again, throughout the year, year after year. For example, the daily service that the Mercy fathers recited in honor of the Virgin included the antiphon for the Virgin that was appropriate for that week: either Alma redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina cœlorum, Regina cœli or Salve Regina. These four antiphons were also an integral part of the services held by the Confraternity of the Scapulary. In like manner, throughout the year the litanies of the Virgin were recited during many of the services conducted by the Mercy fathers, that is, at the Saturday service honoring the Virgin, on the high feast days of the order, on feast days of the Confraternity of the Agonisants and during processions. These same litanies were being recited at the Sunday services of the confraternity of the Virgin that met at the Mercy. Indeed, was it the Confraternity of the Scapulary that, in 1645, founded a recitation of the "Litanies de la Vierge" at the Mercy on the first Saturday of every month and following the sermon on every high feast of the Virgin? During the early 1680s, Marc-Antoine Charpentier would set these litanies to music for the Guise musicians. It is therefore possible that his settings of the litanies were performed at the convent on the rue du Chaume. Charpentier's settings do not, however, include one distinctive phrase that would prove conclusively that they were intended for processions during which the fathers implored the Virgin of Mercy's help. During that specific ceremony, the kneeling fathers added the words "Redeemer of the captives" to the usual litany: "Auxilium christianorum, Redemptrix captivorum, Regina Angelorum...."69 The absence of this phrase suggests that these works were intended for the devotions of laymen and women who belonged to a confraternity of the Virgin, rather than for a service emphasizing the redemptive powers of the Virgin of Mercy, or for one of the lavish processions in which the Mercy fathers paraded freed galley slaves from church to church.

The extent to which Charpentier provided the Guise musicians with music appropriate for one of the three offices of the Virgin is apparent in Tables 1-3, above, where his works for small ensemble are shown in bold-face type. These tables reveal that, over the years, the Guise composer created a repertoire of works that could be performed during such services. How many of them were performed at the Mercy will never been known. Indeed, Mme de Guise may have called upon the Guise singers when she was in Paris — or may even have had some of these works performed at Alençon by the chambermaids who made the journey with her from Paris. For example, it is reasonable to assume that Mlle Claude Charpentier and her niece, Marguerite ("Margot")70 Dubois, were competent singers. In fact, was little Mlle Dubois the "Margot" who participated in the tenebrae of 1673 (H.. 95), rather than Marguerite de la Bonnodière, the future lady-in-waiting to whom I tentatively attributed that nickname in my article in Early Music entitled "Sweet Servitude"?

More Guise chapels

Liesse was the far-off jewel in Mlle de Guise's collection, and her chapel at the Mercy served as its practical, everyday replacement. It provided the aging princess with a convenient place to fulfill the obligations of the "regular" life. These were not, however, the only chapels or churches where she enjoyed special privileges. The family's precipitous departure for Italy in the 1630s, and its near bankruptcy, apparently forced Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse (Mlle de Guise's mother) to give up her chapel at the Minims of the Place Royal (where the litanies of the Virgin were sung every evening); but she clung tenaciously to her chapel at the convent of the Capucins, on the rue Saint-Honoré. Indeed, no sooner had Henriette-Catherine returned to France than she ordered the construction of a chapel to house her father's (Ange de Joyeuse, the courtier turned Capucin) favorite statue of the Virgin. Mlle de Guise saw to the completion of this ornate chapel in the baroque style after her mother's death in 1656. It doubtlessly was in order to be close to Frère Ange de Joyeuse that mother and daughter requested burial in the adjacent convent of the Capucines. Yet no sources refer to Mlle de Guise's presence at services at either the Capucins or the Capucines — although an allusion to the Guises or to music at an event in which they participated, an article published in the Gazette de France, implies that the Guise musicians contributed to the beauty of the ceremony. The poverty of the Capucins' garb should not be read as evidence that the convents of this order eschewed music and ostentation. In 1682 the Capucins of the rue Saint-Honoré celebrated the birth of the Duke of Burgundy with fireworks and elaborate decorations; and, from a balcony on the façade, "more than fifty musicians" playing trumpets, oboes, bassoons and violins gave a "magnifique Concert."71 This opens the possibility that some of Charpentier's works for the Virgin were written with the Joyeuse-Guise chapel and its statue in mind.

In addition to the above chapels, the Guises had long occupied a chapel in their parish church, Saint-Jean-en-Grève,72 but it is not clear to which saint it was dedicated. In fact, it seems that the family's role in the life of this parish centered less on their chapel than on an annual event that Mlle de Guise's mother had founded shortly after her return from Italy. Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse had founded an annual procession "pour reparation de l'injure fait au St Sacrement" that involved a theft of the pyx. And so, each year, on the Saturday that preceded the octave of the dedication of that church — that is, during the final days of August or the first days of September — the bells of Saint-Jean-en-Grève were rung to remind parishoners that the Guise-sponsored procession would be held the following day. At approximately ten the next morning, the Holy Sacrament was carried in pomp around the outside of the church, followed by the clergy, the vestry and the members of the confraternity of the Holy Sacrament (among them two friends of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's family, Daniel Voisin and Louis de Bailleul), each  worshipper bearing a candle. (This confraternity would seem to be the one founded on December 18, 1672, whose official name was the "Association de l'Adoration perpetuelle du très-saint Sacrement de l'Autel." Yet another confraternity founded at a Guise church, within eighteen months after the demise of Mlle de Guise's cher neveu, Louis-Joseph, Duke of Guise!) The procession then moved inside for a "messe votive du Saint Sacrement celebrée avec ceremonie" accompanied by organ music. A salut du Saint Sacrement was held at six that evening, "with prayers for the king at the end" — and prayers for the House of Guise as well.73 This solemn but showy event offered Mlle de Guise yet one more opportunity to put Charpentier's music to use for the glory of God and of the Guises. Even if Charpentier did not compose specifically for this event, many of his compositions for the small Guise ensemble were appropriate for this procession and for the vespers and the salut that followed.

We have seen how Mlle de Guise obtained her chapel at the Mercy: she expressed her desire to be granted a chapel, and the fathers could not refuse. They did not ask for an annual rental fee; instead, they apparently trusted that she would reward their generosity by providing music, as Sieur Bernard had done for so many years; and that she would remember the convent in her will. (They were quite disgruntled to find that their generosity had not been adequately rewarded: "[Mlle de Guise] qui pour toutes choses nous a laissé en mourant 300 lt de rentes sur le duché de Guize, sans charge," commented the father who drew up the inventory of the church.)74 In my article "Un foyer d'italianisme" (Bulletin Charpentier, no 12), I recounted how Mme de Guise obtained her chapel at the Theatins: she too expressed her desire to have a chapel and gave the fathers 80 gold louis (880 lt) to have it built according to her specifications. If the Theatins, like the fathers of the Mercy, expected to be remembered in Mme de Guise's will, they also were disappointed.

In a sense, Mlle de Guise also "owned" some or all of the chapels at Montmartre. Her maternal grandfather, Père Ange de Joyeuse, had been the "protector" of Abbess Marie de Beauvilliers during her battle against the laxism that had drained the abbey of its vitality. When Mlle de Guise's sister, Françoise-Renée de Lorraine, became coadjutrice in 1644, the Guises embellished the abbey buildings — just as if the royal abbey were one of their estates. For example, Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse contributed 23,000 livres for a long, covered gallery along the rue des Martyrs, to connect the new priory to the main convent on the top of the butte; Marie de Lorraine created an annuity to pay for the rebuilding of the outer walls;75 and the future abbess offered a new portal (which, of course, bore the arms of the Lorraines of Guise) and also paid for repairs to the ancient church. By 1672 the Guises, alive and dead, had become the recipients of a birthday mass, in gratitude for their generosity.(76)

Since the early decades of the century, the Virgin had been the protectress of the abbey of Montmartre. Françoise-Renée's saintly predecessor, Marie de Beauvilliers, had put the Virgin's "image, en bosse, au milieu du choeur dans le siege Abbatial, tenant une crosse dans sa main, afin qu'elle reçust l'honneur que l'on rend à la Supérieure, et qu'elle fust regardée comme la Souveraine de toutes les Religieuses."77 Grateful for the Virgin's protection during the tumults of the Fronde, in 1647 the abbess "ordonna de grandes ceremonies pour la reception d'une figure de la mesme tres-Sainte Vierge, faite du bois de Notre Dame de Foy, qu'elle a fait mettre dans une chapelle du mesme nom, où tous les Samedis les Religieuses chantent un salut."(78) In reality not only the abbess but her coadjutrice, Françoise-Renée de Lorraine, created this chapel, which was "dédiée à N. S. sous le nom et vocable de Notre Dame de Lorrette." (79) The weekly salut service was sung "to perfection" — as were all offices at Montmartre, for circa 1620 a novice who "chantoit comme un Ange," had come to the abbey and had taught the other nuns to sing: "Elle notta les livres de choeur et mit le chant en la perfection où elle est maintenant [1667]."(80)  Sources continue to allude to the skilled musician-nuns of Montmartre, into the 1660s and the late 1670s.

Little is yet known about Mlle de Guise's role in the cult of the Virgin of Loreto at Montmartre, but one document reveals that, during the 1680s, she founded a daily mass for the "Sainte Vierge en honneur du mistere de l'Incarnation." Each Saturday, on the other hand, the mass was special: it was to be "celébré au grand autel à haute voix, à diacre et sous diacre, et à la fin l'antienne Sub tuum praesidium, etc."(81) This mass clearly was connected with the salut service that the nuns sang each Saturday in the chapel of the Virgin of Loreto. If Mlle de Guise founded these services — and if she gave the abbey a "partie assez considerable de la vraye Croix de Nostre Sauveur enchassée en un reliquaire de christal garny d'or" — it was owing to the "estime toute particuliere" in which she held the nuns of the abbey, and because of her desire "de leur laisser des marques à perpetuité afin qu'elles aient toujours memoire d'elle." That the nuns considered Marie de Lorraine so inseparable from their Saturday salut service that they were sure to think of her while praying, provides extremely strong evidence that the princess had attended this service frequently.

During the salut service in a Benedictine convent, several traditional hymns were sung: Ecce panis angelorum, O sacramentum pietatis, O salutaris hostia and Panis angelicus. Is it a coincidence that Charpentier's notebooks for 1679 and 1680 contain an Ecce panis angelorum (H. 242) for a dessus and continuo, and an O salutaris hostia (H. 248) and a Panis angelicus (H. 243), for haut dessus and continuo?

In order to adore the Infant Jesus, the princesses did not technically require a chapel. The "domestics" of the Christ Child carried out several very specific activities on the twenty-fourth day of each month, few of which involved church attendance. Throughout that particular day, every "domestic" was expected to "s'abstenir de ses plaisirs & divertissemens ordinaires, se retirant du monde, des jeux, de toutes les occasions du peché" and, "s'appliquant à quelques oeuvres charitables & humbles," he or she was supposed to fast. As midnight approached, he or she went to the nearest church, adored the Holy Sacrament and said matins. (For Mlle de Guise, this "church" doubtlessly was the Mercy, although it is quite possible that Her Highness had obtained permission to have the Holy Sacrament exposed on one of the consecrated altars at the Hôtel de Guise.) As midnight struck, the worshipper prostrated himself "pendant quelque peu de temps," face to the ground, and then recited lauds.82 In short, he carried out the same devotions as the pupils of the Hôtel de l'Enfant Jésus, who spent the twenty-fourth night of each month prostrate before the crêche. The following day, the "domestic" was expected to "communier, prier beaucoup, faire des aumones, & plusieurs autres bonnes oeuvres."(83)

The "domestic" who served the Child and the Mother was expected to fulfill less onerous obligations on the other days of the month. "Each day" he or she must go to a "lieu dédié en honneur de la Sainte Vierge." If that proved impossible, he must find an image of the Virgin and pray or mediate before it. (Mlle de Guise could fulfill this obligation by contemplating either her precious Casa Santa of Loreto or Nocret's painting of the Infant Jesus that hung in her music room.) At least once a day he must "visit" the Holy Sacrament in a nearby church "pour s'offrir à Dieu," and each day he must say an antiphon in the honor of Jesus and the Virgin — the identical antiphons of the Virgin that were routinely recited by confraternities. (Are we to conclude that Mlle de Guise's singers came daily to the oratory adjacent to their mistress's bedroom to sing one of the antiphons that Charpentier had set to music for them?) The "domestic" was also instructed to show a special veneration for St. Anne (witness Sieur Charpentier's work in her honor, H. 315). As Advent approached, the "domestic" began a "retraite intérieure, en ferveur et en silence, pour se disposer à cette grande Feste."(84)

Above all, throughout the year, each feast day of the Infant Jesus was to be celebrated. That the two Guise women observed this requirement is manifest in the notebooks of Charpentier's French series. Between December 1676 and the spring of 1677 — that is, during the six months that followed the opening of the Academy of the Infant Jesus and of Barré's teachers' training school — the composer prepared several works for the principal holidays observed by the "domestics" of the Infant Jesus: Christmas (H. 393), Circumcision (H. 316), Epiphany (H. 395), and Purification (H. 318).

My "chapter" ends rather lamely here, without a conclusion. Having assembled this information, I drew several conclusions — or at least working hypotheses. First of all, I concluded that there is undeniably a relationship between Charpentier's compositions and the "regular" life these princesses are described as living. Second, I concluded that the linchpin in this connection is the cult of the Virgin and Child. (The tables annexed to this Musing provide rather eloquent evidence to this effect.) I had earlier observed that this preoccupation with the Virgin and Child begins in late 1675 and early 1676, during mourning for the little Duke, and that the works in Charpentier's "French" notebooks permit us to discern the contours of this pivotal moment. And lastly, I have identified an astonishing number of chapels where Charpentier's music could conceivably have been performed. In fact, I propose that musicologists henceforth see Charpentier as slowly building up, 1675-1687, a corpus of works that the Guise ensemble could perform in different venues throughout the capital, perhaps even back-to-back on certain feast days, first forn the domestics assembled in the ground-floor chapel of the Hotel de Guise, next at the Mercy, and later at the Luxembourg Palace, the Theatins or Montmartre. Most of these works probably were performed by the Guise singers, but it cannot be ruled out that the works for one, two or even three women, plus a simple continuo, were also suitable for performance by the highly talented nuns of Montmartre to whom sources allude.


1. Jerothée, Oraison funèbre d'Elisabeth d'Orléans (Alençon, 1696), BN, Ln27 9433, p. 18. Cf. the Récit abrégé des vertus de Mme la duchesse de Noailles (1698), B.N., ms. Clairambault 1142, fols. 33 ff. Like Mme de Guise, who did not enter a convent because Marie-Thérèse wanted to keep her at her side, Mme de Noailles had only remained in the "world" as a result of the pleas of her close friend, Anne of Austria.

2. Donneau de Visé, Mémoires... [of the reign of Louis XIV], 10:11.

3. Le Moyne, La Gallerie des Femmes fortes, "Epistre panegyrique" addressed to Anne of Austria.

4. La Vie réglée des dames qui veulent se sanctifier dans le monde (Paris: E. Couterot, 1693), "Avertissement."

5. Philippe Goibaut du Bois, Les Lettres de Saint Augustin, "Epitre."

6. Jerothée, I, p. 18.

7. See B.N., ms. fr. 23506, fols. 476-477 for this verbal portrait.

8. Motteville, Mémoires, pp. 67-69. For Anne of Austria, see Ruth Kleinman, Anne of Austria (Columbus, 1988), especially pp. 164ff (and the translation, Anne d'Autriche, Paris, 1993, pp. 296 ff.)

9. La Vie réglée, p. 11.

10. A.N., R 4* 1056, items 771 ff.

11. Chevalier de Méré, Lettres (Paris, 1689) 1:151.

12. H. Tournoüer, "Elisabeth d'Orléans," Bulletin de l'Orne, 61 (1942), p. 99.

13. A.N., R 4* 1056, items 124 ff.

14. Arsenal, ms. 6631.

15. La Vie réglée, pp. 124-125.

16. Jerothée, p. 35.

17. La Vie réglée, p. 136.

18. AN, R4*, 1056, items 979-1024.

19. Fragments of the rough-draft of the inventory made of the Luxembourg after her death survive at the Mazarine, Rés. 19170, fols. 25 ff.  For the donation to Jean Eudes, see A.N, M.C., LXXV, 166, June 3, 1673.

20. Tournoüer, pp. 99-100.

21 La vie réglée, p. 56.

22. Mazarine, A 10694, which has quite a few little pamphlets published by the same group of Parisian women, especially pièce 83, "Relation des misères," signed by Mmes Nicolaï and Miramion in 1683, pièce 84, "Aux Ames Chrestiennes," which asks for alms to help the foundlings cared for by the "Dames de la Charité de Paris", pièce 91, "Mémoire des prisons de Paris," and pièce 94, Reglemens des assemblées de Madame de la Moignon, premiere Presidente du Parlement de Paris, pour assister aux Prisonniers, les Pauvres honteux, & les Malades, which states that "Ces assemblées de Paris sont composées de Princes & Princesses, Ducs & Duchesses, Presidents & Presidentes, & d'autres personnes de toutes qualitez." Like Mme de Guise, the noble members of the confraternity apparently preferred to remain anonymous: their names do not appear in these brochures.

23.  Abbé Rombault, "Elisabeth d'Orléans," Bulletin de l'Orne 12 (1893), pp. 487-488.

24. André Frossard, Votre très humble serviteur, Vincent de Paul (n. p., Bloud et Gay: 1960), p. 163.

25. B.N., m.s. fr. 32831, p. 83; ms. fr. 32832, p.147. Although this allusions to the group appear in the obituaries of the mid-1690s, they refer to the activities of ladies who had long been active in the confraternity.

26. Rombault, p. 488.

27. La vie réglée, p. 123.

28. Mazarine, A 10694, pièce 28, a representative Concession de l'indulgence par nôtre tres-saint pere Innocent..., with permission of the bishop of Luçon, July 1696: "Reglement de la Confrerie de la Charité," created to help "pauvres malades des paroisses où elle est établie." See also the similar but undated "reglement" of pièce 84.

29. Langlois, Hôtel de Guise, p. 106.

30. B.N., ms. fr. 17054, fol. 272.

31. Described in the fragmentary inventory of Mazarine, Rés. 19170, fols. 25 ff.

32. La vie réglée, pp. 13-14 and 56-57.

33. B.N., ms. fr. 17052, fol. 343, October 8, 1680.

34. La vie réglée, p. 216.

35. La vie réglée, p. 88.

36. Tournoüer, p. 99.

37. La vie réglée, pp. 125-128.

38. La vie réglée, pp. 95, 133.

39. La vie réglée, pp. 213-214.

40. La vie réglée, pp. 206-208.

41. La vie réglée, pp. 227-228.

42. For example, L'Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie pour dire aux compagnies des penitens seculiers de l'un et l'autre sexe du Royaume de France et des Provinces voisines (Lyon: Besson, 1724), B.M. Rodez, T 6711; Heures de Nostre Dame et autres offices pour les confrères Penitens Noirs de Saincte Croix (Béziers: Jean Martel, 1647), B.M. Rodez, T 846; J.J.D.B., Office de la Vierge Marie avec les pensées & Elevations d'esprit sur chaque heure (Paris, 1644); Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie (Carpentras, 1690), B.N., B 29055.

43. A.N., R4* 1056, item 876. For sacred dolls in Florence (where Mlle de Guise spent eight years of her late adolescence), see C. Klapisch-Zuber, "Holy Dolls: Play and Piety in Florence in the Quattrocento," in Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 1985), pp. 310ff.

44. Archivio di Stato, Florence: Mediceo del Principato, 6390, March 12, 1680, fol. 609.

44A. Mazarine, Rés. 19170.

45. Arsenal, ms. 6631, dossier II.

46. R. de Cerisiers, Saint Image de Notre Dame de Liesse (Reims: Constant, 1632), p. 495.

47. Instruction pour la Confrairie du Mont St-Michel (at Rouen), 1668, Mazarine, 50585, 3o pièce, p. 23. For a confraternity of Saint Michael, see Lombard-Jourdan, on the St. Michel Confrérie, in Soc. de l'Histoire de Paris et de l'Ile-de-France, 1986-1987, pp. 106-107.

48. For this confraternity, see Simon de Doncourt, Saint-Sulpice, pp. 104-106. Both men and women belong to the "compagnie de la Vierge", pp. 119-120.

49. Among the handbooks stating that these litanies should be recited or "sung" at the end of lauds and complins are: Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie (Lyon: Besson, 1724), B.M., Rodez, T 6711 (which clearly is a reprint of a seventeenth-century publication), especially pp. 166 and 284, 1033, 1035; Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie (Carpentras, 1690), which contains virtually the same materials as the book in Rodez, albeit in a slightly different order, and which gives1615 as the date of first publication), B.N., B. 29055; Heures de Nostre Dame et autres offices pour les confrères Penitens Noires de Sainte Croix (Beziers: J. Martel, 1647), B.M. Rodez, T 846, p. 93; R. P. Carlo Musart, S.J.,  (Lemovicis: Nicolas Chapoulau, 1629), p. 78; and Ritual Sacri et regalis ordinis B.V. Mariae de Mercede, Redemptionis Captivorum (Hispoli, 1701), B.N., B. 29093, which states, p. 148, that these litanies (but with the phrase "Redemptrix captivorum" added after "Auxilium christianorum") were sung by the fathers during the processions celebrating a redemption of captives. By contrast, the litanies are missing from J.J.D.B., Office de la Vierge Marie avec les pensées & élévations d'Esprit sur chaque heure (Paris, 1644), which suggests that this book was written as a meditational guide to the "little office" of Saturday — which Roman breviaires in fact call the "Office de la Vierge au Samedy," Breviaire Romain (Paris: Josse, 1682), p. cxxxix.

50. Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie, Rodez, T 6711, pp. 140 and 166, where the statement is slightly ambiguous: does "on chante d'un ton plus relevé et plus beau aux troisieme pseaumes de Matines" mean that the three psalms are chanted this way, or only the third psalm? Page 1033 states: "Les litanies de Notre Dame, qu'on dit selon qu'il semble bon au Recteur, et Conseil aux fêtes de Notre Dame, ou quand quelque autre occasion se présente extraordinairement: mais on les dit presque toujours en fauxbourdon."

51. This would explain why Marguerite de Lorraine, a member of the Third Order of St. François, had herself painted with a penitent's handbook open to the "Litanies de la Vierge." It can scarcely be a coincidence that the composition of H. 310  (doubtlessly written for September 17, 1671, the feast of  the "impression of the stigmata" of  St. Francis), was written only a few months after the service (April 12, 1671) during which Marguerite de Lorraine received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis from the Franciscan general.

52. For further information, see Rodez, T 1019, pp. 31-37.

53. Delamare, Traité de la Police, vol. 1, p. 372, lists the following holidays devoted to the Virgin or Jesus. January: Circumcision, Saint Genevieve, Epiphany; February: Purification; March: Annunciation; August: Assumption; September: Nativity of the Virgin; December: Conception of the Virgin, Christmas. On these feast days, no fairs could be held, no merchandise could be transported about the city, no vendors could ply their wares on the Pont Neuf, and no laundresses could gather along the riverbanks.

54. Officium B. Virginis Mariae de Mercede Redemptionis Captivorum, p. i, bound with the Breviarium Augustinianum (Paris: Coignard, 1684), Rodez, T 1019.

55. Mazarine, 47181, pièce 1, Institution de la Confrerie des Agonisans, erigée le premier janvier 1673 par l'authorité de Monseigneur l'Archevesque en l'Eglise du Convent de Paris des Religieux de l'Ordre de Nostre-Dame de la Mercy Redemption des Captifs prés de l'Hostel de Guise, (Paris: Edme Couterot, 1673), p. 48.

56. A.N., LL 1559, fol. 85, which refers to a papal bull granting indulgences for "one Sunday a month," presumably the day the confraternity met to say the "little office."

57. Institution de la Confrerie des Agonisans, p. 176.

58. The Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie, Rodez, T 6711, states, p. iiii, that a number of its texts are used by this confraternity, which does not, however, appear on the partial list on p. 19.

59. See La Confrerie de la tres-Sainte Trinité et Redemption des Captifs (Lyons, 1706), B.N., 8o Z. Le Senne 40396; and Rés. 8o Le Senne 11341, a manuscript Officia propria made in 1744.

60. Office de la Glorieuse Vierge Marie, Rodez, T 6711, statutes and founding bull, pp. 20-37.

61. Institution de la Confrerie des Agonisans, p. 163: "qui n'a point d'incompatibilité avec celle des Agonisans."

62. Institution, p. 12.  

63. Institution, pp. 33 and 37. The unnamed founder can scarcely have been Magdaleine Bailly, widow of Jacques Vassan, conseiller du roi, who in February 1670, had founded 30 annual masses. Of  them, only 12 masses per year for the "aconisants," one for the last Friday of each month, LL 1556, p. 44. The mysterious benefactoress of August 1672 clearly had already founded 56 yearly masses for the dead.

64. Institution, p. 17.

65. Institution, pp. 47-48.

66. Institution, p. 48.

67. A.N., LL 1559, fol. 76. Was this Mme Sevin de Miramion, a relative of Charpentier's Sevin cousins? A "Mme de Miramion" gave altar hangings in the 1640s (LL 1559, fol. 9), but this could be the Mme Beauharnois de Miramion who was one of the leaders of the Dames de Charity and who advised Mlle de Guise in 1676 when the teaching institute was being created; LL 1556, p. 213, foundation created in 1664 by Marthe Croyer and the act itself, MC, XXXIX, 109, March 15, 1664, foundation before Rallu and Menard.

68. A.N., M.C., XC, 229, fondation, January 14, 1665.

69. Ritual Sacri, B.N., B. 29093, p. 148: "Litaniae B.V.M. in processione adeius favorem impetrandum."

70. Mme de Guise's will of March 1684, B.N., Morel de Thoisy, 420, fols. 17 ff, uses this nickname. I have not been able to connect Claude Charpentier to the composer. She was in Mme de Guise's service for at least twenty-five years and passed her job on to her niece, who was the daughter of her sister Bonne Charpentier and François Dubois, the bailli of Clermont?-en-Bassigny. A.N., M.C., LVIII, will, March 21, 1692; and LVIII, 192, donation, August 20, 1696. Marguerite de Lorraine and her daughter had several domestics called Charpentier, none of whom appear to be the composer's close relatives.

71. Nouvelles extraordinaires de divers endroits, Sept. 1, 1682 (information supplied by Jérôme de La Gorce).  

72. A.N., LL 798, fol. 97. The Condés took over the chapel in 1688, when they inherited the Hôtel de Guise.

73. A.N., LL 805, p. 114; LL 798, fols. 85v, 94v.

74. A.N., LL 1559, fol. 3.

75. B.N., ms., n.a. fr. 23168, fol. 116, re a notarial act dated April 15, 1660, and involving 10,000 livres.

76. Dumolin, "Notes sur l'Abbaye de Montmartre," Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Ile-de-France, 1931, pp. 197-198.  The acts, dated September 26 and 28, 1672, can be found in AN, Y 196, fol. 429 and Z1 J317.

77. Mère Jacqueline Boüette de Blémur, L'année bénédictine ou les vies des saints de l'ordre de Saint Benoist pour tous les jours de l'année (Paris: L. Billaine, 1667), 3:39, about Marie de Beauvilliers, d. 1657.

78. Blémur, p. 39.

79. A.N., M.C., XXIX, 183, April 16, 1647.

80. Blémur, p. 17.

81. A.N., M.C., CXII, 393, foundation, September 13, 1685, which replaced a foundation dated August 3, 1682.

82. Le Petit office du Saint Enfant Jesus (Paris: Fr. Leonard, 1664), pp. 97, 150-153.

83. Père Floeur, Le Prince de la Paix, L'Enfant Jésus (Brussels: Liépart, 1662), "Avis."

84. Petit office du Saint Enfant Jésus, pp. 49-61.