Portrait of King Louis XV of France when still a child. Painting by Pierre Gobert
[Louis XIV] sent for the Dauphin, who was lifted by his governess on to an elbow-chair beside the bed. The boy had very dark big eyes, a chubby face and a pretty rosebud mouth. A lifetime ago Louis had been just such a small boy brought to a king’s bedside. Louis gazed at him with tears in his eyes. He was aware that this was an important moment. The last message of a French king to his heir was taken very seriously; it was the summing-up of a lifetime.
“Soon,” Louis said to the boy, “you will be King of a great kingdom. I urge you never to forget your obligations to God; remember that you owe Him everything. Try to remain at peace with your neighbors. I have loved war too much. Do not copy me in that, or in my overspending. Take advice in everything; try to find out the best course and always follow it. Lighten your people’s burden as soon as possible, and do what I have had the misfortune not to do myself.” After these words of deep and even astonishing humility he gave the boy his blessing.
The deathbed of Louis XIV, giving advice to his heir, Louis XV.
Vincent Cronin, Louis XIV (London: Book Club Associates, 1969), p. 348.
Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 134