Michel, Francois

Michel, Francois a French visionary, was born at Salon, in Provence, in 1661. To this name is attached the memory of an extraordinary adventure, which, towards the close of the summer of 1699, created a great sensation in France. Michel practiced at Salon the trade of a farrier. When thirty-eight years of age, the father of a family, and well known in his vicinity, he claimed to have the following vision: "One evening, in the field, returning home, he saw at the foot of a tree, and surrounded by a great light, a beautiful fair woman, clothed in white, with a mantle arranged in court-fashion, who, calling Michel by his name, told him that she was the late queen, Marie Therese, who had been married to the king. After having confided to him some things of great importance, she ordered him, under pain of death, to go and reveal them to the king, adding that if at first he could not obtain an audience with the king, he should demand to see a minister of state, but that he should reserve certain secrets for the king alone. This apparition was renewed three times. Yielding finally to these injunctions, the farrier repaired to Aix, to the intendant of Provence, who, surprised at ;the good sense and firmness of this man, gave him letters to the ministers, and paid his way. This marvellous story spread in all directions. Michel had scarcely arrived at Marseilles, when he sought M. de Brissac, major of the body- guard, and, without permitting himself to be disheartened, insisted on having access to the king. Louis XIV, informed of the singular obstinacy of Michel, finally consented to receive the farrier, and had with him two interviews; but to this day the conversation between the king and his subject remains a mystery. To his friends the king pronounced Michel a man of great good sense. Michel returned to his province, furnished with a sum of money, and provided for during the remainder of his life." This singular case was much commented upon. While some admitted the reality of a providential mission, others saw in it only a tissue of bold trickery, of which Michel, in his simplicity, was the first dupe. We are told to place all this story to the account of a Madame Arnoul, a romantic and intriguing woman, widow of the intendant of marine at Marseilles, and who preserved a secret and intimate friendship for a long time with Madame de Maintenon. Michel, fatigued with the curiosity of which he was the object, retired to Landon,- a- village near Aix, where he died, December 10, 1726. Saint-Simon, Memoires, 11:16 sq. (edit. Cheruel); Proyart, Vie du Dauphin pere de Louis XVI. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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