Bourdelot did not only give Queen Christina’s physical health back to her; he also improved her mental health. He discouraged her from studying too hard, by organizing entertainment or by telling her ridiculous things.
Bishop Huet says in his Memoires: “He took it upon himself to remind her of the mockery heaped upon females who prided themselves on their scientific knowledge, by the ladies of the French court; he made her laugh as well, by his jokes and witty remarks.”
The atmosphere at court changes, and the doctor, mocking and irreverent with the great lords, becomes more and more important. Christina’s enemies go as far as suggesting more intimate relations between the two of them. A lot of people dislike him.
Among all of the learned men surrounding Christina, Bourdelot has only a mediocre rank. However, the Queen, who likes to relax from her very serious discussions, enjoys his company, and he makes her laugh.
Bourdelot, knowing the influence of amusement on health, particularly for those of nervous temperament, encourages her in her innocent whims. One day, she decides to force Saumaise, who always dresses with great simplicity, to only appear at court dressed in full military uniform, including the buffalo-skin armour and plumed hat.
Another day, she obliges the grave Bochart, always ready to fire up on any philosophical or historical subject, to play shuttlecock with her, while Meibomius sings one of the tunes from that music of the Ancients about which he had written a thick book. It is understandable that the princes hated the French doctor.
A young woman of fragile health, but organizing her life in defiance of the rules of hygiene, overexciting her brain and her nerves, seeking arrogant self-satisfaction, avid of flattery and applause, revelling in her intellectual and material superiority, always active, leading all of her business, her studies and her amusements at the same devilish speed, Christina is not an easy patient for a doctor. Bourdelot had to keep her under constant surveillance.
Capricious and volatile, Christina does not follow his advice for very long. She does not stop working, does not want to sleep more, and is not protected from accidents.
In May 1652, she gives her doctor a great fright. During an inspection of the Swedish fleet, Admiral Fleming falls into the water and, trying to grab hold of something, drags the Queen in with him. She is scarcely dry, when she mounts a horse, and travels around the town to reassure her subjects.
In June 1654, Christina hands the sceptre to her cousin Charles-Gustave and, immediately afterward, leaves Sweden for the States of Philippe IV, in Flanders. A few months earlier, she had called the Senate and announced her intention of abdicating. “For this, she was not asking their advice, only their co-operation.”
Then, she prepares to leave. She gives orders to arm a fleet, to wrap up her collections, her gold and silver plate, her furniture and her jewels. She leaves at the castle only two rugs and an old bed.
By voluntarily descending from the throne, Christina intends to live from then on with no restraint, and to listen only to her own feelings and instincts. However, if she renounces her power, she wants to preserve her condition and her rank.
Fifth part tomorrow.