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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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I only charged her to offer my services to you, and throw myself
at your feet, as I do now."

"Rise, prince, I do not accuse you of such folly, and promise
not to mention it: it is necessary, however, that you should know
I have but one part to play here, that of pleasing the king.  Any
other character will not suit me.  Honor me with your friendship,
and accept mine in return.  I cannot, must not, have any other union
with you."

Thus terminated this interview; it did not suit me to give the
prince de Soubise any hopes.  He and all the Rohans would have
lived on it; they would have turned my confidence to their gain,
and as they were for the most part sharpers, or something akin to
it, my name would soon have been mixed up with some dirty transaction.
His family was a hydra of avarice, and would alone have swallowed
up all the wealth of France.  If the king had taken one of the Rohan
family for his mistress, I believe that the finance department
would not have sufficed for one year's expenditure of this prodigal
family.  I had no objection to the prince de Soubise coming to
supper with me, but I did not feel myself disposed to give him
any control over my mind.  I should have been ill-guided by a
man who had no government of himself.

If M, de Soubise did not depart satisfied, madame de Marsan, his
relative, to whom he related the bad success of his attempt, was
not more so.  She was a woman to have governed a kingdom, had she
been allowed to do so.  There was in her woman's head a capacity
superior to that of all the men of her family.  She had a great deal
of ambition, and all her actions were the results of a premeditated
plan.  She would have ruled the king, the princes, the princesses,
favorites, mistresses, the court, the city, the parliaments, and the
army!  Nothing would have been impossible to her; she was adequate
to any thing.  Circumstances did not give her the opportunity of
displaying her genius.  With great talents and keen perception,
she was reduced to the government of her own family alone; that
was but a trifling matter!  In spite of her discontent, madame de
Marsan preserved a sort of neutrality towards me.  She allowed
all sorts of ill to be spoken of me without ever repressing a word.
She was then mute and motionless.  She saw me torn to pieces
without any emotion.  However, when we were together she tried to
cajole me in a thousand ways, all the time detesting me in her
heart; and I, who could scarcely endure the sight of her, paid her
a like number of little attentions.  Thus surrounded by hypocrites, I
became one myself.  We learn to howl in the society of wolves.



CHAPTER V


The duc de la Vauguyon and the comtesse du Barry--The marquis
de Chauvelin and the comtesse--M. de Montbarrey and the comtesse--
Intrigues--Lebel--Arrival of the du Barry family--The comte
d'Hargicourt--The demoiselles du Barry--Marriage of the comtesse--
The marquis de Bonrepos--Correspondences--The broken glass

The prince de Soubise was not the only person who wished to act
in the capacity of mentor to me.  M. the duc de la Vauguyon
attempted also to be the guide of my youth.  This nobleman was
too much of a Jesuit not to have a nose of prodigiously fine scent.
He perceived that the wind was in my favor, and approached me in
consequence.  I have mentioned to you his first visit, and he made
me a second a few days afterwards.  He appeared very affable,
very conciliating, and insisted particularly several times, and
that without any apparent motive, that the king, not being now
engaged in the ties of wedlock, he should choose some agreeable
companion, and assuredly could not do better than select me.  The
day after this visit, early in the morning, the duke sent me a
splendid bouquet, a homage which he afterwards repeated, and
then called on me a third time.

During this visit after a conversation on the embarrassments of an
introduction at Versailles, he proposed that I should avoid them.

"You cannot conceal from yourself," he said, "how powerful will
be the cabal against you; and, without including the Choiseuls,
you will have especially to fear the pious party, who will only
see in your intimacy with the king, allow me to say, a crying
scandal, and one not profitable for religion."

"If the pious party unite with those who are not so to destroy
me," I rejoined, laughing, "I shall have all France against me."

"No; but perhaps all the chateau.  But there is a way of averting
the storm.  Attach yourself to the party of honest men who have
been so greatly calumniated--the Jesuits.  Philosophy, supported
by the duc de Choiseul, has repressed them; but the high clergy and
the  are attached strongly to them, and you would
interest them in your fortune by favoring these worthy fathers."

"What!  monsieur le duc," cried I, "will  the clergy
of France, and  and their suite be favorable to
me, if I use my influence with the king in espousing the cause of
the society of Jesus?"

"Certainly, madame, and I am authorized to promise you.  I give
you my word for this.  Endeavor to re-establish the order, and
there will not be one of us but will be zealous in supporting you."

"I certainly am desirous of pleasing your friends; but I can see
that, from the first moment of my appearance at court, I shall
be at open war with the Choiseuls and the parliaments."

"What matters it?  I confess that the victory will not be easy at
first, but there is no need to exaggerate the difficulties.  It is
true that the king has esteem for the duc de Choiseul, but he has
much affection for you, which avails much more.

"As for the parliaments, he hates them, and for many years has
been desirous of ridding himself of them entirely, and he will
effect this by the help of God and your interference."

"This will be hard work for one so weak as I am."


"Oh, you are sufficiently powerful, I assure you.  Only confide
in me, the intermediary between you and my friends, let me guide
you, and I will steer to the right port.  What do you think of
this, madame?"

"Oh!  monsieur le duc, it is not at a moment that we can give a
positive reply to such grave matters.  I content myself in assuring
you, that I have for you as much confidence as respect, and should
be very happy to obtain your protection."

"My protection!  Oh, heaven, madame, you are jesting.  It is I who

should be honored by your friendship."

"It is yours; but as yet I am nothing at court, and can do nothing
there until I have been presented.  It is for my speedy presentation
that my friends should labor now."

"We will not fail, madame; and if you will allow me to come from
time to time to converse with you, we can take our measures."

"Your visits will always be agreeable."

Such was the conversation which I had with the duc de la Vauguyon.
I have given it somewhat at length, because it was the preface to a
deep intrigue which made a vast noise.  I think I extricated myself
very well from the net in which the duke sought to catch me.  I knew
that his situation at Versailles compelled me to act with caution
towards him.  He was in good odor with , had the ear of
the young dauphin and the princes his brothers.  He deceived me
like a true Jesuit as he was, in telling me that the 
were well disposed towards me ; and on my side I cheated him with
a promise of confidence and, friendship which I never bestowed.
Ah! my friend, again and again must I exclaim, what a villainous
place is a court!

Whilst the duc de la Vauguyon was seeking to enlist me under
the banners of heaven or the Jesuits, the marquis of Chauvelin
also essayed to make me his pupil; but as frank as he was amiable,
this nobleman did not go to work in a roundabout manner.  He
came to me loyally, requesting me to consider his interests and mine.

"The king likes me," said he, "and I am attached to him body and
soul.  He tenderly loves you, and I should have no difficulty in
doing the same thing; but as I am no longer of an age to inspire
you with the passion which I should feel towards you, I content
myself with your friendship.  I have no enemy here, and no wish
to hurt any person.  Thus you need not fear that I shall urge you
to any measures that might compromise you.  It is the hatred of
the kingdom that you will have to fear.  France is about to march
in a better track, and the best plan is to follow its lead.  It
pains me, madame, to use language which may appear severe to you;
we ought only to talk to you of your beauty and the love which it
inspires.  But in your situation, even that beauty may serve the
interests of France, and it is for that motive that I come to
solicit you."

I replied to M. de Chauvelin with equal frankness.  I told him
that my sole intentions were to confine myself to the circle of
my duties; that I had none but to please the king, and no intention
of mixing myself up with state affairs.  This was my plan I can
assure you.  I flattered myself that I could follow it, not
dreaming of those political nuisances into which I was precipitated
in spite of myself.  I added, nevertheless, that in my situation,
which was delicate, I would not refuse the counsels of a faithful
servant of the king, and that under this title M. de Chauvelin
should be consulted on important occasions.

The marquis de Chauvelin had too much good sense, too much
knowledge of the world, not to perceive a refusal concealed under
this politeness.  The secret inclination of my heart had already
led me to select the duc d'Aiguillon for my director, and I could
not reconcile myself to any other.  He contented himself with
asking me again for my friendship, which I willingly accorded
him, and I have always found myself fortunate in his.  Thus did I
accept the offers of service from the prince de Soubise, the duc
de la Vauguyon, and the marquis de Chauvelin.

A fourth sought to swell the ranks; the comte, afterwards prince,
de Montbarrey.  This gentleman made up in pretensions for what he
lacked in talent.  He was weak, self-important, selfish, fond of

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