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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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could be pleasing to a king not yet twenty.  She actually went
in the evening to madame de Villeroi's dressed in blue, with a
blue plumed head-dress.  She was placed next to his Danish majesty.
Christian VII addressed her in most courteous terms, but not one
word of love.

The duchesse imagining that the prince was timid, looked at him
with eyes of tenderness, and endeavored to attract and encourage
him by all means she could devise, but the monarch did not
understand her.  The duchesse then addressed a few words, which
she hoped would lead to an explanation, but, to her dismay, his
majesty did not appear to understand her.  Madame de Grammont
was furious at this affair.  The duc d'Aiguillon, who was close to
her, had seen all, heard all, and related particulars to me.  The
same day I told the king of my trick and its success.  He laughed
excessively, and then scolded me for at all compromising his
Danish majesty.

"How, sire?"  was my reply.  "I did not sign his name; I have not
forged his signature.  The vanity of the duchesse has alone caused
all the ridiculous portion of this joke.  So much the worse for
her if she did not succeed."

I did not, however, limit my revenge to this.  A second letter,
in the same hand, was addressed to my luckless enemy.  This time
she was informed that she been made a butt of, and mystified.  I
learned from M. de Sartines, who, after our compact, gave me
details of all, the methods she had pursued to detect the author of
these two epistles, and put a termination to all these inquiries,
by denouncing myself to M. de Sartines; who then gave such a
turn to the whole matter, that the duchesse could never arrive
at the truth.

Voltaire, in the meantime, was not slow in reply; and as I imagine
that you will not be sorry to read his letter, I transcribe it for you:--

"MONSIEUR LE DUC,-- I am a lost, destroyed man.  If I
had strength enough to fly, I do not know where I
should find courage to take refuge.  I!  Good God!  I
am suspected of having attacked that which, in common
with all France, I respect!  When there only remains to
me the smallest power of utterance, but enough to chant
a  that I should employ it in howling at
the most lovely and amiable of females!  Believe me,
monsieur le duc, that it is not at the moment when a
man is about to render up his soul, that a man of my
good feeling would outrage the divinity whom he adores.
"No, I am not the author of the ''
The verses of this rhapsody are not worth much, it is
true; but indeed they are not mine: they are too
miserable, and of too bad a style.  All this vile trash
spread abroad in my name, all those pamphlets without
talent, make me lose my senses, and now I have scarcely
enough left to defend myself with.  It is on you,
monsieur le duc, that I rely; do not refuse to be the
advocate of an unfortunate man unjustly accused.
Condescend to say to this young lady, that I have
been before embroiled with madame de Pompadour,
for whom I professed the highest esteem; tell her, that
at the present day especially, the favorite of Caesar is
sacred for me; that my heart and pen are  hers, and
that I only aspire to live and die under her banner.

"As to the scraps you ask for, I have not at this moment
any suitable.  Only the best viands are served up at the
table of the goddesses.  If I had any I would present them
to the person of whom you speak to me.  Assure her, that
one day the greatest merit of my verse will be to have them
recited by her lips; and entreat her, until she bestows
immortality on me, to permit me to prostrate myself at
her beautiful feet.

"I will not conclude my letter, monsieur le duc,
without thanking you a thousand times for the advice
you have given me.  This proof of your kindness will,
if possible augment the sincere  attachment I bear to
you.  I salute you with profound respect."

As it is bold to hold the pen after having transcribed anything
of M. de Voltaire's, I leave off here for to-day.



CHAPTER X


When is the presentation to take place?--Conversation on this
subject with the king--M. de Maupeou and M. de la Vauguyon--
Conversation on the same subject with the king and the duc de
Richelieu--M. de la Vrilliere--M. Bertin---Louis XV and the
comtesse--The king's promise--The fire-works, an anecdote--The
marquise de Castellane--M. de Maupeou at the duc de Choiseul's--
The duchesse de Grammont

In spite of the love of the duchesse de Grammont, the king of
Denmark departed at last.  Louis XV having resumed his former
habits, I began to meditate seriously on my presentation; and my
friends employed themselves to the utmost in furthering my desires
and insuring my triumph.

The chancellor, who each day became more attached to my interests,
opened the campaign.  One day, when the king was in a rage with
the parliaments, the chancellor seized the opportunity to tell him
that the cabal, who were opposed to my presentation, testified so
much resistance, under the idea, and in the hope, that they would
be supported by the parliaments of Paris.

"If your majesty," added the chancellor, "had less condescension
towards these malcontents, they would fear your authority more."

"You will see," replied the king, "that it will be their audacity
which will urge me on to a step, which otherwise I should wish
to avoid."

Whilst the hatred which M. de Maupeou bore towards the parliaments
served me in this way, the love of M. de la Vauguyon for the
Jesuits turned to even more advantage.  The good duke incessantly
talked to me of his dear Jesuits; and I as constantly replied, that
my influence would not be salutary until after my presentation, M.
de la Vauguyon had sense enough to perceive the embarrassment of my
situation, and saw that before I could think of others I must think
of myself.  Having taken "sweet counsel" with the powerful heads of
his company, he freely gave me all his influence with the king.

Fortune sent me an auxiliary not less influential than these two
gentlemen; I mean the marechal duc de Richelieu.  In the month of
January, 1769, he returned from his government of Guienne to enter
on service.  He had much credit with the king, and this (would you
believe it?) resulted from his reputation as a man of intrigue.  He
told the king every thing that came into his head: he told him one
day, that the Choiseuls boasted that he, the king of France, never
dared introduce his mistress into the state apartments at Versailles.

"Yes," added the duke, "they boast so loudly, that nothing else is
talked of in the province; and at Bordeaux, for instance, there is
one merchant who, on the strength of the enemies of the comtesse,
has made a bet that she will never be presented."

"And why do you not imprison these persons?"  inquired the
king, angrily.

"Because, sire, it appears to me injustice to punish the echo of
the fooleries of Paris."

"I will conduct myself as regards the presentation of madame du
Barry in the manner which I think best.  But is it not an
inconceivable contrariety, that one party should wish it with the
utmost desire, and another place every obstacle in the way?  In
truth, I am very unfortunate, and a cruel tyranny is exercised
over me."

The duc de Richelieu, not wishing to appear as one of the tyrants
of the king, gave a different turn to the conversation.

My presentation was, however, a matter of first-rate importance to
me and to my partizans, and the duc de la Vrilliere was gained
over to my side, by making him believe that the king would yield
to my desires, and that then I should remember all those who
opposed my elevation.  The duc d'Aiguillon also drew over to my
party M. Bertin, who bore no love to the Choiseuls, and who saw
that the preponderance of interest was on my side of the scale.
When I was assured of a considerable number of defenders, I
thought I might venture on the master stroke, and thus I went
to work.

One evening the king was with me, and the MM. de Maupeou and de
Richelieu were there also.  We were discoursing of different things,
and the king was perfectly tranquillized, little anticipating the
scene that was in store for him.  I rose suddenly from my arm-chair,
and going up to his majesty, after a profound courtesy cast myself
at his feet.  Louis XV would have raised me, but I said,

"No, I will remain where I am until you have accorded me the
favor I ask."

"If you remain in this posture I shall place myself in a similar one."

"Well, then, since you will not have me at your knees I will place
myself on them"; and I seated myself in his lap without ceremony.

"Listen to me, sire," I said, "and repeat what I say to the king of
France word for word.  He must authorize my presentation; for else,
some fine day, in the presence of the whole court, I will go to the
state apartments, and try whether I shall be repulsed at the door."

"Will she have the boldness?"  inquired the king to the chancellor.

"I have no doubt of it, sire.  A female, young, beautiful, honored
with your kindness, may venture to do anything."

"Is it not distressing to me," I added, "that, graced with your
majesty's favors, I remain thus concealed, whilst women whom
you detest annoy you with their presence."

"Madame is right," replied the duc de Richelieu, "and I see that
you look for her every evening where she is not, and where she
ought to be."

"What!  you too, duc de Richelieu, do you join the cry of
the chancellor?"

"I would tear out the eyes of these gentlemen," I added, "if
they thought differently from me."

"Oh," said the king, laughing, "this punishment would not be one
for M. Maupeou: justice ought to be blind: and as for you, M. de
Richelieu, you have your  left."

"Which he has nobly gained," I replied, "by fighting against your
majesty's enemies, and of which he still continues worthy, by now
defending me from my foes."

"This rebellion," said the king, "cannot last, and I see myself
compelled to hold a  (a judicial sitting or bed)."

"And I swear to you, that I will receive nobody into mine until I

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