Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

have been presented."

This sally amused the king, who said, "Well, since it must be so,
you shall be presented."

At this I leaped on the king's neck, giving a cry which might have
been heard by my rivals.  After that, I advanced to the two
gentlemen who had advocated my cause so well, extending a hand to
each, which they took and kissed with great gallantry.

Louis XV became thoughtful, and continued to mutter between his
teeth, "I wash my hands of it--they will cry out, they will clamor,
but it must be so."  I saw the feelings of the king, and took care
not to allow him to go away in this state.  Whilst I sought to
compose him by my caresses, the duc de Richelieu told us one of
his thousand and one adventures, which he told so well.  I know
not if it will please you, but such as it is I shall give you an
abridgment of it.

"I was, you know," he began, "a very good-looking, a very wild
fellow: women have no objection to this.  I was travelling, and
in my way thro' D----, M., the intendant of the city, insisted on
my taking up my abode at his house.  His lady added her entreaties,
and I consented.  I must tell you that the lady was handsome.  I
had passed the night with her; but when, on the next morning, as
I sought to go out of her apartment, I found the outer door double
locked and bolted.  I looked round me on all sides, but found no
egress.  Whilst I was lamenting this with the lady's , who was nearly as much distressed as her mistress, I
saw in a detached closet a great many machines covered with paper,
and all of different shapes.  On inquiry, I was informed that the
following Monday was the lady's birthday, which they were to
celebrate with fireworks.  I looked at the beautiful fusees and
brilliant suns with much admiration.  Suddenly, thinking of the
lady's honor which might be compromised, I took a light and set
fire to a Roman candle; in a moment the whole was in flames, and
everybody took alarm.  Great was the consternation in the house,
which was turned out of windows; and in the uproar, the house-door
being broken open, a crowd of persons rushed in; I ran this way
and that way; everybody admired and praised my exertions.  I was
compelled to quit the house at last, and ordered my carriage, whilst
M. the intendant was thanking me for the vast service I had rendered
him.  I assure you, sire, that I never laughed more heartily."*

*The duc de Richelieu preserved his coolness and
talent at repartee in the most trivial circumstances.
The story is well known of the man who came to
ask for his aid, saying they were related.  "How?"
asked the duke.  "Sir, by Adam."  "Give this man a
penny," said the duke, turning to a gentleman of his
train; "and if all of his relations give him as much
he will soon be a richer man than I am."

If our readers will turn to "Joe Miller," Page 45,
they will find this jest attributed to the witty
duke of Buckingham.  It is a very good joke for a
duke, but savors more of a desire to be witty than
to be charitable.


(translator)

This tale amused the king, and M. de Richelieu assured him that he
had never told it before.  A thousand considerations had induced
him to keep it to himself until the present time.  "But now," said
he, "the third generation of madame l'intendante is no longer
young, and I have no fear of being called out to fight a duel."

Next day there was a general rumor of my presentation.  My friends
asserted that I had the king's promise.  This was imprudent on
their part, and they injured my interest whilst they flattered my
vanity.  They put the Choiseul cabal to work, who intrigued so
well that not a person could be found who would perform the
office of introductress.  You know the custom: the presentation
is effected by the intermediation of another lady, who conducts
the person to be presented to the princesses, and introduces her.
This custom had passed into a law, and it would have been too
humiliating to me to have dispensed with it.

This was a dire blow for me: it distressed me sadly, and I wept
over it with my friends.  The duc de Richelien said to me,

"With money and promises everything can be managed at court.  There
is no place where they know better how to value complaisance, and
the price at which it is sold.  Do not give yourself any uneasiness;
we shall find the lady we want."

And we did find her, but her compliance was dearly bought.  Two
ladies who were applied to stipulated for most outrageous
conditions.  One, the marquise de Castellane, consented to present

me, but demanded that she should be created a duchess, and have
a gift of five hundred thousand livres: the other, whose name I
forget, asked for her husband the order of the Holy Ghost and
a government, a regiment for her son, and for herself I forget
what.  These ladies seemed to think, like Don Quixote and Sancho
Panza, that governments and five hundred thousand livres were to
be picked up on the highway.  In truth, they spoke out
without disguise.

At this juncture the chancellor had a singular conversation
concerning me with the Choiseuls.  He had been one morning to
call on the duke, and whilst they were discoursing, the duchesse
de Grammont came into her brother's apartment, and entered at
once into conversation.

"Ah, my lord, I am glad to see you.  Your new friends carry you
off from your old ones.  You are wrong to adore the rising sun."

'That was the idolatry of a great number of persons: but I beg of
you to be so very kind as not to speak to me in figures, if you
would wish me to understand you."

"Oh, you play off the ignorant.  You know as well as I do what I
mean, and your daily visits to this ."

"Which, madame?  There are so many at court!"

This sarcastic reply made the brother and sister smile; both of
them being fully competent to understand the merit of an epigram.
The duke fearing lest the duchess should go too far, judging by
what she had already said, thus addressed him:

"You are, then, one of the adorers of the comtesse du Barry?"

"Yes, monsieur le due; and would to God that, for your own
interest, you would be so too!"

"My brother set foot in the house of this creature!"

"Why not, madame?  We see good company there; the prince de
Soubise, the ducs de la Trimouille, de la Vauguyon, Duras,

Richelieu, d'Aiguillon, and many others, not to mention the king
of France.  A gentleman may be seen in such company without
any disgrace."

"Monsieur le chevalier," replied the duke, "to speak candidly to
you, allow me to ask, if any one who would have the friendship of
our house would be seen in that of the lady in question?"

"Pardon me, duke; that is not the question.  Allow me, in turn,
to ask you, why those of your house should not go there?  This,
I think, is the real question."

"You offer us a splendid alliance!"  said the duchess with anger.

"I offer nothing, madame: I only inquire.  For my part, I see no
legitimate motive for this proscription of madame du Barry."

"A woman without character!"

"Character!  Why, madame, who has any in these days?  M. de Crebillon
the younger would be at a loss to tell us where to find it."

This reply made the duke and his sister smile again.  The chancellor
went on thus:

"It appears to me that persons were less difficult in the times
of madame de Pompadour."

"But a creature who has been so low in society!"

"Have you seen her so, madame?  And supposing it has been the
case, do we interdict all ladies of conduct not less blamable from
an introduction at court.  How many can you enumerate, madame,
who have led a life much more scandalous?  Let us count them on
our fingers.  First, the marechale de Luxembourg, one; then--"

"Then the comtesse de Choiseul, my sister-in-law," added the
duke; "we know it as well as you, sir.  But this is not the matter
in question.  You are not ignorant that our enemies surround this
madame du Barry; and it is of your alliance with them that
I complain."

"You see everything with a jaundiced eye, monsieur le duc.  But
if you fear the influence of this lady with the king, why do you
not present yourself at her apartments?  She would be delighted
to receive you."

"No, no!"  cried the duchess, "my brother will never present
himself to such a creature.  If he would degrade himself so low,
I would never forgive him as long as I live.  Since you show
your gratitude for what has been done for you by leaguing yourself
with this woman, tell her from me that I detest her, and that I will
never rest until I have sent her back again to her dunghill."

"Madame," replied the chancellor, "I will evince my gratitude to
the duke by not delivering such a message"; and the chancellor
went out.

M.  de Maupeou came to tell me the whole of this conversation,
which  wrote down under his dictation, that I might show
it to the king.  You will see in my next letter what resulted from
all this, and how the ill-timed enmity of the Choiseuls served my
interests most materially.



CHAPTER XI


A word concerning the duchesse de Choiseul--The apartment of the
Comte de Noailles--The Noailles--Intrigues for presentation--The
comte de Bearn--M. Morand once more--Visit of the comtesse Bearn
to the comtesse du Barry--Conversation--Interested complaisance
The king and the comtesse du Barry--Dispute and reconciliation

I showed the king this conversation, in which I had so shamefully
vilified by the duchesse de Grammont.  Louis XV was very much
inclined to testify his disapprobation to this lady, but was withheld
by the consideration he felt for the duke and (particularly) the
duchesse de Choiseul.  This latter lady was not beloved by her
husband, but her noble qualities, her good heart, made her an
object of adoration to the whole court.  You could not speak to
any person of madame de Choiseul  without hearing an eulogium in
reply.  The king himself was full of respect towards her; so much
so, that, on the disgrace of the duke, he in some sort asked her
pardon for the chagrin which he had caused her.  Good conduct is

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com