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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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"Then a regiment for her son."

"Oh, he is the wood they make colonels of, and if he behave well--"

"But then!  She wishes to be annexed in some station or other to
the household of the future ."

"Oh, that is impossible: all the selections have been made: but
we will make an equivalent by placing one of her family about the
person of one of the princes, my grandson.  Is this all?"

"Yes, sire, that is all, with one small formality excepted.  This
lady, who is one of much punctilio, only considers 
engagements as binding.  She wishes for one word in your
majesty's hand-writing--"

"A most impertinent woman!"  cried the king, walking with rapid
strides up and down my room.--  "She has dared not to believe me
on my word!  Writing!--signature!  She mistrusts me as she would
the lowest scribbler of France.  A writing!  My signature!  My
grandfather, Louis XIV, repented having given his to Charost.  I
will not commit a similar error."

"But, sire, when a prince has a real desire to keep his word, it
is of little import whether he gives it in writing."

At these words, Louis XV frowned sternly, but as he had the best
sense in the world, he saw that he was wrong; and having no reply
to make, he determined to flee away.  I ran after him, and taking
him by the arm, he said, with assumed anger, which did not
deceive me:--

 "Leave me, madame, you have offended my honor."

"Well, then, monsieur la France," replied I, assuming also a
scolding tone, "I will give you satisfaction.  Choose your time,
weapons, and place; I will meet you, and we shall see whether
you have courage to kill a woman who lives for you only, and
whom you render the most miserable creature in existence."

Louis XV gave me a kiss, and laughingly said, "I ought to make
you sleep in the Bastille to-night."

"I am then more merciful than you, for I think I shall make you
sleep in the couch you love best."

This reply amused the king excessively, and he himself proposed
to send for madame de Bearn.  I should speak of my presentation
before him, and then without making any positive concession, he
would see what could be done to satisfy her.

For want of any other, I accepted this .



CHAPTER XII


The comtesse de Bearn--The supper--Louis XV--Intrigues against my
presentation--M. de Roquelaure--The scalded foot--The comtesse
d'Aloigny--The duc d'Aiguillon and madame de Bearn--Anger of the
king's daughters--Madame Adelaide and the comtesse du Barry--
Dissatisfaction of the king

M. Morand was again put in requisition, and went from me to ask
madame de Bearn to come and sup at my apartments.  We were in
committee--my sisters-in-law, myself, and comte Jean.  The comtesse
made some difficulties at first, under pretence that she was afraid
to refuse me a second time.  Our messenger assured her by saying,
that a supper would not bind her to any thing, and that she should
still be at liberty to give any reply she pleased.  Madame de Bearn
allowed herself to be persuaded, and sent me word that she would
accept my invitation.  She would have reflected twice before she
so far committed herself, had she at all suspected the turn we
meant to serve her.  But I saw by the wording of her note, that
she still hoped that the king would be induced to grant me the
written promise which I asked for her.

She came.  I received her with all possible courtesy, and yet not
with much heartiness.  I could not help remembering the vexatious
terms she set upon her complaisance.  However, the supper was
gay enough, comte Jean and my sisters-in-law, who knew very well
how to dissemble, did the honors in a most agreeable way.  On
leaving table we went into the drawing-room, and then began to
discuss the serious question which had brought us together.  At
the first words which comte Jean uttered, madame de Bearn, taking
my hands with a respectful familiarity, said to me:--
"I hope, madame, that you will not have a bad opinion of me, if I
put such conditions to my desire of obliging you.  The situation
of my family requires it, but it is only a trifle for the king to grant."

"Much more than you imagine, madame," I replied.  "The king does
not care to involve himself in such engagements.  He does not
like, moreover, that his sacred word should be doubted."

"Ah?"  replied the cunning creature, "heaven forbid that I should
not blindly trust to the king's word, but his memory may fail, or
he, like other men, may forget."

"Madame," replied comte Jean, with the utmost gravity, "madame
is a lady as full of prudence as of kindness, but yet a little too
exacting.  Madame wishes to have a promise signed for herself
and son: that is too much.  Why does she not content herself in
dividing the difficulty, by satisfying herself with a verbal
promise for what concerns herself, and with a written engagement
for what relates to her son?"

"," replied the countess, "I am anxious to
arrange all to our mutual satisfaction.  But his majesty would not
surely refuse the entreaties of madame for what I ask."

"I will speak to him of it the first time I see him."

"Oh, you are a charming woman.  You will obtain all from the
king, and make a sure friend--"

"Whose friendship is very difficult to acquire," said I, interrupting her.

The countess would have replied to this, when my first
, opening the two folding-doors of the
room, announced the king.

At this unexpected name my guest trembled, and in spite of the
thick rouge which covered her cheeks, I perceived she turned pale.
She then saw the scene we had prepared for her: she wished herself
a hundred leagues off: but she could do nothing, but remain where
she was.  I took her by the hand, all trembling as she was, and
presented her to the king, saying,

"Sire, I now do for this lady, in my own drawing-room, what she
will have the kindness to do for me at the state-chamber."

"Ah," replied the king, "is it madame de Bearn that you present
to me?  I am indeed delighted.  Her husband was one of my faithful
servants: I was much pleased with her son when he was one of
pages, and I perceive that she herself is desirous of testifying
to me her attachment to my person.  I thank you, madame; you
cannot confer a greater favor on me, and I shall embrace every
opportunity of proving to you how much satisfaction your conduct
affords me."

Each word that the king uttered went to the heart of the countess.
However, making a virtue of necessity, she replied, that she was
proud and happy at what the king had said to her, and that it
would be her constant aim to please his majesty, flattering
herself that the king would remember the services of the Bearn
family, and would think of her in the dispensation of his bounties.

"You may rely on it, madame," replied Louis XV, "especially if
the comtesse du Barry applies to me in your behalf."

Then, turning towards me, "When, then, is this redoubtable
presentation to take place?"

"On the day, sire, when your majesty shall think proper," I replied.

"Well!  I will send the duc de Richelieu to you, who will arrange
the whole."

This settled, the subject was turned, but madame de Bearn lost
her tongue entirely.  In spite of all her endeavors, her forehead
became contracted every moment, and I am sure she went away
vexed and disappointed.

The following morning, the comte Jean and my sister-in-law went
to her house.  They testified their regret for what had occurred
the previous evening; they assured her that we would not take
any advantage of the conditionless engagement which she had made
to present me, and that altho' it was impossible to ask the
required guarantees from the king, still we should most undeviatingly
adhere to the clauses of the treaty: they added, that they came
to enquire when she should choose to receive the hundred thousand
livres.  The countess replied, that in spite of the real disadvantage
which she must henceforward labor under in this affair, she felt
great friendship for me, and would not refuse to oblige me, and
she flattered herself that I would espouse her cause with the
king.  The comte Jean assured her of this, and settled with her
the period of the payment of the hundred thousand livres, which
were to be paid at sight on her drawing on M. de la Borde, the
court-banker.

Thus then my presentation was an assured matter: nothing now
could prevent it, at least I fancied so to myself.  I reckoned
without my host; I did not know yet all the malice of a courtier
lady or gentleman.  As it was, however, M. de Choiseul and his
vile sister had gained over one of my servants, for they knew all
that had passed.  They soon learned that madame de Bearn had come
to supper with me, and that after supper a visit of the king's had
decided this lady on my presentation: this they determined to prevent.

For this end, they despatched as ambassador the chevalier de
Coigny to the house of madame de Bearn.  He, following the
instruction, sought by turns to seduce and intimidate the countess,
but all went for nothing.  Madame de Bearn told the chevalier de
Coigny, that she had been with me to ask my influence with the
chancellor.  The chevalier left her without being able to obtain
any other information.

This bad success did not dishearten the Choiseuls.  They sent
this time to madame de Bearn, M. de Roquelaure, bishop of Senlis,
and grand almoner to the king.  This prelate was much liked at
court, and in high favor with mesdames (the king's daughters).  We
were good friends together at last, but in this particular he was
very near doing me great wrong.  M. de Roquelaure having called
on madame de Bearn, told her that he well knew the nature of her
communications with me.

"Do not flatter yourself," said he, "that you will obtain thro'
the influence of the comtesse du Barry, all that has been promised
you.  You will have opposed to you the most powerful adversaries
and most august personages.  It cannot be concealed from you,
that mesdames contemplate the presentation of this creature with

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