the utmost displeasure. They will not fail to obtain great influence over the future dauphin, and will do you mischief with him; so that, whether in the actual state of things, or in that which the age and health of the king must lead us to anticipate, you will be in a most unfortunate situation at court." The old bishop, with his mischievous frankness, catechised madame de Bearn so closely, that at length she replied, that so much respect and deference did she entertain towards the princesses, that she would not present me until they should accord their permission for me to appear. M. de Roquelaure took this reply to the Choiseuls. Madame de Grammont, enchanted, thinking the point already gained, sent madame de Bearn an invitation to supper the next day, but this was not the countess's game. She was compelled to decide promptly, and she thought to preserve a strict neutrality until fresh orders should issue. What do you suppose she did? She wrote to us, madame de Grammont and myself, that she had scalded her foot, and that it was impossible for her to go from home. On receiving her note I believed myself betrayed, forsaken. Comte Jean and I suspected that this was a feint, and went with all speed to call on the comtesse de Bearn. She received us with her usual courtesy, complained that we had arrived at the very moment of the dressing of her wound, and told us she would defer it; but I would not agree to this. My brother-in-law went into another room, and madame de Bearn began to unswathe her foot in my presence with the utmost caution and tenderness. I awaited the evidence of her falsehood, when, to my astonishment, I saw a horrible burn! I did not for a moment doubt, what was afterwards confirmed, namely, that madame de Bearn had actually perpetrated this, and maimed herself with her own free will. I mentally cursed her Roman courage, and would have sent my heroic godmother to the devil with all my heart. Thus then was my presentation stopped by the foot of madame de Bearn. This mischance did not dampen the zeal of my friends. On the one hand, comte Jean, after having stirred heaven and earth, met with the comtesse d'Aloigny. She consented to become my godmother immediately after her own presentation, for eighty thousand livres and the expenses of the ceremony. But mesdames received her so unsatisfactorily, that my own feelings told me, I ought not to be presented at court under her auspices. We thanked the comtesse d'Aloigny therefore, and sent her, as a remuneration, twenty thousand livres from the king. Whilst comte Jean failed on one side, the duc d'Aiguillon succeeded on another. He was someway related to madame de Bearn. He went to visit her, and made her understand that, as the Choiseuls neither gave nor promised her anything, she would be wrong in declaring for them: that, on the other hand, if she declared for me, I could procure for her the favor of the king. Madame de Bearn yielded to his persuasions, and charged the duc d'Aiguillon to say to me, and even herself wrote, that she put herself entirely into my hands; and that, as soon as she was well, I might rely on her. What, I believe, finally decided this lady was, the fear that if she did not comply with what I required, I should content myself with the comtesse d'Aloigny. Now assured of my introductress, I only directed my attention to the final obstacle of my presentation; I mean the displeasure of mesdames. I do not speak of madame Louise, of whom I can only write in terms of commendation; but I had opposed to me mesdames Victoire and Sophie, and especially madame Adelaide, who, as the eldest, gave them their plan of conduct. This latter, who had given too much cause to be spoken of herself to have any right to talk of others, never ceased haranguing about the scandal of my life; and I had recently, unknown to myself, fallen into complete disgrace with her. This is the case. The apartment from which I had dislodged M. de Noailles had been requested of the king by madame Adelaide. Ignorant of this I had installed myself there. I soon learned that I had offended the princess, and instantly hastened to offer her the apartments she wished to have. She came into them; but as it was necessary for me to be accommodated somewhere, the king gave me the former apartments of his daughter. This was what madame Adelaide called an act of tyranny; she made the chateau echo with her complaints: she said I had driven her out, that I wished to separate her from her sisters; that I should wean her father's affection entirely from her. Such injustice distressed me excessively. I sent to request the king to come to me; and when he entered I threw myself at his feet, entreating him to appease his daughter on any terms, and to let me go away, since I brought such trouble into his family. The king, irritated at madame Adelaide 's conduct, went to her, and told her, in a private interview, that he would make certain matters public if she did not hold her tongue; and she, alarmed, ceased her clamor, or rather, contented herself in complaining in a lower key. CHAPTER XIII Of the presentation--The king and the duc de Richelieu at comtesse du Barry's--M. de la Vauguyon--Conversation--Letter of the duke to the comtesse du Barry--Reply--The countess unites herself with the Jesuit party--Madame Louise--Madame Sophie--M. Bertin--Madame de Bercheny This fit of anger of madame Adelaide had given additional courage to the cabal. It began to exclaim and plot against me with redoubled force; hoping thus to intimidate the king, and effectually bar my presentation; but it only tended to hasten it. One evening, when the king and the marechal de Richelieu were with me, he said to me, "A stop must be put to these clamors. I see that until you are presented, there will be doubts perpetually arising and tormenting us on the subject; and until it takes place I shall have no ease.
! Let us take the best means in our power of reducing these malcontents to silence." " Sire," replied the marechal, "make your will palpable, and you will see all the court submit." "Yes, but my daughters?" "Mesdames know better than any persons the deference due to your orders." "I assure you," replied the king, "that it will be an unpleasant quarter of an hour for me to pass." "Well, sire, then charge one of us with the mission: the bishop of Senlis, for instance, or M. de la Vauguyon. I feel assured that either of them will acquit himself admirably in the business, with the previous understanding that your majesty will support him with your authority." "I will do so most assuredly; but it will be best not to use it but at the last extremity. I have no wish to be made a bugbear to my family." "As to the selection of an ambassador," I interrupted, "I beg it may not fall on M. de Roquelaure; he has been working against me for some time." "Why not send M. de Jarente?" inquired the king. "Ah, sire," replied the duke, "because we cannot trust him; he is a gay* fellow. Madame Sophie might tell him, that he only took the part of madame du Barry, because he passes his life amongst petticoats." Flippant, light-minded, unreliable. At the time this book was written "gay" did not carry its present connotation of homosexuality, nor did it always carry the connotation of cheerful and happy that preceded the present connotation. "True enough," said the king, "I prefer the duc de la Vauguyon: he has a good reputation--" "And well deserved," said the old marechal, sneering. "Yes, sire, he is a pious man; at least, he plays his part well. " "Peace, viper; you spare nobody." "Sire, I am only taking my revenge." "Why do you not like the governor of my grandsons?" "In truth, sire, I must confess to you, that except yourself and the ladies, I have not many likings at Versailles." Louis XV smiled, and I pulled the bell; when a valet appeared, I said, "Go and find M. de la Vauguyon for his majesty." When we were alone, "What, already? "said Louis XV. "Madame is right," replied the duke, "we must strike while the iron is hot." The king began to pace up and down the room, which was his invariable custom when anything disturbed him: then suddenly stopping, "I should not be astonished at a point blank refusal from M. de la Vauguyon." "Oh, sire, make yourself easy; the governor has no inclination to follow the steps of Montausier or Beauvilliers. In truth you are very candid; and I must tell you, that you have too good an opinion of us." At this moment M. de la Vauguyon entered. He saluted the king with humility; and asked him, in a mild tone of voice, what his pleasure was with him. "A real mark of your zeal," was the king's reply. "And of your gallantry," added the marechal, who saw the hesitation of the king. Louis XV was enchanted that another should speak for him. M. de Richelieu continued: "His majesty, monsieur le duc, wishes that you should prepare mesdames to receive our dear countess here, when she shall appear before them to pay the homage of her respect and devotion." The king, emboldened by these words, said, "Yes, my dear duke, I can only find you in the chateau who have any influence over the princesses, my daughters. They have much respect, and no less friendship, for you. You will easily bring them to reason." As M. de la Vauguyon seemed in no hurry to undertake the charge, the marechal added, "Yes, sir, to manage this business properly, you and M. de Senlis are the only men in the kingdom." The marechal had his reasons for saying this, for a secret jealousy existed between the governor and the grand almoner. M. de la Vauguyon made haste to say, that he could not resist his majesty's orders, and his desire to be agreeable to me. "Ah! you will then do something for me?" I replied. "I am delighted and proud." "Madame," replied the duke with much gravity, "friends are proved on occasion." "The present one proves your attachment to me," said I in my
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