turn; "and his majesty will not think it wrong of me, if, as a recompense, I embrace you in his presence": and, on saying this, I went up to the duc de la Vauguyon, and gave him two kisses, which the poor man took as quietly as possible. "That's well," said the king. "You are, la Vauguyon, a man of a thousand. Listen attentively to me. I wish much that the comtesse du Barry should be presented; I wish it, and that, too, in defiance of all that can be said and done. My indignation is excited beforehand against all those who shall raise any obstacle to it. Do not fail to let my daughters know, that if they do not comply with my wishes, I will let my anger fall heavily on all persons by whose counsels they may be persuaded; for I only am master, and I will prove it to the last. These are your credentials, my dear duke, add to them what you may think fitting; I will bear you out in any thing--" "Mercy!" said the duc de Richelieu to me in an undertone, "the king has poured forth all his energy in words; he will have none left to act upon if he meets with any resistance." The marechal knew the king well. "I doubt not, sire," replied the duc de la Vauguyon, "that the respectful duty of mesdames will be ready to comply with your desires." "I trust and believe it will prove so," replied the king hastily. "I am a good father, and would not that my daughters should give me cause to be angry with them. Let madame Adelaide understand, that she has lately had a mistaken opinion of me, and that she has an opportunity of repairing her error in the present instance. The princesses are not ignorant that I have often shut my eyes upon certain affairs--. Enough; they must now testify their attachment for me. Why should they oppose the presentation of the comtesse?
they were not so squeamish in the days of madame de Pompadour." At these latter words I could not forbear laughing. La Vauguyon and de Richelieu left us and here the conversation terminated. The next morning they brought me a note from the duc de la Vauguyon. Thus it ran:-- MADAME,--Ready to serve you, I wish to have a few minutes' conversation with you. Be persuaded that I will not tell you anything but what will be agreeable and useful to you." I instantly answered:-- "You are too good a friend for me to refuse to see you willingly under any circumstances, and particularly the present. Your conduct yesterday assures you my eternal regard. Come instantly; my grateful heart expects you with impatience." My sister-in-law, to whom I showed this correspondence, said to me, "This gentleman does not come to see you for your bright eyes; and yet his visit is not disinterested." "What interest can he have to serve?" "None of his own, perhaps; but those villainous Jesuits." "Don't you like them, sister of mine?" "I hate nobody." M. de la Vauguyon arrived; and as soon as we were alone, he said to me, "Well, madame, I am now on the point of going to fight your battles. I have to deal with a redoubtable foe." "Do you fear?" "Why, I am not over confident; my position is a delicate one. Mesdames will perforce obey the orders of the king, but they will not find much pleasure in seeing me the ambassador sent to them: all the Choiseul party will vociferate loudly. Nevertheless, to prove my devotion to you, I brave it all." "You may rely on it that I will never forget the service you are about to render me." "I have only one favor to ask of you. Authorize me to say to mesdames, that if the pleasures of life distract your attention from religious duties, your soul is in truth fully devoted to our holy religion; and that far from supporting the philosophers, you will aid, by your influence with the king, every measure advantageous to the society of Jesuits." The hypocritical tone in which this was uttered, almost compelled me to burst out into a fit of laughter; but the serious posture of my affairs induced me to preserve my gravity, and I answered in a serious tone, "Not only, monsieur le duc, do I authorize you to say so much, but I beg you to declare to mesdames that I am already filled with love and respect for the Jesuits, and that it will not be my fault if they do not return amongst us." "Ah, you are a treasure of wisdom," replied the duke, kissing my hand with fervor; "and I am disgusted at the way you are calumniated." "I know no reason for it, for I have never done harm to any person. Assure mesdames that I am sincerely grieved that I am not agreeable to them, and would give half my life to obtain, not their friendship, of which I do not feel myself worthy, but their indifference. Deign also to tell them, that at all times I am at their disposal, and beseech them to consider me as their humble servant." "It is impossible to behave more correctly than you do; and I am confident that mesdames will soon discard their unjust prejudices. Thus, it is well understood that our friends will be yours." "Yes, yes, provided they are really mine." "Certainly. I answer for them as I answer for you." And thus, my friend, did I find myself allied to the Jesuitical party. The duke commenced the attack with madame Louise, the most reasonable of the king's daughters. This angelic princess, already occupied with the pious resolution which she afterwards put into execution in the following year, contented herself with saying some words on the commotion occasioned by my presence at Versailles, and then, as if her delicacy had feared to touch on such a subject, she asked the duc de la Vauguyon, if the king ordered her to receive the comtesse du Barry. "Yes, madame," replied the duke; "it is the express will of his majesty." "I submit to his wish: the lady may come when she will." The duke, contented with his success so far, went next to madame Sophie. This princess was not unkind, but subject to attacks of the nerves, which from time to time soured her natural disposition: she had her caprices of hatred, her fits of love. The day when the duke talked to her of my presentation she was very much provoked against me; and after the opening speech of the ambassador, flung in his teeth the report of the apartments, which I have already told you. The duke explained to her, and that too without saying anything unfavorable of madame Adelaide, and concluded by begging her to concede the favor I besought. Madame eluded this, by saying, that before she gave a definite reply she wished to confer with her sisters. Madame Victoire was not more easily persuaded. This princess had amiable qualities, solid virtues which made her loved and respected by the whole court; but she had but little will of her own, and allowed herself to be led by the Choiseuls; who, to flatter her, told her that she alone had inherited the energy of her grandfather, Louis XIV. She was advised to display it in this instance, and, she would willingly have done so. The comtesse de Bercheny, one of her ladies in waiting, was the person who urged her on to the greatest resistance. This lady did not cease to exclaim against me, and to fan the flame of displeasure which, but for her, would never have appeared. I was informed of the mode adopted by madame de Bercheny to injure me. I sent for M. Bertin, who was devoted to my service, and begged him to go and speak to the lady; he went, and made her understand that the king, enraged against her, would expel her from Versailles, if she were not silent. The comtesse de Bercheny was alarmed; and under pretence of taking a tour, left the court for a month. You will see anon the result of all these conferences. CHAPTER XIV The princesses consent to the presentation of madame du Barry-- Ingenious artifice employed by the king to offer a present to the duc de la Vauguyon--Madame du Barry's letter respecting it--The duke's reply--The king's letter--The court in despair--Couplets concerning madame du Barry--Her presentation--A change in public opinion--An evening party at the house of the countess--Joy of her partizans--Conversation with the chancellor respecting the lady of the marechal de Mirepoix The departure of the comtesse de Bercheny was announced to the princesses in the manner least likely to provoke their regrets. Nevertheless, a rumor never slept at Versailles, a whisper was quickly circulated thro'-out the castle, that this sudden and unexpected journey had originated in the king's weariness of her continual philippics against me; and it was clearly comprehended by all, that a similar disgrace would be the portion of those who should offend the monarch whilst seeking to procure my humiliation. This show of firmness was sufficient to repress the daring flights of those self-constituted heroines, whose courage lasted only whilst the king was silent, and who trembled like a leaf before the slightest manifestation of his will. Still the cabal against me, tho' weakened, was not destroyed; it was too strong for the present shock to dissolve it; and altho' none was sufficiently hardy to declare open war, plots were constantly going on to ensnare me. Meanwhile madame Victoire, left to herself, could not long support such excessive animosity; and the duc de la Vauguyon profiting by the species of lassitude into which she appeared to have fallen, led her without difficulty to act in conformity to the king's wishes. There remained now therefore but madame Adelaide to overcome, and the task became more difficult in proportion to the elevated rank she occupied at court. By priority of birth she held the first place there; and hitherto this superiority had been ceded to her without dispute, more particularly since the hand of death had removed both the queen her mother, and the dauphiness her sister-in-law. She therefore could only view with uneasiness the prospect of another appearing on the stage whose influence would be greater than hers; and who (until the young dauphiness should attain to years of maturity) might deprive her of all honors but
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