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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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triumphed over the cabal by the nobility of your manners and the
dignity of your mien; and thus you have deprived it of one of its
greatest engines of mischief, that of calumniating your person."

"They imagined then," said I to him, "that I could neither speak
nor be silent, neither walk nor sit still."

"As they wished to find you ignorant and awkward they have set
you down as such.  This is human nature: when we hate any one, we
say they are capable of any thing; then, that they have become
guilty of every thing; and, to wind up all, they adopt for truth
to-day what they invented last night."

"Were you not fearful?"  inquired the king.

"Forgive me, sire," I answered, "when I say that I feared lest I
should not please your majesty; and I was excessively desirous of
convincing mesdames of my respectful attachment."

This reply was pronounced to be fitting and elegant, altho' I had
not in any way prepared it.  The fact is, that I was in great
apprehension lest I should displease the king's daughters; and I
dreaded lest they should manifest too openly the little friendship
which they had towards me.  Fortunately all passed off to a miracle,
and my good star did not burn dimly in this decisive circumstance.

Amongst those who rejoiced at my triumph I cannot forget the duc
d'Aiguillon.  During the whole of the day he was in the greatest
agitation.  His future destiny was, in a measure, attached to my
fortune; he knew that his whole existence depended on mine; and
he expected from me powerful support to defend him against the
pack of his enemies, who were yelping open-mouthed against him.
He stood in need of all his strength of mind and equanimity to
conceal the disquietude and perplexity by which he was internally agitated.

The comte Jean also participated in this great joy.  His situation
at court was not less doubtful; he had no longer reason to blush
for his alliance with me, and could now form, without excess of
presumption, the most brilliant hopes of the splendor of his
house.  His son, the vicomte Adolphe, was destined to high fortune;
and I assure you that I deeply regretted when a violent and
premature death took him away from his family.  My presentation
permitted his father to realize the chimera which he had pursued
with so much perseverance.  He flattered himself in taking part
with me.  I did not forget him in the distribution of my rewards;
and the king's purse was to him a source into which he frequently
dipped with both hands.

The next day I had a visit from the chancellor.

"Now," said he, "you are at the height of your wishes, and we
must arrange matters, that the king shall find perpetual and varied
amusements, with you.  He does not like large parties; a small
circle is enough for him; then he is at his ease, and likes to see
the same faces about him.  If you follow my advice you will have
but few females about you, and select that few with discernment."

"How can I choose them at all when I see so very few?"  was my
reply.  "I have no positive intimacy with any court lady; and
amongst the number I should be at a loss to select any one whom
I would wish to associate with in preference to another."

"Oh, do not let that disturb you," he replied: "they leave you
alone now, because each is intent on observing what others may
do; but as soon as any one shall pay you a visit, the others will
run as fast after you as did the sheep of Panurge.  I am greatly
deceived if they are not very desirous that one of them shall
devote herself, and make the first dash, that they may profit
by her pretended fault.  I know who will not be the last to come
and station herself amongst the furniture of your apartment.  The
marechale de Mirepoix was too long the complaisant friend of
madame de Pompadour not to become, and that very soon, the friend
of the comtesse du Barry."

"Good heaven," I exclaimed, "how delighted I should be to have
the friendship of this lady, whose wit and amiable manners are so
greatly talked of."

"Yes," said de Maupeou, laughing, "she is a type of court ladies,
a mixture of dignity and suppleness, majesty and condescension,
which is worth its weight in gold.  She was destined from all
eternity to be the companion of the king's female friends."

We both laughed; and the chancellor went on to say: "There are
others whom I will point out to you by and by; as for this one, I
undertake to find out whether she will come first of the party.
She has sent to ask an audience of me concerning a suit she has
in hand.  I will profit by the circumstances to come to an explanation
with her, about you.  She is not over fond of the Choiseul party;
and I augur this, because I see that she puts on a more agreeable
air towards them."



CHAPTER XV


The Comte de la Marche, a prince of the blood--Madame de Beauvoir,
his mistress--Madame du Barry complains to the prince de Soubise
of the princess de Guemenee--The king consoles the countess for
this--The duc de Choiseul--The king speaks to him of madame du
Barry--Voltaire writes to her--The opinions of Richelieu and the
king concerning Voltaire

Amongst those personages who came to compliment me on the evening
of my presentation was M. the comte de la Marche, son of the prince
du Conti, and consequently prince of the blood.  He had long been
devoted to the will of Louis XV.  As soon as his most serene
highness had wind of my favor he hastened to add to the number of
my court; and I leave you to imagine how greatly I was flattered
at seeing it augmented by so august a personage.

This conquest was most valuable in my eyes, for I thus proved to
the world, that by attracting the king to me I did not isolate him
from the whole of his family.  It is very true that for some time
the comte de la Marche had been out of favor with the public, by
reason of his over complaisance towards the ministers of the king's
pleasure; but he was not the less a prince of the blood, and at
Versailles this rank compensated for almost every fault.  He was
a lively man, moreover, his society was agreeable, and the title
he bore reflected his distinction amongst a crowd of courtiers.
I felt, therefore, that I ought to consider myself as very fortunate
that he deigned to visit me, and accordingly received him with
all the civility I could display; and the welcome reception which
he always experienced drew him frequently to my abode.

The friendship with which he honored me was not agreeable to my
enemies; and they tried by every possible means to seduce him
from me.  They got his near relations to talk to him about it; his
intimate friends to reason with him; the females whom he most
admired to dissuade him from it.  There was not one of these
latter who did not essay to injure me in his estimation, by saying
that he dishonored himself by an acquaintance with me.  There was
amongst others a marquise de Beauvoir, the issue of a petty
nobility, whom he paid with sums of gold, altho' she was not his
mistress by title.  Gained over by the Choiseuls, she made proposals
concerning me to the prince of so ridiculous a nature, that he said
to her impatiently: "I' faith, my dear, as in the eyes of the world
every woman who lives with a man who is not her husband is a ------,
so I think a man is wise to choose the loveliest he can find; and
in this way the king is at this moment much better off than any
of his subjects."

Only imagine what a rage this put the marquise de Beauvoir in: she
stormed, wept, had a nervous attack.  The comte de la Marche
contemplated her with a desperate tranquillity; but this scene
continuing beyond the limits of tolerable patience, he was so tired
of it that he left her.  This was not what the marquise wished; and
she hastened to write a submissive letter to him, in which, to justify
herself, she confessed to the prince, that in acting against me she
had only yielded to the instigations of the cabal, and particularly
alluded to mesdames de Grammont and de Guemenee.

The comte de la Marche showed me this letter, which I retained
in spite of his resistance and all the efforts he made to obtain
possession of it again.  My intention was to show it to the king;
and I did not fail to give it to him at the next visit he paid me:
he read it, and shrugging up his shoulders, as was his usual custom,
he said to me,

"They are devils incarnate, and the worst of the kind.  They try
to injure you in every way, but they shall not succeed.  I receive
also anonymous letters against you, they are tossed into the
post-box in large packets with feigned names, in the hope that
they will reach me.  Such slanders ought not to annoy you: in the
days of madame de Pompadour, the same thing was done.  The same
schemes were tried to ruin madame de Chateauroux.  Whenever I
have been suspected of any tenderness towards a particular female,
every species of intrigue has been instantly put in requisition.
Moreover," he continued, "madame de Grammont attacks you with too
much obstinacy not to make me believe but that she would employ all
possible means to attain her end."

"Ah," I exclaimed, "because she has participated in your friendship
you are ready to support her."

"Do not say so in a loud tone," he replied laughingly; "her joy
would know no bounds if she could believe it was in her power
to inspire you with jealousy."

"But," I said, "that insolent Guemenee; has she also to plume
herself on your favors as an excuse for overpowering me with her
hatred, and for tearing me to pieces in the way she does?"

"No," was the king's answer; "she is wrong, and I will desire her
father-in-law to say so."

"And I will come to an explanation with the prince de Soubise on
this point; and we will see whether or not I will allow myself to
have my throat cut like an unresisting sheep."

I did not fail to keep my word.  The prince de Soubise came the
next morning; chance on that day induced him to be extraordinarily
gallant towards me; never had he praised me so openly, or with so
much exaggeration.  I allowed him to go on; but when at length he
had finished his panegyric, "Monsieur le marechal," said I to him,

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