Jean du Barry to give her the title of viscountess. "Better still," exclaimed Jean, "I will give you the title of countess. My brother will marry you; he is a male scamp, and you are the female. What a beautiful marriage!" So they were united. The newly made countess was solemnly presented at court by a countess of an ancient date, namely, the Countess de Bearn. King Voltaire protested, in a satire entitled "
" (topsy-turvy), afterwards denying it. The duc de Choiseul protested, France protested, but all Versailles threw itself passionately at the feet of the new countess. Even the daughters of the King paid her court, and allowed her to call them by their pet names: Loque, Chiffe, and Graille. The King, jealous of this gracious familiarity, wished her to call him by some pet name, and so the Bacchante, who believed that through the King she held all France in her hand, called him "La France," making him a wife to his Gray Musketeers. Oh, that happy time! Du Barry and Louis XV hid their life--like the sage--in their little apartments. She honeyed his chocolate, and he himself made her coffee. Royalty consecrated a new verb for the dictionary of the Academy, and Madame du Barry said to the King: "At home, I can love you to madness." The King gave the castle of Lucienne to his mistress in order to be able to sing the same song. Truly the Romeo and Juliet . Du Barry threw out her fish-wifely epithets with ineffable tenderness. She only opened her eyes half way, even when she took him by the throat. The King was enchanted by these humors. It was a new world. But someone said to him: "Ah, Sire, it is easy to see that your Majesty has never been at the house of Gourdan." Yet Du Barry was adored by poets and artists. She extended both hands to them. Jeanne's beauty had a penetrating, singular charm. At once she was blonde and brunette--black eyebrows and lashes with blue eyes, rebellious light hair with darker shadows, cheeks of ideal contour, whose pale rose tints were often heightened by two or three touches--a lie "formed by the hand of Love," as anthology puts it--a nose with expressive nostrils, an air of childlike candour, and a look seductive to intoxication. A bold yet shrinking Venus, a Hebe yet a Bacchante. With much grace Voltaire says: "Madame: "M. de la Borde tells me that you have ordered him to kiss me on both cheeks for you: "What! Two kisses at life's end What a passport to send me! Two is one too much, Adorable Nymph; I should die of pleasure at the first. "He showed me your portrait, and be not offended, Madame, when I tell you that I have taken the liberty of giving that the two kisses." Perhaps Voltaire would not have written this letter, had he not read the one written by the King to the Duc de Choiseul, who refused to pay court to the left-hand queen: "My Cousin, "The discontent which your acts cause me forces me to exile you to Chanteloup, where you will take yourself within twenty-four hours. I would have sent you farther away were it not for the particular esteem in which I hold Madame de Choiseul. With this, I pray God, my cousin, to take you into His safe and holy protection. "Louis." This exile was the only crime of the courtesan. On none of her enemies did she close the gates of the Bastille. And more than once did she place a pen in the hands of Louis XV with which to sign a pardon. Sometimes, indeed, she was ironic in her compassion. "Madame," said M. de Sartines to her one day, "I have discovered a rogue who is scattering songs about you; what is to be done with him?" "Sentence him to sing them for a livelihood." But she afterwards made the mistake of pensioning Chevalier de Morande to buy silence. The pleasures of the King and his favorite were troubled only by the fortune-tellers. Neither the King nor the countess believed in the predictions of the philosophers, but they did believe in divination. One day, returning from Choisy, Louis XV found under a cushion of his coach a slip of paper on which was transcribed this prediction of the monk Aimonius, the savant who could read all things from the vast book of the stars: "As soon as Childeric had returned from Thuringia, he was crowned King of France And no sooner was he King than he espoused Basine, wife of the King of Thuringia. She came herself to find Childeric. The first night of the marriage, and before the King had retired, the queen begged Childeric to look from one of the palace windows which opened on a park, and tell what he saw there. Childeric looked out and, much terrified, reported to the princess that he had seen tigers and lions. Basine sent him a second time to look out. This time the prince only saw bears and wolves, and the third time he perceived only cats and dogs, fighting and combating each other. Then Basine said to him: I will give you an explanation of what you have seen: The first figure shows you your successors, who will excel you in courage and power; the second represents another race which will be illustrious for their conquests, and which will augment your kingdom for many centuries; but the third denotes the end of your kingdom, which will be given over to pleasures and will lose to you the friendship of your subjects; and this because the little animals signify a people who, emancipated from fear of princes, will massacre them and make war upon each other." Louis read the prediction and passed the paper to the Countess: "After us the end of the world," said she gaily. The King laughed, but the abbe de Beauvais celebrated high mass at Versailles after the carnival of 1774, and dared to say, in righteous anger: "This carnival is the last; yet forty days and Nineveh shall perish." Louis turned pale. "Is it God who speaks thus?" murmured he, raising his eyes to the altar. The next day he went to the hunt in grand style, but from that evening he was afraid of solitude and silence: "It is like the tomb; I do not wish to put myself in such a place," said he to Madame du Barry. The duc de Richelieu tried to divert him. "No," said he suddenly, as if the Trappist's denunciation had again recurred to him, "I shall be at ease only when these forty days have passed." He died on the fortieth day. Du Barry believed neither in God nor in the devil, but she believed in the almanac of Liege. She scarcely read any book but this-- faithful to her earliest habits. And the almanac of Liege, in its prediction for April, 1774, said: "A woman, the greatest of favorites, will play her last role." So Madame the Countess du Barry said without ceasing: "I shall not be tranquil until these forty days have passed." The thirty-seventh day the King went to the hunt attended with all the respect due to his rank. Jeanne wept in silence and prayed to God as one who has long neglected her prayers. Louis XV had not neglected his prayers, and gave two hundred thousand livres to the poor, besides ordering masses at St. Genevieve. Parliament opened the shrine, and knelt gravely before that miraculous relic. The least serious of all these good worshippers was, strange to say, the curate of St. Genevieve: "Ah, well!" said he gaily, when Louis was dead, "let us continue to talk of the miracles of St. Genevieve. Of what can you complain? Is not the King dead?" At the last moment it was not God who held the heart of Louis--it was his mistress. "Ask the Countess to come here again," he said. "Sire, you know that she has gone away," they answered. "Ah! has she gone? Then I must go!" So he departed. His end drew forth some maledictions. There were insults even at his funeral services. "Nevertheless," said one old soldier, "he was at the battle of Fontenoy." That was the most eloquent funeral oration of Louis XV. "The King is dead, long live the King!" But before the death of Louis XVI they cried: "The king is dead, long live the Republic!" Rose-colored mourning was worn in the good city of Paris. The funeral oration of the King and a lament for his mistress were pronounced by Sophie Arnould, of which masterpiece of sacred eloquence the last words only are preserved: "Behold us orphaned both of father and mother." If Madame du Barry was one of the seven plagues of royalty, she died faithful to royalty. After her exile to Pont aux Dames she returned to Lucienne, where the duc de Cosse Brissac consoled her for the death of Louis XV. But what she loved in Louis was that he was a king; her true country was Versailles; her true light was the sun of court life. Like Montespan, also a courtesan of high order, she often went in these dark days to cast a loving look upon the solitary park in the maze of the Trianon. Yet she was particularly happy at Lucienne. I have compared her to Manon Lescaut, and I believe her to have been also a sister to Ganesin. All three were destroyed by passion. One day she found herself still young at Lucienne, although her sun was setting. She loved the duc de Brissac, and how many pages of her past romance would she that day have liked to erase and forget! "Why do you weep, Countess?" asked her lover. "My friend," she responded, "I weep because I love you, shall I say it? I weep because I am happy." She was right; happiness is a festival that should know no to-morrow. But on the morrow of her happiness, the Revolution knocked at the castle gate of Lucienne. "Who goes there?" "I am justice; prepare for destiny." The Queen, the true queen, had been good to her as to everybody. Marie Antoinette remembered that the favorite had not been wicked. The debts of Du Barry were paid and money enough was given to her so that she could still give with both hands. Lucienne became an echo of Versailles. Foreign kings and Parisian philosophers came to chat in its portals. Minerva visited shameless Venus. But wisdom took not root at Lucienne. For the Revolution, alas! had to cut off this charming head, which was at one time the ideal of beauty--of court beauty.
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