Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

pained at it, but made no remark.  She took up the portfolio,
examined it carefully, and, bursting into a fit of laughter, said,
while she flung herself into an arm-chair,

"Ah!  ah!  ah!  this is an unexpected rencontre!  Look at this
portfolio, my dear friend: do you see the locks with which it is
decorated?  Well, they once adorned the head of madame de
Pompadour.  She herself used them to embroider this garland of
silver thread; she gave it to the king on his birthday.  Louis XV
swore never to separate from it, and here it is in my hands."

Then, opening the portfolio, and rummaging it over, she found in
a secret pocket a paper, which she opened, saying, "I knew he
had left it."

It was a letter of madame de Pompadour, which I wished to have,
and the marechale gave me it instantly; the notes remained with
her.  I copy the note, to give you an idea of the sensibility of
the king.

"SIRE,--I am ill; dangerously so, perhaps.  In the melancholy
feeling which preys upon me, I have formed a desire to leave
you a souvenir, which will always make me present to your memory.
I have embroidered this portfolio with my own hair; accept it;
never part with it.  Enclose in it your most important papers,
and let its contents prove your estimation of it.  Will you not
accord my prayer?  Sign it, I beseech you; it is the caprice, the
wish of a dying woman."

Beneath it was written,

"This token of love shall never quit me.  Louis."



CHAPTER XVII


Conversation of the marechale de Mirepoix with the comtesse du
Barry on court friendship--Intrigues of madame de Bearn--Preconcerted
meeting with madame de Flaracourt---Rage of madame de Bearn--
Portrait and conversation of madame de Flaracourt with the
comtesse du Barry--Insult from the princesse de Guemenee--Her
banishment--Explanation of the king and the duc de Choiseul
relative to madame du Barry--The comtesse d'Egmont

However giddy I was I did not partake in the excessive gaiety of
madame de Mirepoix.  I was pained to see how little reliance
could be placed on the sensibility of the king, as well as how
far I could esteem the consideration of the marechale for madame
de Pompadour, from whom she had experienced so many marks of
friendship.  This courtier baseness appeared to me so villainous,
that I could not entirely conceal how I was affected with displeasure.
Madame de Mirepoix saw it, and, looking at me attentively, said,

"Do you feel any desire to become pathetical in the country we
live in?  I warn you that it will be at your own expense.  We must
learn to content ourselves here with appearances, and examine
nothing thoroughly."

"'There is then no reality?"  said I to her.

"Yes," she answered me, "but only two things, power and money:
the rest is 'leather and prunella'  (): no person
has time to love sincerely; it is hatred only that takes deep root
and never dies.  To hope to give birth to a real passion, an
Orestean and Pyladean friendship, is a dream from which you must
be awakened."

'Then you do not love me?"

"You ask me a very awkward question, my darling, I can tell you.
I do love you, and very much, too: I have proved it by ranging
myself on your side, and by declaring, with the utmost frankness,
that I would rather see you in the situation in which you are,
than any other woman of the court.  But there is a long space
between this and heroical friendship: I should deceive you if I
were to affirm the contrary, and there would be no common sense
in giving faith to my words.  Every one has too much business,
too much intrigue, too many quarrels on hand, to have any leisure
to think of others: every one lives for himself alone.  Mesdames
de Guemenee and de Grammont appear very intimate: that is easily
explained, they unite against a common enemy.  But were your
station left vacant, no sooner would the king have thrown the apple
to one of them, but the other would detest her instantly."

Contrary to custom I made no reply: I was absorbed in painful
reflections to which this conversation had given rise.  The
marechale perceived it, and said,

"We should fall into philosophy if we probed this subject too
deeply.  Let us think no more of this: besides, I have a new
defection to tell you of.  Madame de Flaracourt told me yesterday
that she much regretted having misunderstood you, and that you
were worth more than all those who persecute you.  She appeared
to me disposed to ally herself to you for the least encouragement
which you might be induced to hold out to her."



"You know very well," I replied, "that I am willing to adopt
your advice.  The house of Flaracourt is not to be despised, and
I ask no better than to be on amicable terms with the lady."

"Well, then, come this morning and walk in the grove nearest the
pavilion, I shall be there with madame de Flaracourt: we will
meet by chance, compliments will follow, and the alliance will
be formed."

The marechale and I had scarcely separated when madame de Bearn
was announced.  This lady besieged me night and day.  Gifted
with a subtle and penetrating spirit--that talent which procures
advancement at court, she saw, with pain, that I sought to attract
other females about me: she would fain have remained my only
friend, that she might, unopposed, influence me in all I did.  She
saw, therefore, the appearance of madame de Mirepoix in my
drawing-room with uneasiness: her bad humor was sufficiently
apparent to attract the notice of the marechale, who laughed at it:
her social position as a titled woman, and the king's friendship,
giving her confidence that her credit would always exceed that of
my godmother.

Madame de Bearn was compelled to submit to the ascendancy of the
marechale, but yet did not the less relax in her efforts to keep
from me all other female society, she hoped that at last the king
would distinguish her, and call her into his intimacy as my friend;
she was not more fond of the comtesse d'Aloigny, altho' the nullity
of this lady need not have alarmed her much.  For me, I began to
resent the irksomeness of having incessantly at my side a person
who manifested too openly her desire to compel me to submit to
her wishes, and I waited, to secure my freedom, only until the
circle of females I could admit to my society should be extended.

Such were our reciprocal feelings during our stay at Marly.  The
madame de Bearn watched me with more care than at Versailles,
fearing, no doubt, that the freedom of the country might facilitate
connections prejudicial to her interests.  Little did she anticipate
on this day the stroke which was in preparation for her.  I asked
her spitefully to take a turn with me into the park, and I took
care not to announce the meeting which we had arranged.

Behold us then walking this way and that, quite by chance, without
however going any distance from the pavilion.  Madame de Bearn,
not liking the vicinity of the chateau, was desirous to go into the
wood.  I declined this under vain excuses, when suddenly madame
de Mirepoix and madame de Flaracourt appeared at the end of
a very short walk.

"Let us turn this way," said the countess to me, "here comes one
of our enemies, whom it would be as well to avoid."

"Why turn away?"  I replied; "she is alone, we are two, and then
the marechale de Mirepoix is not opposed to us."

Saying this, I advanced towards them.  Madame de Flaracourt appeared
very gracious: I replied to her advances with due politeness, and
instead of separating, we continued to walk about together.  Madame
de Bearn saw clearly that chance was not the sole cause of this
meeting: she dissembled as well as she could.  I afterwards learnt
that she owed me a spite, particularly for the mystery which I had
made of this occurrence.  The marked silence, and the sullen air
she assumed during this interview, and which her sense and
knowledge of the world should have prevented her from manifesting,
proved to me, on this occasion, as on many other others, that
temper cannot always be conquered, and that at times it will burst
forth in spite of the experience and caution of the courtier.

I did not give myself much trouble on this subject: I had well
recompensed the good offices of the countess: I had ample proof
that in serving me she had acted on the impulse of self-interest:
we were quits, I thought, and I saw no reason why I should
remain isolated just to serve her pleasure.

When we returned to my apartments I saw plainly, by her mutterings,
her sighs, and the shrugging of her shoulders, that she was deeply
irritated at what had just taken place.  She was desirous of
provoking an explanation, but as that could only tend to her
disadvantage, she contented herself with leaving me earlier than
her usual want, without saying anything disagreeable.  Her custom
was not to leave me alone, and her abrupt departure confirmed me
in the idea I had imbibed, that this sort of comedy had much
thwarted her.

In the course of the same day I received a visit from the comtesse
de Flaracourt.  This lady, whose sparkling eyes shone with an air
of mischief, presented herself to me with an appearance of
openness and confidence which completely cloaked the malignity
and treachery of her character.  She threw her arms round my neck
with as much grace as tenderness, and taking my hand, as if to
arrest my attention, said:

"I ought, madame, to explain to you the delay that I have made
before I introduce myself to you, as well as the promptitude of
this my first visit.  I was prejudiced against you, and had formed
a false estimate of you.  My  with mesdames d'Egmont,
de Brionne, and de Grammont naturally placed me in the rank
opposed to you: so much for what has passed.  But I have seen
you: I have studied you at a distance, as well as close, and I
have recognised, without difficulty, the injustice of your enemies.
I have been enraged with myself for having been deceived regarding
you: I wish to repair my wrongs.  Enlightened by the opinion of
the marechale de Mirepoix, I have not hesitated to approach you
under her auspices, and our first meeting has so happily furnished

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com