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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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he would have united himself freely and sincerely with me I
should not have played him false.  Louis XV, satisfied with his
condescension in my behalf, would have kept him at the head of
his ministry: but his pride ruined him, he could not throw off
the yoke which the duchesse de Grammont had imposed on him: he
recoiled from the idea of telling her that he had made a treaty
of peace with me, and that was not one of the least causes of
his disgrace.

The journey to Marly gave birth to a multitude of intrigues of
persons who thought to wrap themselves up in profound mystery,
and all whose actions we knew.  The police were very active
about the royal abodes, especially since the fatal deed of the
regicide Damiens.  To keep them perpetually on the watch, they
were ordered to watch attentively the amours of the lords and
ladies of the court.

The daughter of the duc de Richelieu, the comtesse d'Egmont, whose
age was no pretext for her follies, dearly liked low love adventures.
She used to seek them out in Paris, when she could find none at
Versailles.  She was not, however, the more indulgent towards me.
This lady was not always content with noble lovers, but sought
them in all classes, and more than once, simple mortals, men of
low order, obtained preference over demi-gods.  Her conduct in
this respect was the result of long experience.  She used to go out
alone, and traverse the streets of Paris.  She entered the shops,
and when her eye rested on a good figure, having wide shoulders,
sinewy limbs, and a good looking face, she then called up all the
resources of her mind to form and carry on an intrigue, of which
the consequences, at first agreeable to him who was the object
of it, terminated most frequently fatally.  The following adventure
will give you an idea of the talent of madame d'Egmont in this way,
and how she got rid of her adorers when she had exhausted with
them the cup of pleasure.



CHAPTER XVIII


Intrigue of the comtesse d'Egmont with a shopman--His unhappy
fate--The comtesse du Barry protects him--Conduct of Louis XV
upon the occasion--The young man quits France--Madame du Barry's
letter to the comtesse d'Egmont--Quarrel with the marechal
de Richelieu

The comtesse d'Egmont was one day observed to quit her house
attired with the most parsimonious simplicity; her head being
covered by an enormously deep bonnet, which wholly concealed her
countenance, and the rest of her person enveloped in a pelisse,
whose many rents betrayed its long service.  In this strange
dress she traversed the streets of Paris in search of adventures.
She was going, she said, wittily enough, "to return to the cits
what her father and brother had so frequently robbed them of."
Chance having led her steps to the rue St. Martin, she was
stopped there by a confusion of carriages, which compelled her
first to shelter herself against the wall, and afterwards to take
refuge in an opposite shop, which was one occupied by a  linen-draper.

She looked around her with the eye of a connoisseur, and perceived
beneath the modest garb of a shopman one of those broad-shouldered
youths, whose open smiling countenance and gently tinged complexion
bespoke a person whose simplicity of character differed greatly from
the vast energy of his physical powers: he resembled the Farnese
Hercules upon a reduced scale.  The princess approached him, and
requested to see some muslins, from which she selected two gowns,
and after having paid for them, requested the master of the shop
to send his shopman with them, in the course of half an hour, to
an address she gave as her usual abode.

The comtesse d'Egmont had engaged an apartment on the third floor
of a house in the rue Tiquetonne, which was in the heart of Paris.
The porteress of the dwelling knew her only as madame Rossin: her
household consisted of a housekeeper and an old man, both devoted
to a mistress whose character they well understood, and to whom
they had every motive to be faithful.

Here it was, then, that the lady hastened to await the arrival
of the new object of her plebeian inclinations.  Young Moireau
(for such was the shopman's name) was not long ere he arrived
with his parcel.  Madame d'Egmont was ready to receive him: she
had had sufficient time to exchange her shabby walking dress for
one which bespoke both coquetry and voluptuousness; the softness
of her smile, and the turn of her features announced one whose
warmth of passions would hold out the most flattering hopes of
success to him who should seek her love.

Madame Rossin and the young shopman were soon engaged in
conversation, further animated by the bright glances sent direct
from the eyes of madame to the unguarded heart of her admiring
visitor.  Emboldened by the graciousness of her manner, he
presumed to touch her fair hand: the lady, in affected anger,
rose, and commanded him to quit the house.  The terrified youth
fell at her feet, imploring pardon for his boldness, and then
hastily quitted the room ere the feigned madame Rossin could
pronounce the forgiveness he demanded.  'The fool," was (doubtless)
the princess's exclamation, "had he been brought up at court he
would have conducted himself very differently."

This silliness of proceeding was, however, far from being
displeasing to the princess: on the contrary, it seemed to increase
her determination to prosecute the adventure.  Accordingly, on
the following day she hastened to resume her former walking dress,
and in it to take the road which led to the rue St. Martin, and
again to present herself as a customer at the linen-draper's shop.
This time she purchased cloth for chemises.  Indescribable and
unspeakable was the joy of young Moireau, when, after having
served the mistress of his thoughts, he heard her request of his
master to allow the goods she had selected to be sent to her
residence; and equally was he surprised that she omitted to name
him as the person she wished should convey them.  Nevertheless,
as may be imagined, Moireau obtained possession of the parcel,
and was soon on his way to the rue Tiquetonne, where he found
the lady more languishing and attractive than before; and soon
they were deep in the most earnest and interesting conversation.
Moireau, who now saw that his boldness was not displeasing to the
lady, became more and more presuming: true, his overtures were
refused, but so gently, that it only fanned his flame; nor was it
till after reiterated prayers that be succeeded in obtaining her
promise to meet him on the following Sunday.  The princess, like
a skilful manoeuvrer, reckoned upon the additional violence his
ardor would receive from this delay.  The affection with which
she had inspired him would only gain strength by thus deferring
the day for their next meeting, whilst he would have time to
meditate upon the virtue as well as the charms of her he had won.

The long looked for Sunday at length arrived, and Moireau was
first at the place of rendezvous.  His simple dress augmented his
natural good looks, whilst the countess had spared no pains to
render her appearance calculated to captivate and seduce.  All
reserve was thrown aside; and to satisfy the eager curiosity of
her lover, she stated herself to be the widow of a country lawyer,
who had come to Paris to carry on a lawsuit.  It would be useless
to follow the princess during the further course of this meeting.
Suffice it to say, that Moirreau and madame d'Egmont separated
mutually happy and satisfied with each other.

The youth, who was now ages gone in love, had only reached his
twenty-second year, and madame Rossin was his first attachment.
So ardent and impetuous did his passion hourly grow, that it
became a species of insanity.  On the other hand, the high-born
dame, who had thus captivated him, felt all the attractions of
his simple and untutored love, further set off by the fine manly
figure of the young shopman.  Indeed, so much novelty and interest
did she experience in her new amour, that, far from finding
herself, as she had expected, disposed to relinquish the affair
(as she had anticipated) at the end of two or three interviews,
which she had imagined would have satisfied her capricious fancy,
she put off, to an indefinite period, her original project of ending
the affair by feigning a return to the country.

This resolution, however, she did not feel courage to carry into
effect; and two or three months rolled rapidly away without any
diminution of their reciprocal flame, when one fine Sunday
evening Moireau, whose time hung heavily on his hands, took it
into his head to visit the opera.  This species of amusement
constitutes the  of the delights of a French cit.
Moireau seated himself in the pit, just opposite the box of the
gentlemen in waiting.  The performance was "Castor and Pollux."
At the commencement of the second act a sudden noise and bustle
drew Moireau from the contemplative admiration into which the
splendor of the piece had thrown him.  The disturbance arose from
a general move, which was taking place in the box belonging to
the gentlemen in waiting.  Madame d'Egmont had just arrived,
attended by four or five grand lords of the court covered with
gold, and decorated with the order of the Holy Ghost, and two
ladies richly dressed, from whom she was distinguished as much by
the superior magnificence of her attire as by her striking beauty.

Moireau could not believe his eyes; he felt assured he beheld
madame Rossin, yet he fancied he must be under the influence of
some fantastic dream; but every look, every gesture of the
princess, a thousand trifles, which would have escaped the
notice of a common observer, but which were engraved in indelible
characters on the heart of her admirer, all concurred to assure
him that he recognised in this lovely and dazzling female, so
splendidly attired and so regally attended, the cherished mistress
of his affections; she whom that very morning he had held in his
embrace.  He addressed a thousand questions to those about him,
from whom he learnt his own good fortune and the exalted rank of

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