Make your own free website on Tripod.com

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

distinguish the sound from here."

The fool of a marquis set off in the height of his zeal to convince
his wife, and, arriving at the turret where the bell was placed,
began ringing it with all his might and main, leaving the lovers
 the undisturbed opportunity they were not slow in taking advantage
of.  When the marquis had ceased his chimes, the loving pair went
to meet him.

"Well, my good cousin," inquired he, as they approached, "which
of us was right?  Could you hear it or not?"

"Yourself, most assuredly," replied the young man, not without a
slight blush.  "I can assure you that both madame and myself
heard the bell the whole time you were ringing it."

"There, I told you so; I told you so"; cried the delighted husband,
triumphantly rubbing his hands.

I thought when this lively and piquant adventure was related to
me, that it was well worthy of being immortalized by the pen of
a La Fontaine.  The marchioness gave these anecdotes with a grace
and talent peculiarly her own; and I sometimes imagined that
some of the many she favored us with had perhaps taken place in
a more recent period than that she assigned to them; and that,
in order to divert our suspicions as to who were the real actors,
she frequently substituted the  for what should have been
with more correctness the  time.  With manners so
calculated to win, she could not fail being a delightful companion,
altho' in my heart I could not help giving the preference to the
society of the marechale de Mirepoix.

Besides, the preference evinced by this lady in so generously
separating herself from all her family, in order to attach herself
to me, was not without its full value in my eyes.  I knew myself
to be generally disliked by her brother and sister-in-law, the
prince and princesse de Beauvau, the latter of whom was secretly
the mistress of the duc de Choiseul, over whom she exercised an
equal empire with the duchesse de Grammont, and I was every day
the object of some fresh attack on their part.  I used sometimes
to complain of this to the marechale.  "My dear friend," she would
reply, "I am sorry, but cannot help it; in the midst of times such
as we live in, and in such a court too, the prince de Beauvau
aspires to be a noble Roman, and would fain be the Cato of his
country at least.  When I recommend to him a greater degree of
prudence, he talks to me of virtue, as tho' at Versailles duty
did not consist in implicit obedience to the wishes of our royal
master; either obedience or absence from court is the golden rule
laid down, from which none dare deviate.  As to my sister-in-law
she aims at the heroic likewise, altho her models are formed from
another school; in fact, she has pored over the romances of Cyrus.
Cassander, and Clelia, till she is half bewildered, and holds forth
upon the virtues of these famous heroines, till I am frequently
upon the point of exclaiming, "Ah, my dear, it is all very fine;
but Clelia and Mandane would not have shared their bed with
the duc de Choiseul."

By these lively sallies the marechale succeeded in diverting my
anger from her relations, and I generally forgot my resentment
in a hearty fit of laughter, brought on by her sprightly
conversation.  I found myself becoming daily more attached to
her, and her presence helped to console me for the many vexations
I continually encountered.

The greatest disagreeableness I encountered was occasioned by the
capricious behavior of the princesses, who sometimes received me
with pleasure and at others evinced a disposition to annoy me in
every possible way, according as it suited the whims and wishes
of those about them.  The following may serve as an instance of
their versatility.

The prince de Conde having announced his intention of giving a
grand fete at Chantilly, the princesses declared they would not
be present if I were there.  The prince de Conde, spite of his
claims to the character of a great man, was nevertheless one of
the most subtle courtiers; and as soon as he was informed of the
princesses' intention, he came, without ceremony, to explain the
matter to me.  This was the first visit he had honored me with.
"Madame," said he, "I had flattered myself you would have embellished
Chantilly with your presence; but the beauties of the court, too
justly alarmed at the idea of being eclipsed by your dazzling
charms, have so successfully manoeuvred, that they have wrought
upon the royal daughters of our august monarch to declare, that
the beauty of their attending nymphs shall not be effaced by yours.
You have too much good sense to see the affair in any but its true
light; and the disappointment your absence will inflict on me would
be too cruelly felt for endurance, did I not seek to pacify my
anxious wishes on the subject, by obtaining your promise to pay
me a visit when the king next honors Chantilly with his presence."


I felt deeply flattered by the invitation.  The prince continued
to pay me several elegant and gallant compliments; and I was,
upon the whole, charmed with our interview.  However, the king
was highly displeased with his daughters' proceedings.  "I have
a great inclination," said he, "to forbid their going to Chantilly at
all.  Upon my word, if I were to listen to them, they would fain
make of me the same puppet they allow themselves to become in
the hands of the greatest simpleton who will take the trouble of
leading them."

I endeavored to appease his anger, by reminding him, that he could
not expect perfection from his daughters; and that, forced as they
were to hear me continually spoken ill of by my enemies, it was
next to impossible they should be able to prevent themselves from
adopting the opinion of those around them.  "And that," said he,
"is what I principally find fault with.  What have they to do with
aping the tone of those about them; and what point of their duty
teaches them to detest those whom I love?  I will take care to let
them know my displeasure."

All my endeavors were in vain; I could obtain no change of his
purpose; and, summoning the archbishop de Senlis, he spoke to
him in a manner that plainly evinced his intention of making him
responsible for the actions of the princesses.  Poor M. de
Roquelaure called all the saints in paradise to witness his innocence.

"Silence, sir," exclaimed the king, "I am perfectly certain this
affair has not gone on without your knowledge and probable
participation.  I know you well for a person devoted to the
ladies, as a gay, gallant gentleman need be: I know likewise
that you expend the revenues of your bishopric and livings upon
the prettiest girls of Paris; thus I can hardly suppose you would
have counselled my daughters' conduct.  No, I blame those wicked
and vindictive scandal-mongers, whose age is their only protection,
and those intriguing men who beset my daughters' ears."

"Sire," protested the trembling bishop, "I entreat you to believe
I am innocent of the whole affair."

"Sir," interrupted the king, "I know well that you are as good a
courtier as a prelate, but still I believe you merely ape your
betters; and far from entertaining any personal dislike to the
comtesse du Barry, you would not object to receive either the
archbishopric of d'Albi or Sens from her hands, were they in her
power to bestow."

The conversation went on in this style for more than half an
hour.  The king, who had amused himself highly at the terror of
the bishop, left off in excellent humor.

This interview had not been productive of equal amusement to M.
de Roquelaure, whose self-love had been deeply humbled by the
way in which the king had spoken.  No sooner did he feel himself
at liberty, than he hastened to communicate to the princesses the
violent displeasure they had excited; and these ladies, so brave
and daring whilst their father appeared to offer no show of
authority or anger, durst proceed no further when they heard of
his seriously disapproving of it; and they felt the full
inconsistency of their conduct, in first admitting me into their
presence, and then refusing to meet me at any other place.  The
consequence of their deliberation upon the subject was to depute
the bishop de Senlis to call upon me.  This accommodating prelate
discharged his mission with the utmost amenity, presenting me
with the united compliments of the royal sisters, who all joined
in requesting the pleasure of meeting me at Chantilly.  Had not
the prince de Conde held out the flattering prospect of giving
me a fete wholly to myself, in all probability I should have
profited by their invitation; but knowing of the secret intention
of the prince, I returned for answer, "that it was sufficiently
flattering and gratifying to me, to find that I still preserved
any portion of the princesses' kind favor, but that I was
abundantly honored by the intimation of my presence
being agreeable.  Nevertheless, as I had good authority for
conjecturing that it might not be equally so to many of the
ladies of their court, I should abstain from giving offence to
any one by my presence."

"Ah, madame,,, cried M. de Roquelaure, "I entreat of you not to
insist upon my carrying the latter part of this message to the
princesses, they would be so much grieved."

"Well, then, sir," said I, "tell them that I am indisposed, and
that the state of my health will detain me at Versailles."

'That indeed," said he, " is a more respectful message; and

further I would venture to ask of your goodness, that since it
is not your pleasure to honor Chantilly with your presence, that
you will have the kindness to mention in the proper quarter, that
far from my royal ladies opposing any obstacle to your going,
they would have been much delighted with your presence there."

"Be assured, sir," answered I, " that I shall ever feel proud and
honored by the princesses' notice; and I will take care that the
faithful account of all their gracious condescension shall be

faithfully and loudly reported."

The bishop departed much pleased with the success of
his negotiation; and, above all, with the agreeable turn

< < 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