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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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the affair had taken.

When I next saw the king, I said to him, "Your daughters, sire,

are as amiable as you would have them; they have been informed
that some evil disposed persons have asserted, that they had
prohibited my being of the party to Chantilly; and in order to
testify how differently they  were disposed towards me, they
despatched the bishop de Senlis."

"A most fit person to be intrusted with such a commission,"
replied the king; "for I have, in every instance, endeavored to
justify the wishes of this holy pillar of the church, this worthy
prelate with his double-faced politeness, towards those whom
he openly compliments, and reviles in private, just as his interest
may require it.  Well!  and what did you say to him?"

"That I most humbly thanked the princesses, but that the state
of my health did not permit of my visiting Chantilly for the present."

"That is all very well," answered Louis XV; "you have framed
your excuse with much generosity, which I greatly fear will meet
with a very different turn; for if you do not accompany me to
Chantilly, the report circulated will be, that the princesses have
forbidden you their presence; which my dearly beloved daughters,
whose characters I fully understand, will neither affirm nor deny
before the public, whilst in private they will vow that they
prohibited you from following them.  Always excepting madame
Louise, who is an angel upon earth, as she will most assuredly be
one day in heaven, where I trust her prayers for me and mine
will be heard."

I did not at the time pay any particular attention to the latter
part of the king's discourse, for, indeed, the beginning was far
more interesting to me; but when I afterwards learnt that madame
Louise had quitted the grandeurs of Versailles for the gloom and
austerity of a convent I recollected it, and easily comprehended
that it was spoken in allusion to an event which took place some
time afterwards, and of which I shall speak in its proper place.
However, the king's prediction was exactly verified; and the
report in general circulation was, that the princesses had
declared their intention of not going to Chantilly; it was
further rumored, that I was there, but in a private and concealed
manner.  This is wholly untrue; the king would never have permitted
such a humiliation; nor do I believe I should have submitted to it
had he even desired it.  However all this may be, he sought to
recompense me for his absence by writing a most delightful letter,
which I will subjoin for your gratification.  To me it was of so
much the greater value, that having its royal writer's permission
to show it, it became the first death-blow I aimed at the cabal
against me.  The king possessed a much greater portion of wit and
talent than the weakness and timidity of his character permitted
to appear.



CHAPTER XX


Unpublished letter of Louis XV--Madame du Barry's cousin, M. de
Maupeou--The comtesse du Barry saves the life of a young girl
seduced by the arts of the cure of her village--She obtains pardon
of the comte and comtesse de Louerne--The king presents her with
Lucienne--A second meeting with the youthful prophet--His further
predictions--He is sought for--His mysterious letter to the countess

"How does my sweet friend contrive to bear our tedious
separation?  is she happy and amused?  In that case I can
say, she has greatly the advantage over him who now
addresses her.  No, my lovely countess, I am dragging
on a tedious and uninteresting existence, spite of the
great and earnest endeavors of my good cousin and host
to provide for my enjoying the gaiety by which I am
surrounded; but, alas!  amidst the many faces with
which his mansion is thronged, that one which is
dearest to me is wanting, and all becomes a blank
in my eyes; and I yawn with irrepressible weariness
in the midst of the glittering pageants given to
honor my arrival; and you may rest assured that I
shall hail with delight the termination of a visit,
which seems already to have swelled the period of
our separation into ages.  I will not attempt to
conceal from you, that those who have good cause
to envy your supreme dominion over my heart, have
set every scheme in action to lead me even into a
temporary oblivion of you, but their attempts are
as vain as their impotent rivalry, and need cause
no uneasiness to you, my beloved friend.  I
frequently smile at the vast pains and precautions of
which my '' is the object; and I am
 encountering '' some of
those fair ladies who would fain usurp your place,
sometimes bedecked with jewels rare, and sometimes,
as Racine says,

"<------ dans le simple appareil
D'une beaute, qu'on vient d'arracher au sommeil.>'

"Madame de Grammont, for instance, takes an infinity of
trouble respecting my choice of your successor, which
she is resolved shall be either herself or one of her
choosing.  I protest to you that I find all these plots
and counterplots very amusing; and can only say, that
my daughters, who are completely duped by those
practising them, must be more completely deceived
than I had imagined possible.  Nor can I quite deny
that I feel a half mischievous delight in reducing to
despair,

"'<-------ce peuple de rivales
Qui toutes, disputant, d'un si grand interet,
Des yeux d'Assuerus attendent leur arret.>'

" (which, of course, means me) keeps one
perpetual reply to all their high-sounding praises and
eulogiums of such or such a lady.  'She is well enough,
 certainly; but the comtesse du Barry excels her a
hundredfold': then follow such shrugs, such contortions
of countenance, and such vain efforts to repress the
rage of disappointed vanity and ambition, that I am
nearly ready to die with laughter.

"Apropos of dying; I inquired the number of deaths
which took place at Chantilly last week; only four,
they say!  Now I think that number quite sufficient
for the size of the place.  I walked as far as the
village cemetery, which is large and judiciously
placed.  I must tell you, that one of my footmen has
gone to that last journey from which none return:
he was a tall, presuming sort of fellow, remarkable
for nothing but his impertinence, and the continual
scrapes he was forever getting into amongst the
soubrettes.  However, he met with his death in some
sudden brawl.  My people sought to conceal this
piece of intelligence from me; but having once heard
of it, I despatched Flamarens to ascertain in what
corner of the cemetery he has been interred.

"The duc de Tresmes talks much of you, and boasts
greatly to the honor of your friendship; he has dubbed
himself your ''; this is not amiss for a peer
of France, and what is still more gratifying, he has
assumed a title which, I believe, no one in the kingdom
will attempt to dispute his incontestable claim to call
his own.  Villeroi is all impatience to return to
Versailles.  The dukes of Richelieu and d'Aiguillon,
both uncle and nephew, recommend themselves to your
kind recollection.  Thus you see you may reckon upon
a few devoted and attached friends, even without
him, whose hand is busily tracing these lines, and he,
I can promise you, is inferior to none in the truest
love and affection for you.

"The ladies of whom I would have you be most on your
guard are mesdames de C., de B., de P., de G.  They
really throw themselves in my way till I can call them
nothing but fools for their pains; but I must do them
the justice to say that they are less ambitious than
you, and so that they could rob you of your place
would care very little whether I could offer them my
heart with the other honors to which they aspire; in
fact, 'tis time we were together again, for the people
here seem determined to profit by my stay amongst
them.  My cousin entertains us magnificently, and
pleasure succeeds pleasure in a continual round of
enchantment: he tells me he has others still more
charming in store against the time when you will
honor him with your presence.  Am I right in
promising this will be ere very long?  Adieu, what a
long letter have I written you.  I will now conclude
by bestowing an imaginary kiss on that lovely face,
which must satisfy me till I have the felicity of
seeing you again.

"And now, my dear friend and fairest countess, I will
end my lengthened epistle by praying God to have you
ever in His holy care and keeping."


The receipt of this letter afforded me the liveliest pleasure, and
I wrote to the king regularly every night and morning.  I might
here introduce a specimen of my own epistolary style, but I will
not; for altho' the whimsical and extravagant things my pen gave
utterance to were exactly to the king's taste, they might surprise
you; but my royal correspondent loved the wild and bizarre turn
of my expressions, and I fulfilled his wishes; perhaps it was not
the only instance in which I gratified his inclination.

My , the chancellor of France, had remained to keep me
company instead of joining the party at Chantilly.  ,
say you, and by what right or title could M. de Maupeou become
such?  I will tell you.  First of all he only aspired to the honor
of relationship, but afterwards, turning over the archives of his
family, he found the most incontestable proofs of his belonging
to the ancient families of the du Barry; and full of joy, he
hurried to me, unrolling at my feet his genealogical tree, to the
great amusement of comte Jean and my sisters-in-law, who, after
a long examination, declared that he was justly entitled to the
appellation of first cousin; from that period he always addressed
me , which I flattered him by returning whenever I was
in the humor.

About this period I was the happy instrument in saving from death
a young girl whose judges (as will be seen) were about to sentence
her to be hanged without fully understanding whether she were
innocent or guilty.  This unfortunate creature was a young and
pretty country girl, whose worthy pastor, the cure de Liancourt,
had availed himself of the influence he possessed, and of the

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