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"Willingly," replied he.  'Now you speak to the purpose; and as I
was prepared to hear you--are you inclined for a serious discussion
of our business?"

"Pray begin, my lord, I am all attention."

"Well, madam, I deeply regret all that has passed, and deplore
that my friends and part of my family should be disagreeable to
you; I take upon myself to engage that their hostility shall end,
and am willing to afford you the most perfect satisfaction upon
this point.  Impressed with highest respect for his majesty, and
the most lively desire to serve him, I ask for nothing more than
to be on good terms with those he loves; and as for the future,
my unshrinking loyalty may be relied on."

"I am well assured of it, my lord duke; and likewise you have
never taken any part in the calumnies which have been aimed at
me.  Let us then forgive the and since we are agreed as to the
future, let us speak but of the present.  I have friends fitted
to serve the king, whose ambition leads them to aspire to that
honour.  What will you do to assist them?"

"Ere I promise that, madam, it is necessary I should be acquainted
with them."

"What would it avail to name them to you?  You perfectly well

comprehend to whom I allude.  I am resolutely decided to support
them, and to employ for this purpose the friendship with which
his majesty deigns to honour me."

The duke coloured deeply at these words.

"Then, madam," said he, " you would fain strip me to enrich others?"

"No, my lord, I ask but a division of your possessions.  You cannot
have every thing; and it would not be fair that our reconciliation
should be profitable to you only."
"I did not anticipate, madam, in coming hither, that you would
command me to offer up myself as a sacrifice upon an altar raised
by you to the interests of your friends."

"Meaning to say, my lord duke, that you will keep every thing to
yourself.  I cannot compliment you upon your liberality, however
I may for your candour."

"Madam, I have never since my entry into the ministry sought to
live at the expense of my country, and let me resign office when
I may, I shall retire loaded only with debts, whilst you and your
friends draw large revenues from the nation."

The conversation became warm and angry, the duke and myself, with
crimson cheeks and inflamed countenances, surveyed each other
with haughty defiance.  At length he added,

"I had hoped that I should have quitted you more kindly disposed
towards me."

"And I, my lord, fancied that you were coming with an ardent
desire for peace; but no, the spirit of your sister leads you
astray, and you would fain punish me for her absence from court."

"Madam, I beseech you to leave my sister in peace; she has gone,
that ought to satisfy you.  We will not, if you please, speak of her."

"I only wish that she would likewise do me the honour to be silent
respecting me.  I am not ignorant that she continues to aim her
slanders at me from afar as she did when near me.  One might
suppose that the sole object of her journeyings was but to excite
all France against me."

"Madam, you are mistaken.  My sister--"

"Continues to play the same part in the country she did in Paris.
She detests me because I happen to have youth and beauty on my
side.  May her hatred last forever."

"Ah, madam, say not so; for with your charms you are indeed too
formidable an antagonist; and the more so, as I clearly perceive
you are not inclined for peace."

"At least," said I, "the war on my side shall be fair and open,
and those belonging to you have not always waged it with me upon
those terms."

The duke merely warded off this last assertion by some unmeaning
compliment, and we separated greater enemies than ever.

The first person to whom I could communicate what had passed was
the duc d'Aiguillon.  He listened to my recital without any decided
expression of his opinion; but no sooner had I concluded, than he
took me by the hand, and pressing it with a friendly grasp,

"How I congratulate you," said he, "upon the good fortune which
has extricated you from this affair.  Do you know that a reconciliation
with the duc de Choiseul would have involved your inevitable
disgrace?  What evil genius counselled you to act in such a manner?"

"I fancied I was doing right," said I, "in thus proving to the
king that I was not an unreasonable woman."

"The Choiseuls," replied he, "would have entangled you in their
nets, and, separated from your real friends, would have made you
the innocent author of your own destruction.  Tell the king just
so much, that the duc de Choiseul has been to see you, that you
conversed together some time, and that he has offended you more
than ever."

"I promise you, my kind friend," said I, "to follow your advice."

When I next saw the king, I apprized him of the visit.

"That does not astonish me," said Louis XV, "the duke is anxious
to be on friendly terms with you."

"He has then taken a very contrary road to arrive at my friendship,"
said I; "if he really desires that we should be on good terms, he
must conduct himself very differently"; and there the conversation
ended.  But several days afterwards, having sent away my , with whom I had reason to be dissatisfied, and the
king appearing surprised at seeing a fresh countenance amongst
my household, I said to him, "Sir, I have got rid of  Choiseul,
when will it please you to get rid of yours?"  The king, without
replying to me, began to laugh; in which, for want of a better
termination to my remark, I was constrained to join.



CHAPTER XXIII


Dorine--Mademoiselle Choin and the marechal d'Uxelles--Zamor--
M. de Maupeou's wig--Henriette--The duc de Villeroi and Sophie--
Letter from the comtesse du Barry to the duc de Villeroi--His
reply--The countess writes again--Madame du Barry and Sophie--
Louis XV and the comtesse du Barry

Among the number which composed my household were three beings
who played conspicuous parts in my family, and who received the
kindest caresses in honour of their mistress.  These three favoured
objects were Dorine, Zamor, and Henriette.  Following the order or
disorder in which I have written thus far, I will first introduce
my dear Dorine to your notice.

Sweet, beautiful Dorine!  how amiably affectionate and attached
to thy mistress wert thou!  The poor animal still exists; for I
would have you know that I am speaking of a most faithful little
dog; now indeed grown old, asthmatic and snappish; but fifteen
years since, distinguished for her lightness, swiftness, and grace,
for her pretty little countenance, white teeth, large sparkling
eyes, long tufted tail, and above all, for her snow-white coat,
spotted here and there with the most beautiful brown.

Dorine was just three months old when madame de Montmorency
brought her to me in her muff; her throat was adorned with a rich
gold collar, bearing the arms of the du Barrys, and clasped with a
large sapphire surrounded with diamonds.  The moment she saw me
Dorine leaped upon my lap with the most endearing familiarity,
and from that period has never quitted me.  My train of courtiers
hastened to become those of the new favourite likewise; and
pastrycooks and confectioners racked their brains to procure
tempting morsels for the gentle Dorine.  She sipped her coffee
daily from a golden saucer, and Zamor (between whom and Dorine
a mutual dislike existed) was appointed her cupbearer.  The
wonderful instinct of the highly gifted animal soon taught her,
that although she had free permission to bark at all the rest of
the world, there was one person in it to whom it behoved her to
show herself in her most gracious and smiling moods; who this
person was I leave it to your sagacity to divine.  She, however,
indemnified herself for this extra complaisance by barking and
biting at all who approached; and the handsomest, best turned
leg in the court was not secure from the sharp teeth of mademoiselle
Dorine.  Nevertheless, all vied in praising and fondling her, and
I was enchanted with the general admiration she excited, as well
as the attention she received.  One day that I was exultingly
relating to the duc d'Aguillon the cares and praises lavished on
my dog, he replied, "The grand dauphin, son of Louis XIV, after
the death of his wife, Marie Christine of Bavaria, secretly espoused
mademoiselle Choin.  The marechal d'Uxelles, who was not ignorant
of this marriage, professed himself the most devoted friend of
the lady; he visited her regularly morning and evening, and
even carried his desire to please her so far, as to send a servant
with a dish of grilled hare for the house dog, who had a particular
fancy for game dressed in that manner!  These attentions and
assiduities were faithfully continued for several years, till the
grand dauphin died, and then no more morning and evening visits,
no more presents to either mistress or dog.  Apply the story well,"
added the duke, as he terminated his recital.  Unfortunately the
application of the tale presented itself but too soon, and I have
experienced the sad truth of the history of mademoiselle Choin.
At the death of the king so, did my visitors disappear; and poor
Dorine has partaken of the disgrace of the comtesse du Barry.

The second object of my regard was Zamor, a young African boy,
full of intelligence and mischief; simple and independent in his
nature, yet wild as his country.  Zamor fancied himself the equal
of all he met, scarcely deigning to acknowledge the king himself
as his superior.  This son of Africa was presented to me by the
duc de Richelieu, clad in the picturesque costume of his native
land; his head ornamented with feathers of every colour, a short
petticoat of plaited grass around his waist, while the richest
bracelets adorned his wrists, and chains of gold, pearls, and
rubies, glittered over his neck and hung from his ears.  Never
would any one have suspected the old marechal, whose parsimony
was almost proverbial, of making such a magnificent present.

In honour of the tragedy of Alzire, I christened my little negro

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