Make your own free website on

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

Zamor, to whom by degrees I became attached with all the tenderness
of a mother.  You ask me why?  Indeed that is more than I can
tell; perhaps at first I looked upon him as a sort of puppet or
plaything, but, imperceptibly to myself, I became passionately
fond of my little page, nor was the young urchin slow in perceiving
the ascendancy he had gained over me, and, in the end, to abuse
his influence, and attained, as I have before said, an almost
incredible degree of insolence and effrontery.  Still I pardoned
all his folly, and amused myself from morning to night with
watching his nimble fingers perform a thousand tricks of jugglery.
Even now that I have lost the gaiety of my happy days, when I
recall his irresistibly comic ways, I catch myself laughing, like
an old simpleton, at the bare recollection of his monkey feats.
I could relate twenty of his mischievous pranks, each more
amusing than the other.  I will, however, excuse you from hearing
nineteen of them, upon condition that you shall listen to the
twentieth, which I select as being the shortest.

One day, upon which I had invited some select friends to dinner, a
superb pie was brought to table as a present which the ungallant
M. de Maupeou had had the politeness to send me in the morning.
One of the company proceeded to cut it, when scarcely had he
pierced the crust, than its perfidious contents proved to be an
immense swarm of cockchafers, which spread humming and buzzing
all over the chamber.  Zamor, who had never before seen these
insects, began to pursue them all over the room, buzzing and
humming as loudly as they did.  The chase lasted a long time; but
at last the poor cockchafers weary of carrying on the war, and
mistaking the peruke of M. de Maupeou for an impregnable fortress,
flew to take refuge there.  What did Zamor do, but run to the
chancellor, snatch off his wig, and carry it in triumph to a
corner of the room with its colony of cockchafers, leaving us all
to admire the bald head of the chief magistrate.  I could willingly
have enjoyed a hearty laugh at this scene, but, out of respect for
M. de Maupeou, I feigned to be much displeased with Zamor, whom
I desired one of the attendants to flog for his rudeness.  However,
the guests and the chancellor uniting in entreaties that I would
pardon him, I was obliged to allow my assumed anger to give way
to their request, and the culprit received a pardon.

There was but one person in the world whom Zamor really feared;
he was however on good terms with all my friends, and did not
disdain the society of the king.  You have heard that the latter,
by way of amusement, bestowed on my little negro the title of
governor of the Pavillon de Lucienne, with a revenue arising
therefrom of a thousand crowns, and that the chancellor caused
the necessary papers to be prepared and delivered to him sealed
with the state seal.

But of all the persons who visited me, the one most beloved by
Zamor was madame de Mirepoix, who never came without bringing
him amusing presents or some sweetmeats.  The sight of her threw
him into ecstasies of delight; and the moment he caught sight of
her, he would clap his hands, leap with joy, dance around her,
and kiss her hand, exclaiming, "" " ("Ah!
Madame la marechale ").  The poor marechale always dreaded
meeting the king when she came to visit me and Zamor; for the great
delight of his majesty was to make my little negro repeat a name
of Israelitish origin, which he did in so ridiculous a manner, that
the modesty of my fair friend was most shockingly put to the blush.

One person alone never vouchsafed to bestow the slightest glance
of encouragement upon my little imp of Africa, and this was comte
Jean, who even went so far as to awe him into silence either by a
frown or a gesture of impatience; his most lively tricks could
not win a smile from the count, who was either thoughtful or
preoccupied with some ambitious scheme of fortune.  Zamor
soon felt a species of instinctive dread of this overpowering and
awe-inspiring genius, whose sudden appearance would chill him
in his wildest fits of mirthful mischief, and send him cowering
to a corner of the room; where he would remain huddled together,
and apparently stupefied and motionless, till the count quitted
the apartment.

At the moment of my writing this, Zamor still resides under my
roof.  During the years he has passed with me he has gained in
height, but in none of the intellectual qualities does he seem to
have made any progress; age has only stripped him of the charms
of infancy without supplying others in their place; nor can I
venture to affirm, that his gratitude and devotion to me are such
as I have reason to expect they should be;* for I can with truth
affirm, that I have never ceased to lavish kindness on him, and
to be, in every sense of the word, a good mistress to him.

*This wretch, whom the comtesse du Barry
loaded with her favours and benefits, conducted
her to the scaffold.- EDITOR (i.e., author)

There was one member of my establishment, however, whom I preferred
to either Dorine or Zamor and this was Henriette, who was sincerely
attached to me, and who, for that very reason, was generally
disliked throughout the castle.  I bad procured a good husband
for her, on whom I bestowed a post which, by keeping both himself
and his wife in the close vicinity of the castle, prevented my kind
friend from quitting me.  However, my poor Henriette was not fated
to enjoy a long connubial felicity, for her husband, being seized
with a violent fever, in a fit of delirium threw himself from a
window into the court below, and was taken up dead.  Slander
availed herself even of this fatal catastrophe to whisper abroad,
that the death of the unhappy man arose from his deep sense of
his wife's misconduct and infidelity.  This I can positively assert
was not the case, for Henriette was warmly and truly attached to
him, and conducted herself as a wife with the most undeviating
propriety.  The fact was, that Henriette had drawn upon herself a
general hatred and ill will, because she steadily refused all
gossiping invitations, where my character would have been pulled
to pieces, and the affairs of my household discussed and commented
upon: there, indeed, she had sinned beyond all hope of pardon.

She it was who pointed out to me the perfidious conduct of the
duc de Villeroi.  This gentleman, from the very beginning of my
rise in the royal favour, had demonstrated the most lively friendship
for me, of which he sought to persuade me by the strongest
protestations, which, weak and credulous as I was, I implicitly
believed, until one day that Henriette, availing herself of my
being quite alone, let me into the secrets of my establishment
and furnished me with a key to the assiduities of M. de Villeroi.

Amongst the females in my service was one named Sophie, young,
beautiful both in face and form, of a sweet disposition, and every
way calculated to inspire the tender passion.  M. de Villeroi felt
the full force of her charms, and became the whining, sighing
lover--her very shadow.  Up to this period I had had no cause of
complaint against M. de Villeroi; and certainly I should not have
interfered with his plebeian flame had he not thought proper,
when questioned by my enemies as to his continual presence at
the castle, and great assiduities there, to protest that his visits
thither were not in honour of my charms, but for those of my
waiting-maid.  However, my vanity had rendered me his constant dupe.

 I felt perfectly astonished as I listened to Henriette's recital;
and when she had ceased, I conjured her to tell me candidly,
whether she had not invented the whole tale either out of spite
to Sophie or with a design to make me break off further friendship
with the duke.  This she most solemnly denied, and recommended me
to make inquiries amongst my friends, who would be compelled to
bear testimony to the truth of all she had asserted.  I determined
to do so; and the first person whom I was enabled to interrogate
respecting the affair was the bishop de Senlis.  This prelate
came frequently to see me, and I found his society each day more
pleasing.  He served me as a kind of gazette of all that passed
with the princesses, in whose opinion I had still the misfortune
not to be in the very highest estimation.  When occasion required
it, M. de Roquelaure would venture to take my part, and that
without making a single enemy; for who could be offended with
one so affable, so good, so full of kindness towards all?  In
fact, the worthy bishop was so fortunate as to obtain the love of
every person who knew him; and, in the most select society of
opposing parties, each would reserve a place for good M. de Roquelaure.

When I questioned him as to his knowledge of the affair, his
embarrassment was evident.

"What a world is this!  "cried he.  "Why, let me ask, do you
listen to those who repeat such mortifying tales to you?"

"Because, my lord, my friends will not see me made the sport of a
heartless and perfidious friend; and, if you entertain the slightest
regard for me, I conjure you to tell me all you know upon the subject."

"And do you, my good madam, conceive that it would become my 

calling to speak ill of my neighbour?  besides, surely you
would not attach any belief to the idle reports spread about the
castle by ill-disposed persons?"

"All this has nothing to do with my question, my lord," resumed I.
"I ask you once again, whether you ever heard the duc de Villeroi
assign his passion for one of my women as the reason for his
visits to me?  Have you, my lord bishop?  I entreat you to answer."

"Madam, I have not," said the good prelate, colouring deeply.

"Ah, monsieur de Roquelaure," cried I, "you must not say mass
to-morrow, for I greatly fear you have just committed a certain
fault which is styled fibbing."

The bishop made no reply, and his silence spoke volumes of confirmation.

Scarcely had he quitted me than the duc d'Aiguillon entered, to
whom I put the same question; and he frankly confessed, that the

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: