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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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credit and influence; and I kept my word by obtaining for him,
at the solicitation, of his sister, some lucrative situation, the
exact nature of which I do not now recollect, where they resided
together in ease and comfort.  I had only to recommend them to
the notice of M. de Boulogne, who felt himself much flattered at
being selected by me to make the fortunes of my two friends.

>From this time Genevieve visited me as frequently as she could,
and her society delighted me; whilst, in her conversation I found
 a frankness and sincerity which I had vainly sought for at court.
She had loved me when a simple milliner, and she cherished the
same fond regard for me in my improved situation.  Her friendship
has not forsaken me in my reverses; and I feel quite assured that
death only will dissolve the tender friendship which still subsists
between us.  As for her brother, he spared me much shame and
confusion by never seeking my presence; a meeting with him would
indeed have overwhelmed me with painful recollections.

And now, my friend, I am about to relate to you an adventure, the
bare mention of which covers my cheek with guilty blushes; fain
would I conceal it from you, but my promise is given to lay my
whole heart before you, and it shall be done, cost what it may.

I know not why it should ever have been permitted you gentlemen
to frame laws, which, while they permit you, in the gratification
of your passions, to descend ever so low in the scale of society
without any disgrace attaching itself to you from the obscure
condition of the object of your search, to us females it is
prohibited, under penalty of incurring the utmost degradation,
to gratify the inclination of our hearts when awakened by one of
more humble rank than our own.  A great lord may love a kitchen
maid, a noble duke, like M. de Villeroi, may indulge his fancy
for a waiting-woman, and yet lose no portion of his dignity, or
of the esteem in which the world holds him; but, on the other
hand, woe to the high-born dame who should receive the homage
of an obscure citizen, or the noble countess who should lend a
favourable ear to the sighs of her ; the public
voice would loud and angrily inveigh against so flagrant a breach
of decorum.  And why should this be?  But, my friend, do you not
see in my seeking to defend so weak a cause sufficient intimation
that such a justification involves a consciousness of requiring
it?  Alas!  I plead guilty, and will no longer delay the painful
confession I have to make.

Do you remember a singularly handsome young man, who, during my
abode with madame Lagarde, fascinated me till my very senses seemed
bewildered by my passion.  You know how he betrayed me, and how,
through him, I was expelled the house, as well as the termination
of this foolish adventure.  You are now to pass over seven or
eight years, and take your place with me in the drawing-room, in
which I stood when I rang to summon a servant to convey a letter
to the duc de Villeroi.  You may remember what I told you in the
last chapter of the person who entered, of his agitation and his
blushes, and of his fixing his eyes with deep meaning upon me till
he quitted the room-this servant was Noel!

Had I listened to the dictates of prudence, I should, without
loss of time, have obtained against him a ,
which would have freed me from all chance of discovery through
his means; but I could not listen to such cool-blooded, though
cautious, suggestions.  One idea only took possession of my
mind--the absurd desire to know what had become of Noel since we
separated, and by what accident I now found him wearing my livery
in the castle.  With this intent I availed myself of the first
moment I was secure from interruption, to summon him to my presence.
He threw himself at my feet, imploring of me to pardon his audacity.
"Alas, madam!"  said he, "I am more unfortunate than guilty.  I saw
you walking some time since, and I could obtain no rest or peace
till I was fortunate enough to obtain admission to your establishment.
Punish me for my temerity if you will; expel me from the castle,
have me confined in a prison, I deserve it all; but, voluntarily,
I cannot leave this house; and if you will only permit my stay, I
solemnly vow you shall see nothing in my conduct but the zeal
of an attached and respectful servant."

I was weak enough to pardon Noel and shortly after to raise him
to the rank of , which brought him infinitely
too much about me.

Yes, my friend, the woman is, after all attempts to excuse it,
blamable for bestowing her affection on one below herself in the
scale of society.  Nature herself appears to have planted in our
bosoms a kind of instinct, which warns us from it, and a prejudice
against all those who so degrade themselves.  It is different
with men; they can confer rank and elevation on the beloved object.
A woman should always have reason to look up to and feel proud
of the man to whom she consigns her heart; this species of vanity
is mixed with the noblest love, and the woman who can overlook
it, acts from passion of the lowest, basest kind.  How easy is it
to reason!  Alas!  Why have I not always acted as well as I speak.

I was thus again a second time enthralled by Noel, and much more
so, too, than I will now tell you.  My faithful Henriette, whose
devoted attachment for me kept her ever watchful of my safety and
reputation, was thunderstruck at perceiving what I vainly strove
to conceal from her; and, as she has since told me, was long in
deciding whether to speak to me of the affair, when an unexpected
incident arose, which determined her, at every risk of my
displeasure, to use her endeavors to put an end to so disgraceful
a connexion, which must infallibly have ended in my disgrace.

One night, or rather midnight, all was at rest in the castle, and
I was sleeping peacefully in the arms of Noel, when all at once
I was awakened by the sudden opening of an outer door, which
announced to me the approach of the king, who had merely one
more door to open ere he would be in my apartment.  Noel, terrified,
leaped quickly out of bed, and ran to seek refuge in a small
chamber adjoining where Henriette slept.  Happily she was yet
awake; and, by the light of a night-lamp or  recognized
Noel, who, with clasped hands, conjured her to take pity upon him.
Henriette saw the danger, and putting out her hand, seized him,
and drawing him rapidly towards her, made him lie down beside
her.  Noel, struck with her goodness, was preparing to offer her
the same marks of his gratitude he had shown me of his respect;
but repulsing him, she said in a low voice, "Wretch, think not it
is on your account I thus expose my reputation; 'tis to save that
of my beloved mistress; either conduct yourself with silent respect
or you are lost."  At this threat Noel 's courage melted away
and he lay still as a frightened child.  "Listen," said Henriette,
"if you do not quit this place to-morrow at break of day, without
seeking to see madame again, I will denounce you to the king,
who will inflict upon you the most dreadful punishment."

Whilst these things were passing in the chamber of Henriette, I
did not feel perfectly at ease on my side, and many were the wise
reflections I made upon my folly, as well as the promises I gave
never again to expose myself to such imminent danger.  Nor did my
terrors abate till after the king had quitted me.  At the sound of
my bell Henriette hastened to my bed-side.

"My good Henriette," said I to her, trembling from head to foot,
"what a night of anxiety have I passed, I must indeed confess--"

"Fear not, my beloved mistress," replied she; "I will watch over
your safety, and trust to be enabled fully to provide for it."

I durst not then ask for any further explanation of her words, for
such was the ascendancy her good and steady conduct had given her
over me, that she would certainly have blamed me for my glaring
imprudence.  I pressed her hand in mute thankfulness; she
comprehended my silence and left me to myself.

At the end of some days, seeing nothing of Noel, I ventured to
question her as to his fate: she then related to me all you have
been told, and added, that the day following this shameful and
unfortunate night she had lost no time in apprizing the comte
Jean of all that had occurred, who had quickly despatched Noel
out of the kingdom, furnishing him with a purse of ten thousand
livres to defray his travelling expenses.  Such was the fortunate
termination of this disgraceful affair; and now, having completed
my painful confession, I will change the subject to others doubtless
more calculated to interest you than the recital of such lapses.



CHAPTER XXV


Madame du Barry succeeds in alienating Louis XV from the due de
Choiseul--Letter from madame de Grammont--Louis XV--The chancellor
and the countess--Louis XV and the abbe de la Ville--The marechale
de Mirepoix and madame du Barry

Matters now assumed an air of importance.  My struggle with the
des Choiseuls had become a deadly war, which could only be
terminated either by his downfall or my dismissal from court;
this latter measure was not very probable; an old man is not
easily detached from a woman whom he loves, and each day only
added to my ascendancy over the mind of the king.  It is true,
that the same force of habit which enchained Louis XV to me
bound him likewise to M. de Choiseul.  The idea of change terrified him;
and so great was his dread of fresh faces, that he would have
preferred dying with his old minister, to creating a younger one
who might witness his end.  Happily the duke himself brought on
the crisis of his fate; his power was cramped on all sides, yet,
resolved not to lay it down till the last extremity, he sought
to stay his failing credit with the rising influence of the dauphiness.
His enemies were not slow in pointing out to the king his minister's
frequent visits and great assiduities to a foreign princess, and
enlarged upon the fatal effects this new alliance might produce

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