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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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the members of the country parliaments; they were filled with
invectives against me, insulting mention of the king, and praises
of the duc de Choiseul.  I took especial care to read them in a
loud and distinct voice.

"This really is not to be endured," cried Louis XV; "that the
mistaken zeal of these long-robed gentlemen should make them
thus compliment my minister at my expense."



"So much the worse for you, sire," replied I, "considering that
you continue to prefer your minister to every other consideration."

As I continued searching through the letters, I found and read
the following phrase:--"Spite of the reports in circulation, I do
not believe it possible that M. de Choiseul will be dismissed; he
is too necessary to the  king, who, without him would be as
incapable as a child of managing his affairs: his majesty must
preserve our friend in office in spite of himself."

When I had finished, the king exclaimed, in an angry tone, "We
shall see how far the prophecy of these sapient gentlemen is
correct, and whether their 'friend' is so important to me that
I dare not dismiss him.  Upon my word, my minister has placed
himself so advantageously before his master, as to exclude him
entirely from the eyes of his subjects."

Whilst these words were speaking, M. de Maupeou and M. de la
Vrilliere were announced; the king, still warm, let fall some words
expressive of his displeasure at what had happened.  The gauntlet
was thrown; and so well did we work upon the irritated mind of
Louis XV, that it was determined M. de Choiseul should be dismissed
the following day, December 24, 1770.  Chanteloup was chosen
for the place of his retreat, and M. de la Vrilliere, by the
dictation of the king, wrote the following letter to the duke:--

"Cousin,-, The dissatisfaction caused me by
your conduct compels me to request you will
confine yourself to your estate at Chanteloup,
whither you will remove in four and twenty
hours from the date hereof.  I should have chosen
a more remote spot for your place of exile, were it
not for the great esteem I entertain for the duchesse
de Choiseul, in whose delicate health I feel much
interest.  Have a care that you do not, by your
own conduct, oblige me to adopt harsher
measures; and hereupon I pray God to have you
in his keeping."

(Signed) "Louis,

(and lower down) "PHILIPPEAUX"

When this letter was completed, I said to the king,


"Surely, sire, you do not mean to forget the duke's faithful ally,
M. de Praslin?  It would ill become us to detain him when the
head of the family has taken leave of us."

"You are right," replied the king, smiling; "besides, an old broom
taken from a masthead would be as useful to us as he would."

Then, turning to M. de la Vrilliere, the king dictated the
following laconic notice:--

"COUSIN,--I have no further occasion for
your services; I exile you to Praslin, and
expect you will repair thither within four and
twenty hours after the receipt of this."

"Short and sweet," cried I.

"Now let us drop the subject," said Louis;  "let madame de Choiseul
repose in peace to-night, and to-morrow morning, at eleven
o'clock, go yourself, M. de la Vrilliere, and carry my orders to
the duke, and bring back his staff of office."

"To whom will you give it, sire?"  inquired the chancellor.

"I have not yet considered the subject," replied the king.

At this instant M. de Soubise was announced.  "" exclaimed
the king, as M. de Soubise, little suspecting the nature of our
conversation, entered the room.  I profited by his coming to slip
out of the room into my boudoir, from which I despatched the
following note to M. d'Aiguillon:

"MY DEAR DUKE,--Victoria!  We are conquerors;
master and man quit Paris to-morrow.  We shall
replace them by our friends; and you best know
whether you are amongst the number of them."

 When I returned to the drawing-room, the king exclaimed,

"Come, madam., you are waited for; the prince de Soubise has a
very curious anecdote to relate, which befell a lady of his
acquaintance; I begged of him to defer telling it till you
rejoined us."

"Are you afraid of ghosts?"  inquired the marechal of me.

"Not this evening," replied I; "to-morrow, perhaps, or the next
day, I may be."

This jest amused the king and the duc de la Vrilliere, whilst M.
de Maupeou, who seemed to fear lest I should by any indiscretion,
reveal our secret, made a signal of impatience; to which I
replied, by shrugging up my shoulders.  Poor M. de Soubise,
although he did not comprehend my joke, laughed at it as heartily
as heartily as the rest who saw its application.  "Oh!  you
courtier," thought I We then entreated of him to commence the
recital of his tale, which he did in the following words--

"There is in Lower Brittany a family gifted with a most singular
endowment: each member of the family, male or female, is warned
exactly one month previous to his or her decease of the precise
hour and day in which it will take place.  A lady belonging to
this peculiar race was visiting me rather more than a month since;
we were conversing quietly together, when, all at once, she
uttered a loud cry, arose from her seat, endeavored to walk
across the room, but fell senseless upon the floor.  Much grieved
and surprised at this scene, I hastily summoned my servants, who
bestowed upon the unfortunate lady the utmost attention, but it
was long ere she revived.  I then wished to persuade her to take
some rest.  'No,' cried she, rising and giving me orders for her
immediate departure, "I have not sufficient time for rest; scarcely
will the short period between me and eternity allow me to set my
affairs in order.' Surprised at this language, I begged of her to
explain herself.  'You are aware,' said she, 'of the fatal power
possessed by my family; well, at the moment in which I was sitting
beside you on this sofa, happening to cast my eyes on the mirror
opposite, I saw myself as a corpse wrapped in the habiliments of
death, and partly covered with a black and white drapery; beside
me was an open coffin.  This is sufficient; I have no time to lose:
farewell, my friend, we shall meet no more' Thunderstruck at these
words, I suffered the lady to depart without attempting to combat
her opinion.  This morning I received intelligence from her son that
the prophecy had been fulfilled--she was no more."

When the marechal had finished, I exclaimed,

"You have told us a sad dismal tale; I really fear I shall not
be able to close my eyes at all to-night for thinking of it."

"We must think of some means of keeping up your spirits," answered
Louis XV.  " As for your story, marechal, it does not surprise me;
things equally inexplicable are continually taking place.  I read
in a letter addressed by Philip V, of Spain, to Louis XIV, "that
the spirit of Philip II, founder of the Escurial, wanders at
certain intervals around that building.  Philip V affirms that
he himself witnessed the apparition of the spectre of the king."

At this moment supper was announced.  "Come, gentlemen," said I,
"let us seek to banish these gloomy ideas around our festive
board."  Upon which the king conducted me to the supper-room,
the rest of the company following us.  Spite of all my efforts
to be gay, and induce others to be so likewise, the conversation
still lingered upon this dismal subject.

"Heaven grant," exclaimed the chancellor, "that I may not soon
have to dread a visit from the ghost of the deceased parliament;
however, if such were the case, it would not prevent my sleeping."

"Oh!"  cried the king, "these long-robed gentlemen have often
more effectually robbed me of sleep than all the spectres in the
world could do; yet one night--"



"Well, sire," said I, seeing that Louis was silent, "and what
happened to you that night?"

"Nothing that I can repeat," answered Louis XV, glancing around
with a mournful look.

A dead silence followed, which lasted several minutes; and this 

evening, which was to usher my day of triumph, passed away in the
most inconceivable dullness.  What most contributed to render me
uneasy was the reflection, that, at the very moment when we had
freed ourselves of our enemies, we were ignorant who would fill
their vacant places.  This was an error, and a great one.  My
friends would not listen to the nomination of the Comte de Broglie,
the Comte de Maillebois, the duc de la Vauguyon, any more than
either M. de Soubise or M. de Castries.  The abbe Terray, having
upon one occasion proposed the  marechal duc de Richelieu, he
very narrowly escaped having his face scratched by M. d'Aiguillon,
who cared very little for his dear uncle; but I have unintentionally
wandered from the thread of my narrative; I will therefore
resume it at once.

I had hoped that the king would this night have retired to his
own apartment, and that I should have been enabled to hold a
secret council with M. de Maupeou, and the ducs de la Vrilliere
and d'Aiguillon; but no such thing.  Imagining, no doubt, that I
should be kept awake by my fear of ghosts, his majesty insisted
upon remaining with me, and I was compelled to acquiesce.  He
passed a very agitated night, much more occupied with the des
Choiseuls than me; he could think of nothing, speak of nothing,
but the sensation which their disgrace would produce; he seemed
to dread his family, the nobility, the nation, Europe, and the
whole world.  I strove to re-assure him, and to inspire him with
fresh courage; and, when he quitted me in the morning, I felt
convinced that he would not again alter his determination.

As soon as Louis XV had left me, Comte Jean entered.  Although
concealed behind the curtain, and apparently not on the best terms
with me, my brother-in-law nevertheless directed my actions, and
gave me most excellent advice.  It was not long ere the duc
d'Aiguillon arrived; he had seen M. de Maupeou during the night,
and learned from him the exile of the late minister, but beyond
that fact he knew nothing.  He inquired of me, with much uneasiness,
whether anything had been decided in his behalf.  I replied, that

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