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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