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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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and the great desire he felt to undertake the direction of them
in concert with me; he would add, "You might play the part of
madame de Pompadour, and yet you content yourself with merely
attempting to do so; you are satisfied with possessing influence
when you might exercise power and command.  Your alliance with a
prince of the blood would render you sole mistress in this kingdom;
and should I ever arrive, through your means, to the rank of
prime minister, it would be my pleasure and pride to submit all
things to you, and from this accord would spring an authority
which nothing could weaken."

I listened in silence, and, for once, my natural frankness received
a check; for I durst not tell him all I knew of the king's sentiments
towards him.  The fact was, Louis XV was far from feeling any
regard for the prince de Conde; and, not to mince the matter, had
unequivocally expressed his contempt for him.  He often said to
me, when speaking of him, "He is a conceited fellow, who would
fain induce persons to believe him somebody of vast importance."
Louis XV had prejudices, from which no power on earth could have
weaned him; and the princes of the house of Conde were amongst
his strongest antipathies: he knew a score of scandalous anecdotes
relating to them, which he took no small pleasure in repeating.

However, all the arguments of the prince de Conde were useless,
and produced him nothing, or, at least, nothing for himself,
although he procured the nomination of another to the ministry,
as you will hear in its proper place; but this was not sufficient
to allay the cravings of his ambition; and, in his rage and
disappointment, when open war was proclaimed between the king
and his parliament, he ranged himself on the side of the latter.
He soon, however, became weary of his new allies; and, once more
abandoning himself to the guidance of interest, he rejoined our
party.  Well did M. de Maupeou know men, when he said they all
had their price; and great as may be the rank and title of princes,
with plenty of money, they too may be had.

But amongst all the candidates for the ministry, the one who
occasioned me the greatest trouble was the duc de la Vauguyon,
who insisted upon it that he had done much for me, and complained
bitterly of his unrequited services, and of my having bestowed
my confidence on others.  Up to the moment of the disgrace of the
des Choiseuls, he had been amongst the most bitter of the
malcontents; but no sooner were they banished from court than
M. de la Vauguyon forgot every thing, and hastened to me with
every mark of the warmest friendship.

"Ah!"  exclaimed he," I have much to scold you for, but I will
forgive you all your past misdeeds, if you will perform your
promise to me."

"My dear father," cried I (for I used jestingly to style him so,
in the same manner as I designated the bishop of Orleans
), "are you, indeed displeased with me?  That is very
naughty: for you know I love you with all my heart."

"If it be true that you entertain any regard for me, why have
you evinced so little towards me?  Am I not of the right materials
for making ministers?  Why, then, have you never procured my
appointment to any of the vacant situations?"

"Stay, stay, my dear father," cried I, "how you run on!  To hear
you talk, any person would suppose that places and appointments
rained down upon me, and that I had only to say to you, my dear
duke, choose which you please; then, indeed, you might complain
with justice; but you know very well, that all these delightful
things are in the hands of the king, who alone has a right to
bestow them as he judges best, whilst I am wholly powerless in
the business."

"Say, rather," replied the duke, quickly, "that you find it suits
your present purpose to put on this want of power.  We all know,
that your veto is absolute with his majesty, and it requires
nothing more to obtain whatsoever you desire."

The duc de la Vauguyon was powerful, and represented the whole
of a party--that of the religionists, which was still further
supported by the ; but for this very reason the
triumvirate, consisting of messieurs d' Aiguillon, de Maupeou,
and the abbe Terre, would not have accepted his services at
any price.

The good duke returned several times to the charge; sometimes
endeavouring to move me by gentle intreaties and, at others,
holding out threats and menaces; good and bad words flowed from
his lips like a mixture of honey and gall, but when he found that
both were equally thrown away upon me, he retired offended; and
by the expression of his rage and disappointment, succeeded in
incensing both the dauphin and dauphiness against me.  May
heaven preserve you, my friend, from the anger of a bigot!

I think I have detained you long enough with the relation of the
intrigues by which I was surrounded upon the dismissal of the
des Choiseuls, and I will now return to the morning of the 24th
of December.  When the exiles were fairly out of Paris, the king
found himself not a little embarrassed in the choice of a prime
minister.  Those who would have suited our purposes did not meet
with the king's approbation, and he had not yet sufficient courage
to venture upon electing one who should be disagreeable to us; he
therefore hit upon a curious provisional election; the abbe Terray,
for instance, was placed at the head of the war department.  This
measure was excused by the assertion, that it would require the
head of a financier to look into and settle the accounts, which
the late minister had, no doubt, left in a very confused state.
Upon the same principle, M. Bertin was appointed to the direction
of foreign affairs, and M. de Boynes was invested solely with the
management of naval affairs.  This man, who was counsellor of
state, and first president of the parliament of Besancon, knew
not a letter of the office thus bestowed upon him, but then he
was bound body and soul to the chancellor; and it was worth
something to have a person who, it might be relied on, would
offer no opposition to the important reforms which were to be set
on foot immediately.  We required merely automata, and M. de Boynes
answered our purpose perfectly well; for a provisional minister
nothing could have been better.

The king had at length (in his own opinion), hit upon a very
excellent minister of war; and the person selected was the
chevalier, afterwards comte de Muy, formerly usher to the late
dauphin: he was a man of the old school, possessing many sterling
virtues and qualities.  We were in the utmost terror when his
majesty communicated to us his election of a minister of war,
and declared his intention of immediately signifying his pleasure
to M. de Muy.  Such a blow would have overthrown all our projects.
Happily chance befriended us; the modern Cato declared that he
should esteem himself most honored to serve his sovereign by every
possible endeavour, but that he could never be induced to enter
my service upon any pretext whatever.  The strangeness of this
refusal puzzled Louis XV not a little.  He said to me.  "Can you
make out the real motive of this silly conduct?  I had a better
opinion of the man; I thought him possessed of sense, but I see
now that he is only fit for the cowl of a monk; he will never be
a minister."  The king was mistaken; M. de Muy became one under
the auspices of his successor.

Immediately that the prince de Conde was informed of what had
passed, he recommenced his attack; and finding he could not be
minister himself, he determined, at least, to be principally
concerned in the appointment of one; he therefore proposed the
marquis de Monteynard, a man of such negative qualities, that the
best that could be said of him was, that he was as incapable of a
bad as of a good action; and, for want of a better, he was elected.
Such were the colleagues given to M. de Maupeou to conduct the
war which was about to be declared against the parliaments.  I
should tell you, , that the discontent of the magistracy
had only increased, and that the parliament of Paris had even
finished by refusing to decide the suits which were referred to
them; thus punishing the poor litigants for their quarrel with
the minister.

Meanwhile, the general interest expressed for the duc  de Choiseul
greatly irritated the king.

"Who would have thought," said he to me, "that a disgraced minister
could have been so idolized by a whole court?  Would you believe
that I receive a hundred petitions a day for leave to visit at
Chanteloup?  This is something new indeed!  I cannot understand it."

"Sire," replied I, "that only proves how much danger you incurred
by keeping such a man in your employment."

"Why, yes," answered Louis XV; "it really seem as though, had he
chosen some fine morning to propose my abdicating the throne in
favour of the dauphin, he would only have needed to utter the
suggestion to have it carried into execution.  Fortunately for me,
my grandson is by no means partial to him, and will most certainly
never recall him after my death.  The dauphin possesses all the
obstinacy of persons of confined understanding: he has but slender
judgment, and will see with no eye but his own."

Louis XV augured ill of his successor's reign, and imagined that
the cabinet of Vienna would direct that of Versailles at pleasure.
His late majesty was mistaken; Louis XVI is endowed with many
rare virtues, but they are unfortunately clouded over by his
timidity and want of self-confidence.

The open and undisguised censure passed by the whole court upon
the conduct of Louis XV was not the only thing which annoyed his
majesty, who perpetually tormented himself with conjectures of
what the rest of Europe would say and think of his late determinations.

"I will engage," said he, "that I am finely pulled to pieces at
Potsdam.  My dear brother Frederick is about as sweet-tempered as
a bear, and I must not dismiss a minister who is displeasing to
me without his passing a hundred comments and sarcastic remarks.
Still, as he is absolute as the Medes and Persians, surely he can

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