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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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registered a vow never to resign the office of censor, but to keep
it in despite of danger and difficulty.  I soon discovered that
he passed from the patronage of Lebel to that of Chamilly, and I
was not slow in conjecturing that he joined to his avocations of
censor and gazetteer that of purveyor to his majesty's .

Spite of my indefatigable endeavors to render Louis XV happy and
satisfied with the pleasures of his own home, he would take
occasional wandering fits, and go upon the ramble, sometimes in
pursuit of a high-born dame, at others eager to obtain a poor and
simple ; and so long that the object of his fancy were
but new to him, it mattered little what were her claims to youth,
beauty, or rank in life.  The marechale de Mirepoix frequently
said to me, "Do you know, my dear creature, that your royal
admirer is but a very fickle swain, who is playing the gay gallant
when he ought to be quietly seated at his own fireside.  Have a
care, he is growing old, and his intellect becomes more feeble
each day; and what he would never have granted some few years
back, may be easily wrung from him now.  Chamilly aspires at
governing his master, and Marin seconds him in his project."

At length, roused to a sense of impending evil, by the constant
reminding of the marechale, I summoned Marin to my presence.
"Now, sir," said I, as he approached, "I would have you to know
that I am apprised of all your tricks: you and your friend Chamilly
are engaged in a very clever scheme to improve your own fortunes
at the expense of the king your master."

Marin burst into loud protestations of his innocence, declaring
that he was as innocent as the lamb just born.  I refused to
believe this, and desired he would explain to me why he went so
frequently to the apartments of M. Chamilly.

"Alas, madam!"  replied Marin, "I go thither but to solicit his
aid in craving the bounty of his majesty."

"You are for ever pleading poverty, miserly being," cried I; "you
are far richer than I am; but since you want money I will supply
you with it, and in return you shall be my secret newsman, and
royal censor in my service.  Now understand me clearly; every
month that you faithfully bring me an account of certain goings
on, I will count into your hand five and twenty ."

I must confess that Marin only accepted my proposition with much
reluctance, but still he did accept it, and withdrew, meditating,
no doubt, how he should be enabled to satisfy both Chamilly
and myself.

A long time elapsed before Marin brought me any news of importance,
and I began to feel considerable doubts of his fidelity, when he
came to communicate a very important piece of intelligence.  He
had just learned that Chamilly frequently went to Paris, the
bearer of letters from the 'king to a young and pretty female,
named madame de Rumas, who resided in the old rue du Temple.

Here was a pretty discovery; the king actually engaged in a love
affair, letters passing between him and his mistress, whilst the
head  was acting the part of Mercury to the
lovers.  This indeed required some speedy remedy, and I lost no
time in summoning my privy counsellor, Comte Jean, whom I acquainted
with what had occurred, and begged his advice as to the best
measures to be pursued.  "Indeed," replied my brother-in-law, "what
others would do in our place would be to throw M. Chamilly from
one of the windows of the chateau, and treat this his friend Marin
with a lodging in the Bastille; but, as we are persons of temper
and moderation, we will go more gently to work.  I will, in the
first place, gain every information relative to the affair, that
I may satisfy myself Marin is not seeking to show his honest
claims to your gold, by imposing a forged tale upon your credulity;
when that is ascertained we will decide upon our next best step."

Comte Jean departed to seek the assistance of M. de Sartines,
who was at that time entirely devoted to my interests; and, after
having diligently searched the whole rue du Temple, he succeeded
in discovering madame de Rumas.  He learnt that this lady had
recently married a person of her own rank, to whom she professed
to be violently attached; that they lived together with great
tranquillity, and had the reputation of conducting themselves as
persons of extreme propriety and regularity; paid their debts,
and avoided, by their air of neatness, order, and modest reserve,
the scandal of even their most ill-natured neighbors.  The husband
was said to be a great religionist, which increased the suspicions
of Comte Jean.  With regard to the epistolary correspondence
carried on by the lady, no information could be gleaned in in
that quarter.

Marin was again sent for by my brother-in-law, who questioned
and cross-questioned with so much address, that Marin found it
impossible to conceal any longer the remaining part of the affair,
of which he had before communicated but so much as his policy
deemed advisable.  He confessed that he had originally mentioned
madame de Rumas (whom he himself had long known) to Chamilly,
had shown him several of her letters; and, as he expected, the
style of these epistles so pleased the head valet, that he expressed
a wish to see the fair writer.  Marin accordingly introduced him
to the rue du Temple, where he was most graciously received, and
returned home enchanted with the lady: he spoke of her to the
king, strongly recommending his majesty to judge for himself.
 Accordingly his majesty wrote to madame de Rumas, who received
the letter from the hands of her friend Chamilly with all pomp and
state, talked first of her own virtue and honor, and afterwards
of her dutiful respect for his majesty.  She replied to the royal
note in so prudent yet obliging a manner, that the king was
enchanted.  This effective billet was answered by a second letter
from the king, which obtained a reply even more tenderly charming
than the one which preceded it.  An interview was next solicited
and granted; for a visit was such a trifle to refuse.  The royal
guest became pressing and the lady more reserved, till the time
was lost in attempts at convincing each other.  At the next
interview madame de Rumas freely confessed her sincere attachment
for his majesty, but added, that such was her desire to possess
his whole and undivided regard, that she could never give herself
up to the hope of keeping him exclusively hers whilst I interposed
between her and the king's heart--in a few words then she demanded
my dismissal.  This was going too far; and Louis XV, who thought
it no scandal to have a hundred mistresses, was alarmed at the
thoughts of occasioning the bustle and confusion attendant upon
disgracing his acknowledged favorite and recognised mistress; he
therefore assured her, her request was beyond his power to grant.

Madame de Rumas now sought to compromise the affair, by talking
of a share in his favor.  She asked, she said, but the heart of her
beloved monarch, and would freely leave me in possession of all
power and influence.  The king whose heart was regularly promised
once a day, did not hesitate to assure her of his fidelity, and
his wily enslaver flattered herself, that with time and clever
management, she should succeed in inducing him to break off
those ties which he now refused to break.

Things were in this state when Marin divulged to us the intrigue
conducted by Chamilly, and directed, though in a covert manner,
by the marechal duc de Richelieu.  This spiteful old man possessed
no share of the talent of his family; and, not contented with the
favor bestowed on his nephew, thought only of his personal credit
and influence, which he fancied he should best secure by introducing
a new mistress to the king.  This well-concocted scheme threw
both Comte Jean and myself into a perfect fury.  We dismissed
Marin with a present of fifty louis, and my brother-in-law
besought of me to grant him four and twenty hours undisturbed
reflection, whilst, on my side, I assured him I should not rest
until we had completely discomfited our enemies.

On the following day Comte Jean laid before me several projects,
which were far from pleasing in my eyes; too much time was required
in their execution.  I knew the king too well to be blind to the
danger of allowing this mere whim of the moment to take root in
his mind.  One idea caught my fancy, and without mentioning it to
Comte Jean, I determined upon carrying it into execution.

The marechale de Mirepoix happened at this moment not to be at
Paris at her hotel in the rue Bergere, but at her country house,
situated au Port a l'Anglaise.  I signified to the king my intention
of passing a couple of days with the marechale, and accordingly
set out for that purpose.  Upon my arrival at Paris I merely
changed horses, and proceeded onwards with all possible despatch
to rejoin the marechale, who was quite taken by surprise at my
unexpected arrival.  After many mutual embraces and exchange of
civilities, I explained to her the whole affair which had brought
me from Versailles.  The good-natured marechale could not believe
her ears.  She soon, however, comprehended the nature of my alarms;
and so far from seeking to dissipate them, urged me to lose no
time in crushing an affair, which grew more threatening from each
day's delay.  I was fully of her opinion, and only asked her
assistance and co-operation in my plan of writing to M. de Rumas,
and inviting him to come on the following day to the house of
madame de Mirepoix.

That lady would doubtless have preferred my asking her to assist
me in any other way, but still she could not refuse to serve me
in the manner described: for I either bestowed on her all she
desired, or caused others to gratify her slightest request; and
how could she be sure, that were my reign to end, she might derive
the same advantages from any new favorite?  Self-interest therefore
bound her to my service, and accordingly she wrote to M. de Rumas
a very pressing letter, requesting to see him on the following day
upon matters of the highest importance.  This letter sent off, I

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