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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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have a valuable and trustworthy friend in you."

"Hark ye, madam," rejoined the marechal.  "I know not, in the
first place, whether his majesty would very easily grant you
this , which most certainly I do not deserve.
You have served my nephew and neglected me; I wished to try the
strength of my poor wings, and I find, like many others, that I
must not hope to soar to any height."

While we were thus talking the marechale de Mirepoix was announced.
I was still much agitated, and she immediately turned towards the
duke, as if to inquire of him the cause of my distress: upon  which,
M. de Richelieu related all that had passed with a cool  exactitude
that enraged me still further.  When he had finished, I said,

"Well, madame la marechale, and what is your opinion of all this?"

"Upon my word, my dear countess," answered madame de Mirepoix,
"you have ample cause for complaint, but still this poor duke is
not so culpable as you imagine him to be.  He has large expenses
to provide for: and to obtain the money requisite for them he is
compelled to look to his majesty, whose favor he desires to win
by administering to his pleasures."

"Alas!"  replied the duke, "can you believe that but for the
pressure of unavoidable circumstances I would have separated
myself from my nephew and my fair friend there?"

"Come, come," cried the marechale, " I must restore peace and
harmony between you.  As for you, my lord duke, be a true and
loyal subject; and you, my sweet countess, use your best endeavors
to prevail on the king to befriend and assist his faithful servant."

I allowed myself to be managed like a child; and instead of
scratching the face of M. de Richelieu, I obtained for him a
grant of 100,000 livres, which the court banker duly counted
out to him.



CHAPTER XXXII


A prefatory remark--Madame Brillant--The marechale de Luxembourg's
cat--Despair of the marechale--The ambassador, Beaumarchais, and
the duc de Chaulnes--the comte d'Aranda--Louis XV and his relics--The
abbe de Beauvais--His sermons--He is appointed bishop

When I related to comte Jean my reconciliation with the duc de
Richelieu, and the sum which this treaty had cost me, my
brother-in-law flew into the most violent fury; he styled the
marechal a plunderer of the public treasury.  Well may the scripture
tell us we see the mote in our neighbor's eye, but regard not
the beam which is in our own eye.  I was compelled to impose
silence on comte Jean, or in the height of his rage he would
have offered some insult to the old marechal, who already most
heartily disliked him for the familiarity of his tone and manner
towards him.  I did all in my power to keep these two enemies
from coming in each other's way, counselled to that by the
marechale de Mirepoix, whose line of politics was of the most
pacific nature; besides I had no inclination for a war carried
on in my immediate vicinity, and, for my own part, so far from
wishing to harm any one, I quickly forgave every affront offered
to myself.

But hold!  I perceive I am running on quite smoothly in my own
praise.  Indeed, my friend, it is well I have taken that office
upon myself, for I fear no one else would undertake it.  The
most atrocious calumnies have been invented against me; I have
 been vilified both in prose and verse; and, amongst the great
number of persons on whom I have conferred the greatest obligations,
none has been found with sufficient courage or gratitude to stand
forward and undertake my defence.  I do not even except madame de
Mirepoix, whose conduct towards me in former days was marked by
the most studied attention.  She came to me one evening, with a
face of grief.

"Mercy upon me," cried I, "what ails you?"

"Alas!"  replied she, in a piteous tone, "I have just quitted a
most afflicted family; their loss is heavy and irreparable.  The
marechale de Luxembourg is well nigh distracted with grief."

"Good heavens!"  exclaimed I, "can the duchesse de Lauzun be dead?"

"Alas!  no."

"Perhaps poor madame de Boufflers?"

"No, my friend."

"Who then is the object of so much regret?  Speak; tell me."

"Madame Brillant."

"A friend of the old marechale 's?"

"More than a friend," replied madame de Mirepoix; "her faithful
companion; her only companion; her only beloved object, since
her lovers and admirers ceased to offer their homage--in a word,
her cat."

"Bless me!"  cried I, "how you frightened me!  But what sort of a
cat could this have been to cause so many tears?"

"Is it possible that you do not know madame Brillant, at least
by name?"

"I assure you," said I, "this is the very first time I ever heard
her name."

"Well, if it be so, I will be careful not to repeat such a thing
to madame de Luxembourg; she would never pardon you for it.
Listen, my dear countess," continued madame de Mirepoix; "under
the present circumstances it will be sufficient for you to write
your name in her visiting-book."

I burst into a fit of laughter.

"It is no joke, I promise you," exclaimed the marechale; "the
death of madame Brillant is a positive calamity to madame de
Luxembourg.  Letters of condolence will arrive from Chanteloup;
madame du Deffant will be in deep affliction, and the virtues and
amiable qualities of the deceased cat will long furnish subjects
of conversation."

"It was then a singularly engaging animal, I presume?"

"On the contrary, one of the most stupid, disagreeable, and
dirty creatures of its kind; but still it was the cat of madame
de Luxembourg."

And after this funeral oration the marechale and myself burst
into a violent fit of laughter.

When the king joined us, I acquainted him with this death, and my
conversation with the marechale.  Louis XV listened to my recital
with an air of gravity; when I had finished, he said, "The present
opportunity is admirably adopted for satisfying the request of one
of my retinue, one of the best-hearted creatures, and at the same
time one of the silliest
men in the kingdom."

"I beg your pardon, sire," cried I, "but what is his name?  For
the description is so general, that I fear lest I should be at
a loss to recollect of whom you are speaking."

"You are very ill-natured," cried Louis XV, "and I hardly know
whether you deserve to be gratified by hearing the name of the
poor gentleman: however, I will tell it to you; he is called Corbin
de la Chevrollerie.  A few days since this simple young man,
having solicited an audience, informed me, that he was desirous
of marrying a rich heiress, but that the young lady's family were
resolved  she should marry no one who was not previously employed
as an ambassador.  I expressed my surprise at so strange a caprice,
but the poor fellow endeavored to vindicate his bride's relations,
by stating that that they were willing to consider him as my
ambassador if I would only commission him to carry some message
of compliment or condolence.  Accordingly I promised to employ
him upon the occasion of the first death or marriage which should
take place in a ducal family.  Now, I think I cannot do better
than make him the bearer of my inquiries after the marechale
de Luxembourg."

This idea struck me as highly amusing, and I immediately dispatched
a servant to summon M. de la Chevrollerie to the presence of the
king.  This being done, that gentleman presented himself with all
the dignity and importance of one who felt that a mission of high
moment was about to be entrusted to him.

His majesty charged him to depart immediately to the house of madame
de Luxembourg, and to convey his royal master's sincere condolences
for the heavy loss she had sustained in madame Brillant.

M. Corbin de la Chevrollerie departed with much pride and
self-complacency upon his embassy: he returned in about half an hour.

"Sire," cried he, "I have fulfilled your royal pleasure to madame
de Luxembourg.  She desires me to thank you most humbly for your
gracious condescension: she is in violent distress for the severe
loss she has experienced, and begged my excuse for quitting me
suddenly, as she had to superintend the stuffing of the deceased."

"The stuffing!"  exclaimed the king; "surely you mean the embalming?"

"No, sire," replied the ambassador, gravely, "the stuffing."

"Monsieur de la Chevrollerie," cried I, bursting into a violent
fit of laughter, "do you know in what degree of relationship the
deceased madame Brillant stood to madame de Luxembourg?"

"No, madam," replied the ambassador, gravely, "but I believe she
was her aunt, for I heard one of the females in waiting say, that
this poor madame Brillant was very old, and that she had lived
with her mistress during the last fourteen years."

Thus finished this little jest.  However, Louis XV, who was
extremely kind to all about him, especially those in his service,
shortly after recompensed his simple-minded ambassador, by
intrusting him with a commission at once profitable and honorable.

Another event which took place at this period, caused no less
noise than the death of madame Brillant.  At this time, mademoiselle
Mesnard was, for her many charms of mind and person, the general
rage throughout Paris.  Courtiers, lawyers, bankers, and citizens
crowded alike to offer their homage.  Frail as fair, mademoiselle
Mesnard received all kindly, and took with gracious smiles the
rich gifts showered upon her by her various adorers.  The first
noblemen of the court, knights of the different orders, farmers-
general, all aspired to the honor of ruining themselves for her.
She had already satisfied the ruinous propensities of at least a
dozen of lovers, when the duc de Chaulnes entered the lists, and
was fortunate enough to eclipse all his rivals.  He might long
have enjoyed the preference thus obtained, but for an act of the
greatest imprudence of which a lover could be guilty.  He was so
indiscreet as to invite several of his most intimate friends to
sup with himself and Mademoiselle Mesnard.  Amongst the number
was Caron de Beaumarchais, a man possessed of the grace of a
prince and the generous profusion of a highwayman.  Caron de

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