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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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Beaumarchais attracted the fancy of the fickle mademoiselle
Mesnard, a mutual understanding was soon established between
them, and in a snug little cottage surrounded by beautiful grounds
in the environs of Pere la Chaise, the enamored lovers frequently
met to exchange their soft vows.

Happily the deity who presided over the honor of the duke was
carefully watching their proceedings.  This guardian angel was no
other than madame Duverger, his former mistress, who, unable to
bear the desertion of her noble admirer, had vowed, in the first
burst of rage and disappointment, to have revenge sooner or later
upon her triumphant rival.  With this view she spied out all the
proceedings of mademoiselle Mesnard, whose stolen interviews
and infidelity she was not long in detecting; she even contrived
to win over a , by whose connivance she was
enabled to obtain possession of several letters containing
irrefragable proofs of guilt, and these she immediately forwarded
to the duc de Chaulnes.

This proud and haughty nobleman might have pardoned his mistress
had she quitted him for a peer of the realm and his equal, but to
be supplanted by a mere man of business, an author, too!--the
disgrace was too horrible for endurance.  The enraged lover flew
to Beaumarchais, and reproached him bitterly with his treachery;
the latter sought to deny the charge, but the duke, losing all
self-possession, threw the letters in his face, calling him a base
liar.  At this insult, Beaumarchais, who, whatever his enemies may
say of him, was certainly not deficient in courage, demanded
instant satisfaction.  The duke, by way of answer, seized the man
of letters by the collar, Beaumarchais called his servants, who,
in their turn, summoned the guard, which speedily arrived accompanied
by the commissary, and with much difficulty they succeeded in
removing M. de Chaulnes.  (who appeared to have entirely lost
his reason) from the room.

The conduct of the duke appeared to us completely out of place,
and he would certainly have answered for it within the walls of
the Bastille, had not his family made great intercession for him.
On the other hand, Beaumarchais, who eagerly availed himself of
every opportunity of writing memorials, composed one on the
subject of his quarrel with M. de Chaulnes, complaining that a
great nobleman had dared to force himself into his house, and lay
forcible hands on him, as though he were a thief or a felon.  The
whole of the pamphlet which related to this affair was admirably
written, and, like the "Barber of Seville," marked by a strongly
sarcastic vein.  However, the thing failed, and the duc de la
Vrilliere, the sworn enemy of men of wit and talent, caused
Beaumarchais to be immediately confined within Fort 1'Eveque.
So that the offended party was made to suffer the penalty of
the offence.

In the same year the comte de Fuentes, ambassador from Spain to
the court of Louis XV, took leave of us.  He was replaced by the
comte d'Aranda, who was in a manner in disgrace with his royal
master: this nobleman arrived preceded by a highly flattering
reputation.  In the first place, he had just completed the destruction
of the Jesuits, and this was entitling him to no small thanks and
praises from encyclopedists.  Every one knows those two lines
of Voltaire's--

"Aranda dans l'Espagne instruisant les fideles,
A l'inquisition vient de rogner les ailes."  *

	*"Aranda in Spain instructing the faithful
	at the Inquisition has just clipped wings."


The simplicity of comte d'Aranda indemnified us in some degree
for the haughty superciliousness of his predecessor.  Although no
longer young, he still preserved all the tone and vigor of his
mind, and only the habit which appeared to have been born with
him of reflecting, gave him a slow and measured tone in speaking.
His reserved and embarrassed manners were but ill-calculated
to show the man as he really was, and it required all the
advantages of intimacy to see him in his true value.  You may
attach so much more credit to what I say of this individual, as I
can only add, that he was by no means one of my best friends.

When Louis XV heard of the nomination of the comte d'Aranda to
the embassy from Spain to France, he observed to me,

"The king of Spain gets rid of his Choiseul by sending him to me."

"Then why not follow so excellent an example, sire?"  replied I; "
and since your Choiseul is weary of Chanteloup, why not command
him upon some political errand to the court of Madrid."

"Heaven preserve me from such a thing," exclaimed Louis XV.  "Such
a man as he is ought never to quit the kingdom, and I have been
guilty of considerable oversight to leave him the liberty of so
doing.  But to return to comte d'Aranda; he has some merit I
understand; still I like not that class of persons around me; they
are inexorable censors, who condemn alike every action of my life."

However, not the king's greatest enemy could have found fault
with his manner of passing his leisure hours.  A great part of
each day was occupied in a mysterious manufacture of cases for
relics, and one of his , named Turpigny, was
intrusted with the commission of purchasing old shrines and
reliquaries; he caused the sacred bones, or whatever else they
contain, to be taken out by Grandelatz, one of his almoners,
re-adjusted, and then returned to new cases.  These reliquaries
were distributed by him to his daughters, or any ladies of the
court of great acknowledged piety.  When I heard of this I mentioned
it to the king, who wished at first to conceal the fact; but, as
he was no adept at falsehood or disguise, he was compelled to
admit the fact.

"I trust, sire," said I, "that you will bestow one of your
prettiest and best-arranged reliquaries on me."

 "No, no," returned he, hastily, "that cannot be."

 "And why not?"  asked I.

"Because," answered he, "it would be sinful of me.  Ask anything
else in my power to bestow, and it shall be yours."

This was no hypocrisy on the part of Louis XV, who, spite of his
somewhat irregular mode of life, professed to hold religion in
the highest honor and esteem; to all that it proscribed he paid
the submission of a child.  We had ample proofs of this in the
sermons preached at Versailles by the abbe de Beauvais, afterwards
bishop of Senetz.

This ecclesiastic, filled with an inconsiderate zeal, feared not
openly to attack the king in his public discourses; he even went
so far as to interfere with many things of which he was not a
competent judge, and which by no means belonged to his jurisdiction:
in fact, there were ample grounds for sending the abbe to the
Bastille.  The court openly expressed its dissatisfaction at this
audacity, and for my own part I could not avoid evincing the
lively chagrin it caused me.  Yet, would you believe it, Louis XV
 declared, in a tone from which there was no appeal, that this
abbe had merely done his duty, and that those who had been less
scrupulous in the performance of theirs, would do well to be
silent on the subject.  This was not all; the cardinal de la
Roche Aymon, his grand almoner, refused to sanction the nomination
of M. de Beauvais to the bishopric, under the pretext of his not being
nobly descended.

M. de Beyons, bishop of Carcassone, a prelate of irreproachable
character, was deeply distressed to find that the want of birth
would exclude M. de Beauvais from the dignities of his holy
profession.  He went to discuss the matter with the grand almoner,
who again advanced his favorite plea for excluding M. de Beauvais.
"My  lord," replied M. de Beyons, "if I believed that nobility of
descent were the chief requisite for our advancement in our
blessed calling, I would trample my crosier under foot, and
renounce for ever all church dignities."

M. de Beyons sought the king, and loudly complained to him of
the infatuation and obstinacy of M. de la Roche Aymon.  Louis XV
however commanded that M. de Beauvais should be appointed to
the first vacant see, and when the grand almoner repeated his
objections to the preferment, the king answered, "Monsieur le
cardinal, in the days of our blessed Saviour the apostles had no
need to present their genealogical tree, duly witnessed and
attested.  It is my pleasure to make M. de Beauvais a bishop;
let that end the discussion of the matter."

The command was too peremptory to admit of any course but
instant and entire submission.



CHAPTER XXXIII


M. D----n and madame de Blessac--Anecdote--The rendezvous and the
Ball--The wife of Gaubert--They wish to give her to the king--
Intrigues--Their results--Letter from the duc de la Vrilliere to
the countess--Reply--Reconciliation

Amongst the pages of the chapel was one whom the king distinguished
so greatly, that he raised him to the rank of a gentleman of the
bedchamber, and confided to his charge the cabinet of medals,
for which he had imbibed a taste since his liaison with madame
de Pompadour.  This esteemed page was named M. D-----n, who united
to the most amiable wit a varied and deep knowledge of men and
things.  He had had adventures at an age when they are usually
just understood, and talked of them with the utmost indiscretion.
But this so far from doing him any injury in the eyes of the world
only served to make him the more admired; for women in general
have an inclination for those who do not respect their reputation.

At the period I allude to a madame de Blessac, a very well-looking
woman, took upon herself to be very kindly disposed towards the
gentleman-in-waiting.  She told him so, and thereupon M. de
D------n ranged himself under her banner, and swore eternal
constancy.  However, the lady, by some accident, became greatly
smitten with the prince de la Trimouille, and without quitting
the little keeper of medals, gave him a lord for a substitute.
M. D------n soon learnt this fact, that he was not the sole
possessor of a heart which formed all his joy and glory.  He
found he was deceived, and he swore to be revenged.

Now the prince de la Trimouille had for his mistress mademoiselle

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