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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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de Cheglus, bishop of Cahors, had the post of first almoner; and
strange to say, although a prelate, was a man of irreproachable
virtue; he had little wit but strong sense, and was better known
by his many charitable deeds than by the brilliancy of his
sayings.  He was eminently suited for the office now conferred on
him; and those who knew him best were the least surprised to find
the nomination had fallen on him.

I also procured a post in the establishment of the young couple
for my sister-in-law, the comtesse d'Hargicourt.  Her maiden
name was Fumel, an ancient family in Guienne, and M. de Fumel,
her father, was governor of the chateau Trompette at Bordeaux.
This marriage had at first encountered many difficulties from the
deadly hatred which existed in the chateau against us.  Comte
Jean, perceiving that things were going against us, applied to
the king himself for assistance in the affair.  Louis XV could
not endure him, but his dislike was manifested only by an uneasy
timidity in his presence, and he freely granted any request that
would the soonest free him from his presence.  The king acted
upon the same principle in the present conjuncture; he bestowed
a million of livres upon the comte d'Hargicourt, that is to say,
500,000 livres to be employed in paying the debts of the comte de
Fumel, and in freeing his estates from a dowry of 60,000 livres to
be paid to his daughter on her marriage, with various other
clearances and payments; besides this my brother-in-law, comte
d'Hargicourt, was appointed captain in the prince's Swiss guards,
one of the most honorable commissions that could have been
conferred on him.

The comte de Crussel and the prince d'Henin were named captains
of the guard to M. d'Artois.  This prince d'Henin was of such
diminutive stature that he was sometimes styled, by way of jest,
the "prince of dwarfs," "the dwarf of princes."  He was the
beloved nephew of the marechale de Mirepoix, whose fondness
could not supply him with the sense he so greatly needed; he was
besides very profligate, and continually running into some
difficulty or other by his eager pursuit after pleasure.  It is
related of him, that the duc de Lauragnais, wearied with seeing
the prince d'Henin for ever fluttering about his mistress,
mademoiselle Arnoult, drew up a consultation, to inquire whether
it were possible to die of ennui: this he submitted to several
physicians and celebrated lawyers, who having united in replying
affirmatively, he caused the consultation with its answer to be
forwarded to the prince d'Henin, warning him henceforward to
cease his visits to mademoiselle Arnoult; or, in the event of her
death, he would certainly be taken up as a party concerned in
effecting it.

The opposite party was now more irritated than ever by the many
places and employments I caused to be given either to my own
friends, or to those for whom they solicited my interest.  The
duchesse de Grammont, flattering herself that she might now take
the field against me with advantage, arrived in Paris one fine
morning from Chanteloup.  Those about me were full of wrath, I
know not for why, at her arrival, but I explained to them, that
they were mistaken in supposing madame de Grammont an exile; she
had voluntarily accompanied her brother into his retreat, and when
that was no longer agreeable to her she returned to Paris.  However,
her journey did neither good nor harm; she had many invitations
to fetes given in honor of herself, was frequently asked to dinners,
balls, etc., but that was all; no person set their wits to work to
reinstate her in the good graces of the king.  I soon comprehended
the forlorn hopes of my poor enemy, and my former animosity soon
gave way to the play with which she inspired me.

About the period of the marriage of the comtesse d'Artois, an
individual of some eminence fell into disgrace; this was the
comte de Broglie.  This gentleman, as you know, was private
minister to Louis XV, intrusted for some time past with his
correspondence, and affected the airs of a favorite.  He solicited
upon the present occasion the honor of going to meet the princess
at the bridge of Beauvoisin, a request which was granted.  This
was not sufficient for him; he begged for a month's leave of
absence, with permission to proceed to Turin: this depended on
the duc d'Aiguillon, who was by no means partial to the comte de
Broglie.  He said to me when speaking of him,

"I feel no inclination to oblige this minister; on the contrary,
he may wait long enough for what he desires as far as I am concerned.

"I fear he will be greatly offended with you," answered I.

"Oh, never mind that," replied the duke; "if he grows sullen
about it, why well; if he is loud and vehement, better still;
and should his anger lead him to the commission of any act of
folly, depend upon it we will take advantage of it."

As I foresaw, the comte de Broglie was deeply offended, and wrote
to the duc d'Aiguillon a letter full of imprudent expressions.  This
was exactly what this latter desired, who eagerly carried and read
the paper to the different members of the council, who heard it
with every expression of surprise and displeasure; the king viewed
it as a piece of open rebellion, and resolved to punish the writer
with his heaviest displeasure; the duc d'Aiguillon asked nothing
better, and ere an hour had elapsed, the duc de la Vrilliere
received orders to draw up a  in which the
king expressed his discontent of the comte de Broglie, deprived
him of the commission he had given him to go and receive the
princess of Savoy, and exiled him to Buffee, one of his estates
near Angouleme.

This was a matter of great talk at the chateau; no one could
imagine what had made the comte de Broglie conduct himself so
foolishly.  It was at this period that M. d Marchault said of
him, when he saw him pass his house on his way to Buffee, "He has
the ministry by the tail."

M. de Broglie having gone, his majesty was compelled to look out
for another confidant, and raised to that eminence M. Lemoine,
clerk of his closet.  M. Lemoine, in an inferior station had shown
himself competent to fill the highest offices in the state.  Such
abilities are rare.  He was an excellent lawyer, admirable
chancellor of exchequer, and had the king said to him, "I make
thee a general," he would, the next day, have commanded armies
and gained victories.  Despite his merit he lived long unknown:
the reason was obvious--he knew nothing of intrigue; and his wife,
though pretty, was discreet; and these are not the means to advance
a man at court.

Louis XV, who knew something of men when he chose to study them.,
was not slow in detecting the talent of Lemoine, and in consequence
gave him that station in which de Broglie had been installed.  No
sooner had Lemoine glanced over the affairs submitted to his
control, than he became master of them, as much as though they
had occupied the whole of his life, and in a short time he gave
to his situation an importance which it had never before reached.
Unwilling, however, to incur hatred, he enveloped himself in
profound mystery, so much so that nobody, with the exception of
Messrs.  d'Aiguillon and de Sartines, knew anything of his labors.
This pleased the king, who was averse to publicity.

The duc d'Aiguillon could not conceal his joy at being freed
from de Broglie, his most troublesome colleague.  It was a grand
point gained for him, as he could now make sure of the post of
secretary-at-war, the main object of his ambition.  He wished to
be placed in the duc de Choiseul's position, and to effect this
he redoubled his attentions towards the king, who, though not
really regarding him, at length treated him as the dearest of his
subjects.  There are inexplicable mysteries in weak characters;
obstinacy alarms them, and they yield because they hate resistance.

The king was  to death, and became daily more dull and
heavy.  I saw his gloom without knowing how to disperse it, but
it did not make me particularly uncomfortable.  Occupied with my
dear duc de Brissac I almost forgot his majesty for him: the
marechale de Mirepoix, who had more experience than I had in the
affairs at Versailles, and who knew the king well, was alarmed
at my negligence, and spoke to me of it.

"Do you not see," she said, one day, "what a crisis is at hand?"

"What crisis?"  I asked.

"The king is dying of ennui."

"True."

"Does it not alarm you?"  said the marechale.

"Why should it?"

"What makes him so?  Think well when I tell you that your mortal
enemy has seized Louis XV; your most redoubtable enemy, !"

"Very well; but what would you have me do?"


"You must amuse him."

'That is easier said than done."

"You are right, but it is compulsory.  Believe me, kings are not
moulded like other men: early disgusted with all things, they
only exist in a variety of pleasures; what pleases them this evening
will displease them tomorrow; they wish to be happy in a different
way.  Louis XV is more kingly in this respect than any other.
You must devise amusements for him."

"Alas," I replied, "how?  Shall I give him a new tragedy of la
Harpe's,--he will yawn; an opera of Marmontel,--he will go to
sleep.  Heavens!  how unfortunate I am!"

"Really, my dear," replied the marechale, "I cannot advise you;
but I can quote a powerful example.  In such a case madame de
Pompadour would have admitted a rival near the throne."

"Madame de Pompadour was very amiable, my dear," I replied, "and
I would have done so once or twice, but the part of Mother Gourdan
does not suit me; I prefer that of her young ladies."

At these words the marechale laughed, whilst I made a long grave
face.  At this instant comte Jean entered, and exclaimed,

"Really, ladies, you present a singular contrast.  May I ask you,
sister, what causes this sorrow?  What ails you?"

"Oh, brother!"  was my response, "the king is dying of ennui."





"That is no marvel," said my brother-in-law.

"And to rouse him," I added, "it is necessary, the marechale says,

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