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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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that I must take a pretty girl by the hand, and present her to
the king with these words: 'Sire, having found that you grow
tired of me, I present this lady to you, that you may amuse
yourself with her."

 'That would be very fine," replied comte Jean; "it would show
him that you had profited by my advice."  Then, whispering in my
ear, "You know, sister, I am capable of the greatest sacrifices
for the king."

"What are you saying, Comte Jean?"  asked the  marechale, who
had heard some words.

"I said to my sister," answered he, coolly, "that she ought to be
executed to please the king."

"And you, too, brother," I cried.





"Yes, sister," said he, with a theatrical tone, "I see the dire
necessity, and submit to it unrepiningly.  Let us yield to fate,
or rather, let us so act as to make it favorable to us.  The
king requires some amusement, and let us find him a little wench.
We must take heed not to present any fine lady: no, no; by all
the devils--!  Excuse me, marechale, 'tis a habit I have."

"It is nature, you mean," replied the marechale: "the nightingale
is born to sing, and you, comte Jean, were born to swear; is it
not true?"

", madam, you are right."

After this conversation the marechale went out, and Comte Jean
departed to arrange his plans for the king's amusement.

However, the ennui of Louis XV was somewhat dissipated by the

tidings of the various incidents which occurred at the grand entry
of the dauphin and dauphiness into Paris.  We learnt that the duc
de Brissac, as governor of Paris, on receiving the dauphiness, said,

"Madam, you see about you two hundred thousand lovers."  He was
right; the princess looked like an angel.  I had taken a mortal
aversion to her.  Alas!  circumstances have too fully avenged me:
this unfortunate queen loses popularity daily; her perfidious
friends have sacrificed her to their interests.  I pity her.



CHAPTER XXXVI


Visit from a stranger--Madame de Pompadour and a Jacobinical
monk--Continuation of this history--Deliverance of a state prisoner--
A meeting with the stranger

One day, at an hour at which I was not accustomed to see any person,
a lady called and requested to see me; she was informed that I was
visible to no person.  No matter, she persisted in her request,
saying that she had to speak to me upon matters of the first
importance, and declared, that I should be delighted with her
visit.  However, my servants, accustomed to the artifices practised
by persons wishing to see me for interested purposes, heeded
very little the continued protestations of my strange applicant,
and peremptorily refused to admit her; upon which the unknown
retired with the indication of extreme anger.

Two hours afterwards a note, bearing no signature, was brought
me, in which the late scene was described to me, and I was further
informed, that the lady, so abruptly repulsed by my servants,
had presented herself to communicate things which concerned not
only my own personal safety but the welfare of all France; a
frightful catastrophe was impending, which there was still time
to prevent; the means of so doing were offered me, and I was
conjured not to reject them.  The affair, if treated with
indifference, would bring on incalculable misfortunes and horrors,
to which I should be the first victim.  All this apparent mystery
would be cleared up, and, the whole affair explained, if I
would repair on the following day, at one o'clock, to the Baths
of Apollo.  A grove of trees there was pointed out as a safe
place of rendezvous, and being so very near my residence, calculated
to remove any fears I might entertain of meeting a stranger, who,
as the note informed me, possessed the means of entering this
secluded spot.  I was again conjured to be punctual to the appointed
hour as I valued my life.

The mysterious and solemn tone of this singular epistle struck
me with terror.  Madame de Mirepoix was with me at the moment I
received it.  This lady had a peculiar skill in physiognomy, and
the close attention she always paid to mine was frequently extremely
embarrassing and disagreeable She seemed (as usual) on the present
occasion to read all that was passing in my mind; however, less
penetrating eyes than hers might easily have perceived, by my
sudden agitation, that the paper I held in my hand contained
something more than usual.

"What ails you?"  asked she, with the familiarity our close
intimacy warranted; "does that note bring you any bad news?"

"No," said I; "it tells me nothing; but it leaves me ample room
for much uneasiness and alarm: but, after all, it may be merely
some hoax, some foolish jest played off at my expense; but judge
for yourself."  So saying, I handed her the letter: when she had
perused it, she said,

"Upon my word, if I were in your place, I would clear up this
mystery; good advice is not so easily met with as to make it a
matter of difficulty to go as far as the Baths of Apollo to seek
it.  It is by no means impossible but that, as this paper tells
you, some great peril is hanging over you.  The marquise de
Pompadour," continued madame de Mirepoix, "received more than
once invitations similar to this, which she never failed to attend;
and I recollect one circumstance, in which she had no cause to
regret having done so: without the kind offices of one of these
anonymous writers it is very possible that she might have expired
heart broken, and perhaps forsaken in some state prison, instead
of ending her days in the chateau of Versailles, honored even to
the tomb by the friendship and regard of the king of France."

I asked my friend to explain her last observation, and she replied
as follows:--

"One day an anonymous billet, similar to this, was left for
madame de Pompadour: it requested her to repair, at a specified
hour, to the church of the Jacobins, rue Saint Honore, in Paris,
where she was promised some highly important communications.
The marchioness was punctual to the rendezvous; and, as she
entered the church, a Jacobite, so entirely wrapped in his capuchin
as to conceal his features, approached her, took her by the hand,
and conducted her to an obscure chapel; where, requesting her to
sit down, he took a seat himself, and began as follows:--

"'Madam, you are about to lose the favor of the king; a party is
at work to give a new mistress to the king; the lady is young,
beautiful, witty, and possessed of an insatiable ambition; for the
last six months she has been in the daily habit of seeing the king,
unknown to you and all the court, and this has been accomplished
in the following manner: her father is  to his
majesty, and she has an only brother, two years younger than
herself, whose astonishing resemblance to her has created continual
mistakes; this brother is promised the inheritance of his father's
office; and, under pretext of acquiring the due initiation for
future post, has been permitted every morning to attend the
king's rising.

"'However, this embryo page is the sister, who comes each morning
disguised in her brother's clothes.  The king has had many private
conversations with the designing beauty; and, seduced by her
many charms of mind and person, as well as dazzled by the hidden
and concealed nature of their intrigue, finds his passion for her
increases from day to day.  Many are the designing persons ready
to profit by the transfer of the king's affections from you to this
fresh favorite; and they flatter themselves the desired event is
close at hand.  You are to be confined by a 
to the isle of St. Margaret, for the place of your exile is already
chosen.  The principal conspirators are two powerful noblemen,
one of whom is reputed your most intimate friend.  I learned all
these particulars,' continued the Jacobite, 'from a young penitent,
but not under the seal of confession.  This penitent is the
particular friend of the female in question, who confided the
secret to her, from whom I received it, accompanied by the most
flattering promises of future protection and advancement.  These
splendid prospects excited her jealous envy, and she came here
to confess the whole to me, requesting I would seek you out and
inform you of the whole affair.  Here is a letter she obtained
unknown to her aspiring friend, which she wishes you to see, as
a pledge of the veracity of her statement.' The marchioness cast
her eyes over the paper held out to her by the Jacobite.  It was
a letter addressed by the king to his new mistress.

"You may imagine the terror of madame de Pompadour, her anxiety
and impatience to return to Versailles.  However, ere she quitted
the friendly monk she assured him of her lasting gratitude, and
begged of him to point out how she could best prove it.  'For
myself,' replied he, 'I ask nothing; but if you would render me
your debtor, confer the first vacant bishopric on a man whom I
greatly esteem, the abbe de Barral.' You will easily suppose that
the abbe de Barral had not long to wait for his preferment: as
for the Jacobite the marchioness never again saw or heard anything
of him.  She mentioned him to the newly appointed bishop, who
could not even understand to what she alluded.  She related the
affair, when he called heaven to witness that he knew nothing of
any Jacobite either directly or indirectly."

"And how did the marchioness get rid of her rival?"  inquired I
of madame de Mirepoix.

"By a very simple and effective expedient.  She sent for the duc
de Saint Florentin, whom she requested immediately to expedite
two ; one for the , who was
shut up in the chateau de Lectoure, and the other for the daughter,
whom the marchioness sent to the isle of St. Marguerite, to
occupy the place she had so obligingly destined for herself."

"And now," asked I, "did these unfortunate people ever get out
of prison?"

"That I know not," answered the marechale; "and, God forgive me,
for aught I ever inquired they may be there now."

"If so," cried I, "the conduct of both the king and the duc de la

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