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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