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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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or by close confinement in their houses; he greatly dreaded as
it was, that his foes, the parliamentarians, would avoid the
punishment he longed to inflict on them.  Indeed, in his estimation,
it seemed as though every measure would be anticipated so long as
the female, who seemed so intimately acquainted with their design,
was at liberty; and this last opinion was unanimously concurred in.

All the delays greatly irritated me, and rendered my impatience
to witness the termination of the affair greater than it had ever
been.  The stranger had promised to make her appearance on the
following day; it passed away, however, without my hearing anything
of her.  On the day following she came; I immediately sent to
apprize M. d'Aiguillon, who, with M. de la Vrilliere and the
chancellor, entered my apartments ere the lady had had time to
commence the subject upon which she was there to speak.  This
unexpected appearance did not seem to disconcert her in the least,
nor did her  and ordinary assurance in any degree
fail her.  She reproached me for having intrusted the secret to so
many persons, but her reproof was uttered without bitterness, and
merely as if she feared lest my indiscretion might compromise our
safety.  She was overwhelmed with questions, and the chancellor
interrogated her with the keenest curiosity; but to all the inquiries
put to her she replied with a readiness and candour which surprised
the whole party.  She was desired to give the names of those
engaged in the conspiracy, as well as of him who first informed
her of it.  She answered that her own name was Lorimer, that she
was a widow living upon her own property.  As for the man, her
informant, he was a Swiss, named Cabert, of about thirty years of
age, and had long been her intimate friend: however, the embarrassed
tone with which she pronounced these last words left room for the
suspicion, that he had been something dearer to her than a friend.
She was then urged to give up the names of the four parliamentarians,
but she protested that she had not yet been able to prevail on
Cabert to confide them to her, that she was compelled to use the
utmost circumspection in her attempts at discovering the facts
already disclosed, but flattered herself she should yet succeed
in gaining a full and unreserved disclosure.  M. de Maupeou
encouraged her, by every possible argument, to neglect no means
of arriving at so important a discovery.

The examination over, and the 100,000 francs she had demanded
given to her, she retired, but followed at a distance by a number
of spies, who were commissioned to watch her slightest movement.

Cabert, the Swiss, was arrested in a furnished lodging he occupied
in rue Saint Roch, and sent without delay to Versailles, where, as
before, M. d'Aiguillon with his two colleagues waited in my study
to receive and question the prisoner.  Cabert was a young and
handsome man, whose countenance bore evident marks of a dissolute
and profligate life.  He confessed, without any difficulty, that
his only means of gaining a livelihood were derived from the
generosity of a female friend, but when he was pressed upon the
subject of the conspiracy, he no longer replied with the same
candour, but merely answered in short and impatient negatives
the many questions put to him, accompanied with fervent
protestations of innocence; adding, that implacable enemies had
fabricated the whole story, only that they might have an opportunity
of wreaking their vengeance, by implicating him in it.

"Accuse not your enemies," cried I, for the first time mingling
in the conversation, "but rather blame your benefactress; it is
madame Lorimer who has denounced you, and far from intending to
harm you by so doing, she purposes dividing with you the 100,000
livres which are to reward her disclosures."

I easily found, by the frowning looks directed towards me by the
three gentlemen present, that I had been guilty of great imprudence
in saying so much; but Cabert, wringing his hands, uttered, with
the most despairing accent,

"I am lost!  and most horribly has the unfortunate woman
avenged herself."

"What would you insinuate?"

"That I am the victim of an enraged woman," replied he.

He afterwards explained, that he had been the lover of madame
Lorimer, but had become wearied of her, and left her in consequence;
that she had violently resented this conduct; and, after having
in vain sought to move him by prayers and supplications, had
tried the most horrible threats and menaces.  "I ought not indeed,"
continued he, "to have despised these threats, for well I knew
the fiendlike malice of the wretched creature, and dearly do I
pay for my imprudence, by falling into the pit she has dug for me."

In vain we endeavoured to induce him to hold a different language.
He persisted with determined obstinacy in his first statement;
continually protesting his own innocence, and loading the author
of his woes with bitter imprecations.  It was deemed impossible
to allow this man to go at large; accordingly M. de la Vrilliere
issued a , which sent him that night to seek a
lodging in the Bastille.  It was afterwards deemed advisable to
put him to the torture, but the agonies of the rack wrung from  him
no deviation from, or contradiction of, what he had previously alleged.

The affair had now become mysterious and inexplicable.  However,
a speedy termination was most imperatively called for; if it
were permitted to become generally known, it could not fail of
reaching the ears of the king, whose health was daily declining;
and M. de Quesnay had assured us, that in his present languid
state, the shock produced by news so alarming, might cause his
instantaneous death.

Whilst we remained in uncertainty as to our mode of proceeding
in the business, Cabert, the Swiss, three days after his admission
into the Bastille, expired in the most violent convulsions.  His
body was opened, but no trace of poison could be discovered: our
suspicions were however awakened, and what followed confirmed them.

Madame Lorimer was arrested.  She protested that she had been
actuated by no feelings of enmity against her unfortunate lover,
whom she had certainly reproached for having expended the money
she furnished him with in the society of other females, and to the
anger which arose between herself and Cabert on the occasion
could she alone ascribe his infamous calumnies respecting her;
that, for her own part, she had never ceased to love him, and, as
far as she knew, that feeling was reciprocal; and, in betraying
the conspiracy, her principal desire, next to the anxious hope of
preserving the king, was to make the fortune of Cabert.  She
was confined in the Bastille, but she did not long remain within
its walls; for at the end of a fortnight she died of an inflammatory
disease.  Her death was marked by no convulsions, but the traces
of poison were evident.

These two violent deaths occurring so immediately one after
another (as not the slightest doubt existed that Cabert had
likewise died of poison) threw the ministers into a sad state of
perplexity.  But to whom could they impute the double crime
unless to some accomplice, who dreaded what the unhappy prisoners
might be tempted to reveal.  Yet the conduct of the Jesuitical
priests stated by madame Lorimer to be the principal ring-leaders
in the plot, although exposed to the most rigorous scrutiny,
offered not the slightest grounds for suspicion.  Neither did
their letters (which were all intercepted at the various post-houses)
give any indication of a treasonable correspondence.

M. de Sartines caused the private papers of the suspected parties
to be opened during their owners' absence, without discovering
anything which could compromise their character.  I am speaking,
however, of the fathers Corbin, Berthier, and Cerulti, for all our
efforts could not trace father Dumas throughout all Paris.  Nor
was the innocence of the parliamentarians less evident; they vented
their hatred against the ministry, and particularly against M. de
Maupeou, in pamphlets, couplets, and epigrams, both in French and
Latin, but they had no idea of conspiracies or plots.

And thus terminated an affair, which had caused so much alarm,
and which continued for a considerable period to engage the
attention of ministers.  How was the mystery to be cleared up?
The poisoned orange-flower water, and the sudden deaths of the
two prisoners, were facts difficult to reconcile with the no less
undeniable innocence of the three accused Jesuits.  The whole
business was to me an incomprehensible mass of confusion, in
which incidents the most horrible were mingled.  At last we
agreed that the best and only thing to be done was to consign
the affair to oblivion; but there were circumstances which did
not so easily depart from the recollection of my excellent friend,
the marechale de Mirepoix.  "My dear soul," said she to me one
day, "have you ever inquired what became of the 100,000 livres
given to madame Lorimer?  she had no time to employ them in any
way before her imprisonment in the Bastille.  You ought to inquire
into what hands they have fallen."

I fully comprehended the drift of this question, which I put to
M. de Sartines the first time I saw him.

"Bless me," exclaimed he, "you remind me that these 100,000

livres have been lying in a drawer in my office.  But I have such
a terrible memory."

"Happily," replied I, "I have a friend whose memory  is as good
as yours seems defective upon such occasions.  It will not be
wise to permit such a sum to remain uselessly in your office: at
the same time I need not point out that you, by your conduct in
the late affair, have by no means earned a right to them."

He attempted to justify himself; but, interrupting him, I exclaimed,
"My good friend, you have set up a reputation of your own creating
and inventing; and well it is you took the office upon yourself
for no one else would have done it for you; but you perceive how
frail have been its foundations; for the moment you are compelled

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