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me, from his majesty, a favour of which I stand in the utmost
need--50,000 francs would come very seasonably; I have lost that
sum at cards, and must pay it, but how I know not."

"Let not that distress you," said I, "for I can relieve you of
that difficulty until the king's convalescence enables him to
undertake the pleasing office of assisting your wishes.  M. de
Laborde has orders to honour all my drafts upon him, I will

therefore draw for the sum you require."  So saying, I hastily
scrawled upon a little tumbled piece of paper those magic words,
which had power to unlock the strong coffers of a court banker.
The  marechale embraced me several times with the utmost vivacity.

"You are my guardian angel," cried she, "you save me from despair.
But, tell me, my generous friend, do you think M. de Laborde will
make any difficulty?"

"Why," said I, "should you suppose it possible he will do so?"

"Oh, merely on account of present circumstances."

"What circumstances?"

"The illness--no, I mean the indisposition of his majesty."

"He is an excellent man," said I, "and I doubt not but he will
act nobly and honourably."

"If we could but procure his majesty's signature--"

"But that is quite impossible to-night."

"I know it is, and, therefore, I will tell you what I think of
doing.  Perhaps, if I were to set out for Paris immediately, I
might be able to present this cheque before Laborde is acquainted
with our misfortune.  It is not late, so farewell, my dearest
countess.  I shall return to-morrow before you are up, but do
not forget what I have said to you; and remember, that under
any circumstances, the king should secure you a safe and ample
independence.  If his death finds you well provided for, you will
still have a court, friends, relatives, partisans, in a word, the
means of gratifying every inclination.  Be guided by me, and
follow my advice."

And after this lesson of practical morality, the marechale quitted
me to hurry to Paris; and I, wearied and heartsick, flew to my
crowded salons as a remedy against the gloomy ideas her
conversation had given rise to.

On this evening my guests were more numerous and brilliant than
usual, for no person entertaining the least suspicion of the king's
danger, all vied with each other in evincing, by their presence,
the desire they felt of expressing their regard for me.  My
friends, acquaintances, people whom I scarcely knew at all, were
collected together in my drawing-rooms; this large assemblage of
joyous and cheerful faces, drove away for a moment all the gloom
which had bung over me.  I even forgot the morning's visitor, and
if the health of the king were at all alluded to, it was only
.  It seemed a generally understood thing not to
believe him seriously ill; in fact, to deny all possibility of
such a thing being the case.  Thus all went on as usual, scandal,
slander, epigrams, , all the lively nonsense
usually circulated upon such occasions, went round, and were
laughed at and admired according to the tastes of those to whom
they were addressed.

Could a stranger have seen us, so careless, thoughtless, and gay,
he would have been far from suspecting that we were upon the eve
of a catastrophe which must change the whole face of affairs in
France.  For my own part, my spirits rose to a height with the
giddy crowd around me, and in levity and folly, I really believe
I exceeded them.

At a late hour my rooms were at length forsaken, and I retired
to my chamber where, having dismissed my other attendants, I
remained alone (as was frequently my custom) with my faithful
Henriette, whom I caused to exchange my evening dress for a dark
robe, which I covered with a large Spanish mantle I had never
before worn, and thus equipped, I waited the arrival of comte
Jean.  Henriette, surprised at these preparations, pressed me
with so many questions, that at last I explained my whole purpose
to her.  The attached creature exerted all her eloquence to point
out the dangers of the enterprise, which she implored of me to
abandon, but I refused to listen to her remonstrances, and she
ceased urging me further, only protesting she should await my
return with the most lively impatience.

At length, comte Jean appeared, armed with a small sword-stick
and pistols in his pocket, with every other precaution necessary
for undertaking so perilous an adventure.  We descended into
the garden with many smiles at the singular figures we made, but
no sooner were we in the open air, than the sight of the clear
 heavens sparkling with stars, the cool still night, the vast walks
lined with statues, which resembled a troop of white phantoms,
the gentle waving of the branches, as the evening breeze stirred
their leaves, with that feeling of awe and solemnity generally
attendant upon the midnight hour, awoke in our minds ideas more
suitable to our situation.  We ceased speaking and walked slowly
down the walk past the basin of the dragon, in order, by crossing
the park, to reach the chateau de Trianon.

Fortune favoured us, for we met only one guard in the park, this
man having recognised us as we drew near, saluted us, and was
about to retire, when my brother-in-law called him back an desired
him to take our key, and open with it the nearest gates to the
place which we wished to go to.  He also commanded him to await
our return.  The soldier was accustomed to these nocturnal 
excursions even on the part of the most scrupulous and correct
gentlemen and ladies of the court.  He, therefore, assured us of
his punctuality, and opened for us a great iron gate, which it
would have cost my brother-in-law much trouble to have turned
upon its hinges.

The nearer we approached the end of our journey, the more fully
did our minds become impressed with new and painful disquietudes.
At length, we reached the place of our destination.

My brother-in-law desired he might be announced but said nothing

of who I was.  We were expected, for a Swiss belonging to the
palace conducted us to a chamber at one end of the chateau,
where, stretched on a bed of loathsome disease, was the creature
who, but a few hours before, had been deemed worthy the embraces
of a powerful monarch.  Beside her were an elderly female, her
mother, and an aged priest, who had been likewise summoned by the
unfortunate girl, and her brother, a young man of about twenty-four
years of age, with an eye of fire, and a frame of Herculean power.
He was sitting with his back turned towards the door; the mother,
half reclining on the bed, held in her hand a handkerchief steeped
in her tears, while the ecclesiastic read prayers to them from a
book which he held.  A nurse, whom we had not before perceived,
answered the call of the Swiss, and inquired of him what he wanted.

"I want nothing, myself," answered he, "but here is comte Jean
du Barry with a lady from Versailles; they say they come at the
request of mademoiselle Anne."

We were now on the threshold of the door, and the nurse, crossing
the chamber, spoke to the mother, who hastily rose, while the
priest discontinued his prayers.  The mother looked at us, then
whispered some words to her daughter.  The patient stirred in her
bed, and the nurse returning to us, said to comte Jean that he
might approach the bed of the invalid.

He advanced and I followed him, although the noisome effluvia
with which the air was loaded produced a sickness I scarcely could
surmount.  The gloom of the place was still further increased by
the dim light of two wax candles placed in a nook of the room.

The priest, having recognised my brother-in-law, and suspecting
doubtless who I was, was preparing to withdraw, but the sick girl
made signs for him to remain.  He obeyed, but removing to a
distance, he took his place beside the young man, who, understanding
only that strangers had arrived, rose from his seat and displayed
his tall gigantic height to the fullest advantage.



CHAPTER XLI



Interview with the joiner's daughter--Consultation of the physicians
respecting the king--The small-pox declares itself--the comte de
Muy--The princesses--Extreme sensibility of madame de Mirepoix--The
king is kept in ignorance of his real condition--The archbishop of
Paris visits Versailles

The gloomy and mysterious air scattered over the group which
presented itself to our eyes filled us with desponding thoughts.
There appeared throughout the party a kind of concentrated grief
and silent despair which struck us with terror.  We remained
motionless in the same spot without any persons quitting their 
fixed attitude to offer us a seat.  After some minutes of a deep
silence, which I durst not interrupt any more than comte Jean,
whose accustomed hardihood seemed effectually checked, the
suffering girl raised herself in her bed, and in a hollow
voice exclaimed,

"Comtesse du Barry, what brings you here?"

The sound of her hoarse and grating voice made me start, spite of myself.

"My poor child," answered I, tenderly, "I come to see you at
your request."

"Yes, yes," replied she, bursting into a frightful fit of laughter,
"I wished to see you to thank you for my dishonour, and for the
perdition into which you have involved me."


"My daughter," said the priest, approaching her, "is this what
you promised me?"

"And what did I promise to God when I vowed to hold myself chaste
and spotless?  Perjured wretch that I am, I have sold my honour
for paltry gold; wheedled by the deceitful flattery of that man
who stands before me, I joined his infamous companion in the
path of guilt and shame.  But the just vengeance of heaven has
overtaken me, and I am rightly punished."

Whether this language was the result of a previously studied
lesson I know not, but it was ill-calculated to raise my
failing spirits.

"My child, my beloved child!"  exclaimed the weeping mother,
"fear not, God is merciful and will accept your sincere abhorrence
of your fault.  I have this day offered in your name a fine wax
taper to your patroness, St. Anne, who will, no doubt, intercede

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