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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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for you."

"No, no!"  replied the unhappy girl, "there is no longer any hope
for me; and the torments I now suffer are but the preludes to
those which I am doomed to endure everlastingly."

This singular scene almost convulsed me with agitation.  I seized
the arm of my brother-in-law with the intention of escaping from
so miserable a spot; the invalid perceived my design and
vehemently exclaimed,

"Stay, comtesse du Barry; I have not yet finished with you, I
have not yet announced the full revenge I shall take for your
share in my present hopeless condition; your infamous exaltation
draws to a close, the same poison which is destroying me,
circulates in the veins of him you have too long governed; but
your reign is at an end.  He will soon quit his earthly crown,
and my hand strikes the blow which sends him hence.  But still,
dying a victim to a cruel and loathsome complaint, I go to my
grave triumphing over my haughty rival, for I shall die the last
possessor of the king's affections.  Heavens!  what agonies are
these?"  cried she; then, after a short silence, she continued,
extending to me her arms hideous with the leprous blotches of
her disgusting malady, "yes, you have been my destruction; your
accursed example led me to sell myself for the wages of infamy,
and to the villainous artifices of the man who brought you here
I owe all my sufferings.  I am dying more young, more beautiful,
more beloved than you; I am hurried to an untimely end.  God of
heaven!  die I did I say die?  I cannot, will not--Mother, save
your child!--Brother, help me, save me!"

"My daughter, my darling child!"  cried the despairing mother,
wringing her hands and weeping bitterly.

"My dearest sister Anne, what can I do for you?"  inquired the
young man, whose stern features were melted into mere
womanish tenderness.

"Daughter," interrupted the priest, " God is good; he can and
will forgive you if you heartily turn to him, with a sincere desire
to atone for your fault."

All this took place in less time than it has taken in the
recital.  My brother-in-law seemed completely deprived of his
usual self-possession by this burst of frightful raving; his
feet appeared rooted to the floor of the chamber; his colour
changed from white to red, and a cold perspiration covered his
brows.  For my own part, I was moved beyond description; but
my faculties seemed spell-bound, and when I strove to speak, my
tongue cleaved to my mouth.

The delirium of poor Anne continued for some time to find utterance,
either by convulsive gesticulation, half-uttered expressions, and,
occasionally, loud and vehement imprecations.  At length, quite
exhausted with her violence, which required all the efforts of
her brother to subdue by positive force, she sunk into a state
of insensibility.  The priest, on his knees, implored in a loud
voice the mercy of Providence for the king and all his subjects.
Had any person conceived the design of working on my fears so
far as to induce me to abandon a life at court, they could not
have succeeded more entirely than by exhibiting to me the scene
I have been describing.  Had not many contending ideas enabled
me to bear up under all I saw and heard, my senses must have
forsaken me; under common circumstances, the aspect of the brother
alone would have terrified me exceedingly; and even now, I cannot
recollect without a shudder, the looks of dark and sinister
meaning he alternately directed at me and at comte Jean.  At this
moment, the doctor who had the charge of the unhappy girl arrived.
The warmth and eagerness of manner with which he addressed me
directly he perceived my presence, might have proved to all around
that I was not the hateful creature I had been described.  This
well-timed interruption restored me to the use of my faculties,
and repulsing the well-meant attentions of my medical friend, I
exclaimed, "Do not heed me, I conjure you, I am only temporarily
indisposed.  But hasten to that poor girl whose dangererous state
 requires all your care."

My brother-in-law, recovering himself by a strong effort, profited
by the present opportunity to remove me into another apartment,
the pure air of which contributed to cool my fevered brain; but
 my trembling limbs refused to support me, and it was necessary
to apply strong restoratives ere I was sufficiently recovered to
quit the fatal spot.  At Trianon, as well as at Versailles, I was
considered absolute mistress; those of the royal household, who
were aware of my being at the former, earnestly solicited me to
retire to the chamber I had occupied on the preceding night, but
to this arrangement the comte and myself were equally opposed.
A sedan chair was therefore procured, in which I was rapidly
transported back to Versailles.

You may easily conceive in what a state I arrived there.  My good
Henriette was greatly alarmed, and immediately summoned Bordeu,
 who, not venturing to bleed me, contented himself with administering
some cordials which revived me in some degree.  But the events of
the last few hours seemed indelibly fixed in my mind; and I heard,
almost with indifference, the bulletin issued respecting the
state of the king's health during the fatal night which had just
passed.  One object alone engrossed my thoughts; -eyes seemed
still to behold the miserable girl stretched on her dying bed,
whose ravings of despair and threatening words yet rung in my
ears, and produced a fresh chill of horror, as with painful
tenacity my mind dwelt upon them to the utter exclusion of every
other consideration.  The unfortunate creature expired on the
third day, a victim to the rapid progress of the most virulent
species of small-pox.  She died more calmly and resigned than I
had seen her.  For my own part, I freely pardoned her injustice
towards myself, and sincerely forgive the priest if he (as I have
been told) excited her bitterness against me.

The severe shock I had experienced might have terminated fatally
for me, had not my thoughts been compelled to rouse themselves
for the contemplation of the alarming prospect before me.  It was
more than four o'clock in the morning when I returned to the
chateau, and at nine I rose again without having obtained the least
 repose.  The king had inquired for me several times.  I instantly
went to him, and my languid frame, pale countenance and heavy
eyes, all which he took as the consequences of my concern for his
indisposition, appeared greatly to affect him; and he sought to
comfort me by the assurance of his being considerably better.
This was far from being true, but he was far from suspecting
the nature of the malady to which his frame was about to become
a prey.  The physicians had now pronounced with certainty on the
subject, nor was it possible to make any mystery of it with me,
who had seen Anne on her sick-bed.

In common with all who knew the real nature of the complaint, I
sought to conceal it from the king, and in this deception the
physicians themselves concurred.  In the course of the morning a
consultation took place; when called upon for their opinion, each
of them endeavoured to evade a direct answer, disguising the name
of his majesty's disease under the appellation of a cutaneous
eruption, chicken-pox, etc., etc., none daring to give it its true
denomination.  Bordeu and Lemonnier pursued this cautious plan,
but La Martiniere, who had first of all pronounced his decision
on the subject, impatient of so much circumlocution on the part
of those around him, could no longer repress his indignation.

"How is this, gentlemen!"  exclaimed he, "is science at a
standstill with you?  Surely, you cannot be in any doubt on the
subject of the king's illness.  His majesty has the small-pox,
with a complication of other diseases equally dangerous, and I
look upon him as a dead man."

"Monsieur de la Martiniere," cried the duc de Duras, who, in
quality of his office of first gentleman of the bed-chamber, was
present at this conference, "allow me to remind you that you are
expressing yourself very imprudently."

"Duc de Duras," replied the abrupt La Martiniere, "my business is
not to flatter the king, but to tell him the truth with regard to
his health.  None of the medical gentlemen present can deny the
truth of what I have asserted; they are all of my opinion, although
I alone have the courage to act with that candour which my sense
of honour dictates."

The unbroken silence preserved by those who heard this address,
clearly proved the truth of all La Martiniere advanced.  The duc
de Duras was but too fully convinced of the justice of his opinion.

"The king is then past all hope," repeated he, "and what remains
to be done?"

"To watch over him, and administer every aid and relief which art
suggests," was the brief reply of La Martiniere.

The different physicians, when separately questioned, hesitated
no longer to express their concurrence in the opinion that his
majesty's case was entirely hopeless, unless, indeed, some crisis,
which human foresight could not anticipate, should arise in his favour.

This opinion changed the moral face of the chateau.  The duc de
Duras, who had not previously suspected even the existence of
danger, began to feel how weighty a burthen reposed on his
shoulders; he recommended to the medical attendants the utmost
caution and  silence, pointing out, at the same time, all the ill
consequences which might arise, were any imprudent or sudden
explanation of his real malady made to the august sufferer.  Unable
to attend to everything himself, and not inclined to depend upon
his son, whose natural propensity he was fully aware of, he
recalled to his recollection that the comte de Muy, the sincere
and attached friend of the dauphin, son to Louis XV, was then in
Versailles.  He immediately sought him out in the apartments he
occupied in the chateau, and communicated to him the result of
the consultation respecting the king's illness.

The comte de Muy was one of those rare characters reserved by
Providence for the happiness of a state, when kings are wise
enough to employ them.  He thought not of personal interest or

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