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List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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"Here," said she, "the great cardinal Richelieu loved to repose
himself from the bustle and turmoil of a court."

"I think," answered I, "it would have been less a favourite with
his eminence had it been selected for his abode on the eve of
his disgrace."

Immediately upon my arrival I retired to bed, for fatigue had so
completely overpowered me that I fell into a heavy slumber, from
which I did not awake till the following day; when I found the
duchesse d'Aiguillon, my sister-in-law, Genevieve Mathon, and
Henriette, seated by my bed: the sight of them was cheering and
gratifying proof of my not being as yet abandoned by all the world.

I arose, and we were just about to take our places at table, when
madame de Forcalquier arrived.  I must confess that her presence
was an agreeable surprise to me; I was far from reckoning on her
constancy in friendship, and her present conduct proved her worthy
of her excellent friend, madame Boncault, whose steady attachment
I had so frequently heard extolled.  The sight of her imparted
fresh courage to me, and I even resumed my usual high spirits, and
in the sudden turn my ideas had taken, was childish enough to
express my regrets for the loss of my downy and luxurious bed at
Versailles, complaining of the woful difference between it and
the one I had slept on at Ruel.

The duchesse d'Aiguillon, who must have pitied the puerility of
such a remark, gently endeavoured to reconcile me to it by reminding
me that both the marquise de Pompadour and the cardinal de
Richelieu had reposed upon that very couch.

I endeavoured to return some sportive reply, but my thoughts had
flown back to Versailles, and my momentary exhilaration was at
an end.  Tears rose to my eyes and choked my attempts at conversation;
I therefore begged the duchess would excuse me, and retired to my
apartment until I could  compose myself; but the kind and attentive
friend to whose hospitality I was then confided needed no further
mention of my hard couch, but caused the best bed Ruel contained
to be prepared for me by the time I again pressed my pillow.

This same evening brought M. de Cosse, who could no longer repress
his impatience to assure me of his entire devotion.  He appeared
on this occasion, if possible, more tender and more respectful
in his manner of evincing it than ever.

We supped together without form or ceremony, the party consisting
of mesdames d'Aiguillon, de Forcalquier, and myself, mademoiselle
du Barry, and the vicomtesse Adolphe, the prince de Soubise and
the duc de Cosse.  But the meal passed off in sorrowful silence;
each of us seemed to abstain from conversation as though the
slightest remark might come fraught with some painful allusion.
On the following day I received the letter from the duc d'Aiguillon
which you will find in the following chapter.



CHAPTER XLV


The duc d'Aiguillon's first letter--The marechale de Mirepoix
--A second letter from the duc d'Aiguillon--Numerous visitors

"My much esteemed friend,--I promised you upon
your departure to inform you of all that  transpired,
and although the task is a mournful one, I will do
my best to acquit myself with zeal and sincerity,
and each evening I will write you an exact detail
of all that has occurred during the day.  The king
remains much as you left him, and you must know
that already his medical attendants differ in their
opinion respecting him--Lemonnier utterly
despairing of his recovery, while Bordeu is most
sanguine that he shall be enabled to restore him
to health.  La Martiniere persists in his assertion
that the attention of the king should be
immediately directed to his spiritual concerns.
The archbishop of Paris remains until called for
in the ante-chamber, and the princesses never
leave the bedside of their august parent.

"The king spoke with me concerning you for some
time this morning, and I can assure you, you are
the first object in his thoughts; he has begged of
me never to forsake you, and has deigned to repose
in me the enviable post of your future protector.
'I bequeath my beloved friend to your fidelity,'
added the suffering prince.  I took advantage of
this opportunity to remark that I looked upon your
quitting Versailles as too precipitate and premature
a step.  'No, no,' replied the king, "I have acted
for the best; I have once been deceived as to my
condition, and I would willingly prevent being
again taken by surprise.  Tell my beloved and
excellent countess how truly I love her'; and
hearing the prince de Soubise mention his design
of supping at Ruel, he charged him to embrace
you for him.

"The dauphin still remains secluded in his apartment,
but I know that he keeps up a regular correspondence
with madame Victoire, whose letters, after being
immersed in vinegar, are carried to the comte de
Muy, who fumigates them previously to allowing
them to reach the hands of the dauphin.

 				"I am, etc., etc.

"VERSAILLES, May 5, 1774, nine o'clock, evening."


Upon awaking the following morning I again received news of the
king, who was stated to have passed a good night, and even La
Martiniere seemed inclined to hope.  As yet, then, there were no
safe grounds for abandoning me, and about two o'clock in the
afternoon I was favoured with a visit from madame de Mirepoix,
who, running up to me, exclaimed with her usual vivacity,

"Oh, my dear creature, how I longed to see you!"  and then
leading me into another chamber, she added,

"Do you know I quite missed you?  As I wrote you, my time hung
heavily on my hands.  What in the world will become of me if I am
compelled to resign the delightful hours granted to the envied few
who are permitted the < entrée > to the ?
For you see, my dear, the dauphiness will be far from bestowing
that honour upon me.  I am too old to form one of her coterie,
and I shall be laid aside like the rest of the antiquities of the
chateau.  By the way," continued the voluble marechale, "there
is already a great cabal in the  chateau respecting the formation
of a new ministry, in which, besides desiring lucrative posts for
themselves, all are anxious to introduce their private friends;
in the midst of so many absorbing interests you appear to be
already forgotten, which, by the way, is no bad thing for you.
Your best plan is to remain perfectly tranquil."  Then rapidly
passing to her most prevailing idea, this excellent friend proceeded
to inquire what the king had bestowed on me as a parting present,
"for," said she, "he would not certainly permit you to leave
Versailles empty-handed."

"It is a point," replied I, "that neither his majesty nor myself
once thought of."

"Then such an omission proves him a vile egotist, and you a
prodigious simpleton," answered she; "and were I in your place,
I would commission the duc d'Aiguillon to make a direct demand
of a future provision for you; you really should see about this,
and secure to yourself a noble establishment for yourself and
your friends, who ought not to suffer for your overstrained
delicacy.  Look at the duc de Choiseul, who has kept a regular
court at Chanteloup, and never wanted for a train of courtiers
at it."

After this lesson of worldly wisdom, the excellent marechale gave
me a friendly kiss, returned to her carriage, and I saw her no
more during my stay at Ruel.

The evening brought with it a second letter from the duc
d'Aiguillon, it was as follows:--

"MADAM,--I hasten to acquaint you with the
pleasing information of his majesty being considerably
 better; his strength appears to have returned,
and he himself, in the consciousness of improving
health, expressed aloud his regret for having been
so hasty in advising your removal from him.  He has
continually repeated, 'How weak and selfish of me
thus to afflict my dearest countess!  would you
not advise me, my friend, to request her immediate
return?'  Of course, my reply was in the affirmative.
His majesty then put the same question to the duc
de Richelieu, who answered, that in his opinion it
was the best plan he could decide upon.  The bulletin
signed by the different physicians accompanies this:
it leaves me nothing to add but to recommend your
bearing with patience this temporary absence from
court, to which you will ere long return, more
idolized, more sought after, than ever.  The duc
de la Vrilliere and the abbe Terray present the
assurance of their unbounded respect and devotion,
 etc., etc."

The duchess, my sister-in-law, and niece shared in joy at such

gratifying intelligence, and the ensuing day brought a concourse
of visitors to Ruel; indeed, any one might have supposed that
fresh swarms of flatterers and courtiers had been created only
to swell my numbers of humble and obsequious adorers.  I bestowed
on each unmeaning guest a smiling welcome, for indeed, my heart
was too light and I felt too happy to be enabled to frown even
upon those who, when the storm appeared near, had basely
deserted me.

It was amusing enough to see with what zeal any person, whom I
had previously recommended was assisted by the various ministers
in the pursuit of their object; the  found himself
all at once at leisure to pay his respects to me.  He confirmed
all the kind messages sent me by the king through the duc d'Aiguillon.
Madame de Mirepoix, who had visited me the preceding evening,
reserved her next call for the following day, but a few hours
effected a cruel change in my fortune.



CHAPTER XLVI


A third letter from the duke--The king receives extreme unction--
Letter from madame Victoire to the dauphin--M. de Machault--
A promenade with the duc de Cosse--Kind attention from the
prince des Deux Ponts--A fourth letter from the duc d'Aiguillon
--Comte Jean bids me farewell--M. d'Aiguillon's fifth letter,
containing an account of the death of Louis XV--The duc de la
 Vrilliere--The --Letter to the queen--Departure
for the abbey of 

The account received in the evening from the duc  d'Aiguillon I
shall not transcribe, as it was merely a repetition of the good

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