value of 30,000 francs. He was very anxious to obtain all my jewels, under pretence of conveying them safely out of the kingdom, but this I was too wise to agree to; he would have staked them at t he first gaming-table he met with. We separated without much emotion on either side. He next took leave of Chon and his daughter-in-law. the former wept bitterly, for she was a most excellent and amiable girl--but the latter, who knew but too much of the villainy of her father-in-law, could scarcely repress her joy at his departure. Comte Jean perceived it; and, according to his brutal custom, indulged in a coarse jest at her expense; for one of his maxims was to hold all women in sovereign contempt but such as could be useful to him. For my own part, his absence gave me something like pleasure; his presence was wearisome to me; it was like the dregs of the cup which had intoxicated my senses. During the day several false reports arrived of the death of the king; but at length, about half past four o'clock in the afternoon, I received the following letter:-- "MADAM,-You have lost your best friend and I an excellent master: at three clock this day his majesty breathed his last. I can scarcely describe to you the horrors of his death-bed. The princesses Adelaide and Sophie braved the frightful contagion to the last and never quitted him till the last spark had flown. Alas! with the exception of themselves, every attendant openly expressed their weariness and disgust. "For several days the physicians have forbidden the windows to be opened; and those condemned to inhale the pestilential vapor of the room vainly sought to counteract them by every powerful fumigation. Alas, madam, what is a king when he can no longer grasp the sceptre? How great a leveller is death! The prelates abandoned the sick chamber, and left a simple cure of the chapel to take their place; the lords in waiting and other officers shrunk from the duties of their office, and with their eyes fixed on a time-piece eagerly awaited the hour which should free them from it. The princesses, who perceived this impatience, durst make no complaint, while the king, occasionally recovering his senses, uttered broken sentences, expressive of the religious terror which had seized his mind. At length, at a few minutes past three o'clock, Lemonnier, in his capacity of first physician, said, after laying his hand upon the heart of the patient, and placing a glass before his lips, 'The king is dead.' At these words all present strove with indecent haste to quit the chamber; not a single sigh, not one regret was heard. The princesses were carried insensible to their apartments. "The extinction of a
which had been placed in a certain window, announced the accession of the dauphin ere the duc d'Aumont had informed him of the decease of his august grandsire." This letter wrung from me some bitter tears, as well for the king, who had so lavishly bestowed his affections upon me, as for myself. What would now be my fate? Alas! I knew not; all my brilliant prospects were buried in the coffin of my late protector. The duc d'Aiguillon arrived at Ruel about midnight; he, as well as the other ministers who had been about the late monarch during his last illness, being prohibited by etiquette from following the present monarch to Choisy, whither the whole of the royal family had retired for a few days. He told us that the duc d'Aumont, having commanded La Martiniere to proceed with the embalming of the royal corpse, that physician replied, "Certainly, my lord, it shall be done if you command it, but, in that case, the duties of your office compel you to receive his majesty's bowels in a golden dish; and I protest, that such is the state of the body, that of all who may assist at the operation, not one will survive eight days. It is for your grace to determine what shall be done." M. d'Aumont thought no more of embalming his late master, but gave orders for the body being immediately placed in a leaden coffin, from which here still issued frightful effluvia. Up to the moment of my quitting Ruel madame de Mirepoix gave me no token of recollection: I heard that herself and the prince de Beauvau were reconciled, and for her sake I rejoiced at it. No person came near us the whole of the day with the exception of M. de Cosse, and I sat in hourly expectation of some order from court. At length we descried a travelling carriage with six horses, proceeding at a rapid pace up the avenue. "I know that livery," exclaimed I; " 'tis that of my humble adorer, my obsequious slave, my friend at court, the duc de la Vrilliere, commonly called . You see that the good soul could not delegate to another the pleasing task of arresting me; but permit me to retire to my apartment; it is fitting he should seek me there if he has any communication to make to me." The duchess, approved my resolution; and the duc de la Vrilliere having been introduced into the salon, after the first compliments, requested to see me, that he might acquaint me with the king's pleasure. Mademoiselle du Barry undertook to inform me of the duke's arrival. "You were not mistaken, dear sister," said she; "the duc de la Vrilliere is the bearer of the king's orders respecting you: but compose yourself, I beseech you." "Fear not," said I; "I am as calm as you would have me. Tell the vile dissembler, I mean the duke, I await him" M. Tartuffe was but a faint copy of as he presented himself before me. His manners still retained part of their former servility, but there was a lurking smile about him, which proved how well he was pleased with the part he had to perform. He approached me with lingering steps and an air of mysterious importance, while a sort of sardonic grin contradicted the sorrow he endeavored to force into his countenance. For my own part, I caused the folding-doors to be thrown open, and advancing ceremoniously, stood to receive the orders of the king. I bowed stiffly and silently; and, with something like a malicious satisfaction, I witnessed the embarrassment into which my cool and collected manner threw him. "Madam," said he at last, "I have a painful duty to perform: in a word, I am the bearer of a ." "Well, sir! "said I, tranquilly. "Madam, I must request you to believe how greatly I regret the task imposed upon me; but my duty and obedience to the king--" "Would enable you to strangle your nearest relative. All that is well known; but, in the name of all that is base, cowardly, and unmanly, could no one but be found to remind a distressed and afflicted woman that she has lost her only friend and support?" "Madam, I repeat, obedience--necessity--" "Enough, sir; I pity you." "Madam, you outrage the king in my person." "No, sir; I respect the king too highly to believe that there could ever be any relation between him and one who is too contemptible to remind me that he was but a few days back the most cringing of my servile slaves." , boiling with rage, with an unsteady hand, unfolded and read, in a trembling voice, the following words: "MADAME LA COMTESSE Du Barry,--For reasons, which have for their object the preservation of the tranquillity of my kingdom, and the prevention of any state secrets confided to you being promulgated, I send this order for your immediate removal to , accompanied by one female attendant only, and under the escort of the exempt who has the necessary orders. This measure is by no means intended to be either disagreeable or of long duration. I therefore pray God to have you in his holy keeping, "(Signed) Louis." "That, madam," continued the duke, " is his majesty's pleasure, and you have nothing to do but to submit." "Your advice was not asked, my lord," returned I; "I honor and obey the king's slightest wish, but your presence is no longer requisite; you will therefore be pleased to rid me of it." The duke, resuming his air of mock humility, bowed low, and departed. When I was alone, I must confess a few tears escaped me, but I soon wiped them away; my resolution was taken. The duchesse d'Aiguillon and my female friends hastened to question me relative to the duke's visit. I showed them the , which confirmed the misfortune they had suspected from seeing Hamond, who was to be my escort, waiting in the anteroom to conduct me to the abbey of , near Meaux, the place of my exile. They all evinced the utmost sorrow, and both Chon and my niece protested that with the king's permission, they would willingly attend me in my seclusion. I felt grateful for this mark of attachment; then sending for the exempt, I inquired whether I might be allowed sufficient time to write a letter, and cause a few necessary preparations to be made? "Madam, I replied he, "my only orders are to accompany you to , the hour of departure is left to yourself." I then penned a few hasty lines to the king, indicative of my wishes for the happiness and prosperity of his reign, of my ready obedience to his commands, and of my earnest wishes that my sister-in-law and niece might be permitted to visit me. This letter I was promised should be punctually delivered. I had now the painful duty to perform of choosing between Henriette and Genevieve, as only one attendant was allowed me at . Henriette pleaded her claim as my servant, while the excellent Genevieve timidly urged her early friendship. "Let chance decide it," cried I. They drew lots, and Genevieve was selected. We reached Pont aux Dames in the middle of the night; it was a miserable looking place, which took its date from the time of Saint Louis or Charlemagne for ought I know. What a contrast met my eyes between this ruinous old building, its bare walls, wooden seats, and gloomy casements, and the splendor of Versailles or Choisy; all my firmness forsook me, I threw myself weeping into the arms of Genevieve. A courier-had announced my intended arrival, and I found all the good sisters impatient to see me. What eager curiosity did the pious nuns evince to behold one of whom they had heard so much even in their quiet retreat, and how many questions had I to reply to from those who had the courage to address me. Alas! I, of all the throng assembled, was the most anxious for quiet and solitude. I was lodged in the best apartments, which, however magnificent the good people of might consider them, were not on a par with the granaries of Lucienne. But complaint was useless, and I could only resign myself to what was offered me.
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