List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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opening measure to the prince de Soubise, and let him break the
ice to his majesty.

The prince de Soubise behaved exactly as the duke had told me: he
came to me the next morning with a mysterious air, which already
informed me of all he had to say.  He said that he had vainly
tormented the king; that his majesty wished things to remain just
as they were, and desired that until a new order of things nothing
should be altered.

"I am sorry for it, monsieur le marechal," I replied.  "Whilst I am
in this precarious situation, whilst I remain in a corner of the
stage as a confidante of tragedy, I can do nothing for my friends,
particularly for you, monsieur le marechal."

"On the contrary, madame," he replied, "the king will be more
disposed to listen to you whilst he will suppose that your
influence is unknown."

"Oh," cried I with a feeling of anger, "you gentlemen courtiers
think of nothing but politics.  As for me, who am a woman, I have
other matters for consideration: I must have honors, title, rank.
My self-love suffers cruelly when I see myself immolated by the
fear which the ladies de Grammont and three or four other intriguers
of their party are able to excite."

The prince was somewhat startled at the freedom of language
which I used towards ladies in such credit at court: he begged me
to moderate my feelings, and be less moved and excited.  By this
the prince de Soubise lost the esteem which I might have accorded
him, and the second place in my counsels, which I might have
given him.

I told the duke, who came to see me the moment afterwards, of the
failure of the prince's attempt.  He told me that he had not hoped
for a better result.  He went to the king, flattering himself with
hopes of better success, but did not find him.

The daughters of Louis XV had united against me with a fury
which nothing could justify.  They were incessantly talking
scandal of my past life, as if there were only saints at court, as
if they had no pranks of their own to reproach themselves with.
All the chateau knew of their lovers, and there was 
evidence of the tenderness of madame Adelaide: as for madame
Louise she was an angel upon earth, and was the only one who
did not join in the cry against me.  On the other hand, the king,
whilst he had but little love for his dear daughters, preserved
towards them a complaisance and external appearance of kindness
which was a substitute for parental love.  When 
cried out, he stopped his ears with his two hands, and seemed,
whilst looking proudly at France, to say, "Am not I a good father,
and are not my daughters very happy, for I let them cry out with
all their might?"

The next day the duc d'Aiguillon went again to the king, and found
him bewildered with family scenes and the murmurings of the
Choiseuls.  When my ambassador had delivered his message, the
king asked him if he, as well as the prince de Soubise, had been
set upon his haunches by me.

The duke, nothing intimidated at this, told the king that far from
having wished that he should be my interpreter, I had requested
him not to allude to the matter.

"Why, then," said Louis XV laughing, "do you not follow the
advice of the comtesse?"

"Because I entertain a sincere attachment for her, and that I am
vexed to hear it said that there are persons who lead your majesty."

"Who are the insolents that hold such language?"

"They surround you, sire.  There is not a female here but affirms
that you dare not decide on the presentation of the comtesse."

"I alone am master, and will let them know it when the opportunity
arrives; but the present moment is not fitting.  The comtesse knows
how well I love her; and if she will prove her friendship towards
me, she will remain quiet for some time."

The duke thought it best to be silent, and came to me.  After
relating the conversation, he added, "Do not appear at all dejected;
the king would not then visit you lest he should find you out of
temper.  Were I you I should write to him; a word of peace would
set him at ease."

I approved this advice, and instantly penned the following letter: --

Sire -They tell me that your majesty has been tormented
on my account.  It is a treason of which I alone could 
believe myself capable.  But why should I complain?  You
have done so much for me that I ought to esteem myself
happy: your august friendship consoles me thro' all my
annoyances.  Be assured that henceforth I shall pout no
more; I will be the best sheep in the world, relying on
my shepherd for not having my fleece cut too closely;
for after all I think I am the petted ewe, etc."

A short time afterwards a page brought me a splendid box of 
with a pair of ruby ear-rings surrounded with diamonds, and this 

short billet: --

"Yes, assuredly you are my pet ewe, and always shall
be.  The shepherd has a strong crook with which he
will drive away those who would injure you.  Rely on
your shepherd for the care of your tranquillity, and
the peace of your future life."

In the evening the king visited me.  He was embarrassed, but I set
him at ease by showing him a laughing countenance, talking only
of his present, which I had in my ears, and shaking my head about
to keep the drops in motion, which sparkled with great brilliancy.
He was pleased at this, and did not leave me all the evening.  In
the morning we were the best friends in the world.

Some days elapsed, when comte Jean came to me, bringing two
infamous articles which had appeared in the ","
and were directed against me.  They were atrocious and deeply
chagrined me: I placed them on the mantel-piece, where all who
came in could see them.  The duc de Duras read them, and said,
"Conceal these atrocities from the king."

"No," was my reply, "I wish him to read them, that he may know
how his affections are respected, and how the police of Paris are
employed in doing their duty to the throne."

These last words annoyed M. de Duras, between whom and M. de
Sartines there was a connection: the duke was indebted to the
lieutenant-general of police for the special surveillance which he
kept over a young girl of whom he, the duc de Duras, was foolishly
enamoured.  Trembling for his  M. de Sartines, he
wrote to him in haste, but had not courage or talent enough to
undertake the defence of the guilty person.

The king came as usual; his general station was at the chimney-piece,
where he amused himself with looking at the baubles that ornamented
it.  The "" fell in his way.  He read them
once, then again; then, without uttering a word, threw them into
the fire.  I observed him, and saw that he was full of emotion
which he sought to conceal, but the anger burst forth soon.  The
prince de Soubise, who supped with us that evening, asked the duc
de Duras if he had read the ""

"No," was the reply; "I seldom read such nonsense."

"And you are quite right," said the king.  "There is at present a
most inconceivable mania for writing.  What is the use, I ask you,
gentlemen, of this deluge of books and pamphlets with which
France is inundated?  They only contain the spirit of rebellion:
the freedom of writing ought not to be given to every body.
There should be in a well-regulated state seven or eight writers,
not more; and these under the inspection of government.  Authors
are the plague of France; you will see whither they will lead it."

The king spoke this with an animated air, and if at this moment
M. de la Vrilliere had come to ask for a 
against a writer, the king would not have refused it.

"Besides," added the king, in a tone of less anger, but no less
emphatically, "I see with pain that the police do not do their duty
with regard to all these indignities."

"Yet," said the duc de Duras, "M. de Sartines does wonders."

"Then why does he tolerate such insults?  I will let him know
my discontent."

The duc de Duras was alarmed, and kept his mouth closed.  The king
then, resuming his gaiety, joked the two gentlemen on their secret
intrigues: then changing the conversation suddenly, he talked of
the expected arrival of the king of Denmark.

"Duc de Duras," said he, "you and your son must do the office of
master of ceremonies to his  majesty.  I hope you will
endeavor to amuse him."

"Yes, sire."

"Mind, what you undertake is no joke.  It is no easy matter to
amuse a king."

This was a truth which I perceived at every moment, and our monarch
was not the one to be amused with trifling exertion.  Frequently
when he entered my apartment he threw himself on an ottoman, and
yawned most excessively, yes, yawned in my company.  I had but one
mode of rousing him from this apathy, but it was a sure one.  I
spoke of the high magistracy and its perpetual resistance to the
throne.  Then the king aroused, instantly sprung from his seat,
traversed the room with rapid strides, and declaimed vigorously
against the ; thus he styled the parliaments.  I
confess, however, that I only had recourse to the "black gowns"
at the last extremity.  Little did I think that at a later period
I should league myself against them.  On the one hand, the duc
d'Aiguillon hated them mortally, and on the other, the comte Jean,
like a real Toulousian, would have carried them in his slippers;
so that wavering between the admiration of the one and the hatred
of the other, I knew not which to listen to, or which party to side
with.  But to return to present matters.

The king was always thinking of the "< Nouvelles a la Main,>" and
determined to avenge me as openly as I had been attacked.  Two
or three days afterwards he gave a supper, to which he invited the
duchesse and comtesse de Grammont, madame de Forcalquier, the
princess de Marsan, the marechale de Mirepoix, and the comtesses
de Coigny and de Montbarrey.  They were seated at table laughing
and amusing themselves; they talked of the pleasure of being to
, of having no ; they pierced me with a
hundred thrusts; they triumphed!  And yet the king was laughing in

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