List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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they became no less formidable than the enemy whom they had
aided in subduing.

"Before fifty years," pursued M. de Maupeou, "kings will be
nothing in France, and parliaments will be everything."

Talented, a good speaker, even eloquent, M. de Maupeou possessed
qualities which made the greatest enterprises successful.  He was
convinced that all men have their price, and that it is only to
find out the sum at which they are purchasable.* As brave personally
as a marechal of France, his enemies (and he had many) called him
a coarse and quarrelsome man.  Hated by all, he despised men in
a body, and jeered at them individually; but little sensible to the
charms of our sex, he only thought of us by freaks, and as a means
of relaxation.  This is M. de Maupeou, painted to the life.  As
for his person, you know it as well as I do.  I have no need to
tell you, that he was little, ugly, and his complexion was yellow,
bordering upon green.  It must be owned, however, that his face,
full of thought and intelligence, fully compensated for all the rest.

*This gentleman would have been an able coadjutor for
Sir Robert Walpole.  -Trans.

You know how, as first president of the parliament of Paris, he
succeeded his father as vice-chancellor.  At the resignation of the
titular M. de Lamoignon*, the elder Maupeou received his letters
of nomination, and as soon as they were registered, he resigned
in favor of his son.  The Choiseuls had allowed the latter to be
nominated, relying on finding him a creature.  I soon saw that the
Choiseuls were mistaken.

*In September, 1768.  (au.)

It was in the month of October, that Henriette, always my favorite,
came to me with an air of unusual mystery, to say, that a black*
and ugly gentleman wished to see me; that on the usual reply
that I was not visible, he had insisted, and sent, at the same
time, a cautiously sealed note.  I took it, opened, and read
these words: --

"The chancellor of France wishes to have the honor
of presenting his respectful homage to madame la
comtesse du Barry."

"Let him come in," I said to Henriette.

"I will lay a wager, madame, that he comes to ask some favor."

"I believe," replied I, "that he is more frequently the solicited
than the solicitor."

Henriette went out, and in a few minutes led in, thro' the private
corridors which communicated with my apartment, his highness
monseigneur Rene Nicolas Charles Augustin de Maupeou, chevalier
and chancellor of France.  As soon as he entered I conceived a
good opinion of him, altho' I had only seen him walk.  His step
was firm and assured, like that of a man confident in the resources
of his own talents.

"Madame la comtesse du Barry," he said, "would have a right to
complain of me, if I did not come and lay my person at her feet.
I had the more impatience to express to her my devotion, as I
feared she had been prejudiced against me."

"How, monseigneur?"

"The gate by which I entered the ministry--"

"Is not agreeable to me, as being that of my enemies, but I feel
assured that you will not side with them against me."

"Certainly not, madame; it is my wish to give you pleasure in
every thing, and I flatter myself I may merit your friendship."

After many other compliments, the Chancellor asked me, with much
familiarity, when my presentation was to take place, and why it had
not yet occurred.  I replied, that the delay arose from the intrigues
of Choiseul, and the king shrunk from the discontent of a handful
of courtiers.

"I am sorry for it," said M. de Maupeou; "in the first place,
madame, because of the interest I take in you, and also because
for his majesty, it would be a means of striking terror into the
opposing party.  You know, madame, how annoying parliaments are
to all your friends, and with what bitterness those of Bretagne and
Paris, at this moment, are pursuing the duc d'Aiguillon."

"Do you think," I replied with emotion, "that matters are
unfavorable towards him?"

"I hope not, but he must be warmly supported."

"Ah!  I will aid him with all my influence.  He is no doubt
innocent of the crimes imputed to him."

"Yes, certainly.  He has done no other wrong than to defend the
authority of the crown against the enmity of the parliaments."

We continued some time to talk of parliaments and parliament men:
then we agreed that M. de Maupeou should see me again, accompanied
by the duc d'Aiguillon, who should have the credit of presenting him,
and he left me with as much mystery as he had entered.

When the king came to see me, I said to him, "I have made acquaintance
with your chancellor: he is a very amiable man, and I hope that he
will not conduct himself improperly towards me."

"Where did you see him?"

"Here, sire, and but a short time since."

"He came then to visit you?"

"Yes, in person, that he might obtain the favor of being permitted
to pay his court to me."

"Really what you tell me seems perfectly unaccountable.  He has
then burst from the hands of the Choiseuls?  It is amusing.  Poor
Choiseul, when soliciting for Maupeou, he most tremendously
deceived himself."

"At least, sire, you must own that he has given you no fool."

"True.  The chancellor is a man full of talents, and I do not
doubt but that he will restore to my crown that power which
circumstances have deprived it of.  However, if you see him
familiarly, advise him not to persuade me to extreme measures.
I wish all should work for the best, without violent courses and
without painful struggles."

These last words proved to me the natural timidity of the king.

"I knew very well," added the king, "that Maupeou would not prove
a man for the Choiseuls.  The main point is, that he should be mine,
and I am content."

Louis XV was then satisfied with the chancellor, but he was not
equally so with the comte Jean.

"I do not like," said he to me, "your Du Barry monkey.  He is a
treacherous fellow, who has betrayed his party, and I hope some
of these mornings we shall hear that the devil has wrung his neck."


The king of Denmark--The courtesans of Paris--The duc de Choiseul and the bishop of
Orleans--Witty repartees of the king of Denmark--
His visit to madame du Barry--"The court of king Petaud," a satire--
Letter of the duc d'Aiguillon to Voltaire--The duchesse de Grammont
mystified--Unpublished letter of Voltaire's

>From this moment, and in spite of all that comte Jean could say
against it, a new counsellor was admitted to my confidence.  He
was the chancellor.  The duc d'Aiguillon and he were on very good
terms, and these two, with the abbe Teray, of whom I shall speak
to you presently, formed a triumvirate, which governed France from
the disgrace of M. de Choiseul to the death of the king.  But
before I enter upon a detail of those politics, of which you will
find that I understand something, allow me to continue the history
of my presentation, and also to give some account of Christian VII.

You know that his Danish majesty was expected with anything but
pleasure by the king of France, and with curiosity by the rest of
the nation.  Men and women were impatient to see a king, under
twenty years of age, who was traversing Europe with a design of
attaining instruction.  Married to a lovely woman, Caroline Mathilde,
he had left her on the instant, without suspecting that this separation
would prove fatal to both.  At Paris, the real character of this
prince was not known, but a confused report of his gallantry was
spread abroad, on which all the courtesans of note in the city
began to try all arts to please him, each hoping to attract him to
herself, and dip into his strong box.  M. de Sartines amused us one
evening, the king and myself, by telling us of the plans of these
ladies.  Some were going to meet his Danish majesty, others were
to await him at the barrier, and two of the most renowned,
mesdemoiselles Gradi and Laprairie, had their portraits painted,
to send to the young monarch as soon as he should arrive.

Christian VII entered Paris the latter end of the month of October,
1768. MM. de Duras complimented him in the king's name, and
informed him that they were charged with the office of receiving
his commands during his residence in Paris.  The interview of the
king and the illustrious stranger took place at Versailles.  Christian
VII came thither in the state-carriage, and was conducted by the
duc de Duras into the apartment of the dauphin, where he remained
until Louis XV was prepared to receive him.  I had heard much
discussion about this reception.  It was said, that to make a
distinction between sovereign of a petty state and that of the
superb kingdom of France, it was requisite that the former should
await for some time the audience which the latter accorded.  I am
sure that when the peace with Frederick was agitated, the face of
Louis XV was not more grave and serious than during this puerile
debate about etiquette.

The duc de Choiseul, who had the control of foreign affairs,
was in the apartment to receive his Danish majesty, with his
colleagues, the duc de Praslin, the comte de Saint-Florentin
(whom I have called by anticipation duc de la Vrilliere), M.
Bertin, M. Mainon d'Invau, controller of the finances, and M. de
Jarente, bishop of Orleans and one of the ministry.  He kept
himself somewhat in the background, as tho' from humility.  The
duc de Choiseul came up to him, and said, with a smile,

"Monseigneur, what brings you in contact with a heretic?"

"To watch for the moment of penitence."

"But what will you do if it become necessary to teach him his ?"

M. de Jarente understood the joke, and was the first to jest upon
his own unepiscopal conduct, replying to the duc de Choiseul,

"There is a person present who knows it; he will whisper it to
me, and, if necessary, the  also."

The king of Denmark was congratulated by the duc de Choiseul,
who discharged this duty with as much grace as wit.  Afterwards M.
Desgranges, master of the ceremonies, having announced that
Louis XV was visible, the king of Denmark, preceded by his

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