List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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those due to her birth.  Madame Adelaide was gifted with good
sense, affability of manners, and a kind and compassionating
heart towards all who needed her aid; her disposition was good,
but she loved dominion, and the least show of resistance to her
wishes was painful and offensive to her.  She was determined to
uphold the duc de Choiseul; and my decided manner towards that
minister plainly evinced how little I should feel inclined to
support her view of things.  There were therefore several reasons
for my presence at court being unpleasant to madame Adelaide.

Against her therefore did the duc de la Vauguyon direct his
batteries.  She received his attack with the most determined
obstinacy; all was in vain, she was unconquerable, and the most
skilfully devised plans were insufficient to surmount her resistance;
it was therefore necessary to have recourse to the clergy, who
were at that time completely led by the Jesuits; each member of
the church, up to the archbishop of Paris, was called upon to
interfere, or their names were employed in default of their
presence.  It was pointed out to madame Adelaide that I possessed
good intentions with feelings of religion, which, however stifled
by the freedom of the age, only required careful management to
produce a rich development.  The success of this last mode of
attack astonished the duke himself; and madam, dazzled by the
hopes of my conversion, as well as weary of hostilities, yielded
her consent to my being presented.  After these private negotiations
the four sisters met at the house of the elder one; and there they
decided that since the king had so expressly manifested his
pleasure relative to my presentation, they should conform to the
desire of their father, by receiving me with every possible mark
of courtesy.

The duc de la Vauguyon hastened to communicate to me this happy
state of things; and my joy was so great, that I embraced him
with the sincerest warmth, assuring him that I should always look
upon him as my best friend, and seek to testify my regard at every
opportunity that fell in my way of forwarding his interests.

Some days afterwards the king brought me a splendid ring, worth
thirty-six thousand livres.

"You must send this jewel to your good friend the duke," said he.

"I dare not," replied I.  "I fear lest it should draw forth
his displeasure."

"No, no," cried the king, "'tis not the fashion at court to construe
gifts like this into insults, but I should wish this trifle to be
presented in an indirect manner" ; and, after having considered a
moment, "I have it," exclaimed he, "I have thought of a clever
expedient; let us put this ring upon the finger of that Chinese
mandarin before us, and give the figure with the ring, considering
it merely an appendage to it.  Assuredly the most disinterested
man cannot refuse to accept a china figure."

I extolled the king's idea as being a most happy one; and he
immediately fitted the ring upon the little finger of the mandarin,
which I caused to be carried to the duc de la Vauguyon with the
following billet:--

"MONSIEUR LE DUC,--You have been my best friend;
'tis to your kind offices that I owe the confirmation
of my happiness; but I would secure the continuance
of your valuable friendship, and for that purpose I
send you a little magical figure, which, placed in
your cabinet, will compel your thoughts to occupy
themselves with me in spite of yourself.  I am
superstitious enough to rely greatly upon the
talismanic virtue of the charmed porcelain; and further,
I must tell you, that I was not its purchaser in the
first instance, neither did I adorn it for your
acceptance.  I should not have ventured to offer more
than the assurance of my everlasting esteem and regard
for your acceptance.  The trifle sent comes from a
higher source; and the august hand so dear to both of
us, deigned to preside over the arrangement.  Should
there be in it anything at all repugnant to your
feelings, I beseech you bear me no ill will for it;
for truly, I may say, I should never have summoned
courage to do that which has just been done by him
whom all unite in loving and esteeming."

The duke replied,-

"Your talisman is welcome; yet its magic power, far
from augmenting the warmth of my feelings towards
you, would have diminished it on account of a certain
accessory with which my friendship could have well
dispensed: however, what you say on the subject closes
my lips.  I gratefully acknowledge the daily favors
bestowed upon me from the august hand of whom you
speak; and I receive with the deepest respect (mingled
with regret) the gracious present he deigns to convey
to me by you.  I own that I should have preferred,
to the splendid jewel which bedecked the finger of
your deity, a Chinese counterpart, which might indeed
have enabled all admiring gazers to say, 'these two
are truly a pair.' As for yourself, who would fain
pass for nobody in the munificent gift, I thank you at
least for the flattering place you assign me in your
recollection.  Be assured I feel its full value, and
you may confidently reckon upon the disposal of my
poor credit as well as command the little influence I
may be said to possess in the castle.  Adieu, madame,
I entreat your acceptance of the expression of my
most sincere and respectful devotion."

The king, having read M. de la Vauguyon's letter, sent immediately
to the china manufactory to purchase the fellow mandarin so much
coveted by the duke, and caused it to be conveyed to him with the
following words:--

"MY DEAR GOVERNOR--You are a kind-hearted creature
I know, and a great promoter of domestic harmony; to
fain unite the wife with the husband.  Heaven grant
that such a measure may indeed bring about your
proposed felicity!  However, by way of furthering your
schemes, I send the Chinese lady, whose beauty I trust
will not disturb your repose, for in spite of your
sanctity, I know you can be as gallant as the rest of
us, and possibly this beautiful mandarin may prove to
be more lovely in your eyes, than in those of the
husband for whom she is destined; but, in sober
earnestness, I would wish you to be convinced that
my intention is not to attempt payment for the
services rendered me, but simply to evince my sense of
their value.  There is one beside me at this moment
who has given me a kiss to transmit to you--You will
easily guess who has had the audacity to enlist me
into her service upon such an occasion."

This was one of the recompenses offered to the duc de la Vauguyon,
as a compensation for the public clamor and dislike which sprung
up against him in consequence of his zeal for my service.  At
Versailles, the general ferment was at its height, when it became
generally known that I had triumphed over all obstacles, and that
my presentation was certainly to take place.  In the midst of all
this the desperate odium fell upon the duc de la Vauguyon, and
a general attack was made upon him: his virtues, reputation,
talents, qualities, were made the subject of blame and scandal--
in a word, he was run down by public opinion.  But the leaders
of the cabal were not the less struck by the news of my success,
which sounded in their ears like the falling of a thunder-bolt.

The silly princess de Guemenee, who, with her husband, has since
become a bankrupt to so enormous and scandalous an amount, flew
without delay to convey the tidings of my victory to the duchesse
de Grammont, to whom it was a death-blow.  All her courage forsook
her; she shed bitter tears, and displayed a weakness so much the
more ridiculous, as it seemed to arise from the utmost despair.
She repaired to madame Adelaide, before whom she conducted herself
in the most absurd and extravagant manner.  The poor princess,
intimidated by the weakness she herself evinced, in drawing back
after she had in a manner espoused the opposite party, durst not
irritate her, but, on the contrary, strove to justify her own
change of conduct towards me, by urging the impossibility of
refusing obedience to the express command of the king.

The other princesses did not evince greater firmness when overwhelmed
by the complaints of the cabal, and in a manner bent their knee
before the wives of the French nobility, asking their pardon for
their father's error in selecting a mistress from any rank but
theirs.  About this period a song, which I admired greatly, was
circulated abroad.  My enemies interpreted it to my disadvantage,
but I was far from being of the same opinion.  It was successively
attributed to the most clever men in Paris, and I have myself met
with four who each asserted himself to be the author; in justice
it should be ascribed to him who appeared the most calculated
to have written it, and who indeed claimed it for his own--the
chevalier de Boufflers.  I do not know whether you recollect the
lines in question.  I will transcribe them from memory, adding
another couplet, which was only known amongst our own particular
circle, but which proves most incontestably the spirit of kindness
with which the stanzas were composed.

Lise, ta beaute seduit,
  Et charme tout le monde.
En vain la duchesse en rougit,
  Et la princesse en gronde,
Chacun sait que Venus naquit
  De l'ecume de l'onde.

En rit-elle moins tous les dieux.
  Lui rendre un juste hommage!
Et Paris, le berger fameux,
  Lui donner l'avantage
Meme sur la reine des cieux
  Et Minerve la sage?

Dans le serail du grand seigneur.
  Quelle est la favorite?
C'est la plus belle au gre de coeur
  Du maitre qui l'habite.
C'est le seul titre en sa faveur
Et c'est le vrai merite.

Que Grammont tonne contre toi,
  La chose est naturelle.
Elle voudrait donner la loi
  Et n'est qu' une mortelle;
Il faut, pour plaire au plus grand roi,
  Sans orgueil etre belle.*

*From those readers who may understand this chanson
in the original, and look somewhat contemptuously on
the following version, the translator begs to shelter
himself under the well-known observation of Lord
Chesterfield, "that everything suffers by translation,
but a bishop!"  Those to whom such a dilution is

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