List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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"Madam," she said, addressing herself to me, "I trust you will
pardon me for having given you the trouble of coming hither; I
might have spared it you, had your people permitted me to see
you when I called at your house yesterday."

"Your invitation," replied I, "was so pressingly enforced, that I
confess my curiosity has been most keenly awakened."

"I will immediately satisfy it," answered she, " but what I have
to say must be told to yourself alone."

"Well, then," said the marechale, "I will leave you for the
present: I am going to admire that fine group of Girardon"; and
so saying, she quitted the walk in which I was standing.

Directly she was gone the stranger said to me, "Madam, I will
explain myself without reserve or unnecessary prolixity; I beseech
of you to listen attentively whilst I tell you, in the first place,
that both your life and that of the king is in imminent danger."

"Heavens!"  cried I, " what do I hear?"

"That which I well know to be true," answered the female, with
a  firm voice; "I repeat that your life and that of the king is
in danger."

These words, pronounced in a low, solemn voice, froze me with
terror; my limbs tottered under me, and I almost sank to the
ground.  The stranger assisted me to a bench, offered me her arm,
and when she saw me a little recovered, she continued,

"Yes, madam, a conspiracy is afoot against yourself and Louis XV.
You are to be made away with out of revenge, and Louis XV is to
suffer, in the hopes of his death effecting a change in the
present face of affairs."

"And who," inquired I, "are the conspirators?"

'The Jesuits and parliamentarians; these ancient rivals, equally
persecuted by the royal government, have determined to make
common cause against their mutual foe.  The Jesuits flatter
themselves that the dauphin inherits the kind feelings entertained
by his father for their order, and the parliamentarians justly
reckon upon the friendly disposition of the young prince towards
the old magistracy.  Both parties equally flatter themselves that
a fresh reign would bring about their re-establishment, and they
are impatient to accelerate so desirable an event: the conspiracy
is directed by four Jesuits and the same number of the ex-members
of the parliament of Paris.  The remainder of the two corporations
are not initiated in the secret of the enterprise.  I am not able
at present to give you the names of the eight conspirators, the
person from whom I derive my information not having as yet
confided them even to myself, but I trust ere long to obtain such
 a mark of confidence."

The female ceased speaking, and I remained in a state of doubt,
fear, and alarm, impossible to describe.  Still one thing appeared
clear to me, that information so mysteriously conveyed was not
deserving of belief, unless supported by more corroborating
testimony.  My unknown friend evidently divined all that was
passing in my mind, for she observed,

"I perceive that my recital appears to you improbable; one
particular which I will state may perhaps overcome your 
incredulity.  Are you not in the habit, madam, of taking every
evening  mixed with a large proportion of orange-
flower water?"

"I am," replied I.

"This day," continued my informant, "you will receive four bottles
of orange-flower water contained in a box bearing the usual
appearances of having come from the perfumers', but it is sent
by other hands, and the liquor contained in the flasks is mingled
with a deadly poison."

These last words made me tremble.  "You must complete your kind
offices," cried I to my visitor, "by bringing me acquainted with
the person from whom you have derived your intelligence: that
individual must be acquainted with the whole of the plot; and,
believe me, I will not be unmindful of either of you."

"Stay one instant," replied the lady, without evincing the slightest
emotion; "the man who was my informant is assuredly aware of the
names of those concerned in the conspiracy, but he has charged
me not to state who he is but upon certain conditions; a
recommendation I shall most certainly attend to."

"Be assured," interrupted I, "that your demands shall be acceded
to; you shall yourself fix the price of your entire disclosure of
every fact connected with the business."

"It will not be an exorbitant one," replied the lady; "merely
600,000 francs, to be equally divided between the friend you
desire to know and myself; for this sum, which is not a very
large one, you may command the services of both of us.  One word
more, madam, and I am gone.  Observe a strict silence upon all I
have told you; or, if you must have a counsellor in such perilous
circumstances, confide merely in some tried friend; say the duc
d'Aiguillon or the chancellor, or both should you deem it necessary;
but have a care how you admit a third to a participation of the
affair; you could scarcely select another person without choosing
one already corrupted by your enemies.  It is said that they are
in correspondence with even those persons immediately about the
person of the king.  Adieu, madam; I will see you at your own
apartments the day after to-morrow, when I trust you will have
ready 100,000 francs, on account of the 600,000 I have stipulated for."

So saying, she curtsied and left me, overcome with surprise.  A
thousand fearful ideas pressed upon my brain, and my heart sickened
at the long train of gloomy images which presented themselves.  I
had had sufficient proofs since my elevation of the deadly hatred
borne me by those whom my good fortune had rendered my enemies:
yet, hitherto, my strongest apprehensions had never been directed
to anything more terrible than being supplanted in the favor of the
king, or being confined in my chateau du Lucienne.  The horrible
ideas of murder, poison, or assassination by any means, had never
presented themselves to me.  All at once I recollected the young
man in the garden of the Tuileries; his predictions of my future
greatness had been accomplished.  He had also announced to me
fearful vicissitudes, and had threatened to appear to me when
these catastrophes were about to occur.  Doubtless he would keep
his word; now was the time for so doing, and I timidly glanced
around as I caught the sound of a slight rustle among the branches,
fully expecting to see my young prophet; but the figure which met
my eye was that of madame de Mirepoix, who, tired of waiting,
had come to rejoin me.

'What!  "said she, "are you alone?  I did not observe your visitor
leave you.  Did she vanish into air?"

"Very possibly," answered I.

"So then," replied the marechale, "she proved a fairy, or some
beneficent , after all?"

"If she were a spirit," said I, "it certainly was not to the better
sort she belonged."

"Have a care," cried the marechale; "I have already formed a
thousand conjectures as to what this woman has been telling."

"And all your suppositions," replied I, "would fall short of the
reality.  Listen, my dear marechale," added I, rising, and taking
her arm to proceed homewards, "I have been strictly prohibited
from admitting any counsellor but the duc d'Aiguillon and the
chancellor; still I can have no reserves with you, who I know, 
from the regard you bear both to the king and myself, will advise
me to the best of your power."

As we walked towards the chateau, I explained to my companion
the joint conspiracy of the Jesuits and ancient members of the
parliament against the king's life and my own.  When I had ceased
speaking, she replied,

"All this is very possible; despair may conduct the Jesuits and
parliamentarians to the greatest extremities; but still this
mysterious female may be nothing more than an impostor.  At any
rate, I am anxious to learn whether the box she described has been
left at your house; if so, it will be a strong corroboration, if
not, a convincing proof of the falsehood of what she asserts."

We had by this time reached the bottom of the staircase which
conducted to my apartments; we ascended the stairs rapidly, and
the first person I met in the anteroom was Henriette.

"Henriette," said I, "has any thing been brought for me during
my absence?"

"Nothing except a box of orange-flower water from Michel the
perfumer's, which I presume you ordered, madam."

A glance of mutual surprise and consternation passed between the
marechale and myself.  We entered my chamber, where madame de
Mirepoix opened the fatal box; it contained the four bottles
exactly as had been described.  We regarded each other in profound
silence, not daring to communicate our reflections.  However, it
was requisite to take some steps, and, catching up a pen, I hastily
wrote the following billet to the duc d'Aiguillon,

"MONSIEUR LE DUC,-- Whatever may be the affairs
with which you are at present occupied, I pray of
you to throw them aside, and hasten to me instantly
upon receipt of this.  Nothing can equal in importance
the subject upon which I wish to see you; I cannot
now explain myself fully, but prepare for news of
the most horrible description, and it refers to the
safety and preservation of the most valuable life
in the kingdom.  I cannot delay time by writing
more; I can only beseech of you not to lose one
moment in obeying this summons.  Adieu; fail not
to come and bring me back this note."

The duke hastened to me full of terror and alarm.

"Your letter has really frightened me," said he; "what can be the
matter?  Surely the life of his majesty is not in danger?"

"Too truly is it," answered I; "but sit down, and you shall know
all the affair.  The marechale is already aware of the matter
and need not withdraw."

The duke listened with extreme attention to the recital of my
interview in the grove surrounding the Baths of Apollo, as well
as to the account of the discourse I had held there with the
strange female.  I endeavoured to relate the conversation as
minutely and accurately as possible, but still the duke sought
further particulars.  He inquired the style of countenance, dress,
manner, and tone of voice possessed by the .  One

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