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of Julie should be raised by rapid promotion to the highest
military rank; at the same time the grand almoner informed me
he had received his majesty's express command to appoint a cousin
of the young lady to the first vacant bishopric.

These various reports threw me into a train of painful and uneasy
reflections.  Louis XV.  had never before bestowed such marks of
favour upon any  of the ."

"What does your majesty say?"  inquired I.

"Nay, let the comte explain," cried Louis XV.

"The king observed, my dear sister," answered comte Jean, "that
ladies--but, in fact, I can neither explain the observation, nor
was it intended for you--so let it rest."

He continued for some time to jest with comte Jean upon his
supposed passion for the fair daughter of the cabinet-maker; and
the king, whilst affecting the utmost indifference, took every
pains to obtain the fullest particulars as to where this peerless
beauty might be found.

When my brother-in-law and myself were alone, he said to me,
"I played my part famously, did I not?  How eagerly the bait
was swallowed!"

"Explain yourself," said I.

"My good sister, what I have said respecting this perfection of 
loveliness is no fiction, neither have I at all exaggerated either
her perfections or her beauty, and I trust by her aid we shall
obliterate from the king's mind every recollection of the syren
of the ."

"Heaven grant it," exclaimed I.

"My dear sister," replied comte Jean, "heaven has nothing to do
with such things."

Alas!  he was mistaken, and Providence only employed the present
occasion as a means of causing us to be precipitated into the very
abyss of ruin we had dug for others.  On the following morning,
Chamilly came to me to inquire whether it was my pleasure that
the present scheme should be carried into execution.

"Yes, yes,' answered I eagerly, "by all means, the more we direct
the inclinations of the king for the present, the better for him
and for us likewise."

Armed with my consent, Chamilly dispatched to the unhappy girl
that , whose skill in such delicate commissions had never
been known to fail.  Not that in the present instance any great
bribes were requisite, but it was necessary to employ some agent
whose specious reasoning and oily tongue should have power to
vanquish the virtuous reluctance of the victim herself, as well
as to obtain a promise of strict silence from her family.  They
were soon induced to listen to their artful temptress; and the
daughter, dazzled by the glittering prospect held out to her, was
induced to accompany  back to Trianon, where the king
was to sup, in company with the ducs d'Aiguillon and de Richelieu,
the prince de Soubise, the ducs de Cosse, de Duras, and de
Noailles, mesdames de Mirepoix, de Forcalquier, de Flaracourt, and
myself; my brother-in-law and Chon were also of the party, although
not among the number of those who sat down to supper.  Their
presence was merely to keep up my spirits, and with a view to
divert me from dwelling on the presumed infidelity of the king.

We had promised ourselves a most delightful evening, and had all
come with the expectation of finding considerable amusement in
watching the countenances and conduct of those who were not aware
of the real state of the game, whilst such as were admitted into
my entire confidence, were sanguine in their hopes and expectations
of employing the simple beauty of the maiden of Versailles to
crush the aspiring views of my haughty rival of the .  This was, indeed, the point at which I aimed, and my
further intention was to request the king to portion off
mademoiselle Julie, so that she might be ever removed from again
crossing my path.

Meanwhile, by way of passing the tedious hours, I went to satisfy
my curiosity respecting those charms of which comte Jean had
spoken so highly.  I found the object of so many conjectures
possessed of an uncommon share of beauty, set off, on the present
occasion, by every aid that a splendid and elaborate toilette
could impart; her features were perfect, her form tall and
symmetrical, her hair was in the richest style of luxuriance; but
by way of drawback to so many advantages, both her hands and
feet were large and coarse.  I had expected to have found her
timid, yet exulting, but she seemed languid and dejected even to
indisposition.  I attributed the lassitude and heaviness which
hung over her to some natural regrets for sacrificing some
youthful passion at the shrine of ambition; but I was far from
guessing the truth .  Had I but suspected the real cause!  but I
 contented myself with a silent scrutiny, and did not (as I
should have done) question her on the subject, but passed on to
the saloon, where the guests were already assembled.  The evening
passed away most delightfully; the marechale de Mirepoix excelled
herself in keeping up a continual flow of lively conversation.
Never had messieurs de Cosse and de Richelieu appeared to equal
advantage.  The king laughed heartily at the many humorous tales
told, and his gaiety was the more excited, from his believing
that I was in utter ignorance of his infidelity.  The champagne
was passed freely round the table, till all was one burst of
hilarious mirth.  A thousand different topics were started, and
dismissed only to give way to fresh subjects more piquant than
the preceding.

The king, in a fit of good humour, began to relate his adventures
with madame de Grammont; but here you must pardon me, my friend,
for so entirely did his majesty give the reins to his inclination
for a plain style of language, that, although excess of prudery
formed no part of the character of any of the ladies assembled,
we were compelled to sit with our eyes fixed upon our plate or
glass, not daring to meet the glance of those near us.  I have
little doubt but that Louis XV indulged himself to this extent
by a kind of mental vow to settle the affair with his confessor
at the earliest opportunity.

We were still at table when the clock struck two hours past midnight.

"Bless me!  so late?"  inquired the king.

"Indeed, sire," replied the marechale de Mirepoix, "your agreeable
society drives all recollection of time away."

"Then 'tis but fit I should furnish you all with memory enough
to recollect what is necessary for your own health.  Come, my
friends, morning will soon call us to our different cares, so
away to your pillows."

So saying, the king bade us a friendly farewell, and retired
with the ducs de Duras and de Noailles.  We remained after his
majesty, and retiring into the great saloon, threw ourselves
without any ceremony upon the different couches and ottomans.

"For my own part," said the prince de Soubise, "I shall not think
of separating from so agreeable a party till daylight warns
me hence."

"The first beams of morn will soon shine through these windows,"
 replied M. d'Aiguillon.

"We can already perceive the brightest rays of Aurora reflected
in the sparkling eyes around us," exclaimed M. de Cosse.

"A truce with your gallantry, gentlemen," replied madame de
Mirepoix, "at my age I can only believe myself capable of reflecting
the last rays of the setting sun."

"Hush!"  interrupted madame de Forcalquier, "you forget we are
at Versailles, where age is never thought of, but where, like our

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