List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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accompanied with a bouquet of flowers tied round with a string
of diamonds.  A short letter was annexed to this splendid gift,
which I would transcribe here, had it not been taken from me
with many others.  My reply, which I wrote upon the spur of the
moment, was concise, and, as I preserved the rough copy, under
the impression of its being one day useful, I can give the reader
the exact words.

"The billet traced by your noble hands, renders me
the happiest of women.  My joy is beyond description.
Thanks, monsieur le Baron, for your charming flowers.
Alas!  they will be faded and withered by to-morrow,
but not so fleeting and short-lived are the sentiments
with which you have inspired me.  Believe me, the
desire you express to see me again is entirely mutual;
and in the impatience with which you await our next
interview, I read but my own sentiments.  The ardor
with which you long to embrace me, is fully equalled
by the affection which leads me to desire no gratification
greater than that of passing my whole life in your
society.  Adieu, monsieur le baron; you have forbidden
my addressing you as your rank and my respect would
have me, I will therefore content myself with assuring
you of the ardent affection of the

 			"COMTESSE Du Barry."

The signature I adopted was a bold piece of falsehood, but it
was too late to recede; besides, I was addressing myself in my
letter, not to the king, but to the baron de Gonesse; for Louis,
by I know not what unaccountable caprice, seemed to wish to
preserve his incognito.  I have since learned that Francis I
assumed the same name, altho' upon a very different occasion.
Replying to a letter from Charles V, in which that emperor had
given himself a long string of high sounding titles, he contented
himself with simply signing his letter, "<"François, baron de
Gonesse.>" Louis XV was very fond of borrowed appellations.
Unlike the vanity so common to mankind, of seeking to set off
their pretensions by assumed titles, it is the pleasure of royalty
to descend to a lower grade in society when concealment becomes
desirable, either from policy or pleasure; and Louis sought in the
familiarity in which a plain baron might safely indulge, a relief
from the ennui attendant upon the rigid etiquette of a regal
state.  I had omitted in my letter to the baron, to remind him
that we were to meet that very evening, but that did not prevent
my repairing to Versailles punctually at the appointed hour.  I
was conducted into the same apartment as before, where I found
the same females who had then assisted at my toilet* again prepared
to lend their aid; and from this moment I had a regular
establishment of attendants appointed for my use.

*A word of which the meaning has greatly changed over
the last two centuries.  Here it means putting on her
clothing, makeup, jewelry, and so forth.  Through most

The moment the king was informed of my arrival, unable to restrain
his impatience, he hastened to me to assist at my dressing table,
and he continued standing beside me so long as the operation
lasted; I felt greatly embarrassed, not knowing whether I durst
take the liberty of requesting him to be seated.  However, my
silence on the subject was greatly admired, and ascribed to my
perfect acquaintance with polished life, when in reality it
originated from mere timidity.  My triumph was complete; the
monarch smiled at and admired every word as it fell from my lips,
kissed my hands, and played with the curls of my long hair,
sportively twisting his fingers amidst my flowing ringlets with
all the vivacity of a lover of twenty.  The company upon this
evening was different from that of the former occasion, consisting
of the duc de Duras, first gentleman of the bedchamber, and the
duc d'Ayen, who had the reputation of being a great wit; however,
in my opinion, he was much more deserving the character of a real
fiend; his very breath was poisonous, and his touch venomous as
the bite of an adder.  I well remember what M. de Fleury said of
him to the king in my presence.  "Sire," said he, "the thing I
most dread in the world next to a bite from M. d'Ayen, is the
bite of a mad dog."  For my own part, I did not in the end look
upon him with less terror, and well he paid me for my fears.
Upon one occasion, when the king was speaking of me to him, he
said, "I am well aware that I succeed St. Foix."

"Yes, sire"; replied the duke, "in the same manner as your majesty
succeeds Pharamond!"

I never forgave him those words, dictated by a fiendish malice.
However, upon the evening of my first introduction to him, he
behaved to me with the most marked politeness.  I was then an
object of no consequence to his interests, and his vision had not
yet revealed to him the height I was destined to attain.  He looked
upon me but as one of those meteors which sparkled and shone in
the castle at Versailles for twenty-four hours, and sank to rise
no more.

The duc de Duras was not an ill-disposed person, but inconceivably
stupid; indeed, wit was by no means a family inheritance.  Both
father and son, good sort of people in other respects, were for
ever saying or doing some good thing in support of their reputation
for stupidity at court.  One day the king quite jokingly inquired
of the duc de Duras, what was done with the old moons.  "Upon
my word, sire," replied he," I can give you no idea, never having
seen, but with your majesty's permission, I will endeavor to learn
from M. de Cassini*!"  To such a pitch did the poor man's simplicity
extend.  Both father and son were nominated to attend the king of
Denmark, when on his road to visit France.  The king observed to
a person who repeated it to me: "The French are generally styled
a clever, witty nation; I cannot say I should ever have been able
to discover it, had I been tempted to form my opinion from the
specimen they have sent me."

As far as I am concerned, after saying so many unfavorable things
of the Messrs.  de Duras, I must do them the justice to say, that
their conduct towards me was everything that could be desired.
I was always glad to see them; it gave my own imagination a sort
of sedative dose to converse with these two simple-minded beings,
whose interests I was always ready to promote by every means in
my power, and I trust the memory of what I have done will be
long remembered by the noble house of Duras.

This supper did not pass off so gaily as the former one.  The duc
de Duras spoke as little as possible, in the dread of making some
unlucky speech, and the duc d'Ayen sat devouring the spleen he
could not give vent to, and meditating fresh objects upon whom
to exercise his malignity; he vainly endeavored to lead me on to
make some ridiculous observation, but without success; happily
for him, the king did not perceive his aim.  My royal lover was
indeed so entirely engrossed by me, that he lost all the duke's
manoeuvres; his transports appeared too much for his senses to
sustain, and he vowed that I should never quit him more, but
remain to be elevated by his power to the first place at court.
At the monarch's sign, the two guests withdrew.

When the duc d'Ayen quitted the room, 'That nobleman is by no
means to my taste," said I to the king, "he has the air of a spy,
who wishes me no good."

"Do you really think so, my lovely comtesse?"

"I am certain of it; and I already shudder at the bare anticipation
of an enemy having access to your majesty's ear."

"Reassure yourself," said the king, with the utmost tenderness,
"in me you have a sure defender, who will never forsake you; look
upon me from this minute as your natural protector, and woe to
him on whose head your displeasure shall fall."

After this conversation the king and myself retired to rest, and
when he quitted me in the morning, he entreated me not to return
to Paris, but to give him my company for a whole week.  Lebel
made his appearance to beg I would consider myself mistress of
the apartments I occupied, and that he had received orders to
provide me with an establishment upon the most handsome scale.

That very day Henriette, whom I had sent for, and instituted as
my head waiting-woman, informed me, that an old gentleman, attired
as tho' for a grand gala, but who refused to send in his name,
begged to be permitted to pay his respects.  I bade her admit
him; it was the duc de Richelieu.

"Madame la comtesse," said he, bowing low, "I come to complain
of your want of condescension; unless, indeed, your memory has
been at fault.  Was it possible that when I had the honor of
supping with you the other night, you did not recollect your
former old friend?"

"If, indeed, my forgetfulness were a fault, monsieur le marechal,
it was one in which you bore an equal share; you were not more
forward than myself in displaying marks of recognition."

"That arose only from the dazzling increase of your beauty.
You were but a nymph when last my eyes had beheld you, and now
you are matured into a goddess."

The duke then made some slight allusion to the family of madame
Lagarde, but guessing with his admirable tact, that such
reminiscences could not be particularly agreeable to me, he
dexterously turned the conversation, by requesting permission to
present to me his nephew, the duc d'Aiguillon, that he might leave
a worthy substitute and champion near the king when state affairs
called him into Gascony; he craved my kind offices to obtain the
intimate acquaintance of comte Jean.  They were subsequently at
daggers drawn with each other, but this haughty overbearing lord
conducted himself at first with the most abject servility.  The
third favor he had to solicit was that I would name him to the
king as frequently as opportunities occurred to form one of our
supper parties.  All this I engaged to do, nor indeed could I
refuse after the violent protestations of friendship he made me.

"You will, ere long," said he, "see the whole court at your feet,
but beware of considering them all as your friends; have a care,
above all, of the duchesse de Grammont.  She has been long

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