List Of Contents | Contents of Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
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endeavoring to obtain the king's affections, and she will see
with hatred and fury another more worthy engrossing the place
she has so vainly contended for; she and her impertinent brother
will call in the aid of the devil himself to dispossess you of your
elevated seat; you are lost if you do not twist both their necks."

"How, monsieur le marechal, shall I mark my career by a murder?"

"You take me too literally; I only mean that in your place I
would not be at the trouble of keeping any terms with them."

"Ah, monsieur le duc, I understand you now; yet it seems a bad
augury to have to begin my reign by cabals and intrigues."

"Alas!  my fair comtesse, you are too good, too guileless for a
court life; between ourselves we are all hypocrites more or less;
mistrust every one, even those make the finest protestations."

"In that case the first object of my suspicion would be my old
and esteemed friend the marechal de Richelieu."

"Ah, madame!  this is not fair usage, thus to turn my weapons
against myself, and to fight me with my own arms."

Upon this the duke quitted me, and scarcely had he left the room,
when the duc la Vauguyon entered.  This gentleman offered me no
advice; he contented himself by styling the Jesuits his "very good
friends," and continually turning the conversation upon their
merits.  I allowed him to express his attachment, without
interruption, for these disagreeable men, whom I determined
in my own mind to have nothing to do with, recollecting all I had
heard of their dislike to our sex.  After an hour passed in amusing
talk, the duc de la Vauguyon retired, well pleased with his visit,
and his place was immediately supplied by comte Jean, to whom I
communicated all that had passed between my late visitors and myself.

"For heaven's sake," said he, "let us not be the dupes of these
great lords; before we range ourselves under the banners of either
of them let us secure our own footing; let us wait till you
are presented."

"But, my good friend, I must be a married lady to obtain that honor."

"And so you will be shortly, do not be uneasy about that.  I
have written to my brother William to set out without delay for
Paris.  Your swain will be easily induced to marry you.  What
do you think of that?"

I gave comte Jean to comprehend, by signs, that I left my destiny
in his hands, and he kissed my hands and withdrew.  The king
managed to steal a few minutes to converse with me.

"You did not intrust me, my sweet friend," said he, "with the
circumstance of your having formerly known the duc de Richelieu;
less reserved on the subject than you were, he told me he had seen
you at the house of madame Lagarde, who considered you one of
her dearest friends."

"Sire," replied I, "I was too much occupied with your majesty,
to think of any other person in the world."

My answer delighted him, he looked at me in the most
gracious manner.

"You would almost persuade me that you love me," said he, smiling.

"Indeed, your majesty," said I, "I only pray that you desire the
continuance of my affection."

"In that case," replied he, kissing my hand with fervor, "you do
but partake of my tenderness for you."

These words flattered my vanity, and here I must declare that if
I never felt for the king that violent attachment which is termed
love, I ever entertained for him the warmest esteem.  He was so
attentive, so kind to me, that I must have been a monster of
ingratitude could I have looked upon him with indifference.

Our supper on this night was again lively as the first had been.
The duc de Richelieu entertained us with several amusing anecdotes;
not that they contained any thing very piquant, but the duke
related them well, and we were all in the humor to be pleased,
and laughed heartily at what he said.  Comte Jean, whose eye
constantly followed me, appeared perfectly satisfied with all I
said or did.  As for the king, he seemed enchanted with me, and
seemed wholly occupied in watching my looks, that he might
anticipate my wants.  After supper, in the < tete-a-tete > which
followed, he explained himself in terms which left me no doubt
how securely my empire over him was established.  Had he been
less explicit on the subject, the flattering marks of favor, and
the adulatory compliments I received from all on the following
day, would well have assured me of it.  I was no longer an obscure
and friendless individual, but the beloved mistress of the king;
I was, to use the expression of Lebel, a new sun which had arisen
to illumine horizon of Versailles.  I could no longer doubt my
power when I saw noble personages present themselves to solicit
the most servile employments about my person.  Amongst others, I
might instance a certain lady de St. Benoit, who continued first
lady of my chamber, during the whole time of my regency;--my
justly-valued Henriette being contented to take the second place
of honor.


The duc d'Aiguillon--The duc de Fronsac--The duchesse de
Grammont--The meeting--Sharp words on both sides--The duc de
Choiseul--Mesdames d'Aiguillon--Letter from the duc d'Aiguillon--
Reply of madame du Barry--Mademoiselle Guimard--The prince de
Soubise--Explanation--The Rohans--Madame de Marsan--Court friendships

The duc de Richelieu, who was in haste to go to Guienne, lost no
time in presenting to me the duc d'Aiguillon.  He was not young,
but handsome and well made, with much amiability and great
courage.  A sincere friend, no consideration could weaken his
regard; an adversary to be dreaded, no obstacle could repress his
boldness.  His enemies--and amongst them he included the whole
magistracy--his enemies, I say, have used him shamefully, but he
treated them too ill for them to be believed in any thing they say
of him.  If he were ambitious, he had the excuse of superior merit,
and if he showed himself too severe in one particular, it proceeded
from an energy of mind which did not allow him to have more
pity for others than they had for him.  Do not, my friend, think
that the attachment I had for him can transport me beyond just
limits.  Since he is in his grave, my illusions, if I had any, have
dissipated.  I only give to my deceased friends the tribute due
to them--truth and tears.  But really, without thinking of it, I
am attributing to myself these virtues without necessity, forgetting
that you are not one of those who would fain render me as black
as possible in the eyes of posterity.

In proportion as the first sight of the uncle had prejudiced me
against him, so much more did it propitiate me towards the nephew.
I saw in him a generous heart, and a genius capable of lofty actions
which you would vainly have sought for in the marechal de Richelieu.
No doubt at the beginning of our  the duc d'Aiguillon
only saw in me a woman who could be useful to his projects and
plans; but soon his heart joined the alliance, and a devotion of
calculation was succeeded by a vehement passion, of which I was
justly proud, as it subdued to my chains the most accomplished
of courtiers.

Our first interview was lively.  The marechal and he supported
the conversation with much gaiety.  M. de Richelieu, as I have
already told you, had neither wit nor information, but possessed
that ease of the first circles, those manners of high breeding,
those courtly graces, which often surpass wit and information.

"My nephew," said he to the duke, "madame can do much for us,
but we must first do something for her.  Without support, without
friends, she will be lost at Versailles; let us be her partisans
if she will allow it, and let her youth have the benefit of
our experience."

The tone in which the duc d'Aiguillon replied delighted me.  He
said he was but too happy to serve me, and begged me to rely on
him as I would on myself.

"But," he continued, "but we have to struggle with a powerful
party.  The duchesse de Grammont and her brother are not the
persons to give up the field without striking a blow.  But, madame,
by the assistance of your happy and lovely star, I will enter the
lists with pleasure, and if a glance of your eyes will recompense
a conqueror, I shall be he."

"Oh," exclaimed the duke, "my nephew's a second Amadis in
gallantry, and of undaunted courage.  You will be satisfied
with him, madame, much more than with my son, who only
resembles the family in his defects."

The duc de Fronsac was justly hated by his father; he was what is
called a decided scamp, without one redeeming point or virtue.
Dissipated without agreeableness, a courtier without address, a
soldier without courage, he thoroughly deserved his bad reputation.
He was not hated, because hatred implies a species of honor, but he
was universally despised.  His father hated him; he hated his father.
The reciprocity was edifying.  I have often seen the duc de Fronsac,
and always with disgust.  He had incurred the extremity of
punishment; when trying to carry off a butcher's daughter, he
rendered himself guilty of the triple crimes of arson, rape, and
robbery.  This was the most splendid deed of his life, at least his
father said so, the only one in which he had shown--guess what
for, my friend, I will not pen the cynical word made use of by his
father.  It must be confessed that we sometimes kept very bad
company at Versailles.  The king, who abhorred degrading actions,
did not like the duc de Fronsac, but was full of kindly feeling
towards the duc d'Aiguillon.  The latter experienced the extent
of his favor in his long and obstinate struggle with the parliament
of Bretagne.  It must be owned, that if he gained the victory at
court, he decidedly lost it in the city, and I was publicly
insulted on this account in the most brutal manner.  However,
the friendship which his first interview inspired me with, I have
always preserved unaltered.

The week glided away, and each day my fortune seemed more fully
assured.  The love of the king increased, he heaped presents on
me perpetually, and seemed to think he never could do enough for
me.  The bounties of Louis XV were known, and instantly aroused

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