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such negotiations, and that, as the countess had been
satisfied with the manner in which she had been re-
ceived at Compiegne, they were clearly superfluous.
Nevertheless, the moment he quitted the apartments
of the favourite he did not fail to hasten to Marie
Antoinette, to prepare the princess for the ordeal be-
fore her.

Now, it happened that, a few days earlier, the Dau-
phiness had complained bitterly to Mercy of what she
considered a piece of intolerable impertinence on the
part of Madame du Barry. The favourite, it appear-
ed, had seized upon a piece of the chateau garden run-
ning level with the apartments of Mesdames, and
caused a new pavilion to be built there, the windows of
which commanded a part of the grounds reserved as
a private promenade for the Royal Family. The con-
sequence was that the flame of the princess's dislike to
the mistress was at this particular moment burning
with exceptional vigour, and the Ambassador observ-
ed with trepidation "a sort of indecision" in the tone
in which she assured him that all would be well.

He, accordingly, determined to be present at the
reception of the favourite, and to put in an early
appearance in order to speak a word in season before
the crucial moment arrived; and when the Dauphin-



220 MADAME DU BARRY

ess returned from Mass the following morning, she
found her mentor awaiting her. ' I have been praying
earnestly," said she. "I prayed, 'Oh, God! if thou
wishest me to speak, make me speak. I will act as
Thou deignest to inspire me/

" I replied to Madame 1'Archiduchesse," writes
Mercy, " that the voice of her august mother was the
only one capable of interpreting the will of God as
regarded her conduct, and that, therefore, she was
already inspired about what to do for the best."

Madame du Barry duly arrived, supported by the
Duchesse d'Aiguillon. Marie Antoinette spoke first to
the duchess, as etiquette prescribed ; then looked in the
direction of the countess and observed that ' the
weather had been so bad that she had been unable to
go out that day."

" This remark," says Mercy, " was not addressed
very directly to any one, and either owing to> the tone
of voice, or the manner which accompanied it, the re-
ception was not one of the best. Happily, M. le Dauphin
was present, and I attributed to this circumstance
Madame 1'Archiduchesse's air of coldness and embar-
rassment. I repeated to the favourite what I had told
her the previous evening, that chance and various in-
cidents determined, to a greater or less extent, her re-
ception; and, finally, I succeeded in persuading her
that in reality she had been well received. She con-
fessed to me that she believed that she had remarked a
kindly intention on the part of Madame la Dauphine,
and that, in fact, she imagined that the presence of M.
le Dauphine had been the obstacle to a more favourable
demonstration. In short, up to the present, this occa-
sion has passed off without comments or discontent,
and that is a great deal more than the actual facts per-
mitted me to hope for."

10 Mercy to Maria Theresa, November 14, 1772.



MADAME DU BARRY 221

For the following New Year's Day, Mercy sum-
moned to his aid all the resources of his diplomacy to
ensure a favourable reception for Madame du Barry.
Not only did he extract a solemn promise from Marie
Antoinette to speak directly to the lady, but he per-
suaded her to exhort the Dauphin, " who never spoke
to any one," to do likewise.

The first part of the programme exceeded the Am-
bassador's fondest expectations. The Dauphin receiv-
ed the favourite most graciously, bowed, smiled, and
mumbled something which was understood to be a
compliment, to the amazement of the courtiers and the
unconcealed delight of the recipient. But alas ! her joy
and the satisfaction of Mercy were but short-lived for
the Dauphiness, evidently thinking that she had done
her duty by persuading her husband to civility, de-
clined to even open her lips, and included in this frigid
reception the favourite's friends, the Duchesse d'Ai-
guillon and the Marechale de Mirepoix.

All Mercy's work seemed again undone ; but he rose
to the occasion like a man, and argued that Marie An-
toinette, in inducing the Dauphin, who feared women
as he feared the small-pox, not only to smile upon,
but even to speak to Madame du Barry, she had in
reality done far more than if she had reserved her
efforts for her own reception. His task was rendered
the more difficult inasmuch as the favourite's chief
adviser, Mademoiselle "Chon" du Barry, had already
persuaded her sister-in-law that she had grave cause
for complaint against the Dauphiness. However,
eventually his diplomacy prevailed, and he left the lady
under the impression that she had been rather well
treated than otherwise. 11

The visit of the Court to Compiegne in the following
u Mercy to Maria Theresa, January 16, 1773.



222 MADAME DU BARRY

July was made the occasion of a very pretty little in-
trigue. Madame Adelaide, although she governed her
sisters, was, in her turn, governed by her dame
d'atours, the Comtesse de Narbonne, between whom
and d'Aiguillon the bitterest enmity had hitherto ex-
isted. D'Aiguillon, however, in the hope of strength-
ening his own position by reconciling Madame du
Barry with the Royal Family, succeeded in persuading
the countess that it might be to their common advantage
to make peace and enter into an alliance. The countess
consented, and a treaty was concluded, the terms of
which were as follows: Madame de Narbonne's son
was to receive the mayoralty of Bordeaux, and she
herself was to be given an interest in the approaching
renewal of certain monopolies. In return for these
advantages, Madame de Narbonne was to secure better
treatment of the favourite by Madame Adelaide, and
induce that princess to use her influence with the Dau-
phin, the Dauphiness, and the rest of the Royal Family
to persuade them to follow her example.

The first part of the scheme succeeded admirably;
Madame Adelaide was easily won over by her dame
d'atours, in whose counsels she reposed the most im-
plicit confidence, promised that her own treatment of
the favourite should henceforth leave nothing to be
desired, and wrote a letter to the King, expressing her
desire to oblige him in everything. His Majesty,
highly gratified, replied with a very affectionate letter,
in which he intimated that the best way in which his
daughter could oblige him would be by bringing the
Dauphin, "who displayed a marked aversion for the
fair sex," to show more courtesy towards certain
ladies whom the King honoured with his friendship.

Unfortunately, Madame Adelaide had overrated the
prestige which she enjoyed with her relatives; more-
over, it was quickly discovered who was responsible



MADAME DU BARRY 223

for the amazing volte-face committed by the princess.
The whole Royal Family were furious at the idea of
one of its members lending herself to the sordid in-
trigues of her attendants, and its indignation so fright-
ened poor Madame Adelaide that she retracted every-
thing, and forbade Madame de Narbonne ever to men-
tion the subject to her again.



CHAPTER XV

THE hostility of Marie Antoinette was not the
only annoyance which Madame du Barry had
to endure. The "Rout" as we have said else-
where, had assisted his former mistress during the
early days of her favour, when she had prudently kept
her extravagance within limits, in confident anticipa-
tion of reaping a rich harvest at a later date. In this
he was not disappointed. What was the actual amount
which he succeeded in extorting from Madame du
Barry at various times it is impossible to say, but, to
judge from his manner of living, it must have been
something enormous. 1 He kept a Parc-aux-Cerfs of
his own; he married the sultana of his seraglio to a
chevalier of Saint-Louis and settled 2000 ecus a year
upon her; he gambled as if he had the coffers of the
State behind him, losing on one occasion 7000 louis
at a single sitting and, on another, when condoled with
on his ill-luck, remarking nonchalantly : ' Do not
distress yourselves, my friends; it is you ' (meaning
the public treasury) " who will pay for all this."

Nor did he confine his importunities to appeals for
financial assistance. He harassed his hapless sister-in-
law incessantly with advice, warnings, and plans of

1 In December 1769 Madame du Barry asked Louis XV. for
600,000 livres for her brother-in-law, without, however, disclos-
ing for whom the money was intended. The infatuated monarch
promised that she should have it and applied to the Comptroller-
General for the amount. Choiseul, however, got to hear of the
matter, and sent the King proofs that the money was to go to
the creditors of the Comte Jean, who, of course, remained un-
paid.

224



MADAME DU BARRY 225

campaign, and intrigued to get confederates of his
own appointed to important posts in the public service,
once actually endeavouring to secure that of Comp-
troller-General for a. certain Guenee de Brochau;
which, of course, would have meant the hand of M.
du Barry in the Treasury.

At length his conduct became so intolerable that he
was recommended to pass a few months on an estate
at 1'Isle-Jourdain, which was among the gifts he had
received from his grateful country, and departed
thither in a very bad humour, after two or three angry
scenes with his sister-in-law, which gave rise to the
belief that he had composed or inspired the following
chanson against the favourite, which had at this time
a considerable vogue :

" Drolesse !
Ou prends-tu done ta fierte?

Princesse !

D'ou te vient ta dignite ?
Si jamais ton teint se fane ou se pele,
Au train
De catin
L'e cri du public te rappelle.

Drolesse, &c.

Lorsque tu vivais de la Messe
Du moine, ton pere Gomard,
Que la Rangon vendoit sa graisse
Pour joindre a ton morc'eau de lard;

Tu n'etois pas si fiere
Et n'en valois que mieux,

Baisse ta tete altiere,
Du moins devant mes yeux:
Ecoute-moi rentre en toi-meme,

Pour eviter de plus grands maux:
Permets a qui t'aime, qui t'aime,
De t'offrir encore des sabots.

Drolesse !
Mon 'esprit est-il baisse?

Princesse !
Te souvient-il du passe?"*

"Madame du Deffand s'ent a copy of these verses to the
Duchesse de Choiseul, who wrote back that she found them
charming and " de tres bon gout."



226 MADAME DU BARRY

The titular husband of the favourite, the Comte
Guillaume, followed his brother's example, and ad-
dressed to his wife threatening letters demanding
money. In July 1770, Madame du Barry settled upon
him an annuity of 5000 livres ; but this seemed to
Guillaume a beggarly pittance indeed for the consort
of an uncrowned queen, and he renewed his impor-
tunities and threats, and became, in fact, so great a
nuisance that the lady decided to apply for a separation
de corps et d'habitation. The case was tried before the
Chatelet on February 24, 1772, the countess's plea
being the abusive and threatening character of the
epistles with which her lord was in the habit of favour-
ing her, three of which were laid before the sympa-
thetic judges. Guillaume did not oppose the applica-
tion, his silence having apparently been secured by the
promise of a further annuity of 16,600 livres, and the
separation was duly granted. Madame du Barry
seems, however, to have been apprehensive that the
insatiable Guillaume might be tempted to appeal
against the sentence of the Chatelet, and, accordingly,
she applied to the Parliament of Paris to confirm the
decision pronounced in her favour, which was done
by a decree of April 31, I772. 3

Like her predecessor in the post of mattresse en
titre, Madame du Barry was one of the kindest of rel-
atives, and seems to have lost no opportunity of push-
ing the fortunes of her family. She gave her mother,
the old sempstress, who had blossomed into the dame
de Monvabe, an apartment in the Convent de Sainte-
Elisabeth, a carriage, a inoison de plaisance, and a
little farm at Villiers-sur-Orge and was in the habit
of spending a day with her every fortnight. On Anne
Becu's death in October 1788, she bestowed a pension
of 2000 livres on her husband, Rangon, "to recom-
'Vatel's Histoire de Madame du Barry, ii. 139.



MADAME DU BARRY 227

pense his good conduct towards his spouse." She also
pensioned her aunt Helene, who called herself Madame
de Quantigny, and provided for her four children.*
Nor did the exactions of the "Roue" and her titular
husband prevent her from endeavouring to promote
the interests of the former's son Adolphe, and her
brother-in-law Elie, the youngest of the Du Barry
brothers.

Adolphe du Barry, who had assumed the title of
viscount, although, of course, he had no more right to
the appellation than his father and uncle Guillaume
had to that of count, or the still more aspiring Elie to
that of marquis, 5 had begun life as page to the King,
and later had received a commission in the Regiment
du Roi, from which, through his aunt's good offices,
he was transferred to the Chevau-legers of the Guard,
with the rank of mestre de camp of cavalry. There
was also some talk of appointing him first equerry to
the King, but this was prevented by the opposition
of the Dauphin, who, on hearing of what was in-
tended, exclaimed, in the midst of a throng of courtiers,
"If he receives that post, I will give him my boot in
the face at the first debotte?'

Several attempts were made by Madame du Barry
to arrange a grand marriage for the "viscount."
First, she proposed Mademoiselle de Bethune, a
descendant of Sully, the celebrated Minister of Henri
IV., but the King pointed out to her the absurdity of
such pretensions. Then she cast her eyes upon Made-

4 Madame du Barry also placed with Madame de _ Quantigny a.
little girl, whom she brought up with her own children. This
little girl, who afterwards married the Marquis de Boissaison,
was, according to d'Allonville, a daughter of the favourite "by
a father, unknown," but the statement lacks confirmation.

6 The number of pseudo-noblemen at this period was enor-
mous. The genealogist Maugard declared in 1788 that there were
in France at least 8000 marquises, counts, and barons, of whom
only some 2000 had any legal right to the titles which they bore.

Memoirs 8 Vol. 2



228 MADAME DU BARRY

moiselle de Saint- Andre, a natural daughter of Louis by
Mademoiselle Murphy, of the Parc-aux-Cerf s, who was
being educated at the Couvent de la Presentation, in
the Rue des Postes. Mademoiselle de Saint-Andre's
guardian, however, opposed the alliance, on the ground
that the fruit of his Majesty's amours had the right
to look much higher than a "Vicomte" du Barry; and
this appeal to Louis's vanity was successful, greatly to
the vexation of the "Roue" who had suggested the
match to his sister-in-law for reasons of high policy,
his idea being that, in the event of the old King's
death, the fact that the Du Barrys had allied them-
selves with the Royal Family would hinder his suc-
cessor from "yielding to the impulses of hatred."

At length, however, a wife was found for Adolphe
in the person of a very lovely young girl, named Made-
moiselle de Tournon, a member of a very ancient
family of Auvergne and a connection of the Rohans,
and on July 19, 1773, the marriage was celebrated at
Saint-Roch.

The contract, in which the favourite promised the
happy pair a donation of 200,000 livres, 7 is of great
interest, owing to the signatures ; indeed it is probably
one of the most valuable collections of autographs
ever got together on a single document. They in-
cluded those of Louis XV., the Dauphin and Marie
Antoinette, the Comte and Comtesse de Provence,, and
the three Mesdames; beneath which appear the signa-
tures of Madame du Barry, the "RouS* Mademoiselle
"Chon" du Barry, and the bride and bridegroom.

'Letter of Jean du Barry published in the Revue de Paris,
1836, vol. xxxv.

'The principal was never paid, probably owing to the death
of Louis XV. in the following year and the consequent change
in the favourite's fortunes, but Madame du Barry continued to
pay the interest until November 1791.

Jean du Barry figures in the document under the most high-
sounding titles; not only is he Comte du Barry-Ceres and Gov-



MADAME DU BARRY 229

It is somewhat surprising to find the signatures of
Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin appended to the
marriage contract of one of the hated Du Barrys, and
all the more so in veiw of the chilling reception which
the new "viscountess" received on the occasion of her
presentation to them at Compiegne, a few days later.

The favourite, accompanied by the Duchess de Laval
and the Comtesse de Montmorency, presented her niece
to the King, after which, followed by an immense
crowd, the ladies proceeded to the apartments of the
Dauphin. At the moment of their entry, the prince
was standing in the embrasure of a window, talking
to one of his suite and drumming with his fingers on
the glass. When the usher announced the approach
of the ladies, the Dauphin turned his head, pretended
not to see the unfortunate presentee or her sponsor,
and resumed his conversation and his drumming on
the window-pane. As for Marie Antoinette, she coldly
returned the ladies' reverences, but did not speak to
either of them.

It was the same in the evening at the Dauphiness's
card-table, and at her toilette the next morning, at
which etiquette required that newly-presented ladies
should make their appearance ; on neither occasion did
the princess address a single word to the viscountess.
Not content with these tokens of her displeasure, she
refused to allow her to accompany her to the chase in
the Royal carriages, and gave strict injunctions to her
dame d'honneur, the Comtesse de Noailles, that she
was not to be invited to her balls.

Marie Antoinette's cruel treatment of this innocent
girl, whose only fault was her connection with the
favourite, seems to have been the outcome of a ma-

ernor of Levignac as in 1769, but in the interval he has become
Vidame de Chaalons, Comte de 1'Isle-Jourdain, Seigneur de Belle-
garde, Bretz and half a dozen other manors, and so forth.



230 MADAME DU BARRY

licious slander. It was reported to the princess that
Madame du Barry, fearing that the King's affection
for her was on the wane, intended to exploit the beauty
of her niece, in order to retain the royal favour in the
family. There does not appear to have been the
slightest ground for this accusation beyond the fact
that the young lady bore some resemblance to Madame
de Chateauroux; but it served its purpose, and the
poor Vicomtesse Adolphe had to submit all day to the
covert sneers and ironical smiles of the women of the
Court, few of whom could compare with her in grace
or beauty, and on that account were the more pitiless.

Having secured a wife for her nephew, Madame du
Barry turned her attention to her brother-in-law, the
"Marquis" Elie, for whom, in the following October,
she arranged a marriage with a Mademoiselle de
Fumel, daughter of the Marquis de Fumel, obtaining
for the bridegroom the colonelcy of the Regiment de
la Reine, and for the bride the post of dame de
conipagnie to the Comtesse d'Artois. 9

There were now three ladies of the name of Du
Barry at Court the marchioness, the countess, and the
viscountess which resulted in considerable confusion,
and contemporary chroniclers not infrequently mis-
take one Madame du Barry for another.

The new member of the favourite's family met with
much the same reception from the Dauphiness as the
wife of Adolphe had been accorded, in consequence of
which half the Court affected to ignore her existence,
and she was plunged in the depths of despair. After
a while, however, Marie Antoinette, touched with com-
passion for the unhappy lady, yielded to the entreaties
of Mercy, and, notwithstanding the fierce opposition of
Mesdames, "showed one day that she perceived the

9 Marie Therese of Savoy, younger sister of the Comtesse
de Provence, married to the Comte d'Artois, November 1773.



MADAME DU BARRY 231

marchioness's presence"; but towards the poor Vi-
comtesse Adolphe she remained implacable.

In the autumn of 1773, Madame du Barry received
a compliment which must have gone far to console her
for the mordant verses which so delighted Madame de
Choiseul. The financier La Borde, first Groom of the
Chamber to the King, having occasion to visit Geneva,
was commissioned by the favourite to call upon Vol-
taire at Ferney, and bestow upon the philosopher, on
her behalf, a kiss on either cheek. The commission
was duly executed, and appears to have greatly de-
lighted the recipient of the kisses, ever susceptible to
flattery, no matter from w r hat source it came, who
hastened to express his gratification in the following
letter :

"MADAME, M. de la Borde informs me that you
have instructed him to kiss me on both cheeks, on your
behalf.

" Quoi ! deux baisers sur la fin de ma vie !

Quelle passeport vous daignez m'envoyer !
Dieux ! e'en est trop, adorable Egerie :
Je serais mort de plaisir au premier.

"He has shown me your portrait. Do not be
offended, Madame, if I take the liberty of bestowing
Upon it the two kisses :

" Vous ne pouvez empecher cet hommage,
Faible tribut de quiconque a des yeux :
C'est aux mortels d'adorer votre image ;
L'original etait fait pour les Dieux.

"I have heard several selections from Pandore, from
M. de la Borde; 19 they appear to me.w r orthy of your
protection. The favour shown to real talent is the
only thing that can augment the eclat with which you

10 La Borde had composed the music to Voltaire's opera of
Pandore.



232 MADAME DU BARRY

shine. Deign, Madame, to accept the homage of an
old hermit, whose heart knows hardly any other senti-
ment than that of gratitude."

Voltaire's charming- verses soon became public prop-
erty, as it is highly probable that the poet intended they
should be, and are to be found in the Almanack des
Muses for 1774, the "Correspondence" of Grimm, and
the works of several contemporary chroniclers. Ma-
dame de Choiseul duly received a version of them
from Madame du Deffand, but, needless to observe,
did not find them "de tres bon gout" and replied that
"Voltaire had sullied his pen in his old age."



CHAPTER XVI

THE heart of Louis XV., though not difficult to
subjugate, was for the same reason, far from
easy to retain; and Madame du Barry, like her
predecessors in her exalted office, was called upon to
exercise unceasing vigilance in order to safeguard her
conquest.

In 1771, Hardy speaks of an intrigue designed to
supplant the countess by the Princesse de Monaco, the
mistress of the Prince de Conde, or, in default of her,
by an English lady, a Miss Smith, and also of a third
candidate whose name had not been disclosed. A little
later, it appears that a Madame Beche, the wife of one
of the royal musicians, aroused momentary alarm in
the camp of the favourite, and to her succeeded Ma-
dame d'Amerval, a natural daughter of the Abbe
Terray. The King is also said to have cast a favour-
able eye upon several queens of comedy, among them
Mademoiselle Raucourt and the mother of Made-
moiselle Mars ; but this charge rests upon very untrust-
worthy evidence.

The only one of the aspirants to the royal heart,
however, about whom we possess any details is a
Madame Pater, a Dutch lady of good family, 1 who had
married a wealthy East Indian merchant.

Madame Pater first visited Paris in 1763, where, we
are told, her beauty, joined to a lively wit, 8 excited so
much admiration that, on the days on which she re-

1 She was the eldest of the six daughters of Baron de New-
kerke of Nyyenheim.

8 One evening, Madame Pater was playing whist, when two
ladies, both of whom were bitterly jealous of her charms, estab-

233



234 MADAME DU BARRY

ceived, a veritable procession of adorers, "ranging
from the Prince de Conde to the most insignificant
gentleman of the Court," might be seen wending its
way towards her house, in the Faubourg Saint-Honore.
The lady, however, had the misfortune to be afflicted
with an exceedingly jealous husband, who had the bad
taste to take umbrage at the universal tribute accorded
to Madame's charms. For a while he nursed his
wrath in silence, but at length he could contain his
feelings no longer. Accordingly, one day when the
Prince de Conde and several other distinguished ad-
mirers were taking their leave, he accompanied them
to the door and observed: "I am very sensible, Mes-
sieurs, of the honour that you do me in visiting my


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