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the Archives Nationales is preserved a curious docu-
ment, entitled Memoires du chevalier de Langles (sic)
pour se justifier d' avoir gagne an jeu 90,000 limes a
Madame du Barry, et d'avoir cherche a la raccommo-
der avec le du-c de Choiseul.

In this memoir, the viscount states that three charges
have been brought against him in regard to his conduct
at Saint-Vrain. The first is that he had demanded
from Madame du Barry 90,000 livres which he had
won off her at play; the second, that he had been in
love with the lady and jealous of her; and the third,
that, in order to revenge himself upon her for having

9 Le voyage de Figaro en Espagnc is his best known or least
forgotten work.

10 In addition to her life-tenancy of Louveciennes and Les
Loges de Nantes, worth 40,000 livres per annum, the ex-favourite
had an income of 105,000 livres derived from rentes on the
Hotel de Ville, which had been given her by Louis XV., while
her jewellery and art treasures were worth a considerable
fortune.



MADAME DU BARRf 275

rejected his addresses, he had given an account of her
conduct to the Due de Choiseul, who was always anx-
ious to hear anything to the discredit of his old enemy.

All three charges, he declares, are utterly false. He
says that on the night before Madame du Barry left
Saint-Vrain for Louveciennes, "in a moment of
ennui/' she made a bet of twelve sols that she would
"hole" nine balls out of the nineteen at the first throw
at Trou-Madame^ and went on increasing the stakes
till she owed him 90,000 livres; but that of this large
sum he refused to accept more than fifty louis, for
the benefit of a young woman, a protegee of his, who
was about to ente*" the countess's service.

On another occasion, the viscount, according to his
own showing, was still more generous. This time, his
fair hostess, forgetting for the moment apparently that
she no longer had the Treasury at her back, staked on
the martingale system, with the result that, at one
period of the game she was in his debt to the extent
of 1,500,000 livres. "But," he adds, "she was the
only one who was alarmed. The bystanders were as
convinced as I myself was that I should continue play-
ing until she had recovered her losses; and, in fact,
that was exactly what happened."

The other charges, namely, that he made love to the
lady and was repulsed, and that, out of spite, he be-
trayed the secrets of her household to M. de Chciseul,
are equally without foundation. It is a fact that M.
de Choiseul attempted to "draw" him on the subject,
but he got nothing for his pains. One day the duke
and the viscount met, when the following conversation
took place :

"You are a frequent visitor at Madame du Barry's?"

^Trou-Madame was a game somewhat similar to bagatelle;
but the balls were thrown with the hand, not pushed by a cue,
and the pockets were numbered both for gain and loss.



276 MADAME DU BARRY

The viscount admitted that he did occasionally pay his

court to the countess. "She has kept all her servants?"

'Yes, M. le Due." "Her servants perform comedies?"

'Yes, M. le Due." "But she must have a considerable

fortune to support all this expense?" "I believe so,

M. le Due." "Adieu, M. de Langle." "Your servant,

M. le Due. 12

The viscount takes great credit to himself for hav-
ing so skilfully baffled the ex-Minister's curiosity; but,
as a matter of fact, there was very little to relate, as
life in "cette abominable campagne," as the author of
the above amusing memoir designates Saint-Vrain,
was singularly uneventful. However, the countess
only remained there eighteen months, for, on Novem-
ber 15, 1776, the Nowvelles a la main announce that
"Madame du Barry comes and goes freely between
Paris and Louveciennes." The writer adds that this
concession was due to the Comte d'Artois, who was
desirous of succeeding his departed grandfather in the
good graces of the lady, and had had a tender inter-
view with her at Radix de Sainte-Foy's house at
Neuilly; M. de Sainte-Foy receiving, as the price of
his complaisance, the post of surintendant of his Royal
Highness's finances.

The latter part of this paragraph was a gross libel
upon the persons mentioned, as Radix de Sainte-Foy
had held the post of surintendant des finances to the
Comte d'Artois for some considerable time; while the
prince in question was so hostile to Madame du Barry
that, during the last months of the lady's favour, he
had forbidden his wife to speak to her. But the first
statement was correct : principally, it would appear,
through the good offices of Maurepas, d'Aiguillon's
uncle, now first Minister to Louis XVI., 13 the decree of

" Vatel's Histolre de Madame du Barry, ii. 399, et seq.

13 D'Aiguillon had been replaced by Vergennes, Terray by Tur-



MADAME DU BARRY 277

exile pronounced against the ex-favourite, except so
far as regarded her appearing at Court, had been can-
celled, and she had been permitted to return to Louve-
ciennes.

got, and Maupeou by Miromesnil, and all three had been exiled
to their estates, though the fall of the duke had been broken by a
gratification of 500,000 livres. Maurepas, though first Minister,
had no portfolio. Paris went wild with joy over the dismissal
of Maupeou and Terray; the former was burned and the latter
hanged in effigy, and the riots of triumph continued for a whole
week. Terray was indeed regarded as the very incarnation of
evil. One day, being ill, he sent for Bouvard, the celebrated
doctor, and told him he was suffering " comme un damne."
"What? already, Monsieur!" was the reply, which aptly ex-
pressed the popular feeling in regard to the Comptroller-Gen-
eral.



CHAPTER XIX

THE beautiful little chateau of Louveciennes,
with its almost priceless art treasures, had up
to that time seen but little of its mistress.
Obliged to remain the greater part of the year at Ver-
sailles, and to follow the Court in its journeys from
one royal residence to another, a few days at consider-
able intervals had been all that Madame du Barry had
been able to spend in her "palace-boudoir." Hence-
forth, however, she was to reside here continuously,
antil the doors of Sainte-Pelagie closed upon her, and
lier name was to become as indissolubly connected with
Louveciennes as Madame de Montespan's with Clagny,
or Madame de Maintenon's with the old chateau from
which she took her title.

It was, perhaps, fortunate for the ex-favourite that
residence at Louveciennes had still for her the charm
of novelty, for, during the first year or two, she ap-
pears to have led a very quiet life. The memory of
courtiers is proverbially short, and few indeed of the
many friends she had made in the days of her splen-
dour cared to brave the displeasure of the King and
Queen by visiting the fallen sultana.

One visitor, however, she had, who could afford to
ignore the opinion of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoi-
nette, and whose arrival must have gone far to con-
sole the mistress of Louveciennes for the neglect of
those who had once been so loud in their expressions
of attachment.

In April 1777, the Emperor Joseph II. arrived in
France, on a visit to his sister, travelling under the

278



MADAME DU BARRY 279

name of the Comte de Falckenstein. The bluff, out-
spoken monarch spent some weeks in the capital, and
appears to have greatly pleased the Parisians by the
interest he took in all that he saw around him; but
the impression which he created at Court, where he
took upon himself to animadvert in the strongest terms
on the shameful extravagance which prevailed, and the
indecorous behaviour of the Queen and her unworthy
favourites, was by no means so favourable ; and Marif
Antoinette must have been unfeignedly glad when the
time came for him to return to Vienna.

About a month after his arrival in France, his Im-
perial Majesty announced that he had a great desire to
inspect the celebrated hydraulic machine at Marly,
which, as we have mentioned, was close to Louvecien-
nes. He had previously, it appears, caused inquiries
to be made in order to ascertain if Madame du Barry
was likely to be at home that day; and the lady in
question happened to be taking an unpremeditated
walk in the direction of the machine at the very mo-
ment when the Emperor arrived there. His Majesty
requested that the countess might be presented to him,
expressed great admriation for the pavilion which he
saw in the distance, begged that he might be permit-
ted to examine it more closely, and remained in conver-
sation with the fair chatelaine for the space of two
hours.

After Joseph II. had duly admired the Fragonards,
Drouais, and other treasures, he remarked upon the
beauty of the gardens. The countess proposed to
show them to him ; the Emperor accepted, and offered
his arm ; the lady modestly declined : "Oh, Sire ! I am
unworthy of such an honour." To which the monarch
replied gallantly (he was very far from gallant, it
may be remarked, where the Polignacs, Guemenees,
and other harpies whom his foolish sister had gathered



28o MADAME DU BARRY



round her were concerned) : "Raise no objection on
that score. Beauty is always Queen."

Joseph afterwards expressed the opinion that the
countess was not so beautiful as he had expected to
find, but that he was very glad to have seen her.

Marie Antoinette was greatly annoyed on learning
of her brother's escapade, and her indignation was in-
tensified by the Emperor's refusal to visit the Choi-
seuls. The ex-Minister's hopes of a speedy return to
place and power on the death of Louis XV. had not
been realised, for the new King had learned the lessons
which La Vauguyon had taught him but too well ; and
though that intriguing old gentleman had died some
years before, his teaching had not been effaced from
his former pupil's mind. Choiseul had counted much
on the Emperor's visit ; but Joseph did not share Marie
Antoinette's admiration of the duke, and one day re-
marked to Louis XVI. that it was fortunate that he
had a judicious and even-tempered Minister at the be-
ginning of his reign, adding: "If the Due de Choiseul
had been in office, his restless and turbulent spirit
would have plunged the Kingdom into great difficul-
ties."

On February 10, 1778, Voltaire returned to Paris,
after an absence of eight-and-twenty years, and was
received with the utmost enthusiasm by the Academy,
by Society, and by all the more important foreign vis-
itors. He received all Paris in his bedroom at the house
of the Marquis and Marquise de la Villette, in the Rue

1 Memoir es secrets, May, 21, 1777. Mercy, in a letter to Maria
Theresa, says that Joseph met the lady in the garden, tones
down the two hours' conversation to one of "a few moments,"
and states that his Imperial Majesty : ' found the said countess
such as I have depicted her." The Empress replies : " I should
have been better pleased if the Emperor had refrained from
visiting that despicable Du Barry."



MADAME DU BARRY 281

de Beaune. There was an ante-chamber, which from
seven o'clock in the morning until half-past ten at
night was thronged with worshippers. They were in-
troduced one by one to the Patriarch, whom they found
enveloped in an enormous velvet pelisse lined with
ermine and braided with gold, and with a nightcap on
his head, ostentatiously correcting the proofs of his
tragedy of Irene. Madame du Barry came to pay her
court among the rest, but had considerable difficulty
in obtaining an audience. We read in the Memoires
secrets, under date February 21 :

"Friday. Voltaire has worked so hard, that he has
not allowed his secretary time to dress himself.
Madame la Comtesse du Barry presented herself after
dinner; but they had great difficulty in persuading
the old invalid to see her. His amour-propre would
not permit him to appear before this beauty with-
out having made his toilette. He yielded at length
to her importunity, and repaired by the graces of
his mind what he lacked in the matter of outward
elegance."

Madame du Barry's visit was marked by an inter-
esting episode. Brissot, the future leader of the Giron-
dins, relates in his Memoires that he was very anxious
to submit to Voltaire the first part of his Theorie des
Lois criminelles. He made his way to the Rue de
Beaune, but, on arriving there, his courage failed him,

' In reference to this visit, Lebrun wrote to Buffpn : " The
tears rolled from his (Voltaire's) eyes when speaking of his
Belle et Bonne Madame de Villette), as he calls her, and com-
paring her simple grace to Madame du Barry, who had just left
him." Five years before, when Louis XV. was still alive, and
Madame du Barry all-powerful, the Patriarch had, as we have
seen, formed a much higher opinion of the lady's charms. But
times had changed, and she conld no longer b'e of any assistance
in procuring for him the honours of the Court, which were
needed, he thought, to put the comble upon his glory. So goes
the world !



282 MADAME DU BARRY

and he left without attempting to obtain an interview
with the great man. On the following day, however,
he returned to the charge.

"I had almost reached the ante-chamber," he says,
"where there seemed that day less commotion than on
the previous evening, when I heard a noise within, and
the door opened. Assailed by my foolish timidity, I
quickly redescended the stairs, but, ashamed of myself,
I retraced my steps. A woman, whom the master of
the house had just shown out, was at the foot of the
staircase. This woman was beautiful and had a kind
face. I did not hesitate to address myself to her, and
inquired if she thought that it was possible for me to
be introduced to M. de Voltaire, telling her frankly the
object of my visit. 'M. de Voltaire has received
scarcely any one to-day,' she answered kindly. 'How-
ever, it is a favour. Monsieur, which I have just ob-
tained, and I do not doubt that you will obtain it also.'
And as if, through my embarrassed air, she had di-
vined my timidity, she herself called the master of the
house, who had not yet closed the door upon her, and
I was admitted. She left me, after having responded
to my profound salutations by a smile full of kindness
and which seemed to recommend me.

"... I ought to mention the name of this amiable
woman, whom I met at Voltaire's door; it was
Madame du Barry. In recalling to myself her smile
so full of sweetness and kindness, I became more in-
dulgent towards the favourite; but I leave to others
the task of excusing the weakness and infamy of Louis
XV "

-*. X. V .

Brissot goes on to tell us that in a conversation with
Mirabeau he happened to remark that, bad as Madame
du Barry was, she compared very favourably with the
Maintenons and Pompadours, since she, at any rate,
had never made a despotic use of her power ; to which



MADAME DU BARRY 283

Mirabeau replied : "Vous avez raison; si ce ne fut pas
line Vestale,

" ( La faute en est aux dieux qui la firent si belle/



Towards the close of that same year, a great sorrow
befell Madame du Barry : her nephew, the so-called
Vicomte du Barry, to whom she was much attached,
met his death under tragic circumstances.

After their banishment from Court in 1774, Adolphe
du Barry and his young wife seemed to have led a
wandering existence, patronising in turn various
health-resorts, where the viscountess might have her
fill of balls and routs, and the viscount, who, like the
majority of fine gentlemen of the time, was an in-
veterate gamester, indulge his fondness for faro and
kindred pursuits. In the latter summer or early au-
tumn of 1778, they were at Spa, and here they met a
young Irish adventurer, who called himself Count
Rice, a cousin a la mode de Bretagne of Marshal Lacy.

The Irishman, who is described as "un tres beau
garqon, d'une education parfaite," and the viscountess
soon became on very friendly terms, and whenever the
fascinations of the green tables at the Ridotto claimed
the viscount's attention, Mr. Rice seems to have been
in the habit of keeping the lady company.

From Spa the Du Barrys went to Bath, accompanied
by Rice and a compatriot of his named Toole; where,
thanks to the good offices of Mrs. Darner, who took a
great fancy to the viscountess, they penetrated into
the most exclusive circles, and, with the aid of a faro
bank, which, in defiance of the law, they kept at their
house in Royal Crescent, seem to have had a very
profitable time.

One day, however, Du Barry and Rice had a violent
quarrel. They were alone at the time, and its origin
was never discovered, but the most probably explana-



284 MADAME DU BARRY

tion is that Du Barry was jealous of the Irishman's at-
tentions to his wife. 3 Any way, they were exasperated
against each other to the last degree, for not only was
it determined that they should fight a duel, but that it
should continue till one of them was killed.

Two nights later, Du Barry having spent the inter-
val in arranging his affairs, they were seen to leave
the house together, followed by the viscountess who
had discovered their intention uttering frantic cries.
They managed to elude her, however, hired a coach,
and accompanied by Toole, another friend named Rog-
ers, and a surgeon, drove out to Claverton Down, a
spot much favoured by gentlemen of the neighbour-
hood who had differences to settle. Here they waited
till daybreak, when Du Barry sprang out of the coach
and insisted on an immediate commencement. The
conditions were that each should be armed with a
brace of pistols and a sword ; that they should fire
from a distance of twenty-five paces, and then engage
with the steel, and that the conqueror might despatch
his antagonist, even if he lay helpless on the ground.

Du Barry fired first and lodged a ball in Rice's thigh.
The Irishman, however, contrived to keep his feet and
fire both his pistols, the second shot piercing his ad-
versary's breast; and then advanced upon him sword
in hand. Du Barry asked for quarter, which Rice at
once granted ; but, almost at the same moment, the
Frenchman fell to the ground and expired.

The body of the unfortunate young man was buried
in Bathampton Cemetery, and a stone placed over his
grave bearing the inscription :

Here rest the remains of
John Baptist, Viscount du Barry
Obiit 18 November 1778.

3 This is the conclusion arrived at by M. Marius Tallon, who,
some years ago, published an interesting monograph on the
Vicomtesse du Barry.



MADAME DU BARRY 285

Rice, who recovered from his wound, was tried for
homicide at Taunton Assizes in the following April,
and acquitted. He lived for many years, and was even-
tually killed in the Peninsular War. 4

The widowed viscountess returned to France, and
retired for a few months to a convent. On quitting it,
she caused the arms of her husband to be removed
from her carriages, changed her servants' liveries, and
finally, having succeeded in obtaining permission to
return to Court, reappeared there under the title of the
Comtesse de Tournon. These insults to the memory
of his son, to whom, to do him justice, he seems to
have been genuinely attached, greatly exasperated the
"Roue," and when, to crown all, the lady petitioned
to have the estates she had inherited from her husband
formed into a "county of Tournon," he opposed the
application. A long and acrimonious lawsuit follow-
ed, in which the "Comtesse de Tournon/' although she
had the best of the compromise eventually arrived at,
was made to cut a very sorry figure. In 1782, she
married again, her second husband being a relative, the
Marquis de Claveyron, but died three years later.

For some years after the death of Louis XV.
Madame du Barry appears to have led an exemplary
life. We cannot, however, agree with Mr. Douglas
that this was attributable to the fact that the image of
the late King had not yet been effaced from her heart ;
it is more likely to have been due to accident, or to
the fear that a resumption of her irregularities would
have been promptly visited with another and longer
period of cloistral seclusion. Towards the year 1780,
however, the restraining influence, if one there was,

*Dutens's Memoires d'un voyageur qui se repose (edit. 1806),
ii. 125, et seq. M. Marius Tallon's La Vicomtesse de Tournon et
les Du Barry, passim.



286 MADAME DU BARRY

had evidently been removed, for we find her indulging
in a grand e passion.

About half a league from Louveciennes, and clearly
visible from the terrace adjoining the pavilion of
Madame du Barry, there stands a villa called Prunay,
built or restored by a Madame Le Neveu at the begin-
ning of the eighteenth century, and occupied at the
time of which we are writing by a middle-aged Eng-
lishman named Henry Seymour.

A good deal of misconception exists among both
French and English writers in regard to the identity
of this Henry Seymour. The Goncourts refer to him
as Lord Seymour, and state that he was English Am-
bassador at the French Court ; to M. Vatel he is "un
asses grand personnage" and "though neither lord,
ambassador, or even barronet (sic), a count"; while
the late Captain Bingham, in his delightful work, "The
Marriages of the Bourbons," calls him Lord Henry
Seymour.

As a matter of fact, Henry Seymour had no title at
all, though M. Vatel is correct in supposing him to be
"un asses grand personnage;" He was the son of
Francis Seymour, of Sherborne, Dorset, M. P. for
Great Bedwyn, 1732-1734, and for Maryborough,
1734-1741, by Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Pop-
ham of Littlecot, Wiltshire, and widow of Viscount
Hinchingbrook. His uncle was Sir Edward Seymour,
who, on the death of Algernon, seventh Duke of Som-
erset, in 1750, succeeded in establishing his claim to
the dukedom.

Henry Seymour was born in London in 1729, and
educated at New College, Oxford. At the age of
twenty-four, he married Lady Caroline Cowper, only
daughter of the second Earl Cowper, and during the
absence of his brother-in-law, the third earl, at Flor-
ence, where he resided for some years, seems to have



MADAME DU BARRY 287

occupied the family seat, Panshanger, near Hertford.
He was himself, however, a considerable landowner.
From his father, who died in 1762, he inherited Sher-
borne; from his uncle, William Seymour, the estate
of Knoyle, in Wiltshire; while he also owned North-
brook Lodge, Devon, Redland Court, Bristol, and a
property at Norton, near Evesham. His town house
was in Charles Street, Berkeley Square.

Following the example of his father and his uncle,
the duke, he entered political life, was appointed
Groom of the Bedchamber, and successively represent-
ed in Parliament the boroughs of Totnea (1763-
1768), Huntingdon (1768-1774), and Evesham
(1774-1780). He only addressed the House upon
one occasion, 'however, which was on February 29,
1776, in support of Fox's motion for an inquiry into
the mismanagement of the American War.

Lady Caroline Cowper died in 1771, after bearing
her husband two daughters, Caroline, who married
William Danby, of Swinton, Yorkshire, and Georgina,
who became the wife of Comte Louis de Durfort,
sometime French Ambassador at Venice ; and, four
years later, Seymour married Anne Louise Therese,
Comtesse de Panthou, a young widow, twelve years
his junior, by whom he had a son, Henry, born in
1776.

In 1778, for reasons which are uncertain, though
Mr. J. G. Alger to whose interesting article in the
Westminster Review (January 1897) we are indebted
for most of our information about Madame Du Bar-
ry's English lover seems to think it was for the sake
of economising, Seymour settled in France, rented a
house in Paris, Rue de la Planche, Faubourg Saint-
Germain, and applied for legal domicile, to protect his
property from forfeiture to the Crown as aubaine } in
the event of his death. About the same time, he pur-



288 MADAME DU BARRY

chased Prunay, and appears to have spent a consider-
able sum on improving the house and grounds.

The only evidence of Seymour's connection with the
ex-favourite, apart from a passing reference in the
Memoir es of the Abbe Georgel, are the lady's letters
to her lover, a number of which, together with a lock
of her hair tied with blue ribbon, were sold by auction
in Paris in 1892.

Only a few of these letters, however, have been pub-
lished, and it is uncertain into whose possession the
remainder have passed. As none of the published
letters bear any date, except the day of the week, it
is impossible to say when the liaison began. Ac-
cording to the Abbe Georgel, the attachment was
formed shortly after Madame du Barry's return to
Louveciennes, that is to say, in the early part of the


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