Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
Conversation of the marechale de Mirepoix with the comtesse du Barry on court
friendship--Intrigues of madame de Bearn--Preconcerted meeting with madame
de Flaracourt---Rage of madame de Bearn-- Portrait and conversation of
madame de Flaracourt with the comtesse du Barry--Insult from the princesse de
Guemenee--Her banishment--Explanation of the king and the duc de Choiseul
relative to madame du Barry--The comtesse d'Egmont
However giddy I was I did not partake in the excessive gaiety of madame de
Mirepoix. I was pained to see how little reliance could be placed on the sensibility
of the king, as well as how far I could esteem the consideration of the marechale
for madame de Pompadour, from whom she had experienced so many marks of
friendship. This courtier baseness appeared to me so villainous, that I could not
entirely conceal how I was affected with displeasure. Madame de Mirepoix saw it,
and, looking at me attentively, said,
"Do you feel any desire to become pathetical in the country we live in? I warn you
that it will be at your own expense. We must learn to content ourselves here with
appearances, and examine nothing thoroughly."
"'There is then no reality?" said I to her.
"Yes," she answered me, "but only two things, power and money: the rest is
'leather and prunella' (contes bleus): no person has time to love sincerely; it is
hatred only that takes deep root and never dies. To hope to give birth to a real
passion, an Orestean and Pyladean friendship, is a dream from which you must
'Then you do not love me?"
"You ask me a very awkward question, my darling, I can tell you. I do love you,
and very much, too: I have proved it by ranging myself on your side, and by
declaring, with the utmost frankness, that I would rather see you in the situation
in which you are, than any other woman of the court. But there is a long space
between this and heroical friendship: I should deceive you if I were to affirm the
contrary, and there would be no common sense in giving faith to my words.
Every one has too much business, too much intrigue, too many quarrels on hand,
to have any leisure to think of others: every one lives for himself alone.
Mesdames de Guemenee and de Grammont appear very intimate: that is easily
explained, they unite against a common enemy. But were your station left vacant,
no sooner would the king have thrown the apple to one of them, but the other
would detest her instantly."
Contrary to custom I made no reply: I was absorbed in painful reflections to
which this conversation had given rise. The marechale perceived it, and said,
"We should fall into philosophy if we probed this subject too deeply. Let us think
no more of this: besides, I have a new defection to tell you of. Madame de
Flaracourt told me yesterday that she much regretted having misunderstood you,
and that you were worth more than all those who persecute you. She appeared
to me disposed to ally herself to you for the least encouragement which you
might be induced to hold out to her."