Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
A slight preface--Arrival at Versailles--"La toilette"--Portrait of the king--The duc
de Richelieu--The marquis de Chauvelin--The duc de la Vauguyon-Supper with
the king--The first night--The following day--The curiosity of comte Jean--
Presents from the king--How disposed of
The chances against our succeeding in our enterprise were at least a thousand
to one. The sea upon which, trusting to the favorable influence of my leading
star, we were about to venture, was filled with rocks and shoals which threatened
the poor mariner who should direct his bark near them. In the first place, I had to
dread my obscure birth, as well as the manner in which my life had been passed;
and still more had I to fear the indifferent reputation of comte Jean. There was
more than sufficient in all this to disturb a head far stronger than I could boast.
However, thanks to my thoughtfulness, no troublesome thoughts interfered to
break my rest on the night preceding a day so important to me, and I slept as
tranquilly as though upon waking I had no other occupation for my time than a
walk on the boulevards, or a drive to the Bois de Boulogne.
Comte Jean, however, had passed a very different night; for once, the
whisperings of ambition had overcome even his natural indifference and
carelessness, and tired of tossing upon a sleepless pillow, he arose at the first
break of day, reproached me for slumbering so long, and allowed me neither
peace nor rest till I joined him dressed for our journey. At length, we set out
according to our agreement with Lebel; I was closely muffled up in my large
caleche--the carriage rolled along till we reached Versailles, where we had for
the last month engaged a lodging, which might be useful to us in all events; we
alighted, and after vainly seeking a few moments' repose, proceeded on foot to
Lebel, in whose apartments we were to attire ourselves in a suitable manner.
"You are welcome," said the comte, "pray consider yourself as at home."
"I accept your augury," replied I, "it would be amusing enough to find that my
young prophet had predicted rightly."
"Well then," said my conductor, laughing, "I recommend you to manage a slip on
the staircase, it would be taking possession after the manner of the ancients."
"No, no, I thank you," answered I; "no falls if you please, they are not propitious
Whilst we were thus speaking, we were crossing a long suite of chambers, and
reached the one at which we were expected. We knocked cautiously at a door,
which was opened to us with equal caution. Scarcely had we entered, than Lebel
came eagerly forward to receive us.
"Ah, madame!" cried he, "I began to fear you might not come, you have been
looked for with an impatience--"
"Which can hardly equal mine," interrupted I; "for you were prepared for your
visitor, whilst I have yet to learn who is the friend that so kindly desires to see
"It is better it should be so," added Lebel ; "do not seek either to guess or
discover more, than that you will here meet with some cheerful society, friends of