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Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon
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Madame du Barry purchases the services of Marin the gazetteer --Louis XV and
madame de Rumas--M. de Rumas and the comtesse du Barry--An intrigue--
--A present upon the occasion--The duc de Richelieu in disgrace--
This Marin, a provencal by birth, in his childhood one of the choristers, and
afterwards organist of the village church, was, at the period of which I am
speaking, one of the most useful men possible. Nominated by M. de St. Florentin
to the post of censor royal, this friend to the philosophers was remarkable for the
peculiar talent, with which he would alternately applaud and condemn the
writings of these gentlemen. Affixing his sanction to two lines in a tragedy by
Dorat had cost him twenty-four hours' meditation within the walls of the Bastille;
and for permitting the representation of some opera (the name of which I forget)
he had been deprived of a pension of 2,000 francs; but, wedded to the delights of
his snug post, Marin always contrived, after every storm, to find his way back to
its safe harbor. He had registered a vow never to resign the office of censor, but
to keep it in despite of danger and difficulty. I soon discovered that he passed
from the patronage of Lebel to that of Chamilly, and I was not slow in
conjecturing that he joined to his avocations of censor and gazetteer that of
purveyor to his majesty's
Spite of my indefatigable endeavors to render Louis XV happy and satisfied with
the pleasures of his own home, he would take occasional wandering fits, and go
upon the ramble, sometimes in pursuit of a high-born dame, at others eager to
obtain a poor and simple
; and so long that the object of his fancy were
but new to him, it mattered little what were her claims to youth, beauty, or rank in
life. The marechale de Mirepoix frequently said to me, "Do you know, my dear
creature, that your royal admirer is but a very fickle swain, who is playing the gay
gallant when he ought to be quietly seated at his own fireside. Have a care, he is
growing old, and his intellect becomes more feeble each day; and what he would
never have granted some few years back, may be easily wrung from him now.
Chamilly aspires at governing his master, and Marin seconds him in his project."
At length, roused to a sense of impending evil, by the constant reminding of the
marechale, I summoned Marin to my presence. "Now, sir," said I, as he
approached, "I would have you to know that I am apprised of all your tricks: you
and your friend Chamilly are engaged in a very clever scheme to improve your
own fortunes at the expense of the king your master."
Marin burst into loud protestations of his innocence, declaring that he was as
innocent as the lamb just born. I refused to believe this, and desired he would
explain to me why he went so frequently to the apartments of M. Chamilly.
"Alas, madam!" replied Marin, "I go thither but to solicit his aid in craving the
bounty of his majesty."
"You are for ever pleading poverty, miserly being," cried I; "you are far richer than
I am; but since you want money I will supply you with it, and in return you shall be
my secret newsman, and royal censor in my service. Now understand me clearly;