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Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon
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A prefatory remark--Madame Brillant--The marechale de Luxembourg's cat--
Despair of the marechale--The ambassador, Beaumarchais, and the duc de
Chaulnes--the comte d'Aranda--Louis XV and his relics--The abbe de Beauvais--
His sermons--He is appointed bishop
When I related to comte Jean my reconciliation with the duc de Richelieu, and
the sum which this treaty had cost me, my brother-in-law flew into the most
violent fury; he styled the marechal a plunderer of the public treasury. Well may
the scripture tell us we see the mote in our neighbor's eye, but regard not the
beam which is in our own eye. I was compelled to impose silence on comte Jean,
or in the height of his rage he would have offered some insult to the old
marechal, who already most heartily disliked him for the familiarity of his tone and
manner towards him. I did all in my power to keep these two enemies from
coming in each other's way, counselled to that by the marechale de Mirepoix,
whose line of politics was of the most pacific nature; besides I had no inclination
for a war carried on in my immediate vicinity, and, for my own part, so far from
wishing to harm any one, I quickly forgave every affront offered to myself.
But hold! I perceive I am running on quite smoothly in my own praise. Indeed, my
friend, it is well I have taken that office upon myself, for I fear no one else would
undertake it. The most atrocious calumnies have been invented against me; I
have been vilified both in prose and verse; and, amongst the great number of
persons on whom I have conferred the greatest obligations, none has been found
with sufficient courage or gratitude to stand forward and undertake my defence. I
do not even except madame de Mirepoix, whose conduct towards me in former
days was marked by the most studied attention. She came to me one evening,
with a face of grief.
"Mercy upon me," cried I, "what ails you?"
"Alas!" replied she, in a piteous tone, "I have just quitted a most afflicted family;
their loss is heavy and irreparable. The marechale de Luxembourg is well nigh
distracted with grief."
"Good heavens!" exclaimed I, "can the duchesse de Lauzun be dead?"
"Perhaps poor madame de Boufflers?"
"No, my friend."
"Who then is the object of so much regret? Speak; tell me."
"A friend of the old marechale 's?"
"More than a friend," replied madame de Mirepoix; "her faithful companion; her
only companion; her only beloved object, since her lovers and admirers ceased
to offer their homage--in a word, her cat."
"Bless me!" cried I, "how you frightened me! But what sort of a cat could this
have been to cause so many tears?"
"Is it possible that you do not know madame Brillant, at least by name?"
"I assure you," said I, "this is the very first time I ever heard her name."