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Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon
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The king's message--Letter from the countess--A second supper at Versailles--
The duc d'Ayen--A short account of M. de Fleury--The duc de Duras -
Conversation with the king--The next day--A visit from the duc de Richelieu--Visit
from the duc de la Vauguyon--Visit from comte Jean--Visit from the king--A third
Early the following day I received a message from the king, accompanied with a
bouquet of flowers tied round with a string of diamonds. A short letter was
annexed to this splendid gift, which I would transcribe here, had it not been taken
from me with many others. My reply, which I wrote upon the spur of the moment,
was concise, and, as I preserved the rough copy, under the impression of its
being one day useful, I can give the reader the exact words.
"The billet traced by your noble hands, renders me the happiest of women. My
joy is beyond description. Thanks, monsieur le Baron, for your charming flowers.
Alas! they will be faded and withered by to-morrow, but not so fleeting and short-
lived are the sentiments with which you have inspired me. Believe me, the desire
you express to see me again is entirely mutual; and in the impatience with which
you await our next interview, I read but my own sentiments. The ardor with which
you long to embrace me, is fully equalled by the affection which leads me to
desire no gratification greater than that of passing my whole life in your society.
Adieu, monsieur le baron; you have forbidden my addressing you as your rank
and my respect would have me, I will therefore content myself with assuring you
of the ardent affection of the
"COMTESSE Du Barry."
The signature I adopted was a bold piece of falsehood, but it was too late to
recede; besides, I was addressing myself in my letter, not to the king, but to the
baron de Gonesse; for Louis, by I know not what unaccountable caprice, seemed
to wish to preserve his incognito. I have since learned that Francis I assumed the
same name, altho' upon a very different occasion. Replying to a letter from
Charles V, in which that emperor had given himself a long string of high sounding
titles, he contented himself with simply signing his letter, "
"François, baron de
" Louis XV was very fond of borrowed appellations. Unlike the vanity so
common to mankind, of seeking to set off their pretensions by assumed titles, it is
the pleasure of royalty to descend to a lower grade in society when concealment
becomes desirable, either from policy or pleasure; and Louis sought in the
familiarity in which a plain baron might safely indulge, a relief from the ennui
attendant upon the rigid etiquette of a regal state. I had omitted in my letter to the
baron, to remind him that we were to meet that very evening, but that did not
prevent my repairing to Versailles punctually at the appointed hour. I was
conducted into the same apartment as before, where I found the same females
who had then assisted at my toilet* again prepared to lend their aid; and from this
moment I had a regular establishment of attendants appointed for my use.
The moment the king was informed of my arrival, unable to restrain his
impatience, he hastened to me to assist at my dressing table, and he continued
standing beside me so long as the operation lasted; I felt greatly embarrassed,