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Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry
Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon
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The comtesse and the duc d'Aiguillon--M. de Soubise--Louis XV and the duc
d'Aiguillon--Letter from the comtesse to the king-- Answer of the king-The
Nouvelles a la Main
"--The comtesse and Louis XV--The supper--The court
ladies mystified--The comtesse and M. de Sartines
I was still triumphing at the skill which I had displayed in my conference with the
prince de Soubise when the duc d'Aiguillon entered.
"Good heaven," said he, kissing my hand very tenderly, "into what inquietude did
you throw me by your dear and cruel letter. The ambiguity of your style has
caused me inexpressible sorrow; and you have added to it by not allowing me to
come to you at the first moment."
"I could not: I thought it would be dangerous for you to appear before the king
previously to having seen me."
"Would the king have thought my visit strange?" asked the duke, not without
"That is not the point. The black spite of my enemies has not yet deprived me of
the counsels of a friend. But as it is necessary to speak to the king in my favor, I
wish that he should not know that you do so at my request."
After this I related to the duke my conversation with the king.
"Your situation is delicate," said he to me, "but it should not trouble you. The king
is weak, we must give him courage. It is his pliancy of disposition rather than his
resistance that we must contend with, and I go to act upon it. "
I then instructed the duke with what had passed between me and the prince de
Soubise. When I had done, the duke replied :
"Expect nothing from the prince de Soubise: he will speak, no doubt; but how? In
a jesting, laughing way. If, however, you think he can at all serve you, give him all
"No, no, never," I replied with quickness; "it is not a thing to be done lightly; we
do not select a confidant, counsellor, or friend, at random. Do you not know this,
M. le duc? It is requisite that the heart of the one who speaks should repose itself
on the heart of the friend who listens. I repeat to you that I have no feeling of
confidence towards M. de Soubise. In fact," I added with visible and troubled
emotion, "my choice is made, and you have too much heroism to wish to combat
At these flattering words the duke precipitated himself at my feet, and swore to
support my cause with all his power and interest. I replied that I fully relied on his
devotion and prudence. Comte Jean entered, and it was agreed between us
three that I should say no more to the king of my presentation before the duc
d'Aiguillon had spoken to him of it; that I should content myself with complaining
without peevishness, and that we should leave the opening measure to the
prince de Soubise, and let him break the ice to his majesty.
The prince de Soubise behaved exactly as the duke had told me: he came to me
the next morning with a mysterious air, which already informed me of all he had
to say. He said that he had vainly tormented the king; that his majesty wished