The Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, v1

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Being Secret Memoirs of Madame du Hausset, Lady's Maid to Madame
de Pompadour, and of an unknown English Girl and the Princess Lamballe



We were obliged by circumstances, at one time, to read all the published
memoirs relative to the reign of Louis XV., and had the opportunity of
reading many others which may not see the light for a long time yet to
come, as their publication at present would materially militate against
the interest of the descendants of the writers; and we have no hesitation
in saying that the Memoirs of Madame du Hausset are the only perfectly
sincere ones amongst all those we know. Sometimes, Madame du Hausset
mistakes, through ignorance, but never does she wilfully mislead, like
Madame Campan, nor keep back a secret, like Madame Roland, and MM.
Bezenval and Ferreires; nor is she ever betrayed by her vanity to invent,
like the Due de Lauzun, MM. Talleyrand, Bertrand de Moleville, Marmontel,
Madame d'Epinay, etc. When Madame du Hausset is found in contradiction
with other memoirs of the same period, we should never hesitate to give
her account the preference. Whoever is desirous of accurately knowing
the reign of Louis XV. should run over the very wretched history of
Lacretelle, merely for the, dates, and afterwards read the two hundred
pages of the naive du Hausset, who, in every half page, overturns half a
dozen misstatements of this hollow rhetorician. Madame du Hausset was
often separated from the little and obscure chamber in the Palace of
Versailles, where resided the supreme power, only by a slight door or
curtain, which permitted her to hear all that was said there. She had
for a 'cher ami' the greatest practical philosopher of that period, Dr.
Quesnay, the founder of political economy. He was physician to Madame de
Pompadour, and one of the sincerest and most single-hearted of men
probably in Paris at the time. He explained to Madame du Hausset many
things that, but for his assistance, she would have witnessed without


A friend of M. de Marigny (the brother of Madame de Pompadour) called on
him one day and found him burning papers. Taking up a large packet which
he was going to throw into the fire "This," said he, "is the journal of a
waiting-woman of my sister's. She was a very estimable person, but it is
all gossip; to the fire with it!" He stopped, and added, "Don't you
think I am a little like the curate and the barber burning Don Quixote's
romances?"--"I beg for mercy on this," said his friend. "I am fond of
anecdotes, and I shall be sure to find some here which will interest me."
"Take it, then," said M. de Marigny, and gave it him.

The handwriting and the spelling of this journal are very bad. It
abounds in tautology and repetitions. Facts are sometimes inverted in
the order of time; but to remedy all these defects it would have been
necessary to recast the whole, which would have completely changed the
character of the work. The spelling and punctuation were, however,
corrected in the original, and some explanatory notes added.

Madame de Pompadour had two waiting-women of good family. The one,
Madame du Hausset, who did not change her name; and another, who assumed
a name, and did not publicly announce her quality. This journal is
evidently the production of the former.

The amours of Louis XV. were, for a long time, covered with the veil of
mystery. The public talked of the Parc-aux-Cerfs, but were acquainted
with none of its details. Louis XIV., who, in the early part of his
reign, had endeavoured to conceal his attachments, towards the close of
it gave them a publicity which in one way increased the scandal; but his
mistresses were all women of quality, entitled by their birth to be
received at Court. Nothing can better describe the spirit of the time
and the character of the Monarch than these words of Madame de Montespan:

"He does not love me," said she, "but he thinks he owes it to his
subjects and to his own greatness to have the most beautiful woman in his
kingdom as his mistress."



An early friend of mine, who married well at Paris, and who has the
reputation of being a very clever woman, has often asked me to write down
what daily passed under my notice; to please her, I made little notes,
of three or four lines each, to recall to my memory the most singular or
interesting facts; as, for instance--attempt to assassinate the King; he
orders Madame de Pompadour to leave the Court; M. de Machaudt's
ingratitude, etc.--I always promised my friend that I would, some time
or other, reduce all these materials into the form of a regular
narrative. She mentioned the "Recollections of Madame de Caylus," which
were, however, not then printed; and pressed me so much to produce a
similar work, that I have taken advantage of a few leisure moments to
write this, which I intend to give her, in order that she may arrange it
and correct the style. I was for a long time about the person of Madame
de Pompadour, and my birth procured for me respectful treatment from
herself, and from some distinguished persons who conceived a regard for
me. I soon became the intimate friend of Doctor Quesnay, who frequently
came to pass two or three hours with me.

His house was frequented by people of all parties, but the number was
small, and restricted to those who were on terms of greatest intimacy
with him. All subjects were handled with the utmost freedom, and it is
infinitely to his honour and theirs that nothing was ever repeated.

The Countess D----- also visited me. She was a frank and lively woman,
and much liked by Madame de Pompadour. The Baschi family paid me great
attention. M. de Marigny had received some little services from me, in
the course of the frequent quarrels between him and his sister, and he
had a great friendship for me. The King was in the constant habit of
seeing me; and an accident, which I shall have occasion to relate,
rendered him very familiar with me. He talked without any constraint
when I was in the room. During Madame de Pompadour's illness I scarcely
ever left her chamber, and passed the night there. Sometimes, though
rarely, I accompanied her in her carriage with Doctor Quesnay, to whom
she scarcely spoke a word, though he was--a man of great talents. When I
was alone with her, she talked of many affairs which nearly concerned
her, and she once said to me, "The King and I have such implicit
confidence in you, that we look upon you as a cat, or a dog, and go on
talking as if you were not there." There was a little nook, adjoining
her chamber, which has since been altered, where she knew I usually sat
when I was alone, and where I heard everything that was said in the room,
unless it was spoken in a low voice. But when the King wanted to speak
to her in private, or in the presence of any of his Ministers, he went
with her into a closet, by the side of the chamber, whither she also
retired when she had secret business with the Ministers, or with other
important persons; as, for instance, the Lieutenant of Police, the
Postmaster-General, etc. All these circumstances brought to my knowledge
a great many things which probity will neither allow me to tell or to
record. I generally wrote without order of time, so that a fact may be
related before others which preceded it. Madame de Pompadour had a great
friendship for three Ministers; the first was M. de Machault, to whom she
was indebted for the regulation of her income, and the payment of her
debts. She gave him the seals, and he retained the first place in her
regard till the attempt to assassinate the King. Many people said that
his conduct on that occasion was not attributable to bad intentions; that
he thought it his duty to obey the King without making himself in any way
a party to the affair, and that his cold manners gave him the appearance
of an indifference which he did not feel. Madame de Pompadour regarded
him in the light of a faithless friend; and, perhaps, there was some
justice on both sides. But for the Abbe de Bernis; M. de Machault might,
probably, have retained his place.

The second Minister, whom Madame de Pompadour liked, was the Abbe de
Bernis. She was soon disgusted with him when she saw the absurdity of
his conduct. He gave a singular specimen of this on the very day of his
dismissal. He had invited a great many people of distinction to a
splendid entertainment, which was to have taken place on the very day
when he received his order of banishment, and had written in the notes of
invitation--M. Le Comte de Lusace will be there. This Count was the
brother of the Dauphine, and this mention of him was deservedly thought
impertinent. The King said, wittily enough, "Lambert and Moliere will be
there." She scarcely ever spoke of the Cardinal de Bernis after his
dismissal from the Court.

He was extremely ridiculous, but he was a good sort of man. Madame,
the Infanta, died a little time before, and, by the way, of such a
complication of putrid and malignant diseases, that the Capuchins
who bore the body, and the men who committed it to the grave, were
overcome by the effluvia. Her papers appeared no less impure in the eyes
of the King. He discovered that the Abbe de Bernis had been intriguing
with her, and that they had deceived him, and had obtained the Cardinal's
hat by making use of his name. The King was so indignant that he was
very near refusing him the barrette. He did grant it--but just as he
would have thrown a bone to a dog. The Abbe had always the air of a
protege when he was in the company of Madame de Pompadour. She had known
him in positive distress. The Due de Choiseul was very differently
situated; his birth, his air, his manners, gave him claims to
consideration, and he far exceeded every other man in the art of
ingratiating himself with Madame de Pompadour. She looked upon him as
one of the most illustrious nobles of the Court, as the most able
Minister, and the most agreeable man. M. de Choiseul had a sister and a
wife, whom he had introduced to her, and who sedulously cultivated her
favourable sentiments towards him. From the time he was Minister, she
saw only with his eyes; he had the talent of amusing her, and his manners
to women, generally, were extremely agreeable.

Two persons--the Lieutenant of Police and the Postmaster-General--were
very much in Madame de Pompadour's confidence; the latter, however,
became less necessary to her from the time that the King communicated to
M. de Choiseul the secret of the post-office, that is to say, the system
of opening letters and extracting matter from them: this had never been
imparted to M. d'Argenson, in spite of the high favour he enjoyed.
I have heard that M. de Choiseul abused the confidence reposed in him,
and related to his friends the ludicrous stories, and the love affairs,
contained in the letters which were broken open. The plan they pursued,
as I have heard, was very simple. Six or seven clerks of the post-office
picked out the letters they were ordered to break open, and took the
impression of the seals with a ball of quicksilver. Then they put each
letter, with the seal downwards, over a glass of hot water, which melted
the wax without injuring the paper. It was then opened, the desired
matter extracted, and it was sealed again, by means of the impression.
This is the account of the matter I have heard. The Postmaster-General
carried the extracts to the King on Sundays. He was seen coming and
going on this noble errand as openly as the Ministers. Doctor Quesnay
often, in my presence, flew in such a rage about that infamous Minister,
as he called him, that he foamed at the mouth. "I would as soon dine
with the hangman as with the Postmaster-General," said the Doctor. It
must be acknowledged that this was astonishing language to be uttered in
the apartments of the King's mistress; yet it went on for twenty years
without being talked of. "It was probity speaking with earnestness,"
said M. de Marigny, "and not a mere burst of spite or malignity."

The Duc de Gontaut was the brother-in-law and friend of M. de Choiseul,
and was assiduous in his attendance on Madame de Pompadour. The sister
of M. de Choiseul, Madame de Grammont, and his wife were equally constant
in their attentions. This will sufficiently account for the ascendency
of M. de Choiseul, whom nobody would have ventured to attack. Chance,
however, discovered to me a secret correspondence of the King, with a man
in a very obscure station. This man, who had a place in the Farmers
General, of from two to three hundred a year, was related to one of the
young ladies of the Parc-aux-cerfs, by whom he was recommended to the
King. He was also connected in some way with M. de Broglie, in whom the
King placed great confidence. Wearied with finding that this
correspondence procured him no advancement, he took the resolution of
writing to me, and requesting an interview, which I granted, after
acquainting Madame de Pompadour with the circumstance. After a great
deal of preamble and of flattery, he said to me, "Can you give me your
word of honour, and that of Madame de Pompadour, that no mention whatever
of what I am going to tell you will be made to the King?"--"I think I can
assure you that, if you require such a promise from Madame de Pompadour,
and if it can produce no ill consequence to the King's service, she will
give it you." He gave me his word that what he requested would have no
bad effect; upon which I listened to what he had to say. He shewed me
several memorials, containing accusations of M. de Choiseul, and revealed
some curious circumstances relative to the secret functions of the Comte
de Broglie. These, however, led rather to conjectures than to certainty,
as to the nature of the services he rendered to the King. Lastly, he
shewed me several letters in the King's handwriting. "I request," said
he, "that the Marquise de Pompadour will procure for me the place of
Receiver-General of Finances; I will give her information of whatever I
send the King; I will write according to her instructions, and I will
send her his answers." As I did not choose to take liberties with the
King's papers, I only undertook to deliver the memorials. Madame de
Pompadour having given me her word according to the conditions on which I
had received the communication, I revealed to her everything I had heard.
She sent the memorials to M. de Choiseul, who thought them very
maliciously and very cleverly written. Madame de Pompadour and he had a
long conference as to the reply that was to be given to the person by
whom those disclosures were made. What I was commissioned to say was
this: that the place of Receiver-General was at present too important,
and would occasion too much surprise and speculation; that it would not
do to go beyond a place worth fifteen thousand to twenty thousand francs
a year; that they had no desire to pry into the King's secrets; and that
his correspondence ought not to be communicated to any one; that this did
not apply to papers like those of which I was the bearer, which might
fall into his hands; that he would confer an obligation by communicating
them, in order that blows aimed in the dark, and directed by malignity
and imposture, might be parried. The answer was respectful and proper,
in what related to the King; it was, however, calculated to counteract
the schemes of the Comte de Broglie, by making M. de Choiseul acquainted
with his attacks, and with the nature of the weapons he employed. It was
from the Count that he received statements relating to the war and to the
navy; but he had no communication with him concerning foreign affairs,
which the Count, as it was said, transacted immediately with the King.
The Duc de Choiseul got the man who spoke to me recommended to the
Controller-General, without his appearing in the business; he had the
place which was agreed upon, and the hope of a still better, and he
entrusted to me the King's correspondence, which I told him I should not
mention to Madame de Pompadour, according to her injunctions. He sent
several memorials to M. de Choiseul, containing accusations of him,
addressed to the King. This timely information enabled him to refute
them triumphantly.

The King was very fond of having little private correspondences, very
often unknown to Madame de Pompadour: she knew, however, of the existence
of some, for he passed part of his mornings in writing to his family, to
the King of Spain, to Cardinal Tencin, to the Abbe de Broglie, and also
to some obscure persons. "It is, doubtless, from such people as these,"
said she to me, one day, "that the King learns expressions which
perfectly surprise me. For instance, he said to me yesterday, when he
saw a man pass with an old coat on, 'il y a la un habit bien examine.'
He once said to me, when he meant to express that a thing was probable,
'il y a gros'; I am told this is a saying of the common people, meaning,
'il y a gros a parier'." I took the liberty to say, "But is it not more
likely from his young ladies at the Parc, that he learns these elegant
expressions? "She laughed, and said, "You are right; 'il y a gros'."
The King, however, used these expressions designedly, and with a laugh.

The King knew a great many anecdotes, and there were people enough who
furnished him with such as were likely to mortify the self-love of
others. One day, at Choisy, he went into a room where some people were
employed about embroidered furniture, to see how they were going on; and
looking out of the window, he saw at the end of a long avenue two men in
the Choisy uniform. "Who are those two noblemen?" said he. Madame de
Pompadour took up her glass, and said, "They are the Duc d'Aumont, and
------" "Ah!" said the King; "the Duc d'Aumont's grandfather would be
greatly astonished if he could see his grandson arm in arm with the
grandson of his valet de chambre, L------, in a dress which may be called
a patent of nobility!" He went on to tell Madame de Pompadour a long
history, to prove the truth of what he said. The King went out to
accompany her into the garden; and, soon after, Quesnay and M. de Marigny
came in. I spoke with contempt of some one who was very fond of money.
At this the Doctor laughed, and said, "I had a curious dream last night:
I was in the country of the ancient Germans; I had a large house, stacks
of corn, herds of cattle, a great number of horses, and huge barrels of
ale; but I suffered dreadfully from rheumatism, and knew not how to
manage to go to a fountain, at fifty leagues' distance, the waters of
which would cure me. I was to go among a strange people. An enchanter
appeared before me, and said to me, 'I pity your distress; here, I will
give you a little packet of the powder of "prelinpinpin"; whoever
receives a little of this from you will lodge you, feed you, and pay you
all sorts of civilities.' I took the powder, and thanked him."
"Ah!" said I, "how I should like to have some powder of prelinpinpin! I
wish I had a chest full."--"Well," said the Doctor, "that powder is
money, for which you have so great a contempt. Tell me who, of all the
men who come hither, receives the greatest attentions?"--"I do not know,"
said I. "Why," said he, "it is M. de Monmartel, who comes four or five
times a year."--"Why does he enjoy so much consideration?"--"Because his
coffers are full of the powder of prelinpinpin. Everything in
existence," said he, taking a handful of Louis from his pocket, "is
contained in these little pieces of metal, which will convey you
commodiously from one end of the world to the other. All men obey those
who possess this powder, and eagerly tender them their services. To
despise money, is to despise happiness, liberty, in short, enjoyments of
every kind." A cordon bleu passed under the window. "That nobleman,"
said I, "is much more delighted with his cordon bleu than he would be
with ten thousand of your pieces of metal."--"When I ask the King for a
pension," replied Quesnay, "I say to him, 'Give me the means of having a
better dinner, a warmer coat, a carriage to shelter me from the weather,
and to transport me from place to place without fatigue.' But the man
who asks him for that fine blue ribbon would say, if he had the courage
and the honesty to speak as he feels, 'I am vain, and it will give me
great satisfaction to see people look at me, as I pass, with an eye of
stupid admiration, and make way, for me; I wish, when I enter a room, to
produce an effect, and to excite the attention of those who may, perhaps,
laugh at me when I am gone; I wish to be called Monseigneur by the
multitude.' Is not all this mere empty air? In scarcely any country
will this ribbon be of the slightest use to him; it will give him no
power. My pieces of metal will give me the power of assisting the
unfortunate everywhere. Long live the omnipotent powder of
prelinpinpin!" At these last words, we heard a burst of laughter from
the adjoining room, which was only separated by a door from the one we
were in. The door opened, and in came the King, Madame de Pompadour, and
M. de Gontaut. "Long live the powder of prelinpinpin!" said the King.
"Doctor, can you get me any of it?" It happened that, when the King
returned from his walk, he was struck with a fancy to listen to our
conversation. Madame de Pompadour was extremely kind to the Doctor, and
the King went out laughing, and talking with great admiration of the
powder. I went away, and so did the Doctor. I immediately sat down to
commit this conversation to writing. I was afterwards told that M.
Quesnay was very learned in certain matters relating to finance, and that
he was a great 'economiste'. But I do not know very well what that
means. What I do know for certain is, that he was very clever, very gay
and witty, and a very able physician.

The illness of the little Duke of Burgundy, whose intelligence was much
talked of, for a long time occupied the attention of the Court. Great
endeavours were made to find out the cause of his malady, and ill-nature
went so far as to assert that his nurse, who had an excellent situation
at Versailles, had communicated to him a nasty disease. The King shewed
Madame de Pompadour the information he had procured from the province she
came from, as to her conduct. A silly Bishop thought proper to say she
had been very licentious in her youth. The poor nurse was told of this,
and begged that he might be made to explain himself. The Bishop replied,
that she had been at several balls in the town in which she lived, and
that she had gone with her neck uncovered. The poor man actually thought
this the height of licentiousness. The King, who had been at first
uneasy, when he came to this, called out, "What a fool!" After having
long been a source of anxiety to the Court, the Duke died. Nothing
produces a stronger impression upon Princes, than the spectacle of their
equals dying. Everybody is occupied about them while ill--but as soon as
they are dead, nobody mentions them. The King frequently talked about
death--and about funerals, and places of burial. Nobody could be of a
more melancholy temperament. Madame de Pompadour once told me that he
experienced a painful sensation whenever he was forced to laugh, and that
he had often begged her to break off a droll story. He smiled, and that
was all. In general, he had the most gloomy ideas concerning almost all
events. When there was a new Minister, he used to say, "He displays his
wares like all the rest, and promises the finest things in the world, not
one of which will be fulfilled. He does not know this country--he will
see." When new projects for reinforcing the navy were laid before him,
he said, "This is the twentieth time I have heard this talked of--France
never will have a navy, I think." This I heard from M. de Marigny.

I never saw Madame de Pompadour so rejoiced as at the taking of Mahon.
The King was very glad, too, but he had no belief in the merit of his
courtiers--he looked upon their success as the effect of chance.
Marechal Saxe was, as I have been told, the only man who inspired him
with great esteem. But he had scarcely ever seen him in his closet, or
playing the courtier.

M. d'Argenson picked a quarrel with M. de Richelieu, after his victory,
about his return to Paris. This was intended to prevent his coming to
enjoy his triumph. He tried to throw the thing upon Madame de Pompadour,
who was enthusiastic about him, and called him by no other name than the
"Minorcan." The Chevalier de Montaign was the favourite of the Dauphin,
and much beloved by him for his great devotion. He fell ill, and
underwent an operation called 'l'empieme', which is performed by making
an incision between the ribs, in order to let out the pus; it had, to all
appearance, a favourable result, but the patient grew worse, and could
not breathe. His medical attendants could not conceive what occasioned
this accident and retarded his cure. He died almost in the arms of the
Dauphin, who went every day to see him. The singularity of his disease
determined the surgeons to open the body, and they found, in his chest,
part of the leaden syringe with which decoctions had, as was usual, been
injected into the part in a state of suppuration. The surgeon, who
committed this act of negligence, took care not to boast of his feat,
and his patient was the victim. This incident was much talked of by the
King, who related it, I believe, not less than thirty times, according to
his custom; but what occasioned still more conversation about the
Chevalier de Montaign, was a box, found by his bed's side, containing
haircloths, and shirts, and whips, stained with blood. This circumstance
was spoken of one evening at supper, at Madame de Pompadour's, and not
one of the guests seemed at all tempted to imitate the Chevalier. Eight
or ten days afterwards, the following tale was sent to the King, to
Madame de Pompadour, to the Baschi, and to the Duc d'Ayen. At first
nobody could understand to what it referred: at last, the Duc d'Ayen
exclaimed, "How stupid we are; this is a joke on the austerities of the
Chevalier de Montaign!" This appeared clear enough--so much the more so,
as the copies were sent to the Dauphin, the Dauphine, the Abbe de St.
Cyr, and to the Duc de V---. The latter had the character of a pretender
to devotion, and, in his copy, there was this addition, "You would not be
such a fool, my dear Duke, as to be a 'faquir'--confess that you would be
very glad to be one of those good monks who lead such a jolly life."
The Duc de Richelieu was suspected of having employed one of his wits to
write the story. The King was scandalised at it, and ordered the
Lieutenant of Police to endeavour to find out the author, but either he
could not succeed or he would not betray him.

Japanese Tale.

At a distance of three leagues from the capital of Japan, there is a
temple celebrated for the concourse of persons, of both sexes, and of all
ranks, who crowd thither to worship an idol believed to work miracles.
Three hundred men consecrated to the service of religion, and who can
give proofs of ancient and illustrious descent, serve this temple, and
present to the idol the offerings which are brought from all the
provinces of the empire. They inhabit a vast and magnificent edifice,
belonging to the temple, and surrounded with gardens where art has
combined with nature to produce enchantment. I obtained permission to
see the temple, and to walk in the gardens. A monk advanced in years,
but still full of vigour and vivacity, accompanied me. I saw several
others, of different ages, who were walking there. But what surprised me
was to see a great many of them amusing themselves by various agreeable
and sportive games with young girls elegantly dressed, listening to their
songs, and joining in their dances. The monk, who accompanied me,
listened with great civility and kindness to the questions I put to him
concerning his order. The following is the sum of his answers to my
numerous interrogations. The God Faraki, whom we worship, is so called
from a word which signifies the fabricator. He made all that we behold--
the earth, the stars, the sun, etc. He has endowed men with senses,
which are so many sources of pleasure, and we think the only way of
shewing our gratitude is to use them. This opinion will, doubtless,
appear to you much more rational than that of the faquirs of India,
who pass their lives in thwarting nature, and who inflict upon themselves
the most melancholy privations and the most severe sufferings.

As soon as the sun rises, we repair to the mountain you see before us, at
the foot of which flows a stream of the most limpid water, which meanders
in graceful windings through that meadow-enamelled with the loveliest
flowers. We gather the most fragrant of them, which we carry and lay
upon the altar, together with various fruits, which we receive from the
bounty of Faraki. We then sing his praises, and execute dances
expressive of our thankfulness, and of all the enjoyments we owe to this
beneficent deity. The highest of these is that which love produces, and
we testify our ardent gratitude by the manner in which we avail ourselves
of this inestimable gift of Faraki. Having left the temple, we go into
several shady thickets, where we take a light repast; after which, each
of us employs himself in some unoppressive labour. Some embroider,
others apply themselves to painting, others cultivate flowers or fruits,
others turn little implements for our use. Many of these little works
are sold to the people, who purchase them with eagerness. The money
arising from this sale forms a considerable part of our revenue. Our
morning is thus devoted to the worship of God and to the exercise of the
sense of Sight, which begins with the first rays of the sun. The sense
of Taste is gratified by our dinner, and we add to it the pleasure of
Smell. The most delicious viands are spread for us in apartments strewed
with flowers. The table is adorned with them, and the most exquisite
wines are handed to us in crystal goblets. When we have glorified God,
by the agreeable use of the palate, and the olfactory nerve, we enjoy a
delightful sleep of two hours, in bowers of orange trees, roses, and
myrtles. Having acquired a fresh store of strength and spirits, we
return to our occupations, that we may thus mingle labour with pleasure,
which would lose its zest by long continuance. After our work, we return
to the temple, to thank God, and to offer him incense. From thence we go
to the most delightful part of the garden, where we find three hundred
young girls, some of whom form lively dances with the younger of our
monks; the others execute serious dances, which require neither strength
nor agility, and which only keep time to the sound of musical

We talk and laugh with our companions, who are dressed in a light gauze,
and whose tresses are adorned with flowers; we press them to partake of
exquisite sherbets, differently prepared. The hour of supper being
arrived, we repair to rooms illuminated with the lustre of a thousand
tapers fragrant with amber. The supper-room is surrounded by three vast
galleries, in which are placed musicians, whose various instruments fill
the mind with the most pleasurable and the softest emotions. The young
girls are seated at table with us, and, towards the conclusion of the
repast, they sing songs, which are hymns in honour of the God who has
endowed us with senses which shed such a charm over existence, and which
promise us new pleasure from every fresh exercise of them. After the
repast is ended, we return to the dance, and, when the hour of repose
arrives, we draw from a kind of lottery, in which every one is sure of a
prize; that is, a young girl as his companion for the night. They are
allotted thus by chance, in order to avoid jealousy, and to prevent
exclusive attachments. Thus ends the day, and gives place to a night of
delights, which we sanctify by enjoying with due relish that sweetest of
all pleasures, which Faraki has so wisely attached to the reproduction of
our species. We reverently admire the wisdom and the goodness of Faraki,
who, desiring to secure to the world a continued population, has
implanted in the sexes an invincible mutual attraction, which constantly
draws them towards each other. Fecundity is the end he proposes, and he
rewards with intoxicating delights those who contribute to the fulfilment
of his designs. What should we say to the favourite of a King from whom
he had received a beautiful house, and fine estates, and who chose to
spoil the house, to let it fall in ruins, to abandon the cultivation of
the land, and let it become sterile, and covered with thorns? Such is
the conduct of the faquirs of India, who condemn themselves to the most
melancholy privations, and to the most severe sufferings. Is not this
insulting Faraki? Is it not saying to him, I despise your gifts? Is it
not misrepresenting him and saying, You are malevolent and cruel, and
I know that I can no otherwise please you than by offering you the
spectacle of my miseries? "I am told," added he, "that you have, in your
country, faquirs not less insane, not less cruel to themselves."
I thought, with some reason, that he meant the fathers of La Trappe.
The recital of the matter afforded me much matter for reflection, and
I admired how strange are the systems to which perverted reason gives

The Duc de V----- was a nobleman of high rank and great wealth. He said
to the King one evening at supper, "Your Majesty does me the favour to
treat me with great kindness: I should be inconsolable if I had the
misfortune to fall under your displeasure. If such a calamity were to
befall me, I should endeavour to divert my grief by improving some
beautiful estates of mine in such and such a province;" and he thereupon
gave a description of three or four fine seats. About a month after,
talking of the disgrace of a Minister, he said, "I hope your Majesty will
not withdraw your favour from me; but if I had the misfortune to lose it,
I should be more to be pitied than anybody, for I have no asylum in which
to hide my head." All those present, who had heard the description of
the beautiful country houses, looked at each other and laughed. The King
said to Madame de Pompadour, who sat next to him at table, "People are
very right in saying that a liar ought to have a good memory."

An event, which made me tremble, as well as Madame, procured me the
familiarity of the King. In the middle of the night, Madame came into my
chamber, en chemise, and in a state of distraction. "Here! Here!" said
she, "the King is dying." My alarm may be easily imagined. I put on a
petticoat, and found the King in her bed, panting. What was to be done?
--it was an indigestion. We threw water upon him, and he came to
himself. I made him swallow some Hoffman's drops, and he said to me,
"Do not make any noise, but go to Quesnay; say that your mistress is ill;
and tell the Doctor's servants to say nothing about it." Quesnay, who
lodged close by, came immediately, and was much astonished to see the
King in that state. He felt his pulse, and said, "The crisis is over;
but, if the King were sixty years old, this might have been serious."
He went to seek some drug, and, on his return, set about inundating the
King with perfumed water. I forget the name of the medicine he made him
take, but the effect was wonderful. I believe it was the drops of
General Lamotte. I called up one of the girls of the wardrobe to make
tea, as if for myself. The King took three cups, put on his robe de
chambre and his stockings, and went to his own room, leaning upon the
Doctor. What a sight it was to see us all three half naked! Madame put
on a robe as soon as possible, and I did the same, and the King changed
his clothes behind the curtains, which were very decently closed. He
afterwards spoke of this short attack, and expressed his sense of the
attentions shown him. An hour after, I felt the greatest possible terror
in thinking that the King might have died in our hands. Happily, he
quickly recovered himself, and none of the domestics perceived what had
taken place. I merely told the girl of the wardrobe to put everything to
rights, and she thought it was Madame who had been indisposed. The King,
the next morning, gave secretly to Quesnay a little note for Madame, in
which he said, 'Ma chere amie' must have had a great fright, but let her
reassure herself--I am now well, which the Doctor will certify to you.
From that moment the King became accustomed to me, and, touched by the
interest I had shown for him, he often gave me one of his peculiarly
gracious glances, and made me little presents, and, on every New Year's
Day, sent me porcelain to the amount of twenty louis d'or. He told
Madame that he looked upon me in the apartment as a picture or statue,
and never put any constraint upon himself on account of my presence.
Doctor Quesnay received a pension of a thousand crowns for his attention
and silence, and the promise of a place for his son. The King gave me an
order upon the Treasury for four thousand francs, and Madame had
presented to her a very handsome chiming-clock and the King's portrait in
a snuffbox.

The King was habitually melancholy, and liked everything which recalled
the idea of death, in spite of the strongest fears of it. Of this, the
following is an instance: Madame de Pompadour was on her way to Crecy,
when one of the King's grooms made a sign to her coachman to stop, and
told him that the King's carriage had broken down, and that, knowing her
to be at no great distance, His Majesty had sent him forward to beg her
to wait for him. He soon overtook us, and seated himself in Madame de
Pompadour's carriage, in which were, I think, Madame de Chateau-Renaud,
and Madame de Mirepoix. The lords in attendance placed themselves in
some other carriages. I was behind, in a chaise, with Gourbillon, Madame
de Pompadour's valet de chambre. We were surprised in a short time by
the King stopping his carriage. Those which followed, of course stopped
also. The King called a groom, and said to him, "You see that little
eminence; there are crosses; it must certainly be a burying-ground; go
and see whether there are any graves newly dug." The groom galloped up
to it, returned, and said to the King, "There are three quite freshly
made." Madame de Pompadour, as she told me, turned away her head with
horror; and the little Marechale

[The Marechale de Mirepois died at Brussels in 1791, at a very
advanced age, but preserving her wit and gaiety to the last. The
day of her death, after she had received the Sacrament, the
physician told her that he thought her a good deal better. She
replied, "You tell me bad news: having packed up, I had rather go."
She was sister of the Prince de Beauveau. The Prince de Ligne says,
in one of his printed letters: "She had that enchanting talent which
supplies the means of pleasing everybody. You would have sworn that
she had thought of nothing but you all her life."--En.]

gaily said, "This is indeed enough to make one's mouth water." Madame de
Pompadour spoke of it when I was undressing her in the evening. "What a
strange pleasure," said she, "to endeavour to fill one's mind with images
which one ought to endeavour to banish, especially when one is surrounded
by so many sources of happiness! But that is the King's way; he loves to
talk about death. He said, some days ago, to M. de Fontanieu, who was,
seized with a bleeding at the nose, at the levee: 'Take care of yourself;
at your age it is a forerunner of apoplexy.' The poor man went home
frightened, and absolutely ill."

I never saw the King so agitated as during the illness of the Dauphin.
The physicians came incessantly to the apartments of Madame de Pompadour,
where the King interrogated them. There was one from Paris, a very odd
man, called Pousse, who once said to him, "You are a good papa; I like
you for that. But you know we are all your children, and share your
distress. Take courage, however; your son will recover." Everybody's
eyes were upon the Duc d'Orleans, who knew not how to look. He would
have become heir to the crown, the Queen being past the age to have
children. Madame de ----- said to me, one day, when I was expressing my
surprise at the King's grief, "It would annoy him beyond measure to have
a Prince of the blood heir apparent. He does not like them, and looks
upon their relationship to him as so remote, that he would feel
humiliated by it." And, in fact, when his son recovered, he said, "The
King of Spain would have had a fine chance." It was thought that he was
right in this, and that it would have been agreeable to justice; but
that, if the Duc d'Orleans had been supported by a party, he might have
supported his pretensions to the crown. It was, doubtless, to remove
this impression that he gave a magnificent fete at St. Cloud on the
occasion of the Dauphin's recovery. Madame de Pompadour said to Madame
de Brancas, speaking of this fete, "He wishes to make us forget the
chateau en Espagne he has been dreaming of; in Spain, however, they build
them of solider materials." The people did not shew so much joy at the
Dauphin's recovery. They looked upon him as a devotee, who did nothing
but sing psalms. They loved the Duc d'Orleans, who lived in the capital,
and had acquired the name of the King of Paris. These sentiments were
not just; the Dauphin only sang psalms when imitating the tones of one of
the choristers of the chapel. The people afterwards acknowledged their
error, and did justice to his virtues. The Duc d'Orleans paid the most
assiduous court to Madame de Pompadour: the Duchess, on the contrary,
detested her. It is possible that words were put into the Duchess's
mouth which she never uttered; but she, certainly, often said most
cutting things. The King would have sent her into exile, had he listened
only to his resentment; but he feared the eclat of such a proceeding, and
he knew that she would only be the more malicious. The Duc d'Orleans
was, just then, extremely jealous of the Comte de Melfort; and the
Lieutenant of Police told the King he had strong reasons for believing
that the Duke would stick at nothing to rid himself of this gallant, and
that he thought it his duty to give the Count notice, that he ought to be
upon his guard. The King said, "He would not dare to attempt any such
violence as you seem to apprehend; but there is a better way: let him try
to surprise them, and he will find me very well inclined to have his
cursed wife shut up; but if he got rid of this lover, she would have
another to-morrow.

"Nay, she has others at this moment; for instance, the Chevalier de
Colbert, and the Comte de l'Aigle." Madame de Pompadour, however, told
me these two last affairs were not certain.

An adventure happened about the same time, which the Lieutenant of Police
reported to the King. The Duchesse d'Orleans had amused herself one
evening, about eight o'clock, with ogling a handsome young Dutchman, whom
she took a fancy to, from a window of the Palais Royal. The young man,
taking her for a woman of the town, wanted to make short work, at which
she was very much shocked. She called a Swiss, and made herself known.
The stranger was arrested; but he defended himself by affirming that she
had talked very loosely to him. He was dismissed, and the Duc d'Orleans
gave his wife a severe reprimand.

The King (who hated her so much that he spoke of her without the
slightest restraint) one day said to Madame de Pompadour, in my presence,
"Her mother knew what she was, for, before her marriage, she never
suffered her to say more than yes and no. Do you know her joke on the
nomination of Moras? She sent to congratulate him upon it: two minutes
after, she called back the messenger she had sent, and said, before
everybody present, 'Before you speak to him, ask the Swiss if he still
has the place.'" Madame de Pompadour was not vindictive, and, in spite
of the malicious speeches of the Duchesse d'Orleans, she tried to excuse
her conduct. "Almost all women," she said, "have lovers; she has not all
that are imputed to her: but her free manners, and her conversation,
which is beyond all bounds, have brought her into general disrepute."

My companion came into my room the other day, quite delighted. She had
been with M. de Chenevieres, first Clerk in the War-office, and a
constant correspondent of Voltaire, whom she looks upon as a god. She
was, by the bye, put into a great rage one day, lately, by a print-seller
in the street, who was crying, "Here is Voltaire, the famous Prussian;
here you see him, with a great bear-skin cap, to keep him from the cold!
Here is the famous Prussian, for six sous!"--"What a profanation!" said
she. To return to my story: M. de Chenevieres had shewn her some letters
from Voltaire, and M. Marmontel had read an 'Epistle to his Library'.

M. Quesnay came in for a moment; she told him all this: and, as he did
not appear to take any great interest in it, she asked him if he did not
admire great poets. "Oh, yes; just as I admire great bilboquet players,"
said he, in that tone of his, which rendered everything he said
diverting. "I have written some verses, however," said he, "and I will
repeat them to you; they are upon a certain M. Rodot, an Intendant of the
Marine, who was very fond of abusing medicine and medical men. I made
these verses to revenge AEsculapius and Hippocrates.

"What do you say to them?" said the Doctor. My companion thought them
very pretty, and the Doctor gave me them in his handwriting, begging me,
at the same time, not to give any copies.

Madame de Pompadour joked my companion about her 'bel-esprit', but
sometimes she reposed confidence in her. Knowing that she was often
writing, she said to her, "You are writing a novel, which will appear
some day or other; or, perhaps, the age of Louis XV.: I beg you to treat
me well." I have no reason to complain of her. It signifies very little
to me that she can talk more learnedly than I can about prose and verse.

She never told me her real name; but one day I was malicious enough to
say to her, "Some one was maintaining, yesterday, that the family of
Madame de Mar---- was of more importance than many of good extraction.
They say it is the first in Cadiz. She had very honourable alliances,
and yet she has thought it no degradation to be governess to Madame de
Pompadour's daughter. One day you will see her sons or her nephews
Farmers General, and her granddaughters married to Dukes." I had
remarked that Madame de Pompadour for some days had taken chocolate,
'a triple vanille et ambre', at her breakfast; and that she ate truffles
and celery soup: finding her in a very heated state, I one day
remonstrated with her about her diet, to which she paid no attention.
I then thought it right to speak to her friend, the Duchesse de Brancas.
"I had remarked the same thing," said she, "and I will speak to her about
it before you." After she was dressed, Madame de Brancas, accordingly,
told her she was uneasy about her health. "I have just been talking to
her about it," said the Duchess, pointing to me, "and she is of my
opinion." Madame de Pompadour seemed a little displeased; at last, she
burst into tears. I immediately went out, shut the door, and returned to
my place to listen. "My dear friend," she said to Madame de Brancas,
"I am agitated by the fear of losing the King's heart by ceasing to be
attractive to him. Men, you know, set great value on certain things, and
I have the misfortune to be of a very cold temperament. I, therefore,
determined to adopt a heating diet, in order to remedy this defect, and
for two days this elixir has been of great service to me, or, at least, I
have thought I felt its good effects."

The Duchesse de Brancas took the phial which was upon the toilet, and
after having smelt at it, "Fie!" said she, and threw it into the fire.
Madame de Pompadour scolded her, and said, "I don't like to be treated
like a child." She wept again, and said, "You don't know what happened
to me a week ago. The King, under pretext of the heat of the weather,
lay down upon my sofa, and passed half the night there. He will take a
disgust to me and have another mistress."--"You will not avoid that,"
replied the Duchess, "by following your new diet, and that diet will kill
you; render your company more and more precious to the King by your
gentleness: do not repulse him in his fond moments, and let time do the
rest; the chains of habit will bind him to you for ever." They then
embraced; Madame de Pompadour recommended secrecy to Madame de Brancas,
and the diet was abandoned.

A little while after, she said to me, "Our master is better pleased with
me. This is since I spoke to Quesnay, without, however, telling him all.
He told me, that to accomplish my end, I must try to be in good health,
to digest well, and, for that purpose, take exercise. I think the Doctor
is right. I feel quite a different creature. I adore that man (the
King), I wish so earnestly to be agreeable to him! But, alas! sometimes
he says I am a macreuse (a cold-blooded aquatic bird). I would give my
life to please him."

One day, the King came in very much heated. I withdrew to my post, where
I listened. "What is the matter?" said Madame de Pompadour. "The long
robes and the clergy," replied he, "are always at drawn daggers, they
distract me by their quarrels. But I detest the long robes the most.
My clergy, on the whole, is attached and faithful to me; the others want
to keep me in a state of tutelage."--"Firmness," said Madame de
Pompadour, "is the only thing that can subdue them."--"Robert Saint
Vincent is an incendiary, whom I wish I could banish, but that would make
a terrible tumult. On the other hand, the Archbishop is an iron-hearted
fellow, who tries to pick quarrels. Happily, there are some in the
Parliament upon whom I can rely, and who affect to be very violent,
but can be softened upon occasion. It costs me a few abbeys, and a few
secret pensions, to accomplish this. There is a certain V--- who serves
me very well, while he appears to be furious on the other side."--"I can
tell you some news of him, Sire," said Madame de Pompadour. "He wrote to
me yesterday, pretending that he is related to me, and begging for an
interview."--"Well," said the King, "let him come. See him; and if he
behaves well, we shall have a pretext for giving him something." M. de
Gontaut came in, and seeing that they were talking seriously, said
nothing. The King walked about in an agitated manner, and suddenly
exclaimed, "The Regent was very wrong in restoring to them the right of
remonstrating; they will end in ruining the State."--"All, Sire," said M.
de Gontaut, "it is too strong to be shaken by a set of petty justices."
"You don't know what they do, nor what they think. They are an assembly
of republicans; however, here is enough of the subject. Things will last
as they are as long as I shall. Talk about this on Sunday, Madame, with
M. Berrien." Madame d'Amblimont and Madame d'Esparbes came in.
"Ah! here come my kittens," said Madame de Pompadour; "all that we are
about is Greek to them; but their gaiety restores my tranquility, and
enables me to attend again to serious affairs. You, Sire, have the chase
to divert you--they answer the same purpose to me." The King then began
to talk about his morning's sport, and Lansmatte.

[See the "Memoirs of Madame Campan," vol. iii., p. 24. Many
traits of original and amusing bluntness are related of Lansmatte,
one of the King's grooms.]

It was necessary to let the King go on upon these subjects, and even,
sometimes, to hear the same story three or four times over, if new
persons came into the room. Madame de Pompadour never betrayed the least
ennui. She even sometimes persuaded him to begin his story anew.

I one day said to her, "It appears to me, Madame, that you are fonder
than ever of the Comtesse d'Amblimont."--"I have reason to be so," said
she. "She is unique, I think, for her fidelity to her friends, and for
her honour. Listen, but tell nobody--four days ago, the King, passing
her to go to supper, approached her, under the pretence of tickling her,
and tried to slip a note into her hand. D'Amblimont, in her madcap way,
put her hands behind her back, and the King was obliged to pick up the
note, which had fallen on the ground. Gontaut was the only person who
saw all this, and, after supper, he went up to the little lady, and said,
'You are an excellent friend.'--'I did my duty,' said she, and
immediately put her finger on her lips to enjoin him to be silent.
He, however, informed me of this act of friendship of the little heroine,
who had not told me of it herself." I admired the Countess's virtue, and
Madame de Pompadour said, "She is giddy and headlong; but she has more
sense and more feeling than a thousand prudes and devotees. D'Esparbes
would not do as much most likely she would meet him more than half-way.
The King appeared disconcerted, but he still pays her great attentions."
--"You will, doubtless, Madame," said I, "show your sense of such
admirable conduct."--"You need not doubt it," said she, "but I don't wish
her to think that I am informed of it." The King, prompted either by the
remains of his liking, or from the suggestions of Madame de Pompadour,
one morning went to call on Madame d'Amblimont, at Choisy, and threw
round her neck a collar of diamonds and emeralds, worth between fifty
thousand and seventy-five thousand francs. This happened a long time
after the circumstance I have just related.

There was a large sofa in a little room adjoining Madame de Pompadour's,
upon which I often reposed.

One evening, towards midnight, a bat flew into the apartment where the
Court was; the King immediately cried out, "Where is General Crillon?"
(He had just left the room.) "He is the General to command against the
bats." This set everybody calling out, "Ou etais tu, Crillon?" M. de
Crillon soon after came in, and was told where the enemy was. He
immediately threw off his coat, drew his sword, and commenced an attack
upon the bat, which flew into the closet where I was fast asleep. I
started out of sleep at the noise, and saw the King and all the company
around me. This furnished amusement for the rest of the evening. M. de
Crillon was a very excellent and agreeable man, but he had the fault of
indulging in buffooneries of this kind, which, however, were the result
of his natural gaiety, and not of any subserviency of character. Such,
however, was not the case with another exalted nobleman, a Knight of the
Golden Fleece, whom Madame saw one day shaking hands with her valet de
chambre. As he was one of the vainest men at Court, Madame could not
refrain from telling the circumstance to the King; and, as he had no
employment at Court, the King scarcely ever after named him on the Supper

I had a cousin at Saint Cyr, who was married. She was greatly distressed
at having a relation waiting woman to Madame de Pompadour, and often
treated me in the most mortifying manner. Madame knew this from Colin,
her steward, and spoke of it to the King. "I am not surprised at it,"
said he; "this is a specimen of the silly women of Saint Cyr. Madame de
Maintenon had excellent intentions, but she made a great mistake. These
girls are brought up in such a manner, that, unless they are all made
ladies of the palace, they are unhappy and impertinent."

Some time after, this relation of mine was at my house. Colin, who knew
her, though she did not know him, came in. He said to me, "Do you know
that the Prince de Chimay has made a violent attack upon the Chevalier
d'Henin for being equerry to the Marquise." At these words, my cousin
looked very much astonished, and said, "Was he not right?"--"I don't mean
to enter into that question," said Colin--"but only to repeat his words,
which were these: 'If you were only a man of moderately good family and
poor, I should not blame you, knowing, as I do, that there are hundreds
such, who would quarrel for your place, as young ladies of family would,
to be about your mistress. But, recollect, that your relations are
princes of the Empire, and that you bear their name."--"What, sir," said
my relation, "the Marquise's equerry of a princely house?"--"Of the house
of Chimay," said he; "they take the name of Alsace "--witness the
Cardinal of that name. Colin went out delighted at what he had said.

"I cannot get over my surprise at what I have heard," said my relation.
"It is, nevertheless, very true," replied I; "you may see the Chevalier
d'Henin (that is the family name of the Princes de Chimay), with the
cloak of Madame upon his arm, and walking alongside her sedan-chair, in
order that he may be ready, on her getting in, to cover her shoulders
with her cloak, and then remain in the antechamber, if there is no other
room, till her return."

From that time, my cousin let me alone; nay, she even applied to me to
get a company of horse for her husband, who was very loath to come and
thank me. His wife wished him to thank Madame de Pompadour; but the fear
he had lest she should tell him, that it was in consideration of his
relationship to her waiting-woman that he commanded fifty horse,
prevented him. It was, however, a most surprising thing that a man
belonging to the house of Chimay should be in the service of any lady
whatever; and, the commander of Alsace returned from Malta on purpose to
get him out of Madame de Pompadour's household. He got him a pension of
a hundred louis from his family, and the Marquise gave him a company of
horse. The Chevalier d'Henin had been page to the Marechal de
Luxembourg, and one can hardly imagine how he could have put his relation
in such a situation; for, generally speaking, all great houses keep up
the consequence of their members. M. de Machault, the Keeper of the
Seals, had, at the same time, as equerry, a Knight of St. Louis, and a
man of family--the Chevalier de Peribuse--who carried his portfolio, and
walked by the side of the chair.

Whether it was from ambition, or from tenderness, Madame de Pompadour had
a regard for her daughter,--[The daughter of Madame de Pompadour and her
husband, M. d'Atioles. She was called Alexandrine.]--which seemed to
proceed from the bottom of her heart. She was brought up like a
Princess, and, like persons of that rank, was called by her Christian
name alone. The first persons at Court had an eye to this alliance, but
her mother had, perhaps, a better project. The King had a son by Madame
de Vintimille, who resembled him in face, gesture, and manners. He was
called the Comte du -----. Madame de Pompadour had him brought: to
Bellevue. Colin, her steward, was employed to find means to persuade his
tutor to bring him thither. They took some refreshment at the house of
the Swiss, and the Marquise, in the course of her walk, appeared to meet
them by accident. She asked the name of the child, and admired his
beauty. Her daughter came up at the same moment, and Madame de Pompadour
led them into a part of the garden where she knew the King would come.
He did come, and asked the child's name. He was told, and looked
embarrassed when Madame, pointing to them, said they would be a beautiful
couple. The King played with the girl, without appearing to take any
notice of the boy, who, while he was eating some figs and cakes which
were brought, his attitudes and gestures were so like those of the King,
that Madame de Pompadour was in the utmost astonishment. "Ah!" said she,
"Sire, look at --------." --"At what?" said he. "Nothing," replied
Madame, "except that one would think one saw his father."

"I did not know," said the King, smiling, "that you were so intimately
acquainted with the Comte du L------ ."--"You ought to embrace him," said
she, "he is very handsome."--"I will begin, then, with the young lady,"
said the King, and embraced them in a cold, constrained manner. I was
present, having joined Mademoiselle's governess. I remarked to Madame,
in the evening, that the King had not appeared very cordial in his
caresses. "That is his way," said she; "but do not those children appear
made for each other? If it was Louis XIV., he would make a Duc du Maine
of the little boy; I do not ask so much; but a place and a dukedom for
his son is very little; and it is because he is his son that I prefer him
to all the little Dukes of the Court. My grandchildren would blend the
resemblance of their grandfather and grandmother; and this combination,
which I hope to live to see, would, one day, be my greatest delight."
The tears came into her eyes as she spoke. Alas! alas! only six months
elapsed, when her darling daughter, the hope of her advanced years, the
object of her fondest wishes, died suddenly. Madame de Pompadour was
inconsolable, and I must do M. de Marigny the justice to say that he was
deeply afflicted. His niece was beautiful as an angel, and destined to
the highest fortunes, and I always thought that he had formed the design
of marrying her. A dukedom would have given him rank; and that, joined
to his place, and to the wealth which she would have had from her mother,
would have made him a man of great importance. The difference of age was
not sufficient to be a great obstacle. People, as usual, said the young
lady was poisoned; for the unexpected death of persons who command a
large portion of public attention always gives birth to these rumours.
The King shewed great regret, but more for the grief of Madame than on
account of the loss itself, though he had often caressed the child, and
loaded her with presents. I owe it, also, to justice, to say that M. de
Marigny, the heir of all Madame de Pompadour's fortune, after the death
of her daughter, evinced the sincerest and deepest regret every time she
was seriously ill. She, soon after, began to lay plans for his
establishment. Several young ladies of the highest birth were thought
of; and, perhaps, he would have been made a Duke, but his turn of mind
indisposed him for schemes either of marriage or ambition. Ten times he
might have been made Prime Minister, yet he never aspired to it. "That
is a man," said Quesnay to me, one day, "who is very little known; nobody
talks of his talents or acquirements, nor of his zealous and efficient
patronage of the arts: no man, since Colbert, has done so much in his
situation: he is, moreover, an extremely honourable man, but people will
not see in him anything but the brother of the favourite; and, because he
is fat, he is thought dull and heavy." This was all perfectly true.
M. de Marigny had travelled in Italy with very able artists, and had
acquired taste, and much more information than any of his predecessors
had possessed. As for the heaviness of his air, it only came upon him
when he grew fat; before that, he had a delightful face. He was then as
handsome as his sister. He paid court to nobody, had no vanity, and
confined himself to the society of persons with whom he was at his ease.
He went rather more into company at Court after the King had taken him to
ride with him in his carriage, thinking it then his duty to shew himself
among the courtiers.

Madame called me, one day, into her closet, where the King was walking up
and down in a very serious mood. "You must," said she, "pass some days
in a house in the Avenue de St. Cloud, whither I shall send you. You
will there find a young lady about to lie in." The King said nothing,
and I was mute from astonishment. "You will be mistress of the house,
and preside, like one of the fabulous goddesses, at the accouchement.
Your presence is necessary, in order that everything may pass secretly,
and according to the King's wish. You will be present at the baptism,
and name the father and mother." The King began to laugh, and said, "The
father is a very honest man;" Madame added, "beloved by every one, and
adored by those who know him." Madame then took from a little cupboard a
small box, and drew from it an aigrette of diamonds, at the same time
saying to the King, "I have my reasons for it not being handsomer."--
"It is but too much so," said the King; "how kind you are;" and he then
embraced Madame, who wept with emotion, and, putting her hand upon the
King's heart, said, "This is what I wish to secure." The King's eyes
then filled with tears, and I also began weeping, without knowing why.
Afterwards, the King said, "Guimard will call upon you every day, to
assist you with his advice, and at the critical moment you will send for
him. You will say that you expect the sponsors, and a moment after you
will pretend to have received a letter, stating that they cannot come.
You will, of course, affect to be very much embarrassed; and Guimard will
then say that there is nothing for it but to take the first comers. You
will then appoint as godfather and godmother some beggar, or chairman,
and the servant girl of the house, and to whom you will give but twelve
francs, in order not to attract attention."--"A louis," added Madame,
"to obviate anything singular, on the other hand."--"It is you who make
me economical, under certain circumstances," said the King. "Do you
remember the driver of the fiacre? I wanted to give him a LOUIS, and Duc
d'Ayen said, 'You will be known;' so that I gave him a crown." He was
going to tell the whole story. Madame made a sign to him to be silent,
which he obeyed, not without considerable reluctance. She afterwards
told me that at the time of the fetes given on occasion of the Dauphin's
marriage, the King came to see her at her mother's house in a hackney-
coach. The coachman would not go on, and the King would have given him a
LOUIS. "The police will hear of it, if you do," said the Duc d'Ayen,
"and its spies will make inquiries, which will, perhaps, lead to a

"Guimard," continued the King, "will tell you the names of the father and
mother; he will be present at the ceremony, and make the usual presents.
It is but fair that you also should receive yours;" and, as he said this,
he gave me fifty LOUIS, with that gracious air that he could so well
assume upon certain occasions, and which no person in the kingdom had but
himself. I kissed his hand and wept. "You will take care of the
accouchee, will you not? She is a good creature, who has not invented
gunpowder, and I confide her entirely to your direction; my chancellor
will tell you the rest," he said, turning to Madame, and then quitted the
room. "Well, what think you of the part I am playing?" asked Madame.
"It is that of a superior woman, and an excellent friend," I replied.
"It is his heart I wish to secure," said she; "and all those young girls
who have no education will not run away with it from me. I should not be
equally confident were I to see some fine woman belonging to the Court,
or the city, attempt his conquest."

I asked Madame, if the young lady knew that the King was the father of
her child? "I do not think she does," replied she; "but, as he appeared
fond of her, there is some reason to fear that those about her might be
too ready to tell her; otherwise," said she, shrugging her shoulders,
"she, and all the others, are told that he is a Polish nobleman, a
relation of the Queen, who has apartments in the castle." This story was
contrived on account of the cordon bleu, which the King has not always
time to lay aside, because, to do that, he must change his coat, and in
order to account for his having a lodging in the castle so near the King.
There were two little rooms by the side of the chapel, whither the King
retired from his apartment, without being seen by anybody but a sentinel,
who had his orders, and who did not know who passed through those rooms.
The King sometimes went to the Parc-aux-cerfs, or received those young
ladies in the apartments I have mentioned.

I must here interrupt my narrative, to relate a singular adventure, which
is only known to six or seven persons, masters or valets. At the time of
the attempt to assassinate the King, a young girl, whom he had seen
several times, and for whom he had manifested more tenderness than for
most, was distracted at this horrible event. The Mother-Abbess of the
Parc-aux-cerfs perceived her extraordinary grief, and managed so as to
make her confess that she knew the Polish Count was the King of France.
She confessed that she had taken from his pocket two letters, one of
which was from the King of Spain, the other from the Abbe de Brogue.
This was discovered afterwards, for neither she nor the Mother-Abbess
knew the names of the writers. The girl was scolded, and M. Lebel,
first valet de chambre, who had the management of all these affairs,
was called; he took the letters, and carried them to the King, who was
very much embarrassed in what manner to meet a person so well informed of
his condition. The girl in question, having perceived that the King came
secretly to see her companion, while she was neglected, watched his
arrival, and, at the moment he entered with the Abbess, who was about
to withdraw, she rushed distractedly into the room where her rival was.
She immediately threw herself at the King's feet. "Yes," said she, "you
are King of all France; but that would be nothing to me if you were not
also monarch of my heart: do not forsake me, my beloved sovereign; I was
nearly mad when your life was attempted!" The Mother-Abbess cried out,
"You are mad now." The King embraced her, which appeared to restore her
to tranquility. They succeeded in getting her out of the room, and a few
days afterwards the unhappy girl was taken to a madhouse, where she was
treated as if she had been insane, for some days. But she knew well
enough that she was not so, and that the King had really been her lover.
This lamentable affair was related to me by the Mother-Abbess, when I had
some acquaintance with her at the time of the accouchement I have spoken
of, which I never had before, nor since.

To return to my history: Madame de Pompadour said to me, "Be constantly
with the 'accouchee', to prevent any stranger, or even the people of the
house, from speaking to her. You will always say that he is a very rich
Polish nobleman, who is obliged to conceal himself on account of his
relationship to the Queen, who is very devout. You will find a wet-nurse
in the house, to whom you will deliver the child. Guimard will manage
all the rest. You will go to church as a witness; everything must be
conducted as if for a substantial citizen. The young lady expects to lie
in in five or six days; you will dine with her, and will not leave her
till she is in a state of health to return to the Parc-aux-cerfs, which
she may do in a fortnight, as I imagine, without running any risk." I
went, that same evening, to the Avenue de Saint Cloud, where I found the
Abbess and Guimard, an attendant belonging to the castle, but without his
blue coat. There were, besides, a nurse, a wet-nurse, two old men-
servants, and a girl, who was something between a servant and a waiting-
woman. The young lady was extremely pretty, and dressed very elegantly,
though not too remarkably. I supped with her and the Mother-Abbess, who
was called Madame Bertrand. I had presented the aigrette Madame de
Pompadour gave me before supper, which had greatly delighted the young
lady, and she was in high spirits.

Madame Bertrand had been housekeeper to M. Lebel, first valet de chambre
to the King. He called her Dominique, and she was entirely in his
confidence. The young lady chatted with us after supper; she appeared to
be very naive. The next day, I talked to her in private. She said to
me, "How is the Count?" (It was the King whom she called by this title.)
"He will be very sorry not to be with me now; but he was obliged to set
off on a long journey." I assented to what she said. "He is very
handsome," said she, "and loves me with all his heart. He promised me an
allowance; but I love him disinterestedly; and, if he would let me, I
would follow him to Poland." She afterwards talked to me about her
parents, and about M. Lebel, whom she knew by the name of Durand. "My
mother," said she, "kept a large grocer's shop, and my father was a man
of some consequence; he belonged to the Six Corps, and that, as everybody
knows, is an excellent thing. He was twice very near being head-
bailiff." Her mother had become bankrupt at her father's death, but the
Count had come to her assistance, and settled upon her fifteen hundred
francs a year, besides giving her six thousand francs down. On the sixth
day, she was brought to bed, and, according to my instructions, she was
told the child was a girl, though in reality it was a boy; she was soon
to be told that it was dead, in order that no trace of its existence
might remain for a certain time. It was eventually to be restored to its
mother. The King gave each of his children about ten thousand francs a
year. They inherited after each other as they died off, and seven or
eight were already dead. I returned to Madame de Pompadour, to whom I
had written every day by Guimard. The next day, the King sent for me
into the room; he did not say a word as to the business I had been
employed upon; but he gave me a large gold snuff-box, containing two
rouleaux of twenty-five louis each. I curtsied to him, and retired.
Madame asked me a great many questions of the young lady, and laughed
heartily at her simplicity, and at all she had said about the Polish
nobleman. "He is disgusted with the Princess, and, I think, will return
to Poland for ever, in two months."--"And the young lady?" said I.
"She will be married in the country," said she, "with a portion of forty
thousand crowns at the most and a few diamonds." This little adventure,
which initiated me into the King's secrets, far from procuring for me
increased marks of kindness from him, seemed to produce a coldness
towards me; probably because he was ashamed of my knowing his obscure
amours. He was also embarrassed by the services Madame de Pompadour had
rendered him on this occasion.

Besides the little mistresses of the Parc-aux-cerfs, the King had
sometimes intrigues with ladies of the Court, or from Paris, who wrote to
him. There was a Madame de L-----, who, though married to a young and
amiable man, with two hundred thousand francs a year, wished absolutely
to become his mistress. She contrived to have a meeting with him: and
the King, who knew who she was, was persuaded that she was really madly
in love with him. There is no knowing what might have happened, had she
not died. Madame was very much alarmed, and was only relieved by her
death from inquietude. A circumstance took place at this time which
doubled Madame's friendship for me. A rich man, who had a situation in
the Revenue Department, called on me one day very secretly, and told me
that he had something of importance to communicate to Madame la Marquise,
but that he should find himself very much embarrassed in communicating it
to her personally, and that he should prefer acquainting me with it.
He then told me, what I already knew, that he had a very beautiful wife,
of whom he was passionately fond; that having on one occasion perceived
her kissing a little 'porte feuille', he endeavoured to get possession of
it, supposing there was some mystery attached to it. One day that she
suddenly left the room to go upstairs to see her sister, who had been
brought to bed, he took the, opportunity of opening the porte feuille,
and was very much surprised to find in it a portrait of the King, and a
very tender letter written by His Majesty. Of the latter he took a copy,
as also of an unfinished letter of his wife, in which she vehemently
entreated the King to allow her to have the pleasure of an interview--
the means she pointed out. She was to go masked to the public ball at
Versailles, where His Majesty could meet her under favour of a mask.
I assured M. de ------ that I should acquaint Madame with the affair,
who would, no doubt, feel very grateful for the communication. He then
added, "Tell Madame la Marquise that my wife is very clever and very
intriguing. I adore her, and should run distracted were she to be taken
from me." I lost not a moment in acquainting Madame with the affair,
and gave her the letter. She became serious and pensive, and I since
learned that she consulted M. Berrier, Lieutenant of Police, who, by a
very simple but ingeniously conceived plan, put an end to the designs of
this lady. He demanded an audience of the King, and told him that there
was a lady in Paris who was making free with His Majesty's name; that he
had been given the copy of a letter, supposed to have been written by His
Majesty to the lady in question. The copy he put into the King's hands,
who read it in great confusion, and then tore it furiously to pieces.
M. Berrier added, that it was rumoured that this lady was to meet His
Majesty at the public ball, and, at this very moment, it so happened that
a letter was put into the King's hand, which proved to be from the lady,
appointing the meeting; at least, M. Berrier judged so, as the King
appeared very much surprised on reading it, and said, "It must be
allowed, M. le Lieutenant of Police, that you are well informed."
M. Berrier added, "I think it my duty to tell Your Majesty that this lady
passes for a very intriguing person." "I believe," replied the King,
"that it is not without deserving it that she has got that character."

Madame de Pompadour had many vexations in the midst of all her grandeur.
She often received anonymous letters, threatening her with poison or
assassination: her greatest fear, however, was that of being supplanted
by a rival. I never saw her in a greater agitation than, one evening, on
her return from the drawing-room at Marly. She threw down her cloak and
muff, the instant she came in, with an air of ill-humour, and undressed
herself in a hurried manner. Having dismissed her other women, she said
to me, "I think I never saw anybody so insolent as Madame de Coaslin.
I was seated at the same table with her this evening, at a game of
'brelan', and you cannot imagine what I suffered. The men and women
seemed to come in relays to watch us. Madame de Coaslin said two or
three times, looking at me, 'Va tout', in the most insulting manner. I
thought I should have fainted, when she said, in a triumphant tone, I
have the 'brelan' of kings. I wish you had seen her courtesy to me on
parting."--"Did the King," said I, "show her particular attention?"
"You don't know him," said she; "if he were going to lodge her this very
night in my apartment, he would behave coldly to her before people, and
would treat me with the utmost kindness. This is the effect of his
education, for he is, by nature, kind-hearted and frank." Madame de
Pompadour's alarms lasted for some months, when she, one day, said to me,
"That haughty Marquise has missed her aim; she frightened the King by her
grand airs, and was incessantly teasing him for money. Now you, perhaps,
may not know that the King would sign an order for forty thousand LOUIS
without a thought, and would give a hundred out of his little private
treasury with the greatest reluctance. Lebel, who likes me better than
he would a new mistress in my place, either by chance or design had
brought a charming little sultana to the Parc-aux-cerfs, who has cooled
the King a little towards the haughty Vashti, by giving him occupation,
has received a hundred thousand francs, some jewels, and an estate.
Jannette--[The Intendant of Police.]--has rendered me great service, by
showing the King extracts from the letters broken open at the post-
office, concerning the report that Madame de Coaslin was coming into
favour: The King was much impressed by a letter from an old counsellor of
the Parliament, who wrote to one of his friends as follows: 'It is quite
as reasonable that the King should have a female friend and confidante--
as that we, in our several degrees, should so indulge ourselves; but it
is desirable that he should keep the one he has; she is gentle, injures
nobody, and her fortune is made. The one who is now talked of will be as
haughty as high birth can make her. She must have an allowance of a
million francs a year, since she is said to be excessively extravagant;
her relations must be made Dukes, Governors of provinces, and Marshals,
and, in the end, will surround the King, and overawe the Ministers.'"

Madame de Pompadour had this passage, which had been sent to her by M.
Jannette, the Intendant of the Police, who enjoyed the King's entire
confidence. He had carefully watched the King's look, while he read the
letter, and he saw that the arguments of this counsellor, who was not a
disaffected person, made a great impression upon him. Some time
afterwards, Madame de Pompadour said to me, "The haughty Marquise behaved
like Mademoiselle Deschamps,

[A courtesan, distinguished for her charms, and still more so for an
extraordinary proof of patriotism. At a time when the public
Treasury was exhausted, Mademoiselle Deschamps sent all her plate to
the Mint. Louis XIV. boasted of this act of generous devotion to
her country. The Duc d'Ayen made it the subject of a pleasantry,
which detracted nothing from the merit of the sacrifice--but which
is rather too gai for us to venture upon.]

and she is turned off." This was not Madame's only subject of alarm. A
relation of Madame d'Estrades,

[The Comtesse d'Estrades, a relative of M. Normand, and a flatterer
of Madame de Pompadour, who brought her to Court, was secretly in
the pay of the Comte d'Argenson. That Minister, who did not disdain
la Fillon, from whom he extracted useful information, knew all that
passed at the Court of the favourite, by means of Madame d'Estrades,
whose ingratitude and perfidiousness he liberally paid.]

wife to the Marquis de C----, had made the most pointed advances to the
King, much more than were necessary for a man who justly thought himself
the handsomest man in France, and who was, moreover, a King. He was
perfectly persuaded that every woman would yield to the slightest desire
he might deign to manifest. He, therefore, thought it a mere matter of
course that women fell in love with him. M. de Stainville had a hand in
marring the success of that intrigue; and, soon afterwards, the Marquise
de C-----, who was confined to her apartments at Marly, by her relations,
escaped through a closet to a rendezvous, and was caught with a young man
in a corridor. The Spanish Ambassador, coming out of his apartments with
flambeaux, was the person who witnessed this scene. Madame d'Estrades
affected to know nothing of her cousin's intrigues, and kept up an
appearance of the tenderest attachment to Madame de Pompadour, whom she
was habitually betraying. She acted as spy for M. d'Argenson, in the
cabinets, and in Madame de Pompadour's apartments; and, when she could
discover nothing, she had recourse to her invention, in order that she
might not lose her importance with her lover. This Madame d'Estrades
owed her whole existence to the bounties of Madame, and yet, ugly as she
was, she had tried to get the King away from her. One day, when he, had
got rather drunk at Choisy (I think, the only time that, ever happened to
him), he went on board a beautiful barge, whither Madame, being ill of an
indigestion, could not accompany him. Madame d'Estrades seized this
opportunity. She got into the barge, and, on their return, as it was
dark, she followed the King into a private closet, where he was believed
to be sleeping on a couch, and there went somewhat beyond any ordinary
advances to him. Her account of the matter to Madame was, that she had
gone into the closet upon her own affairs, and that the King, had
followed her, and had tried to ravish her. She was at full liberty to
make what story she pleased, for the King knew neither what he had said,
nor what he had done. I shall finish this subject by a short history
concerning a young lady. I had been, one day, to the theatre at
Compiegne. When I returned, Madame asked me several questions about the
play; whether there was much company, and whether I did not see a very
beautiful girl. I replied, "That there was, indeed, a girl in a box near
mine, who was surrounded by all the young men about the Court." She
smiled, and said, "That is Mademoiselle Dorothee; she went, this evening,
to see the King sup in public, and to-morrow she is to be taken to the
hunt. You are surprised to find me so well informed, but I know a great
deal more about her. She was brought here by a Gascon, named Dubarre or
Dubarri, who is the greatest scoundrel in France. He founds all his
hopes of advancement on Mademoiselle Dorothee's charms, which he thinks
the King cannot resist. She is, really, very beautiful.. She was
pointed out to me in my little garden, whither she was taken to walk on
purpose. She is the daughter of a water-carrier, at Strasbourg, and her
charming lover demands to be sent Minister to Cologne, as a beginning."--
"Is it possible, Madame, that you can have been rendered uneasy by such a
creature as that?"--"Nothing is impossible," replied she; "though I think
the King would scarcely dare to give such a scandal. Besides, happily,
Lebel, to quiet his conscience, told the King that the beautiful
Dorothee's lover is infected with a horrid disease;" and, added he, "Your
Majesty would not get rid of that as you have done of the scrofula."
This was quite enough to keep the young lady at a distance.

"I pity you sincerely, Madame," said I, "while everybody else envies
you." "Ah!" replied she, "my life is that of the Christian, a perpetual
warfare. This was not the case with the woman who enjoyed the favour of
Louis XIV. Madame de La Valliere suffered herself to be deceived by
Madame de Montespan, but it was her own fault, or, rather, the effect of
her extreme good nature. She was entirely devoid of suspicion at first,
because she could not believe her friend perfidious. Madame de
Montespan's empire was shaken by Madame de Fontanges, and overthrown by
Madame de Maintenon; but her haughtiness, her caprices, had already
alienated the King. He had not, however, such rivals as mine; it is
true, their baseness is my security. I have, in general, little to fear
but casual infidelities, and the chance that they may not all be
sufficiently transitory for my safety. The King likes variety, but he is
also bound by habit; he fears eclats, and detests manoeuvring women. The
little Marechale (de Mirepoig) one day said to me, 'It is your staircase
that the King loves; he is accustomed to go up and down it. But, if he
found another woman to whom he could talk of hunting and business as he
does to you, it would be just the same to him in three days.'"

I write without plan, order, or date, just as things come into my mind;
and I shall now go to the Abbe de Bernis, whom I liked very much, because
he was good-natured, and treated me kindly. One day, just as Madame de
Pompadour had finished dressing, M. de Noailles asked to speak to her in
private. I, accordingly, retired. The Count looked full of important
business. I heard their conversation, as there was only the door between

"A circumstance has taken place," said he, "which I think it my duty to
communicate to the King; but I would not do so without first informing
you of it, since it concerns one of your friends for whom I have the
utmost regard and respect. The Abbe de Bernis had a mind to shoot, this
morning, and went, with two or three of his people, armed with guns, into
the little park, where the Dauphin would not venture to shoot without
asking the King's permission. The guards, surprised at hearing the
report of guns, ran to the spot, and were greatly astonished at the sight
of M. de Bernis. They very respectfully asked to see his permission,
when they found, to their astonishment, that he had none. They begged of
him to desist, telling him that, if they did their duty, they should
arrest him; but they must, at all events, instantly acquaint me with the
circumstance, as Ranger of the Park of Versailles. They added, that the
King must have heard the firing, and that they begged of him to retire.
The Abbe apologized, on the score of ignorance, and assured them that he
had my permission. 'The Comte de Noailles,' said they, 'could only grant
permission to shoot in the more remote parts, and in the great park.'"
The Count made a great merit of his eagerness to give the earliest
information to Madame. She told him to leave the task of communicating
it to the King to her, and begged of him to say nothing about the matter.
M. de Marigny, who did not like the Abbe, came to see me in the evening;
and I affected to know nothing of the story, and to hear it for the first
time from him. "He must have been out of his senses," said he, "to shoot
under the King's windows,"--and enlarged much on the airs he gave
himself. Madame de Pompadour gave this affair the best colouring she
could the King was, nevertheless, greatly disgusted at it, and twenty
times, since the Abbe's disgrace, when he passed over that part of the
park, he said, "This is where the Abbe took his pleasure." The King
never liked him; and Madame de Pompadour told me one night, after his
disgrace, when I was sitting up with her in her illness, that she saw,
before he had been Minister a week, that he was not fit for his office.
"If that hypocritical Bishop," said she, speaking of the Bishop of
Mirepoix, "had not prevented the King from granting him a pension of four
hundred louis a year, which he had promised me, he would never have been
appointed Ambassador. I should, afterwards, have been able to give him
an income of eight hundred louis a year, perhaps the place of master of
the chapel. Thus he would have been happier, and I should have had
nothing to regret." I took the liberty of saying that I did not agree
with her. That he had yet remaining advantages, of which he could not be
deprived; that his exile would terminate; and that he would then be a
Cardinal, with an income of eight thousand louis a year. "That is true,"
she replied; "but I think of the mortifications he has undergone, and of
the ambition which devours him; and, lastly, I think of myself. I should
have still enjoyed his society, and should have had, in my declining
years, an old and amiable friend, if he had not been Minister." The King
sent him away in anger, and was strongly inclined to refuse him the hat.
M. Quesnay told me, some months afterwards, that the Abbe wanted to be
Prime Minister; that he had drawn up a memorial, setting forth that in
difficult crises the public good required that there should be a central
point (that was his expression), towards which everything should be
directed. Madame de Pompadour would not present the memorial; he
insisted, though she said to him, "You will rain yourself." The King
cast his eyes over it, and said "'central point,'--that is to say
himself, he wants to be Prime Minister." Madame tried to apologize for
him, and said, "That expression might refer to the Marechal de Belle-
Isle."--"Is he not just about to be made Cardinal?" said the King. "This
is a fine manoeuvre; he knows well enough that, by means of that dignity,
he would compel the Ministers to assemble at his house, and then M.
l'Abbe would be the central point. Wherever there is a Cardinal in the
council, he is sure, in the end, to take the lead. Louis XIV., for this
reason, did not choose to admit the Cardinal de Janson into the council,
in spite of his great esteem for him. The Cardinal de Fleury told me the
same thing. He had some desire that the Cardinal de Tencin should
succeed him; but his sister was such an intrigante that Cardinal de
Fleury advised me to have nothing to do with the matter, and I behaved so
as to destroy all his hopes, and to undeceive others. M. d'Argenson has
strongly impressed me with the same opinion, and has succeeded in
destroying all my respect for him." This is what the King said,
according to my friend Quesnay, who, by the bye, was a great genius, as
everybody said, and a very lively, agreeable man. He liked to chat with
me about the country. I had been bred up there, and he used to set me a
talking about the meadows of Normandy and Poitou, the wealth of the
farmers, and the modes of culture. He was the best-natured man in the
world, and the farthest removed from petty intrigue. While he lived at
Court, he was much more occupied with the best manner of cultivating land
than with anything that passed around him. The man whom he esteemed the
most was M. de la Riviere, a Counsellor of Parliament, who was also
Intendant of Martinique; he looked upon him as a man of the greatest
genius, and thought him the only person fit for the financial department
of administration.

The Comtesse d'Estrades, who owed everything to Madame de Pompadour, was
incessantly intriguing against her. She was clever enough to destroy all
proofs of her manoeuvres, but she could not so easily prevent suspicion.
Her intimate connection with M. d'Argenson gave offence to Madame, and,
for some time, she was more reserved with her. She, afterwards, did a
thing which justly irritated the King and Madame. The King, who wrote a
great deal, had written to Madame de Pompadour a long letter concerning
an assembly of the Chambers of Parliament, and had enclosed a letter of
M. Berrien. Madame was ill, and laid those letters on a little table by
her bedside. M. de Gontaut came in, and gossipped about trifles, as
usual. Madame d'Amblimont also came, and stayed but very little time.
Just as I was going to resume a book which I had been reading to Madame,
the Comtesse d'Estrades entered, placed herself near Madame's bed, and
talked to her for some time. As soon as she was gone, Madame called me,
asked what was o'clock, and said, "Order my door to be shut, the King
will soon be here." I gave the order, and returned; and Madame told me
to give her the King's letter, which was on the table with some other
papers. I gave her the papers, and told her there was nothing else. She
was very uneasy at not finding the letter, and, after enumerating the
persons who had been in the room, she said, "It cannot be the little
Countess, nor Gontaut, who has taken this letter. It can only be the
Comtesse d'Estrades;--and that is too bad." The King came, and was
extremely angry, as Madame told me. Two days afterwards, he sent Madame
d'Estrades into exile. There was no doubt that she took the letter; the
King's handwriting had probably awakened her curiosity. This occurrence
gave great pain to M. d'Argenson, who was bound to her, as Madame de
Pompadour said, by his love of intrigue. This redoubled his hatred of
Madame, and she accused him of favouring the publication of a libel, in
which she was represented as a worn-out mistress, reduced to the vile
occupation of providing new objects to please her lover's appetite. She
was characterised as superintendent of the Parc-aux-cerfs, which was said
to cost hundreds of thousands of louis a year. Madame de Pompadour did,
indeed, try to conceal some of the King's weaknesses, but she never knew
one of the sultanas of that seraglio. There were, however, scarcely ever
more than two at once, and often only one. When they married, they
received some jewels, and four thousand louis. The Parc-aux-cerfs was
sometimes vacant for five or six months. I was surprised, some time
after, at seeing the Duchesse de Luynes, Lady of Honour to the Queen,
come privately to see Madame de Pompadour. She afterwards came openly.
One evening, after Madame was in bed, she called me, and said, "My dear,
you will be delighted; the Queen has given me the place of Lady of the
Palace; tomorrow I am to be presented to her: you must make me look
well." I knew that the King was not so well pleased at this as she was;
he was afraid that it would give rise to scandal, and that it might be
thought he had forced this nomination upon the Queen. He had, however,
done no such thing. It had been represented to the Queen that it was an
act of heroism on her part to forget the past; that all scandal would be
obliterated when Madame de Pompadour was seen to belong to the Court in
an honourable manner; and that it would be the best proof that nothing
more than friendship now subsisted between the King and the favourite.
The Queen received her very graciously. The devotees flattered
themselves they should be protected by Madame, and, for some time, were
full of her praises. Several of the Dauphin's friends came in private to
see her, and some obtained promotion. The Chevalier du Muy, however,
refused to come. The King had the greatest possible contempt for them,
and granted them nothing with a good grace. He, one day, said of a man
of great family, who wished to be made Captain of the Guards, "He is a
double spy, who wants to be paid on both sides." This was the moment at
which Madame de Pompadour seemed to me to enjoy the most complete
satisfaction. The devotees came to visit her without scruple, and did
not forget to make use of every opportunity of serving themselves.
Madame de Lu----- had set them the example. The Doctor laughed at this
change in affairs, and was very merry at the expense of the saints.
"You must allow, however, that they are consistent," said I, "and may be
sincere." "Yes," said he; "but then they should not ask for anything."

One day, I was at Doctor Quesnay's, whilst Madame de Pompadour was at the
theatre. The Marquis de Mirabeau

[The author of "L'Ami des Hommes," one of the leaders of the sect of
Economistes, and father of the celebrated Mirabeau. After the death
of Quesnay, the Grand Master of the Order, the Marquis de Mirabeau
was unanimously elected his successor. Mirabeau was not deficient
in a certain enlargement of mind, nor in acquirements, nor even in
patriotism; but his writings are enthusiastical, and show that he
had little more than glimpses of the truth. The Friend of Man was
the enemy of all his family. He beat his servants, and did not pay
them. The reports of the lawsuit with his wife, in 1775, prove that
this philosopher possessed, in the highest possible degree, all the
anti-conjugal qualities. It is said that his eldest son wrote two
contradictory depositions, and was paid by both sides.]

came in, and the conversation was, for some time, extremely tedious to
me, running entirely on 'net produce'; at length, they talked of other

Mirabeau said, "I think the King looks ill, he grows old."--"So much the
worse, a thousand times so much the worse," said Quesnay; "it would be
the greatest possible loss to France if he died;" and he raised his
hands, and sighed deeply. "I do not doubt that you are attached to the
King, and with reason," said Mirabeau: "I am attached to him too; but I
never saw you so much moved."--"Ah!" said Quesnay, "I think of what would
follow."--"Well, the Dauphin is virtuous."--"Yes; and full of good
intentions; nor is he deficient in understanding; but canting hypocrites
would possess an absolute empire over a Prince who regards them as
oracles. The Jesuits would govern the kingdom, as they did at the end of
Louis XIV.'s reign: and you would see the fanatical Bishop of Verdun
Prime Minister, and La Vauguyon all-powerful under some other title.
The Parliaments must then mind how they behave; they will not be better
treated than my friends the philosophers."--"But they go too far," said
Mirabeau; "why openly attack religion?"--"I allow that," replied the
Doctor; "but how is it possible not to be rendered indignant by the
fanaticism of others, and by recollecting all the blood that has flowed
during the last two hundred years? You must not then again irritate
them, and revive in France the time of Mary in England. But what is done
is done, and I often exhort them to be moderate; I wish they would follow
the example of our friend Duclos."--"You are right," replied Mirabeau;
"he said to me a few days ago, 'These philosophers are going on at such a
rate that they will force me to go to vespers and high mass;' but, in
fine, the Dauphin is virtuous, well-informed, and intellectual."--"It is
the commencement of his reign, I fear," said Quesnay, "when the imprudent
proceedings of our friends will be represented to him in the most
unfavourable point of view; when the Jansenists and Molinists will make
common cause, and be strongly supported by the Dauphine. I thought that
M. de Muy was moderate, and that he would temper the headlong fury of the
others; but I heard him say that Voltaire merited condign punishment.
Be assured, sir, that the times of John Huss and Jerome of Prague will
return; but I hope not to live to see it. I approve of Voltaire having
hunted down the Pompignans: were it not for the ridicule with which he
covered them, that bourgeois Marquis would have been preceptor to the
young Princes, and, aided by his brother, would have succeeded in again
lighting the faggots of persecution."--"What ought to give you confidence
in the Dauphin," said Mirabeau, "is, that, notwithstanding the devotion
of Pompignan, he turns him into ridicule. A short time back, seeing him
strutting about with an air of inflated pride, he said to a person, who
told it to me, 'Our friend Pompignan thinks that he is something.'"
On returning home, I wrote down this conversation.

I, one day, found Quesnay in great distress. "Mirabeau," said he, "is
sent to Vincennes, for his work on taxation. The Farmers General have
denounced him, and procured his arrest; his wife is going to throw
herself at the feet of Madame de Pompadour to-day." A few minutes
afterwards, I went into Madame's apartment, to assist at her toilet,
and the Doctor came in. Madame said to him, "You must be much concerned
at the disgrace of your friend Mirabeau. I am sorry for it too, for I
like his brother." Quesnay replied, "I am very far from believing him to
be actuated by bad intentions, Madame; he loves the King and the people."
"Yes," said she; "his 'Ami des Hommes' did him great honour." At this
moment the Lieutenant of Police entered, and Madame said to him, "Have
you seen M. de Mirabeau's book?"--"Yes, Madame; but it was not I who
denounced it?"--"What do you think of it?"--"I think he might have said
almost all it contains with impunity, if he had been more circumspect as
to the manner; there is, among other objectionable passages, this, which
occurs at the beginning: Your Majesty has about twenty millions of
subjects; it is only by means of money that you can obtain their
services, and there is no money."--"What, is there really that, Doctor?"
said Madame. "It is true, they are the first lines in the book, and I
confess that they are imprudent; but, in reading the work, it is clear
that he laments that patriotism is extinct in the hearts of his fellow-
citizens, and that he desires to rekindle it." The King entered: we went
out, and I wrote down on Quesnay's table what I had just heard. I them
returned to finish dressing Madame de Pompadour: she said to me, "The
King is extremely angry with Mirabeau; but I tried to soften him, and so
did the Lieutenant of Police. This will increase Quesnay's fears. Do
you know what he said to me to-day? The King had been talking to him in
my room, and the Doctor appeared timid and agitated. After the King was
gone, I said to him, 'You always seem so embarrassed in the King's
presence, and yet he is so good-natured.'--'I Madame,' said he, 'I left
my native village at the age of forty, and I have very little experience
of the world, nor can I accustom myself to its usages without great
difficulty. When I am in a room with the King, I say to myself, This is
a man who can order my head to be cut off; and that idea embarrasses me.'
--'But do not the King's justice and kindness set you at ease?'--'That is
very true in reasoning,' said he; 'but the sentiment is more prompt, and
inspires me with fear before I have time to say to myself all that is
calculated to allay it.'"

I got her to repeat this conversation, and wrote it down immediately,
that I might not forget it.

An anonymous letter was addressed to the King and Madame de Pompadour;
and, as the author was very anxious that it should not miscarry, he sent
copies to the Lieutenant of Police, sealed and directed to the King, to
Madame de Pompadour, and to M. de Marigny. This letter produced a strong
impression on Madame, and on the King, and still more, I believe, on the
Duc de Choiseul, who had received a similar one. I went on my knees to
M. de Marigny, to prevail on him to allow me to copy it, that I might
show it to the Doctor. It is as follows:

"Sire--It is a zealous servant who writes to Your Majesty. Truth is
always better, particularly to Kings; habituated to flattery, they
see objects only under those colours most likely to please them. I
have reflected, and read much; and here is what my meditations have
suggested to me to lay before Your Majesty. They have accustomed
you to be invisible, and inspired you with a timidity which prevents
you from speaking; thus all direct communication is cut off between
the master and his subjects. Shut up in the interior of your
palace, you are becoming every day like the Emperors of the East;
but see, Sire, their fate! 'I have troops,' Your Majesty will say;
such, also, is their support: but, when the only security of a King
rests upon his troops; when he is only, as one may say, a King of
the soldiers, these latter feel their own strength, and abuse it.
Your finances are in the greatest disorder, and the great majority
of states have perished through this cause. A patriotic spirit
sustained the ancient states, and united all classes for the safety
of their country. In the present times, money has taken the place
of this spirit; it has become the universal lever, and you are in
want of it. A spirit of finance affects every department of the
state; it reigns triumphant at Court; all have become venal; and all
distinction of rank is broken up. Your Ministers are without genius
and capacity since the dismissal of MM. d'Argenson and de Machault.
You alone cannot judge of their incapacity, because they lay before
you what has been prepared by skilful clerks, but which they pass as
their own. They provide only for the necessity of the day, but
there is no spirit of government in their acts. The military
changes that have taken place disgust the troops, and cause the most
deserving officers to resign; a seditious flame has sprung up in the
very bosom of the Parliaments; you seek to corrupt them, and the
remedy is worse than the disease. It is introducing vice into the
sanctuary of justice, and gangrene into the vital parts of the
commonwealth. Would a corrupted Parliament have braved the fury of
the League, in order to preserve the crown for the legitimate
sovereign? Forgetting the maxims of Louis XIV., who well understood
the danger of confiding the administration to noblemen, you have
chosen M. de Choiseul, and even given him three departments; which
is a much heavier burden than that which he would have to support as
Prime Minister, because the latter has only to oversee the details
executed by the Secretaries of State. The public fully appreciate
this dazzling Minister. He is nothing more than a 'petit-maitre',
without talents or information, who has a little phosphorus in his
mind. There is a thing well worthy of remark, Sire; that is, the
open war carried on against religion. Henceforward there can spring
up no new sects, because the general belief has been shaken, that no
one feels inclined to occupy himself with difference of sentiment
upon some of the articles. The Encyclopedists, under pretence of
enlightening mankind, are sapping the foundations of religion.
All the different kinds of liberty are connected; the Philosophers
and the Protestants tend towards republicanism, as well as the
Jansenists. The Philosophers strike at the root, the others lop the
branches; and their efforts, without being concerted, will one day
lay the tree low. Add to these the Economists; whose object is
political liberty, as that of the others is liberty of worship,
and the Government may find itself, in twenty or thirty years,
undermined in every direction, and will then fall with a crash.
If Your Majesty, struck by this picture, but too true, should ask me
for a remedy, I should say, that it is necessary to bring back the
Government to its principles, and, above all, to lose no time in
restoring order to the state of the finances, because the
embarrassments incident to a country in a state of debt necessitate
fresh taxes, which, after grinding the people, induce them towards
revolt. It is my opinion that Your Majesty would do well to appear
more among your people; to shew your approbation of useful services,
and your displeasure of errors and prevarications, and neglect of
duty: in a word, to let it be seen that rewards and punishments,
appointments and dismissals, proceed from yourself. You will then
inspire gratitude by your favours, and fear by your reproaches;
you will then be the object of immediate and personal attachment,
instead of which, everything is now referred to your Ministers.
The confidence in the King, which is habitual to your people,
is shewn by the exclamation, so common among them, 'Ah! if the King
knew it' They love to believe that the King would remedy all their
evils, if he knew of them. But, on the other hand, what sort of
ideas must they form of kings, whose duty it is to be informed of
everything, and to superintend everything, that concerns the public,
but who are, nevertheless, ignorant of everything which the
discharge of their functions requires them to know? 'Rex, roi,
regere, regar, conduire'--to rule, to conduct--these words
sufficiently denote their duties. What would be said of a father
who got rid of the charge of his children as of a burthen?

"A time will come, Sire, when the people shall be enlightened--and
that time is probably approaching. Resume the reins of government,
hold them with a firm hand, and act, so that it cannot be said of
you, 'Faeminas et scorta volvit ammo et haec principatus praemia
putat':--Sire, if I see that my sincere advice should have produced
any change, I shall continue it, and enter into more details; if
not, I shall remain silent."

Now that I am upon the subject of anonymous letters to the King, I must
just mention that it is impossible to conceive how frequent they were.
People were extremely assiduous in telling either unpleasant truths, or
alarming lies, with a view to injure others. As an instance, I shall
transcribe one concerning Voltaire, who paid great court to Madame de
Pompadour when he was in France. This letter was written long after the

"Madame--M. de Voltaire has just dedicated his tragedy of Tancred to
you; this ought to be an offering of respect and gratitude; but it
is, in fact, an insult, and you will form the same opinion of it as
the public has done if you read it with attention. You will see
that this distinguished writer appears to betray a consciousness
that the subject of his encomiums is not worthy of them, and to
endeavour to excuse himself for them to the public. These are his
words: 'I have seen your graces and talents unfold themselves from
your infancy. At all periods of your life I have received proofs of
your uniform and unchanging kindness. If any critic be found to
censure the homage I pay you, he must have a heart formed for
ingratitude. I am under great obligations to you, Madame, and these
obligations it is my duty to proclaim.'

"What do these words really signify, unless that Voltaire feels it
may be thought extraordinary that he should dedicate his work to a
woman who possesses but a small share of the public esteem, and that
the sentiment of gratitude must plead his excuse? Why should he
suppose that the homage he pays you will be censured, whilst we
daily see dedications addressed to silly gossips who have neither
rank nor celebrity, or to women of exceptional conduct, without any
censure being attracted by it?"

M. de Marigny, and Colin, Madame de Pompadour's steward, were of the same
opinion as Quesnay, that the author of this letter was extremely
malicious; that he insulted Madame, and tried to injure Voltaire; but
that he was, in fact, right. Voltaire, from that moment, was entirely
out of favour with Madame, and with the King, and he certainly never
discovered the cause.`

The King, who admired everything of the age of Louis XIV., and
recollected that the Boileaus and Racines had been protected by that
monarch, who was indebted to them, in part, for the lustre of his reign,
was flattered at having such a man as Voltaire among his subjects.
But still he feared him, and had but little esteem for him. He could not
help saying, "Moreover, I have treated him as well as Louis XIV. treated
Racine and Boileau. I have given him, as Louis XIV. gave to Racine,
some pensions, and a place of gentleman in ordinary. It is not my fault
if he has committed absurdities, and has had the pretension to become a
chamberlain, to wear an order, and sup with a King. It is not the
fashion in France; and, as there are here a few more men of wit and
noblemen than in Prussia, it would require that I should have a very
large table to assemble them all at it." And then he reckoned upon his
fingers, Maupertuis, Fontenelle, La Mothe, Voltaire, Piron, Destouches,
Montesquieu, the Cardinal Polignac. "Your Majesty forgets," said some
one, "D'Alembert and Clairaut."--"And Crebillon," said he. "And la
Chaussee, and the younger Crebillon," said some one. "He ought to be
more agreeable than his father."--"And there are also the Abbes Prevot
and d'Olivet."--"Pretty well," said the King; "and for the last twenty
years all that (tout cela) would have dined and supped at my table."

Madame de Pompadour repeated to me this conversation, which I wrote down
the same evening. M. de Marigny, also, talked to me about it.
"Voltaire," said he, "has always had a fancy for being Ambassador, and he
did all he could to make the people believe that he was charged with some
political mission, the first time he visited Prussia."

The people heard of the attempt on the King's life with transports of
fury, and with the greatest distress. Their cries were heard under the
windows of Madame de Pompadour's apartment. Mobs were collected, and
Madame feared the fate of Madame de Chateauroux. Her friends came in,
every minute, to give her intelligence. Her room was, at all times, like
a church; everybody seemed to claim a right to go in and out when he
chose. Some came, under pretence of sympathising, to observe her
countenance and manner. She did nothing but weep and faint away. Doctor
Quesnay never left her, nor did I. M. de St. Florentin came to see her
several times, so did the Comptroller-General, and M. Rouilld; but M. de
Machault did not come. The Duchesse de Brancas came very frequently.
The Abbe de Bernis never left us, except to go to enquire for the King.
The tears came in his eyes whenever he looked at Madame. Doctor Quesnay
saw the King five or six times a day. "There is nothing to fear," said
he to Madame. "If it were anybody else, he might go to a ball." My son
went the next day, as he had done the day the event occurred, to see what
was going on at the Castle. He told us, on his return, that the Keeper
of the Seals was with the King. I sent him back, to see what course he
took on leaving the King. He came running back in half an hour, to tell
me that the Keeper of the Seals had gone to his own house, followed by a
crowd of people. When I told this to Madame, she burst into tears, and
said, "Is that a friend?" The Abbe de Bernis said, "You must not judge
him hastily, in such a moment as this." I returned into the drawing-room
about an hour after, when the Keeper of the Seals entered. He passed me,
with his usual cold and severe look. "How is Madame de Pompadour?" said
he. "Alas!" replied I, "as you may imagine!" He passed on to her
closet. Everybody retired, and he remained for half an hour. The Abbe
returned and Madame rang. I went into her room, the Abbe following me.
She was in tears. "I must go, my dear Abbe," said she. I made her take
some orange-flower water, in a silver goblet, for her teeth chattered.
She then told me to call her equerry. He came in, and she calmly gave
him her orders, to have everything prepared at her hotel, in Paris; to
tell all her people to get ready to go; and to desire her coachman not to
be out of the way. She then shut herself up, to confer with the Abbe de
Bernis, who left her, to go to the Council. Her door was then shut,
except to the ladies with whom she was particularly intimate, M. de
Soubise, M. de Gontaut, the Ministers, and some others. Several ladies,
in the greatest distress, came to talk to me in my room: they compared
the conduct of M. de Machault with that of M. de Richelieu, at Metz.
Madame had related to them the circumstances extremely to the honour of
the Duke, and, by contrast, the severest satire on the Keeper of the
Seals. "He thinks, or pretends to think," said she, "that the priests
will be clamorous for my dismissal; but Quesnay and all the physicians
declare that there is not the slightest danger." Madame having sent for
me, I saw the Marechale de Mirepoix coming in. While she was at the
door, she cried out, "What are all those trunks, Madame? Your people
tell me you are going."--"Alas! my dear friend, such is our Master's
desire, as M. de Machault tells me."--"And what does he advise?" said
the Marechale. "That I should go without delay." During this
conversation, I was undressing Madame, who wished to be at her ease on
her chaise-longue. "Your Beeper of the Seals wants to get the power into
his own hands, and betrays you; he who quits the field loses it." I went
out. M. de Soubise entered, then the Abbe and M. de Marigny. The
latter, who was very kind to me, came into my room an hour afterwards.
I was alone. "She will remain," said he; "but, hush!--she will make an
appearance of going, in order not to set her enemies at work. It is the
little Marechale who prevailed upon her to stay: her keeper (so she
called M. de Machault) will pay for it." Quesnay came in, and, having
heard what was said, with his monkey airs, began to relate a fable of a
fox, who, being at dinner with other beasts, persuaded one of them that
his enemies were seeking him, in order that he might get possession of
his share in his absence. I did not see Madame again till very late, at
her going to bed. She was more calm. Things improved, from day to day,
and de Machault, the faithless friend, was dismissed. The King returned
to Madame de Pompadour, as usual. I learnt, by M. de Marigny, that the
Abbe had been, one day, with M. d'Argenson, to endeavour to persuade him
to live on friendly terms with Madame, and that he had been very coldly
received. "He is the more arrogant," said he, "on account of Machault's
dismissal, which leaves the field clear for him, who has more experience,
and more talent; and I fear that he will, therefore, be disposed to
declare war till death." The next day, Madame having ordered her chaise,
I was curious to know where she was going, for she went out but little,
except to church, and to the houses of the Ministers. I was told that
she was gone to visit M. d'Argenson. She returned in an hour, at
farthest, and seemed very much out of spirits. She leaned on the
chimneypiece, with her eyes fixed on the border of it. M. de Bernis
entered. I waited for her to take off her cloak and gloves. She had her
hands in her muff. The Abbe stood looking at her for some minutes; at
last he said, "You look like a sheep in a reflecting mood." She awoke
from her reverie, and, throwing her muff on the easy-chair, replied,
"It is a wolf who makes the sheep reflect." I went out: the King entered
shortly after, and I heard Madame de Pompadour sobbing. The Abbe came
into my room, and told me to bring some Hoffman's drops: the King himself
mixed the draught with sugar, and presented it to her in the kindest
manner possible. She smiled, and kissed the King's hands. I left the
room. Two days after, very early in the morning, I heard of M.
d'Argenson's exile. It was her doing, and was, indeed, the strongest
proof of her influence that could be given. The King was much attached
to M. d'Argenson, and the war, then carrying on, both by sea and land,
rendered the dismissal of two such Ministers extremely imprudent. This
was the universal opinion at the time.

Many people talk of the letter of the Comte d'Argenson to Madame
d'Esparbes. I give it, according to the most correct version:

"The doubtful is, at length, decided. The Keeper of the Seals is
dismissed. You will be recalled, my dear Countess, and we shall be
masters of the field."

It is much less generally known that Arboulin, whom Madame calls Bou-bou,
was supposed to be the person who, on the very day of the dismissal of
the Keeper of the Seals, bribed the Count's confidential courier, who
gave him this letter. Is this report founded on truth? I cannot swear
that it is; but it is asserted that the letter is written in the Count's
style. Besides, who could so immediately have invented it? It, however,
appeared certain, from the extreme displeasure of the King, that he had
some other subject of complaint against M. d'Argenson, besides his
refusing to be reconciled with Madame. Nobody dares to show the
slightest attachment to the disgraced Minister. I asked the ladies who
were most intimate with Madame de Pompadour, as well as my own friends,
what they knew of the matter; but they knew nothing. I can understand
why Madame did not let them into her confidence at that moment. She will
be less reserved in time. I care very little about it, since I see that
she is well, and appears happy.

The King said a thing, which did him honour, to a person whose name
Madame withheld from me. A nobleman, who had been a most assiduous
courtier of the Count, said, rubbing his hands with an air of great joy,
"I have just seen the Comte d'Argenson's baggage set out." When the King
heard him, he went up to Madame, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "And
immediately the cock crew."

"I believe this is taken from Scripture, where Peter denies Our Lord. I
confess, this circumstance gave me great pleasure. It showed that the
King is not the dupe of those around him, and that he hates treachery and


A liar ought to have a good memory
Because he is fat, he is thought dull and heavy
Danger of confiding the administration to noblemen
Do not repulse him in his fond moments
He who quits the field loses it
Money the universal lever, and you are in want of it
Offering you the spectacle of my miseries
Sentiment is more prompt, and inspires me with fear
Sworn that she had thought of nothing but you all her life
To despise money, is to despise happiness, liberty...
We look upon you as a cat, or a dog, and go on talking
When the only security of a King rests upon his troops
You tell me bad news: having packed up, I had rather go


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