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The joy of the Louernes was only equalled by the base calumny of my enemies, who accused me of having prepared this scene, which was got up by the king and myself to produce effect and excite popularity. Could such disgusting falsehoods have entered the minds of any but the most depraved? Yet those who continually watched and misrepresented my least action appeared anxious to deprive me of even the taste for, as well as the power of, doing good. This took place at Choisy, which we very shortly after quitted for Compiegne, where I passed my time very agreeably. The king would not suffer either the duchesse de Grammont or the comtesses d'Egmont and de Brienne to accompany us upon this excursion. It has likewise been asserted, that neither the duchesse de Grammont nor the princesse de Beauvau was present during the king's first visit to Chantilly: that is not correct; it was at the second that they were forbidden by Louis to join the party. Those who fabricated such accounts, in all probability derived their information from either the stable or the kitchen, which was all they knew of the court of Louis XV.
During my abode at Compiegne I dined several times at the house of my brother-in-law, Cleon du Barry, then a captain in the regiment de Beauce, who was, with a detachment, quartered in the neighborhood of the castle; and he, with the rest of his brother officers, vied in endeavors to please and amuse me. They gave fetes in my honor, were perpetually devising fresh schemes to render the place agreeable to me; and in that they perfectly succeeded, for I quitted Compiegne with no other regret than that my stay there was at an end.
The king appeared each day more and more solicitous to render me happy, and even anticipated any wishes I might form. Amongst other marks of his favor, he bestowed upon me the splendid pavilion de Lucienne, sold by the duc de Penthievre after the death of his son, the prince de Lamballe. You know this charming spot, which both nature and art have so liberally contributed to adorn: I have converted it into the most perfect and delightful habitation in which a mortal could desire to end her days. Nevertheless, this hope of passing my life tranquilly and happily within its sheltering bosom will prove but fallacious, if I may credit a prediction which has been verified already in part. You doubtlessly remember the young man who so obstinately pursued me to announce the high destiny to which I should attain, ere I had for one moment contemplated such an elevation. Well! You will scarcely credit me when I declare, that all recollection of him had entirely escaped me; but, in truth, the constant vortex of a court life leaves no time for the recollection of the past, and fills our minds with no other ideas but to provide for the present, and occasionally to glance at the future.
However, I thought no more of my young prophet, when one Sunday, after my return to Versailles from Compiegne, I attended mass at the castle; all at once I caught a glimpse of my mysterious acquaintance, leaning his back against the wall behind the altar. He was examining my countenance with a deep and fixed attention. You may picture to yourself my astonishment and surprise at recognising in this place the person who had so long ago foretold my brilliant destiny. The color rushed to my cheeks, and he could distinctly observe how much I was agitated by his presence, and his beautiful countenance was lit up with a pleasant smile; after which he gracefully waved his hand round his head as tho' he would say, "Are you not queen of France?" This gesture excited my astonishment still further; however, I returned his mute inquiry by a slight inclination of the head, intended to say, "You are right." In a moment a sort of cloud seemed to cover my eyes. So soon as I could recover from the sudden dimness which obscured my vision, I endeavored to bend my looks in an opposite direction; for so greatly was I the point of general observation, that I feared to awaken suspicion by an indiscreet attention to one particular person or place: and when after some little time had elapsed, and I ventured to turn my eyes again to the spot where the young man had been standing, he had disappeared.
I was unable to recover my astonishment at the whole affair, and the suddenness of his departure inspired me with a lively desire to know more of him, whether he were man or demon. I mentioned it to Chon the same day, who, having listened to me with extreme attention, "Upon my word," said she, "this is a most marvellous event in your history. Why do you not mention the fact to M. de Sartines? "
"Because it appears to me folly to disturb or annoy a person who has given me no offence; and were I to put him into the hands of the police, I might possibly find reason to repent having acted so. On the other hand, I would give any sum of money for one more interview with this wonderful person."
There the conversation ended; but my sister-in-law, by an unpardonable curiosity she ought not to have indulged in, wrote, unknown to me, to the lieutenant of the police, entreating of him to use the most active measures to trace out the object of my curiosity. M. de Sartines delighted at having an opportunity of proving to me and mine his skill and zeal, turned all his bloodhounds loose upon the track of this unfortunate being. During these proceedings I received a letter, sealed with five black seals, bearing the impress of a death's head. I thought at first that it was to notify the decease of some friend, and I looked upon the style as gloomy as it was strange; but, upon opening it, I found it to contain the following words:--
"MADAME LA COMTESSE,--I am perfectly aware that the strict pursuit made after me in your name is without your knowledge or sanction: those sent in search of me have spared no pains nor trouble to ascertain my name and abode. My abode! Let all as they value themselves avoid meeting me there; for, when they enter it, it will be never to quit it more. Who am I? That can only be known when this life has been exchanged for another. I charge you, madame, to command the lieutenant, M. de Sartines., to cease his researches after me; they would be fruitless, and might only compromise your safety. Remember, I predicted your good fortune; was I not correct in it? I have also foretold reverses: I am equally correct in them also. You will see me twice more; and should I unfortunately cross your path a third time, prepare to bid adieu to the light of heaven and the pleasures of this world."
It is impossible to convey an idea of the excessive terror with which I was filled upon the perusal of this billet. I summoned my sister-in-law, and complained of the harshness of conduct thus adopted against my pleasure. Chon was equally alarmed, and confessed to me what she had done in asking the aid of M. de Sartines; at the same time that she was the first to declare that it was requisite to put an end to all further search, which, in one shape or other, might bring on the most fatal consequences. I therefore wrote myself to M. de Sartines, thanking him for his exertions; but saying, that my sister-in-law and myself had learned from the lips of the mysterious stranger all we were desirous of knowing, and that any future researches being unpleasant to him would be equally disagreeable to me. M. de Sartines obeyed my request; and from that period till the death of the king I heard no more of this singular personage.
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Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry -by- Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon