"Is it possible?" exclaimed I. "And can you really suppose the king believed he spoke to me for the last time?"
"I have not the slightest doubt of it; I have known him for many a day. He remembers the scene of Metz, and looks upon you as
forming the second edition of the poor duchesse de Chateauroux, who, by the by, was not equal to you in any respect."
I burst into a fit of tears, but not of regret for having allowed my late interview with the king to pass in so unprofitable a manner. However, the marechale, misconceiving the cause of this burst of grief, exclaimed, "Come, come; it is too late now, and all your sorrow cannot recall the last half-hour. But, mademoiselle du Barry," continued she, "I advise you to commence your packing up at once, that when the grand move comes you may not in your hurry, leave anything behind you."
These remarks increased my affliction, but the marechale had no intention of wounding my feelings, and worldly-minded as she was, considered all that could be saved out of the wreck as the only subject worthy attention. Meanwhile, comte Jean, with a gloomy and desponding air, continued silently with folded arms to pace the room, till all at once, as if suddenly struck by the arguments of madame de Mirepoix, he exclaimed,
"The marechale is right"; and abruptly quitted the apartment, as if to commence his own preparations.
Ere madame de Mirepoix had left me and she remained till a late hour, the ducs d'Aiguillon and de Cosse arrived, who, although less experienced in their knowledge of the king's character, were yet fully of her opinion respecting my last visit to him.
Scarcely had these visitors withdrawn, than I was apprized that the chancellor of France desired to see me. He was admitted, and the first glance of the countenance of M. de Maupeou convinced me that our day of power was rapidly closing.
"Your servant, cousin," said he, seating himself without the smallest ceremony; "at what page of our history have we arrived?"
"By the unusual freedom and effrontery of your manner," answered I, "I should surmise that we have reached the word finis."
"Oh," replied the chancellor, "I crave your pardon for having omitted my best bow; but, my good cousin, my present visit is a friendly one, to advise you to burn your papers with as little delay as possible."
"Thank you for your considerate counsel," said I, coolly, " but I have no papers to destroy. I have neither mixed with any state intrigue, nor received a pension from the English government. Nothing will be found in my drawers but some unanswered billets-doux."
"Then as I can do nothing for you, my good cousin, oblige me by giving this paper to the duc d'Aiguillon."
"What is it?" inquired I, with much curiosity.
"Have you forgotten our mutual engagement to support each other, and not to quit the ministry until the other retired also? I have lately been compelled (from perceiving how deeply the duke was manoeuvering against me) to send him a copy of this agreement. Under other circumstances I might have availed myself of this writing, but now it matters not; the blow which dismisses me proceeds from other hands than his, and I am willing to leave him the consolation of remaining in power a few days after myself. Give him, then, this useless document; and now, farewell, my pretty cousin, let us take a last embrace."
Upon which the chancellor, presuming until the last upon our imaginary relationship, kissed my cheek, and having put into my hands the paper in question, retired with a profound bow.
This ironical leave taking left me stupefied with astonishment, and well I presaged my coming disgrace from the absurd mummery the chancellor had thought fit to play off.
Comte Jean, who had seen M. de Maupeou quit the house, entered my apartment to inquire the reason of his visit. Silent and dejected, I allowed my brother-in-law to take up the paper, which he read without any ceremony. "What is the meaning of this scrawl?" cried comte Jean, with one of his usual oaths; "upon my word our cousin is a fine fellow," continued he, crushing the paper between his fingers. "I'll engage that he still hopes to keep his place; however, one thing consoles me, and that is, that both he and his parliament will soon be sent to the right about."
Our conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Chamilly, who came to acquaint me that the king was sleeping, and did not wish to be again disturbed that night. Remembering my usual omnipotence in the chateau, I was about, like a true idiot, to prove to Chamilly that the king's interdict did not extend to me, when I was stopped in my purpose by the appearance of the duc d'Aiguillon; and as it was now nearly eleven o'clock at night, I could scarcely doubt his being the bearer of some extraordinary message.
Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry -by- Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon