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with Mademoiselle Lançon at her side, and surrounded by a number of young noblemen, more or less dissipated. As he drew near the table, tho apartment was absolutely illuminated by the splendour of the jewel, which he displayed in an easy, careless way.

“ Heavens?" exclaimed Mademoiselle Lançon, “what a superb diamond you have on your finger !" “ It is

yours, mademoiselle,” replied De Baudron, with the magnificent air of Louis the Fourteenth ; " pray accept it as a souvenir ; only, allow me myself to deposit it to-morrow morning on your nécessaire at the hour of your toilet.”

La Gourdan made a sign to her young protégée, who gave no reply, but it was answer enough for the marquis, who knew the ways of the house too well to be surprised at the quiet reception of his proposition. Appearing however suddenly to recollect himself, and returning to the terms of the negotiation already so far advanced, he requested Mademoiselle Lançon would permit him to put off till the day after the honour of the visit which he had promised himself for the morrow. He was in despair, but had just remembered that on the following day he was obliged to attend the court at Fontainebleau. On Thursday, at the hour of her toilette, he would present himself; till then he begged her to believe him her devoted servant. The Marquis de Baudron then sat down to play, and the evening passed off as usual. The next morning he went the first thing to a jeweller's on the Pont-au-Change, and ordered him to make him immediately a paste ring exactly similar in shape, in size, and in brilliancy to that which he wore. The jeweller followed his instructions, and in a few hours returned him a duplicate of his famous diamond.

Thursday came, and M. de Baudron was admitted without difficulty to the toilette of Mademoiselle Lançon. When he left her cabinet he no longer wore his splendid ring. He was scarcely out of the house before Madame Gourdan called in a dealer in precious stones to value for her the marquis's diamond, which she estimated at not less than 200 iouis. At the first glance the jeweller said it was a false one, and not worth 200

The rage of the deceived matron was beyond expression; she formed a thousand plans for being revenged, but could fix on none for fear of giving publicity to the trick that had been played her. She resolved, therefore to hold her

peace. The same evening there was play again in the saloon at Madame Gourdan's and the marquis had the audacity to make his appearance there. The first person he saluted was Mademoiselle Lançon who, hastily restoring his ring, said in a tone of indignation : “ It is as false as yourself!"

A few minutes after this scene, which had passed almost in dumb show, the narquis quietly slipped the paste ring into his pocket and substituted the brilliant on his finger, which was again admired by the players, who were ravished at the incomparable beauty of the diamond.

“ You joke,” said the marquis, “ this diamond is false ; it has been declared to be so in this house, where they know what they say."

“False !" cried a connoisseur, “I'll bet fifty--a hundred pistoles that the diamond is one of the finest water."

The bet was taken—some of the first jewellers in Paris were called in, who all declared that the diamond was worth 200 louis! The confusion and shame of Madame Gourdan and Mademoiselle Lançon were extreme.


They did not know how sufficiently to express their regret. The marquis took compassion on them.

“ To-morrow,” said he, " you shall have the ring back again. Shall it be at the same hour as before ?"

This proposal was readily accepted ; and on the following day Mademoiselle Lançon for the second time was made a present of the false diamond. The Marquis de Baudron won his wager twice over, for he had twice deceived La Gourdan and her pupil.

To return to the connexion of Mademoiselle Lançon with Count Jean du Barri. –The roué soon fell in love with her, and she, it appears, returned his passion sincerely; the proof adduced is that he used often to beat her, and she never ran away from him. The truth is, with all his brutality he exercised an unbounded influence over her mind and was able to make her the willing agent of all his schemes, for he was as inventive as he was coarse and dissipated. He was not content that she should merely love himself, but resolved to make her the instrument to advance his fortunes, and he succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations. He was one of those few whom neither the excitement of gaming, the attractions of the table, or the thralls of love could keep from the consideration of his own interests. Constantly at the ear of his mistress, whose name, immediately she came to live with him, he changed from Lançon to L'Ange, he breathed his own nature into her soul ; he compelled her to think and act only through him, and walk in his footsteps, and in this manner made her a stepping-stone by whose means he reached the foot of the throne itself without becoming giddy with the height or faltering for one single instant.

In the year 1768, Lebel, the first valet-de-chambre of the king, accidentally met with Jean du Barri. Lebel was the confidant of all the king's amours, and to him the infamy is due of having founded the Parc-aux-Cerfs at Versailles. Louis XV. was growing old, and had become difficult to please. He yearned for the unknown, and Lebel exerted all the faculties of his invention to discover it for him. He related his anxiety to Jean du Barri, and the astute Gascon at once conceived an idea worthy of his character. He invited the valet-de-chambre to a dinner, at which his docile mistress was present, decorated for the nonce with the title of Countess du Barri, though, as he was already married, she could not be his wife, and had not yet seen his brother, whose name she was really destined to take; but Count Jean was skilfully preparing the future. The word impossible found no place in his vocabulary. What he foresaw, took place ; Lebel, though blasé, like his master, was in raptures of admiration, and gave

free utterance to his unbounded praises of the beauty, the inexperienced youth, and the charming gaiety of the Countess du Barri. He at once decided in his own mind that the treasure he had long been seeking was now found, and before he quitted Jean du Barri that day the affair was settled between them.

The picture which Lebel drew for the king of the marvel he had discovered was such as at once to induce Louis to desire to see her, himself unseen the while. It was agreed upon, therefore, between Lebel and Jean du Barri, that at a supper of roués to be given by the latter, the king, concealed behind some tapestry, should gaze his fill on the soi,disant countess of whom the valet-de-chambre spoke with much respect, and

June.-VOL. LXXXIII, No. cccxxx.


whose education it, consequently, became necessary to hasten. The two preceptors, therefore, counselled her to speak only with extreme reserve throughout this mysterious supper, to forget entirely the tone of the Rue de la Feronnerie and the Rue des Deux Portes, not to burst into fits of laughter, scarcely even to smile, to use very moderate gestures, to jest but little, and above all things to avoid a certain free description of speaking, very picturesque in itself, but rarely heard in high society-in short, to appear dignified and reserved, and behave exactly like a real countess, to which character she might lay claim without sacrificing one jot of grace, wit, or abandon.

This, no doubt, was very sage counsel, but if it had been implicitly followed, the annals of France might have been unstained by the name of Du Barri ; it, however, happened otherwise, a sudden thought coming into the head of Mademoiselle Lançon that determined her fate. It was one of those rapid resolves which give the colour to a whole existence. In the midst of the supper, throwing the advice of Lebel and Jean du Barri to the winds, she abandoned herself to her natural disposition, without giving a moment's heed to the thought that the king was hidden behind the tapestry; she cast aside all ideas of modesty and reserve, and plunged headlong into the dissipation of the scene, rivalling the wildest present in the enjoyment of the moment. Jean du Barri and Lebel thought every thing was lost by her imprudence. “What,” said they," would the king think of her ?” The monarch was ravished, transported, he burnt to throw down the barrier that separated him from one so singularly new to him ; he had discovered a new world in the language and gestures which she made use of. Hitherto he had known only vice--now he had a glimpse of something beyond it, and it added a zest to sated pleasure.

On that very evening Jeanne Vaubernier took the place of Madame de Pompadour in the history of France. It is said, that the Duke de Richelieu was no stranger to this negotiation ; but his participation is, to say the least, doubtful. He took the ball at the bound, but he did not set it in motion ; and what proves the fact is, that the Duke de Choiseul, his implacable rival and enemy, never once accused him of having got up an intrigue which he accused him of turning so much to his account. It is true that the Duke de Richelieu was the first to profit by the Du Barri affair, but he was not the instigator of it. The first

appearance of her who was shortly to be known as Madame du Barri, took place on the occasion of the king's journey to Compiègne. Her greatness dates from that event, which was not without importance.

The movements of the king were always closely observed ; the court and the noblesse de service, or, as we should say, the lords and ladies in waiting, followed him at all times; and Madame du Barri did not hesitate to make her appearance at Compiègne with a brilliant but showy equipage and establishment ; her enemies, however, admit that this did not excite much scandal, but they say that, if she kept within bounds, the merit was less on her part than on that of the king, who was at the time in deep mourning for the

queen, and conducted his intimacy with the favourite with some appearance

of reserve. The only person that took fright at perceiving the king's attachment, which he had meant only to minister to a momentary caprice, was Lebel; he threw himself at the feet of his master, and confessed all he knew to him of the past life of Jeanne Vaubernier. The king turned a deaf ear to his explanations ; Lebel repeated his assertions, wept, and

entreated, and entering into a full disclosure respecting the Rues des Deux Portes and de la Feronnerie, adding,

“Sire, I have deceived you ; she is not even married !"

“So much the worse," replied the king ; “ let her be married at once, lest I commit an act of folly.”

A short time after this scene, Lebel died, and, it is said, of poison. But this seems very unlikely, for what motive was there for getting rid of him ? It could not be the fear of any revelations he might make, for it was equally in the power of Jeanne du Barri, and the roués of the supper party to have made the same disclosure. Besides, at the moment when Lebel died, the elevation of Madame du Barri was still a fact to be accomplished, and as the witty French biographer, from whom we partially derive our account, says, he died because scoundrels have no greater privilege than honest men in choosing the precise time of their death.

But however dissolute the court might have been, and in spite of the king's contempt for public opinion, neither the one nor the other dared to acknowledge a favourite who had near her no father, brother, or husband to throw over her conduct the shadow of protection or responsibility. The situation was unexampled. It was necessary that the favourite should have a husband. Jean du Barri, himself, could not marry her, having a wife already ; but he had a brother, Guillaume, and him he proposed. This brother made his conditions. He was a spendthrift, a libertine, and a gambler, but without the capacity of Jean du Barri. He was offered as large a sum as he chose to name to accept the purely honorary title of husband ; he accepted the terms, and the marriage took place in the church of Saint Laurent, in the Faubourg Saint Martin at Paris, on the 1st of September, 1768; the notary who drew up the articles, for no formality was omitted, was named Le Pot d'Auteuil.

Henceforward, the king might, without scandal, become the possessor of Madame du Barri, since she was now the legitimate wife of another, and court morality was fully satisfied. As to the nominal husband, of whom it is scarcely necessary to speak, he returned to Toulouse after having exchanged a commodity which had never been his—for a heap of gold, which was not long to remain in his possession.

Those who are curious to know any thing further in connexion with him, may be satisfied by learning that a natural son of the husband of Madame du Barri served with distinction under the empire, and that at the present day there are still members of his family resident at Toulouse and Pompignan.

But the actual supremacy of Madame du Barri was far from dating from the day on which she became the mistress of Louis XV. In spite of what the poet has said, that

When Fortune gives, she gives with both hands full, she usually leaves something to crown the happiness of her favourites which she reserves for a time. This was the case in the present instance There was one-a woman, a rival, an intrigante, restless, jealous, wittyin a word the sister of the Duke de Choiseul, the minister of Louis XV., who had the boldness to protest against the election of the new favourite. She was one of those peculiarly delicate personages who think not that it is improper for a king to have a mistress-on the contrary, they look upon that as quite a natural proceeding-but that his mistress ought to be chosen from amongst the ranks of the nobility. The Duchess de Gram


mont, the sister of the most influential minister who had ever served the king, believed herself powerful enough to raise the standard of revolt, and looked upon her victory as certain. The king was much attached to M. de Choiseul, for the minister possessed the art of disguising business under the aspect of pleasure ; he spoke of the most serious and difficult affairs in

light and easy manner, never touching upon them save at a ball, a hunting party, or a supper ; he just skimmed the surface, incidentally adverted to them in the course of conversation, and dismissed them with some witty, epigrammatic remark. A bon mot softened the disagreeable impression caused by bad tidings, a madrigal was the precursor of a new tax. His policy coquetted in rouge and patches, but neither prevented him from getting rid of the Jesuits.

The Du Barri party tried to make advances to the Choiseuls ; the latter bristled up at the familiarity. What, said they, did people such as these want with them? The Duchess de Grammont did not content herself, like her brother, by repelling them with contempt; she became bitterly indignant, burst forth into a violent rage and rushed like a fury from château to château, from hotel to hotel, from door to door, to rally the ban and arrière-ban of the nobility against this impudent, unrecognised, nameless woman, a creature sprung from the pavés of Paris, between a market and a charnel house. She proclaimed all she knew of her history, and more, tore off every shred of respectability that veiled her, calumniated, turned her into ridicule, exposed her real position in every society, paid journalists to abuse her in the daily papers, and every ephemeral publication, and finally by dint of her influence over M. de Sartines, the lieutenant-general of police, obtained his consent, express or tacitly implied, to publish an infamous song against Madame du Barri which, sung to the air of La Bourbonnaise, soon became popular not only in Paris, but throughout France. The nature of this song is such as to admit only of our quoting the following verse :

En maison bonne
Elle a pris des leçons ;
Elle a pris des leçons

En maison bonne,
Chez Gourdan, chez Brisson ;

Elle en sait long. It was a cunning trick thus to make use of the popular voice to direct attacks against the monarch who forgot every thing in the arms of a detested favourite ; the people were the waves, the Choiseuls the wind; the wind raised the tempest, but remained invisible. What means had Madame du Barri to defend herself against this general outburst ? In the first place, by her youth and beauty, and Madame de Grammont was no longer young, and what beauty she once had was gone ; in the next by the Chancellor, M. de Maupeou, as a set-off against M. de Choiseul. The minister who supported Madame de Grammont was a duke, Madame du Barri had hers also ; there were even two enlisted on her side, the Duke d'Aiguillon and the Duke de Richelieu. The nobility were for Madame de Grammont; on the part of Madame du Barri were the literary men, the poets, the artists, and almost all the philosophers. France sided with Madame de Grammont, the king with her rival. War was declared between the two parties, a long, a terrible, and an envenomed war, such as is the war of woman, an imprudent war, for every blow aimed at the

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