Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Authentic Memoirs of the Life of Madam La Comtesse de BARRE.

With a beautiful and striking Likeness of that celebrated Courtezan.

This

He great share the amour of claiming for a countrywoman, the mistress had in the cause of several public transac- fhine of favour has wained upon her, peotions, and the disgrace of that lady lince ple are not afraid to speak the truth withthe death of that prince, may well out disguise, and the public may now be make the public fomewhat inquisitive in acquainted with the real tranfa&ions of regard to the life and adventures of that her chequered life. lady; and we are glad we have it in our In the year 1742 Marie Barbe Combepower to satisfy the curiosity of our read- jean was cook in the family of Moners, with the following authentic me sieur Laval, an old advocate of the parmoirs, which came from undoubted au liament of Paris. She was a very pretty dority.

smart girl, a native of Crotoy, in the proWhilft he was in the zenith of her vince of Picardy. After some time the power, the court sycophants neither said was perceived to grow bulky, she quited or wrote any thing about her that could her service, and at length was delivered be, in the smallest manner, disagreeable; of a girl, at the house of one Grelot, on the contrary nothing but panegyric a revendeuse, or feller of old cloaths, in and adulation was produced, although the Halle of Paris. As Marie Barbe had nine tenths of the inhabitants of Paris never been married, there were many concould from their own knowledge contra- jectures about the father of the child ; diet every Battering assertion of her birth some would give that honour to her mafand course of life. Many people said ter, but he, alas! was turned of eighty. she was the daughter of an Irish officer Some guessed one servant of the family, of the name of Barry; but her name was and some another, but an exclamation of really derived from her husband : others the fair cook, whilft in labour, put the said that husband was an Irish officer faddle on the right horse, she was heard himself. And there were not wanting frequently to cry out, in the extremity of some of that nation who took a pride in her pain, o Pere Ange! Pere Ange! July. 1774.

A a a

ge

[ocr errors]

que tu as tort de me faire tant souffrir! - before he transferred her to Monsieur
O father Angel ! father Angel! how are St. Foix, an under secretary in the fo-
you to blame, to make me suffer so much! reign department, with whom she re-
it was then remembered that father Angel, mained about a year.
a capuchin friar, had been very often at By this time the Marquis de Barre had
the house of Monsieur Laval, and had al- obtained permission, probably through
ways taken particular notice of the pretty the means of Monsieur St. Foix, to open
cook, so that the girl was universally ac a brelan, or gaming house, and St. Foix
knowledged as his child.

having expreiled that he was tired of his Little madamoiselle Combejean was mistrefs, the marquis agreed to take her left to the care of Grelot, who as soon as back again. He had, its true, already graas she was able, taught her to work, and tified his passion for her, but he now made her, by degrees, useful to her in thought he might make her subservient her business, in mending and vamping to his interest; and use her fair face as a up the cast cloaths in which the dealt. powerful means of drawing company to As for the mother she went soon after his house: he accordingly gave her proper with a family to Martinique and nothing instructions, with full liberty to make certain has been heard of her fince: what use the pleased of her favours, pro

In the year 1955 Grelot died, leaving vided they were to share the profit of her her little charge at the age of thirteen, disposing of them; and that she would with a large Itock of beauty and viva- implicitly follow his prudent directions, ciay; a tolerable knowledge in the busi. to make the most of her charms. For ness of a semstress; very little education, this purpose, knowing that though her and lefs money. However what cafea person might attract lovers, She had neiThe had, the employed in buying linen ther education nor conversation to secure and lace, which she made up into a kind them for any time; he employed proper of millinary goods, which carrying in a masters to instruct her in neceffary acbandbox under her arm, The offered to complishments; but still, in spite of all sale from house to house,

his endeavours, she was so deficient in By these means she gained a scanty liv. natural requisites, that no pains could ing till her beauty was full bloomed, and make her a woman of sense or wit; but The found the sale of that more profitable nevertheless whilst the remained there, than that of her caps, ruffles and hand- The had many lovers, and the Marquis kerchiefs.

received great emolument from the fale After about two years promiscuous of her favours. trafficof her charms, and in the year 1759 The long indisposition of Madame de The attracted the notice of Monsieur La Pompadour, left a vacuity in the King's Vauvenerdiere, a gentleman of fortune, mind, which could be only filled by a who took elegant lodgings for her, and variety of miftreffes; and her death laid kept her for lome time in fplendor: but him open to the attacks of every beauty as he was a man of wit and taste he foon of the court, wfio were constantly lay-. grew disgusted with beauty alone; and, ing snares to entrap the royal heart. as her want of education rendered her a But Louis, who in the affairs of wovery unfit companion, he discarded her men, fought rather for the gratification. at the end of nine months.

of sense than fentiment, made no perVanity has always a great share in a manent connexions; but employed one Frenchman's amours. Whilft the lived La Bel as his purveyor of beauty, and with this gentleman he brought fundry of gave him the office of pimp in ordinary his acquaintance to behold L'Ange de and superintendant of the occasional Vauvenerdiere, Vauvenerdier's angel, as feraglio in the Pare au Cerfs, or Deer she was punningly called, in allulion to Park, the name of her father. Amongst those About the beginning of the year 1767, was the Marquis de Barre, a nobleman, Monsieur Le Bel being in search of who having been stripped of his fortune fresh beauty for his master, was led by at gaming, had commenced sharper, and public fame to the Marquis de Barre's fought to reemburse himself by the same house. He found our heroine to his. arts to which he had been long a bubble. taste, and thought she might please the He therefore took her as soon as the was King. He had indeed conceived a palquitted by his friend: but it was not long lion for her himself, but de Barre, to

[ocr errors]

whom he had communicated his designs, tangled him in chains which were not foon convinced him that introducing her broken but by death. to the King, might be of essential fer We have hitherto seen De Barre only vice to all three : she was called to the in the light of the fille de joye; we must council and preliminaries were foon now consider her as the politician; for settled. She was to be preļented to the it is certain the affected the state affairs King, and to follow the united advice of France in a most abundant measure ; of both De Barre and La Bel, to se. in all which the acted as the tool of the cure his Majesty's affections. La Bel Dukes of Richelieu and Aguillon, and was to be gratified by a participation of of her former keeper the Marquis ; for her favours; and De Barre was to share as for her husband, he became the tool with her the King's bounty.

of all four. His Majetty expressed great satisfac (To be concluded in our next.) tion at his first interview with Mademoiselle; he repeatedly sent for her, The Just Revenge. An hiftorical Falt. and every time became more and more (Written exprefly for the Hibernian pleased with her, so that he resolved at Magazine.) length to select her for his avowed mistrels. In order to which, according to be first married. The Marquis was not nity, and love of justice. His fole ftulong before he found a husband for her, dy was to make his people happy, and in his own brother, the Count de Barre, his kingdom flourishing; to which end he from which time she took the name by omitted nothing that could tend 10 their which she is now known, of the Coun- felicity, or to the aggrandisement of his tess de Barre,

dominions, over which he ruled with the It may be a matter of furprize with greatest mildness, accompanied with the many of our readers, how a woman that itricteft justice. has been described to be very deficient He had married Elidura, sister to the in sense, and the charms of conversati- reigning Count of Moravia, a woman on, could gain an ascendency over the of compleat beauty, and remarkable in King, who might have chosen a thou- her affection for her royal consort. sand women far fuperior to her in every Thus the King was supremely happy natural accompliihment. But the case was in both his public and private capacity; different: all with whom he had any famic and tasted all the joys which a beloved liar commerce, seemed rather intimidated; husband or a respected monarch could and conversed with him with an awe poffibly feel; when one foible brought and reservedness that soon disgusted him, disorder, distress, and bloodshed into his who had rather have had them pleased family; and planted ever-pointed thorns with the man, than seem to submit solely in his noble bosom. to the monarch. De Barre had none of Mistaken piety has ever been attendthat timid Miyness in her composition ; ed with fatal consequences. In the The did not seem framed to be in awe times in which Andrew reigned, one of any man to whom die was supposed species of it overspread the christian to give pleasure. After the first inter- world ; a misguided zeal for the recoview, the behaved to him without the very of the holy land from the Sarazens, least reserve; talked, joked, and play- who then poffessed it, had warped the ed with him with the same familiarity minds of the Kings of Europe from strict as she had been accustomed with her lefs justice: This was enflamed by the elevated lovers. This behaviour was peachings of the clergy (perhaps for priquite new to Louis; it flattered his self vate and lucrative ends) and Croisades love when he thought he pleased her were every where the reigning folly of more as a man than a King. She be- the age. Crimes of the blackest dye came quite necessary for his hours of were commuted for so many years ferrelaxation; he could not pass a day vice in Palestine ; and an expedition without her company, which charmed thither, was made, by several Popes, the him the more as me did not pretend to only road to falvation. be wiser than himself; and thus Me en In these circumstances, it is not won

Ааа 2

derfu

derful that a prince of Andrew's piety alleviate the unhappiness occasioned by and magnanimity, should give into the absence of the King her husband. them. As his prudence and valour were The regent having settled every thing Well known, he was appointed the chiet with the greatest propriety in the capiand general of the Croisade, set on foot tal, went to visit the other parts of the in the year 1216, and neither the love kingdom, to see that peace and good and happiness of his people, nor the order were universally established : and tender endearments of his Queen were made the tour of the whole frontier. of fufficient power to detain him, when - He was but just departed when the he thought religion and glory demanded Count of Moravia, brother to the his absence. He sat out for Constanti- Queen, and whom she loved with the nople, to wait for the assembling of the utmost tenderness, arrived to pay that Italian Croisades, and depart with them princess a vist. For a while nothing and those of other countries, already was seen but joy and festivity, and the assembled, as soon as they should ar- attention of the whole court was enrive, to attempt the recovery of the grossed by feasts and merriment; but holy sepulchre from the infidels. alas! the dangerous poison of love foon

However, before his departure, he entered amongst these amusements. The took every precaution in his power to Count of Moravia had seen the beautisecure the happiness of his Queen and ful Gertrude, and had become deeply people during his absence. He had al- enamoured of her. Proud of his rank, loted for her the royal palace, with a and vain of his youth and personal acfufficient support suitable to her dignity, complishments, he presumed to make her and had appointed a number of ladies acquainted with his passion, but met of the first rank to attend her, and al- with the repulse he deserved ; not indeed leviate her melancholy. In regard to from her tongue, for she did not think his kingdom, he had no other care but him deserving of an answer, but by a for its internal police and the due ad- proper severity, expressed in her counteministration of justice, for the treaties nance and manners. entered into with the surrounding Rates, This rebuke, and her constantly shunon account of the Croisade, left him no- ning every opportunity of being spoken thing to fear, in regard to any attacks to by the Count, had the usual effects

. being made upon it.

It piqued his pride and augmented his The Palatine of Hungary, named desires, which at last grew fo violent, Banchannus, was the nobleman to whom that he no longer relished the public specthe King confided the administration of tacles, invented for his amusement; but public affairs. His zeal, fidelity, juf- loathed both his food and company; tice, and prudence, were well known to fought folitude; and his pallid countehis majesty; and he was appointed sole nance, and waining form, teftified openregent of Hungary, during the absence ly that he laboured under some fecret of the King; with a strict charge to be anguish of mind. impartial in the administration of justice The Queen was greatly shocked at without any respect to the rank of the this change; as she had ever the greatoffenders.

eft affection for her brother, The labourThe King departed amidst the tearsed to discover the cause ; for a long of his Queen, and the prayers, bles- time he resisted her entreaties, till at sings, and good wishes of his people, length he told her, he could not live and soon arrived at Constantinople. without the fight of Gertrude, who,

For some months after every thing through fear of increasing his passion, went well in Hungary. The regent had left the court, and resided at her discharged his duty in all respects, pro- husband's palace, waiting his return; ving himself well worthy of the confi There are many follies and vices dence with which he had been honour- which spring from virtues in excess

, ed; and whilit he devoted all his time Such was the over piety of King Anto the business of the state, his lovely drew, which estranged' him from his Gertrude (a lady of most extraordinary own court, and gave room to the dreadbeauty and virtue, to whom he had been ful calamities which ensued therefrom; married about three years) endeavoured such was the over affection which the

every assiduity about the Queen, to Queen bore her brother, which prompt

ed her to effect his cure, though at the in his arms and strove to comfert her. expence of virtue, justice, and a lady's “Gertrude, faid he, an involuntary fault, honour.

like yours, is in the eye of itrist justice, The Queen recalled Gertrude to court, as well as of tender love, a misfortune, · who could not resist the possitive com- not a crime: which should I punish in you mands of her fovereign; and the Count, would sain the character which I have happy in the fight of what he so ar- universally acquired of an upright and dently loved, for fear of displeasing impartial judge. Pity is your due, death her, diffembled his sentiments ; and the the punisiment of those who have injured most respectful behaviour succeeded, in you and me. The violence that has appearance, to the fire and eagerness been committed against you hath not alwhich had before accompanied his par- tered the purity of your mind. I intreat, fion.

nay I command you to keep this affair a This discreet conduct, the effect of the total secret, and retire immediately to Queen's advice, imposed on the virtuous the convent of Quinque Ecclefia, where my Gertrude: who thinking herself secure, lister is abbess; till I have found an and that the Count had got the better of opportunity for a just vengeance, proporhis adulterous passion, continued to ap- tionate to the enormity of the offence.” pear at court; till one fatal day, the The sorrowful Gertrude obeyed, and Queen, pretending some particular bu- departed in the night for the convent, finess, conducted her into a retired apart- whilst the Regent meditated on what ment of the palace; where having lock- was to be done. ed the door, the abandoned her to the The Count was destined for the first criminal desires of her brother, who had : victim of his justice, but he had retired been secreted by the Queen in a closet. to his own country the day after he had

The abused Gertrude left the room committed this horrid crime. The Regent with shame in her countenance and grief went next morning to the court, and tellin her heart. She Mut herself up in her ing the Queen he had letters to commuown palace, where she bewailed in se- nicate to her from the King, engaged cret the Count's crime and her own mif- her to go into her closet, where having fortune. She shut out the day light, and reproached her in the most bitter terms saw no one but one old lady, who had for her criminal confederacy with the been her nurse.

Count, and her treachery to his wife, In about a fortnight after this disaster, he told her, “' as Regent of the kingdom, the Regent returned: borne on the wings in her husband's abience he was obliged of love he ran to his wife's apartment, to execute strict justice; that as she was and held out his arms with eagerness to a criminal of the highest rank he would embrace her. Gertrude, overpowered do that justice himself, and not delegate it with anguish, repulsed him. "Stop. to a common executioner," on which he my Lord," said me, “ approach me noi; plunged his dagger in her heart, and leavbut rather fly from a wife who is no ing her weltering in her blood, he went longer worthy of thy chaste embraces. with the dagger stilreeking, to the counAn audacious wretch, has, by force, de- cil, which he had ordered to be convened, filed your bed, and the Queen his filler, and there publicly proclaimed his injury was not ashamed to betray me to him. and his revenge. Then, mounting his I should have already punithed thiscrime horse, and attended by some nobles who on myself, had not religion forbidden me were witnesses of this dreadtul catastroto attempt ought against my own life. phe, he departed for Conftantinople, But that prohibition does not extend to where the King yet was; whilst the aitoyou, you have a double right as my huf- nished court, from a mixture of surprise band and my judge. Strike then the and respect, never attempted to stop him. ftroke of justice, I am too criminal, for, (To be concluded in our next.) alas! I am dishonoured, I sue for death, I beg it as a favour, I demand justice, As the House of Savoy is one of the most I claim it as a right. Prevent me then ancient and illustrious in Europe, have from Surviving my name and my dif ing produced no fewer than thirty-four grace."

Sovereigas, celebrated for their VicThe Regent, tho'overwholmed with tories and political Talents; and as zrief. raised her from his feet, took her there is no Kingdom in Italy with the

« PreviousContinue »