I heard all these things from the duc de Richelieu; he told me that nothing could have been more gratifying than the conduct of Bordeu and Lemonnier, and that I had every reason for feeling satisfied with the conduct of all around me. "It is in the moment of peril," said he, "that we are best able to know our true friends."
"I see it," replied I; "and since our danger is a mutual one ought we not to forget our old subjects of dispute?"
"For my own part, madam," returned he, "I do not remember that any ever existed; besides, is not my cause yours likewise? A new reign will place me completely in the background. The present king looks upon me as almost youthful; while, on the contrary, his grandson will consider me as a specimen of the days of Methuselah. The change of masters can be but to my disadvantage; let us, therefore, stand firmly together, that we may be the better enabled to resist the attacks of our enemies."
"Do you consider," inquired I, "that we may rely upon the firmness of the duc de Duras?"
"As safely as you may on mine," answered he, "so long as he is not attacked face to face; but if they once assail him with the arms of etiquette, he is a lost man, he will capitulate. It is unfortunate for him that I am not likely to be near him upon such an occasion."
Comte Jean, who never left me, then took up the conversation, and advised M. de Richelieu to leave him to himself as little as possible; it was, therefore, agreed that we should cause the duc de Duras to be constantly surrounded by persons of our party, who should keep those of our adversaries at a distance.
We had not yet lost all hope of seeing his majesty restored to health; nature, so languid and powerless in the case of poor Anne, seemed inclined to make a salutary effort on the part of the king.
Every instant of this day and the next, that I did not spend by the sick-bed of Louis XV, were engrossed by most intimate friends, the ducs d'Aiguillon, de Cosse, etc., mesdames de Mirepoix, de Forcalquier, de Valentinois, de l'Hopital, de Montmorency, de Flaracourt, and others. As yet, none of my party had abandoned me; the situation of affairs was not, up to the present, sufficiently clear to warrant an entire defection. The good Genevieve Mathon, whom chance had conducted to Versailles during the last week, came to share with Henriette, my sisters-in-law, and my niece, the torments and uncertainties which distracted my mind. We were continually in a state of mortal alarm, dreading every instant to hear that the king was aware of his malady, and the danger which threatened, and our fears but too well proclaimed our persuasion that such a moment would be the death-blow to our hopes. It happened that in this exigency, as it most commonly occurs in affairs of great importance, all our apprehensions had been directed towards the ecclesiastics, while we entirely overlooked the probability that the abrupt la Martiniere might, in one instant, become the cause of our ruin. All this so entirely escaped us, that we took not the slightest precaution to prevent it.
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