Une rançon (LITT.GENERALE) (French Edition)

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She was indeed extravagant, but her good nature was not spoiled. Though warned by Richelieu of her possible failure, she asked the king to pardon them, refusing to rise from her kneeling posture if he did not accept her request. Louis XV was astounded and his heart thawed, saying, "Madame, I am delighted that the first favour you should ask of me should be an act of mercy! Jeanne wrote a letter to the Chancellor of France, who granted the pardon.

Jeanne was a tremendous triumph. She now wore extravagant gowns of great proportions both in creation and cost, exhausting the treasury all the more. Due to her new position at Court, she made both friends and enemies. When this plot came to light to the du Barry clan, the mistress exposed all to the king and, on Christmas Eve of , Choiseul was dismissed of his ministerial role and from court, ordered by his majesty to exile to his Chanteloup property along with his wife and sister.

She was rid of Choiseul and Grammont, comte Jean du Barry was dealt with and her family had the benefits they deserved as relations to the mistress. While Jeanne was part of the faction that brought down the duc de Choiseul, [15] she was unlike her late predecessor, Madame de Pompadour , in that she had little interest in politics, [16] preferring rather to pass her time ordering new ravishing gowns and all sorts of complementary jewellery. However, the king went so far as to let her participate in state councils. Campan recalls an anecdote : the king said to the duc de Noailles, that with Madame du Barry he had discovered new pleasures; "Sire" — answered the duke — "that's because your Majesty has never been in a brothel.

She was forever in debt despite her huge monthly income from the king — at one point three hundred thousand livres. Jeanne had only been official mistress a little over a year, and many thought she would not be included in the list of guests for the occasion. It ended up being otherwise, to the disgust of most of those present.

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Marie Antoinette noticed Jeanne, who stood out from the rest of the crowd with her attractive extravagant appearance and a high talkative voice. The Comtesse de Noailles informed Marie Antoinette that the role of that woman was to give pleasure to the king, and the innocent year-old archduchess added that she would thus be her rival at such a role.

The Comte de Provence soon after divulged the true nature of such pleasure, causing instant hatred in Antoinette towards Du Barry for such immorality. This rivalry kept on for quite some time, especially since also the dauphine supported Choiseul as the proponent of the alliance with Austria.

Marie Antoinette defied court protocol by refusing to speak to Madame du Barry, owing not only to her disapproval of the latter's background, but also after hearing from the Comte de Provence of Du Barry's amused reaction to a story told by the Prince de Rohan during one of her dinner parties, in which Marie Antoinette's mother, Maria Theresa , was slandered, adding therefore yet another foe to her list. Eventually, during a ball on New Year's Day , Marie Antoinette spoke indirectly to Du Barry by tossing in her direction the words "There are many people at Versailles today," [21] giving her the option to take or leave.

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In , the infatuated Louis XV requested that Parisian jewellers Boehmer and Bassenge create an elaborate and spectacular jeweled necklace for du Barry, one that would surpass all known others in grandeur, at an estimated cost of two million livres. In time, the king started to show his age by constantly thinking of death and repentance, and began missing appointments in Jeanne's boudoir. He was brought back to the palace at night and put to bed, where his three daughters and Madame du Barry stayed beside him.

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On 4 May , the king suggested to Madame du Barry that she leave Versailles, both to protect her from infection and so that he could prepare for confession and last rites. After a year at the convent, Jeanne was granted permission to visit the surrounding countryside on the condition she returned by sundown. She then managed to purchase property belonging to the family of the wife of Madame de la Garde's younger son, who she knew from her teen-age years.

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  • Two years later, she moved to Louveciennes. In time, Seymour became fed up with his secret love affair and sent a painting to Madame du Barry with the words 'leave me alone' written in English at the bottom, which the painter Lemoyne copied in During the French Revolution , Brissac was captured while visiting Paris, and was slaughtered by a mob. To Jeanne's horror, it contained Brissac's head, at which sight she fainted.

    Du Barry's Bantu slave Zamor , along with another member of du Barry's domestic staff, had joined the Jacobin club. He became a follower of the revolutionary George Grieve and then an office-bearer in the Committee of Public Safety.

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    Du Barry found out about this and questioned Zamor about his connections with Grieve. This Zamor did without hesitation, and promptly proceeded to denounce his mistress to the Committee. It is there that tradition has preserved his pensive and chaste face. The wise chroniclers have put so much precision in them, the pious annalists so much faith, that one thinks, in reading them, to be in the presence of historical events.

    Undoubtedly, from time to time, a anachronism appears; occasionally the ardent piety of the narrator surpassed the limits of permitted naivety; the improbability becomes obvious. No matter, the great breath of faith that enlivens the work, the deep love one feels for the abbey-fortress, centre of these cycle of legends, revive these scenes imagined with such an intensity that one believes they are real. Note: Knock. A village in Co. And, understanding that the Lord had just performed a miracle for him alone, he was certain that God had allowed this wonder at the praying of the Archangel Saint Michel, whose voices he had, alas, all too often refused to hear!

    For months, before sunrise, they would meet, each day, on the Mont-Belenus. Note: See c. He had no trouble recognising that this individual belonged to one of the gangs, more or less honest, who came to the monasteries, often collected there lots of alms, telling extraordinary and edifying tales of which they pretended they had been the hero. They called themselves, generally, miraculised, affirming that they had healed from the most serious and most cruel illnesses, thanks to the intercession of saints that were particularly honoured in the monastery that they were visiting.

    Favourite country. The monk will lead you to a great stone block.

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    Then the good prior will declare, without a smile, that this is a trace of the Devil chased away by the Archangel. The latter forced the former to hide in Brittany , his favourite land , claims the chronicler at the time, who was undoubtedly Norman. If you tell the prior that the print is not that of a hoofed foot, he will say that after all it might have been the foot of the Archangel.

    It came to pass at the time when abbot Hildebert II was head of the monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel, a pilgrim from Italy took, out of devotion no doubt, but secretly, a little stone of the rock on which Saint Michel wanted men to build him a sanctuary. St Michel. Because Drogon was not always sufficiently careful when taking care of the church. He blew too forcefully on the candles; he moved the candelabras and the sacred vessels with exaggerated zeal on the marble of the altars; he mounted with too great an effort, the hanging lamps on the vault of the Holy Place.

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    Too quickly he dusts the balustrades, the stalls and the confessionals; and a more grevious fault, the Abbot and the Benedictines have noticed that he hardly bows when he passes before the altar of Saint Michel in the Nave. That is why Drogon has been spoken to severely by the abbot. Then he took it by the arm and brought it before the altar to shame him before the pilgrims who prayed always and who had not turned their heads at the sound of the blow. Drogon passed before the statue without bowing. He immediately received, from an invisible hand, a formidable blow that resounded in the church and that threw him on the floor, where he stayed, for a few minutes, unconscious; in the meantime Nicolas prayed to the Archangel with all his soul, because the child had understood that something extraordinary was going to happen.

    When Drogon got up, still stunned, the three pilgrims had gone, while all the doors were firmly closed! The unhappy sexton, half dead with fear, immediately went to the abbot and told him all that had happened. Pourquoi cette clameur? He lifts an armed hand. Why this clamour?

    Secondary Sources

    Proverbes et dictons Avel, holl avel! We must die. Note: Bards, vates and eubages were the three classes of druids. Dictionnaire II. The Druids, also known under the names of Bards, Eubages, Vacies, Saronides, Samothees or Simnothees, were distinguished by means of three major orders. At the end of the course on had to take an exam, which consisted in reciting several thousands of verses, in the form of either principles, or answers to questions]. Dictionnaire IV. It was considered as a way of honoring their memory to preserve their skulls, trim them with gold or silver and to use it as a cup to drink.

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    Dictionnaire Il [M. A serpent, no doubt vomited from the earth, laid waste to the entire island. It was a horrible beast, more than a hundred feet long; its body was thicker than the mightiest oak in the forest of Limerick, its scales had a sinister reflection, from a purplish green to a clear red, giving the monster an invulnerable cuirass.

    On its head, bristling with a double pointed horn, its bloodfilled eyes appeared above a maw the jaws of which were fortified with triple rows of fangs and teeth; the tongue, pointed as a javelin, gave off a poisonous fluid. Sometimes the monster lay in tortuous rings, it lay on the ground and slithered forward in abrupt jumps; sometimes it moved straight as an arrow and rapid as lightening.

    Neither the basalt rocks, the flanks of which are steep as walls, nor the wildest rivers, nor the branches of the sea where the waves toss with fury can stop its frightful advance. The serpent only left ruins in its wake; the fields over which its body had passed, as he devoured horses and cows, instantly became waste and the grasses of the fields were burned.

    The water of the rivers where it drank began to stink and fetid ooze spreading unknown diseases came out of the forests where it had rested at night. For a while it had eaten animals, but after a few weeks it began to make a meal of people; at night it would roam near the villages, catching in its maw the benighted; the women who were washing, children coming back from school, all of them had been eaten in the hundreds. Nobody dared to leave the house, and in rich as well as poor cities, the Irish were stunned and they commanded their souls to God.

    What crime had the island committed for God to send them such a scourge?


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    He ordered him, without delay, to bring the weapons that that had served him to kill the serpent to the sanctuary that he had chosen on earth. But, before the bishop had the time to ask the chief of the celestial armies for the name of the sanctuary that pleased above all others, Saint Michael disappeared. Note: See h and b. The heart was really the most popular ex-voto.

    There was generally a little cross on the top or a flame, surrounded by a crown of thorns, inlaid with flowers or initials; often, they were hollow; they opened then like a watch and inside you could place a piece of vellum on which one could write the object of a wish asked or fulfilled. Note: Ex voto. An offering made in pursuance of a vow. This expression or better this comparison has intrigued the folklore specialists for a long time; finally one of them, slightly more intelligent, told his colleagues that the protestants did not render to the saints the veneration that was their due.

    And that explained the surname! I remember, in any case, being told that in Mont-Saint-Michel and the neighbouring coast, the roosters laid the eggs. All the roosters of the land were terrified: they were all chicken. It is true: folklore specialists have an answer for everything. For the profane among us, the cockle is no more than a humble mollusk, formed by two symmetrical valves. They are everywhere in the estuaries of the little Breton and Normand rivers, in the delta of the Vilaine, in the cove of Fresnaye, under cape Frehel and, especially, in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.