"Madame Adelaide did not venture to urge the matter further just then, and, after a short interval of silence, a message was brought from you, inquiring whether you could see the king, to which he himself replied, that he felt inclined to sleep, and would rather not see any person that night. I was in the chamber, and he very shortly called me to him, and said:
"'Duc d'Aiguillon, I have the small-pox; and you are aware that there is a sort of etiquette in my family which enjoins my immediately discharging my duties as a Christian.'
"'Yes, sire, if the malady wore a serious aspect; but in your case--'
"'May God grant,' replied he, 'that my disorder be not dangerous; however, it may become so, if it is as yet harmless, and I would fain die as a believer rather than an infidel. I have been a great sinner, doubtless; but I have ever observed Lent with a most scrupulous exactitude. I have caused more than a hundred thousand masses to be said for the repose of unhappy souls; I have respected the clergy, and punished the authors of all impious works, so that I flatter myself I have not been a very bad Christian.'
"I listened to his discourse with a heavy heart, yet I still strove to reassure the king respecting his health, of which, I assured him, there was not the slightest doubt.
"'There is one sacrifice,' said the king, in a low and hurried tone, 'that my daughter Louise, her sisters, and the clergy, will not be long in exacting from me in the name of etiquette. I recollect the scene of Metz, and it would be highly disagreeable to me to have it repeated at Versailles; let us, therefore, take our precautions in time to prevent it. Tell the duchesse d'Aiguillon that she will oblige me by taking the comtesse du Barry to pass two or three days with her at Ruel.'
"'How, sire!' exclaimed I, 'send your dearest friend from you at a time when you most require her cares?'
"'I do not send her away,' answered the king, with mournful tenderness, 'I but yield to present necessity; let her submit as she values my happiness, and say to her, that I hope and believe her absence will be very short.'"