La Martiniere knew not what to reply; the king undertook his defence.
"Blame him not," said he; "but for him I should have quitted this world like a heathen, without making my peace with an offended God."
At these words I fainted in the arms of doctor Bordeu, who, with the aid of my attendants, carried me to my chamber, and, at length, succeeded in restoring me. My family crowded around me, and sought to afford me that consolation they were in equal need of themselves.
Spite of the orders I had given to admit no person, the duc d'Aiguillon would insist upon seeing me. He exerted his best endeavours to persuade me to arm myself with courage, and, like a true and attached friend, appeared to lose sight of his own approaching fall from power in his ardent desire to serve me.
In this mournful occupation an hour passed away, and left my dejected companions sighing over the present, and, anticipating even worse prospects than those now before them.
Terror of the king--A complication--Filial piety of the princesses-- Last interview between madame du Barry and Louis XV--Conversation with the marechale de Mirepoix--The chancellor Maupeou--The fragment-- Comte Jean
Perhaps no person ever entertained so great a dread of death as Louis XV, consequently no one required to be more carefully prepared for the alarming intelligence so abruptly communicated by La Martiniere, and which, in a manner, appeared to sign the king's death-warrant.
To every person who approached him the despairing monarch could utter only the fatal phrase, "I have the small-pox," which, in his lips, was tantamount to his declaring himself a dead man. Alas! had his malady been confined to the small-pox, he might still have been spared to our prayers; but, unhappily, a complication of evils, which had long been lurking in his veins, burst forth with a violence which, united to his cruel complaint, bade defiance to surgical or medical skill.