To Monsieur Duval
My dear Friend,
Yes, I have told you, and repeat it: I love you dearly.
You certainly said the same thing to me, I begin to know the world.
I will tell you what I suggest, now: pay attention.
I don’t want to remain a shopgirl, but a little more my own mistress, and would therefore like to find someone to keep me.
If I did not love you, I would try to get money from you; I would say to you, you shall begin by renting me a room and furnishing it; only as you told me that you are not rich, you can take me to your own place.
It will not cost you anymore rent, nor more for your table and the rest of your housekeeping. To keep me and my headdress will be the only expense, and for those give me one hundred livres a month, and that will include everything.
Thus we could both live happily, and you would never again have to complain about my refusal. If you love me, accept this proposal; but if you do not love me, then let each of us try his luck elsewhere.
Good-by, I embrace you heartily,
Jeanne Rancon (1761)
(later known as Madame Du Barry)
Whether or not M. Duval’s ardor was dampened by this letter, we have no way of knowing. What we do know is that before many months passed, Jeanne was installed in the household of Count Du Barry. A gentleman whose wealth was derived from “unmentionable sources.” It is believed that Jeanne acted as his decoy for a gambling establishment. With his help, she advanced to the boudoir of Louis XV. The story of her rise to power in the court, her flight from France and her execution during the revolution in a most dramatic story of those times. She was guillotined at the age of forty-seven, on December 7, 1793.
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