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The career of Jeanne Vaubernier, Comtesse Du Barry, was a most extraordinary one. Her father was a workman, and she, after being a milliners apprentice for some years, lived under the name of Mlle. Lange, in a house of bad fame, where she became the mistress of Count Jean Du Barry, who in 1769 presented her to Louis XV., who was deeply fascinated by her wonderful beauty, and over whom, after having gone through the form of marriage with the brother of Jean Du Barry, she reigned supreme during the remainder of his life. But her day of power and splendour was only a short one, for the King died five years afterwards (1774), when she was, of course, immediately obliged to leave the court and live in retirement; probably much sooner than she expected, for Louis XV. was only sixty-three when he fell a victim to small-pox. The twelve years had been spent in her chateau, where the Duc de Brissac took the place of his royal predecessor.

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The idea was suddenly suggested to the brother and sister by the book they were reading, and as she expected several people to supper, she arranged the rooms with draperies after the ancient Greek fashion, borrowed from the Comte de Parois, who lived in the house and had a collection of Greek things, all the vases, pitchers, pots, and cups she wanted, arranged the table in the same style, and as her friends arrived, proceeded to dress them one after another in Greek costumes, which she took from the mass of costumes and draperies in her studio.

It was difficult to make the postillions stop, but after a time Darnal forced them to do so, assisted by the cries of the terrified travellers who were then passing through a village. The strange servant did nothing. They got out, and on asking how far they were from Dartford they were told twenty-two miles. It was impossible to spare much time to be absent from Paris, but Mme. Le Brun often spent two or three days at the magnificent chateaux to which she was invited, either to paint a portrait or simply as a guest.

But although fully enjoying the amusement and admiration that fell to her lot, she passed unscathed through the temptations and dangers around her. The strength and devotion of her religious principles, the deep love of her art, which was the ruling passion of her life, her affection for her mother, who was always with her, and to whom she confided all her affairs, were her only safeguards.