I suppose towards the end, her efforts did make her ill. Madame Pompadour ultimately left Versailles after two miscarriages, claiming her poor health. While they were no longer lovers – Madame Pompadour developed tuberculosis and became increasingly frail – Louis XV remained devoted to her, constantly enlisting her council on various matters of state. Which he desperately needed. Failed wars had meant that France was in a difficult financial position – which perhaps was part of Madame Pompadour’s decision to return her estate to the country. Towards the end of her life, she famously remarked to Louis “au reste, après nous, le Déluge” (after us, there will come the deluge.”)
When she died, Voltaire wrote, “I am very sad at the death of Madame de Pompadour. I was indebted to her and I mourn her out of gratitude. It seems absurd that while an ancient pen-pusher, hardly able to walk, should still be alive, a beautiful woman, in the midst of a splendid career, should die at the age of forty.”
She was actually 42, but she probably would have appreciated the deduction.
Louis XV was heartbroken. Upon seeing that it had begun to rain as her coffin was pulled away, he wept ““La marquise n’aura pas beau temps pour son voyage.” (The Marquise will not have good weather for her journey). Perhaps he knew that, without the counsel of Madame Pompadour, and with the country soon to be in the hands of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the deluge was not far off.
But before that, there was du Barry, who we’ll cover next week. Stay tuned! All kinds of sex stuff is coming!