Our letter dated July 6, 1788 is in the hand of Jeanne Becu, Comtesse du Barry (1743-1793), one of 18th century France's more unlikely characters. The soi disant Comtesse was the strikingly beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a seamstress, yet she rose from poverty and prostitution to become the last maîtresse-en-titre, or official mistress, of King Louis XV of France. Unlike her famous predecessor, Madame de Pompadour, du Barry had none of the social skills or refined sensibilities expected of a King’s mistress and upon Louis’ death in 1774, she was banished to the Chateau of Louveciennes that her former lover had built for her. There she remained, receiving guests, keeping in touch with events, and managing her considerable assets until running afoul of the French Revolution. Eventually, she was executed by guillotine in the very streets of Paris from which she had come, at the hands of the people to whom she had once belonged. Our letter is from the period of her retirement at Louveciennes. (A full translation can be found among the photographs accompanying this listing.) It is a simple, charming plea to a noble neighbor for assistance in repairing a fallen wall that is permitting the common people to enter her garden. She assumes the tone of a helpless female needing protection; that approach had undoubtedly worked with Louis XV and her garden wall was no doubt repaired. But, when she cried to the braying crowds surrounding her tumbrel, “You are going to hurt me! Why?,” it could not save her. Condition: No chips or tears to the paper, brown black ink, scattered minor staining, evidence of vertical and horizontal folds quartering the page. Dimensions: writing surface 6.75" x 8.25", total paper dimensions 13.50" x 8.25".