High ...upon the hill top, bordering on the confines of the cemetery, we noticed a massy monument, with ponderous gates of bronze, (if we mistake not,) enclosing the remains of "Quintin Craufurd," [September 22, 1743 to November 23, 1819]... "born at Kilwinny, in the county of Ayr," ....[and concluding with] the last line of a long inscription in honour of the deceased...
The journey from Kilwinny to Paris involved picking up a fortune in India. This fortune allowed Quintin Craufurd to indulge his art and book collecting. And writing. We glimpse the life of this man, well connected in French society, in an anecdote we found in The Literary Era: A Monthly Repository of Literary and Miscellaneous Information, Volume 2 (1895). The occasion is a review of The Private Memoirs of Louis XV. Taken from the Memoirs of Mme. du Hausset, Lady’s Maid to Mme. de Pompadour. Let's look at this book, and then how it is connected with Quintin Craufurd.
..... These Memoirs [are valuable because of] .... how very human they are, and how near they bring us to a personage who played a really important part not only in the history of France, but, at one particular moment, in the history of Europe. “Elle avait du bon, le genre admis," says Sainte-Beuve of Mme. de Pompadour; and, with all her many faults, political and private, there certainly have been worse mistresses of kings. Apart from what may be called her professional accomplishments, which she possessed in a very
high degree—dancing, singing, acting, an immense faculty for providing amusement and interest—she had a canine love of art and letters, and her ambition to leave her mark on the history of Louis XV’s reign was not ignoble. Nor is it altogether possible to withhold a certain amount of almost admiration, sympathetic for the skill and pluck with which she played her game, maintaining herself to the end, long after her charms had withered, in the favor of the king. .....”
It is the special interest of Mme. du Hausset’s Memoirs to introduce us to such scenes [involving court politics].... She [Mme. du Hausset] was evidently not a woman of any great intellectual capacity ; and, paradoxical as it may seem, these very deficiencies served her as a chronicler.
“When I was alone with.....[Madame de Pompadour, she] talked of many matters which ... concerned her, and she once said to me, ‘ The King and I have such implicit confidence in you that we look upon you as a cat or a dog, and go on talking as if you were not there.’ There was a little nook adjoining her chamber, which has since been altered, where she knew I usually sat when we were alone, and where I heard everything that was said in the room, unless it was spoken in a low voice. . . . All these circumstances brought to my knowledge a great many things which right feeling will neither allow me to tell nor to record. I generally wrote without order of time, and thus [in these Memoirs] one fact may be related before others which preceded it.”
So ...[Mme. du Hausset] sat in her nook and took her notes, somewhat at haphazard and with no special skill of pencraft—a woman no longer young, for she had a grown-up son, to whom Mme. do Pompadour afterwards left a legacy of 400 livres—a woman with some pretensions to birth, and the widow of a poor gentleman. The direct emoluments of her place as second lady's maid were not large—150 livres a year, while the chief cook had 600—and one, at least, of her relations took, as she considers, and as the king considered too, an over-moral view of her position as lady's maid to the bourgeois... mistress of Louis XV. But there were perquisites—a purse of gold when she had presided over the birth of one of Louis’ many illicit offspring, valuable favors obtainable from the good-nature of her mistress; and even the over-moral lady cousin was propitiated when her husband obtained a company of horse through Mme. du Hausset’s intervention.
Without Quentin Craufurd Mme du Hausset's memoirs might not have survived.
....Mme. du Hausset’s Memoirs are not only interesting in themselves, and of genuine historical value, but the story of their publication is also not without interest. Books, as the old saying goes, have their special fates. The MS. of these Memoirs had fallen, one knows not how, into the possession of M. de Marigny, Mme. de Pompadour’s brother. He, a careless kind of half Bohemian, was about to burn it; not in any sense from hostility, or because he wished for its suppression as injurious to any fair fame his sister might possess, but simply because he was burning a lot of old papers and did not consider these specially worthy of preservation.
Senac de Meilhan, who was present, begged for the MS., saying he liked historical anecdotes, and afterwards gave it to Quintin Craufurd, while the two were living in exile at Vienna.
Here it fell into good hands. Quintin Craufurd was an excellent Scot who had made a large
fortune in the East India Company’s service, but had returned to Europe without “ the bad liver and the worse heart,” which, according to Macaulay, were popularly regarded as the peculiar possessions of the enriched Nabob of the last century. He collected things of art with intelligence, cultivated letters, made himself a favorite in French society and at the French Court; afterwards, during the evil days of the Revolution, devoting himself bravely to the service of Marie Antoinette—he helped to concert the abortive flight to Varennes—and forfeiting, as an émigré, such of his possessions as were in France. Craufurd, himself a student and an author, appreciated the historical value of Mme. du Hausset’s Memoirs, and, when better days came, published them.
[Years later, writers such as ]... Edmond and Jules de Goncourt in their important work on Mme. de Pompadour, [had reason to be grateful to Mme du Hassett and Quintin Craufurd.]