A woman of no education, and by temperament and early profession a courtesan, the Countess du Barry was, nevertheless, destined to exert a tremendous influence on the destiny of the world. The daughter of a customs clerk, du Barry rose by well-planned stages, and by unquestionable charm, to be the mistress of King Louis XV, over whom she established an absolute ascendancy, becoming the real power behind the throne of France. Ministers were accepted into favour or disgraced according to her whim, and there were no limits to her influence. Those were momentous days in the history of mankind, for there was much whispering in dark places, and in a little while that great eruption was to burst upon the world, altering the whole trend of its spirit, which we call the French Revolution. Du Barry herself fell a victim to the Revolution. She returned to France after a stay in England, only to find herself charged before the tribunal with dissipating the treasures of the State, and conspiring against the people. Thus it happened that one of the greatest charmers of history was cut off from life by the blade of the guillotine.