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  • 1847
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“I think nothing impossible when obliging a friend.”

“You are quite heroic.”

“Where are the twenty pistoles?”

“Here they are,” said Malicorne, showing them.

“That’s well.”

“Yes, but my dear M. Manicamp, you would consume them in post-horses alone!”

“No, no, make yourself easy on that score.”

“Pardon me. Why, it is fifteen leagues from this place to Etampes?”

“Fourteen.”

“Well! fourteen be it; fourteen leagues makes seven posts; at twenty sous the post, seven livres; seven livres the courier, fourteen; as many for coming back, twenty-eight! as much for bed and supper, that makes sixty livres this complaisance would cost.”

Manicamp stretched himself like a serpent in his bed, and fixing his two great eyes upon Malicorne, “You are right,” said he; “I could not return before to-morrow;” and he took the twenty pistoles.

“Now, then, be off!”

“Well, as I cannot be back before to-morrow. we have time.”

“Time for what?”

“Time to play.”

“What do you wish to play with?

“Your twenty pistoles, pardieu!”

“No; you always win.”

“I will wager them, then.”

“Against what?”

“Against twenty others.”

“And what shall be the object of the wager?”

“This. We have said it was fourteen leagues to Etampes?”

“Yes.”

“And fourteen leagues back?

“Doubtless.”

“Well; for these twenty-eight leagues you cannot allow less than fourteen hours?”

“That is agreed.”

“One hour to find the Comte de Guiche.

“Go on.”

“And an hour to persuade him to write a letter to Monsieur.”

“Just so.”

“Sixteen hours in all?”

“You reckon as well as M. Colbert.”

“It is now twelve o’clock.”

“Half-past.”

“Hein! — you have a handsome watch!”

“What were you saying?” said Malicorne, putting his watch quickly back into his fob.

“Ah! true; I was offering to lay you twenty pistoles against these you have lent me, that you will have the Comte de Guiche’s letter in —- “

“How soon?”

“In eight hours.”

“Have you a winged horse, then?”

“That is no matter. Will you bet?”

“I shall have the comte’s letter in eight hours?”

“Yes.”

“In hand?”

“In hand.”

“Well, be it so; I lay,” said Malicorne, curious to know how this seller of clothes would get through.

“Is it agreed?”

“It is.”

“Pass me the pen, ink, and paper.

“Here they are.”

“Thank you.”

Manicamp raised himself with a sigh, and leaning on his left elbow, in his best hand, traced the following lines: —

“Good for an order for a place of maid of honor to Madame, which M. le Comte de Guiche will take upon him to obtain at sight.

“De Manicamp.”

This painful task accomplished, he laid himself down in bed again.

“Well!” asked Malicorne, “what does this mean?”

“That means that if you are in a hurry to have the letter from the Comte de Guiche for Monsieur, I have won my wager.”

“How the devil is that?”

“That is transparent enough, I think; you take that paper.”

“Well?”

“And you set out instead of me.”

“Ah!”

“You put your horses to their best speed.”

“Good!”

“In six hours you will be at Etampes; in seven hours you have the letter from the comte, and I shall have won my wager without stirring from my bed, which suits me and you too, at the same time, I am very sure.”

“Decidedly, Manicamp, you are a great man.”

“Hein! I know that.”

“I am to start then for Etampes?”

“Directly.”

“I am to go to the Comte de Guiche with this order?”

“He will give you a similar one for Monsieur.”

“Monsieur will approve?”

“Instantly.”

“And I shall have my brevet?”

“You will.”

“Ah!”

“Well, I hope I behave genteely?”

“Adorably.”

“Thank you.”

“You do as you please, then, with the Comte de Guiche, Malicorne?”

“Except making money of him — everything?”

“Diable! the exception is annoying; but then, if instead of asking him for money, you were to ask —- “

“What?”

“Something important.”

“What do you call important?”

“Well! suppose one of your friends asked you to render him a service?”

“I would not render it to him.”

“Selfish fellow!”

“Or at least I would ask him what service he would render me in exchange.”

“Ah! that, perhaps, is fair. Well, that friend speaks to you.”

“What, you, Malicorne?”

“Yes; I.”

“Ah! ah! you are rich, then?”

“I have still fifty pistoles left.”

“Exactly the sum I want. Where are those fifty pistoles?”

“Here,” said Malicorne, slapping his pocket.

“Then speak, my friend; what do you want?”

Malicorne took up the pen, ink, and paper again, and presented them all to Manicamp. “Write!” said he.

“Dictate!”

“An order for a place in the household of Monsieur.”

“Oh!” said Manicamp, laying down the pen, “a place in the household of Monsieur for fifty pistoles?”

“You mistook me, my friend; you did not hear plainly.”

“What did you say, then?”

“I said five hundred.”

“And the five hundred?”

“Here they are.”

Manicamp devoured the rouleau with his eyes; but this time Malicorne held it at a distance.

“Eh! what do you say to that? Five hundred pistoles.”

“I say it is for nothing, my friend,” said Manicamp, taking up the pen again, “and you exhaust my credit. Dictate.”

Malicorne continued:

“Which my friend the Comte de Guiche will obtain for my friend Malicorne.”

“That’s it,” said Manicamp.

“Pardon me, you have forgotten to sign.”

“Ah! that is true. The five hundred pistoles?”

“Here are two hundred and fifty of them.”

“And the other two hundred and fifty?”

“When I am in possession of my place.”

Manicamp made a face.

“In that case give me the recommendation back again.”

“What to do?”

“To add two words to it.”

“Two words?”

“Yes, two words only.”

“What are they?”

“In haste.”

Malicorne returned the recommendation; Manicamp added the words.

“Good,” said Malicorne, taking back the paper.

Manicamp began to count out the pistoles.

“There want twenty,” said he.

“How so?”

“The twenty I have won.”

“In what way?”

“By laying that you would have the letter from the Comte de Guiche in eight hours.”

“Ah! that’s fair,” and he gave him the twenty pistoles.

Manicamp began to scoop up his gold by handfuls, and pour it in cascades upon his bed.

“This second place,” murmured Malicorne, whilst drying his paper, “which, at the first glance appears to cost me more than the first, but —- ” He stopped, took up the pen in his turn, and wrote to Montalais: —

“Mademoiselle, — Announce to your friend that her commission will not be long before it arrives; I am setting out to get it signed: that will be twenty-eight leagues I shall have gone for the love of you.”

Then with his sardonic smile, taking up the interrupted sentence: — “This place,” said he, “at the first glance, appears to cost more than the first; but — the benefit will be, I hope, in proportion with the expense, and Mademoiselle de la Valliere will bring me back more than Mademoiselle de Montalais, or else, — or else my name is not Malicorne. Farewell, Manicamp,” and he left the room.

CHAPTER 81

The Courtyard of the Hotel Grammont

On Malicorne’s arrival at Orleans, he was informed that the Comte de Guiche had just set out for Paris. Malicorne rested himself for a couple of hours, and then prepared to continue his journey. He reached Paris during the night, and alighted at a small hotel, where, in his previous journeys to the capital, he had been accustomed to put up, and at eight o’clock the next morning presented himself at the Hotel Grammont. Malicorne arrived just in time, for the Comte de Guiche was on the point of taking leave of Monsieur before setting out for Havre, where the principal members of the French nobility had gone to await Madame’s arrival from England. Malicorne pronounced the name of Manicamp and was immediately admitted. He found the Comte de Guiche in the courtyard of the Hotel Grammont, inspecting his horses, which his trainers and equerries were passing in review before him. The count, in the presence of his tradespeople and of his servants, was engaged in praising or blaming, as the case seemed to deserve, the appointments, horses, and harness that were being submitted to him; when, in the midst of this important occupation, the name of Manicamp was announced.

“Manicamp!” he exclaimed, “let him enter by all means.” And he advanced a few steps toward the door.

Malicorne slipped through the half-open door, and looking at the Comte de Guiche, who was surprised to see a face he did not recognize, instead of the one he expected, said: “Forgive me, monsieur le comte, but I believe a mistake has been made. M. Manicamp himself was announced to you, instead of which it is only an envoy from him.”

“Ah!” exclaimed De Guiche, coldly, “and what do you bring me?”

“A letter, monsieur le comte.” Malicorne handed him the first document, and narrowly watched the count’s face, who, as he read it began to laugh.

“What!” he exclaimed, “another maid of honor? Are all the maids of honor in France, then, under his protection?”

Malicorne bowed. “Why does he not come himself?” he inquired.

“He is confined to his bed.”

“The deuce! he has no money then, I suppose,” said De Guiche, shrugging his shoulders. “What does he do with his money?”

Malicorne made a movement, to indicate that upon this subject he was as ignorant as the count himself. “Why does he not make use of his credit, then?” continued De Guiche.

“With regard to that, I think —- “

“What?”

“That Manicamp has credit with no one but yourself, monsieur le comte!”

“He will not be at Havre, then?” Whereupon Malicorne made another movement.

“But every one will be there.”

“I trust, monsieur le comte, that he will not neglect so excellent an opportunity.”

“He should be at Paris by this time.”

“He will take the direct road perhaps to make up for lost time.”

“Where is he now?”

“At Orleans.”

“Monsieur,” said De Guiche, “you seem to me a man of very good taste.”

Malicorne was wearing some of Manicamp’s old-new clothes. He bowed in return, saying, “You do me a very great honor, monsieur le comte.”

“Whom have I the pleasure of addressing?”

“My name is Malicorne, monsieur.”

“M. de Malicorne, what do you think of these pistol-holsters?”

Malicorne was a man of great readiness, and immediately understood the position of affairs. Besides, the “de” which had been prefixed to his name, raised him to the rank of the person with whom he was conversing. He looked at the holsters with the air of a connoisseur and said, without hesitation: “Somewhat heavy, monsieur.”

“You see,” said De Guiche to the saddler, “this gentleman, who understands these matters well, thinks the holsters heavy, a complaint I had already made.” The saddler was full of excuses.

“What do you think,” asked De Guiche, “of this horse, which I have just purchased?”

“To look at it, it seems perfect, monsieur le comte; but I must mount it before I give you my opinion.”

“Do so, M. de Malicorne, and ride him round the court two or three times.”

The courtyard of the hotel was so arranged, that whenever there was any occasion for it, it could be used as a riding-school. Malicorne, with perfect ease, arranged the bridle and snaffle-reins, placed his left hand on the horse’s mane, and, with his foot in the stirrup, raised himself and seated himself in the saddle. At first, he made the horse walk the whole circuit of the court-yard at a foot-pace; next at a trot; lastly at a gallop. He then drew up close to the count, dismounted, and threw the bridle to a groom standing by. “Well,” said the count, “what do you think of it, M. de Malicorne?”

“This horse, monsieur le comte, is of the Mecklenburg breed. In looking whether the bit suited his mouth, I saw that he was rising seven, the very age when the training of a horse intended for a charger should commence. The forehand is light. A horse which holds its head high, it is said, never tires his rider’s hand. The withers are rather low. The drooping of the hindquarters would almost make me doubt the purity of its German breed, and I think there is English blood in him. He stands well on his legs, but he trots high, and may cut himself, which requires attention to be paid to his shoeing. He is tractable; and as I made him turn round and change his feet, I found him quick and ready in doing so.”

“Well said, M. de Malicorne,” exclaimed the comte; “you are a judge of horses, I perceive;” then, turning towards him again, he continued, “You are most becomingly dressed, M. de Malicorne. That is not a provincial cut, I presume. Such a style of dress is not to be met with at Tours or Orleans.”

“No, monsieur le comte; my clothes were made at Paris.”

“There is no doubt about that. But let us resume our own affair. Manicamp wishes for the appointment of a second maid of honor.”

“You perceive what he has written, monsieur le comte.”

“For whom was the first appointment?”

Malicorne felt the color rise in his face as he answered hurriedly.

“A charming maid of honor, Mademoiselle de Montalais.”

“Ah, ah! you are acquainted with her?”

“We are affianced, or nearly so.”

“That is quite another thing, then; a thousand compliments,” exclaimed De Guiche, upon whose lips a courtier’s jest was already fitting, but to whom the word “affianced,” addressed by Malicorne with respect to Mademoiselle de Montalais, recalled the respect due to women.

“And for whom is the second appointment destined?” asked De Guiche, “is it for anyone to whom Manicamp may happen to be affianced? In that case I pity her, poor girl! for she will have a sad fellow for a husband.”

“No, monsieur le comte, the second appointment is for Mademoiselle de la Baume le Blanc de la Valliere.”

“Unknown,” said De Guiche.

“Unknown? yes, monsieur,” said Malicorne, smiling in his turn.

“Very good. I will speak to Monsieur about it. By the by, she is of gentle birth?”

“She belongs to a very good family and is maid of honor to Madame.”

“That’s well. Will you accompany me to Monsieur?”

“Most certainly, if I may be permitted the honor.”

“Have you your carriage?”

“No; I came here on horseback.”

“Dressed as you are?”

“No, monsieur; I posted from Orleans, and I changed my traveling suit for the one I have on, in order to present myself to you.”

“True, you already told me you had come from Orleans;” saying which he crumpled Manicamp’s letter in his hand, and thrust it in his pocket.

“I beg your pardon,” said Malicorne, timidly; “but I do not think you have read all.”

“Not read all, do you say?”

“No, there were two letters in the same envelope.”

“Oh! are you sure?”

“Quite sure.”

“Let us look, then,” said the count, as he opened the letter again.

“Ah! you are right,” he said, opening the paper which he had not yet read.

“I suspected it,” he continued — “another application for an appointment under Monsieur. This Manicamp is a regular vampire: — he is carrying on a trade in it.”

“No, monsieur le comte, he wishes to make a present of it.”

“To whom?”

“To myself, monsieur.”

“Why did you not say so at once, my dear M. Mauvaisecorne?”

“Malicorne, monsieur le comte.”

“Forgive me; it is the Latin that bothers me — that terrible mine of etymologies. Why the deuce are young men of family taught Latin? Mala and mauvaise — you understand it is the same thing. You will forgive me, I trust, M. de Malicorne.”

“Your kindness affects me much, monsieur: but it is a reason why I should make you acquainted with one circumstance without any delay.”

“What is it?”

“That I was not born a gentleman. I am not without courage, and not altogether deficient in ability; but my name is Malicorne simply.”

“You appear to me, monsieur!” exclaimed the count, looking at the astute face of his companion, “to be a most agreeable man. Your face pleases me, M. Malicorne, and you must possess some indisputably excellent qualities to have pleased that egotistical Manicamp. Be candid, and tell me whether you are not some saint descended upon the earth.”

“Why so?”

“For the simple reason that he makes you a present of anything. Did you not say that he intended to make you a present of some appointment in the king’s house

“I beg your pardon, count; but, if I succeed in obtaining the appointment, you, and not he, will have bestowed it on me.”

“Besides, he will not have given it to you for nothing, I suppose. Stay, I have it; — there is a Malicorne at Orleans, who lends money to the prince.”

“I think that must be my father, monsieur.”

“Ah! the prince has the father, and that terrible dragon of a Manicamp has the son. Take care, monsieur, I know him. He will fleece you completely.”

“The only difference is, that I lend without interest,” said Malicorne, smiling.

“I was correct in saying you were either a saint or very much resembled one. M. Malicorne, you shall have the post you want, or I will forfeit my name.”

“Ah! monsieur le comte, what a debt of gratitude shall I not owe you?” said Malicorne, transported.

“Let us go to the prince, my dear M. Malicorne.” And De Guiche proceeded toward the door, desiring Malicorne to follow him. At the very moment they were about to cross the threshold, a young man appeared on the other side. He was from twenty-four to twenty-five years of age, of pale complexion, bright eyes and brown hair and eyebrows.

“Good-day,” he said, suddenly, almost pushing De Guiche back into the courtyard again.

“Is that you, De Wardes? — What! and booted, spurred, and whip in hand, too?”

“The most befitting costume for a man about to set off for Havre. There will be no one left in Paris tomorrow.” And hereupon he saluted Malicorne with great ceremony, whose handsome dress gave him the appearance of a prince.

“M. Malicorne,” said De Guiche to his friend. De Wardes bowed.

“M. de Wardes,” said Guiche to Malicorne, who bowed in return. “By the by, De Wardes,” continued De Guiche, “you who are so well acquainted with these matters, can you tell us, probably, what appointments are still vacant at the court; or rather in the prince’s household?”

“In the prince’s household,” said De Wardes, looking up with an air of consideration, “let me see — the appointment of the master of the horse is vacant, I believe.”

“Oh,” said Malicorne, “there is no question of such a post as that, monsieur; my ambition is not nearly so exalted.”

De Wardes had a more penetrating observation than De Guiche, and fathomed Malicorne immediately. “The fact is,” he said, looking at him from head to foot, “a man must be either a duke or a peer to fill that post.”

“All I solicit,” said Malicorne, “is a very humble appointment; I am of little importance, and I do not rank myself above my position.”

“M. Malicorne, whom you see here,” said De Guiche to De Wardes, “is a very excellent fellow, whose only misfortune is that of not being of gentle birth. As far as I am concerned, you know, I attach little value to those who have but gentle birth to boast of.”

“Assuredly,” said De Wardes; “but will you allow me to remark, my dear count, that, without rank of some sort, one can hardly hope to belong to his royal highness’s household?”

“You are right,” said the count, “court etiquette is absolute. The devil! — we never so much as gave it a thought.”

“Alas! a sad misfortune for me, monsieur le comte,” said Malicorne, changing color.

“Yet not without remedy, I hope,” returned De Guiche.

“The remedy is found easily enough,” exclaimed De Wardes; “you can be created a gentleman. His Eminence, the Cardinal Mazarin, did nothing else from morning till night”

“Hush, hush, De Wardes,” said the count; “no jests of that kind; it ill becomes us to turn such matters into ridicule. Letters of nobility, it is true, are purchasable; but that is a sufficient misfortune without the nobles themselves laughing at it.”

“Upon my word, De Guiche, you’re quite a Puritan, as the English say.”

At this moment the Vicomte de Bragelonne was announced by one of the servants in the courtyard, in precisely the same manner as he would have done in a room.

“Come here, my dear Raoul. What! you, too, booted and spurred? You are setting off, then?”

Bragelonne approached the group of young men, and saluted them with that quiet and serious manner peculiar to him. His salutation was principally addressed to De Wardes, with whom he was unacquainted, and whose features, on his perceiving Raoul, had assumed a strange sternness of expression. “I have come, De Guiche,” he said, “to ask your companionship. We set off for Havre, I presume.”

“This is admirable — delightful. We shall have a most enjoyable journey. M. Malicorne, M. Bragelonne — ah! M. de Wardes, let me present you.” The young men saluted each other in a restrained manner. Their very natures seemed, from the beginning, disposed to take exception to each other. De Wardes was pliant, subtle, full of dissimulation; Raoul was calm, grave, and upright. “Decide between us — between De Wardes and myself, Raoul.”

“Upon what subject?”

“Upon the subject of noble birth.”

“Who can be better informed on that subject than a De Grammont?”

“No compliments; it is your opinion I ask.”

“At least, inform me of the subject under discussion.”

“De Wardes asserts that the distribution of titles is abused; I, on the contrary, maintain that a title is useless to the man on whom it is bestowed.”

“And you are correct,” said Bragelonne, quietly.

“But, monsieur le vicomte,” interrupted De Wardes, with a kind of obstinacy, “I affirm that it is I who am correct.”

“What was your opinion, monsieur?”

“I was saying that everything is done in France at the present moment to humiliate men of family.”

“And by whom?”

“By the king himself. He surrounds himself with people who cannot show four quarterings.”

“Nonsense,” said De Guiche, “where could you possibly have seen that, De Wardes?”

“One example will suffice,” he returned, directing his look fully upon Raoul.

“State it then.”

“Do you know who has just been nominated captain-general of the musketeers? — an appointment more valuable than a peerage; for it gives precedence over all the marechals of France.”

Raoul’s color mounted in his face; for he saw the object De Wardes had in view. “No; who has been appointed? In any case it must have been very recently, for the appointment was vacant eight days ago; a proof of which is, that the king refused Monsieur, who solicited the post for one of his proteges.”

“Well, the king refused it to Monsieur’s protege, in order to bestow it upon the Chevalier d’Artagnan, a younger brother of some Gascon family, who has been trailing his sword in the ante-chambers during the last thirty years.”

“Forgive me if I interrupt you,” said Raoul, darting a glance full of severity at De Wardes; “but you give me the impression of being unacquainted with the gentleman of whom you are speaking.”

“I not acquainted with M. d’Artagnan? Can you tell me, monsieur, who does not know him?”

“Those who do know him, monsieur,” replied Raoul with still greater calmness and sternness of manner, “are in the habit of saying, that if he is not as good a gentleman as the king — which is not his fault — he is the equal of all the kings of the earth in courage and loyalty. Such is my opinion, monsieur, and I thank heaven I have known M. d’Artagnan from my birth.”

De Wardes was about to reply, when De Guiche interrupted him.

CHAPTER 82

The Portrait of Madame

The discussion was becoming full of bitterness. De Guiche perfectly understood the whole matter for there was in Bragelonne’s face a look instinctively hostile, while in that of De Wardes there was something like a determination to offend. Without inquiring into the different feelings which actuated his two friends, De Guiche resolved to ward off the blow which he felt was on the point of being dealt by one of them, and perhaps by both. “Gentlemen,” he said, “we must take our leave of each other, I must pay a visit to Monsieur. You, De Wardes, will accompany me to the Louvre, and you Raoul, will remain here master of the house; and as all that is done here is under your advice, you will bestow the last glance upon my preparations for departure.”

Raoul, with the air of one who neither seeks nor fears a quarrel, bowed his head in token of assent, and seated himself upon a bench in the sun. “That is well,” said De Guiche, “remain where you are, Raoul, and tell them to show you the two horses I have just purchased; you will give me your opinion, for I only bought them on condition that you ratified the purchase. By the by, I have to beg your pardon for having omitted to inquire after the Comte de la Fere.” While pronouncing these latter words, he closely observed De Wardes, in order to perceive what effect the name of Raoul’s father would produce upon him. “I thank you,” answered the young man, “the count is very well.” A gleam of deep hatred passed into De Wardes’ eyes. De Guiche, who appeared not to notice the foreboding expression, went up to Raoul, and grasping him by the hand, said, — “It is agreed, then, Bragelonne, is it not, that you will rejoin us in the courtyard of the Palais-Royal?” He then signed to De Wardes to follow him who had been engaged in balancing himself first on one foot, then on the other. “We are going,” said he, “come, M. Malicorne.” This name made Raoul start; for it seemed that he had already heard it pronounced before, but he could not remember on what occasion. While trying to recall it half-dreamily, yet half-irritated at his conversation with De Wardes, the three young men set out on their way towards the Palais-Royal, where Monsieur was residing. Malicorne learned two things; the first, that the young men had something to say to each other, and the second, that he ought not to walk in the same line with them; and therefore he walked behind. “Are you mad?” said De Guiche to his companion, as soon as they had left the Hotel de Grammont; “you attack M. d’Artagnan, and that, too, before Raoul.”

“Well,” said De Wardes, “what then?”

“What do you mean by `what then?'”

“Certainly, is there any prohibition against attacking M. d’Artagnan?”

“But you know very well that M. d’Artagnan was one of those celebrated and terrible four men who were called the musketeers.”

“That they may be, but I do not perceive why, on that account, I should be forbidden to hate M. d’Artagnan.”

“What cause has he given you?”

“Me! personally, none.”

“Why hate him, therefore?”

“Ask my dead father that question.”

“Really, my dear De Wardes, you surprise me. M. d’Artagnan is not one to leave unsettled any enmity he may have to arrange, without completely clearing his account. Your father, I have heard, on his side, carried matters with a high hand. Moreover there are no enmities so bitter that they cannot be washed away by blood, by a good sword-thrust loyally given.”

“Listen to me, my dear De Guiche, this inveterate dislike existed between my father and M. d’Artagnan, and when I was quite a child, he acquainted me with the reason for it, and, as forming part of my inheritance, I regard it as a particular legacy bestowed upon me.”

“And does his hatred concern M. d’Artagnan alone?”

“As for that, M. d’Artagnan was so intimately associated with his three friends, that some portion of the full measure of my hatred falls to their lot, and that hatred is of such a nature, whenever the opportunity occurs, they shall have no occasion to complain of their allowance.”

De Guiche had kept his eyes fixed on De Wardes, and shuddered at the bitter manner in which the young man smiled. Something like a presentiment flashed across his mind; he knew that the time had passed away for grands coups entre gentilshommes; but that the feeling of hatred treasured up in the mind, instead of being diffused abroad, was still hatred all the same; that a smile was sometimes as full of meaning as a threat; and, in a word, that to the fathers who had hated with their hearts and fought with their arms, would now succeed the sons, who would indeed hate with their hearts, but would no longer combat their enemies, save by means of intrigue or treachery. As, therefore, it certainly was not Raoul whom he could suspect either of intrigue or treachery, it was on Raoul’s account that De Guiche trembled. However, while these gloomy forebodings cast a shade of anxiety over De Guiche’s countenance, De Wardes had resumed the entire mastery over himself.

“At all events,” he observed, “I have no personal ill-will towards M. de Bragelonne; I do not know him even.”

“In any case,” said De Guiche, with a certain amount of severity in his tone of voice, “do not forget one circumstance, that Raoul is my most intimate friend;” a remark at which De Wardes bowed.

The conversation terminated there, although De Guiche tried his utmost to draw out his secret from him; but, doubtless, De Wardes had determined to say nothing further, and he remained impenetrable. De Guiche therefore promised himself a more satisfactory result with Raoul. In the meantime they had reached the Palais-Royal, which was surrounded by a crowd of lookers-on. The household belonging to Monsieur awaited his command to mount their horses, in order to form part of the escort of the ambassadors, to whom had been intrusted the care of bringing the young princess to Paris. The brilliant display of horses, arms, and rich liveries, afforded some compensation in those times, thanks to the kindly feelings of the people, and to the traditions of deep devotion to their sovereigns, for the enormous expenses charged upon the taxes. Mazarin had said: “Let them sing, provided they pay;” while Louis XIV.’s remark was, “Let them look.” Sight had replaced the voice; the people could still look, but they were no longer allowed to sing. De Guiche left De Wardes and Malicorne at the bottom of the grand staircase, while he himself, who shared the favor and good graces of Monsieur with the Chevalier de Lorraine, who always smiled at him most affectionately, though he could not endure him, went straight to the prince’s apartments, whom he found engaged in admiring himself in the glass, and rouging his face. In a corner of the cabinet, the Chevalier de Lorraine was extended full length upon some cushions, having just had his long hair curled, with which he was playing in the same manner a woman would have done. The prince turned round as the count entered, and perceiving who it was, said:

“Ah! is that you, Guiche, come here and tell me the truth.”

“You know, my lord, it is one of my defects to speak the truth.”

“You will hardly believe, De Guiche, how that wicked chevalier has annoyed me.”

The chevalier shrugged his shoulders.

“Why, he pretends,” continued the prince, “that Mademoiselle Henrietta is better looking as a woman than I am as a man.”

“Do not forget, my lord,” said De Guiche, frowning slightly, “you require me to speak the truth?”

“Certainly,” said the prince, tremblingly.

“Well, and I shall tell it you.”

“Do not be in a hurry, Guiche,” exclaimed the prince, “you have plenty of time; look at me attentively, and try to recollect Madame. Besides, her portrait is here. Look at it.” And he held out to him a miniature of the finest possible execution. De Guiche took it, and looked at it for a long time attentively.

“Upon my honor, my lord, this is indeed a most lovely face.”

“But look at me, count, look at me,” said the prince endeavoring to direct upon himself the attention of the count, who was completely absorbed in contemplation of the portrait.

“It is wonderful,” murmured Guiche.

“Really one would almost imagine you had never seen the young lady before.”

“It is true, my lord, I have seen her, but it was five years ago; there is a great difference between a child twelve years old and a girl of seventeen.”

“Well, what is your opinion?”

“My opinion is that the portrait must be flattering, my lord.”

“Of that,” said the prince triumphantly, “there can be no doubt, but let us suppose that it is not, what would your opinion be?”

“My lord, that your highness is exceedingly happy to have so charming a bride.”

“Very well, that is your opinion of her, but of me?”

“My opinion, my lord, is that you are too handsome for a man.”

The Chevalier de Lorraine burst out laughing. The prince understood how severe towards himself this opinion of the Comte de Guiche was, and he looked somewhat displeased, saying, “My friends are not over indulgent.” De Guiche looked at the portrait again, and, after lengthened contemplation, returned it with apparent unwillingness, saying, “Most decidedly, my lord, I should rather prefer to look ten times at your highness, than to look at Madame once again.” It seemed as if the chevalier had detected some mystery in these words, which were incomprehensible to the prince, for he exclaimed: “Very well, get married yourself.” Monsieur continued painting himself, and when he had finished, looked at the portrait again once more, turned to admire himself in the glass, and smiled, and no doubt was satisfied with the comparison. “You are very kind to have come,” he said to Guiche, “I feared you would leave without bidding me adieu.”

“Your highness knows me too well to believe me capable of so great a disrespect.”

“Besides, I suppose you have something to ask from me before leaving Paris?”

“Your highness has indeed guessed correctly, for I have a request to make.”

“Very good, what is it?”

The Chevalier de Lorraine immediately displayed the greatest attention, for he regarded every favor conferred upon another as a robbery committed against himself. And, as Guiche hesitated, the prince said: “If it be money, nothing could be more fortunate, for I am in funds; the superintendent of the finances has sent me 500,000 pistoles.”

“I thank your highness; but it is not an affair of money.”

“What is it, then? Tell me.”

“The appointment of a maid of honor.”

“Oh! oh! Guiche, what a protector you have become of young ladies,” said the prince, “you never speak of any one else now!”

The Chevalier de Lorraine smiled, for he knew very well that nothing displeased the prince more than to show any interest in ladies. “My lord,” said the comte, “it is not I who am directly interested in the lady of whom I have just spoken; I am acting on behalf of one of my friends.”

“Ah! that is different; what is the name of the young lady in whom your friend is interested?”

“Mlle. de la Baume le Blanc de la Valliere; she is already maid of honor to the dowager princess.”

“Why, she is lame,” said the Chevalier de Lorraine, stretching himself on his cushions.

“Lame,” repeated the prince, “and Madame to have her constantly before her eyes? Most certainly not; it may be dangerous for her when in an interesting condition.”

The Chevalier de Lorraine burst out laughing.

“Chevalier,” said Guiche, “your conduct is ungenerous; while I am soliciting a favor, you do me all the mischief you can.”

“Forgive me, comte,” said the Chevalier de Lorraine, somewhat uneasy at the tone in which Guiche had made his remark, “but I had no intention of doing so, and I begin to believe that I have mistaken one young lady for another.”

“There is no doubt of it, monsieur; and I do not hesitate to declare that such is the case.”

“Do you attach much importance to it, Guiche?” inquired the prince.

“I do, my lord.”

“Well, you shall have it, but ask me for no more appointments, for there are none to give away.”

“Ah!” exclaimed the chevalier, “midday already, that is the hour fixed for the departure.”

“You dismiss me, monsieur?” inquired Guiche.

“Really, count, you treat me very ill to-day,” replied the chevalier.

“For heaven’s sake, count, for heaven’s sake, chevalier,” said Monsieur, “do you not see how you are distressing me?”

“Your highness’s signature?” said Guiche.

“Take a blank appointment from that drawer, and give it to me.” Guiche handed the prince the document indicated, and at the same time presented him with a pen already dipped in ink; whereupon the prince signed. “Here,” he said, returning him the appointment, “but I give it on one condition.”

“Name it.”

“That you make friends with the chevalier.”

“Willingly,” said Guiche. And he held out his hand to the chevalier with an indifference amounting to contempt.

“Adieu, count,” said the chevalier, without seeming in any way to have noticed the count’s slight; “adieu, and bring us back a princess who will not talk with her own portrait too much.”

“Yes, set off and lose no time. By the by, who accompany you?”

“Bragelonne and De Wardes.”

“Both excellent and fearless companions.”

“Too fearless,” said the chevalier; “endeavor to bring them both back, count.”

“A bad heart, bad!” murmured De Guiche; “he scents mischief everywhere, and sooner than anything else.” And taking leave of the prince, he quitted the apartment. As soon as he reached the vestibule, he waved in the air the paper which the prince had signed. Malicorne hurried forward, and received it, trembling with delight. When, however, he held it in his hand Guiche observed that he still awaited something further.

“Patience, monsieur,” he said; “the Chevalier de Lorraine was there, and I feared an utter failure if I asked too much at once. Wait until I return. Adieu.”

“Adieu, monsieur le comte; a thousand thanks,” said Malicorne.

“Send Manicamp to me. By the way, monsieur, is it true that Mlle. de la Valliere is lame?” As he said this a horse drew up behind him, and on turning round he noticed that Bragelonne, who had just at that moment entered the courtyard, turned suddenly pale. The poor lover had heard the remark, which, however, was not the case with Malicorne, for he was already beyond the reach of the count’s voice.

“Why is Louise’s name spoken of here?” said Raoul to himself; “oh! let not De Wardes, who stands smiling yonder, even say a word about her in my presence.”

“Now, gentlemen,” exclaimed the Comte de Guiche, “prepare to start.”

At this moment the prince, who had completed his toilette, appeared at the window, and was immediately saluted by the acclamations of all who composed the escort, and ten minutes afterwards, banners, scarfs, and feathers were fluttering and waving in the air, as the cavalcade galloped away.

CHAPTER 83

Havre

This brilliant and animated company, the members of which were inspired by various feelings, arrived at Havre four days after their departure from Paris. It was about five o’clock in the afternoon, and no intelligence had yet been received of Madame. They were soon engaged in quest of apartments; but the greatest confusion immediately ensued among the masters, and violent quarrels among their attendants. In the midst of this disorder, the Comte de Guiche fancied he recognized Manicamp. It was, indeed, Manicamp himself; but as Malicorne had taken possession of his very best costume, he had not been able to get any other than a suit of violet velvet trimmed with silver. Guiche recognized him as much by his dress as by his features, for he had very frequently seen Manicamp in his violet suit, which was his last resource. Manicamp presented himself to the count under an arch of torches, which set in a blaze, rather than illuminated, the gate by which Havre is entered, and which is situated close to the tower of Francis I. The count, remarking the woe-begone expression of Manicamp’s face, could not resist laughing. “Well, my poor Manicamp,” he exclaimed, “how violet you look; are you in mourning?”

“Yes,” replied Manicamp; “I am in mourning.”

“For whom, or for what?”

“For my blue-and-gold suit, which has disappeared, and in the place of which I could find nothing but this; and I was even obliged to economize from compulsion, in order to get possession of it.”

“Indeed?”

“It is singular you should be astonished at that, since you leave me without any money.”

“At all events, here you are, and that is the principal thing.”

“By the most horrible roads.”

“Where are you lodging?”

“Lodging?”

“Yes!”

“I am not lodging anywhere.”

De Guiche began to laugh. “Well,” said he, “where do you intend to lodge?”

“In the same place you do.”

“But I don’t know, myself.”

“What do you mean by saying you don’t know?”

“Certainly, how is it likely I should know where I should stay?”

“Have you not retained an hotel?”

“I?”

“Yes, you or the prince.”

“Neither of us has thought of it. Havre is of considerable size, I suppose; and provided I can get a stable for a dozen horses, and a suitable house in a good quarter —- “

“Certainly, there are some very excellent houses.”

“Well then —- “

“But not for us.”

“What do you mean by saying not for us? — for whom, then?”

“For the English, of course.”

“For the English?”

“Yes; the houses are all taken.”

“By whom?”

“By the Duke of Buckingham.”

“I beg your pardon?” said Guiche, whose attention this name had awakened.

“Yes, by the Duke of Buckingham. His Grace was preceded by a courier, who arrived here three days ago, and immediately retained all the houses fit for habitation the town possesses.”

“Come, come, Manicamp, let us understand each other.”

“Well, what I have told you is clear enough, it seems to me.”

“But surely Buckingham does not occupy the whole of Havre?”

“He certainly does not occupy it, since he has not yet arrived; but, once disembarked, he will occupy it.”

“Oh! oh!”

“It is quite clear you are not acquainted with the English; they have a perfect rage for monopolizing everything.”

“That may be; but a man who has the whole of one house, is satisfied with it, and does not require two.”

“Yes, but two men?”

“Be it so; for two men, two houses, or four or six, or ten, if you like; but there are a hundred houses at Havre.”

“Yes, and all the hundred are let.”

“Impossible!”

“What an obstinate fellow you are. I tell you Buckingham has hired all the houses surrounding the one which the queen dowager of England and the princess her daughter will inhabit.”

“He is singular enough, indeed,” said De Wardes, caressing his horse’s neck.

“Such is the case, however, monsieur.”

“You are quite sure of it, Monsieur de Manicamp?” and as he put this question, he looked slyly at De Guiche, as though to interrogate him upon the degree of confidence to be placed in his friend’s state of mind. During this discussion the night had closed in, and the torches, pages, attendants, squires, horses, and carriages, blocked up the gate and the open place; the torches were reflected in the channel, which the rising tide was gradually filling, while on the other side of the jetty might be noticed groups of curious lookers-on, consisting of sailors and townspeople, who seemed anxious to miss nothing of the spectacle. Amidst all this hesitation of purpose, Bragelonne, as though a perfect stranger to the scene, remained on his horse somewhat in the rear of Guiche, and watched the rays of light reflected on the water, inhaling with rapture the sea breezes, and listening to the waves which noisily broke upon the shore and on the beach, tossing the spray into the air with a noise that echoed in the distance. “But,” exclaimed De Guiche, “what is Buckingham’s motive for providing such a supply of lodgings?”

“Yes, yes,” said De Wardes; “what reason has he?”

“A very excellent one,” replied Manicamp.

“You know what it is, then?”

“I fancy I do.”

“Tell us then.”

“Bend your head down towards me.”

“What! may it not be spoken except in private?”

“You shall judge of that yourself.”

“Very well.” De Guiche bent down.

“Love,” said Manicamp.

“I do not understand you at all.”

“Say rather, you cannot understand me yet.”

“Explain yourself.”

“Very well; it is quite certain, count, that his royal highness will be the most unfortunate of husbands.”

“What do you mean?”

“The Duke of Buckingham —- “

“It is a name of ill omen to the princes of the house of France.”

“And so the duke is madly in love with Madame, so the rumor runs, and will have no one approach her but himself.”

De Guiche colored. “Thank you, thank you,” said he to Manicamp, grasping his hand. Then, recovering himself, added, “Whatever you do, Manicamp, be careful that this project of Buckingham’s is not made known to any Frenchman here; for, if so, many a sword would be unsheathed in this country that does not fear English steel.”

“But after all,” said Manicamp, “I have had no satisfactory proof given me of the love in question, and it may be no more than an idle tale.”

“No, no,” said De Guiche, “it must be the truth;” and despite his command over himself, he clenched his teeth.

“Well,” said Manicamp, “after all, what does it matter to you? What does it matter to me whether the prince is to be what the late king was? Buckingham the father for the queen, Buckingham the son for the princess.”

“Manicamp! Manicamp!

“It is a fact, or at least, everybody says so.”

“Silence!” cried the count.

“But why, silence?” said De Wardes, “it is a highly creditable circumstance for the French nation. Are not you of my opinion, Monsieur de Bragelonne?”

“To what circumstance do you allude?” inquired De Bragelonne with an abstracted air.

“That the English should render homage to the beauty of our queens and our princesses.”

“Forgive me, but I have not been paying attention to what has passed; will you oblige me by explaining,

“There is no doubt it was necessary that Buckingham the father should come to Paris in order that his majesty, King Louis XIII., should perceive that his wife was one of the most beautiful women of the French court; and it seems necessary, at the present time, that Buckingham the son should consecrate, by the devotion of his worship, the beauty of a princess who has French blood in her veins. The fact of having inspired a passion on the other side of the Channel will henceforth confer a title to beauty on this.”

“Sir,” replied De Bragelonne, “I do not like to hear such matters treated so lightly. Gentlemen like ourselves should be careful guardians of the honor of our queens and our princesses. If we jest at them, what will our servants do?”

“How am I to understand that?” said De Wardes, whose ears tingled at the remark.

“In any way you choose, monsieur,” replied De Bragelonne, coldly.

“Bragelonne, Bragelonne,” murmured De Guiche.

“M. de Wardes,” exclaimed Manicamp, noticing that the young man had spurred his horse close to the side of Raoul.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen,” said De Guiche, “do not set such an example in public, in the street too. De Wardes, you are wrong.”

“Wrong; in what way, may I ask?”

“You are wrong, monsieur, because you are always speaking ill of someone or something,” replied Raoul with undisturbed composure.

“Be indulgent, Raoul,” said De Guiche, in an undertone.

“Pray do not think of fighting, gentlemen!” said Manicamp, “before you have rested yourselves; for in that case you will not be able to do much.”

“Come,” said De Guiche, “forward, gentlemen!” and breaking through the horses and attendants, he cleared the way for himself towards the center of the square, through the crowd, followed by the whole cavalcade. A large gateway looking out upon a courtyard was open; Guiche entered the courtyard, and Bragelonne, De Wardes, Manicamp, and three or four other gentlemen, followed him. A sort of council of war was held, and the means to be employed for saving the dignity of the embassy were deliberated upon. Bragelonne was of opinion that the right of priority should be respected, while De Wardes suggested that the town should be sacked. This latter proposition appearing to Manicamp rather premature, he proposed instead that they should first rest themselves. This was the wisest thing to do, but, unhappily, to follow his advice, two things were wanting; namely, a house and beds. De Guiche reflected for awhile, and then said aloud, “Let him who loves me, follow me!”

“The attendants also?” inquired a page who had approached the group.

“Every one,” exclaimed the impetuous young man. “Manicamp, show us the way to the house. destined for her Royal Highness’s residence.”

Without in any way divining the count’s project, his friends followed him, accompanied by a crowd of people whose acclamations and delight seemed a happy omen for the success of that project with which they were yet unacquainted. The wind was blowing strongly from the harbor, and moaning in fitful gusts.

CHAPTER 84

At Sea

The following day was somewhat calmer, although the gale still continued. The sun had, however, risen through a bank of orange clouds, tingeing with its cheerful rays the crests of the black waves. Watch was impatiently kept from the different look-outs. Towards eleven o’clock in the morning a ship, with sails full set, was signalled as in view; two others followed at the distance of about half a knot. They approached like arrows shot from the bow of a skillful archer; and yet the sea ran so high that their speed was as nothing compared to the rolling of the billows in which the vessels were plunging first in one direction and then in another. The English fleet was soon recognized by the line of the ships, and by the color of their pennants; the one which had the princess on board and carried the admiral’s flag preceded the others.

The rumor now spread that the princess was arriving. The whole French court ran to the harbor, while the quays and jetties were soon covered by crowds of people. Two hours afterwards, the other vessels had overtaken the flagship, and the three, not venturing perhaps to enter the narrow entrance of the harbor, cast anchor between Havre and La Heve. When the maneuver had been completed, the vessel which bore the admiral saluted France by twelve discharges of cannon, which were returned, discharge for discharge, from Fort Francis I. Immediately afterwards a hundred boats were launched; they were covered with the richest stuffs, and destined for the conveyance of the different members of the French nobility towards the vessels at anchor. But when it was observed that even inside the harbor the boats were tossed to and fro, and that beyond the jetty the waves rose mountains high, dashing upon the shore with a terrible uproar, it will readily be believed that not one of those frail boats would be able with safety to reach a fourth part of the distance between the shore and the vessels at anchor. A pilot-boat, however, notwithstanding the wind and the sea, was getting ready to leave the harbor, for the purpose of placing itself at the admiral’s disposal.

De Guiche, who had been looking among the different boats for one stronger than the others, which might offer a chance of reaching the English vessels, perceiving the pilot-boat getting ready to start, said to Raoul: “Do you not think, Raoul, that intelligent and vigorous men, as we are, ought to be ashamed to retreat before the brute strength of wind and waves?”

“That is precisely the very reflection I was silently making to myself,” replied Bragelonne.

“Shall we get into that boat, then, and push off? Will you come, De Wardes?”

“Take care, or you will get drowned,” said Manicamp.

“And for no purpose,” said De Wardes, “for with the wind in your teeth, as it will be, you will never reach the vessels.”

“You refuse, then?”

“Assuredly I do; I would willingly risk and lose my life in an encounter against men,” he said, glancing at Bragelonne, “but as to fighting with oars against waves, I have no taste for that.”

“And for myself,” said Manicamp, “even were I to succeed in reaching the ships, I should not be indifferent to the loss of the only good dress which I have left, — salt water would spoil it.”

“You, then, refuse also?” exclaimed De Guiche.

“Decidedly I do; I beg you to understand that most distinctly.”

“But,” exclaimed De Guiche, “look, De Wardes — look, Manicamp — look yonder, the princesses are looking at us from the poop of the admiral’s vessel.”

“An additional reason, my dear fellow, why we should not make ourselves ridiculous by being drowned while they are looking on.”

“Is that your last word, Manicamp?”

“Yes.”

“And then yours, De Wardes?”

“Yes.”

“Then I go alone.”

“Not so,” said Raoul, “for I shall accompany you; I thought it was understood I should do so.”

The fact is, that Raoul, uninfluenced by devotion, measuring the risk they run, saw how imminent the danger was, but he willingly allowed himself to accept a peril which De Wardes had declined.

The boat was about to set off when De Guiche called to the pilot. “Stay,” said he: “we want two places in your boat;” and wrapping five or six pistoles in paper, he threw them from the quay into the boat.

“It seems you are not afraid of salt water, young gentlemen.”

“We are afraid of nothing,” replied De Guiche.

“Come along, then.”

The pilot approached the side of the boat, and the two young men, one after the other, with equal vivacity, jumped into the boat. “Courage, my men,” said De Guiche; “I have twenty pistoles left in this purse, and as soon as we reach the admiral’s vessel they shall be yours.” The sailors bent themselves to their oars, and the boat bounded over the crest of the waves. The interest taken in this hazardous expedition was universal; the whole population of Havre hurried towards the jetties and every look was directed towards the little bark; at one moment it flew suspended on the crest of the foaming waves, then suddenly glided downwards towards the bottom of a raging abyss, where it seemed utterly lost. At the expiration of an hour’s struggling with the waves, it reached the spot where the admiral’s vessel was anchored, and from the side of which two boats had already been dispatched towards their aid. Upon the quarter-deck of the flagship, sheltered by a canopy of velvet and ermine, which was suspended by stout supports, Henrietta, the queen dowager, and the young princess — with the admiral, the Duke of Norfolk — standing beside them — watched with alarm this slender bark, at one moment tossed to the heavens, and the next buried beneath the waves, and against whose dark sail the noble figures of the two French gentlemen stood forth in relief like two luminous apparitions. The crew, leaning against the bulwarks and clinging to the shrouds, cheered the courage of the two daring young men, the skill of the pilot, and the strength of the sailors. They were received at the side of the vessel by a shout of triumph. The Duke of Norfolk, a handsome young man, from twenty-six to twenty-eight years of age, advanced to meet them. De Guiche and Bragelonne lightly mounted the ladder on the starboard side, and conducted by the Duke of Norfolk, who resumed his place near them, they approached to offer their homage to the princesses. Respect, and yet more, a certain apprehension, for which he could not account, had hitherto restrained the Comte de Guiche from looking at Madame attentively, who, however, had observed him immediately, and had asked her mother, “Is not that Monsieur in the boat yonder?” Madame Henrietta who knew Monsieur better than her daughter did, smiled at the mistake her vanity had led her into, and had answered, “No; it is only M. de Guiche, his favorite.” The princess, at this reply, was constrained to check an instinctive tenderness of feeling which the courage displayed by the count had awakened. At the very moment the princess had put this question to her mother, De Guiche had, at last, summoned courage to raise his eyes towards her and could compare the original with the portrait he had so lately seen. No sooner had he remarked her pale face, her eyes so full of animation, her beautiful nut-brown hair, her expressive lips, and her every gesture, which, while betokening royal descent, seemed to thank and to encourage him at one and the same time, than he was, for a moment, so overcome, that, had it not been for Raoul, on whose arm he leant, he would have fallen. His friend’s amazed look, and the encouraging gesture of the queen, restored Guiche to his self-possession. In a few words he explained his mission, explained in what way he had become the envoy of his royal highness; and saluted, according to their rank and the reception they gave him, the admiral and several of the English noblemen who were grouped around the princesses.

Raoul was then presented, and was most graciously received; the share that the Comte de la Fere had had in the restoration of Charles II. was known to all; and, more than that, it was the comte who had been charged with the negotiation of the marriage, by means of which the granddaughter of Henry IV. was now returning to France. Raoul spoke English perfectly, and constituted himself his friend’s interpreter with the young English noblemen, who were indifferently acquainted with the French language. At this moment a young man came forward, of extremely handsome features, and whose dress and arms were remarkable for their extravagance of material. He approached the princesses, who were engaged in conversation with the Duke of Norfolk, and, in a voice which ill concealed his impatience, said, “It is time now to disembark, your royal highness. “The younger of the princesses rose from her seat at this remark, and was about to take the hand which the young nobleman extended to her, with an eagerness which arose from a variety of motives, when the admiral intervened between them, observing; “A moment, if you please, my lord; it is not possible for ladies to disembark just now, the sea is too rough; it is probable the wind may abate before sunset, and the landing will not be effected, therefore, until this evening.”

“Allow me to observe, my lord,” said Buckingham, with an irritation of manner which he did not seek to disguise, “you detain these ladies, and you have no right to do so. One of them, unhappily, now belongs to France, and you perceive that France claims them by the voice of her ambassadors;” and at the same moment he indicated Raoul and Guiche, whom he saluted.

“I cannot suppose that these gentlemen intend to expose the lives of their royal highnesses,” replied the admiral.

“These gentlemen,” retorted Buckingham, “arrived here safely, notwithstanding the wind; allow me to believe that the danger will not be greater for their royal highnesses when the wind will be in their favor.”

“These envoys have shown how great their courage is,” said the admiral. “You may have observed that there was a great number of persons on shore who did not venture to accompany them. Moreover, the desire which they had to show their respect with the least possible delay to Madame and her illustrious mother induced them to brave the sea, which is very tempestuous to-day, even for sailors. These gentlemen, however, whom I recommend as an example for my officers to follow, can hardly be so for these ladies.”

Madame glanced at the Comte de Guiche, and perceived that his face was burning with confusion. This look had escaped Buckingham, who had eyes for nothing but Norfolk, of whom he was evidently very jealous; he seemed anxious to remove the princesses from the deck of a vessel where the admiral reigned supreme. “In that case,” returned Buckingham, “I appeal to Madame herself.”

“And I, my lord,” retorted the admiral, “I appeal to my own conscience, and to my own sense of responsibility. I have undertaken to convey Madame safe and sound to France, and I shall keep my promise.”

“But sir —- ” continued Buckingham.

“My lord, permit me to remind you that I command here.”

“Are you aware what you are saying, my lord?” replied Buckingham, haughtily.

“Perfectly so; I therefore repeat it: I alone command here, all yield obedience to me; the sea and the winds, the ships and men too.” This remark was made in a dignified and authoritative manner. Raoul observed its effect upon Buckingham, who trembled with anger from head to foot, and leaned against one of the poles of the tent to prevent himself falling; his eyes became suffused with blood, and the hand which he did not need for his support wandered towards the hilt of his sword.

“My lord,” said the queen, “permit me to observe that I agree in every particular with the Duke of Norfolk; if the heavens, instead of being clouded as they are at the present moment, were perfectly serene and propitious, we can still afford to bestow a few hours upon the officer who has conducted us so successfully, and with such extreme attention, to the French coast, where he is to take leave of us.”

Buckingham, instead of replying, seemed to seek counsel from the expression of Madame’s face. She, however, half-concealed beneath the thick curtains of the velvet and gold which sheltered her, had not listened to the discussion, having been occupied in watching the Comte de Guiche, who was conversing with Raoul. This was a fresh misfortune for Buckingham, who fancied he perceived in Madame Henrietta’s look a deeper feeling than that of curiosity. He withdrew, almost tottering in his gait, and nearly stumbled against the mainmast of the ship.

“The duke has not acquired a steady footing yet,” said the queen-mother, in French, “and that may possibly be his reason for wishing to find himself on firm land again.”

The young man overheard this remark, turned suddenly pale, and, letting his hands fall in great discouragement by his side, drew aside, mingling in one sigh his old affection and his new hatreds. The admiral, however, without taking any further notice of the duke’s ill-humor, led the princesses into the quarter-deck cabin, where dinner had been served with a magnificence worthy in every respect of his guests. The admiral seated himself at the right hand of the princess, and placed the Comte de Guiche on her left. This was the place Buckingham usually occupied; and when he entered the cabin, how profound was his unhappiness to see himself banished by etiquette from the presence of his sovereign, to a position inferior to that which, by rank, he was entitled to. De Guiche, on the other hand, paler still perhaps from happiness, than his rival was from anger, seated himself tremblingly next the princess, whose silken robe, as it lightly touched him, caused a tremor of mingled regret and happiness to pass through his whole frame. The repast finished, Buckingham darted forward to hand Madame Henrietta from the table; but this time it was De Guiche’s turn to give the duke a lesson. “Have the goodness, my lord, from this moment,” said he, “not to interpose between her royal highness and myself. From this moment, indeed, her royal highness belongs to France, and when she deigns to honor me by touching my hand it is the hand of Monsieur, the brother of the king of France, she touches.”

And saying this, he presented his hand to Madame Henrietta with such marked deference, and at the same time with a nobleness of mien so intrepid, that a murmur of admiration rose from the English, whilst a groan of despair escaped from Buckingham’s lips. Raoul, who loved, comprehended it all. He fixed upon his friend one of those profound looks which a bosom friend or mother can alone extend, either as protector or guardian, over the one who is about to stray from the right path. Towards two o’clock in the afternoon the sun shone forth anew, the wind subsided, the sea became smooth as a crystal mirror, and the fog, which had shrouded the coast, disappeared like a veil withdrawn from before it. The smiling hills of France appeared in full view with their numerous white houses rendered more conspicuous by the bright green of the trees or the clear blue sky.

CHAPTER 85

The Tents

The admiral, as we have seen, was determined to pay no further attention to Buckingham’s threatening glances and fits of passion. In fact, from the moment they quitted England, he had gradually accustomed himself to his behavior. De Guiche had not yet in any way remarked the animosity which appeared to influence that young nobleman against him, but he felt, instinctively, that there could be no sympathy between himself and the favorite of Charles II. The queen-mother, with greater experience and calmer judgment, perceived the exact position of affairs, and, as she discerned its danger, was prepared to meet it, whenever the proper moment should arrive. Quiet had been everywhere restored, except in Buckingham’s heart; he, in his impatience, addressed himself to the princess, in a low tone of voice: “For Heaven’s sake, madame, I implore you to hasten your disembarkation. Do you not perceive how that insolent Duke of Norfolk is killing me with his attentions and devotions to you?”

Henrietta heard this remark; she smiled, and without turning her head towards him, but giving only to the tone of her voice that inflection of gentle reproach, and languid impertinence, which women and princesses so well know how to assume, she murmured, “I have already hinted, my lord, that you must have taken leave of your senses.”

Not a single detail escaped Raoul’s attention; he heard both Buckingham’s entreaty and the princess’s reply; he remarked Buckingham retire, heard his deep sigh, and saw him pass his hand across his face. He understood everything, and trembled as he reflected on the position of affairs, and the state of the minds of those about him. At last the admiral, with studied delay, gave the last orders for the departure of the boats.

Buckingham heard the directions given with such an exhibition of delight that a stranger would really imagine the young man’s reason was affected. As the Duke of Norfolk gave his commands, a large boat or barge, decked with flags, and capable of holding about twenty rowers and fifteen passengers, was slowly lowered from the side of the admiral’s vessel. The barge was carpeted with velvet and decorated with coverings embroidered with the arms of England, and with garlands of flowers; for, at that time, ornamentation was by no means forgotten in these political pageants. No sooner was this really royal boat afloat and the rowers with oars uplifted, awaiting, like soldiers presenting arms, the embarkation of the princess, than Buckingham ran forward to the ladder in order to take his place. His progress was, however, arrested by the queen. “My lord,” she said, “it is hardly becoming that you should allow my daughter and myself to land without having previously ascertained that our apartments are properly prepared. I beg your lordship to be good enough to precede us ashore, and to give directions that everything be in proper order on our arrival.”

This was a fresh disappointment for the duke, and, still more so, since it was so unexpected. He hesitated, colored violently, but could not reply. He had thought he might be able to keep near Madame during the passage to the shore, and, by this means, to enjoy to the very last moment the brief period fortune still reserved for him. The order, however, was explicit; and the admiral, who heard it given, immediately called out, “Launch the ship’s gig.” His directions were executed with that celerity which distinguishes every maneuver on board a man-of-war.

Buckingham, in utter hopelessness, cast a look of despair at the princess, of supplication towards the queen, and directed a glance full of anger towards the admiral. The princess pretended not to notice him, while the queen turned aside her head, and the admiral laughed outright, at the sound of which Buckingham seemed ready to spring upon him. The queen-mother rose, and with a tone of authority said, “Pray set off, sir.”

The young duke hesitated, looked around him, and with a last effort, half-choked by contending emotions, said, “And you, gentlemen, M. de Guiche and M. de Bragelonne, do not you accompany me?”

De Guiche bowed and said, “Both M. de Bragelonne and myself await her majesty’s orders; whatever the commands she imposes on us, we shall obey them.” Saying this, he looked towards the princess, who cast down her eyes.

“Your grace will remember,” said the queen, “that M. de Guiche is here to represent Monsieur; it is he who will do the honors of France, as you have done those of England; his presence cannot be dispensed with; besides, we owe him this slight favor for the courage he displayed in venturing to seek us in such a terrible stress of weather.”

Buckingham opened his lips, as if he were about to speak, but, whether thoughts or expressions failed him, not a syllable escaped them, and turning away, as though out of his mind, he leapt from the vessel into the boat. The sailors were just in time to catch hold of him to steady themselves; for his weight and the rebound had almost upset the boat.

“His grace cannot be in his senses,” said the admiral aloud to Raoul.

“I am uneasy on the Duke’s account,” replied Bragelonne.

While the boat was advancing towards the shore, the duke kept his eyes immovably fixed upon the admiral’s ship, like a miser torn away from his coffers, or a mother separated from her child, about to be led away to death. No one, however, acknowledged his signals, his frowns, or his pitiful gestures. In very anguish of mind, he sank down in the boat, burying his hands in his hair, whilst the boat, impelled by the exertions of the merry sailors, flew over the waves. On his arrival he was in such a state of apathy, that, had he not been received at the harbor by the messenger whom he had directed to precede him, he would hardly have had strength to ask his way. Having once, however, reached the house which had been set apart for him, he shut himself up, like Achilles in his tent. The barge bearing the princesses quitted the admiral’s vessel at the very moment Buckingham landed. It was followed by another boat filled with officers, courtiers, and zealous friends. Great numbers of the inhabitants of Havre, having embarked in fishing-cobles and boats of every description, set off to meet the royal barge. The cannon from the forts fired salutes, which were returned by the flagship and the two other vessels, and the flashes from the open mouths of the cannon floated in white fumes over the waves, and disappeared in the clear blue sky.

The princess landed at the decorated quay. Bands of gay music greeted her arrival, and accompanied her every step she took. During the time she was passing through the center of the town, and treading beneath her delicate feet the richest carpets and the gayest flowers, which had been strewn upon the ground, De Guiche and Raoul, escaping from their English friends, hurried through the town and hastened rapidly towards the place intended for the residence of Madame.

“Let us hurry forward,” said Raoul to De Guiche, “for if I read Buckingham’s character aright, he will create some disturbance, when he learns the result of our deliberations of yesterday.”

“Never fear,” said De Guiche, “De Wardes is there, who is determination itself, while Manicamp is the very