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Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas, Pere

Part 3 out of 13

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takes in listening to you, and can feel how thoroughly she appreciates
the verses you recite to her. You cannot deny, too, that every morning
she tells you how indifferently she slept the previous night."

"True, De Wardes, quite true; but what good is there in your telling me
all that?"

"Is it not important to know the exact position of affairs?"

"No, no; not when I am a witness of things that are enough to drive one

"Stay, stay," said De Wardes; "look, she calls you, - do you understand?
Profit by the occasion, while your pedagogue is absent."

De Guiche could not resist; an invincible attraction drew him towards the
princess. De Wardes smiled as he saw him withdraw.

"You are mistaken, monsieur," said Raoul, suddenly stepping across the
barrier against which the previous moment the two friends had been
leaning. "The pedagogue is here, and has overheard you."

De Wardes, at the sound of Raoul's voice, which he recognized without
having occasion to look at him, half drew his sword.

"Put up your sword," said Raoul; "you know perfectly well that, until our
journey is at an end, every demonstration of that nature is useless. Why
do you distill into the heart of the man you term your friend all the
bitterness that infects your own? As regards myself, you wish to arouse
a feeling of deep dislike against a man of honor - my father's friend and
my own; and as for the count you wish him to love one who is destined for
your master. Really, monsieur, I should regard you as a coward, and a
traitor too, if I did not, with greater justice, regard you as a madman."

"Monsieur," exclaimed De Wardes, exasperated, "I was deceived, I find, in
terming you a pedagogue. The tone you assume, and the style which is
peculiarly your own, is that of a Jesuit, and not of a gentleman.
Discontinue, I beg, whenever I am present, this style I complain of, and
the tone also. I hate M. d'Artagnan, because he was guilty of a cowardly
act towards my father."

"You lie, monsieur," said Raoul, coolly.

"You give me the lie, monsieur?" exclaimed De Wardes.

"Why not, if what you assert is untrue?"

"You give me the lie, and will not draw your sword?"

"I have resolved, monsieur, not to kill you until Madame shall have been
delivered safely into her husband's hands."

"Kill me! Believe me, monsieur, your schoolmaster's rod does not kill so

"No," replied Raoul, sternly, "but M. d'Artagnan's sword kills; and, not
only do I possess his sword, but he has himself taught me how to use it;
and with that sword, when a befitting time arrives, I will avenge his
name - a name you have dishonored."

"Take care, monsieur," exclaimed De Wardes; "if you do not immediately
give me satisfaction, I will avail myself of every means to revenge

"Indeed, monsieur," said Buckingham, suddenly, appearing upon the scene
of action, "that is a threat which savors of assassination, and
therefore, ill becomes a gentleman."

"What did you say, my lord?" said De Wardes, turning round towards him.

"I said, monsieur, that the words you have just spoken are displeasing to
my English ears."

"Very well, monsieur, if what you say is true," exclaimed De Wardes,
thoroughly incensed, "I at least find in you one who will not escape me.
Understand my words as you like."

"I take them in the manner they cannot but be understood," replied
Buckingham, with that haughty tone which characterized him, and which,
even in ordinary conversation, gave a tone of defiance to everything he
said; "M. de Bragelonne is my friend, you insult M. de Bragelonne, and
you shall give me satisfaction for that insult."

De Wardes cast a look upon De Bragelonne, who, faithful to the character
he had assumed, remained calm and unmoved, even after the duke's defiance.

"It would seem that I did not insult M. de Bragelonne, since M. de
Bragelonne, who carries a sword by his side, does not consider himself

"At all events you insult someone."

"Yes, I insulted M. d'Artagnan," resumed De Wardes, who had observed that
this was the only means of stinging Raoul, so as to awaken his anger.

"That, then," said Buckingham, "is another matter."

"Precisely so," said De Wardes; "it is the province of M. d'Artagnan's
friends to defend him."

"I am entirely of your opinion," replied the duke, who had regained all
his indifference of manner; "if M. de Bragelonne were offended, I could
not reasonably be expected to espouse his quarrel, since he is himself
here; but when you say that it is a quarrel of M. d'Artagnan - "

"You will of course leave me to deal with the matter," said De Wardes.

"Nay, on the contrary, for I draw my sword," said Buckingham, unsheathing
it as he spoke; "for if M. d'Artagnan injured your father, he rendered,
or at least did all that he could to render, a great service to mine."

De Wardes was thunderstruck.

"M. d'Artagnan," continued Buckingham, "is the bravest gentleman I know.
I shall be delighted, as I owe him many personal obligations, to settle
them with you, by crossing my sword with yours." At the same moment
Buckingham drew his sword from its scabbard, saluted Raoul, and put
himself on guard.

De Wardes advanced a step to meet him.

"Stay, gentlemen," said Raoul, advancing towards them, and placing his
own drawn sword between the combatants, "the affair is hardly worth the
trouble of blood being shed almost in the presence of the princess. M.
de Wardes speaks ill of M. d'Artagnan, with whom he is not even

"What, monsieur," said De Wardes, setting his teeth hard together, and
resting the point of his sword on the toe of his boot, "do you assert
that I do not know M. d'Artagnan?"

"Certainly not; you do not know him," replied Raoul, coldly, "and you are
even not aware where he is to be found."

"Not know where he is?"

"Such must be the case, since you fix your quarrel with him upon
strangers, instead of seeking M. d'Artagnan where he is to be found." De
Wardes turned pale. "Well, monsieur," continued Raoul, "I will tell you
where M. d'Artagnan is: he is now in Paris; when on duty he is to be met
with at the Louvre, - when not on duty, in the Rue des Lombards. M.
d'Artagnan can easily be discovered at either of those two places.
Having, therefore, as you assert, so many causes of complaint against
him, show your courage in seeking him out, and afford him an opportunity
of giving you that satisfaction you seem to ask of every one but of
himself." De Wardes passed his hand across his forehead, which was
covered with perspiration. "For shame, M. de Wardes! so quarrelsome a
disposition is hardly becoming after the publication of the edicts
against duels. Pray think of that; the king will be incensed at our
disobedience, particularly at such a time, - and his majesty will be in
the right."

"Excuses," murmured De Wardes; "mere pretexts."

"Really, M. De Wardes," resumed Raoul, "such remarks are the idlest
bluster. You know very well that the Duke of Buckingham is a man of
undoubted courage, who has already fought ten duels, and will probably
fight eleven. His name alone is significant enough. As far as I am
concerned, you are well aware that I can fight also. I fought at Lens,
at Bleneau, at the Dunes in front of the artillery, a hundred paces in
front of the line, while you - I say this parenthetically - were a
hundred paces behind it. True it is, that on that occasion there was far
too great a concourse of persons present for your courage to be observed,
and on that account perhaps you did not reveal it; while here, it would
be a display, and would excite remark - you wish that others should talk
about you, in what manner you do not care. Do not depend upon me, M. de
Wardes to assist you in your designs, for I shall certainly not afford
you that pleasure."

"Sensibly observed," said Buckingham, putting up his sword, "and I ask
your forgiveness, M. de Bragelonne, for having allowed myself to yield to
a first impulse."

De Wardes, however, on the contrary, perfectly furious, bounded forward
and raised his sword, threateningly, against Raoul, who had scarcely
enough time to put himself in a posture of defense.

"Take care, monsieur," said Bragelonne, tranquilly, "or you will put out
one of my eyes."

"You will not fight, then?" said De Wardes.

"Not at this moment; but this I promise to do; immediately on our arrival
at Paris I will conduct you to M. d'Artagnan, to whom you shall detail
all the causes of complaint you have against him. M d'Artagnan will
solicit the king's permission to measure swords with you. The king will
yield his consent, and when you shall have received the sword-thrust in
due course, you will consider, in a calmer frame of mind, the precepts of
the Gospel, which enjoin forgetfulness of injuries."

"Ah!" exclaimed De Wardes, furious at this imperturbable coolness, "one
can clearly see you are half a bastard, M. de Bragelonne."

Raoul became as pale as death; his eyes flashed lightning, causing De
Wardes involuntarily to fall back. Buckingham, also, who had perceived
their expression, threw himself between the two adversaries, whom he had
expected to see precipitate themselves on each other. De Wardes had
reserved this injury for the last; he clasped his sword firmly in his
hand, and awaited the encounter. "You are right, monsieur," said Raoul,
mastering his emotion, "I am only acquainted with my father's name; but I
know too well that the Comte de la Fere is too upright and honorable a
man to allow me to fear for a single moment that there is, as you
insinuate, any stain upon my birth. My ignorance, therefore, of my
mother's name is a misfortune for me, and not a reproach. You are
deficient in loyalty of conduct; you are wanting in courtesy, in
reproaching me with misfortune. It matters little, however, the insult
has been given, and I consider myself insulted accordingly. It is quite
understood, then, that after you shall have received satisfaction from M.
d'Artagnan, you will settle your quarrel with me."

"I admire your prudence, monsieur," replied De Wardes with a bitter
smile; "a little while ago you promised me a sword-thrust from M.
d'Artagnan, and now, after I shall have received his, you offer me one
from yourself."

"Do not disturb yourself," replied Raoul, with concentrated anger; "in
all affairs of that nature, M. d'Artagnan is exceedingly skillful, and I
will beg him as a favor to treat you as he did your father; in other
words, to spare your life at least, so as to leave me the pleasure, after
your recovery, of killing you outright; for you have the heart of a
viper, M. de Wardes, and in very truth, too many precautions cannot be
taken against you."

"I shall take my precautions against you," said De Wardes, "be assured of

"Allow me, monsieur," said Buckingham, "to translate your remark by a
piece of advice I am about to give M. de Bragelonne; M. de Bragelonne,
wear a cuirass."

De Wardes clenched his hands. "Ah!" said he, "you two gentlemen intend
to wait until you have taken that precaution before you measure your
swords against mine."

"Very well, monsieur," said Raoul, "since you positively will have it so,
let us settle the affair now." And, drawing his sword, he advanced
towards De Wardes.

"What are you going to do?" said Buckingham.

"Be easy," said Raoul, "it will not be very long."

De Wardes placed himself on his guard; their swords crossed. De Wardes
flew upon Raoul with such impetuosity, that at the first clashing of the
steel blades Buckingham clearly saw that Raoul was only trifling with his
adversary. Buckingham stepped aside, and watched the combat. Raoul was
as calm as if he were handling a foil instead of a sword; having
retreated a step, he parried three or four fierce thrusts which De Wardes
made at him, caught the sword of the latter with within his own, and sent
it flying twenty paces the other side of the barrier. Then as De Wardes
stood disarmed and astounded at his defeat, Raoul sheathed his sword,
seized him by the collar and the waist band, and hurled his adversary to
the other end of the barrier, trembling, and mad with rage.

"We shall meet again," murmured De Wardes, rising from the ground and
picking up his sword.

"I have done nothing for the last hour," said Raoul, rising from the
ground, "but say the same thing." Then, turning towards the duke, he
said, "I entreat you to be silent about this affair; I am ashamed to have
gone so far, but my anger carried me away, and I ask your forgiveness for
it; - forget it, too."

"Dear viscount," said the duke, pressing with his own the vigorous and
valiant hand of his companion, "allow me, on the contrary, to remember
it, and to look after your safety; that man is dangerous, - he will kill

"My father," replied Raoul, "lived for twenty years under the menace of a
much more formidable enemy, and he still lives."

"Your father had good friends, viscount."

"Yes," sighed Raoul, "such friends, indeed, that none are now left like

"Do not say that, I beg, at the very moment I offer you my friendship;"
and Buckingham opened his arms to embrace Raoul, who delightedly received
the proffered alliance. "In my family," added Buckingham, "you are
aware, M. de Bragelonne, we die to save our friends."

"I know it well, duke," replied Raoul.

Chapter XIII:
An Account of what the Chevalier de Lorraine Thought of Madame.

Nothing further interrupted the journey. Under a pretext that was little
remarked, M. de Wardes went forward in advance of the others. He took
Manicamp with him, for his equable and dreamy disposition acted as a
counterpoise to his own. It is a subject of remark, that quarrelsome and
restless characters invariably seek the companionship of gentle, timorous
dispositions, as if the former sought, in the contrast, a repose for
their own ill-humor, and the latter a protection for their weakness.
Buckingham and Bragelonne, admitting De Guiche into their friendship, in
concert with him, sang the praises of the princess during the whole of
the journey. Bragelonne, had, however, insisted that their three voices
should be in concert, instead of singing in solo parts, as De Guiche and
his rival seemed to have acquired a dangerous habit of doing. This style
of harmony pleased the queen-mother exceedingly, but it was not perhaps
so agreeable to the young princess, who was an incarnation of coquetry,
and who, without any fear as far as her own voice was concerned, sought
opportunities of so perilously distinguishing herself. She possessed one
of those fearless and incautious dispositions that find gratification in
an excess of sensitiveness of feeling, and for whom, also, danger has a
certain fascination. And so her glances, her smiles, her toilette, an
inexhaustible armory of weapons of offense, were showered on the three
young men with overwhelming force; and, from her well-stored arsenal
issued glances, kindly recognitions, and a thousand other little charming
attentions which were intended to strike at long range the gentlemen who
formed the escort, the townspeople, the officers of the different cities
she passed through, pages, populace, and servants; it was wholesale
slaughter, a general devastation. By the time Madame arrived at Paris,
she had reduced to slavery about a hundred thousand lovers: and brought
in her train to Paris half a dozen men who were almost mad about her, and
two who were, indeed, literally out of their minds. Raoul was the only
person who divined the power of this woman's attraction, and as his heart
was already engaged, he arrived in the capital full of indifference and
distrust. Occasionally during the journey he conversed with the queen of
England respecting the power of fascination which Madame possessed, and
the mother, whom so many misfortunes and deceptions had taught
experience, replied: "Henrietta was sure to be illustrious in one way or
another, whether born in a palace or born in obscurity; for she is a
woman of great imagination, capricious and self-willed." De Wardes and
Manicamp, in their self-assumed character of courtiers, had announced the
princess's arrival. The procession was met at Nanterre by a brilliant
escort of cavaliers and carriages. It was Monsieur himself, followed by
the Chevalier de Lorraine and by his favorites, the latter being
themselves followed by a portion of the king's military household, who
had arrived to meet his affianced bride. At St. Germain, the princess
and her mother had changed their heavy traveling carriage, somewhat
impaired by the journey, for a light, richly decorated chariot drawn by
six horses with white and gold harness. Seated in this open carriage, as
though upon a throne, and beneath a parasol of embroidered silk, fringed
with feathers, sat the young and lovely princess, on whose beaming face
were reflected the softened rose-tints which suited her delicate skin to
perfection. Monsieur, on reaching the carriage, was struck by her
beauty; he showed his admiration in so marked a manner that the Chevalier
de Lorraine shrugged his shoulders as he listened to his compliments,
while Buckingham and De Guiche were almost heart-broken. After the usual
courtesies had been rendered, and the ceremony completed, the procession
slowly resumed the road to Paris. The presentations had been carelessly
made, and Buckingham, with the rest of the English gentlemen, had been
introduced to Monsieur, from whom they had received but very indifferent
attention. But, during their progress, as he observed that the duke
devoted himself with his accustomed eagerness to the carriage-door, he
asked the Chevalier de Lorraine, his inseparable companion, "Who is that

"He was presented to your highness a short while ago; it is the handsome
Duke of Buckingham."

"Ah, yes, I remember."

"Madame's knight," added the favorite, with an inflection of the voice
which envious minds can alone give to the simplest phrases.

"What do you say?" replied the prince.

"I said 'Madame's knight'."

"Has she a recognized knight, then?"

"One would think you can judge of that for yourself; look, only, how they
are laughing and flirting. All three of them."

"What do you mean by _all three?_"

"Do you not see that De Guiche is one of the party?"

"Yes, I see. But what does that prove?"

"That Madame has two admirers instead of one."

"You poison the simplest thing!"

"I poison nothing. Ah! your royal highness's mind is perverted. The
honors of the kingdom of France are being paid to your wife and you are
not satisfied."

The Duke of Orleans dreaded the satirical humor of the Chevalier de
Lorraine whenever it reached a certain degree of bitterness, and he
changed the conversation abruptly. "The princess is pretty," said he,
very negligently, as if he were speaking of a stranger.

"Yes," replied the chevalier, in the same tone.

"You say 'yes' like a 'no'. She has very beautiful black eyes."

"Yes, but small."

"That is so, but they are brilliant. She is tall, and of a good figure."

"I fancy she stoops a little, my lord."

"I do not deny it. She has a noble appearance."

"Yes, but her face is thin."

"I thought her teeth beautiful."

"They can easily be seen, for her mouth is large enough. Decidedly, I
was wrong, my lord; you are certainly handsomer than your wife."

"But do you think me as handsome as Buckingham?"

"Certainly, and he thinks so, too; for look, my lord, he is redoubling
his attentions to Madame to prevent your effacing the impression he has

Monsieur made a movement of impatience, but as he noticed a smile of
triumph pass across the chevalier's lips, he drew up his horse to a foot-
pace. "Why," said he, "should I occupy myself any longer about my
cousin? Do I not already know her? Were we not brought up together?
Did I not see her at the Louvre when she was quite a child?"

"A great change has taken place in her since then, prince. At the period
you allude to, she was somewhat less brilliant, and scarcely so proud,
either. One evening, particularly, you may remember, my lord, the king
refused to dance with her, because he thought her plain and badly

These words made the Duke of Orleans frown. It was by no means
flattering for him to marry a princess of whom, when young, the king had
not thought much. He would probably have retorted, but at this moment De
Guiche quitted the carriage to join the prince. He had remarked the
prince and the chevalier together, and full of anxious attention he
seemed to try and guess the nature of the remarks which they had just
exchanged. The chevalier, whether he had some treacherous object in
view, or from imprudence, did not take the trouble to dissimulate.
"Count," he said, "you're a man of excellent taste."

"Thank you for the compliment," replied De Guiche; "but why do you say

"Well I appeal to his highness."

"No doubt of it," said Monsieur; "and Guiche knows perfectly well that I
regard him as a most finished cavalier."

"Well, since that is decided, I resume. You have been in the princess's
society, count, for the last eight days, have you not?"

"Yes," replied De Guiche, coloring in spite of himself.

"Well then, tell us frankly, what do you think of her personal

"Of her personal appearance?" returned De Guiche, stupefied.

"Yes; of her appearance, of her mind, of herself, in fact."

Astounded by this question, De Guiche hesitated answering.

"Come, come, De Guiche," resumed the chevalier, laughingly, "tell us your
opinion frankly; the prince commands it."

"Yes, yes," said the prince, "be frank."

De Guiche stammered out a few unintelligible words.

"I am perfectly well aware," returned Monsieur, "that the subject is a
delicate one, but you know you can tell me everything. What do you think
of her?"

In order to avoid betraying his real thoughts, De Guiche had recourse to
the only defense which a man taken by surprise really has, and
accordingly told an untruth. "I do not find Madame," he said, "either
good or bad looking, yet rather good than bad looking."

"What! count," exclaimed the chevalier, "you who went into such ecstasies
and uttered so many exclamations at the sight of her portrait."

De Guiche colored violently. Very fortunately, his horse, which was
slightly restive, enabled him by a sudden plunge to conceal his
agitation. "What portrait?" he murmured, joining them again. The
chevalier had not taken his eyes off him.

"Yes, the portrait. Was not the miniature a good likeness?"

"I do not remember. I had forgotten the portrait; it quite escaped my

"And yet it made a very marked impression upon you," said the chevalier.

"That is not unlikely."

"Is she witty, at all events?" inquired the duke.

"I believe so, my lord."

"Is M. de Buckingham witty, too?" said the chevalier.

"I do not know."

"My own opinion is that he must be," replied the chevalier, "for he makes
Madame laugh, and she seems to take no little pleasure in his society,
which never happens to a clever woman when in the company of a simpleton."

"Of course, then, he must be clever," said De Guiche, simply.

At this moment Raoul opportunely arrived, seeing how De Guiche was
pressed by his dangerous questioner, to whom he addressed a remark, and
in that way changed the conversation. The _entree_ was brilliant and

The king, in honor of his brother, had directed that the festivities
should be on a scale of the greatest possible magnificence. Madame and
her mother alighted at the Louvre, where, during their exile they had so
gloomily submitted to obscurity, misery, and privations of every
description. That palace, which had been so inhospitable a residence for
the unhappy daughter of Henry IV., the naked walls, the uneven floorings,
the ceilings matted with cobwebs, the vast dilapidated chimney-places,
the cold hearths on which the charity extended to them by parliament
hardly permitted a fire to glow, was completely altered in appearance.
The richest hangings and the thickest carpets, glistening flagstones, and
pictures, with their richly gilded frames; in every direction could be
seen candelabra, mirrors, and furniture and fittings of the most
sumptuous character; in every direction, also, were guards of the
proudest military bearing, with floating plumes, crowds of attendants and
courtiers in the ante-chambers and upon the staircases. In the
courtyards, where the grass had formerly been allowed to luxuriate, as if
the ungrateful Mazarin had thought it a good idea to let the Parisians
perceive the solitude and disorder were, with misery and despair, the fit
accompaniments of fallen monarchy; the immense courtyards, formerly
silent and desolate, were now thronged with courtiers whose horses were
pacing and prancing to and fro. The carriages were filled with young and
beautiful women, who awaited the opportunity of saluting, as she passed,
the daughter of that daughter of France who, during her widowhood and
exile, had sometimes gone without wood for her fire, and bread for her
table, whom the meanest attendant at the chateau had treated with
indifference and contempt. And so, the Madame Henriette once more
returned to the Louvre, with her heart more swollen with bitter
recollections than her daughter's, whose disposition was fickle and
forgetful, with triumph and delight. She knew but too well this
brilliant reception was paid to the happy mother of a king restored to
his throne, a throne second to none in Europe, while the worse than
indifferent reception she had before met with was paid to her, the
daughter of Henry IV., as a punishment for having been unfortunate.
After the princess had been installed in their apartments and had rested,
the gentlemen who had formed their escort, having, in like manner,
recovered from their fatigue, they resumed their accustomed habits and
occupations. Raoul began by setting off to see his father, who had left
for Blois. He then tried to see M. d'Artagnan, who, however, being
engaged in the organization of a military household for the king, could
not be found anywhere. Bragelonne next sought out De Guiche, but the
count was occupied in a long conference with his tailors and with
Manicamp, which consumed his whole time. With the Duke of Buckingham he
fared still worse, for the duke was purchasing horses after horses,
diamonds upon diamonds. He monopolized every embroiderer, jeweler, and
tailor that Paris could boast of. Between De Guiche and himself a
vigorous contest ensued, invariably a courteous one, in which, in order
to insure success, the duke was ready to spend a million; while the
Marechal de Gramont had only allowed his son sixty thousand francs. So
Buckingham laughed and spent his money. Guiche groaned in despair, and
would have shown it more violently, had it not been for the advice De
Bragelonne gave him.

"A million!" repeated De Guiche daily; "I must submit. Why will not the
marechal advance me a portion of my patrimony?"

"Because you would throw it away," said Raoul.

"What can that matter to him? If I am to die of it, I shall die of it,
and then I shall need nothing further."

"But what need is there to die?" said Raoul.

"I do not wish to be conquered in elegance by an Englishman."

"My dear count," said Manicamp, "elegance is not a costly commodity, it
is only a very difficult accomplishment."

"Yes, but difficult things cost a good deal of money, and I have only got
sixty thousand francs."

"A very embarrassing state of things, truly," said De Wardes; "even if
you spent as much as Buckingham, there is only nine hundred and forty
thousand francs difference."

"Where am I to find them?"

"Get into debt."

"I am in debt already."

"A greater reason for getting further."

Advice like this resulted in De Guiche becoming excited to such an extent
that he committed extravagances where Buckingham only incurred expenses.
The rumor of this extravagant profuseness delighted the hearts of all the
shopkeepers in Paris; from the hotel of the Duke of Buckingham to that of
the Comte de Gramont nothing but miracles was attempted. While all this
was going on, Madame was resting herself, and Bragelonne was engaged in
writing to Mademoiselle de la Valliere. He had already dispatched four
letters, and not an answer to any one of them had been received, when, on
the very morning fixed for the marriage ceremony, which was to take place
in the chapel at the Palais Royal, Raoul, who was dressing, heard his
valet announce M. de Malicorne. "What can this Malicorne want with me?"
thought Raoul; and then said to his valet, "Let him wait."

"It is a gentleman from Blois," said the valet.

"Admit him at once," said Raoul, eagerly.

Malicorne entered as brilliant as a star, and wearing a superb sword at
his side. After having saluted Raoul most gracefully, he said: "M. de
Bragelonne, I am the bearer of a thousand compliments from a lady to you."

Raoul colored. "From a lady," said he, "from a lady of Blois?"

"Yes, monsieur; from Mademoiselle de Montalais."

"Thank you, monsieur; I recollect you now," said Raoul. "And what does
Mademoiselle de Montalais require of me."

Malicorne drew four letters from his pocket, which he offered to Raoul.

"My own letters, is it possible?" he said, turning pale; "my letters, and
the seals unbroken?"

"Monsieur, your letters did not find at Blois the person to whom they
were addressed, and so they are now returned to you."

"Mademoiselle de la Valliere has left Blois, then?" exclaimed Raoul.

"Eight days ago."

"Where is she, then?"

"In Paris."

"How is it known that these letters were from me?"

"Mademoiselle de Montalais recognized your handwriting and your seal,"
said Malicorne.

Raoul colored and smiled. "Mademoiselle de Montalais is exceedingly
amiable," he said; "she is always kind and charming."

"Always, monsieur."

"Surely she could have given me some precise information about
Mademoiselle de la Valliere. I never could find her in this immense

Malicorne drew another packet from his pocket. "You may possibly find in
this letter what you are anxious to learn."

Raoul hurriedly broke the seal. The writing was that of Mademoiselle
Aure, and inclosed were these words: - "Paris, Palais Royal. The day of
the nuptial blessing."

"What does this mean?" inquired Raoul of Malicorne; "you probably know?"

"I do, monsieur."

"For pity's sake, tell me, then."

"Impossible, monsieur."

"Why so?"

"Because Mademoiselle Aure has forbidden me to do so."

Raoul looked at his strange visitor, and remained silent; - "At least,
tell me whether it is fortunate or unfortunate."

"That you will see."

"You are very severe in your reservations."

"Will you grant me one favor, monsieur?" said Malicorne.

"In exchange for that you refuse me?"


"What is it?"

"I have the greatest desire to see the ceremony, and I have no ticket to
admit me, in spite of all the steps I have taken to secure one. Could
you get me admitted?"


"Do me this kindness, then, I entreat."

"Most willingly, monsieur; come with me."

"I am exceedingly indebted to you, monsieur," said Malicorne.

"I thought you were a friend of M. de Manicamp."

"I am, monsieur; but this morning I was with him as he was dressing, and
I let a bottle of blacking fall over his new dress, and he flew at me
sword in hand, so that I was obliged to make my escape. That is the
reason I could not ask him for a ticket. He wanted to kill me."

"I can well believe it," laughed Raoul. "I know Manicamp is capable of
killing a man who has been unfortunate enough to commit the crime you
have to reproach yourself with, but I will repair the mischief as far as
you are concerned. I will but fasten my cloak, and shall then be ready
to serve you, not only as a guide, but as your introducer, too."

Chapter XIV:
A Surprise for Raoul.

Madame's marriage was celebrated in the chapel of the Palais Royal, in
the presence of a crowd of courtiers, who had been most scrupulously
selected. However, notwithstanding the marked favor which an invitation
indicated, Raoul, faithful to his promise to Malicorne, who was so
anxious to witness the ceremony, obtained admission for him. After he
had fulfilled this engagement, Raoul approached De Guiche, who, as if in
contrast with his magnificent costume, exhibited a countenance so utterly
dejected, that the Duke of Buckingham was the only one present who could
contend with him as far as pallor and discomfiture were concerned.

"Take care, count," said Raoul, approaching his friend, and preparing to
support him at the moment the archbishop blessed the married couple. In
fact, the Prince of Conde was attentively scrutinizing these two images
of desolation, standing like caryatides on either side of the nave of the
church. The count, after that, kept a more careful watch over himself.

At the termination of the ceremony, the king and queen passed onward
towards the grand reception-room, where Madame and her suite were to be
presented to them. It was remarked that the king, who had seemed more
than surprised at his sister-in-law's appearance, was most flattering in
his compliments to her. Again, it was remarked that the queen-mother,
fixing a long and thoughtful gaze upon Buckingham, leaned towards Madame
de Motteville as though to ask her, "Do you not see how much he resembles
his father?" and finally it was remarked that Monsieur watched everybody,
and seemed quite discontented. After the reception of the princess and
ambassadors, Monsieur solicited the king's permission to present to him
as well as to Madame the persons belonging to their new household.

"Are you aware, vicomte," inquired the Prince de Conde of Raoul, "whether
the household has been selected by a person of taste, and whether there
are any faces worth looking at?"

"I have not the slightest idea, monseigneur," replied Raoul.

"You affect ignorance, surely."

"In what way, monseigneur?"

"You are a friend of De Guiche, who is one of the friends of the prince."

"That may be so, monseigneur; but the matter having no interest whatever
for me, I have never questioned De Guiche on the subject; and De Guiche,
on his part, never having been questioned, did not communicate any
particulars to me."

"But Manicamp?"

"It is true I saw Manicamp at Le Havre, and during the journey here, but
I was no more inquisitive with him than I had been towards De Guiche.
Besides, is it likely that Manicamp should know anything of such matters?
for he is a person of only secondary importance."

"My dear vicomte, do you not know better than that?" said the prince;
"why, it is these persons of secondary importance, who, on such
occasions, have all the influence; and the truth is, that nearly
everything has been done through Manicamp's presentations to De Guiche,
and through De Guiche to Monsieur."

"I assure you, monseigneur, I was ignorant of that," said Raoul, "and
what your highness does me the honor to impart is perfectly new to me."

"I will most readily believe you, although it seems incredible; besides
we shall not have long to wait. See, the flying squadron is advancing,
as good Queen Catherine used to say. Ah! ah! what pretty faces!"

A bevy of young girls at this moment entered the _salon_, conducted by
Madame de Navailles, and to Manicamp's credit be it said, if indeed he
had taken that part in their selection which the Prince de Conde assigned
him, it was a display calculated to dazzle those who, like the prince,
could appreciate every character and style of beauty. A young, fair-
complexioned girl, from twenty to one-and-twenty years of age, and whose
large blue eyes flashed, as she opened them, in the most dazzling manner,
walked at the head of the band and was the first presented.

"Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente," said Madame de Navailles to Monsieur,
who, as he saluted his wife, repeated "Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente."

"Ah! ah!" said the Prince de Conde to Raoul, "she is presentable enough."

"Yes," said Raoul, "but has she not a somewhat haughty style?"

"Bah! we know these airs very well, vicomte; three months hence she will
be tame enough. But look, there, indeed, is a pretty face."

"Yes," said Raoul, "and one I am acquainted with."

"Mademoiselle Aure de Montalais," said Madame de Navailles. The name and
Christian name were carefully repeated by Monsieur.

"Great heavens!" exclaimed Raoul, fixing his bewildered gaze upon the
entrance doorway.

"What's the matter?" inquired the prince; "was it Mademoiselle Aure de
Montalais who made you utter such a 'Great heavens'?"

"No, monseigneur, no," replied Raoul, pale and trembling.

"Well, then, if it be not Mademoiselle Aure de Montalais, it is that
pretty _blonde_ who follows her. What beautiful eyes! She is rather
thin, but has fascinations without number."

"Mademoiselle de la Baume le Blanc de la Valliere!" said Madame de
Navailles; and, as this name resounded through his whole being, a cloud
seemed to rise from his breast to his eyes, so that he neither saw nor
heard anything more; and the prince, finding him nothing more than a mere
echo which remained silent under his railleries, moved forward to inspect
somewhat closer the beautiful girls whom his first glance had already

"Louise here! Louise a maid of honor to Madame!" murmured Raoul, and his
eyes, which did not suffice to satisfy his reason, wandered from Louise
to Montalais. The latter had already emancipated herself from her
assumed timidity, which she only needed for the presentation and for her

Mademoiselle de Montalais, from the corner of the room to which she had
retired, was looking with no slight confidence at the different persons
present; and, having discovered Raoul, she amused herself with the
profound astonishment which her own and her friend's presence there
caused the unhappy lover. Her waggish and malicious look, which Raoul
tried to avoid meeting, and which yet he sought inquiringly from time to
time, placed him on the rack. As for Louise, whether from natural
timidity, or some other reason for which Raoul could not account, she
kept her eyes constantly cast down; intimidated, dazzled, and with
impeded respiration, she withdrew herself as much as possible aside,
unaffected even by the nudges Montalais gave her with her elbow. The
whole scene was a perfect enigma for Raoul, the key to which he would
have given anything to obtain. But no one was there who could assist
him, not even Malicorne; who, a little uneasy at finding himself in the
presence of so many persons of good birth, and not a little discouraged
by Montalais's bantering glances, had described a circle, and by degrees
succeeded in getting a few paces from the prince, behind the group of
maids of honor, and nearly within reach of Mademoiselle Aure's voice, she
being the planet around which he, as her attendant satellite, seemed
constrained to gravitate. As he recovered his self-possession, Raoul
fancied he recognized voices on his right hand side that were familiar to
him, and he perceived De Wardes, De Guiche, and the Chevalier de Lorraine
conversing together. It is true they were talking in tones so low, that
the sound of their words could hardly be heard in the vast apartment. To
speak in that manner from any particular place without bending down, or
turning round, or looking at the person with whom one may be engaged in
conversation, is a talent that cannot be immediately acquired by
newcomers. Long study is needed for such conversations, which, without a
look, gesture, or movement of the head, seem like the conversation of a
group of statues. In fact, the king's and queen's grand assemblies,
while their majesties were speaking, and while every one present seemed
to be listening in the midst of the most profound silence, some of these
noiseless conversations took place, in which adulation was not the
prevailing feature. But Raoul was one among others exceedingly clever in
this art, so much a matter of etiquette, that from the movement of the
lips, he was often able to guess the sense of the words.

"Who is that Montalais?" inquired De Wardes, "and that La Valliere? What
country-town have we had sent here?"

"Montalais?" said the chevalier, - "oh, I know her; she is a good sort of
girl, whom we shall find amusing enough. La Valliere is a charming girl,
slightly lame."

"Ah! bah!" said De Wardes.

"Do not be absurd, De Wardes, there are some very characteristic and
ingenious Latin axioms about lame ladies."

"Gentlemen, gentlemen," said De Guiche, looking at Raoul with uneasiness,
"be a little careful, I entreat you."

But the uneasiness of the count, in appearance at least, was not needed.
Raoul had preserved the firmest and most indifferent countenance,
although he had not lost a word that passed. He seemed to keep an
account of the insolence and license of the two speakers in order to
settle matters with them at the earliest opportunity.

De Wardes seemed to guess what was passing in his mind, and continued:

"Who are these young ladies' lovers?"

"Montalais's lover?" said the chevalier.

"Yes, Montalais first."

"You, I, or De Guiche, - whoever likes, in fact."

"And the other?"

"Mademoiselle de la Valliere?"


"Take care, gentlemen," exclaimed De Guiche, anxious to put a stop to the
chevalier's reply; "take care, Madame is listening to us."

Raoul had thrust his hand up to the wrist into his _justaucorps_ in great
agitation. But the very malignity which he saw was excited against these
poor girls made him take a serious resolution. "Poor Louise," he
thought, "has come here only with an honorable object in view, and under
honorable protection; and I must learn what that object is which she has
in view, and who it is that protects her." And following Malicorne's
maneuver, he made his way toward the group of the maids of honor. The
presentations were soon over. The king, who had done nothing but look at
and admire Madame, shortly afterwards left the reception-room,
accompanied by the two queens. The Chevalier de Lorraine resumed his
place beside Monsieur, and, as he accompanied him, insinuated a few drops
of the venom he had collected during the last hour, while looking at some
of the faces in the court, and suspecting that some of their hearts might
be happy. A few of the persons present followed the king as he quitted
the apartment; but such of the courtiers as assumed an independence of
character, and professed a gallantry of disposition, began to approach
the ladies of the court. The prince paid his compliments to Mademoiselle
de Tonnay-Charente, Buckingham devoted himself to Madame Chalais and
Mademoiselle de Lafayette, whom Madame already distinguished by her
notice, and whom she held in high regard. As for the Comte de Guiche,
who had abandoned Monsieur as soon as he could approach Madame alone, he
conversed, with great animation, with Madame de Valentinois, and with
Mademoiselle de Crequy and de Chatillon.

Amid these varied political, and amorous interests, Malicorne was anxious
to gain Montalais's attention; but the latter preferred talking with
Raoul, even if it were only to amuse herself with his innumerable
questions and his astonishment. Raoul had gone directly to Mademoiselle
de la Valliere, and had saluted her with the profoundest respect, at
which Louise blushed, and could not say a word. Montalais, however,
hurried to her assistance.

"Well, monsieur le vicomte, here we are, you see."

"I do, indeed, see you," said Raoul smiling, "and it is exactly because
you are here that I wish to ask for some explanation."

Malicorne approached the group with his most fascinating smile.

"Go away, Malicorne; really you are exceedingly indiscreet." At this
remark Malicorne bit his lips and retired a few steps, without making any
reply. His smile, however, changed its expression, and from its former
frankness, became mocking in its expression.

"You wished for an explanation, M. Raoul?" inquired Montalais.

"It is surely worth one, I think; Mademoiselle de la Valliere is a maid
of honor to Madame!"

"Why should she not be a maid of honor, as well as myself?" inquired

"Pray accept my compliments, young ladies," said Raoul, who fancied he
perceived they were not disposed to answer him in a direct manner.

"Your remark was not made in a very complimentary manner, vicomte."


"Certainly; I appeal to Louise."

"M. de Bragelonne probably thinks the position is above my condition,"
said Louise, hesitatingly.

"Assuredly not," replied Raoul, eagerly, "you know very well that such is
not my feeling; were you called upon to occupy a queen's throne, I should
not be surprised; how much greater reason, then, such a position as
this? The only circumstance that amazes me is, that I should have
learned it only to-day, and that by the merest accident."

"That is true," replied Montalais, with her usual giddiness; "you know
nothing about it, and there is no reason you should. M. de Bragelonne
had written several letters to you, but your mother was the only person
who remained behind at Blois, and it was necessary to prevent these
letters from falling into her hands; I intercepted them, and returned
them to M. Raoul, so that he believed you were still at Blois while you
were here in Paris, and had no idea whatever, indeed, how high you had
risen in rank."

"Did you not inform M. Raoul, as I begged you to do?"

"Why should I? to give him opportunity of making some of his severe
remarks and moral reflections, and to undo what we have had so much
trouble in effecting? Certainly not."

"Am I so very severe, then?" said Raoul, inquiringly.

"Besides," said Montalais, "it is sufficient to say that it suited me. I
was about setting off for Paris - you were away; Louise was weeping her
eyes out; interpret that as you please; I begged a friend, a protector of
mine, who had obtained the appointment for me, to solicit one for Louise;
the appointment arrived. Louise left in order to get her costume
prepared; as I had my own ready, I remained behind; I received your
letters, and returned them to you, adding a few words, promising you a
surprise. Your surprise is before you, monsieur, and seems to be a fair
one enough; you have nothing more to ask. Come, M. Malicorne, it is now
time to leave these young people together: they have many things to talk
about; give me your hand; I trust that you appreciate the honor conferred
upon you, M. Malicorne."

"Forgive me," said Raoul, arresting the giddy girl, and giving to his
voice an intonation, the gravity of which contrasted with that of
Montalais; "forgive me, but may I inquire the name of the protector you
speak of; for if protection be extended towards you, Mademoiselle de
Montalais, - for which, indeed, so many reasons exist," added Raoul,
bowing, "I do not see that the same reasons exist why Mademoiselle de la
Valliere should be similarly cared for."

"But, M. Raoul," said Louise, innocently, "there is no difference in the
matter, and I do not see why I should not tell it you myself; it was M.
Malicorne who obtained it for me."

Raoul remained for a moment almost stupefied, asking himself if they were
trifling with him; he then turned round to interrogate Malicorne, but he
had been hurried away by Montalais, and was already at some distance from
them. Mademoiselle de la Valliere attempted to follow her friend, but
Raoul, with gentle authority, detained her.

"Louise, one word, I beg."

"But, M. Raoul, " said Louise, blushing, "we are alone. Every one has
left. They will become anxious, and will be looking for us."

"Fear nothing," said the young man, smiling, "we are neither of us of
sufficient importance for our absence to be remarked."

"But I have my duty to perform, M. Raoul."

"Do not be alarmed, I am acquainted with these usages of the court; you
will not be on duty until to-morrow; a few minutes are at your disposal,
which will enable you to give me the information I am about to have the
honor to ask you for."

"How serious you are, M. Raoul!" said Louise.

"Because the circumstances are serious. Are you listening?"

"I am listening; I would only repeat, monsieur, that we are quite alone."

"You are right," said Raoul, and, offering her his hand, he led the young
girl into the gallery adjoining the reception-room, the windows of which
looked out upon the courtyard. Every one hurried towards the middle
window, which had a balcony outside, from which all the details of the
slow and formal preparations for departure could be seen. Raoul opened
one of the side windows, and then, being alone with Louise, said to her:
"You know, Louise, that from my childhood I have regarded you as my
sister, as one who has been the confidante of all my troubles, to whom I
have entrusted all my hopes."

"Yes, M. Raoul," she answered softly; "yes, M. Raoul, I know that."

"You used, on your side, to show the same friendship towards me, and had
the same confidence in me; why have you not, on this occasion, been my
friend, - why have you shown suspicion of me?"

Mademoiselle de la Valliere did not answer. "I fondly thought you loved
me," said Raoul, whose voice became more and more agitated; "I fondly
thought you consented to all the plans we had, together, laid down for
our own happiness, at the time when we wandered up and down the walks of
Cour-Cheverny, under the avenue of poplar trees leading to Blois. You do
not answer me, Louise. Is it possible," he inquired, breathing with
difficulty, "that you no longer love me?"

"I did not say so," replied Louise, softly.

"Oh! tell me the truth, I implore you. All my hopes in life are centered
in you. I chose you for your gentle and simple tastes. Do not suffer
yourself to be dazzled, Louise, now that you are in the midst of a court
where all that is pure too soon becomes corrupt - where all that is young
too soon grows old. Louise, close your ears, so as not to hear what may
be said; shut your eyes, so as not to see the examples before you; shut
your lips, that you may not inhale the corrupting influences about you.
Without falsehood or subterfuge, Louise, am I to believe what
Mademoiselle de Montalais stated? Louise, did you come to Paris because
I was no longer at Blois?"

La Valliere blushed and concealed her face in her hands.

"Yes, it was so, then!" exclaimed Raoul, delightedly; "that was, then,
your reason for coming here. I love you as I never yet loved you.
Thanks, Louise, for this devotion; but measures must be taken to place
you beyond all insult, to shield you from every lure. Louise, a maid of
honor, in the court of a young princess in these days of free manners and
inconstant affections - a maid of honor is placed as an object of attack
without having any means of defence afforded her; this state of things
cannot continue; you must be married in order to be respected."


"Yes, here is my hand, Louise; will you place yours within it?"

"But your father?"

"My father leaves me perfectly free."

"Yet - "

"I understand your scruples, Louise; I will consult my father."

"Reflect, M. Raoul; wait."

"Wait! it is impossible. Reflect, Louise, when _you_ are concerned! it
would be insulting, - give me your hand, dear Louise; I am my own
master. My father will consent, I know; give me your hand, do not
keep me waiting thus. One word in answer, one word only; if not, I shall
begin to think that, in order to change you forever, nothing more was
needed than a single step in the palace, a single breath of favor, a
smile from the queen, a look from the king."

Raoul had no sooner pronounced this latter word, than La Valliere became
as pale as death, no doubt from fear at seeing the young man excite
himself. With a movement as rapid as thought, she placed both her hands
in those of Raoul, and then fled, without adding a syllable; disappearing
without casting a look behind her. Raoul felt his whole frame tremble at
the contact of her hand; he received the compact as a solemn bargain
wrung by affection from her child-like timidity.

Chapter XV:
The Consent of Athos.

Raoul quitted the Palais Royal full of ideas that admitted no delay in
execution. He mounted his horse in the courtyard, and followed the road
to Blois, while the marriage festivities of Monsieur and the princess of
England were being celebrated with exceeding animation by the courtiers,
but to the despair of De Guiche and Buckingham. Raoul lost no time on
the road, and in sixteen hours he arrived at Blois. As he traveled
along, he marshaled his arguments in the most becoming manner. Fever is
an argument that cannot be answered, and Raoul had an attack. Athos was
in his study, making additions to his memoirs, when Raoul entered,
accompanied by Grimaud. Keen-sighted and penetrating, a mere glance at
his son told him that something extraordinary had befallen him.

"You seem to come on a matter of importance," said he to Raoul, after he
had embraced him, pointing to a seat.

"Yes, monsieur," replied the young man; "and I entreat you to give me the
same kind attention that has never yet failed me."

"Speak, Raoul."

"I present the case to you, monsieur, free from all preface, for that
would be unworthy of you. Mademoiselle de la Valliere is in Paris as one
of Madame's maids of honor. I have pondered deeply on the matter; I love
Mademoiselle de la Valliere above everything; and it is not proper to
leave her in a position where her reputation, her virtue even, may be
assailed. It is my wish, therefore, to marry her, monsieur, and I have
come to solicit your consent to my marriage."

While this communication was being made to him, Athos maintained the
profoundest silence and reserve. Raoul, who had begun his address with
an assumption of self-possession, finished it by allowing a manifest
emotion to escape him at every word. Athos fixed upon Bragelonne a
searching look, overshadowed indeed by a slight sadness.

"You have reflected well upon it?" he inquired.

"Yes, monsieur."

"I believe you are already acquainted with my views respecting this

"Yes, monsieur," replied Raoul, in a low tone of voice; "but you added,
that if I persisted - "

"You do persist, then?"

Raoul stammered out an almost unintelligible assent.

"Your passion," continued Athos, tranquilly, "must indeed be very great,
since, notwithstanding my dislike to this union, you persist in wanting

Raoul passed his hand trembling across his forehead to remove the
perspiration that collected there. Athos looked at him, and his heart
was touched by pity. He rose and said, -

"It is no matter. My own personal feelings are not to be taken into
consideration since yours are concerned; I am ready to give it. Tell me
what you want."

"Your kind indulgence, first of all, monsieur," said Raoul, taking hold
of his hand.

"You have mistaken my feelings, Raoul, I have more than mere indulgence
for you in my heart."

Raoul kissed as devotedly as a lover could have done the hand he held in
his own.

"Come, come," said Athos, "I am quite ready; what do you wish me to sign?"

"Nothing whatever, monsieur, only it would be very kind if you would take
the trouble to write to the king, to whom I belong, and solicit his
majesty's permission for me to marry Mademoiselle de la Valliere."

"Well thought, Raoul! After, or rather before myself, you have a master
to consult, that master being the king; it is loyal in you to submit
yourself voluntarily to this double proof; I will grant your request
without delay, Raoul."

The count approached the window, and leaning out, called to Grimaud, who
showed his head from an arbor covered with jasmine, which he was occupied
in trimming.

"My horses, Grimaud," continued the count.

"Why this order, monsieur?" inquired Raoul.

"We shall set off in a few hours."


"For Paris."

"Paris, monsieur?"

"Is not the king at Paris?"


"Well, ought we not to go there?"

"Yes, monsieur," said Raoul, almost alarmed by this kind condescension.
"I do not ask you to put yourself to such inconvenience, and a letter
merely - "

"You mistake my position, Raoul; it is not respectful that a simple
gentleman, such as I am, should write to his sovereign. I wish to speak,
I ought to speak, to the king, and I will do so. We will go together,

"You overpower me with your kindness, monsieur."

"How do you think his majesty is affected?"

"Towards me, monsieur?"


"Excellently well disposed."

"You _know_ that to be so?" continued the count.

"The king has himself told me so."

"On what occasion?"

"Upon the recommendation of M. d'Artagnan, I believe, and on account of
an affair in the Place de Greve, when I had the honor to draw my sword in
the king's service. I have reason to believe that, vanity apart, I stand
well with his majesty."

"So much the better."

"But I entreat you, monsieur," pursued Raoul, "not to maintain towards me
your present grave and serious manner. Do not make me bitterly regret
having listened to a feeling stronger than anything else."

"That is the second time you have said so, Raoul; it was quite
unnecessary; you require my formal consent, and you have it. We need
talk no more on the subject, therefore. Come and see my new plantations,

The young man knew very well, that, after the expression of his father's
wish, no opportunity of discussion was left him. He bowed his head, and
followed his father into the garden. Athos slowly pointed out to him the
grafts, the cuttings, and the avenues he was planting. This perfect
repose of manner disconcerted Raoul extremely; the affection with which
his own heart was filled seemed so great that the whole world could
hardly contain it. How, then, could his father's heart remain void, and
closed to its influence? Bragelonne, therefore, collecting all his
courage, suddenly exclaimed, -

"It is impossible, monsieur, you can have any reason to reject
Mademoiselle de la Valliere! In Heaven's name, she is so good, so gentle
and pure, that your mind, so perfect in its penetration, ought to
appreciate her accordingly. Does any secret repugnance, or any
hereditary dislike, exist between you and her family?"

"Look, Raoul, at that beautiful lily of the valley," said Athos; "observe
how the shade and the damp situation suit it, particularly the shadow
which that sycamore-tree casts over it, so that the warmth, and not the
blazing heat of the sun, filters through its leaves."

Raoul stopped, bit his lips, and then, with the blood mantling in his
face, he said, courageously, - "One word of explanation, I beg,
monsieur. You cannot forget that your son is a man."

"In that case," replied Athos, drawing himself up with sternness, "prove
to me that you are a man, for you do not show yourself a son. I begged
you to wait the opportunity of forming an illustrious alliance. I would
have obtained a wife for you from the first ranks of the rich nobility.
I wish you to be distinguished by the splendor which glory and fortune
confer, for nobility of descent you have already."

"Monsieur," exclaimed Raoul, carried away by a first impulse. "I was
reproached the other day for not knowing who my mother was."

Athos turned pale; then, knitting his brows like the greatest of all the
heathen deities: - "I am waiting to learn the reply you made," he
demanded, in an imperious manner.

"Forgive me! oh, forgive me," murmured the young man, sinking at once
from the lofty tone he had assumed.

"What was your reply, monsieur?" inquired the count, stamping his feet
upon the ground.

"Monsieur, my sword was in my hand immediately, my adversary placed
himself on guard, I struck his sword over the palisade, and threw him
after it."

"Why did you suffer him to live?"

"The king has prohibited duelling, and, at the moment, I was an
ambassador of the king."

"Very well," said Athos, "but all the greater reason I should see his

"What do you intend to ask him?"

"Authority to draw my sword against the man who has inflicted this injury
upon me."

"If I did not act as I ought to have done, I beg you to forgive me."

"Did I reproach you, Raoul?"

"Still, the permission you are going to ask from the king?"

"I will implore his majesty to sign your marriage-contract, but on one

"Are conditions necessary with me, monsieur? Command, and you shall be

"On the condition, I repeat," continued Athos; "that you tell me the name
of the man who spoke of your mother in that way."

"What need is there that you should know his name; the offense was
directed against myself, and the permission once obtained from his
majesty, to revenge it is my affair."

"Tell me his name, monsieur."

"I will not allow you to expose yourself."

"Do you take me for a Don Diego? His name, I say."

"You insist upon it?"

"I demand it."

"The Vicomte de Wardes."

"Very well," said Athos, tranquilly, "I know him. But our horses are
ready, I see; and, instead of delaying our departure for a couple of
hours, we will set off at once. Come, monsieur."

Chapter XVI:
Monsieur Becomes Jealous of the Duke of Buckingham.

While the Comte de la Fere was proceeding on his way to Pairs,
accompanied by Raoul, the Palais Royal was the theatre wherein a scene of
what Moliere would have called excellent comedy, was being performed.
Four days had elapsed since his marriage, and Monsieur, having
breakfasted very hurriedly, passed into his ante-chamber, frowning and
out of temper. The repast had not been over-agreeable. Madame had had
breakfast served in her own apartment, and Monsieur had breakfasted
almost alone; the Chevalier de Lorraine and Manicamp were the only
persons present at the meal, which lasted three-quarters of an hour
without a single syllable having been uttered. Manicamp, who was less
intimate with his royal highness than the Chevalier de Lorraine, vainly
endeavored to detect, from the expression of the prince's face, what had
made him so ill-humored. The Chevalier de Lorraine, who had no occasion
to speculate about anything, inasmuch as he knew all, ate his breakfast
with that extraordinary appetite which the troubles of one's friends but
stimulates, and enjoyed at the same time both Monsieur's ill-humor and
the vexation of Manicamp. He seemed delighted, while he went on eating,
to detain a prince, who was very impatient to move, still at table.
Monsieur at times repented the ascendency which he had permitted the
Chevalier de Lorraine to acquire over him, and which exempted the latter
from any observance of etiquette towards him. Monsieur was now in one of
those moods, but he dreaded as much as he liked the chevalier, and
contented himself with nursing his anger without betraying it. Every now
and then Monsieur raised his eyes to the ceiling, then lowered them
towards the slices of _pate_ which the chevalier was attacking, and
finally, not caring to betray the resentment, he gesticulated in a manner
which Harlequin might have envied. At last, however, Monsieur could
control himself no longer, and at the dessert, rising from the table in
excessive wrath, as we have related, he left the Chevalier de Lorraine to
finish his breakfast as he pleased. Seeing Monsieur rise from the table,
Manicamp, napkin in hand, rose also. Monsieur ran rather than walked,
towards the ante-chamber, where, noticing an usher in attendance, he gave
him some directions in a low tone of voice. Then, turning back again,
but avoiding passing through the breakfast apartment, he crossed several
rooms, with the intention of seeking the queen-mother in her oratory,
where she usually remained.

It was about ten o'clock in the morning. Anne of Austria was engaged in
writing as Monsieur entered. The queen-mother was extremely attached to
her son, for he was handsome in person and amiable in disposition. He
was, in fact, more affectionate, and it might be, more effeminate than
the king. He pleased his mother by those trifling sympathizing
attentions all women are glad to receive. Anne of Austria, who would
have been rejoiced to have had a daughter, almost found in this, her
favorite son, the attentions, solicitude, and playful manners of a child
of twelve years of age. All the time he passed with his mother he
employed in admiring her arms, in giving his opinion upon her cosmetics,
and recipes for compounding essences, in which she was very particular;
and then, too, he kissed her hands and cheeks in the most childlike and
endearing manner, and had always some sweetmeats to offer her, or some
new style of dress to recommend. Anne of Austria loved the king, or
rather the regal power in her eldest son; Louis XIV. represented
legitimacy by right divine. With the king, her character was that of the
queen-mother, with Philip she was simply the mother. The latter knew
that, of all places, a mother's heart is the most compassionate and
surest. When quite a child he always fled there for refuge when he and
his brother quarreled, often, after having struck him, which constituted
the crime of high treason on his part, after certain engagements with
hands and nails, in which the king and his rebellious subject indulged in
their night-dresses respecting the right to a disputed bed, having their
servant Laporte as umpire, - Philip, conqueror, but terrified at victory,
used to flee to his mother to obtain reinforcements from her, or at least
the assurance of forgiveness, which Louis XIV. granted with difficulty,
and after an interval. Anne, from this habit of peaceable intervention,
succeeded in arranging the disputes of her sons, and in sharing, at the
same time, all their secrets. The king, somewhat jealous of that
maternal solicitude which was bestowed particularly on his brother, felt
disposed to show towards Anne of Austria more submission and attachment
than his character really dictated. Anne of Austria had adopted this
line of conduct especially towards the young queen. In this manner she
ruled with almost despotic sway over the royal household, and she was
already preparing her batteries to govern with the same absolute
authority the household of her second son. Anne experienced almost a
feeling of pride whenever she saw any one enter her apartment with woe-
begone looks, pale cheeks, or red eyes, gathering from appearances that
assistance was required either by the weakest or the most rebellious.
She was writing, we have said, when Monsieur entered her oratory, not
with red eyes or pale cheeks, but restless, out of temper, and annoyed.
With an absent air he kissed his mother's hands, and sat himself down
before receiving her permission to do so. Considering the strict rules
of etiquette established at the court of Anne of Austria, this
forgetfulness of customary civilities was a sign of preoccupation,
especially on Philip's part, who, of his own accord, observed a respect
towards her of a somewhat exaggerated character. If, therefore, he so
notoriously failed in this regard, there must be a serious cause for it.

"What is the matter, Philip?" inquired Anne of Austria, turning towards
her son.

"A good many things," murmured the prince, in a doleful tone of voice.

"You look like a man who has a great deal to do," said the queen, laying
down her pen. Philip frowned, but did not reply. "Among the various
subjects which occupy your mind," said Anne of Austria, "there must
surely be one that absorbs it more than others."

"One has indeed occupied me more than any other."

"Well, what is it? I am listening."

Philip opened his mouth as if to express all the troubles his mind was
filled with, and which he seemed to be waiting only for an opportunity of
declaring. But he suddenly became silent, and a sigh alone expressed all
that his heart was overflowing with.

"Come, Philip, show a little firmness," said the queen-mother. "When one
has to complain of anything, it is generally an individual who is the
cause of it. Am I not right?"

"I do not say no, madame."

"Whom do you wish to speak about? Come, take courage."

"In fact, madame, what I might possibly have to say must be kept a
profound secret; for when a lady is in the case - "

"Ah! you are speaking of Madame, then?" inquired the queen-mother, with a
feeling of the liveliest curiosity.


"Well, then, if you wish to speak of Madame, do not hesitate to do so. I
am your mother, and she is no more than a stranger to me. Yet, as she is
my daughter-in-law, rest assured I shall be interested, even were it for
your own sake alone, in hearing all you may have to say about her."

"Pray tell me, madame, in your turn, whether you have not remarked

"'Something'! Philip? Your words almost frighten me, from their want of
meaning. What do you mean by 'something?'"

"Madame is pretty, certainly."

"No doubt of it."

"Yet not altogether beautiful."

"No, but as she grows older, she will probably become strikingly
beautiful. You must have remarked the change which a few years have
already made in her. Her beauty will improve more and more; she is now
only sixteen years of age. At fifteen I was, myself, very thin; but even
as she is at present, Madame is very pretty."

"And consequently others have remarked it."

"Undoubtedly, for a woman of ordinary rank is noticed - and with still
greater reason a princess."

"She has been well brought up, I suppose?"

"Madame Henriette, her mother, is a woman somewhat cold in manner,
slightly pretentious, but full of noble thoughts. The princess's
education may have been neglected, but her principles, I believe, are
good. Such at least was the opinion I formed of her when she resided in
France; but she afterwards returned to England, and I am ignorant what
may have occurred there."

"What do you mean?"

"Simply that there are some heads naturally giddy, which are easily
turned by prosperity."

"That is the very word, madame. I think the princess rather giddy."

"We must not exaggerate, Philip; she is clever and witty, and has a
certain amount of coquetry very natural in a young woman; but this defect
in persons of high rank and position, is a great advantage at a court. A
princess who is tinged with coquetry usually forms a brilliant court; her
smile stimulates luxury, arouses wit, and even courage; the nobles, too,
fight better for a prince whose wife is beautiful."

"Thank you extremely, madame," said Philip, with some temper; "you really
have drawn some very alarming pictures for me."

"In what respect?" asked the queen, with pretended simplicity.

"You know, madame," said Philip, dolefully, "whether I had or had not a
very great dislike to getting married."

"Now, indeed, you alarm me. You have some serious cause of complaint
against Madame."

"I do not precisely say it is serious."

"In that case, then, throw aside your doleful looks. If you show
yourself to others in your present state, people will take you for a very
unhappy husband."

"The fact is," replied Philip, "I am not altogether satisfied as a
husband, and I shall not be sorry if others know it."

"For shame, Philip."

"Well, then, madame, I will tell you frankly that I do not understand the
life I am required to lead."

"Explain yourself."

"My wife does not seem to belong to me; she is always leaving me for some
reason or another. In the mornings there are visits, correspondences,
and toilettes; in the evenings, balls and concerts."

"You are jealous, Philip."

"I! Heaven forbid. Let others act the part of a jealous husband, not
I. But I _am_ annoyed."

"All these things you reproach your wife with are perfectly innocent,
and, so long as you have nothing of greater importance - "

"Yet, listen; without being very blamable, a woman can excite a good deal
of uneasiness. Certain visitors may be received, certain preferences
shown, which expose young women to remark, and which are enough to drive
out of their senses even those husbands who are least disposed to be

"Ah! now we are coming to the real point at last, and not without some
difficulty. You speak of frequent visits, and certain preferences - very
good; for the last hour we have been beating about the bush, and at last
you have broached the true question."

"Well then, yes "

"This is more serious than I thought. It is possible, then, that Madame
can have given you grounds for these complaints against her?"

"Precisely so."

"What, your wife, married only four days ago, prefers some other person
to yourself? Take care, Philip, you exaggerate your grievances; in
wishing to prove everything, you prove nothing."

The prince, bewildered by his mother's serious manner, wished to reply,
but he could only stammer out some unintelligible words.

"You draw back, then?" said Anne of Austria. "I prefer that, as it is an
acknowledgement of your mistake."

"No!" exclaimed Philip, "I do not draw back, and I will prove all I
asserted. I spoke of preference and of visits, did I not? Well, listen."

Anne of Austria prepared herself to listen, with that love of gossip
which the best woman living and the best mother, were she a queen even,
always finds in being mixed up with the petty squabbles of a household.

"Well," said Philip, "tell me one thing."

"What is that?"

"Why does my wife retain an English court about her?" said Philip, as he
crossed his arms and looked his mother steadily in the face, as if he
were convinced that she could not answer the question.

"For a very simple reason," returned Anne of Austria; "because the
English are her countrymen, because they have expended large sums in
order to accompany her to France, and because it would hardly be polite
not politic, certainly - to dismiss abruptly those members of the English
nobility who have not shrunk from any devotion or sacrifice."

"A wonderful sacrifice indeed," returned Philip, "to desert a wretched
country to come to a beautiful one, where a greater effect can be
produced for a guinea that can be procured elsewhere for four!
Extraordinary devotion, really, to travel a hundred leagues in company
with a woman one is in love with!"

"In love, Philip! think what you are saying. Who is in love with Madame?"

"The Duke of Buckingham. Perhaps you will defend him, too?"

Anne of Austria blushed and smiled at the same time. The name of the
Duke of Buckingham recalled certain recollections of a very tender and
melancholy nature. "The Duke of Buckingham?" she murmured.

"Yes; one of those arm-chair soldiers - "

"The Buckinghams are loyal and brave," said Anne of Austria, courageously.

"This is too bad; my own mother takes the part of my wife's lover against
me," exclaimed Philip, incensed to such an extent that his weak
organization was affected almost to tears.

"Philip, my son," exclaimed Anne of Austria, "such an expression is
unworthy of you. Your wife has no lover; and, had she one, it would not
be the Duke of Buckingham. The members of that family, I repeat, are
loyal and discreet, and the rights of hospitality are sure to be
respected by them."

"The Duke of Buckingham is an Englishman, madame," said Philip, "and may
I ask if the English so very religiously respect what belongs to princes
of France?"

Anne blushed a second time, and turned aside under the pretext of taking
her pen from her desk again, but in reality to conceal her confusion from
her son. "Really, Philip," she said, "you seem to discover expressions
for the purpose of embarrassing me, and your anger blinds you while it
alarms me; reflect a little."

"There is no need for reflection, madame. I can see with my own eyes."

"Well, and what do you see?"

"That Buckingham never quits my wife. He presumes to make presents to
her, and she ventures to accept them. Yesterday she was talking about
_sauchets a la violette_; well, our French perfumers, you know very well,
madame, for you have over and over again asked for it without success
our French perfumers, I say, have never been able to procure this scent.
The duke, however, wore about him a _sachet a la violette_, and I am sure
that the one my wife has came from him."

"Indeed, monsieur," said Anne of Austria, "you build your pyramids on
needle points; be careful. What harm, I ask you, can there be in a man
giving to his countrywoman a recipe for a new essence? These strange
ideas, I protest, painfully recall your father to me; he who so
frequently and so unjustly made me suffer."

"The Duke of Buckingham's father was probably more reserved and more
respectful than his son," said Philip, thoughtlessly, not perceiving how
deeply he had wounded his mother's feelings. The queen turned pale, and
pressed her clenched hands upon her bosom; but, recovering herself
immediately, she said," You came here with some intention or another, I


"What was it?"

"I came, madame, intending to complain energetically, and to inform you
that I will not submit to such behavior from the Duke of Buckingham."

"What do you intend to do, then?"

"I shall complain to the king."

"And what do you expect the king to reply?"

"Very well, then," said Monsieur, with an expression of stern
determination on his countenance, which offered a singular contrast to
its usual gentleness. "Very well. I will right myself!"

"What do you call righting yourself?" inquired Anne of Austria, in alarm.

"I will have the Duke of Buckingham quit the princess, I will have him
quit France, and I will see that my wishes are intimated to him."

"You will intimate nothing of the kind, Philip," said the queen, "for if
you act in that manner, and violate hospitality to that extent, I will
invoke the severity of the king against you."

"Do you threaten me, madame?" exclaimed Philip, almost in tears; "do you
threaten me in the midst of my complaints?"

"I do not threaten you; I do but place an obstacle in the path of your
hasty anger. I maintain, that, to adopt towards the Duke of Buckingham,
or any other Englishman, any rigorous measure - to take even a
discourteous step towards him, would be to plunge France and England into
the most disastrous disagreement. Can it be possible that a prince of
the blood, the brother of the king of France, does not know how to hide
an injury, even did it exist in reality, where political necessity
requires it?" Philip made a movement. "Besides," continued the queen,
"the injury is neither true nor possible, and it is merely a matter of
silly jealousy."

"Madame, I know what I know."

"Whatever you may know, I can only advise you to be patient."

"I am not patient by disposition, madame."

The queen rose, full of severity, and with an icy ceremonious manner.
"Explain what you really require, monsieur," she said.

"I do not require anything, madame; I simply express what I desire. If
the Duke of Buckingham does not, of his own accord, discontinue his
visits to my apartments I shall forbid him entrance."

"That is a point you will refer to the king," said Anne of Austria, her
heart swelling as she spoke, and her voice trembling with emotion.

"But, madame," exclaimed Philip, striking his hands together, "act as my
mother and not as the queen, since I speak to you as a son; it is simply
a matter of a few minutes' conversation between the duke and myself."

"It is that very conversation I forbid," said the queen, resuming her
authority, "because it is unworthy of you."

"Be it so; I will not appear in the matter, but I shall intimate my will
to Madame."

"Oh!" said the queen-mother, with a melancholy arising from reflection,
"never tyrannize over a wife - never behave too haughtily or imperiously
towards your own. A woman unwillingly convinced, is unconvinced."

"What is to be done, then? - I will consult my friends about it."

"Yes, your double-dealing advisers, your Chevalier de Lorraine - your De
Wardes. Intrust the conduct of this affair to me. You wish the Duke of
Buckingham to leave, do you not?"

"As soon as possible, madame."

"Send the duke to me, then; smile upon your wife, behave to her, to the
king, to every one, as usual. But follow no advice but mine. Alas! I
too well know what any household comes to, that is troubled by advisers."

"You shall be obeyed, madame."

"And you will be satisfied at the result. Send the duke to me."

"That will not be difficult."

"Where do you suppose him to be?"

"At my wife's door, whose _levee_ he is probably awaiting."

"Very well," said Anne of Austria, calmly. "Be good enough to tell the
duke that I shall be charmed if he will pay me a visit."

Philip kissed his mother's hand, and started off to find the Duke of

Chapter XVII:

The Duke of Buckingham, obedient to the queen-mother's invitation,
presented himself in her apartments half an hour after the departure of
the Duc d'Orleans. When his name was announced by the gentleman-usher in
attendance, the queen, who was sitting with her elbow resting on a table,
and her head buried in her hands, rose, and smilingly received the
graceful and respectful salutation which the duke addressed to her. Anne
of Austria was still beautiful. It is well known that at her then
somewhat advanced age, her long auburn hair, perfectly formed hands, and
bright ruby lips, were still the admiration of all who saw her. On the
present occasion, abandoned entirely to a remembrance which evoked all
the past in her heart, she looked almost as beautiful as in the days of
her youth, when her palace was open to the visits of the Duke of
Buckingham's father, then a young and impassioned man, as well as an
unfortunate prince, who lived for her alone, and died with her name upon
his lips. Anne of Austria fixed upon Buckingham a look so tender in its
expression, that it denoted, not alone the indulgence of maternal
affection, but a gentleness of expression like the coquetry of a woman
who loves.

"Your majesty," said Buckingham, respectfully, "desired to speak to me."

"Yes, duke," said the queen, in English; "will you be good enough to sit

The favor which Anne of Austria thus extended to the young man, and the
welcome sound of the language of a country from which the duke had been
estranged since his stay in France, deeply affected him. He immediately
conjectured that the queen had a request to make of him. After having
abandoned the first few moments to the irrepressible emotions she
experienced, the queen resumed the smiling air with which she had
received him. "What do you think of France?" she said, in French.

"It is a lovely country, madame," replied the duke.

"Had you ever seen it before?"

"Once only, madame."

"But, like all true Englishmen, you prefer England?"

"I prefer my own native land to France," replied the duke; "but if your
majesty were to ask me which of the two cities, London or Pairs, I should
prefer as a residence, I should be forced to answer Paris."

Anne of Austria observed the ardent manner with which these words had
been pronounced. "I am told, my lord, you have rich possessions in your
own country, and that you live in a splendid and time-honored place."

"It was my father's residence," replied Buckingham, casting down his eyes.

"Those are indeed great advantages and _souvenirs_," replied the queen,
alluding, in spite of herself, to recollections from which it is
impossible voluntarily to detach one's self.

"In fact," said the duke, yielding to the melancholy influence of this
opening conversation, "sensitive persons live as much in the past or the
future, as in the present."

"That is very true," said the queen, in a low tone of voice. "It
follows, then, my lord," she added, "that you, who are a man of feeling,
will soon quit France in order to shut yourself up with your wealth and
your relics of the past."

Buckingham raised his head and said, "I think not, madame."

"What do you mean?"

"On the contrary, I think of leaving England in order to take up my
residence in France."

It was now Anne of Austria's turn to exhibit surprise. "Why?" she said.
"Are you not in favor with the new king?"

"Perfectly so, madame, for his majesty's kindness to me is unbounded."

"It cannot," said the queen, "be because your fortune has diminished, for
it is said to be enormous."

"My income, madame, has never been so large."

"There is some secret cause, then?"

"No, madame," said Buckingham, eagerly, "there is nothing secret in my
reason for this determination. I prefer residence in France; I like a
court so distinguished by its refinement and courtesy; I like the
amusements, somewhat serious in their nature, which are not the
amusements of my own country, and which are met with in France."

Anne of Austria smiled shrewdly. "Amusements of a serious nature?" she
said. "Has your Grace well reflected on their seriousness?" The duke
hesitated. "There is no amusement so serious," continued the queen, "as
to prevent a man of your rank - "

"Your majesty seems to insist greatly on that point," interrupted the

"Do you think so, my lord?"

"If you will forgive me for saying so, it is the second time you have
vaunted the attractions of England at the expense of the delight which
all experience who live in France."

Anne of Austria approached the young man, and placing her beautiful hand
upon his shoulder, which trembled at the touch, said, "Believe me,
monsieur, nothing can equal a residence in one's own native country. I
have very frequently had occasion to regret Spain. I have lived long, my
lord, very long for a woman, and I confess to you, that not a year has
passed I have not regretted Spain."

"Not one year, madame?" said the young duke coldly. "Not one of those
years when you reigned Queen of Beauty - as you still are, indeed?"

"A truce to flattery, duke, for I am old enough to be your mother." She
emphasized these latter words in a manner, and with a gentleness, which
penetrated Buckingham's heart. "Yes," she said, "I am old enough to be
your mother; and for this reason, I will give you a word of advice."

"That advice being that I should return to London?" he exclaimed.

"Yes, my lord."

The duke clasped his hands with a terrified gesture, which could not fail
of its effect upon the queen, already disposed to softer feelings by the
tenderness of her own recollections. "It must be so," added the queen.

"What!" he again exclaimed, "am I seriously told that I must leave, -
that I must exile myself, - that I am to flee at once?"

"Exile yourself, did you say? One would fancy France was your native

"Madame, the country of those who love is the country of those whom they

"Not another word, my lord; you forget whom you are addressing."

Buckingham threw himself on his knees. "Madame, you are the source of
intelligence, of goodness, and of compassion; you are the first person in
this kingdom, not only by your rank, but the first person in the world on
account of your angelic attributes. I have said nothing, madame. Have
I, indeed, said anything you should answer with such a cruel remark?
What have I betrayed?"

"You have betrayed yourself," said the queen, in a low tone of voice.

"I have said nothing, - I know nothing."

"You forget you have spoken and thought in the presence of a woman; and
besides - "

"Besides," said the duke, "no one knows you are listening to me."

"On the contrary, it is known; you have all the defects and all the
qualities of youth."

"I have been betrayed or denounced, then?"

"By whom?"

"By those who, at Le Havre, had, with infernal perspicacity, read my
heart like an open book."

"I do not know whom you mean."

"M. de Bragelonne, for instance."

"I know the name without being acquainted with the person to whom it
belongs. M. de Bragelonne has said nothing."

"Who can it be, then? If any one, madame, had had the boldness to notice
in me that which I do not myself wish to behold - "

"What would you do, duke?"

"There are secrets which kill those who discover them."

"He, then, who has discovered your secret, madman that you are, still
lives; and, what is more, you will not slay him, for he is armed on all
sides, - he is a husband, a jealous man, - he is the second gentleman in
France, - he is my son, the Duc du Orleans."

The duke turned pale as death. "You are very cruel, madame," he said.

"You see, Buckingham," said Anne of Austria, sadly, "how you pass from
one extreme to another, and fight with shadows, when it would seem so
easy to remain at peace with yourself."

"If we fight, madame, we die on the field of battle," replied the young
man, gently, abandoning himself to the most gloomy depression.

Anne ran towards him and took him by the hand. "Villiers," she said, in
English, with a vehemence of tone which nothing could resist, "what is it
you ask? Do you ask a mother to sacrifice her son, - a queen to consent
to the dishonor of her house? Child that you are, do not dream of it.
What! in order to spare your tears am I to commit these crimes?
Villiers! you speak of the dead; the dead, at least, were full of respect
and submission; they resigned themselves to an order of exile; they
carried their despair away with them in their hearts, like a priceless
possession, because the despair was caused by the woman they loved, and
because death, thus deceptive, was like a gift of a favor conferred upon

Buckingham rose, his features distorted, and his hands pressed against
his heart. "You are right, madame," he said, "but those of whom you
speak had received their order of exile from the lips of the one whom
they loved; they were not driven away; they were entreated to leave, and
were not laughed at."

"No," murmured Anne of Austria, "they were not forgotten. But who says

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