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Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas, Pere

Part 6 out of 13

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"No, madame; but if I were called upon to sell or to buy, I should be
satisfied with the gold of the settings alone as my profit upon the
transaction. I should make a good twenty-five thousand francs."

"An agreeable sum."

"Very much so, madame."

"Will you then accept that profit, then, on condition of converting the
jewels into money?"

"But you do not intend to sell you diamonds, I suppose, madame?"
exclaimed the bewildered jeweler.

"Silence, M. Faucheux, do not disturb yourself about that; give me an
answer simply. You are an honorable man, with whom my family has dealt
for thirty years; you knew my father and mother, whom your own father and
mother served. I address you as a friend; will you accept the gold of
the settings in return for a sum of ready money to be placed in my hands?"

"Eight hundred thousand francs! it is enormous."

"I know it."

"Impossible to find."

"Not so."

"But reflect, madame, upon the effect which will be produced by the sale
of your jewels."

"No one need know it. You can get sets of false jewels made for me,
similar to the real. Do not answer a word; I insist upon it. Sell them
separately, sell the stones only."

"In that way it is easy. Monsieur is looking out for some sets of jewels
as well as single stones for Madame's toilette. There will be a
competition for them. I can easily dispose of six hundred thousand
francs' worth to Monsieur. I am certain yours are the most beautiful."

"When can you do so?"

"In less than three days' time."

"Very well, the remainder you will dispose of among private individuals.
For the present, make me out a contract of sale, payment to be made in
four days."

"I entreat you to reflect, madame; for if you force the sale, you will
lose a hundred thousand francs."

"If necessary, I will lose two hundred; I wish everything to be settled
this evening. Do you accept?"

"I do, your ladyship. I will not conceal from you that I shall make
fifty thousand francs by the transaction."

"So much the better for you. In what way shall I have the money?"

"Either in gold, or in bills of the bank of Lyons, payable at M.

"I agree," said the marquise, eagerly; "return home and bring the sum in
question in notes, as soon as possible."

"Yes, madame, but for Heaven's sake - "

"Not a word, M. Faucheux. By the by, I was forgetting the silver plate.
What is the value of that which I have?"

"Fifty thousand francs, madame."

"That makes a million," said the marquise to herself. "M. Faucheux, you
will take away with you both the gold and silver plate. I can assign, as
a pretext, that I wish it remodeled on patters more in accordance with my
own taste. Melt it down, and return me its value in money, at once."

"It shall be done, your ladyship."

"You will be good enough to place the money in a chest, and direct one of
your clerks to accompany the chest, and without my servants seeing him;
and order him to wait for me in a carriage."

"In Madame de Faucheux's carriage?" said the jeweler.

"If you will allow it, and I will call for it at your house."

"Certainly, your ladyship."

"I will direct some of my servants to convey the plate to your house."
The marquise rung. "Let the small van be placed at M. Faucheux's
disposal," she said. The jeweler bowed and left the house, directing
that the van should follow him closely, saying aloud, that the marquise
was about to have her plate melted down in order to have other plate
manufactured of a more modern style. Three hours afterwards she went to
M. Faucheux's house and received from him eight hundred francs in gold
inclosed in a chest, which one of the clerks could hardly carry towards
Madame Faucheux's carriage - for Madame Faucheux kept her carriage. As
the daughter of a president of accounts, she had brought a marriage
portion of thirty thousand crowns to her husband, who was syndic of the
goldsmiths. These thirty thousand crowns had become very fruitful during
twenty years. The jeweler, though a _millionaire_, was a modest man. He
had purchased a substantial carriage, built in 1648, ten years after the
king's birth. This carriage, or rather house upon wheels, excited the
admiration of the whole quarter in which he resided - it was covered with
allegorical paintings, and clouds scattered over with stars. The
marquise entered this somewhat extraordinary vehicle, sitting opposite
the clerk, who endeavored to put his knees out of the way, afraid even of
touching the marquise's dress. It was the clerk, too, who told the
coachman, who was very proud of having a marquise to drive, to take the
road to Saint-Mande.

Chapter XXVIII:
The Dowry.

Monsieur Faucheux's horses were serviceable animals, with thickset knees
and legs that had some difficulty in moving. Like the carriage, they
belonged to the earlier part of the century. They were not as fleet as
the English horses of M. Fouquet, and consequently it took two hours to
get to Saint-Mande. Their progress, it might be said, was majestic.
Majesty, however, precludes hurry. The marquise stopped the carriage at
the door so well known to her, although she had seen it only once, under
circumstances, it will now be remembered, no less painful than those
which brought her now to it again. She drew a key from her pocket, and
inserted it into the lock, pushed open the door, which noiselessly
yielded to her touch, and directed the clerk to carry the chest upstairs
to the first floor. The weight of the chest was so great that the clerk
was obliged to get the coachman to assist him with it. They placed it in
a small cabinet, ante-room, or boudoir rather, adjoining the saloon where
we once saw M. Fouquet at the marquise's feet. Madame de Belliere gave
the coachman a louis, smiled gracefully at the clerk, and dismissed them
both. She closed the door after them, and waited in the room, alone and
barricaded. There was no servant to be seen about the rooms, but
everything was prepared as though some invisible genius had divined the
wishes and desires of an expected guest. The fire was laid, candles in
the candelabra, refreshments upon the table, books scattered about, fresh-
cut flowers in the vases. One might almost have imagined it an enchanted

The marquise lighted the candles, inhaled the perfume of the flowers, sat
down, and was soon plunged in profound thought. Her deep musings,
melancholy though they were, were not untinged with a certain vague joy.
Spread out before her was a treasure, a million wrung from her fortune as
a gleaner plucks the blue corn-flower from her crown of flowers. She
conjured up the sweetest dreams. Her principal thought, and one that
took precedence of all others, was to devise means of leaving this money
for M. Fouquet without his possibly learning from whom the gift had
come. This idea, naturally enough, was the first to present itself to
her mind. But although, on reflection, it appeared difficult to carry
out, she did not despair of success. She would then ring to summon M.
Fouquet and make her escape, happier than if, instead of having given a
million, she had herself found one. But, being there, and having seen
the boudoir so coquettishly decorated that it might almost be said the
least particle of dust had but the moment before been removed by the
servants; having observed the drawing-room, so perfectly arranged that it
might almost be said her presence there had driven away the fairies who
were its occupants, she asked herself if the glance or gaze of those whom
she had displaced - whether spirits, fairies, elves, or human creatures
had not already recognized her. To secure success, it was necessary that
some steps should be seriously taken, and it was necessary also that the
superintendent should comprehend the serious position in which he was
placed, in order to yield compliance with the generous fancies of a
woman; all the fascinations of an eloquent friendship would be required
to persuade him, and, should this be insufficient, the maddening
influence of a devoted passion, which, in its resolute determination to
carry conviction, would not be turned aside. Was not the superintendent,
indeed, known for his delicacy and dignity of feeling? Would he allow
himself to accept from any woman that of which she had stripped herself?
No! He would resist, and if any voice in the world could overcome his
resistance, it would be the voice of the woman he loved.

Another doubt, and that a cruel one, suggested itself to Madame de
Belliere with a sharp, acute pain, like a dagger thrust. Did he really
love her? Would that volatile mind, that inconstant heart, be likely to
be fixed for a moment, even were it to gaze upon an angel? Was it not
the same with Fouquet, notwithstanding his genius and his uprightness of
conduct, as with those conquerors on the field of battle who shed tears
when they have gained a victory? "I must learn if it be so, and must
judge of that for myself," said the marquise. "Who can tell whether that
heart, so coveted, is not common in its impulses, and full of alloy? Who
can tell if that mind, when the touchstone is applied to it, will not be
found of a mean and vulgar character? Come, come," she said, "this is
doubting and hesitation too much - to the proof," she said, looking at
the timepiece. "It is now seven o'clock," she said; "he must have
arrived; it is the hour for signing his papers." With a feverish
impatience she rose and walked towards the mirror, in which she smiled
with a resolute smile of devotedness; she touched the spring and drew out
the handle of the bell. Then, as if exhausted beforehand by the struggle
she had just undergone, she threw herself on her knees, in utter
abandonment, before a large couch, in which she buried her face in her
trembling hands. Ten minutes afterwards she heard the spring of the door
sound. The door moved upon invisible hinges, and Fouquet appeared. He
looked pale, and seemed bowed down by the weight of some bitter
reflection. He did not hurry, but simply came at the summons. The
preoccupation of his mind must indeed have been very great, that a man,
so devoted to pleasure, for whom indeed pleasure meant everything, should
obey such a summons so listlessly. The previous night, in fact, fertile
in melancholy ideas, had sharpened his features, generally so noble in
their indifference of expression, and had traced dark lines of anxiety
around his eyes. Handsome and noble he still was, and the melancholy
expression of his mouth, a rare expression with men, gave a new character
to his features, by which his youth seemed to be renewed. Dressed in
black, the lace in front of his chest much disarranged by his feverishly
restless hand, the looks of the superintendent, full of dreamy
reflection, were fixed upon the threshold of the room which he had so
frequently approached in search of expected happiness. This gloomy
gentleness of manner, this smiling sadness of expression, which had
replaced his former excessive joy, produced an indescribable effect upon
Madame de Belliere, who was regarding him at a distance.

A woman's eye can read the face of the man she loves, its every feeling
of pride, its every expression of suffering; it might almost be said that
Heaven has graciously granted to women, on account of their very
weakness, more than it has accorded to other creatures. They can conceal
their own feelings from a man, but from them no man can conceal his. The
marquise divined in a single glace the whole weight of the unhappiness of
the superintendent. She divined a night passed without sleep, a day
passed in deceptions. From that moment she was firm in her own strength,
and she felt that she loved Fouquet beyond everything else. She arose
and approached him, saying, "You wrote to me this morning to say you were
beginning to forget me, and that I, whom you had not seen lately, had no
doubt ceased to think of you. I have come to undeceive you, monsieur,
and the more completely so, because there is one thing I can read in your

"What is that, madame?" said Fouquet, astonished.

"That you have never loved me so much as at this moment; in the same
manner you can read, in my present step towards you, that I have not
forgotten you."

"Oh! madame," said Fouquet, whose face was for a moment lighted up by a
sudden gleam of joy, "you are indeed an angel, and no man can suspect
you. All he can do is to humble himself before you and entreat

"Your forgiveness is granted, then," said the marquise. Fouquet was
about to throw himself upon his knees. "No, no," she said, "sit here by
my side. Ah! that is an evil thought which has just crossed your mind."

"How do you detect it, madame?"

"By the smile that has just marred the expression of your countenance.
Be candid, and tell me what your thought was - no secrets between

"Tell me, then, madame, why you have been so harsh these three or four
months past?"


"Yes; did you not forbid me to visit you?"

"Alas!" said Madame de Belliere, sighing, "because your visit to me was
the cause of your being visited with a great misfortune; because my house
is watched; because the same eyes that have seen you already might see
you again; because I think it less dangerous for you that I should come
here than that you should come to my house; and, lastly, because I know
you to be already unhappy enough not to wish to increase your unhappiness

Fouquet started, for these words recalled all the anxieties connected
with his office of superintendent - he who, for the last few minutes, had
indulged in all the wild aspirations of the lover. "I unhappy?" he said,
endeavoring to smile: "indeed, marquise, you will almost make me believe
I am so, judging from your own sadness. Are your beautiful eyes raised
upon me merely in pity? I was looking for another expression from them."

"It is not I who am sad, monsieur; look in the mirror, there - it is

"It is true I am somewhat pale, marquise; but it is from overwork; the
king yesterday required a supply of money from me."

"Yes, four millions; I am aware of it."

"You know it?" exclaimed Fouquet, in a tone of surprise; "how can you
have learnt it? It was after the departure of the queen, and in the
presence of one person only, that the king - "

"You perceive that I do know it; is that not sufficient? Well, go on,
monsieur, the money the king has required you to supply - "

"You understand, marquise, that I have been obliged to procure it, then
to get it counted, afterwards registered - altogether a long affair.
Since Monsieur de Mazarin's death, financial affairs occasion some little
fatigue and embarrassment. My administration is somewhat overtaxed, and
this is the reason why I have not slept during the past night."

"So you have the amount?" inquired the marquise, with some anxiety.

"It would indeed be strange, marquise," replied Fouquet, cheerfully, "if
a superintendent of finances were not to have a paltry four millions in
his coffers."

"Yes, yes, I believe you either have, or will have them."

"What do you mean by saying I shall have them?"

"It is not very long since you were required to furnish two millions."

"On the contrary, it seems almost an age; but do not let us talk of money
matters any longer."

"On the contrary, we will continue to speak of them, for that is my only
reason for coming to see you."

"I am at a loss to compass your meaning," said the superintendent, whose
eyes began to express an anxious curiosity.

"Tell me, monsieur, is the office of superintendent a permanent position?"

"You surprise me, marchioness, for you speak as if you had some motive or
interest in putting the question."

"My reason is simple enough; I am desirous of placing some money in your
hands, and naturally I wish to know if you are certain of your post."

"Really, marquise, I am at a loss what to reply; I cannot conceive your

"Seriously, then, dear M. Fouquet, I have certain funds which somewhat
embarrass me. I am tired of investing my money in lands, and am anxious
to intrust it to some friend who will turn it to account."

"Surely it does not press," said M. Fouquet.

"On the contrary, it is very pressing."

"Very well, we will talk of that by and by."

"By and by will not do, for my money is there," returned the marquise,
pointing out the coffer to the superintendent, and showing him, as she
opened it, the bundles of notes and heaps of gold. Fouquet, who had
risen from his seat at the same moment as Madame de Belliere, remained
for a moment plunged in thought; then suddenly starting back, he turned
pale, and sank down in his chair, concealing his face in his hands.
"Madame, madame," he murmured, "what opinion can you have of me, when you
make me such an offer?"

"Of you!" returned the marquise. "Tell me, rather, what you yourself
think of the step I have taken."

"You bring me this money for myself, and you bring it because you know me
to be embarrassed. Nay, do not deny it, for I am sure of it. Can I not
read your heart?"

"If you know my heart, then, can you not see that it is my heart I offer

"I have guessed rightly, then," exclaimed Fouquet. "In truth, madame, I
have never yet given you the right to insult me in this manner."

"Insult you," she said, turning pale, "what singular delicacy of
feeling! You tell me you love me; in the name of that affection you wish
me to sacrifice my reputation and my honor, yet, when I offer you money
which is my own, you refuse me."

"Madame, you are at liberty to preserve what you term your reputation and
your honor. Permit me to preserve mine. Leave me to my ruin, leave me
to sink beneath the weight of the hatreds which surround me, beneath the
faults I have committed, beneath the load, even, of my remorse, but, for
Heaven's sake, madame, do not overwhelm me with this last infliction."

"A short time since, M. Fouquet, you were wanting in judgment; now you
are wanting in feeling."

Fouquet pressed his clenched hand upon his breast, heaving with emotion,
saying: "overwhelm me, madame, for I have nothing to reply."

"I offered you my friendship, M. Fouquet."

"Yes, madame, and you limited yourself to that."

"And what I am now doing is the act of a friend."

"No doubt it is."

"And you reject this mark of my friendship?"

"I do reject it."

"Monsieur Fouquet, look at me," said the marquise, with glistening eyes,
"I now offer you my love."

"Oh, madame," exclaimed Fouquet.

"I have loved you for a long while past; women, like men, have a false
delicacy at times. For a long time past I have loved you, but would not
confess it. Well, then, you have implored this love on your knees, and I
have refused you; I was blind, as you were a little while since; but as
it was my love that you sought, it is my love I now offer you."

"Oh! madame, you overwhelm me beneath a load of happiness."

"Will you be happy, then, if I am yours - entirely?"

"It will be the supremest happiness for me."

"Take me, then. If, however, for your sake I sacrifice a prejudice, do
you, for mine, sacrifice a scruple."

"Do not tempt me."

"Do not refuse me."

"Think seriously of what you are proposing."

"Fouquet, but one word. Let it be 'No,' and I open this door," and she
pointed to the door which led into the streets, "and you will never see
me again. Let that word be 'Yes,' and I am yours entirely."

"Elise! Elise! But this coffer?"

"Contains my dowry."

"It is your ruin," exclaimed Fouquet, turning over the gold and papers;
"there must be a million here."

"Yes, my jewels, for which I care no longer if you do not love me, and
for which, equally, I care no longer if you love me as I love you."

"This is too much," exclaimed Fouquet. "I yield, I yield, even were it
only to consecrate so much devotion. I accept the dowry."

"And take the woman with it," said the marquise, throwing herself into
his arms.

Chapter XXIX:
Le Terrain de Dieu.

During the progress of these events Buckingham and De Wardes traveled in
excellent companionship, and made the journey from Paris to Calais in
undisturbed harmony together. Buckingham had hurried his departure, so
that the greater part of his _adieux_ were very hastily made. His visit
to Monsieur and Madame, to the young queen, and to the queen-dowager, had
been paid collectively - a precaution on the part of the queen-mother
which saved him the distress of any private conversation with Monsieur,
and also the danger of seeing Madame again. The carriages containing the
luggage had already been sent on beforehand, and in the evening he set
off in his traveling carriage with his attendants.

De Wardes, irritated at finding himself dragged away in so abrupt a
manner by this Englishman, had sought in his subtle mind for some means
of escaping from his fetters; but no one having rendered him any
assistance in this respect, he was absolutely obliged, therefore, to
submit to the burden of his own evil thoughts and caustic spirit.

Such of his friends in whom he had been able to confide, had, in their
character of wits, rallied him upon the duke's superiority. Others, less
brilliant, but more sensible, had reminded him of the king's orders
prohibiting dueling. Others, again, and they the larger number, who, in
virtue of charity, or national vanity, might have rendered him
assistance, did not care to run the risk of incurring disgrace, and
would, at the best, have informed the ministers of a departure which
might end in a massacre on a small scale. The result was, that, after
having fully deliberated upon the matter, De Wardes packed up his
luggage, took a couple of horses, and, followed only by one servant, made
his way towards the barrier, where Buckingham's carriage was to await him.

The duke received his adversary as he would have done an intimate
acquaintance, made room beside him on the same seat with himself, offered
him refreshments, and spread over his knees the sable cloak that had been
thrown on the front seat. They then conversed of the court, without
alluding to Madame; of Monsieur, without speaking of domestic affairs; of
the king, without speaking of his brother's wife; of the queen-mother,
without alluding to her daughter-in-law; of the king of England, without
alluding to his sister; of the state of the affections of either of the
travelers, without pronouncing any name that might be dangerous. In this
way the journey, which was performed by short stages, was most agreeable,
and Buckingham, almost a Frenchman from wit and education, was delighted
at having so admirably selected his traveling companion. Elegant repasts
were served, of which they partook but lightly; trials of horses made in
the beautiful meadows that skirted the road; coursing indulged in, for
Buckingham had his greyhounds with him; and in such ways did they pass
away the pleasant time. The duke somewhat resembled the beautiful river
Seine, which folds France a thousand times in its loving embrace, before
deciding upon joining its waters with the ocean. In quitting France, it
was her recently adopted daughter he had brought to Paris whom he chiefly
regretted; his every thought was a remembrance of her - his every memory
a regret. Therefore, whenever, now and then, despite his command over
himself, he was lost in thought, De Wardes left him entirely to his
musings. This delicacy might have touched Buckingham, and changed his
feelings towards De Wardes, if the latter, while preserving silence, had
shown a glance less full of malice, and a smile less false. Instinctive
dislikes, however, are relentless; nothing appeases them; a few ashes
may, sometimes, apparently, extinguish them; but beneath those ashes the
smothered embers rage more furiously. Having exhausted every means of
amusement the route offered, they arrived, as we have said, at Calais
towards the end of the sixth day. The duke's attendants, since the
previous evening, had traveled in advance, and now chartered a boat, for
the purpose of joining the yacht, which had been tacking about in sight,
or bore broadside on, whenever it felt its white wings wearied, within
cannon-shot of the jetty.

The boat was destined for the transport of the duke's equipages from the
shore to the yacht. The horses had been embarked, having been hoisted
from the boat upon the deck in baskets, expressly made for the purpose,
and wadded in such a manner that their limbs, even in the most violent
fits of terror or impatience, were always protected by the soft support
which the sides afforded, and their coats not even turned. Eight of
these baskets, placed side by side, filled the ship's hold. It is well
known that, in short voyages horses refuse to eat, but remain trembling
all the while, with the best of food before them, such as they would have
greatly coveted on land. By degrees, the duke's entire equipage was
transported on board the yacht; he was then informed that everything was
in readiness, and that they only waited for him, whenever he would be
disposed to embark with the French gentleman; for no one could possibly
imagine that the French gentleman would have any other accounts to settle
with his Grace other than those of friendship. Buckingham desired the
captain to be told to hold himself in readiness, but that, as the sea was
beautiful, and as the day promised a splendid sunset, he did not intend
to go on board until nightfall, and would avail himself of the evening to
enjoy a walk on the strand. He added also, that, finding himself in such
excellent company, he had not the least desire to hasten his embarkation.

As he said this he pointed out to those who surrounded him the
magnificent spectacle which the sky presented, of deepest azure in the
horizon, the amphitheatre of fleecy clouds ascending from the sun's disc
to the zenith, assuming the appearance of a range of snowy mountains,
whose summits were heaped one upon another. The dome of clouds was
tinged at its base with, as it were, the foam of rubies, fading away into
opal and pearly tints, in proportion as the gaze was carried from base to
summit. The sea was gilded with the same reflection, and upon the crest
of every sparkling wave danced a point of light, like a diamond by
lamplight. The mildness of the evening, the sea breezes, so dear to
contemplative minds, setting in from the east and blowing in delicious
gusts; then, in the distance, the black outline of the yacht with its
rigging traced upon the empurpled background of the sky - while, dotting
the horizon, might be seen, here and there, vessels with their trimmed
sails, like the wings of a seagull about to plunge; such a spectacle
indeed well merited admiration. A crowd of curious idlers followed the
richly dressed attendants, amongst whom they mistook the steward and the
secretary for the master and his friend. As for Buckingham, who was
dressed very simply, in a gray satin vest, and doublet of violet-colored
velvet, wearing his hat thrust over his eyes, and without orders or
embroidery, he was taken no more notice of than De Wardes, who was in
black, like an attorney.

The duke's attendants had received directions to have a boat in
readiness at the jetty head, and to watch the embarkation of their
master, without approaching him until either he or his friend should
summon them, - "whatever may happen," he had added, laying a stress upon
these words, so that they might not be misunderstood. Having walked a
few paces upon the strand, Buckingham said to De Wardes, "I think it is
now time to take leave of each other. The tide, you perceive, is rising;
ten minutes hence it will have soaked the sands where we are now walking
in such a manner that we shall not be able to keep our footing."

"I await your orders, my lord, but - "

"But, you mean, we are still upon soil which is part of the king's


"Well, do you see yonder a kind of little island surrounded by a circle of
water? The pool is increasing every minute, and the isle is gradually
disappearing. This island, indeed, belongs to Heaven, for it is situated
between two seas, and is not shown on the king's charts. Do you observe

"Yes; but we can hardly reach it now, without getting our feet wet."

"Yes; but observe that it forms an eminence tolerably high, and that the
tide rises up on every side, leaving the top free. We shall be admirably
placed upon that little theatre. What do you think of it?"

"I shall be perfectly happy wherever I may have the honor of crossing my
sword with your lordship's."

"Very well, then, I am distressed to be the cause of your wetting your
feet, M. de Wardes, but it is most essential you should be able to say to
the king: 'Sire, I did not fight upon your majesty's territory.' Perhaps
the distinction is somewhat subtle, but, since Port-Royal, your nation
delights in subtleties of expression. Do not let us complain of this,
however, for it makes your wit very brilliant, and of a style peculiarly
your own. If you do not object, we will hurry ourselves, for the sea, I
perceive, is rising fast, and night is setting in."

"My reason for not walking faster was, that I did not wish to precede
your Grace. Are you still on dry land, my lord?"

"Yes, at present I am. Look yonder! My servants are afraid we shall be
drowned, and have converted the boat into a cruiser. Do you remark how
curiously it dances upon the crests of the waves? But, as it makes me
feel sea-sick, would you permit me to turn my back towards them?"

"You will observe, my lord, that in turning your back to them, you will
have the sun full in your face."

"Oh, its rays are very feeble at this hour and it will soon disappear; do
not be uneasy on that score."

"As you please, my lord; it was out of consideration for your lordship
that I made the remark."

"I am aware of that, M. de Wardes, and I fully appreciate your kindness.
Shall we take off our doublets?"

"As you please, my lord."

"Do not hesitate to tell me, M. de Wardes, if you do not feel comfortable
upon the wet sand, or if you think yourself a little too close to French
territory. We could fight in England, or even upon my yacht."

"We are exceedingly well placed here, my lord; only I have the honor to
remark that, as the sea is rising fast, we have hardly time - "

Buckingham made a sign of assent, took off his doublet and threw it on
the ground, a proceeding which De Wardes imitated. Both their bodies,
which seemed like phantoms to those who were looking at them from the
shore, were thrown strongly into relief by a dark red violet-colored
shadow with which the sky became overspread.

"Upon my word, your Grace," said De Wardes, "we shall hardly have time to
begin. Do you not perceive how our feet are sinking into the sand?"

"I have sunk up to the ankles," said Buckingham, "without reckoning that
the water is even now breaking in upon us."

"It has already reached me. As soon as you please, therefore, your
Grace," said De Wardes, who drew his sword, a movement imitated by the

"M. de Wardes," said Buckingham, "one final word. I am about to fight
you because I do not like you, - because you have wounded me in
ridiculing a certain devotional regard I have entertained, and one which
I acknowledge that, at this moment, I still retain, and for which I would
very willingly die. You are a bad and heartless man, M. de Wardes, and I
will do my very utmost to take your life; for I feel assured that, if you
survive this engagement, you will, in the future, work great mischief
towards my friends. That is all I have to remark, M. de Wardes,"
concluded Buckingham as he saluted him.

"And I, my lord, have only this to reply to you: I have not disliked you
hitherto, but, since you give me such a character, I hate you, and will
do all I possibly can to kill you;" and De Wardes saluted Buckingham.

Their swords crossed at the same moment, like two flashes of lightning on
a dark night. The swords seemed to seek each other, guessed their
position, and met. Both were practiced swordsmen, and the earlier passes
were without any result. The night was fast closing in, and it was so
dark that they attacked and defended themselves almost instinctively.
Suddenly De Wardes felt his word arrested, - he had just touched
Buckingham's shoulder. The duke's sword sunk, as his arm was lowered.

"You are wounded, my lord," said De Wardes, drawing back a step or two.

"Yes, monsieur, but only slightly."

"Yet you quitted your guard."

"Only from the first effect of the cold steel, but I have recovered. Let
us go on, if you please." And disengaging his sword with a sinister
clashing of the blade, the duke wounded the marquis in the breast.

"A hit?" he said.

"No," cried De Wardes, not moving from his place.

"I beg your pardon, but observing that your shirt was stained - " said

"Well," said De Wardes furiously, "it is now your turn."

And with a terrible lunge, he pierced Buckingham's arm, the sword passing
between the two bones. Buckingham feeling his right arm paralyzed,
stretched out his left, seized his sword, which was about falling from
his nerveless grasp, and before De Wardes could resume his guard, he
thrust him through the breast. De Wardes tottered, his knees gave way
beneath him, and leaving his sword still fixed in the duke's arm, he fell
into the water, which was soon crimsoned with a more genuine reflection
than that which it had borrowed from the clouds. De Wardes was not dead;
he felt the terrible danger that menaced him, for the sea rose fast. The
duke, too, perceived the danger. With an effort and an exclamation of
pain he tore out the blade which remained in his arm, and turning towards
De Wardes said, "Are you dead, marquis?"

"No," replied De Wardes, in a voice choked by the blood which rushed from
his lungs to his throat, "but very near it."

"Well, what is to be done; can you walk?" said Buckingham, supporting him
on his knee.

"Impossible," he replied. Then falling down again, said, "call to your
people, or I shall be drowned."

"Halloa! boat there! quick, quick!"

The boat flew over the waves, but the sea rose faster than the boat could
approach. Buckingham saw that De Wardes was on the point of being again
covered by a wave; he passed his left arm, safe and unwounded, round his
body and raised him up. The wave ascended to his waist, but did not move
him. The duke immediately began to carry his late antagonist towards the
shore. He had hardly gone ten paces, when a second wave, rushing onwards
higher, more furious and menacing than the former, struck him at the
height of his chest, threw him over and buried him beneath the water. At
the reflux, however, the duke and De Wardes were discovered lying on the
strand. De Wardes had fainted. At this moment four of the duke's
sailors, who comprehended the danger, threw themselves into the sea, and
in a moment were close beside him. Their terror was extreme when they
observed how their master became covered with blood, in proportion to the
water, with which it was impregnated, flowed towards his knees and feet;
they wished to carry him.

"No, no," exclaimed the duke, "take the marquis on shore first."

"Death to the Frenchman!" cried the English sullenly.

"Wretched knaves!" exclaimed the duke, drawing himself up with a haughty
gesture, which sprinkled them with blood, "obey directly! M. de Wardes
on shore! M. de Wardes's safety to be looked to first, or I will have
you all hanged!"

The boat had by this time reached them; the secretary and steward leaped
into the sea, and approached the marquis, who no longer showed any sign
of life.

"I commit him to your care, as you value your lives," said the duke.
"Take M. de Wardes on shore." They took him in their arms, and carried
him to the dry sand, where the tide never rose so high. A few idlers and
five or six fishermen had gathered on the shore, attracted by the strange
spectacle of two men fighting with the water up to their knees. The
fishermen, observing a group of men approaching carrying a wounded man,
entered the sea until the water was up to their waists. The English
transferred the wounded man to them, at the very moment the latter began
to open his eyes again. The salt water and the fine sand had got into
his wounds, and caused him the acutest pain. The duke's secretary drew
out a purse filled with gold from his pocket, and handed it to the one
among those present who appeared of most importance, saying: "From my
master, his Grace the Duke of Buckingham, in order that every possible
care may be taken of the Marquis de Wardes."

Then, followed by those who had accompanied him, he returned to the boat,
which Buckingham had been enabled to reach with the greatest difficulty,
but only after he had seen De Wardes out of danger. By this time it was
high tide; embroidered coats, and silk sashes were lost; many hats, too,
had been carried away by the waves. The flow of the tide had borne the
duke's and De Wardes's clothes to the shore, and De Wardes was wrapped in
the duke's doublet, under the belief that it was his own, when the
fishermen carried him in their arms towards the town.

Chapter XXX:
Threefold Love.

As soon as Buckingham departed, Guiche imagined the coast would be
perfectly clear for him without any interference. Monsieur, who no
longer retained the slightest feeling of jealousy, and who, besides,
permitted himself to be monopolized by the Chevalier de Lorraine, allowed
as much liberty and freedom in his house as the most exacting could
desire. The king, on his side, who had conceived a strong predilection
for his sister-in-law's society, invented a variety of amusements, in
quick succession to each other, in order to render her residence in Paris
as cheerful as possible, so that in fact, not a day passed without a ball
at the Palais Royal, or a reception in Monsieur's apartments. The king
had directed that Fontainebleau should be prepared for the reception of
the court, and every one was using his utmost interest to get invited.
Madame led a life of incessant occupation; neither her voice nor her pen
were idle for a moment. The conversations with De Guiche were gradually
assuming a tone of interest which might unmistakably be recognized as the
prelude of a deep-seated attachment. When eyes look languishingly while
the subject under discussion happens to be colors of materials for
dresses; when a whole hour is occupied in analyzing the merits and the
perfume of a _sachet_ or a flower; - there are words in this style of
conversation which every one might listen to, but there are gestures and
sighs that every one cannot perceive. After Madame had talked for some
time with De Guiche, she conversed with the king, who paid her a visit
regularly every day. They played, wrote verses, or selected mottoes or
emblematical devices; this spring was not only the Maytide of nature, it
was the youth of an entire people, of which those at court were the
head. The king was handsome, young, and of unequaled gallantry. All
women were passionately loved by him, even the queen, his wife. This
mighty monarch was, however, more timid and more reserved than any other
person in the kingdom, to such a degree, indeed, that he did not confess
his sentiments even to himself. This timidity of bearing restrained him
within the limits of ordinary politeness, and no woman could boast of
having any preference shown her beyond that shown to others. It might be
foretold that the day when his real character would be displayed would be
the dawn of a new sovereignty; but as yet he had not declared himself.
M. de Guiche took advantage of this, and constituted himself the
sovereign prince of the whole laughter-loving court. It had been
reported that he was on the best of terms with Mademoiselle de Montalais;
that he had been assiduously attentive to Mademoiselle de Chatillon; but
now he was not even barely civil to any of the court beauties. He had
eyes and ears for one person alone. In this manner, and, as it were,
without design, he devoted himself to Monsieur, who had a great regard
for him, and kept him as much as possible in his own apartments.
Unsociable from natural disposition, he had estranged himself too much
previous to the arrival of Madame, but, after her arrival, he did not
estrange himself sufficiently. This conduct, which every one had
observed, had been particularly remarked by the evil genius of the house,
the Chevalier de Lorraine, for whom Monsieur exhibited the warmest
attachment because he was of a very cheerful disposition, even in his
remarks most full of malice, and because he was never at a loss how to
wile the time away. The Chevalier de Lorraine, therefore, having noticed
that he was threatened with being supplanted by De Guiche, resorted to
strong measures. He disappeared from the court, leaving Monsieur much
embarrassed. The first day of his absence, Monsieur hardly inquired
about him, for he had De Guiche with him, and, except that the time given
to conversation with Madame, his days and nights were rigorously devoted
to the prince. On the second day, however, Monsieur, finding no one near
him, inquired where the chevalier was. He was told that no one knew.

De Guiche, after having spent the morning in selecting embroideries and
fringes with Madame, went to console the prince. But after dinner, as
there were some amethysts to be looked at, De Guiche returned to Madame's
cabinet. Monsieur was left quite to himself during the time devoted to
dressing and decorating himself; he felt that he was the most miserable
of men, and again inquired whether there was any news of the chevalier,
in reply to which he was told that no one could tell where the chevalier
was to be found. Monsieur, hardly knowing in what direction to inflict
his weariness, went to Madame's apartments dressed in his morning-gown.
He found a large assemblage of people there, laughing and whispering in
every part of the room; at one end, a group of women around one of the
courtiers, talking together, amid smothered bursts of laughter; at the
other end, Manicamp and Malicorne were being pillaged at cards by
Montalais and Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente, while two others were
standing by, laughing. In another part were Madame, seated upon some
cushions on the floor, and De Guiche, on his knees beside her, spreading
out a handful of pearls and precious stones, while the princess, with her
white and slender fingers pointed out such among them as pleased her the
most. Again, in another corner of the room, a guitar player was playing
some of the Spanish seguedillas, to which Madame had taken the greatest
fancy ever since she had heard them sung by the young queen with a
melancholy expression of voice. But the songs which the Spanish princess
had sung with tears in her eyes, the young Englishwoman was humming with
a smile that well displayed her beautiful teeth. The cabinet presented,
in fact, the most perfect representation of unrestrained pleasure and
amusement. As he entered, Monsieur was struck at beholding so many
persons enjoying themselves without him. He was so jealous at the sight
that he could not resist exclaiming, like a child, "What! you are amusing
yourselves here, while I am sick and tired of being alone!"

The sound of his voice was like a clap of thunder coming to interrupt the
warbling of birds under the leafy covert of the trees; a dead silence
ensued. De Guiche was on his feet in a moment. Malicorne tried to hide
himself behind Montalais. Manicamp stood bolt upright, and assumed a
very ceremonious demeanor. The guitar player thrust his instrument under
a table, covering it with a piece of carpet to conceal it from the
prince's observation. Madame was the only one who did not move, and
smiling at her husband, said, "Is not this the hour you usually devote to
your toilette?"

"An hour which others select, it seems, for amusing themselves," replied
the prince, grumblingly.

This untoward remark was the signal for a general rout; the women fled
like a flock of terrified starlings; the guitar player vanished like a
shadow; Malicorne, still protected by Montalais, who purposely widened
out her dress, glided behind the hanging tapestry. As for Manicamp, he
went to the assistance of De Guiche, who naturally remained near Madame,
and both of them, with the princess herself, courageously sustained the
attack. The count was too happy to bear malice against the husband; but
Monsieur bore a grudge against his wife. Nothing was wanting but a
quarrel; he sought it, and the hurried departure of the crowd, which had
been so joyous before he arrived, and was so disturbed by his entrance,
furnished him with a pretext.

"Why do they run away at the very sight of me?" he inquired, in a
supercilious tone; to which remark Madame replied, that, "whenever the
master of the house made his appearance, the family kept aloof out of
respect." As she said this, she made so funny and so pretty a grimace,
that De Guiche and Manicamp could not control themselves; they burst into
a peal of laugher; Madame followed their example, and even Monsieur
himself could not resist it, and he was obliged to sit down, as, for
laughing, he could scarcely keep his equilibrium. However, he very soon
left off, but his anger had increased. He was still more furious because
he had permitted himself to laugh, than from having seen others laugh.
He looked at Manicamp steadily, not venturing to show his anger towards
De Guiche; but, at a sign which displayed no little amount of annoyance,
Manicamp and De Guiche left the room, so that Madame, left alone, began
sadly to pick up her pearls and amethysts, no longer smiling, and
speaking still less.

"I am very happy," said the duke, "to find myself treated as a stranger
here, Madame," and he left the room in a passion. On his way out, he met
Montalais, who was in attendance in the ante-room. "It is very agreeable
to pay you a visit here, but outside the door."

Montalais made a very low obeisance. "I do not quite understand what
your royal highness does me the honor to say."

"I say that when you are all laughing together in Madame's apartment, he
is an unwelcome visitor who does not remain outside."

"Your royal highness does not think, and does not speak so, of yourself?"

"On the contrary, it is on my own account that I do speak and think. I
have no reason, certainly, to flatter myself about the reception I meet
with here at any time. How is it that, on the very day there is music
and a little society in Madame's apartments - in my own apartments,
indeed, for they are mine - on the very day that I wish to amuse myself a
little in my turn, every one runs away? Are they afraid to see me, that
they all take wing as soon as I appear? Is there anything wrong, then,
going on in my absence?"

"Yet nothing has been done to-day, monseigneur, which is not done every

"What! do they laugh like that every day?"

"Why, yes, monseigneur."

"The same group of people simpering and the same singing and strumming
going on every day?"

"The guitar, monseigneur, was introduced to-day; but when we have no
guitars, we have violins and flutes; ladies soon weary without music."

"The deuce! - and the men?"

"What men, monseigneur?"

"M. de Guiche, M. de Manicamp, and the rest of them?"

"They all belong to your highness's household."

"Yes, yes, you are right," said the prince, as he returned to his own
apartments, full of thought. He threw himself into the largest of his
arm-chairs, without looking at himself in the glass. "Where can the
chevalier be?" said he. One of the prince's attendants happened to be
near him, overheard his remark, and replied, -

"No one knows, your highness."

"Still the same answer. The first one who answers me again, 'I do not
know,' I will discharge." Every one at this remark hurried out of his
apartments, in the same manner as the others had fled from Madame's
apartments. The prince then flew into the wildest rage. He kicked over
a chiffonier, which tumbled on the carpet, broken into pieces. He next
went into the galleries, and with the greatest coolness threw down, one
after another, an enameled vase, a porphyry ewer, and a bronze
candelabrum. The noise summoned every one to the various doors.

"What is your highness's pleasure?" said the captain of the guards,

"I am treating myself to some music," replied the prince, gnashing his

The captain of the guards desired his royal highness's physician to be
sent for. But before he came, Malicorne arrived, saying to the prince,
"Monseigneur, the Chevalier de Lorraine is here."

The duke looked at Malicorne, and smiled graciously at him, just as the
chevalier entered.

Chapter XXXI:
M. de Lorraine's Jealousy.

The Duc d'Orleans uttered a cry of delight on perceiving the Chevalier de
Lorraine. "This is fortunate, indeed," he said; "by what happy chance do
I see you? Had you indeed disappeared, as every one assured me?"

"Yes, monseigneur."

"A caprice?"

"I to venture upon caprices with your highness! The respect - "

"Put respect out of the way, for you fail in it every day. I absolve
you; but why did you leave me?"

"Because I felt that I was of no further use to you."

"Explain yourself."

"Your highness has people about you who are far more amusing that _I_ can
ever be. I felt I was not strong enough to enter into contest with them,
and I therefore withdrew."

"This extreme diffidence shows a want of common sense. Who are those
with whom you cannot contend? De Guiche?"

"I name no one."

"This is absurd. Does De Guiche annoy you?"

"I do not say he does; do not force me to speak, however; you know very
well that De Guiche is one of our best friends."

"Who is it, then?"

"Excuse me, monseigneur, let us say no more about it." The chevalier
knew perfectly well that curiosity is excited in the same way as thirst
by removing that which quenches it; or in other words, by denying an

"No, no," said the prince; "I wish to know why you went away."

"In that case, monseigneur, I will tell you; but do not get angry. I
remarked that my presence was disagreeable."

"To whom?"

"To Madame."

"What do you mean?" said the duke in astonishment.

"It is simple enough; Madame is very probably jealous of the regard you
are good enough to testify for me."

"Has she shown it to you?"

"Madame never addresses a syllable to me, particularly since a certain

"Since _what_ time?"

"Since the time when, M. de Guiche having made himself more agreeable to
her than I could, she receives him at every and any hour."

The duke colored. "At any hour, chevalier; what do you mean by that?"

"You see, your highness, I have already displeased you; I was quite sure
I should."

"I am not displeased; but what you say is rather startling. In what
respect does Madame prefer De Guiche to you?"

"I shall say no more," said the chevalier, saluting the prince

"On the contrary, I require you to speak. If you withdraw on that
account, you must indeed be very jealous."

"One cannot help being jealous, monseigneur, when one loves. Is not your
royal highness jealous of Madame? Would you not, if you saw some one
always near Madame, and always treated with great favor, take umbrage at
it? One's friends are as one's lovers. Your highness has sometimes
conferred the distinguished honor upon me of calling me your friend."

"Yes, yes,; but you used a phrase which has a very equivocal
significance; you are unfortunate in your phrases."

"What phrase, monseigneur?"

"You said, 'treated with great favor.' What do you mean by favor?"

"Nothing can be more simple," said the chevalier, with an expression of
great frankness; "for instance, whenever a husband remarks that his wife
summons such and such a man near her; whenever this man is always to be
found by her side, or in attendance at the door of her carriage; whenever
the bouquet of the one is always the same color as the ribbons of the
other; when music and supper parties are held in private apartments;
whenever a dead silence takes place immediately the husband makes his
appearance in his wife's rooms; and when the husband suddenly finds that
he has, as a companion, the most devoted and the kindest of men, who, a
week before, was with him as little as possible; why, then - "

"Well, finish."

"Why, then, I say, monseigneur, one possibly may get jealous. But all
these details hardly apply; for our conversation had nothing to do with

The duke was evidently very much agitated, and seemed to struggle with
himself a good deal. "You have not told me," he then remarked, "why you
absented yourself. A little while ago you said it was from a fear of
intruding; you added, even, that you had observed a disposition on
Madame's part to encourage De Guiche."

"Pardon me, monseigneur, I did not say that."

"You did, indeed."

"Well, if I did say so, I observed nothing but what was very

"At all events, you remarked something."

"You embarrass me, monseigneur."

"What does that matter? Answer me. If you speak the truth, why should
you feel embarrassed?"

"I always speak the truth, monseigneur; but I also always hesitate when
it is a question of repeating what others say."

"Ah! repeat? It appears that it is talked about, then?"

"I acknowledge that others have spoken to me on the subject."

"Who?" said the prince.

The chevalier assumed almost an angry air, as he replied, "Monseigneur,
you are subjecting me to cross-examination; you treat me as a criminal at
the bar; the rumors which idly pass by a gentleman's ears do not remain
there. Your highness wishes me to magnify rumors until it attains the
importance of an event."

"However," said the duke, in great displeasure, "the fact remains that
you withdrew on account of this report."

"To speak the truth, others have talked to me of the attentions of M. de
Guiche to Madame, nothing more; perfectly harmless, I repeat, and more
than that, allowable. But do not be unjust, monseigneur, and do not
attach any undue importance to it. It does not concern you."

"M. de Guiche's attentions to Madame do not concern me?"

"No, monseigneur; and what I say to you I would say to De Guiche himself,
so little do I think of the attentions he pays Madame. Nay, I would say
it even to Madame herself. Only you understand what I am afraid of - I
am afraid of being thought jealous of the favor shown, when I am only
jealous as far as friendship is concerned. I know your disposition; I
know that when you bestow your affections you become exclusively
attached. You love Madame - and who, indeed, would _not_ love her?
Follow me attentively as I proceed: - Madame has noticed among your
friends the handsomest and most fascinating of them all; she will begin
to influence you on his behalf in such a way that you will neglect the
others. Your indifference would kill me; it is already bad enough to
have to support Madame's indifference. I have, therefore, made up my
mind to give way to the favorite whose happiness I envy, even while I
acknowledge my sincere friendship and sincere admiration for him. Well,
monseigneur, do you see anything to object to in this reasoning? Is it
not that of a man of honor? Is my conduct that of a sincere friend?
Answer me, at least, after having so closely questioned me."

The duke had seated himself, with his head buried in his hands. After a
silence long enough to enable the chevalier to judge the effect of this
oratorical display, the duke arose, saying, "Come, be candid."

"As I always am."

"Very well. You know that we already observed something respecting that
mad fellow, Buckingham."

"Do not say anything against Madame, monseigneur, or I shall take my
leave. It is impossible you can be suspicious of Madame?"

"No, no, chevalier; I do not suspect Madame; but in fact, I observe - I
compare - "

"Buckingham was a madman, monseigneur."

"A madman about whom, however, you opened my eyes thoroughly."

"No, no," said the chevalier, quickly; "it was not I who opened your
eyes, it was De Guiche. Do not confound us, I beg." And he began to
laugh in so harsh a manner that it sounded like the hiss of a serpent.

"Yes, yes; I remember. You said a few words, but De Guiche showed the
most jealousy."

"I should think so," continued the chevalier, in the same tone. "He was
fighting for home and altar."

"What did you say?" said the duke, haughtily, thoroughly roused by this
insidious jest.

"Am I not right? for does not M. de Guiche hold the chief post of honor
in your household?"

"Well," replied the duke, somewhat calmed, "had this passion of
Buckingham been remarked?"


"Very well. Do people say that M. de Guiche's is remarked as much?"

"Pardon me, monseigneur; you are again mistaken; no one says that M. de
Guiche entertains anything of the sort."

"Very good."

"You see, monseigneur, that it would have been better, a hundred times
better, to have left me in my retirement, than to have allowed you to
conjure up, by aid of any scruples I may have had, suspicions which
Madame will regard as crimes, and she would be in the right, too."

"What would you do?"

"Act reasonably."

"In what way?"

"I should not pay the slightest attention to the society of these new
Epicurean philosophers; and, in that way, the rumors will cease."

"Well, I will see; I will think it over."

"Oh, you have time enough; the danger is not great; and then, besides, it
is not a question of danger or of passion. It all arose from a fear I
had to see your friendship for me decrease. From the very moment you
restore it, with so kind an assurance of its existence, I have no longer
any other idea in my head."

The duke shook his head as if he meant to say: "If you have no more
ideas, I have, though." It being now the dinner hour, the prince sent to
inform Madame of it; but she returned a message to the effect that she
could not be present, but would dine in her own apartment.

"That is not my fault," said the duke. "This morning, having taken them
by surprise in the midst of a musical party, I got jealous; and so they
are in the sulks with me."

"We will dine alone," said the chevalier, with a sigh; "I regret De
Guiche is not here."

"Oh! De Guiche will not remain long in the sulks; he is a very good-
natured fellow."

"Monseigneur," said the chevalier, suddenly, "an excellent idea has
struck me, in our conversation just now. I may have exasperated your
highness, and caused you some dissatisfaction. It is but fitting that I
should be the mediator. I will go and look for the count, and bring him
back with me."

"Ah! chevalier, you are really a very good-natured fellow."

"You say that as if you were surprised."

"Well, you are not so tender-hearted every day."

"That may be; but confess that I know how to repair a wrong I may have

"I confess that."

"Will your highness do me the favor to wait here a few minutes?"

"Willingly; be off, and I will try on my Fontainebleau costume."

The chevalier left the room, called his different attendant with the
greatest care, as if he were giving them different orders. All went off
in various directions; but he retained his _valet de chambre_.
"Ascertain, and immediately, too, of M. de Guiche is not in Madame's
apartments. How can one learn it?"

"Very easily, monsieur. I will ask Malicorne, who will find out from
Mlle. de Montalais. I may as well tell you, however, that the inquiry
will be useless; for all M. de Guiche's attendants are gone, and he must
have left with them."

"Ascertain, nevertheless."

Ten minutes had hardly passed, when the valet returned. He beckoned his
master mysteriously towards the servants' staircase, and showed him into
a small room with a window looking out upon the garden. "What is the
matter?" said the chevalier; "why so many precautions?"

"Look, monsieur," said the valet, "look yonder, under the walnut-tree."

"Ah?" said the chevalier. "I see Manicamp there. What is he waiting

"You will see in a moment, monsieur, if you wait patiently. There, do
you see now?"

"I see one, two, four musicians with their instruments, and behind them,
urging them on, De Guiche himself. What is he doing there, though?"

"He is waiting until the little door of the staircase, belonging to the
ladies of honor, is opened; by that staircase he will ascend to Madame's
apartments, where some new pieces of music are going to be performed
during dinner."

"This is admirable news you tell me."

"Is it not, monsieur?"

"Was it M. de Malicorne who told you this?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"He likes you, then?"

"No, monsieur, it is Monsieur that he likes."


"Because he wishes to belong to his household."

"And most certainly he shall. How much did he give you for that?"

"The secret which I now dispose of to you, monsieur."

"And which I buy for a hundred pistoles. Take them."

"Thank you, monsieur. Look, look, the little door opens; a woman admits
the musicians."

"It is Montalais."

"Hush, monseigneur; do not call out her name; whoever says Montalais says
Malicorne. If you quarrel with the one, you will be on bad terms with
the other."

"Very well; I have seen nothing."

"And I," said the valet, pocketing the purse, "have received nothing."

The chevalier, being now certain that Guiche had entered, returned to the
prince, whom he found splendidly dressed and radiant with joy, as with
good looks. "I am told," he exclaimed, "that the king has taken the sun
as his device; really, monseigneur, it is you whom this device would best

"Where is De Guiche?"

"He cannot be found. He has fled - has evaporated entirely. Your
scolding of this morning terrified him. He could not be found in his

"Bah! the hair-brained fellow is capable of setting off post-haste to his
own estates. Poor man! we will recall him. Come, let us dine now."

"Monseigneur, to-day is a very festival of ideas; I have another."

"What is it?"

"Madame is angry with you, and she has reason to be so. You owe her
revenge; go and dine with her."

"Oh! that would be acting like a weak and whimsical husband."

"It is the duty of a good husband to do so. The princess is no doubt
wearied enough; she will be weeping in her plate, and here eyes will get
quite red. A husband who is the cause of his wife's eyes getting red is
an odious creature. Come, monseigneur, come."

"I cannot; for I have directed dinner to be served here."

"Yet see, monseigneur, how dull we shall be; I shall be low-spirited
because I know that Madame will be alone; you, hard and savage as you
wish to appear, will be sighing all the while. Take me with you to
Madame's dinner, and that will be a delightful surprise. I am sure we
shall be very merry; you were in the wrong this morning."

"Well, perhaps I was."

"There is no perhaps at all, for it is a fact you were so."

"Chevalier, chevalier, your advice is not good."

"Nay, my advice is good; all the advantages are on your own side. Your
violet-colored suit, embroidered with gold, becomes you admirably.
Madame will be as much vanquished by the man as by the action. Come,

"You decide me; let us go."

The duke left his room, accompanied by the chevalier and went towards
Madame's apartments. The chevalier hastily whispered to the valet, "Be
sure there are some people before that little door, so that no one can
escape in that direction. Run, run!" And he followed the duke towards
the ante-chambers of Madame's suite of apartments, and when the ushers
were about to announce them, the chevalier said, laughing, "His highness
wishes to surprise Madame."

Chapter XXXII:
Monsieur is Jealous of Guiche.

Monsieur entered the room abruptly, as persons do who mean well and think
they confer pleasure, or as those who hope to surprise some secret, the
terrible reward of jealous people. Madame, almost out of her senses with
joy at the first bars of music, was dancing in the most unrestrained
manner, leaving the dinner, which had been already begun, unfinished.
Her partner was M. de Guiche, who, with his arms raised, and his eyes
half closed, was kneeling on one knee, like the Spanish dancers, with
looks full of passion, and gestures of the most caressing character. The
princess was dancing round him with a responsive smile, and the same air
of alluring seductiveness. Montalais stood by admiringly; La Valliere,
seated in a corner of the room, looked on thoughtfully. It is impossible
to describe the effect which the presence of the prince produced upon
this gleeful company, and it would be equally impossible to describe the
effect which the sight of their happiness produced upon Philip. The
Comte de Guiche had no power to move; Madame remained in the middle of
one of the figures and of an attitude, unable to utter a word. The
Chevalier de Lorraine, leaning his back against the doorway, smiled like
a man in the very height of the frankest admiration. The pallor of the
prince, and the convulsive twitching of his hands and limbs, were the
first symptoms that struck those present. A dead silence succeeded the
merry music of the dance. The Chevalier de Lorraine took advantage of
this interval to salute Madame and De Guiche most respectfully, affecting
to join them together in his reverences as though they were the master
and mistress of the house. Monsieur then approached them, saying, in a
hoarse tone of voice, "I am delighted; I came here expecting to find you
ill and low-spirited, and I find you abandoning yourself to new
amusements; really, it is most fortunate. My house is the pleasantest in
the kingdom." Then turning towards De Guiche, "Comte," he said, "I did
not know you were so good a dancer." And, again addressing his wife, he
said, "Show a little more consideration for me, Madame; whenever you
intend to amuse yourselves here, invite me. I am a prince,
unfortunately, very much neglected."

Guiche had now recovered his self-possession, and with the spirited
boldness which was natural to him, and sat so well upon him, he said,
"Your highness knows very well that my very life is at your service, and
whenever there is a question of its being needed, I am ready; but to-day,
as it is only a question of dancing to music, I dance."

"And you are perfectly right," said the prince, coldly. "But, Madame,"
he continued, "you do not remark that your ladies deprive me of my
friends; M. de Guiche does not belong to you, Madame, but to me. If you
wish to dine without me you have your ladies. When I dine alone I have
my gentlemen; do not strip me of _everything_."

Madame felt the reproach and the lesson, and the color rushed to her
face. "Monsieur," she replied, "I was not aware, when I came to the
court of France, that princesses of my rank were to be regarded as the
women in Turkey are. I was not aware that we were not allowed to be
seen; but, since such is your desire, I will conform myself to it; pray
do not hesitate, if you should wish it, to have my windows barred, even."

This repartee, which made Montalais and De Guiche smile, rekindled the
prince's anger, no inconsiderable portion of which had already evaporated
in words.

"Very well," he said, in a concentrated tone of voice, "this is the way
in which I am respected in my own house."

"Monseigneur, monseigneur," murmured the chevalier in the duke's ear, in
such a manner that every one could observe he was endeavoring to calm him.

"Come," replied the prince, as his only answer to the remark, hurrying
him away, and turning round with so hasty a movement that he almost ran
against Madame. The chevalier followed him to his own apartment, where
the prince had no sooner seated himself than he gave free vent to his
fury. The chevalier raised his eyes towards the ceiling, joined his
hands together, and said not a word.

"Give me your opinion," exclaimed the prince.

"Upon what?"

"Upon what is taking place here."

"Oh, monseigneur, it is a very serious matter."

"It is abominable! I cannot live in this manner."

"How miserable all this is," said the chevalier. "We hoped to enjoy
tranquillity after that madman Buckingham had left."

"And this is worse."

"I do not say that, monseigneur."

"Yes, but I say it; for Buckingham would never have ventured upon a
fourth part of what we have just now seen."

"What do you mean?"

"To conceal oneself for the purposes of dancing, and to feign
indisposition in order to dine _tete-a-tete_."

"No, no, monseigneur."

"Yes, yes," exclaimed the prince, exciting himself like a self-willed
child; "but I will not endure it any longer, I must learn what is really
going on."

"Oh, monseigneur, an exposure - "

"By Heaven, monsieur, _shall_ I put myself out of the way, when people
show so little consideration for me? Wait for me here, chevalier, wait
for me here." The prince disappeared in the neighboring apartment and
inquired of the gentleman in attendance if the queen-mother had returned
from chapel.

Anne of Austria felt that her happiness was now complete; peace restored
to her family, a nation delighted with the presence of a young monarch
who had shown an aptitude for affairs of great importance; the revenues
of the state increased; external peace assured; everything seemed to
promise a tranquil future. Her thoughts recurred, now and then, to the
poor young nobleman whom she had received as a mother, and had driven
away as a hard-hearted step-mother, and she sighed as she thought of him.

Suddenly the Duc d'Orleans entered her room. "Dear mother," he exclaimed
hurriedly, closing the door, "things cannot go on as they are now."

Anne of Austria raised her beautiful eyes towards him, and with an
unmoved suavity of manner, said, "What do you allude to?"

"I wish to speak of Madame."

"Your wife?"

"Yes, madame."

"I suppose that silly fellow Buckingham has been writing a farewell
letter to her."

"Oh! yes, madame; of course, it is a question of Buckingham."

"Of whom else could it be, then? for that poor fellow was, wrongly
enough, the object of your jealousy, and I thought - "

"My wife, madame, has already replaced the Duke of Buckingham."

"Philip, what are you saying? You are speaking very heedlessly."

"No, no. Madame has so managed matters, that I am still jealous."

"Of whom, in Heaven's name?"

"Is it possible you have not remarked it? Have you not noticed that M.
de Guiche is always in her apartments - always with her?"

The queen clapped her hands together, and began to laugh. "Philip," she
said, "your jealousy is not merely a defect, it is a disease."

"Whether a defect or a disease, madame, I am the sufferer from it."

"And do you imagine that a complaint which exists only in your own
imagination can be cured? You wish it to be said you are right in
being jealous, when there is no ground whatever for your jealousy."

"Of course, you will begin to say for this gentleman what you already
said on the behalf of the other."

"Because, Philip," said the queen dryly, "what you did for the other, you
are going to do for this one."

The prince bowed, slightly annoyed. "If I give you facts," he said,
"will you believe me?"

"If it regarded anything else but jealousy, I would believe you without
your bringing facts forward; but as jealousy is the case, I promise

"It is just the same as if your majesty were to desire me to hold my
tongue, and sent me away unheard."

"Far from it; you are my son, I owe you a mother's indulgence."

"Oh, say what you think; you owe me as much indulgence as a madman

"Do not exaggerate, Philip, and take care how you represent your wife to
me as a woman of depraved mind - "

"But facts, mother, facts!"

"Well, I am listening."

"This morning at ten o'clock they were playing music in Madame's

"No harm in that, surely."

"M. de Guiche was talking with her alone - Ah! I forgot to tell you,
that, during the last ten days, he has never left her side."

"If they were doing any harm they would hide themselves."

"Very good," exclaimed the duke, "I expected you to say that. Pray
remember with precision the words you have just uttered. This morning I
took them by surprise, and showed my dissatisfaction in a very marked

"Rely upon it, that is quite sufficient; it was, perhaps, even a little
too much. These young women easily take offense. To reproach them for
an error they have not committed is, sometimes, almost equivalent to
telling them they might be guilty of even worse."

"Very good, very good; but wait a minute. Do not forget what you have
just this moment said, that this morning's lesson ought to have been
sufficient, and that if they had been doing what was wrong, they would
have hidden themselves."

"Yes, I said so."

"Well, just now, repenting of my hastiness of the morning, and imagining
that Guiche was sulking in his own apartments, I went to pay Madame a
visit. Can you guess what, or whom, I found there? Another set of
musicians; more dancing, and Guiche himself - he was concealed there."

Anne of Austria frowned. "It was imprudent," she said. "What did Madame


"And Guiche?"

"As much - oh, no! he muttered some impertinent remark or another."

"Well, what is your opinion, Philip?"

"That I have been made a fool of; that Buckingham was only a pretext, and
that Guiche is the one who is really to blame in the matter."

Anne shrugged her shoulders. "Well," she said, "what else?"

"I wish De Guiche to be dismissed from my household, as Buckingham was,
and I shall ask the king, unless - "

"Unless what?"

"Unless you, my dear mother, who are so clever and so kind, will execute
the commission yourself."

"I will not do it, Philip."

"What, madame?"

"Listen, Philip; I am not disposed to pay people ill compliments every
day; I have some influence over young people, but I cannot take advantage
of it without running the chances of losing it altogether. Besides,
there is nothing to prove that M. de Guiche is guilty."

"He has displeased me."

"That is your own affair."

"Very well, I know what I shall do," said the prince, impetuously.

Anne looked at him with some uneasiness. "What do you intend to do?" she

"I will have him drowned in my fish-pond the very next time I find him in
my apartments again." Having launched this terrible threat, the prince
expected his mother would be frightened out of her senses; but the queen
was unmoved.

"Do so," she said.

Philip was as weak as a woman, and began to cry out, "Every one betrays
me, - no one cares for me; my mother, even, joins my enemies."

"Your mother, Philip, sees further in the matter than you do, and does
not care about advising you, since you will not listen to her."

"I will go to the king."

"I was about to propose that to you. I am now expecting his majesty; it
is the hour he usually pays me a visit; explain the matter to him

She had hardly finished when Philip heard the door of the ante-room open
with some noise. He began to feel nervous. At the sound of the king's
footsteps, which could be heard upon the carpet, the duke hurriedly made
his escape. Anne of Austria could not resist laughing, and was laughing
still when the king entered. He came very affectionately to inquire
after the even now uncertain health of the queen-mother, and to announce
to her that the preparations for the journey to Fontainebleau were
complete. Seeing her laugh, his uneasiness on her account diminished,
and he addressed her in a vivacious tone himself. Anne of Austria took
him by the hand, and, in a voice full of playfulness, said, "Do you know,
sire that I am proud of being a Spanish woman?"

"Why, madame?"

"Because Spanish women are worth more than English women at least."

"Explain yourself."

"Since your marriage you have not, I believe, had a single reproach to
make against the queen."

"Certainly not."

"And you, too, have been married some time. Your brother, on the
contrary, has been married but a fortnight."


"He is now finding fault with Madame a second time."

"What, Buckingham still?"

"No, another."



"Really? Madame is a coquette, then?"

"I fear so."

"My poor brother," said the king, laughing.

"You don't object to coquettes, it seems?"

"In Madame, certainly I do; but Madame is not a coquette at heart."

"That may be, but your brother is excessively angry about it."

"What does he want?"

"He wants to drown Guiche."

"That is a violent measure to resort to."

"Do not laugh; he is extremely irritated. Think of what can be done."

"To save Guiche - certainly."

"Of, if your brother heard you, he would conspire against you as your
uncle did against your father."

"No; Philip has too much affection for me for that, and I, on my side,
have too great a regard for him; we shall live together on very good
terms. But what is the substance of his request?"

"That you will prevent Madame from being a coquette and Guiche from being

"Is that all? My brother has an exalted idea of sovereign power. To
reform a man, not to speak about reforming a woman!"

"How will you set about it?"

"With a word to Guiche, who is a clever fellow, I will undertake to
convince him."

"But Madame?"

"That is more difficult; a word will not be enough. I will compose a
homily and read it to her."

"There is no time to be lost."

"Oh, I will use the utmost diligence. There is a repetition of the
ballet this afternoon."

"You will read her a lecture while you are dancing?"

"Yes, madame."

"You promise to convert her?"

"I will root out the heresy altogether, either by convincing her, or by
extreme measures."

"That is all right, then. Do not mix me up in the affair; Madame would
never forgive me all her life, and as a mother-in-law, I ought to desire
to live on good terms with my new-found daughter."

"The king, madame, will take all upon himself. But let me reflect."

"What about?"

"It would be better, perhaps, if I were to go and see Madame in her own

"Would that not seem a somewhat serious step to take?"

"Yes; but seriousness is not unbecoming in preachers, and the music of
the ballet would drown half my arguments. Besides, the object is to
prevent any violent measures on my brother's part, so that a little
precipitation may be advisable. Is Madame in her own apartment?"

"I believe so."

"What is my statement of grievances to consist of?"

"In a few words, of the following: music uninterruptedly; Guiche's
assiduity; suspicions of treasonable plots and practices."

"And the proofs?"

"There _are_ none."

"Very well; I will go at once to see Madame." The king turned to look in
the mirrors at his costume, which was very rich, and his face, which was
radiant as the morning. "I suppose my brother is kept a little at a
distance," said the king.

"Fire and water cannot be more opposite."

"That will do. Permit me, madame, to kiss your hands, the most beautiful
hands in France."

"May you be successful, sire, as the family peacemaker."

"I do not employ an ambassador," said Louis, "which is as much as to say
that I shall succeed." He laughed as he left the room, and carelessly
adjusted his ruffles as he went along.

Chapter XXXIII:
The Mediator.

When the king made his appearance in Madame's apartments, the courtiers,
whom the news of a conjugal misunderstanding had dispersed through the
various apartments, began to entertain the most serious apprehensions. A
storm was brewing in that direction, the elements of which the Chevalier
de Lorraine, in the midst of the different groups, was analyzing with
delight, contributing to the weaker, and acting, according to his own
wicked designs, in such a manner with regard to the stronger, as to
produce the most disastrous consequences possible. As Anne of Austria
had herself said, the presence of the king gave a solemn and serious
character to the event. Indeed, in the year 1662, the dissatisfaction of
Monsieur with Madame, and the king's intervention in the private affairs
of Monsieur, was a matter of no inconsiderable moment. (3)

The boldest, even, who had been the associates of the Comte de Guiche,
had, from the first moment, held aloof from him, with a sort of nervous
apprehension; and the comte himself, infected by the general panic,
retired to his own room. The king entered Madame's private apartments,
acknowledging and returning the salutations, as he was always in the
habit of doing. The ladies of honor were ranged in a line on his passage
along the gallery. Although his majesty was very much preoccupied, he
gave the glance of a master at the two rows of young and beautiful girls,
who modestly cast down their eyes, blushing as they felt the king's gaze
fall upon them. One only of the number, whose long hair fell in silken
masses upon the most beautiful skin imaginable, was pale, and could
hardly sustain herself, notwithstanding the knocks which her companion
gave her with her elbow. It was La Valliere whom Montalais supported in
that manner by whispering some of that courage to her with which she
herself was so abundantly provided. The king could not resist turning
round to look at them again. Their faces, which had already been raised,
were again lowered, but the only fair head among them remained
motionless, as if all the strength and intelligence she had left had
abandoned her. When he entered Madame's room, Louis found his sister-in-
law reclining upon the cushions of her cabinet. She rose and made a
profound reverence, murmuring some words of thanks for the honor she was
receiving. She then resumed her seat, overcome by a sudden weakness,
which was no doubt assumed, for a delightful color animated her cheeks,
and her eyes, still red from the tears she had recently shed, never had
more fire in them. When the king was seated, as soon as he had remarked,
with that accuracy of observation which characterized him, the disorder
of the apartment, and the no less great disorder of Madame's countenance,
he assumed a playful manner, saying, "My dear sister, at what hour to-day
would you wish the repetition of the ballet to take place?"

Madame, shaking her charming head, slowly and languishingly said: "Ah!
sire, will you graciously excuse my appearance at the repetition? I was
about to send to inform you that I could not attend to-day."

"Indeed," said the king, in apparent surprise; "are you not well?"

"No, sire."

"I will summon your medical attendants, then."

"No, for they can do nothing for my indisposition."

"You alarm me."

"Sire, I wish to ask your majesty's permission to return to England."

The king started. "Return to England," he said; "do you really say what
you mean?"

"I say it reluctantly, sire," replied the grand-daughter of Henry IV.,
firmly, her beautiful black eyes flashing. "I regret to have to confide
such matters to your majesty, but I feel myself too unhappy at your
majesty's court; and I wish to return to my own family."

"Madame, madame," exclaimed the king, as he approached her.

"Listen to me, sire," continued the young woman, acquiring by degrees
that ascendency over her interrogator which her beauty and her nervous
nature conferred; "young as I am, I have already suffered humiliation,
and have endured disdain here. Oh! do not contradict me, sire," she
said, with a smile. The king colored.

"Then," she continued, "I had reasoned myself into the belief that Heaven
called me into existence with that object - I, the daughter of a powerful
monarch; that since my father had been deprived of life, Heaven could
well smite my pride. I have suffered greatly; I have been the cause,
too, of my mother suffering much; but I vowed that if Providence ever
placed me in a position of independence, even were it that of a workman
of the lower classes, who gains her bread by her labor, I would never
suffer humiliation again. That day has now arrived; I have been restored
to the fortune due to my rank and to my birth; I have even ascended again
the steps of a throne, and I thought that, in allying myself with a
French prince, I should find in him a relation, a friend, an equal; but I
perceive I have found only a master, and I rebel. My mother shall know
nothing of it; you whom I respect, and whom I - love - "

The king started; never had any voice so gratified his ear.

"You, sire, who know all, since you have come here; you will, perhaps,
understand me. If you had not come, I should have gone to you. I wish
for permission to go away. I leave it to your delicacy of feeling to
exculpate and to protect me."

"My dear sister," murmured the king, overpowered by this bold attack,
"have you reflected upon the enormous difficulty of the project you have

"Sire, I do not reflect, I feel. Attacked, I instinctively repel the
attack, nothing more."

"Come, tell me, what have they done to you?" said the king.

The princess, it will have been seen, by this peculiarly feminine
maneuver, had escaped every reproach, and advanced on her side a far more
serious one; from the accused she became the accuser. It is an
infallible sign of guilt; but notwithstanding that, all women, even the
least clever of the sex, invariably know how to derive some such means of
turning the tables. The king had forgotten that he was paying her a
visit in order to say to her, "What have you done to my brother?" and he
was reduced to weakly asking her, "What have they done to you?"

"What have they done to me?" replied Madame. "One must be a woman to
understand it, sire - they have made me shed tears;" and, with one of her
fingers, whose slenderness and perfect whiteness were unequaled, she
pointed to her brilliant eyes swimming with unshed drops, and again began
to weep.

"I implore you, my dear sister!" said the king, advancing to take her
warm and throbbing hand, which she abandoned to him.

"In the first place, sire, I was deprived of the presence of my brother's
friend. The Duke of Buckingham was an agreeable, cheerful visitor; my
own countryman, who knew my habits; I will say almost a companion, so
accustomed had we been to pass our days together, with our other friends,
upon the beautiful piece of water at St. James's."

"But Villiers was in love with you."

"A pretext! What does it matter," she said, seriously, "whether the duke
was in love with me or not? Is a man in love so very dangerous for me?
Ah! sire, it is not sufficient for a man to love a woman." And she
smiled so tenderly, and with so much archness, that the king felt his
heart swell and throb in his breast.

"At all events, if my brother were jealous?" interrupted the king.

"Very well, I admit that is a reason; and the duke was sent away

"No, not sent away."

"Driven away, dismissed, expelled, then, if you prefer it, sire. One of
the first gentlemen of Europe obliged to leave the court of the King of
France, of Louis XIV., like a beggar, on account of a glance or a
bouquet. It was little worthy of a most gallant court; but forgive me,
sire; I forgot, that, in speaking thus, I am attacking your sovereign

"I assure you, my dear sister, it was not I who dismissed the Duke of
Buckingham; I was charmed with him."

"It was not you?" said Madame; "ah! so much the better;" and she
emphasized the "so much the better," as if she had instead said, "so much
the worse."

A few minutes' silence ensued. She then resumed: "The Duke of Buckingham
having left - I now know why and by whose means - I thought I should have
recovered my tranquillity; but not at all, for all at once Monsieur found
another pretext; all at once - "

"All at once," said the king, playfully, "some one else presents
himself. It is but natural; you are beautiful, and will always meet with
men who will madly love you."

"In that case," exclaimed the princess, "I will create a solitude around
me, which indeed seems to be what is wished, and what is being prepared
for me. But no, I prefer to return to London. There I am known and
appreciated. I shall have friends, without fearing they may be regarded
as my lovers. Shame! it is a disgraceful suspicion, and unworthy a
gentleman. Monsieur has lost everything in my estimation, since he has
shown me he can be a tyrant to a woman."

"Nay, nay, my brother's only fault is that of loving you."

"Love me! Monsieur love me! Ah! sire," and she burst out laughing.
"Monsieur will never love any woman," she said; "Monsieur loves himself
too much; no, unhappily for me, Monsieur's jealousy is of the worst kind
- he is jealous without love."

"Confess, however," said the king, who began to be excited by this varied
and animated conversation; "confess that Guiche loves you."

"Ah! sire, I know nothing about that."

"You must have perceived it. A man who loves readily betrays himself."

"M. de Guiche has not betrayed himself."

"My dear sister, you are defending M. de Guiche."

"I, indeed! Ah, sire, I only needed a suspicion from yourself to crown
my wretchedness."

"No, madame, no," returned the king, hurriedly; "do not distress
yourself. Nay, you are weeping. I implore you to calm yourself."

She wept, however, and large tears fell upon her hands; the king took one
of her hands in his, and kissed the tears away. She looked at him so
sadly and with so much tenderness that he felt his heart giving way under
her gaze.

"You have no kind of feeling, then, for Guiche?" he said, more disturbed
than became his character of mediator.

"None - absolutely none."

"Then I can reassure my brother in that respect?"

"Nothing will satisfy him, sire. Do not believe he is jealous. Monsieur
has been badly advised by some one, and he is of nervous disposition."

"He may well be so when you are concerned," said the king.

Madame cast down her eyes, and was silent; the king did so likewise,

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