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List Of Contents | Contents of Marquise de Ganges, by Dumas, Pere
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the chevalier was with his wife, shut the doors, and posted himself
in the ante-chamber with his servants, in order to seize him as he
came out.  But the chevalier, who had ceased to trouble himself about
Madame d'Urban's tears, heard all the preparations, and, suspecting
some ambush, opened the window, and, although it was one o'clock in
the afternoon and the place was full of people, jumped out of the
window into the street, and did not hurt himself at all, though the
height was twenty feet, but walked quietly home at a moderate pace.

The same evening, the chevalier, intending to relate his new
adventure in all its details, invited some of his friends to sup with
him at the pastrycook Lecoq's.  This man, who was a brother of the
famous Lecoq of the rue Montorgueil, was the cleverest eating-house-
keeper in Avignon; his own unusual corpulence commended his cookery,
and, when he stood at the door, constituted an advertisement for his
restaurant.  The good man, knowing with what delicate appetites he
had to deal, did his very best that evening, and that nothing might
be wanting, waited upon his guests himself.  They spent the night
drinking, and towards morning the chevalier and his companions, being
then drunk, espied their host standing respectfully at the door, his
face wreathed in smiles.  The chevalier called him nearer, poured him
out a glass of wine and made him drink with them; then, as the poor
wretch, confused at such an honour, was thanking him with many bows,
he said:--

"Pardieu, you are too fat for Lecoq, and I must make you a capon."

This strange proposition was received as men would receive it who
were drunk and accustomed by their position to impunity.  The
unfortunate pastry-cook was seized, bound down upon the table, and
died under their treatment.  The vice-legate being informed of the
murder by one of the waiters, who had run in on hearing his master's
shrieks, and had found him, covered with blood, in the hands of his
butchers, was at first inclined to arrest the chevalier and bring him
conspicuously to punishment.  But he was restrained by his regard for
the Cardinal de Bouillon, the chevalier's uncle, and contented
himself with warning the culprit that unless he left the town
instantly he would be put into the hands of the authorities.  The
chevalier, who was beginning to have had enough of Avignon, did not
wait to be told twice, ordered the wheels of his chaise to be greased
and horses to be brought.  In the interval before they were ready the
fancy took him to go and see Madame d'Urban again.

As the house of the marquise was the very last at which, after the
manner of his leaving it the day before, the chevalier was expected
at such an hour, he got in with the greatest ease, and, meeting a
lady's-maid, who was in his interests, was taken to the room where
the marquise was.  She, who had not reckoned upon seeing the
chevalier again, received him with all the raptures of which a woman
in love is capable, especially when her love is a forbidden one.  But
the chevalier soon put an end to them by announcing that his visit
was a visit of farewell, and by telling her the reason that obliged
him to leave her.  The marquise was like the woman who pitied the
fatigue of the poor horses that tore Damien limb from limb; all her
commiseration was for the chevalier, who on account of such a trifle
was being forced to leave Avignon.  At last the farewell had to be
uttered, and as the chevalier, not knowing what to say at the fatal
moment, complained that he had no memento of her, the marquise took
down the frame that contained a portrait of herself corresponding
with one of her husband, and tearing out the canvas, rolled, it up
and gave it to the chevalier.  The latter, so far from being touched
by this token of love, laid it down, as he went away, upon a piece of
furniture, where the marquise found it half an hour later.  She
imagined that his mind being so full of the original, he had
forgotten the copy, and representing to herself the sorrow which the
discovery of this forgetfulness would cause him, she sent for a
servant, gave him the picture, and ordered him to take horse and ride
after the chevalier's chaise.  The man took a post-horse, and, making
great speed, perceived the fugitive in the distance just as the
latter had finished changing horses.  He made violent signs and
shouted loudly, in order to stop the postillion.  But the postillion
having told his fare that he saw a man coming on at full speed, the
chevalier supposed himself to be pursued, and bade him go on as fast
as possible.  This order was so well obeyed that the unfortunate
servant only came up with the chaise a league and a half farther on;
having stopped the postillion, he got off his horse, and very
respectfully presented to the chevalier the picture which he had been
bidden to bring him.  But the chevalier, having recovered from his
first alarm, bade him go about his business, and take back the
portrait--which was of no use to him--to the sender.  The servant,
however, like a faithful messenger, declared that his orders were
positive, and that he should not dare go back to Madame d'Urban
without fulfilling them.  The chevalier, seeing that he could not
conquer the man's determination, sent his postillion to a farrier,
whose house lay on the road, for a hammer and four nails, and with
his own hands nailed the portrait to the back of his chaise; then he
stepped in again, bade the postillion whip up his horses, and drove
away, leaving Madame d'Urban's messenger greatly astonished at the
manner in which the chevalier had used his mistress's portrait.

At the next stage, the postillion, who was going back, asked for his
money, and the chevalier answered that he had none.  The postillion
persisted; then the chevalier got out of his chaise, unfastened
Madame d'Urban's portrait, and told him that he need only put it up
for sale in Avignon and declare how it had come into his possession,
in order to receive twenty times the price of his stage; the
postillion, seeing that nothing else was to be got out of the
chevalier, accepted the pledge, and, following his instructions
precisely, exhibited it next morning at the door of a dealer in the
town, together with an exact statement of the story.  The picture was
bought back the same day for twenty-five Louis.

As may be supposed, the adventure was much talked of throughout the
town.  Next day, Madame d'Urban disappeared, no one knew whither, at
the very time when the relatives of the marquis were met together and
had decided to ask the king for a 'lettre-de-cachet'.  One of the
gentlemen present was entrusted with the duty of taking the necessary
steps; but whether because he was not active enough, or whether
because he was in Madame d'Urban's interests, nothing further was
heard in Avignon of any consequences ensuing from such steps.  In the
meantime, Madame d'Urban, who had gone to the house of an aunt,
opened negotiations with her husband that were entirely successful,
and a month after this adventure she returned triumphantly to the
conjugal roof.

Two hundred pistoles, given by the Cardinal de Bouillon, pacified the
family of the unfortunate pastry-cook, who at first had given notice
of the affair to the police, but who soon afterwards withdrew their
complaint, and gave out that they had taken action too hastily on the
strength of a story told in joke, and that further inquiries showed
their relative to have died of an apoplectic stroke.

Thanks--to this declaration, which exculpated the Chevalier de
Bouillon in the eyes of the king, he was allowed, after travelling
for two years in Italy and in Germany, to return undisturbed to
France.

Thus ends, not the family of Ganges, but the commotion which the
family made in the world.  From time to time, indeed, the playwright
or the novelist calls up the pale and bloodstained figure of the
marquise to appear either on the stage or in a book; but the
evocation almost always ceases at her, and many persons who have
written about the mother do not even know what became of the
children.  Our intention has been to fill this gap; that is why we
have tried to tell what our predecessors left out, and try offer to
our readers what the stage--and often the actual world--offers;
comedy after melodrama.






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