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List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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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
Buckingham.

"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

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