Make your own free website on

List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

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

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: