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List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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inaugurated the picturesque and fanciful amid the formal style of the
gardening of that period.  This sheltered retreat, covered with
nasturtiums and climbing roses, screened the bench, so that the
spectators, insulated in the middle of the lawn, saw and were seen on
every side, but could not be heard, without perceiving those who might
approach for the purpose of listening.  Seated thus, the king made a sign
of encouragement to those who were running about; and then, as if he were
engaged with Madame in a dissertation upon the butterfly, which he had
thrust through with a gold pin and fastened on his hat, said to her, "How
admirably we are placed here for conversations."

"Yes, sire, for I wished to be heard by you alone, and yet to be seen by
every one."

"And I also," said Louis.

"My note surprised you?"

"Terrified me rather.  But what I have to tell you is more important."

"It cannot be, sire.  Do you know that Monsieur refuses to see me?"

"Why so?"

"Can you not guess why?"

"Ah, Madame! in that case we have both the same thing to say to each other."

"What has happened to you, then?"

"You wish me to begin?"

"Yes, for I have told you all."

"Well, then, as soon as I returned, I found my mother waiting for me, and
she led me away to her own apartments."

"The queen-mother?" said Madame, with some anxiety, "the matter is
serious then."

"Indeed it is, for she told me... but, in the first place, allow me to
preface what I have to say with one remark.  Has Monsieur ever spoken to
you about me?"

"Often."

"Has he ever spoken to you about his jealousy?"

"More frequently still."

"Of his jealousy of me?"

"No, but of the Duke of Buckingham and De Guiche."

"Well, Madame, Monsieur's present idea is a jealousy of myself."

"Really," replied the princess, smiling archly.

"And it really seems to me," continued the king, "that we have never
given any ground - "

"Never! at least _I_ have not.  But who told you that Monsieur was
jealous?"

"My mother represented to me that Monsieur entered her apartments like a
madman, that he uttered a thousand complaints against you, and - forgive
me for saying it - against your coquetry.  It appears that Monsieur
indulges in injustice, too."

"You are very kind, sire."

"My mother reassured him; but he pretended that people reassure him too
often, and that he had had quite enough of it."

"Would it not be better for him not to make himself uneasy in any way?"

"The very thing I said."

"Confess, sire, that the world is very wicked.  Is it possible that a
brother and sister cannot converse together, or take pleasure in each
other's company, without giving rise to remarks and suspicions?  For
indeed, sire, we are doing no harm, and have no intention of doing any."
And she looked at the king with that proud yet provoking glance that
kindles desire in the coldest and wisest of men.

"No!" sighed the king, "that is true."

"You know very well, sire, that if it were to continue, I should be
obliged to make a disturbance.  Do you decide upon our conduct, and say
whether it has, or has not, been perfectly correct."

"Oh, certainly - perfectly correct."

"Often alone together, - for we delight in the same things, - we might
possibly be led away into error, but _have_ we been?  I regard you as a
brother, and nothing more."

The king frowned.  She continued:

"Your hand, which often meets my own, does not excite in me that
agitation and emotion which is the case with those who love each other,
for instance - "

"Enough," said the king, "enough, I entreat you.  You have no pity - you
are killing me."

"What is the matter?"

"In fact, then, you distinctly say you experience nothing when near me."

"Oh, sire!  I don't say that - my affection - "

"Enough, Henrietta, I again entreat you.  If you believe me to be marble,
as you are, undeceive yourself."

"I do not understand you, sire."

"Very well," said the king, casting down his eyes.  "And so our meetings,
the pressure of each other's hand, the looks we have exchanged - Yes,
yes; you are right, and I understand your meaning," and he buried his
face in his hands.

"Take care, sire," said Madame, hurriedly, "Monsieur de Saint-Aignan is
looking at you."

"Of course," said Louis, angrily; "never even the shadow of liberty!
never any sincerity in my intercourse with any one!  I imagine I have
found a friend, who is nothing but a spy; a dearer friend, who is only a
- sister!"

Madame was silent, and cast down her eyes.

"My husband is jealous," she murmured, in a tone of which nothing could
equal its sweetness and charm.

"You are right," exclaimed the king, suddenly.

"You see," she said, looking at him in a manner that set his heart on
fire, "you are free, you are not suspected, the peace of your house is
not disturbed."

"Alas," said the king, "as yet you know nothing, for the queen is
jealous."

"Maria Theresa!"

"Stark mad with jealousy!  Monsieur's jealousy arises from hers; she was
weeping and complaining to my mother, and was reproaching us for those
bathing parties, which have made me so happy."

"And me too," answered Madame, by a look.

"When, suddenly," continued the king, "Monsieur, who was listening, heard
the word '_banos_,' which the queen pronounced with some degree of
bitterness, that awakened his attention; he entered the room, looking
quite wild, broke into the conversation, and began to quarrel with my
mother so bitterly that she was obliged to leave him; so that, while you
have a jealous husband to deal with, I shall have perpetually present
before me a specter of jealousy with swollen eyes, a cadaverous face, and
sinister looks."

"Poor king," murmured Madame, as she lightly touched the king's hand.  He
retained her hand in his, and in order to press it without exciting
suspicion in the spectators, who were not so much taken up with the
butterflies that they could not occupy themselves about other matters,
and who perceived clearly enough that there was some mystery in the
king's and Madame's conversation, Louis placed the dying butterfly before
his sister-in-law, and bent over it as if to count the thousand eyes of
its wings, or the particles of golden dust which covered it.  Neither of
them spoke; however, their hair mingled, their breaths united, and their
hands feverishly throbbed in each other's grasp.  Five minutes passed in
this manner.


Chapter XXXVIII:
What Was Caught after the Butterflies.

The two young people remained for a moment with their heads bent down,
bowed, as it were, beneath the double thought of the love which was
springing up in their hearts, and which gives birth to so many happy
fancies in the imaginations of twenty years of age.  Henrietta gave a
side glance, from time to time, at the king.  Hers was one of those
finely-organized natures capable of looking inwardly at itself, as well
as at others at the same moment.  She perceived Love lying at the bottom
of Louis's heart, as a skillful diver sees a pearl at the bottom of the
sea.  She knew Louis was hesitating, if not in doubt, and that his
indolent or timid heart required aid and encouragement.  "And so?" she
said, interrogatively, breaking the silence.

"What do you mean?" inquired Louis, after a moment's pause.

"I mean, that I shall be obliged to return to the resolution I had
formed."

"To what resolution?"

"To that which I have already submitted to your majesty."

"When?"

"On the very day we had a certain explanation about Monsieur's
jealousies."

"What did you say to me then?" inquired Louis, with some anxiety.

"Do you not remember, sire?"

"Alas! if it be another cause of unhappiness, I shall recollect it soon
enough."

"A cause of unhappiness for myself alone, sire," replied Madame
Henrietta; "but as it is necessary, I must submit to it."

"At least, tell me what it is," said the king.

"Absence."

"Still that unkind resolve?"

"Believe me, sire, I have not found it without a violent struggle with
myself; it is absolutely necessary I should return to England."

"Never, never will I permit you to leave France," exclaimed the king.

"And yet, sire," said Madame, affecting a gentle yet sorrowful
determination, "nothing is more urgently necessary; nay, more than that,
I am persuaded it is your mother's desire I should do so."

"Desire!" exclaimed the king; "that is a very strange expression to use
to me."

"Still," replied Madame Henrietta, smilingly, "are you not happy in
submitting to the wishes of so good a mother?"

"Enough, I implore you; you rend my very soul."

"I?"

"Yes; for you speak of your departure with tranquillity."

"I was not born for happiness, sire," replied the princess, dejectedly;
"and I acquired, in very early life, the habit of seeing my dearest
wishes disappointed."

"Do you speak truly?" said the king.  "Would your departure gainsay any
one of your cherished thoughts?"

"If I were to say 'yes,' would you begin to take your misfortune
patiently?"

"How cruel you are!"

"Take care, sire; some one is coming."

The king looked all round him, and said, "No, there is no one," and then
continued: "Come, Henrietta, instead of trying to contend against
Monsieur's jealousy by a departure which would kill me - "

Henrietta slightly shrugged her shoulders like a woman unconvinced.
"Yes," repeated Louis, "which would kill me, I say.  Instead of fixing
your mind on this departure, does not your imagination - or rather does
not your heart - suggest some expedient?"

"What is it you wish my heart to suggest?"

"Tell me, how can one prove to another that it is wrong to be jealous?"

"In the first place, sire, by giving no motive for jealousy; in other
words, in loving no one but the person in question."

"Oh!  I expected more than that."

"What did you expect?"

"That you would simply tell me that jealous people are pacified by
concealing the affection which is entertained for the object of jealousy."

"Dissimulation is difficult, sire."

"Yet it is only be means of conquering difficulties that any happiness is

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