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List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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ill, I believe."

"Yes, Madame; it was only this morning that I heard of the accident that
had befallen her."

"Did you see her before you came to me?"

"I had the honor of taking leave of her."

"And you say," resumed Madame, making a powerful effort over herself,
"that the king has - deferred your marriage with this young girl."

"Yes, Madame, deferred it."

"Did he assign any reason for this postponement?"

"None."

"How long is it since the Comte de la Fere preferred his request to the
king?"

"More than a month, Madame."

"It is very singular," said the princess, as something like a film
clouded her eyes.

"A month?" she repeated.

"About a month."

"You are right, vicomte" said the princess, with a smile, in which De
Bragelonne might have remarked a kind of restraint; "my brother must not
keep you too long in England; set off at once, and in the first letter I
write to England, I will claim you in the king's name."  And Madame rose
to place her letter in Bragelonne's hands.  Raoul understood that his
audience was at an end; he took the letter, bowed lowly to the princess,
and left the room.

"A month!" murmured the princess; "could I have been blind, then, to so
great an extent, and could he have loved her for this last month?"  And
as Madame had nothing to do, she sat down to begin a letter to her
brother, the postscript of which was a summons for Bragelonne to return.

The Comte de Guiche, as we have seen, had yielded to the pressing
persuasions of Manicamp, and allowed himself to be led to the stables,
where they desired their horses to be got ready for them; then, by one of
the side paths, a description of which has already been given, they
advanced to meet Monsieur, who, having just finished bathing, was
returning towards the chateau, wearing a woman's veil to protect his face
from getting burnt by the sun, which was shining very brightly.  Monsieur
was in one of those fits of good humor to which the admiration of his own
good looks sometimes gave occasion.  As he was bathing he had been able
to compare the whiteness of his body with that of the courtiers, and,
thanks to the care which his royal highness took of himself, no one, not
even the Chevalier de Lorraine, was able to stand the comparison.
Monsieur, moreover, had been tolerably successful in swimming, and his
muscles having been exercised by the healthy immersion in the cool water,
he was in a light and cheerful state of mind and body.  So that, at the
sight of Guiche, who advanced to meet him at a hand gallop, mounted upon
a magnificent white horse, the prince could not restrain an exclamation
of delight.

"I think matters look well," said Manicamp, who fancied he could read
this friendly disposition upon his royal highness's countenance.

"Good day, De Guiche, good day," exclaimed the prince.

"Long life to your royal highness!" replied De Guiche, encouraged by the
tone of Philip's voice; "health, joy, happiness, and prosperity to your
highness."

"Welcome, De Guiche, come on my right side, but keep your horse in hand,
for I wish to return at a walking pace under the cool shade of these
trees."

"As you please, monseigneur," said De Guiche, taking his place on the
prince's right as he had been invited to do.

"Now, my dear De Guiche," said the prince, "give me a little news of that
De Guiche whom I used to know formerly, and who used to pay attentions to
my wife."

Guiche blushed to the very whites of his eyes, while Monsieur burst out
laughing, as though he had made the wittiest remark in the world.  The
few privileged courtiers who surrounded Monsieur thought it their duty to
follow his example, although they had not heard the remark, and a noisy
burst of laughter immediately followed, beginning with the first
courtier, passing on through the whole company, and only terminating with
the last.  De Guiche, although blushing scarlet, put a good countenance
on the matter; Manicamp looked at him.

"Ah! monseigneur," replied De Guiche, "show a little charity towards such
a miserable fellow as I am: do not hold me up to the ridicule of the
Chevalier de Lorraine."

"How do you mean?"

"If he hears you ridicule me, he will go beyond your highness, and will
show no pity."

"About your passion and the princess, do you mean?"

"For mercy's sake, monseigneur."

"Come, come, De Guiche, confess that you _did_ get a little sweet upon
Madame."

"I will never confess such a thing, monseigneur."

"Out of respect for me, I suppose; but I release you from your respect,
De Guiche.  Confess, as if it were simply a question about Mademoiselle
de Chalais or Mademoiselle de la Valliere."

Then breaking off, he said, beginning to laugh again, "Comte, that wasn't
at all bad! - a remark like a sword, which cuts two ways at once.  I hit
you and my brother at the same time, Chalais and La Valliere, your
affianced bride and his future lady love."

"Really, monseigneur" said the comte, "you are in a most brilliant humor
to-day."

"The fact is, I feel well, and then I am pleased to see you again.  But
you were angry with me, were you not?"

"I, monseigneur?  Why should I have been so?"

"Because I interfered with your sarabands and your other Spanish
amusements.  Nay, do not deny it.  On that day you left the princess's
apartments with your eyes full of fury; that brought you ill-luck, for
you danced in the ballet yesterday in a most wretched manner.  Now don't
get sulky, De Guiche, for it does you no good, but makes you look like a
tame bear.  If the princess did not look at you attentively yesterday, I
am quite sure of one thing."

"What is that, monseigneur?  Your highness alarms me."

"She has quite forsworn you now," said the prince, with a burst of loud
laughter.

"Decidedly," thought Manicamp, "rank has nothing to do with it, and all
men are alike."

The prince continued: "At all events, you have now returned, and it is to
be hoped that the chevalier will become amiable again."

"How so, monseigneur: and by what miracle can I exercise such an
influence over M. de Lorraine?"

"The matter is very simple, he is jealous of you."

"Bah! it is not possible."

"It is the case, though."

"He does me too much honor."

"The fact is, that when you are here, he is full of kindness and
attention, but when you are gone he makes me suffer a perfect martyrdom.
I am like a see-saw.  Besides, you do not know the idea that has struck
me?"

"I do not even suspect it."

"Well, then; when you were in exile - for you really were exiled, my poor
De Guiche - "

"I should think so, indeed; but whose fault was it?" said De Guiche,
pretending to speak in an angry tone.

"Not mine, certainly, my dear comte," replied his royal highness, "upon
my honor, I did not ask for the king to exile you - "

"No, not you, monseigneur, I am well aware; but - "

"But Madame; well, as far as that goes, I do not say it was not the
case.  Why, what the deuce did you do or say to Madame?"

"Really, monseigneur - "

"Women, I know, have their grudges, and my wife is not free from caprices
of that nature.  But if she were the cause of your being exiled I bear
you no ill-will."

"In that case, monseigneur," said De Guiche.  "I am not altogether
unhappy."

Manicamp, who was following closely behind De Guiche and who did not lose
a word of what the prince was saying, bent down to his very shoulders
over his horse's neck, in order to conceal the laughter he could not
repress.

"Besides, your exile started a project in my head."

"Good."

"When the chevalier - finding you were no longer here, and sure of
reigning undisturbed - began to bully me, I, observing that my wife, in
the most perfect contrast to him, was most kind and amiable towards me
who had neglected her so much, the idea occurred to me of becoming a
model husband - a rarity, a curiosity, at the court; and I had an idea of
getting very fond of my wife."

De Guiche looked at the prince with a stupefied expression of
countenance, which was not assumed.

"Oh! monseigneur," De Guiche stammered out; "surely, that never seriously
occurred to you."

"Indeed it did.  I have some property that my brother gave me on my
marriage; she has some money of her own, and not a little either, for she
gets money from her brother and brother-in-law of England and France at
the same time.  Well! we should have left the court.  I should have
retired to my chateau at Villers-Cotterets, situated in the middle of a
forest, in which we should have led a most sentimental life in the very
same spot where my grandfather, Henry IV., sojourned with La Belle
Gabrielle.  What do you think of that idea, De Guiche?"

"Why, it is enough to make one shiver, monseigneur," replied De Guiche,
who shuddered in reality.

"Ah!  I see you would never be able to endure being exiled a second time."

"I, monseigneur?"

"I will not carry you off with us, as I had first intended."

"What, with you, monseigneur?"

"Yes; if the idea should occur to me again of taking a dislike to the
court."

"Oh! do not let that make any difference, monseigneur; I would follow
your highness to the end of the world."

"Clumsy fellow that you are!" said Manicamp, grumblingly, pushing his
horse towards De Guiche, so as almost to unseat him, and then, as he
passed close to him, as if he had lost command over the horse, he
whispered, "For goodness' sake, think what you are saying."

"Well, it is agreed, then," said the prince; "since you are so devoted to
me, I shall take you with me."

"Anywhere, monseigneur," replied De Guiche in a joyous tone, "whenever
you like, and at once, too.  Are you ready?"

And De Guiche, laughingly, gave his horse the rein, and galloped forward
a few yards.

"One moment," said the prince.  "Let us go to the chateau first."

"What for?"

"Why, to take my wife, of course."

"What for?" asked De Guiche.

"Why, since I tell you that it is a project of conjugal affection, it is
necessary I should take my wife with me."

"In that case, monseigneur," replied the comte, "I am greatly concerned,

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