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List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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but no De Guiche for you."

"Bah!"

"Yes. - Why do you take Madame with you?"

"Because I begin to fancy I love her," said the prince.

De Guiche turned slightly pale, but endeavored to preserve his seeming
cheerfulness.

"If you love Madame, monseigneur," he said, "that ought to be quite
enough for you, and you have no further need of your friends."

"Not bad, not bad," murmured Manicamp.

"There, your fear of Madame has begun again," replied the prince.

"Why, monseigneur, I have experienced that to my cost; a woman who was
the cause of my being exiled!"

"What a revengeful disposition you have, De Guiche, how virulently you
bear malice."

"I should like the case to be your own, monseigneur."

"Decidedly, then, that was the reason why you danced so badly yesterday;
you wished to revenge yourself, I suppose, by trying to make Madame make
a mistake in her dancing; ah! that is very paltry, De Guiche, and I will
tell Madame of it."

"You may tell her whatever you please, monseigneur, for her highness
cannot hate me more than she does."

"Nonsense, you are exaggerating; and this because merely of the
fortnight's sojourn in the country she imposed on you."

"Monseigneur, a fortnight is a fortnight; and when the time is passed in
getting sick and tired of everything, a fortnight is an eternity."

"So that you will not forgive her?"

"Never!"

"Come, come, De Guiche, be a better disposed fellow than that.  I wish to
make your peace with her; you will find, in conversing with her, that she
has no malice or unkindness in her nature, and that she is very talented."

"Monseigneur - "

"You will see that she can receive her friends like a princess, and laugh
like a citizen's wife; you will see that, when she pleases, she can make
the pleasant hours pass like minutes.  Come, De Guiche, you must really
make up your differences with my wife."

"Upon my word," said Manicamp to himself, "the prince is a husband whose
wife's name will bring him ill-luck, and King Candaules, of old, was a
tiger beside his royal highness."

"At all events," added the prince, "I am sure you will make it up with my
wife: I guarantee you will do so.  Only, I must show you the way now.
There is nothing commonplace about her: it is not every one who takes her
fancy."

"Monseigneur - "

"No resistance, De Guiche, or I shall get out of temper," replied the
prince.

"Well, since he will have it so," murmured Manicamp, in Guiche's ear, "do
as he wants you to do."

"Well, monseigneur," said the comte, "I obey."

"And to begin," resumed the prince, "there will be cards, this evening,
in Madame's apartment; you will dine with me, and I will take you there
with me."

"Oh! as for that, monseigneur," objected De Guiche, "you will allow me to
object."

"What, again! this is positive rebellion."

"Madame received me too indifferently, yesterday, before the whole court."

"Really!" said the prince, laughing.

"Nay, so much so, indeed, that she did not even answer me when I
addressed her; it may be a good thing to have no self-respect at all, but
to have too little is not enough, as the saying is."

"Comte! after dinner, you will go to your own apartments and dress
yourself, and then you will come to fetch me.  I shall wait for you."

"Since your highness absolutely commands it."

"Positively."

"He will not lose his hold," said Manicamp; "these are the things to
which husbands cling most obstinately.  Ah! what a pity M. Moliere could
not have heard this man; he would have turned him into verse if he had."

The prince and his court, chatting in this manner, returned to the
coolest apartments of the chateau.

"By the by," said De Guiche, as they were standing by the door, "I had a
commission for your royal highness."

"Execute it, then."

"M. de Bragelonne has, by the king's order, set off for London, and he
charged me with his respects for you; monseigneur."

"A pleasant journey to the vicomte, whom I like very much.  Go and dress
yourself, De Guiche, and come back for me.  If you don't come back - "

"What will happen, monseigneur?"

"I will have you sent to the Bastile."

"Well," said De Guiche, laughing, "his royal highness, monseigneur, is
decidedly the counterpart of her royal highness, Madame.  Madame gets me
sent into exile, because she does not care for me sufficiently; and
monseigneur gets me imprisoned, because he cares for me too much.  I
thank monseigneur, and I thank Madame."

"Come, come," said the prince, "you are a delightful companion, and you
know I cannot do without you.  Return as soon as you can."

"Very well; but I am in the humor to prove myself difficult to be
pleased, in _my_ turn, monseigneur."

"Bah!"

"So, I will not return to your royal highness, except upon one condition."

"Name it."

"I want to oblige the friend of one of my friends."

"What's his name?"

"Malicorne."

"An ugly name."

"But very well borne, monseigneur."

"That may be.  Well?"

"Well, I owe M. Malicorne a place in your household, monseigneur."

"What kind of a place?"

"Any kind of a place; a supervision of some sort or another, for
instance."

"That happens very fortunately, for yesterday I dismissed my chief usher
of the apartments."

"That will do admirably.  What are his duties?"

"Nothing, except to look about and make his report."

"A sort of interior police?"

"Exactly."

"Ah, how excellently that will suit Malicorne," Manicamp ventured to say.

"You know the person we are speaking of, M. Manicamp?" inquired the
prince.

"Intimately, monseigneur.  He is a friend of mine."

"And your opinion is?"

"That your highness could never get a better usher of the apartments than
he will make."

"How much does the appointment bring in?" inquired the comte of the
prince.

"I don't know at all, only I have always been told that he could make as
much as he pleased when he was thoroughly in earnest."

"What do you call being thoroughly in earnest, prince?"

"It means, of course, when the functionary in question is a man who has
his wits about him."

"In that case I think your highness will be content, for Malicorne is as
sharp as the devil himself."

"Good! the appointment will be an expensive one for me, in that case,"
replied the prince, laughing.  "You are making me a positive present,
comte."

"I believe so, monseigneur."

"Well, go and announce to your M. Melicorne - "

"Malicorne, monseigneur."

"I shall never get hold of that name."

"You say Manicamp very well, monseigneur."

"Oh, I ought to say Malicorne very well, too.  The alliteration will help
me."

"Say what you like, monseigneur, I can promise you your inspector of
apartments will not be annoyed; he has the very happiest disposition that
can be met with."

"Well, then, my dear De Guiche, inform him of his nomination.  But, stay
- "

"What is it, monseigneur?"

"I wish to see him beforehand; if he be as ugly as his name, I retract
every word I have said."

"Your highness knows him, for you have already seen him at the Palais
Royal; nay, indeed, it was I who presented him to you."

"Ah, I remember now - not a bad-looking fellow."

"I know you must have noticed him, monseigneur."

"Yes, yes, yes.  You see, De Guiche, I do not wish that either my wife or
myself should have ugly faces before our eyes.  My wife will have all her
maids of honor pretty; I, all the gentlemen about me good-looking.  In
this way, De Guiche, you see, that any children we may have will run a
good chance of being pretty, if my wife and myself have handsome models
before us."

"Most magnificently argued, monseigneur," said Manicamp, showing his
approval by look and voice at the same time.

As for De Guiche, he very probably did not find the argument so
convincing, for he merely signified his opinion by a gesture, which,
moreover, exhibited in a marked manner some indecision of mind on the
subject.  Manicamp went off to inform Malicorne of the good news he had
just learned.  De Guiche seemed very unwilling to take his departure for
the purpose of dressing himself.  Monsieur, singing, laughing, and
admiring himself, passed away the time until the dinner-hour, in a frame
of mind that justified the proverb of "Happy as a prince."


Chapter LVI:
Story of a Dryad and a Naiad.

Every one had partaken of the banquet at the chateau, and afterwards
assumed their full court dresses.  The usual hour for the repast was five
o'clock.  If we say, then, that the repast occupied an hour, and the
toilette two hours, everybody was ready about eight o'clock in the
evening.  Towards eight o'clock, then, the guests began to arrive at
Madame's, for we have already intimated that it was Madame who "received"
that evening.  And at Madame's _soirees_ no one failed to be present; for
the evenings passed in her apartments always had that perfect charm about
them which the queen, that pious and excellent princess, had not been
able to confer upon her _reunions_.  For, unfortunately, one of the
advantages of goodness of disposition is that it is far less amusing than
wit of an ill-natured character.  And yet, let us hasten to add, that
such a style of wit could not be assigned to Madame, for her disposition
of mind, naturally of the very highest order, comprised too much true
generosity, too many noble impulses and high-souled thoughts, to warrant
her being termed ill-natured.  But Madame was endowed with a spirit of
resistance - a gift frequently fatal to its possessor, for it breaks
where another disposition would have bent; the result was that blows did
not become deadened upon her as upon what might be termed the cotton-
wadded feelings of Maria Theresa.  Her heart rebounded at each attack,
and therefore, whenever she was attacked, even in a manner that almost
stunned her, she returned blow for blow to any one imprudent enough to
tilt against her.

Was this really maliciousness of disposition or simply waywardness of
character?  We regard those rich and powerful natures as like the tree of
knowledge, producing good and evil at the same time; a double branch,

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