adversary. Buckingham stepped aside, and watched the combat. Raoul was as calm as if he were handling a foil instead of a sword; having retreated a step, he parried three or four fierce thrusts which De Wardes made at him, caught the sword of the latter with within his own, and sent it flying twenty paces the other side of the barrier. Then as De Wardes stood disarmed and astounded at his defeat, Raoul sheathed his sword, seized him by the collar and the waist band, and hurled his adversary to the other end of the barrier, trembling, and mad with rage. "We shall meet again," murmured De Wardes, rising from the ground and picking up his sword. "I have done nothing for the last hour," said Raoul, rising from the ground, "but say the same thing." Then, turning towards the duke, he said, "I entreat you to be silent about this affair; I am ashamed to have gone so far, but my anger carried me away, and I ask your forgiveness for it; - forget it, too." "Dear viscount," said the duke, pressing with his own the vigorous and valiant hand of his companion, "allow me, on the contrary, to remember it, and to look after your safety; that man is dangerous, - he will kill you." "My father," replied Raoul, "lived for twenty years under the menace of a much more formidable enemy, and he still lives." "Your father had good friends, viscount." "Yes," sighed Raoul, "such friends, indeed, that none are now left like them." "Do not say that, I beg, at the very moment I offer you my friendship;" and Buckingham opened his arms to embrace Raoul, who delightedly received the proffered alliance. "In my family," added Buckingham, "you are aware, M. de Bragelonne, we die to save our friends." "I know it well, duke," replied Raoul. Chapter XIII: An Account of what the Chevalier de Lorraine Thought of Madame. Nothing further interrupted the journey. Under a pretext that was little remarked, M. de Wardes went forward in advance of the others. He took Manicamp with him, for his equable and dreamy disposition acted as a counterpoise to his own. It is a subject of remark, that quarrelsome and restless characters invariably seek the companionship of gentle, timorous dispositions, as if the former sought, in the contrast, a repose for their own ill-humor, and the latter a protection for their weakness. Buckingham and Bragelonne, admitting De Guiche into their friendship, in concert with him, sang the praises of the princess during the whole of the journey. Bragelonne, had, however, insisted that their three voices should be in concert, instead of singing in solo parts, as De Guiche and his rival seemed to have acquired a dangerous habit of doing. This style of harmony pleased the queen-mother exceedingly, but it was not perhaps so agreeable to the young princess, who was an incarnation of coquetry, and who, without any fear as far as her own voice was concerned, sought opportunities of so perilously distinguishing herself. She possessed one of those fearless and incautious dispositions that find gratification in an excess of sensitiveness of feeling, and for whom, also, danger has a certain fascination. And so her glances, her smiles, her toilette, an inexhaustible armory of weapons of offense, were showered on the three young men with overwhelming force; and, from her well-stored arsenal issued glances, kindly recognitions, and a thousand other little charming attentions which were intended to strike at long range the gentlemen who formed the escort, the townspeople, the officers of the different cities she passed through, pages, populace, and servants; it was wholesale slaughter, a general devastation. By the time Madame arrived at Paris, she had reduced to slavery about a hundred thousand lovers: and brought in her train to Paris half a dozen men who were almost mad about her, and two who were, indeed, literally out of their minds. Raoul was the only person who divined the power of this woman's attraction, and as his heart was already engaged, he arrived in the capital full of indifference and distrust. Occasionally during the journey he conversed with the queen of England respecting the power of fascination which Madame possessed, and the mother, whom so many misfortunes and deceptions had taught experience, replied: "Henrietta was sure to be illustrious in one way or another, whether born in a palace or born in obscurity; for she is a woman of great imagination, capricious and self-willed." De Wardes and Manicamp, in their self-assumed character of courtiers, had announced the princess's arrival. The procession was met at Nanterre by a brilliant escort of cavaliers and carriages. It was Monsieur himself, followed by the Chevalier de Lorraine and by his favorites, the latter being themselves followed by a portion of the king's military household, who had arrived to meet his affianced bride. At St. Germain, the princess and her mother had changed their heavy traveling carriage, somewhat impaired by the journey, for a light, richly decorated chariot drawn by six horses with white and gold harness. Seated in this open carriage, as though upon a throne, and beneath a parasol of embroidered silk, fringed with feathers, sat the young and lovely princess, on whose beaming face were reflected the softened rose-tints which suited her delicate skin to perfection. Monsieur, on reaching the carriage, was struck by her beauty; he showed his admiration in so marked a manner that the Chevalier de Lorraine shrugged his shoulders as he listened to his compliments, while Buckingham and De Guiche were almost heart-broken. After the usual courtesies had been rendered, and the ceremony completed, the procession slowly resumed the road to Paris. The presentations had been carelessly made, and Buckingham, with the rest of the English gentlemen, had been introduced to Monsieur, from whom they had received but very indifferent attention. But, during their progress, as he observed that the duke devoted himself with his accustomed eagerness to the carriage-door, he asked the Chevalier de Lorraine, his inseparable companion, "Who is that cavalier?" "He was presented to your highness a short while ago; it is the handsome Duke of Buckingham." "Ah, yes, I remember." "Madame's knight," added the favorite, with an inflection of the voice which envious minds can alone give to the simplest phrases. "What do you say?" replied the prince. "I said 'Madame's knight'." "Has she a recognized knight, then?" "One would think you can judge of that for yourself; look, only, how they are laughing and flirting. All three of them." "What do you mean by _all three?_" "Do you not see that De Guiche is one of the party?" "Yes, I see. But what does that prove?" "That Madame has two admirers instead of one." "You poison the simplest thing!" "I poison nothing. Ah! your royal highness's mind is perverted. The honors of the kingdom of France are being paid to your wife and you are not satisfied." The Duke of Orleans dreaded the satirical humor of the Chevalier de Lorraine whenever it reached a certain degree of bitterness, and he changed the conversation abruptly. "The princess is pretty," said he, very negligently, as if he were speaking of a stranger. "Yes," replied the chevalier, in the same tone. "You say 'yes' like a 'no'. She has very beautiful black eyes." "Yes, but small." "That is so, but they are brilliant. She is tall, and of a good figure." "I fancy she stoops a little, my lord." "I do not deny it. She has a noble appearance." "Yes, but her face is thin." "I thought her teeth beautiful." "They can easily be seen, for her mouth is large enough. Decidedly, I was wrong, my lord; you are certainly handsomer than your wife." "But do you think me as handsome as Buckingham?" "Certainly, and he thinks so, too; for look, my lord, he is redoubling his attentions to Madame to prevent your effacing the impression he has made." Monsieur made a movement of impatience, but as he noticed a smile of triumph pass across the chevalier's lips, he drew up his horse to a foot- pace. "Why," said he, "should I occupy myself any longer about my cousin? Do I not already know her? Were we not brought up together? Did I not see her at the Louvre when she was quite a child?" "A great change has taken place in her since then, prince. At the period you allude to, she was somewhat less brilliant, and scarcely so proud, either. One evening, particularly, you may remember, my lord, the king refused to dance with her, because he thought her plain and badly dressed!" These words made the Duke of Orleans frown. It was by no means flattering for him to marry a princess of whom, when young, the king had not thought much. He would probably have retorted, but at this moment De Guiche quitted the carriage to join the prince. He had remarked the prince and the chevalier together, and full of anxious attention he seemed to try and guess the nature of the remarks which they had just exchanged. The chevalier, whether he had some treacherous object in view, or from imprudence, did not take the trouble to dissimulate. "Count," he said, "you're a man of excellent taste." "Thank you for the compliment," replied De Guiche; "but why do you say that?" "Well I appeal to his highness." "No doubt of it," said Monsieur; "and Guiche knows perfectly well that I regard him as a most finished cavalier." "Well, since that is decided, I resume. You have been in the princess's society, count, for the last eight days, have you not?" "Yes," replied De Guiche, coloring in spite of himself. "Well then, tell us frankly, what do you think of her personal appearance?" "Of her personal appearance?" returned De Guiche, stupefied. "Yes; of her appearance, of her mind, of herself, in fact." Astounded by this question, De Guiche hesitated answering. "Come, come, De Guiche," resumed the chevalier, laughingly, "tell us your opinion frankly; the prince commands it." "Yes, yes," said the prince, "be frank."
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