Louise de la Valliere
The Promenade by Torchlight.
Saint-Aignan, delighted with what he had just heard, and rejoiced at what the
future foreshadowed for him, bent his steps towards De Guiche's two rooms. He
who, a quarter of an hour previously, would hardly yield up his own rooms for a
million francs, was now ready to expend a million, if it were necessary, upon the
acquisition of the two happy rooms he coveted so eagerly. But he did not meet
with so many obstacles. M. de Guiche did not yet know where he was to lodge,
and, besides, was still too far ill to trouble himself about his lodgings; and so
Saint-Aignan obtained De Guiche's two rooms without difficulty. As for M.
Dangeau, he was so immeasurably delighted, that he did not even give himself
the trouble to think whether Saint-Aignan had any particular reason for removing.
Within an hour after Saint-Aignan's new resolution, he was in possession of the
two rooms; and ten minutes later Malicorne entered, followed by the
upholsterers. During this time, the king asked for Saint-Aignan; the valet ran to
his late apartments and found M. Dangeau there; Dangeau sent him on to De
Guiche's, and Saint-Aignan was found there; but a little delay had of course
taken place, and the king had already exhibited once or twice evident signs of
impatience, when Saint-Aignan entered his royal master's presence, quite out of
"You, too, abandon me, then," said Louis XIV., in a similar tone of lamentation to
that with which Caesar, eighteen hundred years previously, had pronounced the
Et tu quoque.
"Sire, I am far from abandoning you, for, on the contrary, I am busily occupied in
changing my lodgings."
"What do you mean? I thought you had finished moving three days ago."
"Yes, sire. But I don't find myself comfortable where I am, so I am going to
change to the opposite side of the building."
"Was I not right when I said you were abandoning me?" exclaimed the king. "Oh!
this exceeds all endurance. But so it is: there was only one woman for whom my
heart cared at all, and all my family is leagued together to tear her from me; and
my friend, to whom I confided my distress, and who helped me to bear up under
it, has become wearied of my complaints and is going to leave me without even
asking my permission."
Saint-Aignan began to laugh. The king at once guessed there must be some
mystery in this want of respect. "What is it?" cried the king, full of hope.
"This, sire, that the friend whom the king calumniates is going to try if he cannot
restore to his sovereign the happiness he has lost."
"Are you going to let me see La Valliere?" said Louis XIV.
"I cannot say so, positively, but I hope so."
"How - how? - tell me that, Saint-Aignan. I wish to know what your project is, and
to help you with all my power."