Louise de la Valliere
The king took Saint-Aignan by the arm, and passed into the adjoining apartment.
"What has detained you, comte?" said the king.
"I was bringing the answer, sire," replied the comte.
"She has taken a long time to reply to what I wrote her."
"Sire, your majesty deigned to write in verse, and Mademoiselle de la Valliere
wished to repay your majesty in the same coin; that is to say, in gold."
"Verses! Saint-Aignan," exclaimed the king in ecstasy. "Give them to me at
once." And Louis broke the seal of a little letter, inclosing the verses which history
has preserved entire for us, and which are more meritorious in invention than in
execution. Such as they were, however, the king was enchanted with them, and
exhibited his satisfaction by unequivocal transports of delight; but the universal
silence which reigned in the rooms warned Louis, so sensitively particular with
regard to good breeding, that his delight must give rise to various interpretations.
He turned aside and put the note in his pocket, and then advancing a few steps,
which brought him again to the threshold of the door close to his guests, he said,
"M. du Vallon, I have seen you to- day with the greatest pleasure, and my
pleasure will be equally great to see you again." Porthos bowed as the Colossus
of Rhodes would have done, and retired from the room with his face towards the
king. "M. d'Artagnan," continued the king, "you will await my orders in the gallery;
I am obliged to you for having made me acquainted with M. du Vallon.
Gentlemen," addressing himself to the other guests, "I return to Paris to-morrow
on account of the departure of the Spanish and Dutch ambassadors. Until to-
The apartment was immediately cleared of the guests. The king took Saint-
Aignan by the arm, made him read La Valliere's verses over again, and said,
"What do you think of them?"
"They charm me, in fact, and if they were known - "
"Oh! the professional poets would be jealous of them; but it is not likely they will
know anything about them."
"Did you give her mine?"
"Oh! sire, she positively devoured them."
"They were very weak, I am afraid."
"That is not what Mademoiselle de la Valliere said of them."
"Do you think she was pleased with them?"
"I am sure of it, sire."
"I must answer, then."
"Oh! sire, immediately after supper? Your majesty will fatigue yourself."
"You are quite right; study after eating is notoriously injurious."
"The labor of a poet especially so; and besides, there is great excitement
prevailing at Mademoiselle de la Valliere's."
"What do you mean?"