Ten Years Later
Sword-Thrusts in the Water.
Raoul, on betaking himself to De Guiche, found him conversing with De Wardes and
Manicamp. De Wardes, since the affair of the barricade, had treated Raoul as a
stranger; they behaved as if they were not acquainted. As Raoul entered, De Guiche
walked up to him; and Raoul, as he grasped his friend's hand, glanced rapidly at his two
companions, hoping to be able to read on their faces what was passing in their minds.
De Wardes was cold and impenetrable; Manicamp seemed absorbed in the
contemplation of some trimming to his dress. De Guiche led Raoul to an adjoining
cabinet, and made him sit down, saying, "How well you look!"
"That is singular," replied Raoul, "for I am far from being in good spirits."
"It is your case, then, Raoul, as it is my own, - our love affairs do not progress."
"So much the better, count, as far as you are concerned; the worst news would be good
"In that case do not distress yourself, for, not only am I very unhappy, but, what is more,
I see others about me who are happy."
"Really, I do not understand you," replied Raoul; "explain yourself."
"You will soon learn. I have tried, but in vain, to overcome the feeling you saw dawn in
me, increase, and take entire possession of me. I have summoned all your advice and
my own strength to my aid. I have well weighed the unfortunate affair in which I have
embarked; I have sounded its depths; that it is an abyss, I am aware, but it matters little
for I shall pursue my own course."
"This is madness, De Guiche! you cannot advance another step without risking your
own ruin to-day, perhaps your life to-morrow."
"Whatever may happen, I have done with reflections; listen."
"And you hope to succeed; you believe that Madame will love you?"
"Raoul, I believe nothing; I hope, because hope exists in man, and never abandons him
"But, admitting that you obtain the happiness you covet, even then, you are more
certainly lost than if you had failed in obtaining it."