Ten Years Later
In Which We at Length See the True Heroine of this History Appear.
Behind Madame de Saint-Remy stood Mademoiselle de la Valliere. She heard the
explosion of maternal anger, and as she divined the cause of it, she entered the
chamber trembling, and perceived the unlucky Malicorne, whose woeful countenance
might have softened or set laughing whoever observed it coolly. He had promptly
intrenched himself behind a large chair, as if to avoid the first attacks of Madame de
Saint-Remy; he had no hopes of prevailing with words, for she spoke louder than he,
and without stopping; but he reckoned upon the eloquence of his gestures. The old lady
would neither listen to nor see anything; Malicorne had long been one of her
antipathies. But her anger was too great not to overflow from Malicorne on his
accomplice. Montalais had her turn.
"And you, mademoiselle; you may be certain I shall inform madame of what is going on
in the apartment of one of her ladies of honor?"
"Oh, dear mother!" cried Mademoiselle de la Valliere, "for mercy's sake, spare - "
"Hold your tongue, mademoiselle, and do not uselessly trouble yourself to intercede for
unworthy people; that a young maid of honor like you should be subjected to a bad
example is, certes, a misfortune great enough; but that you should sanction it by your
indulgence is what I will not allow."
"But in truth," said Montalais, rebelling again, "I do not know under what pretense you
treat me thus. I am doing no harm, I suppose?"
"And that great good-for-nothing, mademoiselle," resumed Madame de Saint- Remy,
pointing to Malicorne, "is he here to do any good, I ask you?"
"He is neither here for good nor harm, madame; he comes to see me, that is all."
"It is all very well! all very well!" said the old lady. "Her royal highness shall be informed
of it, and she will judge."
"At all events, I do not see why," replied Montalais, "it should be forbidden M. Malicorne
to have intentions towards me, if his intentions are honorable."
"Honorable intentions with such a face!" cried Madame de Saint-Remy.
"I thank you in the name of my face, madame," said Malicorne.