Ten Years Later HTML version

Chapter 16
Monsieur Becomes Jealous of the Duke of Buckingham.
While the Comte de la Fere was proceeding on his way to Pairs, accompanied by
Raoul, the Palais Royal was the theatre wherein a scene of what Moliere would have
called excellent comedy, was being performed. Four days had elapsed since his
marriage, and Monsieur, having breakfasted very hurriedly, passed into his ante-
chamber, frowning and out of temper. The repast had not been over-agreeable.
Madame had had breakfast served in her own apartment, and Monsieur had
breakfasted almost alone; the Chevalier de Lorraine and Manicamp were the only
persons present at the meal, which lasted three-quarters of an hour without a single
syllable having been uttered. Manicamp, who was less intimate with his royal highness
than the Chevalier de Lorraine, vainly endeavored to detect, from the expression of the
prince's face, what had made him so ill-humored. The Chevalier de Lorraine, who had
no occasion to speculate about anything, inasmuch as he knew all, ate his breakfast
with that extraordinary appetite which the troubles of one's friends but stimulates, and
enjoyed at the same time both Monsieur's ill-humor and the vexation of Manicamp. He
seemed delighted, while he went on eating, to detain a prince, who was very impatient
to move, still at table. Monsieur at times repented the ascendency which he had
permitted the Chevalier de Lorraine to acquire over him, and which exempted the latter
from any observance of etiquette towards him. Monsieur was now in one of those
moods, but he dreaded as much as he liked the chevalier, and contented himself with
nursing his anger without betraying it. Every now and then Monsieur raised his eyes to
the ceiling, then lowered them towards the slices of pate which the chevalier was
attacking, and finally, not caring to betray the resentment, he gesticulated in a manner
which Harlequin might have envied. At last, however, Monsieur could control himself no
longer, and at the dessert, rising from the table in excessive wrath, as we have related,
he left the Chevalier de Lorraine to finish his breakfast as he pleased. Seeing Monsieur
rise from the table, Manicamp, napkin in hand, rose also. Monsieur ran rather than
walked, towards the ante-chamber, where, noticing an usher in attendance, he gave
him some directions in a low tone of voice. Then, turning back again, but avoiding
passing through the breakfast apartment, he crossed several rooms, with the intention
of seeking the queen-mother in her oratory, where she usually remained.
It was about ten o'clock in the morning. Anne of Austria was engaged in writing as
Monsieur entered. The queen-mother was extremely attached to her son, for he was
handsome in person and amiable in disposition. He was, in fact, more affectionate, and
it might be, more effeminate than the king. He pleased his mother by those trifling
sympathizing attentions all women are glad to receive. Anne of Austria, who would have
been rejoiced to have had a daughter, almost found in this, her favorite son, the
attentions, solicitude, and playful manners of a child of twelve years of age. All the time
he passed with his mother he employed in admiring her arms, in giving his opinion upon
her cosmetics, and recipes for compounding essences, in which she was very
particular; and then, too, he kissed her hands and cheeks in the most childlike and