Ten Years Later HTML version

Chapter 13
An Account of what the Chevalier de Lorraine Thought of Madame.
Nothing further interrupted the journey. Under a pretext that was little remarked, M. de
Wardes went forward in advance of the others. He took Manicamp with him, for his
equable and dreamy disposition acted as a counterpoise to his own. It is a subject of
remark, that quarrelsome and restless characters invariably seek the companionship of
gentle, timorous dispositions, as if the former sought, in the contrast, a repose for their
own ill-humor, and the latter a protection for their weakness. Buckingham and
Bragelonne, admitting De Guiche into their friendship, in concert with him, sang the
praises of the princess during the whole of the journey. Bragelonne, had, however,
insisted that their three voices should be in concert, instead of singing in solo parts, as
De Guiche and his rival seemed to have acquired a dangerous habit of doing. This style
of harmony pleased the queen-mother exceedingly, but it was not perhaps so agreeable
to the young princess, who was an incarnation of coquetry, and who, without any fear
as far as her own voice was concerned, sought opportunities of so perilously
distinguishing herself. She possessed one of those fearless and incautious dispositions
that find gratification in an excess of sensitiveness of feeling, and for whom, also,
danger has a certain fascination. And so her glances, her smiles, her toilette, an
inexhaustible armory of weapons of offense, were showered on the three young men
with overwhelming force; and, from her well-stored arsenal issued glances, kindly
recognitions, and a thousand other little charming attentions which were intended to
strike at long range the gentlemen who formed the escort, the townspeople, the officers
of the different cities she passed through, pages, populace, and servants; it was
wholesale slaughter, a general devastation. By the time Madame arrived at Paris, she
had reduced to slavery about a hundred thousand lovers: and brought in her train to
Paris half a dozen men who were almost mad about her, and two who were, indeed,
literally out of their minds. Raoul was the only person who divined the power of this
woman's attraction, and as his heart was already engaged, he arrived in the capital full
of indifference and distrust. Occasionally during the journey he conversed with the
queen of England respecting the power of fascination which Madame possessed, and
the mother, whom so many misfortunes and deceptions had taught experience, replied:
"Henrietta was sure to be illustrious in one way or another, whether born in a palace or
born in obscurity; for she is a woman of great imagination, capricious and self-willed."
De Wardes and Manicamp, in their self-assumed character of courtiers, had announced
the princess's arrival. The procession was met at Nanterre by a brilliant escort of
cavaliers and carriages. It was Monsieur himself, followed by the Chevalier de Lorraine
and by his favorites, the latter being themselves followed by a portion of the king's
military household, who had arrived to meet his affianced bride. At St. Germain, the
princess and her mother had changed their heavy traveling carriage, somewhat
impaired by the journey, for a light, richly decorated chariot drawn by six horses with
white and gold harness. Seated in this open carriage, as though upon a throne, and
beneath a parasol of embroidered silk, fringed with feathers, sat the young and lovely