The Three Musketeers HTML version

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It was the second time the cardinal had mentioned these diamond studs to the king. Louis
XIII was struck with this insistence, and began to fancy that this recommendation
concealed some mystery.
More than once the king had been humiliated by the cardinal, whose police, without
having yet attained the perfection of the modern police, were excellent, being better
informed than himself, even upon what was going on in his own household. He hoped,
then, in a conversation with Anne of Austria, to obtain some information from that
conversation, and afterward to come upon his Eminence with some secret which the
cardinal either knew or did not know, but which, in either case, would raise him infinitely
in the eyes of his minister.
He went then to the queen, and according to custom accosted her with fresh menaces
against those who surrounded her. Anne of Austria lowered her head, allowed the torrent
to flow on without replying, hoping that it would cease of itself; but this was not what
Louis XIII meant. Louis XIII wanted a discussion from which some light or other might
break, convinced as he was that the cardinal had some afterthought and was preparing for
him one of those terrible surprises which his Eminence was so skillful in getting up. He
arrived at this end by his persistence in accusation.
"But," cried Anne of Austria, tired of these vague attacks, "but, sire, you do not tell me all
that you have in your heart. What have I done, then? Let me know what crime I have
committed. It is impossible that your Majesty can make all this ado about a letter written
to my brother."
The king, attacked in a manner so direct, did not know what to answer; and he thought
that this was the moment for expressing the desire which he was not have made until the
evening before the fete.
"Madame," said he, with dignity, "there will shortly be a ball at the Hotel de Ville. I wish,
in order to honor our worthy aldermen, you should appear in ceremonial costume, and
above all, ornamented with the diamond studs which I gave you on your birthday. That is
my answer."
The answer was terrible. Anne of Austria believed that Louis XIII knew all, and that the
cardinal had persuaded him to employ this long dissimulation of seven or eight days,
which, likewise, was characteristic. She became excessively pale, leaned her beautiful
hand upon a CONSOLE, which hand appeared then like one of wax, and looking at the
king with terror in her eyes, she was unable to reply by a single syllable.
"You hear, madame," said the king, who enjoyed the embarrassment to its full extent, but
without guessing the cause. "You hear, madame?"