Ten Years Later

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Authors: Alexandre Dumas
Tags: Fiction, Historical
replaced the voice; the people could still look but they were no longer allowed to sing. De Guiche left De Wardes and Malicorne at the bottom of the grand staircase, while he himself, who shared the favor and good graces of Monsieur with the Chevalier de Lorraine, who always smiled at him most affectionately, though he could not endure him, went straight to the prince's apartments, whom he found engaged in admiring himself in the glass, and rouging his face. In a corner of the cabinet, the Chevalier de Lorraine was extended full length upon some cushions, having just had his long hair curled, with which he was playing in the same manner a woman would have done. The prince turned round as the count entered, and perceiving who it was, said: "Ah! is that you, De Guiche; come here and tell me the truth."
    "You know, my lord, it is one of my defects to speak the truth."
    "You will hardly believe, De Guiche, how that wicked chevalier has annoyed me."
    The chevalier shrugged his shoulders.
    "Why, he pretends," continued the prince, "that Mademoiselle Henrietta is better looking as a woman than I am as a man."
    "Do not forget, my lord," said De Guiche, frowning slightly, "you require me to speak the truth."
    "Certainly," said the prince, tremblingly.
    "Well, and I shall tell it you."
    "Do not be in a hurry, Guiche," exclaimed the prince, "you have plenty of time; look at me attentively, and try to recollect Madame. Besides, her portrait is here. Look at it." And he held out to him a miniature of the finest possible execution. De Guiche took it, and looked at it for a long time attentively.
    "Upon my honor, my lord, this is indeed a most lovely face."
    "But look at me, count, look at me," said the prince, endeavoring to direct upon himself the attention of the count, who was completely absorbed in contemplation of the portrait.
    "It is wonderful," murmured Guiche.
    "Really one would imagine you had never seen the young lady before."
    "It is true, my lord, I have seen her but it was five years ago; there is a great difference between a child twelve years old, and a girl of seventeen."
    "Well, what is your opinion?"
    "My opinion is that the portrait must be flattering, my lord."
    "Of that," said the prince triumphantly, "there can be no doubt; but let us suppose that it is not, what would your opinion be?"
    "My lord, that your highness is exceedingly happy to have so charming a bride."
    The Chevalier de Lorraine burst out laughing. The prince understood how severe towards himself this opinion of the Comte de Guiche was, and he looked somewhat displeased, saying, "My friends are not over indulgent." De Guiche looked at the portrait again, and, after lengthened contemplation, returned it with apparent unwillingness, saying, "Most decidedly, my lord, I should rather prefer to look ten times at your highness, than to look at Madame once again." It seemed as if the chevalier had detected some mystery in these words, which were incomprehensible to the prince, for he exclaimed: "Very well, get married yourself." Monsieur continued painting himself, and when he had finished, looked at the portrait again once more, turned to admire himself in the glass, and smiled, and no doubt was satisfied with the comparison. "You are very kind to have come," he said to Guiche, "I feared you would leave without bidding me adieu."
    "Your highness knows me too well to believe me capable of so great a disrespect."
    "Besides, I suppose you have something to ask from me before leaving Paris?"
    "Your highness has indeed guessed correctly, for I have a request to make."
    "Very good, what is it?"
    The Chevalier de Lorraine immediately displayed the greatest attention, for he regarded every favor conferred upon another as a robbery committed against himself. And, as Guiche hesitated, the prince said: "If it be money, nothing could be more fortunate, for I am in funds; the superintendent of the finances has sent me 500,000 pistoles."
    "I thank your highness; but is not

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