"Hark ye, sister," replied he, "we are both of us in a very critical situation just now, and should spare no endeavour to extricate ourselves from it. Very possibly this girl may be in possession of facts more important than you at present conceive possible; the earnestness with which she perseveres in her desire of seeing you, and her repeated prayers to those around her to beg your attendance, proves that it is something more than the mere whim of a sick person, and in your place, I should not hesitate to comply with her wishes."
"And how could we do so? "said I.
"To-night," returned he, "when all your guests have retired, and Versailles is in a manner deserted, I will fetch you; we have keys which open the various gates in the park, and walking through which, and the gardens, we can reach Trianon unobserved. No person will be aware of our excursion, and we shall return with the same caution with which we went. We will, after our visit, cause our clothes to be burnt, take a bath, and use every possible precaution to purify ourselves from all chance of infection. When that is done you may venture into the apartment of his majesty, even if that malady which at present hangs over him should turn out to be the small-pox."
I thought but little of the consequences of our scheme, or of the personal danger I incurred, and I promised my brother-in-law that I would hold myself in readiness to accompany him. We then conversed together upon the state of the king, and, what you will have some difficulty in crediting, not one word escaped either of us relative to our future plans or prospects; still it was the point to which the thoughts of comte Jean must naturally have turned.
We were interrupted in our < tete-a-tete > by the arrival of the marechale, whose exactitude I could not but admire. Comte Jean, having hastily paid his compliments, left us together.
"Well, my dear countess," said she, taking my hand with a friendly pressure, "and how goes on the dear invalid?"
"Better, I hope," replied I, "and indeed, this illness, at first so alarming to me, seems rather calculated to allay my former fears and anxieties by affording the king calm and impartial reflection; the result of it is that my dreaded rival of the
"I am delighted to hear this," replied madame de Mirepoix, "but, my dear soul, let me caution you against too implicitly trusting these deceitful appearances, to-morrow may destroy these flattering hopes, and the next day--"
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