We pursued our way in mournful reflection, whilst madame d'Aiguillon, with her wonted goodness, sought by every means to distract me from the dejection in which I was buried. Her husband, who remained with the king, engaged to write me a true account of all that transpired during my absence, and I shall very shortly present you with a specimen of the fidelity with which he performed his promise. The duchess did the honours of Ruel.
"Here," said she, "the great cardinal Richelieu loved to repose himself from the bustle and turmoil of a court."
"I think," answered I, "it would have been less a favourite with his eminence had it been selected for his abode on the eve of his disgrace."
Immediately upon my arrival I retired to bed, for fatigue had so completely overpowered me that I fell into a heavy slumber, from which I did not awake till the following day; when I found the duchesse d'Aiguillon, my sister-in-law, Genevieve Mathon, and Henriette, seated by my bed: the sight of them was cheering and gratifying proof of my not being as yet abandoned by all the world.
I arose, and we were just about to take our places at table, when madame de Forcalquier arrived. I must confess that her presence was an agreeable surprise to me; I was far from reckoning on her constancy in friendship, and her present conduct proved her worthy of her excellent friend, madame Boncault, whose steady attachment I had so frequently heard extolled. The sight of her imparted fresh courage to me, and I even resumed my usual high spirits, and in the sudden turn my ideas had taken, was childish enough to express my regrets for the loss of my downy and luxurious bed at Versailles, complaining of the woful difference between it and the one I had slept on at Ruel.
The duchesse d'Aiguillon, who must have pitied the puerility of such a remark, gently endeavoured to reconcile me to it by reminding me that both the marquise de Pompadour and the cardinal de Richelieu had reposed upon that very couch.
I endeavoured to return some sportive reply, but my thoughts had flown back to Versailles, and my momentary exhilaration was at an end. Tears rose to my eyes and choked my attempts at conversation; I therefore begged the duchess would excuse me, and retired to my apartment until I could compose myself; but the kind and attentive friend to whose hospitality I was then confided needed no further mention of my hard couch, but caused the best bed Ruel contained to be prepared for me by the time I again pressed my pillow.
This same evening brought M. de Cosse, who could no longer repress his impatience to assure me of his entire devotion. He appeared on this occasion, if possible, more tender and more respectful in his manner of evincing it than ever.
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