"He sends me from him, then," exclaimed I, with a convulsive cry, "and my enemies have triumphed."
"His majesty is but of human nature, madam," replied the duke; "he feels himself dangerously ill, dreads the future, and believes that he owes his people a sort of reparation for past errors."
"How, my lord duke," interrupted I, "this grave language in your lips--but no matter. Inform me only at whose desire you state these melancholy facts; speak, I am prepared for your mission, be it what it may."
"You shall hear everything, madam," replied the duke, leading me to an arm-chair. I seated myself; my sisters- in-law, my niece, and comte Jean stood around me, eagerly waiting the duke's communication. "A few hours after you had been removed from his chamber, the king inquired of the princess Adelaide whether it were generally known at Paris that he had the small-pox. The princess replied in the affirmative, adding:
"'The archbishop of Paris was here twice during yesterday to inquire after you.'
"'Yet I belong more properly to the diocese of Chartres,' returned the king, 'and surely M. de Fleury would not interest himself less about me than M. de Beaumont.'
"'They are both truly anxious about you, my dearest father, and if you would only see them--'
"'No, no,' answered Louis XV; 'they must not be taken from the duties of their respective dioceses; besides, in case of need, I have my grand almoner.'
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