My brother-in-law, recovering himself by a strong effort, profited by the present opportunity to remove me into another apartment, the pure air of which contributed to cool my fevered brain; but my trembling limbs refused to support me, and it was necessary
to apply strong restoratives ere I was sufficiently recovered to quit the fatal spot. At Trianon, as well as at Versailles, I was considered absolute mistress; those of the royal household, who were aware of my being at the former, earnestly solicited me to retire to the chamber I had occupied on the preceding night, but to this arrangement the comte and myself were equally opposed. A sedan chair was therefore procured, in which I was rapidly transported back to Versailles.
You may easily conceive in what a state I arrived there. My good Henriette was greatly alarmed, and immediately summoned Bordeu, who, not venturing to bleed me, contented himself with administering some cordials which revived me in some degree. But the events of the last few hours seemed indelibly fixed in my mind; and I heard, almost with indifference, the bulletin issued respecting the state of the king's health during the fatal night which had just passed. One object alone engrossed my thoughts; -eyes seemed still to behold the miserable girl stretched on her dying bed, whose ravings of despair and threatening words yet rung in my ears, and produced a fresh chill of horror, as with painful tenacity my mind dwelt upon them to the utter exclusion of every other consideration. The unfortunate creature expired on the third day, a victim to the rapid progress of the most virulent species of small-pox. She died more calmly and resigned than I had seen her. For my own part, I freely pardoned her injustice towards myself, and sincerely forgive the priest if he (as I have been told) excited her bitterness against me.
The severe shock I had experienced might have terminated fatally for me, had not my thoughts been compelled to rouse themselves for the contemplation of the alarming prospect before me. It was more than four o'clock in the morning when I returned to the chateau, and at nine I rose again without having obtained the least repose. The king had inquired for me several times. I instantly went to him, and my languid frame, pale countenance and heavy eyes, all which he took as the consequences of my concern for his indisposition, appeared greatly to affect him; and he sought to comfort me by the assurance of his being considerably better. This was far from being true, but he was far from suspecting the nature of the malady to which his frame was about to become a prey. The physicians had now pronounced with certainty on the subject, nor was it possible to make any mystery of it with me, who had seen Anne on her sick-bed.
In common with all who knew the real nature of the complaint, I sought to conceal it from the king, and in this deception the physicians themselves concurred. In the course of the morning a consultation took place; when called upon for their opinion, each of them endeavoured to evade a direct answer, disguising the name of his majesty's disease under the appellation of a cutaneous eruption, chicken-pox, etc., etc., none daring to give it its true denomination. Bordeu and Lemonnier pursued this cautious plan, but La Martiniere, who had first of all pronounced his decision on the subject, impatient of so much circumlocution on the part of those around him, could no longer repress his indignation.
"How is this, gentlemen!" exclaimed he, "is science at a standstill with you? Surely, you cannot be in any doubt on the subject of the king's illness. His majesty has the small-pox, with a complication of other diseases equally dangerous, and I look upon him as a dead man."
"Monsieur de la Martiniere," cried the duc de Duras, who, in quality of his office of first gentleman of the bed-chamber, was present at this conference, "allow me to remind you that you are expressing yourself very imprudently."
"Duc de Duras," replied the abrupt La Martiniere, "my business is not to flatter the king, but to tell him the truth with regard to his health. None of the medical gentlemen present can deny the truth of what I have asserted; they are all of my opinion, although I alone have the courage to act with that candour which my sense of honour dictates."
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