The conversation was carried on for a long while in this strain. The physicians had made so light of the complaint, that the king believed his illness to be merely of a temporary nature, and his gaiety and good spirits returned almost to their natural height. He inquired after madame de Mirepoix, and whether my sisters- in-law were uneasy respecting his state of health. You may imagine that my reply was worded with all the caution necessary to keep him in profound ignorance as to his real condition. When I returned to my apartment I found Bordeu there, who appeared quite at a loss what to say respecting the king's malady, the symptoms still remained too uncertain to warrant any person in calling it the small-pox.
"And should it prove that horrible complaint?" inquired I.
"There would, in that case, be considerable danger," replied Bordeu, not without extreme embarrassment..
"Perhaps even to the extinction of all hope?" asked I.
"God alone can tell," returned Bordeu.
"I understand," interrupted I, quickly, "and, spite of the mystery with which you would fain conceal the extent of his majesty's danger, I know, and venture to assert, that you consider him already as dead."
"Have a care, madam," exclaimed Bordeu, "how you admit such an idea, and still more of proclaiming it. I pledge you my word that I do not consider the king is in danger; I have seen many cures equally extraordinary with his."
I shook my head in token of disbelief. I had uttered what I firmly supposed the truth, and the sight of my evil genius in the person of the prophet who had awaited my return to Versailles, turned the encouraging words of Bordeu into a cold, heavy chill, which struck to my heart. Bordeu quitted me to resume his attendance upon the king. After him came the duc d'Aiguillon, whose features bore the visible marks of care and disquiet. He met me with the utmost tenderness and concern, asked of me the very smallest details of the disastrous events of the morning. I concealed nothing from him, and he listened to my recital with the most lively interest; and the account of the apparition of the wonderful being who seemed destined to follow me throughout my career was not the least interesting part of our conversation.
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