"I admire your calmness in a moment like the present," cried the duke; "but have a care. Perhaps the best thing would be to remove you beyond the reach of the first shock of court displeasure. In your place I would request passports from the duc d'Aiguillon and travel into England."
"Oh, speak not of such a thing, I conjure you," interrupted I; "I have a horror of such journeys, and would much rather trust to the generosity of the dauphiness. She is about to become a great queen, while I shall be a creature so humiliated and abased, that the very difference between our situations will be a sufficient vengeance in her eyes."
We returned to the house, and had scarcely entered, when M. de Palchelbel, plenipotentiary to the prince des Deux Ponts, was announced.
"M. de Palchelbel," cried I, extending my hand, "what good wind brings you here?"
"I have been honoured by the commands of the prince, my master, madam," replied he, "to bring you the assurances of his unalterable friendship; and to say further, that whenever you feel dissatisfied with your residence in France, you will find at Deux Ponts an asylum, which the most earnest endeavors of the prince, my gracious patron, will strive to render agreeable to you."
I was much affected by this mark of generous regard on the part of prince Charles Auguste; and, turning quickly towards the duke, I exclaimed,
"What think you of all this? Will you henceforward believe those self-dubbed philosophers, who assert that friendship is unknown to royalty? You have here a proof of the contrary. For my own part, M. de Palchelbel," continued I, turning towards the minister, "I am much gratified by your message, and entreat of you to thank his royal highness most sincerely for me. I will write to him myself on the subject, but beg of you to repeat that, kind as are his offers, I cannot accept of them; but shall certainly remain in France until the new sovereign commands or permits me to quit it."
I afterwards repeated to the minister of Deux Ponts what I had previously stated in the garden to M. de Cosse, and had the satisfaction of hearing madam d'Aiguillon approve of my sentiments.
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