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time: 2023-12-05 20:39:39laiyuan:toutiaovits: 3979

"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."

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"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."

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"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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The unbroken silence preserved by those who heard this address, clearly proved the truth of all La Martiniere advanced. The duc de Duras was but too fully convinced of the justice of his opinion.

"The king is then past all hope," repeated he, "and what remains to be done?"

"To watch over him, and administer every aid and relief which art suggests," was the brief reply of La Martiniere.

The different physicians, when separately questioned, hesitated no longer to express their concurrence in the opinion that his majesty's case was entirely hopeless, unless, indeed, some crisis, which human foresight could not anticipate, should arise in his favour.

This opinion changed the moral face of the chateau. The duc de Duras, who had not previously suspected even the existence of danger, began to feel how weighty a burthen reposed on his shoulders; he recommended to the medical attendants the utmost caution and silence, pointing out, at the same time, all the ill consequences which might arise, were any imprudent or sudden explanation of his real malady made to the august sufferer. Unable to attend to everything himself, and not inclined to depend upon his son, whose natural propensity he was fully aware of, he recalled to his recollection that the comte de Muy, the sincere and attached friend of the dauphin, son to Louis XV, was then in Versailles. He immediately sought him out in the apartments he occupied in the chateau, and communicated to him the result of the consultation respecting the king's illness.

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