"You do not understand me, then?" exclaimed the marechale, "I say that it is imperatively necessary for you to accept whatever the king may feel disposed to offer you as a future provision, and as affording you the means of passing the remainder of your days in ease and tranquillity. What would become of you in case of the worst? Your numerous creditors would besiege you with a rapacity, still further excited by the support they would receive from court. You look at me with surprise because I speak the language of truth; be a reasonable creature I implore of you once in your life, and do not thus sacrifice the interests of your life to a romantic disregard of self."
I could not feel offended with the marechale for addressing me thus, but I could not help fancying the moment was ill chosen, and unable to frame an answer to my mind, I remained silent. Mistaken as to the cause of my taciturnity, she continued,
"Come, I am well pleased to see you thus reflecting upon what I have said; but lose no time, strike the iron while it is hot. Do as I have recommended either to-night or early to-morrow; possibly, after that time it may be too late. May I venture also to remind you of your friends, my dear countess. I am in great trouble just now, and I trust you will not refuse to obtain for me, from his majesty, a favour of which I stand in the utmost need--50,000 francs would come very seasonably; I have lost that sum at cards, and must pay it, but how I know not."
"Let not that distress you," said I, "for I can relieve you of that difficulty until the king's convalescence enables him to undertake the pleasing office of assisting your wishes. M. de Laborde has orders to honour all my drafts upon him, I will
therefore draw for the sum you require." So saying, I hastily scrawled upon a little tumbled piece of paper those magic words, which had power to unlock the strong coffers of a court banker. The marechale embraced me several times with the utmost vivacity.
"You are my guardian angel," cried she, "you save me from despair. But, tell me, my generous friend, do you think M. de Laborde will make any difficulty?"
"Why," said I, "should you suppose it possible he will do so?"
"Oh, merely on account of present circumstances."
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