on by a lion than an army of lions led on by a deer," In

time:2023-11-30 02:18:13 source:Forget Your Life author:software

He then withdrew, walking backwards, keeping the two friends covered with his pistols until he had placed a sufficient distance between himself and them to be out of danger of an attack.

on by a lion than an army of lions led on by a deer,

The two gentlemen on their part walked rapidly away, looking round from time to time, and keeping their ears open. They were very much mortified at having been forced to let a mere boor dictate to them, and anxious, especially de Jars, as to the result of the wound.

on by a lion than an army of lions led on by a deer,

On the day following this extraordinary series of adventures, explanations between those who were mixed up in them, whether as actors or spectators, were the order of the day. It was not till Maitre Quennebert reached the house of the friend who had offered to put him up for the night that it first dawned on him, that the interest which the Chevalier de Moranges had awakened in his mind had made him utterly forget the bag containing the twelve hundred livres which he owed to the generosity of the widow. This money being necessary to him, he went back to her early next morning. He found her hardly recovered from her terrible fright. Her swoon had lasted far beyond the time when the notary had left the house; and as Angelique, not daring to enter the bewitched room, had taken refuge in the most distant corner of her apartments, the feeble call of the widow was heard by no one. Receiving no answer, Madame Rapally groped her way into the next room, and finding that empty, buried herself beneath the bedclothes, and passed the rest of the night dreaming of drawn swords, duels, and murders. As soon as it was light she ventured into the mysterious room once more; without calling her servants, and found the bag of crowns lying open on the floor, with the coins scattered all around, the partition broken, and the tapestry hanging from it in shreds. The widow was near fainting again: she imagined at first she saw stains of blood everywhere, but a closer inspection having somewhat reassured her, she began to pick up the coins that had rolled to right and left, and was agreeably surprised to find the tale complete. But how and why had Maitre Quennebert abandoned them? What had become of him? She had got lost in the most absurd suppositions and conjectures when the notary appeared. Discovering from the first words she uttered that she was in complete ignorance of all that had taken place, he explained to her that when the interview between the chevalier and Mademoiselle de Guerchi had just at the most interesting moment been so unceremoniously interrupted by the arrival of the duke, he had become so absorbed in watching them that he had not noticed that the partition was bending before the pressure of his body, and that just as the duke drew his sword it suddenly gave way, and he, Quennebert, being thus left without support, tumbled head foremost into the next room, among a perfect chaos of overturned furniture and lamps; that almost before he could rise he was forced to draw in self-defence, and had to make his escape, defending himself against both the duke and the chevalier; that they had pursued him so hotly, that when he found himself free he was too far from the house and the hour was too advanced to admit of his returning, Quennebert added innumerable protestations of friendship, devotion, and gratitude, and, furnished with his twelve hundred crowns, went away, leaving the widow reassured as to his safety, but still shaken from her fright.

on by a lion than an army of lions led on by a deer,

While the notary was thus soothing the widow, Angelique was exhausting all the expedients her trade had taught her in the attempt to remove the duke's suspicions. She asserted she was the victim of an unforeseen attack which nothing in her conduct had ever authorised. The young Chevalier de Moranges had, gained admittance, she declared, under the pretext that he brought her news from the duke, the one man who occupied her thoughts, the sole object of her love. The chevalier had seen her lover, he said, a few days before, and by cleverly appealing to things back, he had led her to fear that the duke had grown tired of her, and that a new conquest was the cause of his absence. She had not believed these insinuations, although his long silence would have justified the most mortifying suppositions, the most cruel doubts. At length the chevalier had grown bolder, and had declared his passion for her; whereupon she had risen and ordered him to leave her. Just at that moment the duke had entered, and had taken the natural agitation and confusion of the chevalier as signs of her guilt. Some explanation was also necessary to account for the presence of the two other visitors of whom he had been told below stairs. As he knew nothing at all about them, the servant who admitted them never having seen either of them before, she acknowledged that two gentlemen had called earlier in the evening; that they had refused to send in their names, but as they had said they had come to inquire about the duke, she suspected them of having been in league with the chevalier in the attempt to ruin her reputation, perhaps they had even promised to help him to carry her off, but she knew nothing positive about them or their plans. The duke, contrary to his wont, did not allow himself to be easily convinced by these lame explanations, but unfortunately for him the lady knew how to assume an attitude favourable to her purpose. She had been induced, she said, with the simple confidence born of love, to listen to people who had led her to suppose they could give her news of one so dear to her as the duke. From this falsehood she proceeded to bitter reproaches: instead of defending herself, she accused him of having left her a prey to anxiety; she went so far as to imply that there must be some foundation for the hints of the chevalier, until at last the duke, although he was not guilty of the slightest infidelity, and had excellent reasons to give in justification of his silence, was soon reduced to a penitent mood, and changed his threats into entreaties for forgiveness. As to the shriek he had heard, and which he was sure had been uttered by the stranger who had forced his way into her room after the departure of the others, she asserted that his ears must have deceived him. Feeling that therein lay her best chance of making things smooth, she exerted herself to convince him that there was no need for other information than she could give, and did all she could to blot the whole affair from his memory; and her success was such that at the end of the interview the duke was more enamoured and more credulous than ever, and believing he had done her wrong, he delivered himself up to her, bound hand and foot. Two days later he installed his mistress in another dwelling....

Madame Rapally also resolved to give up her rooms, and removed to a house that belonged to her, on the Pont Saint-Michel.

The commander took the condition of Charlotte Boullenois very much to heart. The physician under whose care he had placed her, after examining her wounds, had not given much hope of her recovery. It was not that de Jars was capable of a lasting love, but Charlotte was young and possessed great beauty, and the romance and mystery surrounding their connection gave it piquancy. Charlotte's disguise, too, which enabled de Jars to conceal his success and yet flaunt it in the face, as it were, of public morality and curiosity, charmed him by its audacity, and above all he was carried away by the bold and uncommon character of the girl, who, not content with a prosaic intrigue, had trampled underfoot all social prejudices and proprieties, and plunged at once into unmeasured and unrestrained dissipation; the singular mingling in her nature of the vices of both sexes; the unbridled licentiousness of the courtesan coupled with the devotion of a man for horses, wine, and fencing; in short, her eccentric character, as it would now be called, kept a passion alive which would else have quickly died away in his blase heart. Nothing would induce him to follow Jeannin's advice to leave Paris for at least a few weeks, although he shared Jeannin's fear that the statement they had been forced to give the stranger would bring them into trouble. The treasurer, who had no love affair on hand, went off; but the commander bravely held his ground, and at the end of five or six days, during which no one disturbed him, began to think the only result of the incident would be the anxiety it had caused him.

Every evening as soon as it was dark he betook himself to the doctor's, wrapped in his cloak, armed to the teeth, and his hat pulled down over his eyes. For two days and nights, Charlotte, whom to avoid confusion we shall continue to call the Chevalier de Moranges, hovered between life and death. Her youth and the strength of her constitution enabled her at last to overcome the fever, in spite of the want of skill of the surgeon Perregaud.

Although de Jars was the only person who visited the chevalier, he was not the only one who was anxious about the patient's health. Maitre Quennebert, or men engaged by him to watch, for he did not want to attract attention, were always prowling about the neighbourhood, so that he was kept well informed of everything that went on: The instructions he gave to these agents were, that if a funeral should leave the house, they were to find out the name of the deceased, and then to let him know without delay. But all these precautions seemed quite useless: he always received the same answer to all his questions, "We know nothing." So at last he determined to address himself directly to the man who could give him information on which he could rely.


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