Page:Louise de la Valliere text.djvu/11

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LOUISE DE LA VALLIERE.


CHAPTER I.

MALAGA.

During the continuance of the long and violent debates between the opposite ambitions of the court and those of the heart, one of our characters, the least deserving of neglect, perhaps, was, however, very much neglected, very much forgotten, and exceedingly unhappy. In fact, D'Artagnan—D'Artagnan, we say, for we must call him by his name, to remind our readers of his existence—D'Artagnan, we repeat, had absolutely nothing whatever to do amid this brilliant, light-hearted world of fashion. After having followed the king during two whole days at Fontainebleau, and having critically observed all the pastoral fancies and seriocomic transformations of his sovereign, the musketeer felt that he needed something more than this to satisfy the cravings of his existence. At every moment assailed by people asking him, "How do you think this costume suits me, Monsieur d'Artagnan?" he would reply to them, in

quiet, sarcastic tones, "Why, I think you are quite as well dressed as the best-dressed monkey to be found in the fair at St. Laurent." It was just such a compliment as D'Artagnan would choose to pay where he did not feel disposed to pay any other; and, whether agreeable or not, the inquirer was obliged to be satisfied with it. Whenever any one asked him, "How do you intend to dress yourself this evening?" he replied, "I shall undress myself;" at which all the ladies laughed. But after a couple of days passed in this manner, the musketeer, preceiving that nothing serious was likely to arise which would concern him, and that the king had completely, or, at least, appeared to have completely, forgotten Paris, St. Mande, and Belle-Isle—that M. Colbert's mind was occupied with illuminations and

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Dumas—Vol. XVI