Page:The Vicomte de Bragelonne 2.djvu/15

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3
THE VICOMTE DE BRAGELONNE

shape of buskins; the horse was of a bay color; Monsieur's pourpoint of crimson velvet corresponded with the cloak of the same shade and the horse's equipment, and it was only by this red appearance of the whole that the prince could be known from his two companions, the one dressed in violet the other in green. He on the left, in violet, was his equerry; he on the right, in green, was the grand veneur.
One of the pages carried two gerfalcons upon a perch, the other a hunting-horn, which he blew with a careless note at twenty paces from the castle. Every one about this listless prince did what he had to do listlessly.
At this signal eight guards, who were lounging in the sun in the square court, ran to their halberts, and Monsieur made his solemn entry into the castle.
When he had disappeared under the shades of the porch, three or four idlers, who had followed the cavalcade to the castle, after pointing out the suspended birds to one another, dispersed with comments upon what they saw; and when they were gone, the street, the place, and the court, all remained deserted alike.
Monsieur dismounted without speaking a word, went straight to his apartments, where his valet changed his dress, and as madame had not yet sent orders respecting breakfast, Monsieur stretched himself upon a chaise-longue, and was soon as fast asleep as if it had been eleven o'clock at night.
The eight guards, who concluded their service for the day was over, laid themselves down very comfortably in the sun upon some stone benches; the grooms disappeared with their horses into the stables, and, with the exception of a few joyous birds, startling one another with their sharp chirping in the tufts of gillyflowers, it might have been thought that the whole castle was as soundly asleep as Monsieur was.
All at once, in the midst of this delicious silence, there resounded a clear, ringing laugh, which caused several of the halberdiers in the enjoyment of their siesta to open at least one eye.
This burst of laughter proceeded from a window of the castle, visited at this moment by the sun, which united it in one of those large angles which the profiles of the chimneys marked out upon the walls before midday.
The little balcony of wrought iron which advanced in front of this window was furnished with a pot of red gillyflowers, another pot of primroses, and an early rose-tree,