Page:The Vicomte de Bragelonne 2.djvu/16

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4
THE VICOMTE DE BRAGELONNE

the foliage of which, beautifully green, was variegated with numerous red specks announcing future roses.
In the chamber, lighted by this window, was a square table, covered with an old, large-flowered Harlem tapestry; in the center of this table was a long-necked stone bottle, in which were irises and lilies of the valley; at each end of this table was a young girl.
The position of these two young people was singular; they might have been taken for two boarders escaped from a convent. One of them, with both elbows on the table; and a pen in her hand, was tracing characters upon a sheet of fine Dutch paper; the other, kneeling upon a chair, which allowed her to advance her head and bust over the back of it to the middle of the table, was watching her companion as she wrote, or rather hesitated to write.
Thence the thousand cries, the thousand railleries, the thousand laughs, one of which, more brilliant than the rest, had startled the birds of the ravenelles, and disturbed the slumbers of Monsieur's guards.
We are taking portraits now; we shall be allowed, therefore, we hope, to sketch the two last of this chapter.
The one who was leaning in the chair—that is to say, the joyous, the laughing one—was a beautiful girl of from eighteen to twenty, with brown complexion and brown hair, splendid, from eyes which sparkled beneath strongly marked brows, and particularly from her teeth, which seemed to shine like pearls between her red coral lips. Her every movement seemed the result of a springing mine; she did not live—she bounded.
The other, she who was writing, looked at her turbulent companion with an eye as limpid, as pure, and as blue as the heaven of that day. Her hair, of a shaded fairness, arranged with exquisite taste, fell in silky curls over her lovely mantling cheeks; she passed across the paper a delicate hand, whose thinness announced her extreme youth. At each burst of laughter that proceeded from her friend, she raised, as if annoyed, her white shoulders in a poetical and mild manner, but they were wanting in that rich fullness of mold which was likewise to be wished in her arms and hands.

"Montalais! Montalais!" said she at length, in a voice soft and caressing as a melody, "you laugh too loud—you laugh like a man. You will not only draw the attention of messieurs the guards, but you will not hear madame's bell when madame rings."