Page:Inside Canton.djvu/126

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125
INSIDE CANTON.

to find something which might justify the many thanks which I considered it necessary to address to my friend; but seeing nothing—positively nothing—remarkable in it, I pretended to believe that it was an antiquity, and I exclaimed, endeavouring to give my exclamation a very decided expression of enthusiasm, "You were right in calling that a treasure! It is, I am sure, the cup which the cynic threw away, when he saw the thenian boy drinking from the hollow of his hand!" . . .

"Stop!" interrupted Arnaud almost angrily, "this is worth a hundred times as much as Diogenes' cup! It is enchanted. I only give it away because you are returning to France. If, unfortunately, in that country of political metamorphoses, you should be made king, you may laugh in your sleeve at any schemes of your direct heirs, if they should chance to wish to raise you to the rank of an immortal being too abruptly." . . .

"But you," I interrupted in my turn, "you, my friend, are exposed to the same dangers. In this barbarous country, it is more easy than in France to acquire supreme rank. Keep, then, the talisman."

"I expected this refusal from your delicacy," said Arnaud; "but re-assure yourself: I have twice refused the crown; and if I should one day wish to reign, I should just go to one of my neighbours, a friend of mine, who is a king not six hundred