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In accordance with my custom I gave an entertainment on the last day of this year to the King and Queen; who came to the Arsenal with a numerous train, and found the diversions I had provided so much to their taste that they did not leave until I was half dead with fatigue, and like to be killed with complaisance. Though this was not the most splendid entertainment I gave that year, it had the good fortune to please; and in a different and less agreeable fashion is recalled to my memory by a peculiar chain of events, whereof the first link came under my eyes during its progress.
I have mentioned in an earlier part of these memoirs, a Portuguese adventurer who, about this time, gained large sums from the Court at play, and more than once compelled the King to have recourse to me. I had the worst opinion of this man, and did not scruple to express it on several occasions; and this the more, as his presumption fell little short of his knavery, while he treated those whom he robbed with as much arrogance as if to play with him were an honour. Holding this view of him, I was far from pleased when I discovered that the King had brought him to my house; but the feeling, though sufficiently strong, sank to nothing beside the indignation and disgust which I experienced when, the company having fallen to cards after supper, I found that the Queen had sat down with him to primero.
It did not lessen my annoyance, that I had, after my usual fashion, furnished the Queen with a purse for her sport; and in this way found myself reduced to stand by and see my good money pass into the clutches of this knave. Under the circumstances, and in my own house, I could do nothing; nevertheless, the table at which they sat possessed so strong a fascination for me that I several times caught myself staring at it more closely than was polite; and as to disgust at the unseemliness of such companionship was added vexation at my own loss, I might have gone farther towards betraying my feelings if a casual glance aside had not disclosed to me the fact that I did not stand alone in my dissatisfaction; but that, frivolous as the majority of the courtiers were, there was one at least among those present who viewed this particular game with distaste.
This person stood near the door, and fancying himself secured from observation, either by his position or his insignificance, was glowering on the pair in a manner that at another time must have cost him a rebuke. As it was, I found something friendly, as well as curious, in his fixed frown; and ignorant of his name, though I knew him by sight, wondered both who he was and what was the cause of his preoccupation.
On the one point I had no difficulty in satisfying myself. Boisrueil, who presently passed, told me that his name was Vallon; that he belonged to a poor but old family in the Cotentin, and that he had been only three months at court.
"Making his fortune, I suppose?" I said grimly. "He games?"
"No, your excellency."
"Is in debt?"
"Not to my knowledge."
"To whom does he pay his court, then?"
"To the King."
"And the Queen?"
"Not particularly--as far as I know, at least. But if you wish to know more, M. le Duc," Boisrueil continued, "I will--"
"No, no," I said peevishly. The Queen had just handed her last rouleau across the table, and was still playing. "Go, man, about your business; I don't want to spend the evening gossiping with you."
He went, and I dismissed the young fellow from my mind; only to find him five minutes later at my elbow. To youth and good looks he added a modest bearing that did not fail to enhance them and commend him to me; the majority of the young sparks of the day being wiser than their fathers. But I confess that I was not prepared for the stammering embarrassment with which he addressed me--nor, indeed, to be addressed by him at all.
"M. de Sully," he said, in a tone of emotion, "I beg you to pardon me. I am in great trouble, and I think that perhaps, stranger as I am, you may condescend to do me a service."
So many men appeal to a minister with some such formula on their lips, and at times with a calculated timidity, that at the first blush of his request I was inclined to bid him come to me at the proper time; and to remove to another part of the room. But curiosity, playing the part of his advocate, found so much that was candid in his manner that I hesitated. "What is it?" I said stiffly.
"A very slight, if a very unusual, one," he muttered. "M. le Duc, I only want you to--"
"To?" for he stopped and seemed unable to go on.
"To supplement the present you have given to the Queen with this," he blurted out, his face pale with emotion; and he stealthily held out to me a green silk purse, through the meshes of which I saw the glint of gold. "M. de Sully," he continued, observing my hasty movement, "do not be offended! I know that you have done all that hospitality required. But I see that the Queen has already lost your gift, and that--"
She is playing on credit?"
He said it simply, and as he spoke, he again pressed on me the purse. I took and weighed it, and calculated at a guess that it held fifty crowns. The sum astonished me. "Why, man," I said, "you are not mad enough to be in love with her Majesty?"
"No!" he cried, vehemently, yet with a gleam of humour in his eye. "I swear that it is not so. If you will do me this favour --"
It was a mad impulse that took me, but I nodded, and resolving to make good the money out of my own pocket should the case, when all was clear, seem to demand it, I went straight from him, and, crossing the floor, laid the purse near her Majesty's hand, with a polite word of regret that fortune had used her so ill, and a hope that this might be the means of recruiting her forces.
It would not have surprised me had she shown some signs of consciousness, and perhaps betrayed that she recognised the purse. But she contented herself with thanking me prettily, and almost before I had done speaking had her slender fingers among the coins. Turning, I found that Vallon had disappeared; so that all came to a sudden stop; and with the one and the other, I retired completely puzzled, and less able than before to make even a guess at the secret of the young man's generosity.
However, the King summoning me to him, there, for the time, was an end of the matter: and between fatigue and the duties of my position, I did not give a second thought to it that evening. Next morning, too, I was taken up with the gifts which it was my privilege as Master of the Mint to present to the King on New Year's Day, and which consisted this year of medals of gold, silver, and copper, bearing inscriptions of my own composition, together with small bags of new coins for the King, the Queen, and their attendants.
These I always made it a point to offer before the King rose; nor was this year an exception, for I found his Majesty still in bed, the Queen occupying a couch in the same chamber. But whereas it generally fell to me to arouse them from sleep, and be the first to offer those compliments which befitted the day, I found them on this occasion fully roused, the King lazily toying with his watch, the Queen talking fast and angrily, and at the edge of the carpet beside her bed Mademoiselle D'Oyley in deep disgrace. The Queen, indeed, was so taken up with scolding her that she had forgotten what day it was; and even after my entrance, continued to rate the poor girl so fiercely that I thought her present violence little less unseemly than her condescension of the night before.
Perhaps some trace of this feeling appeared in my countenance; for, presently, the King, who seldom failed to read my thoughts, tried to check her in a good-natured fashion. "Come, my dear," he said; "let that trembling mouse go. And do you hear what our good friend Sully has brought you? I'll be bound--"
"How your Majesty talks!" the Queen answered, pettishly. "As if a few paltry coins could make up for my jar! I'll be bound, for my part, that this idle wench was romping and playing with--"
"Come, come; you have made her cry enough!" the King interrupted--and, indeed, the girl was sobbing so passionately that a man could not listen without pain. "Let her go, I say, and do you attend to Sully. You have forgotten that it is New Year's Day--"
"A jar of majolica," the Queen cried, Utterly disregarding him, "worth your body and soul, you little slut!"
"Pooh! pooh!" the King said.
"Do you think that I brought it from Florence, all the way in my own--"
"Nightcap," the King muttered. "There, there, sweetheart," he continued, aloud, "let the girl go!"
"Of course! She is a girl," the Queen cried, with a sneer. "That is enough for you!"
"Well, madam, she is not the only one in the room," I ventured.
"Oh, of course?, you are the King's echo!"
"Run away, little one," Henry said, winking to me to be silent.
"And consider yourself lucky," the Queen cried, venomously. "You ought to be whipped; and if I had you in my country, I would have you whipped for all your airs! San Giacomo, if you cross me, I will see to it!"
This was a parting thrust; for the girl, catching at the King's permission, had turned and was hurrying in a passion of tears to the door. Still, the Queen had not done. Mademoiselle had broken a jar; and there were other misdemeanours which her Majesty continued to expound. But in the end I had my say, and presented the medals, which were accepted by the King with his usual kindness, and by the Queen, when her feelings had found expression, with sufficient complaisance. Both were good enough to compliment me on my entertainment; but observing that the Queen quickly buried herself again in her pillows and was inclined to be peevish, I cut short my attendance on the plea of fatigue, and left them at liberty to receive the very numerous company who on this day pay their court.
Of these, the greater number came on afterwards, to wait on me; so that for some hours the large hall at the Arsenal was thronged with my friends, or those who called themselves by that name. But towards noon the stream began to fail; and when I sat down to dinner at that hour, I had reason to suppose that I should be left at peace. I had not more than begun my meal, however, when I was called from table by a messenger from the Queen.
"What is it?" I said, when I had gone to him. Had he come from the King, I could have understood it more easily.
"Her Majesty desires to know, your excellency, whether you have seen anything of Mademoiselle D'Oyley."
"Yes, M. le Duc."
"No, certainly not. How should I?" I replied.
"And she is not here?" the man persisted.
"No!" I answered, angrily. "God bless the Queen, I know nothing of her. I am sitting at meat, and--"
The man interrupted me with protestations of regret, and, hastening to express himself thoroughly satisfied, retired with a crestfallen air. I wondered what the message meant, and what had come over the Queen, and whither the girl had gone. But as I made it a rule throughout my term of office to avoid, as far as possible, all participation in bed-chamber intrigues, I wasted little time on the matter, but returning to my dinner, took up the conversation where I had left it. Before I rose, however, La Trape came to me and again interrupted me. He announced that a messenger from his Majesty was waiting in the hall.
I went out, thinking it very probable that Henry had sent me a present; though it was his more usual custom on this day to honour me with a visit, and declare his generous intentions by word of mouth, when we had both retired to my library and the door was closed. Still, on one or two occasions he had sent me a horse from his stables, a brace of Indian fowl, a melon or the like, as a foretaste; and this I supposed to be the errand on which the man had come.
His first words disabused me. "May it please your excellency," he said, very civilly, "the King desires to be remembered to you as usual, and would ]earn whether you know anything of Mademoiselle D'Oyley."
"Of whom?" I cried, astonished.
"Of Mademoiselle D'Oyley, her Majesty's maid of honour."
"Not I, i'faith!" I said, drily. "I am no squire of dames, to say nothing of maids!"
"But his Majesty--"
"If he has sent that message," I replied, "has yet something to learn--that I do not interest myself in maids of honour or such frailties."
The man smiled. "I do not think," he began, "that it was his Majesty--"
"Sent the message?" I said. "No, but the Queen, I suppose."
On this he gave me to understand, in the sly, secretive manner such men affect, that it was so. I asked him then what all this ferment was about. "Has Mademoiselle D'Oyley disappeared?" I said, peevishly.
"Yes, your excellency. She was with the Queen at eight o'clock. At noon her Majesty desired her services, and she was not to be found."
"What?" I exclaimed. "A maid of honour is missing for three hours in the morning, and there is all this travelling! Why, in my young days, three nights might have--"
But discerning that he was little more than a youth, and could not; restrain a smile, I broke off discreetly, and contented myself with asking if there was reason to suppose that there was more than appeared in the girl's absence.
"Her Majesty thinks so," he answered.
"Well, in any case, I know nothing about it," I replied. "I am not hiding her. You may tell his Majesty that, with my service. Or I will write it."
He answered me, eagerly, that that was not necessary, and that the King had desired merely a word from me; and with that and many other expressions of regret, he went away and left me at leisure to go to the riding-school, where at this time of the year it was my wont to see the young men practise those manly arts, which, so far as I can judge, are at a lower ebb in these modern days of quips and quodlibets than in the stirring times of my youth. Then, thank God, it was held more necessary for a page to know his seven points of horsemanship than how to tie a ribbon, or prank a gown, or read a primer.
But the first day of this year was destined to be a day of vexation. I had scarcely entered the school, when M. de Varennes was announced. Instead of going to meet him I bade them bring him to me, and, on seeing him, bade him welcome to the sports. "Though," I said, politely overlooking his past history and his origin, "we did better in our times; yet the young fellows should be encouraged."
"Very true," he answered, suavely. "And I wish I could stay with you. But it was not for pleasure I came. The King sent me. He desires to know--"
"What?" I said.
"If you know anything of Mademoiselle D'Oyley. Between ourselves, M. le Duc--"
I looked at him in amazement. "Why," I said, "what on earth has the girl done now?"
"Disappeared," he answered.
"But she had done that before."
"Yes," he said, "and the King had your message. But--"
"But what?" I said sternly.
"He thought that you might wish to supplement it for his private use."
"To supplement it?"
"Yes. The truth is," Varennes continued, looking at me doubtfully, "the King has information which leads him to suppose that she may be here."
"She may be anywhere," I answered in a tone that closed his mouth, "but she is not here. And you may tell the King so from me!"
Though he had begun life as a cook, few could be more arrogant than Varennes on occasion; but he possessed the valuable knack of knowing with whom he could presume, and never attempted to impose on me. Apologising with the easy grace of a man who had risen in life by pleasing, he sat with me awhile, recalling old days and feats, and then left, giving me to understand that I might depend on him to disabuse the King's mind.
As a fact, Henry visited me that evening without raising the subject; nor had I any reason to complain of his generosity, albeit he took care to exact from the Superintendent of the Finances more than he gave his servant, and for one gift to Peter got two Pauls satisfied. To obtain the money he needed in the most commodious manner, I spent the greater part of two days in accounts, and had not yet settled the warrants to my liking, when La Trape coming in with candles on the second evening disturbed my secretaries. The men yawned discreetly; and reflecting that we had had a long day I dismissed them, and stayed myself only for the purpose of securing one or two papers of a private nature. Then I bade La Trape light me to my closet.
Instead, he stood and craved leave to speak to me. "About what, sirrah?" I said.
"I have received an offer, your excellency," he answered with a crafty look.
"What! To leave my service?" I exclaimed, in surprise.
"No, your excellency," he answered. "To do a service for another--M. Pimentel. The Portuguese gentleman stopped me in the street to-day, and offered me fifty crowns."
"To do what?" I asked.
"To tell him where the young lady with Madame lies; and lend him the key of the garden gate to-night."
I stared at the fellow. "The young lady with Madame?" I said.
He returned my look with a stupidity which I knew was assumed. "Yes, your excellency. The young lady who came this morning," he said.
Then I knew that I had been betrayed, and had given my enemies such a handle as they would not be slow to seize; and I stood in the middle of the room in the utmost grief and consternation. At last, "Stay here," I said to the man, as soon as I could speak. "no not move from the spot where you stand until I come back!"
It was my almost invariable custom to be announced when I visited my wife's closet; but I had no mind now for such formalities, and swiftly passing two or three scared servants on the stairs, I made straight for her room, tapped and entered. Abrupt as were my movements, however, someone had contrived to warn her; for though two of her women sat working on stools near her, I heard a hasty foot flying, and caught the last flutter of a skirt as it disappeared through a second door. My wife rose from her seat, and looked at me guiltily.
"Madame," I said, "send these women away. Now," I continued when they had gone, "who was that with you?" She looked away dumbly.
"You do well not to try to deceive me, Madame," I continued severely. "It was Mademoiselle D'Oyley."
She muttered, not daring to meet my eye, that it was.
"Who has absented herself from the Queen's service," I answered bitterly, "and chosen to hide herself here of all places! Madame," I continued, with a severity which the sense of my false position amply justified, "are you aware that you have made me dishonour myself? That you have made me lie; not once, but three times? That you have made me deceive my master?"
She cried out at that, being frightened, that "she had meant no harm; that the girl coming to her in great grief and trouble--"
"Because the Queen had scolded her for breaking a china jar!" I said, contemptuously.
"No, Monsieur; her trouble was of quite another kind," my wife answered with more spirit than I had expected.
"Pshaw! "I exclaimed.
"It is plain that you do not yet understand the case," Madame persisted, facing me with trembling hardihood. "Mademoiselle D'Oyley has been persecuted for some time by the suit of a man for whom I know you, Monsieur, have no respect: a man whom no Frenchwoman of family should be forced to marry."
"Who is it?" I said curtly.
"Ah! And the Queen?"
"Has made his suit her own. Doubtless her Majesty," Madame de Sully continued with grimness, "who plays with him so much, is under obligations to him, and has her reasons. The King, too, is on his side, so that Mademoiselle--"
"Who has another lover, I suppose?" I said harshly.
My wife looked at me in trepidation. "It may be so, Monsieur," she said hesitating
"It is so, Madame; and you know it," I answered in the same tone. "M. Vallon is the man."
"Oh!" she exclaimed with a gesture of alarm. "You know!"
"I know, Madame," I replied, with vigour, "that to please this love-sick girl you have placed me in a position of the utmost difficulty; that you have jeopardised the confidence which my master, whom I have never willingly deceived, places in me; and that out of all this I see only one way of escape, and that is by a full and frank confession, which you must make to the Queen."
"Oh, Monsieur," she said faintly.
"The girl, of course, must be immediately given up."
My wife began to sob at that, as women will; but I had too keen a sense of the difficulties into which she had plunged me by her deceit, to pity her over much. And, doubtless, I should have continued in the resolution I had formed, and which appeared to hold out the only hope of avoiding the malice of those enemies whom every man in power possesses--and none can afford to despise--if La Trape's words, when he betrayed the secret to me, had not recurred to my mind and suggested other reflections.
Doubtless, Mademoiselle had been watched into my house, and my ill-wishers would take the earliest opportunity of bringing the lie home to me. My wife's confession, under such circumstances, would have but a simple air, and believed by some would be ridiculed by more. It might, and probably would, save my credit with the King; but it would not exalt me in others' eyes, or increase my reputation as a manager. If there were any other way--and so reflecting, I thought of La Trape and his story.
Still I was half way to the door when I paused, and turned. My wife was still weeping. "It is no good crying over spilled milk, Madame," I said severely. "If the girl were not a fool, she would have gone to the Ursulines. The abbess has a stiff neck, and is as big a simpleton to boot as you are. It is only a step, too, from here to the Ursulines, if she had had the sense to go on."
My wife lifted her head, and looked at me eagerly; but I avoided her gaze and went out without more, and downstairs to my study, where I found La Trape awaiting me. "Go to Madame la Duchesse," I said to him. "When you have done what she needs, come to me in my closet."
He obeyed, and after an interval of about half an hour, during which I had time to mature my plan, presented himself again before me. "Pimentel had a notion that the young lady was here then?" I said carelessly.
"Yes, your excellency."
"Some of his people fancied that they saw her enter, perhaps?"
"Yes, your excellency."
"They were mistaken, of course?"
"Of course," he answered, dutifully.
"Or she may have come to the door and gone again?" I suggested.
"Possibly, your excellency."
"Gone on without being seen, I mean?"
"If she went in the direction of the Rue St. Marcel," he answered stolidly, "she would not be seen."
The convent of the Ursulines is in the Rue St. Marcel. I knew, therefore, that Madame had had the sense to act on my hint; and after reflecting a moment I continued, "So Pimentel wished to know where she was lodged?"
"That, and to have the key, your excellency."
"Yes, your excellency."
"Well, you are at liberty to accept the offer," I answered carelessly. "It will not clash with my service." And then, as he stood staring in astonishment, striving to read the riddle, I continued, "By the way, are the rooms in the little Garden Pavilion aired? They may be needed next week; see that one of the women sleeps there to-night; a woman you can depend on."
He said no more, but I saw that he understood; and bidding him be careful in following my instructions, I dismissed him. The line I had determined to take was attended by many uncertainties, however; and more than once I repented that I had not followed my first; instinct, and avowed the truth. A hundred things might fall out to frustrate my scheme and place me in a false position; from which--since the confidence of his sovereign is the breath of a minister, and as easily destroyed as a woman's reputation-- I might find it impossible to extricate myself with credit.
I slept, therefore, but ill that night; and in conjunctures apparently more serious have felt less trepidation. But experience has long ago taught me that trifles, not great events, unseat the statesman, and that of all intrigues those which revolve round a woman are the most dangerous. I rose early, therefore, and repaired to Court before my usual hour, it being the essence of my plan to attack, instead of waiting to be attacked. Doubtless my early appearance was taken to corroborate the rumour that I had made a false step, and was in difficulties; for scarcely had I crossed the threshold of the ante-chamber before the attitude of the courtiers caught my attention. Some who twenty-four hours earlier would have been only too glad to meet my eye and obtain a word of recognition, appeared to be absorbed in conversation. Others, less transparent or better inclined to me, greeted me with unnatural effusion. One who bore a grudge against me, but had never before dared to do more than grin, now scowled openly; while a second, perhaps the most foolish of all, came to me with advice, drew me with insistency into a niche near the door, and adjured me to be cautious.
"You are too bold," he said; "and that way your enemies find their opening. Do not go to the King now. He is incensed against you. But we all know that he loves you; wait, therefore, my friend, until he has had his day's hunting--he is just now booting himself and see him when he has ridden off his annoyance."
"And when my friends, my dear Marquis, have had time to poison his mind against me? No, no," I answered, wondering much whether he were as simple as he looked.
"But the Queen is with him now," he persisted, seizing the lappel of my coat to stay me, "and she will be sure to put in a word against you."
"Therefore," I answered drily, "I had better see his Majesty before the one word becomes two."
"Be persuaded," he entreated me. "See him now, and nothing but ill will come of it."
"Nothing but ill for some," I retorted, looking so keenly at him that his visage fell. And with that he let me go, and with a smile I passed through the door. The rumour had not yet gained such substance that the crowd had lost all respect for me; it rolled back, and I passed through it towards the end of the chamber, where the King was stooping to draw on one of his boots. The Queen stood not far from him, gazing into the fire with an air of ill-temper which the circle, serious and silent, seemed to reflect, I looked everywhere for the Portuguese, but he was not to be seen.
For a moment the King affected to be unaware of my presence, and even turned his shoulder to me; but I observed that he reddened, and fidgeted nervously with the boot which he was drawing on. Nothing daunted, therefore, I waited until he perforce discovered me, and was obliged to greet me. "You are early this morning," he said, at last, with a grudging air.
"For the best of reasons, sire," I answered hardily. "I am ill placed at home, and come to you for justice."
"What is it?" he said churlishly and unwillingly.
I was about to answer, when the Queen interposed with a sneer. "I think that I can tell you, sire," she said. "M. de Sully is old enough to know the adage, 'Bite before you are bitten.'"
"Madame," I said, respectfully but with firmness. "I know this only, that my house was last night the scene of a gross outrage; and by all I can learn it was perpetrated by one who is under your Majesty's protection."
"His name?" she said, with a haughty gesture.
The Queen began to smile. "What was this gross outrage?" she asked drily.
"In the course of last night he broke into my house with a gang of wretches, and bore off one of the inmates."
The Queen's smile grew broader; the King began to grin. Some of the circle, watching them closely, ventured to smile also. "Come, my friend," Henry said, almost with good humour, "this is all very well. But this inmate of yours--was a very recent one."
"Was, in fact, I suppose, the rebellious little wench of whom you knew nothing yesterday!" the Queen cried harshly, and with an air of open triumph. "There can be no stealing of stolen goods, sir; and if M. Pimentel, who had at least as much right as you to the girl--and more, for I am her guardian--has carried her off, you have small ground to complain,"
"But, Madame," I said, with an air of bewilderment, "I really do not--it must be my fault, but I do not understand."
Two or three sniggered, seeing me apparently checkmated and at the end of my resources. And the King laughed out with kindly malice. "Come, Grand Master," he said, "I think that you do. However, if Pimentel has carried off the damsel, there, it seems to me, is an end of the matter."
"But, sire," I answered, looking sternly round the grinning circle, "am I mad, or is there some mystery here? I assured your Majesty yesterday that Mademoiselle D'Oyley was not in my house. I say the same to-day. She is not; your officers may search every room and closet. And for the woman whom M. Pimentel has carried off, she is no more Mademoiselle D'Oyley than I am; she is one of my wife's waiting-maids. If you doubt me," I continued, "you have only to send and ask. Ask the Portuguese himself."
The King stared at me. "Nonsense!" he said, sharply. "If Pimentel has carried off anyone, it must be Mademoiselle D'Oyley."
"But it is not, sire," I answered with persistence. "He has broken into my house, and abducted my servant. For Mademoiselle, she is not there to be stolen."
"Let some one go for Pimentel," the King said curtly.
But the Portuguese, as it happened, was at the door even then, and being called, had no alternative but to come forward. His face and mien as he entered and reluctantly showed himself were more than enough to dissipate any doubts which the courtiers had hitherto entertained; the former being as gloomy and downcast as the latter was timid and cringing. It is true he made some attempt at first, and for a time, to face the matter out; stammering and stuttering, and looking piteously to the Queen for help. But he could not long delay the crisis, nor deny that the person he had so cunningly abducted was one of my waiting-women; and the moment that this confession was made his case was at an end, the statement being received with so universal a peal of laughter, the King leading, as at one and the same time discomfited him, and must have persuaded any indifferent listener that all, from the first, had been in the secret.
After that he would have spent himself in vain, had he contended that Mademoiselle D'Oyley was at my house; and so clear was this that he made no second attempt to do so, but at once admitting that his people had made a mistake, he proffered me a handsome apology, and desired the King to speak to me in his behalf.
This I, on my side, was pleased to take in good part; and having let him off easily with a mild rebuke, turned from him to the Queen, and informed her with much respect that I had learned at length where Mademoiselle D'Oyley had taken refuge.
"Where, sir?" she asked, eyeing me suspiciously and with no little disfavour.
"At the Ursulines, Madame," I answered,
She winced, for she had already quarrelled with the abbess without advantage. And there for the moment the matter ended. At a later period I took care to confess all to the King, and he did not fail to laugh heartily at the clever manner in which I had outwitted Pimentel. But this was not until the Portuguese had left the country and gone to Italy, the affair between him and Mademoiselle D'Oyley (which resolved itself into a contest between the Queen and the Ursulines) having come to a close under circumstances which it may be my duty to relate in another place.
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