Oddsfish! eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Oddsfish!.

Presently I heard the Duke in a low voice saying something to the company that was within:  and immediately they began to come out, three or four Bishops, among them, my Lord Halifax, Lord Keeper North, and my Lord Craven; I noticed that M. Barillon was very careful to let all in the antechamber have a clear view of the bed, at which, by now the Duke was kneeling down, having drawn back the curtains a little, yet not so much as to shew us the King lying there.

Round about me they talked very little, though I saw the Bishops whispering together.  The two brothers spoke together, very low, for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour; and I could hear the murmur of the Duke’s voice.  Of His Majesty’s I heard nothing except that twice he said, very clear: 

“Yes....  Yes, with all my heart.”

And I thanked God when I heard that.

* * * * *

Yet, even so, all was not yet done.

So soon as I saw the Duke stand up again from his kneeling, and coming down the chamber, I slipped away to the door that leads out towards Her Majesty’s apartments, that I might be ready for him.  I saw him come through, all the people standing and bowing to him, and M. Barillon following him; and I noticed in particular a young gentleman whose name I did not know at that time—­(it was the Comte de Castelmelhor, a very good Catholic)—­standing out, a little by himself.  I noticed this man because I saw that the Duke looked at him as he came and presently signed to him very slightly, with his head, to follow.  So all four of us passed through the door into the long gallery that unites their Majesties’ apartments and found ourselves alone in it.  The Count was a little behind.

“He has consented,” said the Duke in a low voice, “to my bringing him a priest.  We must send for one.  But I dare not bring one of the Duchess’:  they are too well-known.”

“Sir,” said Monsieur Barillon, “I will do so with pleasure.  Why not one of Her Majesty’s priests?”

The Duke nodded.  We three were all standing together about the middle of the gallery.  The Comte de Castelmelhor was halted, uncovered, a little behind us.  The Duke turned to him.

“Count,” said he, speaking in French, “we are on a very urgent business.  His Majesty hath consented that a priest should come to him.  Will you go for us to the Queen and ask for one of her chaplains?”

The young man flushed up with pleasure.

“With all my heart, Sir,” he said.  “Which priest shall I ask for?  Is there one that can speak English?”

The Duke struck his forehead with his open hand.

“Lord!” he said.  “I never thought of that.  We must have an Englishman.  Where shall we send?”

“Sir,” said the Ambassador; “there is one at least at the Venetian Resident’s.”

Again I broke in. (My impatience drove me near mad.  Time was passing quickly.  I could have fetched a priest myself ten times over if the Duke had but allowed me to go in the beginning.)

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Oddsfish! from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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