“Poor Montalais!” said she, “the victim of friendship! Poor Malicorne, the victim of love!”
She stopped on viewing the tragic-comic face of Raoul, who was vexed at having, in one day, surprised so many secrets.
“Oh, mademoiselle!” said he; “how can we repay your kindness?”
“Oh, we will balance accounts some day,” said she. “For the present, begone, M. de Bragelonne, for Madame de Saint-Remy is not over indulgent; and any indiscretion on her part might bring hither a domiciliary visit, which would be disagreeable to all parties.”
“But Louise — how shall I know — "
“Begone! begone! King Louis XI. knew very well what he was about when he invented the post.”
“Alas!” sighed Raoul.
“And am I not here — I, who am worth all the posts in the kingdom? Quick, I say, to horse! so that if Madame de Saint-Remy should return for the purpose of preaching me a lesson on morality, she may not find you here.”
“She would tell my father, would she not?” murmured Raoul.
“And you would be scolded. Ah, vicomte, it is very plain you come from court; you are as timid as the king. Peste! at Blois we contrive better than that, to do without papa’s consent. Ask Malicorne else!”
And at these words the girl pushed Raoul out of the room by the shoulders. He glided swiftly down to the porch, regained his horse, mounted, and set off as if he had had Monsieur’s guards at his heels.
Raoul followed the well-known road, so dear to his memory, which led from Blois to the residence of the Comte de la Fere.
The reader will dispense with a second description of that habitation: he, perhaps, has been with us there before, and knows it. Only, since our last journey thither, the walls had taken on a grayer tint, and the brick-work assumed a more harmonious copper tone; the trees had grown, and many that then only stretched their slender branches along the tops of the hedges, now, bushy, strong, and luxuriant, cast around, beneath boughs swollen with sap, great shadows of blossoms or fruit for the benefit of the traveler.
Raoul perceived, from a distance, the two little turrets, the dove-cote in the elms, and the flights of pigeons, which wheeled incessantly around that brick cone, seemingly without power to quit it, like the sweet memories which hover round a spirit at peace.
As he approached, he heard the noise of the pulleys which grated under the weight of the heavy pails; he also fancied he heard the melancholy moaning of the water which falls back again into the wells — a sad, funereal, solemn sound, which strikes the ear of the child and the poet — both dreamers — which the English call splash; Arabian poets gasgachau; and which we Frenchmen, who would be poets, can only translate by a paraphrase — the noise of water falling into water.