La Constantin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 75 pages of information about La Constantin.
it suddenly gave way, and he, Quennebert, being thus left without support, tumbled head foremost into the next room, among a perfect chaos of overturned furniture and lamps; that almost before he could rise he was forced to draw in self-defence, and had to make his escape, defending himself against both the duke and the chevalier; that they had pursued him so hotly, that when he found himself free he was too far from the house and the hour was too advanced to admit of his returning, Quennebert added innumerable protestations of friendship, devotion, and gratitude, and, furnished with his twelve hundred crowns, went away, leaving the widow reassured as to his safety, but still shaken from her fright.

While the notary was thus soothing the widow, Angelique was exhausting all the expedients her trade had taught her in the attempt to remove the duke’s suspicions.  She asserted she was the victim of an unforeseen attack which nothing in her conduct had ever authorised.  The young Chevalier de Moranges had, gained admittance, she declared, under the pretext that he brought her news from the duke, the one man who occupied her thoughts, the sole object of her love.  The chevalier had seen her lover, he said, a few days before, and by cleverly appealing to things back, he had led her to fear that the duke had grown tired of her, and that a new conquest was the cause of his absence.  She had not believed these insinuations, although his long silence would have justified the most mortifying suppositions, the most cruel doubts.  At length the chevalier had grown bolder, and had declared his passion for her; whereupon she had risen and ordered him to leave her.  Just at that moment the duke had entered, and had taken the natural agitation and confusion of the chevalier as signs of her guilt.  Some explanation was also necessary to account for the presence of the two other visitors of whom he had been told below stairs.  As he knew nothing at all about them, the servant who admitted them never having seen either of them before, she acknowledged that two gentlemen had called earlier in the evening; that they had refused to send in their names, but as they had said they had come to inquire about the duke, she suspected them of having been in league with the chevalier in the attempt to ruin her reputation, perhaps they had even promised to help him to carry her off, but she knew nothing positive about them or their plans.  The duke, contrary to his wont, did not allow himself to be easily convinced by these lame explanations, but unfortunately for him the lady knew how to assume an attitude favourable to her purpose.  She had been induced, she said, with the simple confidence born of love, to listen to people who had led her to suppose they could give her news of one so dear to her as the duke.  From this falsehood she proceeded to bitter reproaches:  instead of defending herself, she accused him of having left her a prey to anxiety; she went so far as to imply that there

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La Constantin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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