“Shall you be conveniently placed in this room?” asked the princess, conducting him to the adjoining apartment, which was only separated from the other by a curtain hung before a doorway.
“I shall do nicely here, your highness,” answered the man in spectacles, with a second and still lower bow.
“In that case, sir, please to step in here; I will let you know when it is time.”
“I shall wait your highness’s order.”
“And pray remember my instructions,” added the marquis, as he unfastened the loops of the curtain.
“You may be perfectly tranquil, M. l’Abbe.” The heavy drapery, as it fell, completely concealed the man in spectacles.
The princess touched the bell; some moments after, the door opened, and the servant announced a very important personage in this work.
Dr. Baleinier was about fifty years of age, middling size, rather plump, with a full shining, ruddy countenance. His gray hair, very smooth and rather long, parted by a straight line in the middle, fell flat over his temples. He had retained the fashion of wearing short, black silk breeches, perhaps because he had a well-formed leg; his garters were fastened with small, golden buckles, as were his shoes of polished morocco leather; his coat, waistcoat, and cravat were black, which gave him rather a clerical appearance; his sleek, white hand was half hidden beneath a cambric ruffle, very closely plaited; on the whole, the gravity of his costume did not seem to exclude a shade of foppery.
His face was acute and smiling; his small gray eye announced rare penetration and sagacity. A man of the world and a man of pleasure, a delicate epicure, witty in conversation, polite to obsequiousness, supple, adroit, insinuating, Baleinier was one of the oldest favorites of the congregational set of the Princess de Saint-Dizier. Thanks to this powerful support, its cause unknown, the doctor, who had been long neglected, in spite of real skill and incontestable merit, found himself, under the Restoration, suddenly provided with two medical sinecures most valuable, and soon after with numerous patients. We must add, that, once under the patronage of the princess, the doctor began scrupulously to observe his religious duties; he communicated once a week, with great publicity, at the high mass in Saint Thomas Aquinas Church.
At the year’s end, a certain class of patients, led by the example and enthusiasm of Madame de Saint-Dizier’s followers, would have no other physician than Doctor Baleinier, and his practice was now increased to an extraordinary degree. It may be conceived how important it was for the order, to have amongst its “plain clothes members” one of the most popular practitioners of Paris.