I thanked His Highness for his condescension, but I assured him that I had made up my mind not to marry again.
This made him frown, and his face, always harsh, and only redeemed from ugliness by the fire of his eyes, became almost frightful, so that it might have terrified a weak person into yielding; but of course all he could then do was to make a sign to M. de Lamont to approach, present him to me, and say, ’I have requested Madame to reconsider her decision,’ with which he bowed and left us tete-a-tete in the throng.
Then I tried to cut short M. de Lamont’s transports by telling him that he must not take the Prince’s requesting as the same thing as my doing it. Moreover, I did what my mother said was brutal and unbecoming; I informed him that he was mistaken if he thought he should obtain any claim over my son’s estate, for I had nothing but my husband’s portion, and there were other guardians besides myself, who would not suffer a stranger to have any share in the administration. Therewith he vehemently exclaimed that I did him injustice, but I still believe that his intention was, if his Prince had remained all-powerful, to get the disposition of my son’s property thrown into his hands. My brother Solivet was away with the army, Eustace in Holland, whence I longed to recall him.
Meantime, Sir Francis Ommaney had had become intimate with the Darpents, and so too had our good Abbe Bouchamp, who had assisted at the funeral ceremonies, and from whom the widow derived much consolation. From them we heard that she would fain have retired into the convent at Port Royal, only she would not leave her son. There were those who held that it was her duty not to let him stand between her and a vocation, especially as he was full grown, and already in the world; but she retained enough of her old training among the Huguenots to make her insist that since God had given her children, it was plain that He meant her to serve Him through her duty to them, and that if, through her desertion of him, Clement were tempted to any evil courses, she should never forgive herself. And our Abbe was the more inclined to encourage her in this resolve that he did not love the Jansenists, and had a mind sufficiently imbued with theology to understand their errors.
Certainly Clement showed no inclination to evil courses. In fact, he was so grave and studious that his mother cherished the hope of taking him with her to Port Royal to become one of the solitaries who transformed the desert into a garden. She said that with patience she should see him come to this, but in the meantime youth was sanguine, and he had not renounced the hope of transforming the world. I think she also foresaw that the unavowed love for Annora could scarcely lead to anything but disappointment, and she thought that, in the rebound, he would be willing to devote himself as one of those hermits.