Gaspard durst not struggle with his uncle, and went off silent and sulky; but Eustace had subdued him into penitence before I came home. And I can hardly tell how, but from that time the principle of loyalty to the sovereign, without imitation of the person, seemed to have been instilled into the child, so that I feel, and I am sure he will agree with me, that I owe my son, and he owes himself, to the influence of my dear brother.
Had it not been for leaving him, my service to Mademoiselle would have been altogether amusing. True, she was marvelously egotistical and conceited, but she was very good-natured, and liked to make those about her happy. Even to her stepmother and little sisters, whom she did not love, she was never unkind, though she lived entirely apart, and kept her own little court separately at the Louvre, and very odd things we did there.
Sometimes we were all dressed up as the gods and goddesses, she being always Minerva—unless as Diana she conducted us as her nymphs to the chase in the park at Versailles. Sometimes we were Mademoiselle Scudery’s heroines, and we wrote descriptions of each other by these feigned names, some of which appear in her memoirs. And all the time she was hoping to marry the Emperor, and despising the suit of Queen Henrietta for our Prince of Wales, who, for his part, never laughed so much in secret as when he attended this wonderful and classical Court.
A stranger thanksgiving day.
There was a curious scene in our salon the day after the news had come of the great victory of Lens. Clement Darpent had been brought in by my brother, who wished him to hear some English songs which my sister and I had been practicing. He had been trying to learn English, and perhaps understood it better than he could speak it, but he was somewhat perplexed by those two gallant lines—
’I could not love thee,
dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more.’
Annora’s eyes flashed with disappointed anger as she said, ’You enter not into the sentiment, Monsieur. I should have hoped that if any Frenchman could, it would be you!’
‘For my part,’ observed my mother, ’I am not surprised at the question not being appreciated by the gens de la robe.’
I saw Eustace look infinitely annoyed at this insult to his friend’s profession, and to make it worse, Gaspard, who had come home that morning from the palace, exclaimed, having merely caught the word ’honour’—
’Yes, the gens de la robe hate our honour. That is why the King said, when news of our great victory came, ’Oh, how sorry the Parliament will be!’
‘Did he?’ exclaimed my mother. ‘Is it true, my grandson?’
‘True; yes indeed, Madame ma Grandmere,’ replied Gaspard. ’And you should have seen how all the world applauded him.’
‘I would not have applauded him,’ said Eustace sadly. ’I would have tried to teach him that nothing can be of more sad omen for a king than to regard his Parliament as his enemy.’