ThePastor'sFire-SideVol.4(of4)

The Pastor's Fire-Side Vol.4 (of 4) [電子書籍版]
Jane Porter

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Some time elapsed before Louis saw the Marquis again; but when he re-appeared, it was to appoint him an interview with a lady of the court; and this ostensible confidant was no other than Her Majesty's self.
Santa Cruz's representation of Louis's romantic honour with regard to Countess Altheim, had excited Isabella's not less romantic taste for adventure; and she resolved to try her personal effect upon him, unaided by her rank. While she was considering this project, a person arrived from Vienna, speaking every where of the confusion which had taken place at that court, from an open declaration, on the part of the Arch-Duchess Maria Theresa in favour of Francis Prince of Lorraine. This news, by verifying one argument in the alleged innocence of Louis de Montemar, gave a respectable colour, in her now mind, to the really vain motive which prompted a clandestine reception of the Duke de Ripperda's son. In mentioning her design to his zealous friend, she hinted that such privacy was necessary; since the King had followed the flight of Ripperda, with a sentence of perpetual banishment. While unknown, she said, she could discourse more freely to the young Marquis, on the circumstances of his father's conduct; and, by remaining incognita, should she chuse the affair to end at that conference, her implied interference would escape expectation, or blame.
Santa Cruz bowed to a command that promised so fair, notwithstanding its professed doubts as to the issue; and, as it was to be kept a profound secret, he pledged himself, and performed his word, not to disclose her real quality to the object of her condescension.
While Louis exchanged his prison garments, for a court dress, the Marquis told him, he must not ground his father's defence to the lady he should see, on any argument of the Queen's precipitancy in politics. Her Majesty's consciousness was sufficient. Louis thanked him for his caution. And, no objection being made to the royal signet which Santa Cruz carried, they passed through the prison; and, without opposition, entered the carriage at its gates.
As they drove silently through the streets, the Marquis regarded the countenance of his companion. It was no longer pallid and dejected. His eyes were bent downwards in thought, but a bright colour was on his cheek; and the refulgence of an inward, happy animation, illumed every feature. Santa Cruz refrained from remarking on this change, so favourable to his cause; though he did not the less wonder how it could have taken place during the short interval since his first visit.
The fact was simple.ーFrom that hour, hope had been his abundant aliment. Yet, not an implicit hope in frail humanity. He had lately learnt, to put no absolute trust in mortal power, nor any dependance on man.ーHe had been made to know, that blinded judgements are often with the one, and misguiding interests in the other; but he knew in whom he trusted! and the expression of hope in his countenance, partook of the sublime source whence it sprung.
When they arrived at Saint Ildefonso, vespers were concluded, and the King retired with his confessor. This circumstance was what Isabella anticipated, and determined her to name that hour for the appointed interview. A few minutes after Santa Cruz had conducted Louis into her pavilion, she ascended the steps. On hearing her foot on the pavement, the Marquis hastened to meet her; and, as she stood in the portico, and Louis remained in the room, he had an opportunity of taking cognizance of the lady who was to report his suit to her royal mistress.


 


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