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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Parisians - Book 8 - Chapter 4
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The Parisians - Book 8 - Chapter 4 Post by :edwinc Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :3228

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The Parisians - Book 8 - Chapter 4

BOOK VIII CHAPTER IV

On the Continent generally, as we all know, men do not sit drinking wine together after the ladies retire. So when the signal was given all the guests adjourned to the salon; and Alain quitted Isaura to gain the ear of the Duchesse de Tarascon.

"It is long--at, least long for Paris life," said the Marquis--"since my first visit to you, in company with Enguerrand de Vandemar. Much that you then said rested on my mind, disturbing the prejudices I took from Bretagne."

"I am proud to hear it, my kinsman."

"You know that I would have taken military service under the Emperor, but for the regulation which would have compelled me to enter the ranks as a private soldier."

"I sympathise with that scruple; but you are aware that the Emperor himself could not have ventured to make any exception even in your favour."

"Certainly not. I repent me of my pride; perhaps I may enlist still in some regiment sent to Algiers."

"No; there are other ways in which a Rochebriant can serve a throne. There will be an office at Court vacant soon, which would not misbecome your birth."

"Pardon me; a soldier serves his country--a courtier owns a master; and I cannot take the livery of the Emperor, though I could wear the uniform of France."

"Your distinction is childish, my kinsman," said the Duchesse, impetuously. "You talk as if the Emperor had an interest apart from the nation. I tell you that he has not a corner of his heart--not even one reserved for his son and his dynasty--in which the thought of France does not predominate."

"I do not presume, Madame la Duchesse, to question the truth of what you say; but I have no reason to suppose that the same thought does not predominate in the heart of the Bourbon. The Bourbon would be the first to say to me: 'If France needs your sword against her foes, let it not rest in the scabbard.' But would the Bourbon say, 'The place of a Rochebriant is among the valetaille of the Corsican's successor'?"

"Alas for poor France!" said the Duchesse; "and alas for men like you, my proud cousin, if the Corsican's successors or successor be--"

"Henry V." interrupted Alain, with a brightening eye. "Dreamer! No; some descendant of the mob-kings who gave Bourbons and nobles to the guillotine."

While the Duchesse and Alain were thus conversing, Isaura had seated herself by Valerie, and, unconscious of the offence she had given, addressed her in those pretty caressing terms with which young-lady friends are wont to compliment each other; but Valerie answered curtly or sarcastically, and turned aside to converse with the Minister. A few minutes more, and the party began to break up. Lemercier, however, detained Alain, whispering, "Duplessis will see us on your business so soon as the other guests have gone."

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BOOK VIII CHAPTER V"Monsieur le Marquis," said Duplessis, when the salon was cleared of all but himself and the two friends, "Lemercier has confided to me the state of your affairs in connection with M. Louvier, and flatters me by thinking my advice may be of some service; if so, command me." "I shall most gratefully accept your advice," answered Alain, "but I fear my condition defies even your ability and skill." "Permit me to hope not, and to ask a few necessary questions. M. Louvier has constituted himself your sole mortgagee; to what amount, at what interest, and from what
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BOOK VII CHAPTER VIIsaura's apartment, on the following Thursday evening, was more filled than usual. Besides her habitual devotees in the artistic or literary world, there were diplomatists and deputies commixed with many fair chiefs of la jeunesse doree; amongst the latter the brilliant Enguerrand de Vandemar, who, deeming the acquaintance of every celebrity essential to his own celebrity in either Carthage, the beau monde, or the demi-monde, had, two Thursdays before, made Louvier attend her soiree and present him. Louvier, though gathering to his own salons authors and artists, very rarely favoured their rooms with his presence; he did not
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