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The Vicomte De Bragelonne

The Vicomte De Bragelonne 1 at Prostate Health

The Vicomte de Bragelonne
Alexandre Dumas
Volume I.
The Letter.Towards the middle of the month of May, in the year 1660, atnine oclock in the morning, when the sun, already high inthe heavens, was fast absorbing the dew from the ramparts ofthe castle of Blois a little cavalcade, composed of threemen and two pages, re-entered the city by the bridge,without producing any other effect upon the passengers ofthe quay beyond a first movement of the hand to the head, asa salute, and a second movement of the tongue to express, inthe purest French then spoken in France: "There is Monsieurreturning from hunting." And that was all.Whilst, however, the horses were climbing the steepacclivity which leads from the river to the castle, severalshop-boys approached the last horse, from whose saddle-bow anumber of birds were suspended by the beak.On seeing this, the inquisitive youths manifested withrustic freedom their contempt for such paltry sport, and,after a dissertation among themselves upon the disadvantagesof hawking, they returned to their occupations; one only ofthe curious party, a stout, stubby, cheerful lad, havingdemanded how it was that Monsieur, who, from his greatrevenues, had it in his power to amuse himself so muchbetter, could be satisfied with such mean diversions."Do you not know," one of the standers-by replied, "thatMonsieurs principal amusement is to weary himself?"The light-hearted boy shrugged his shoulders with a gesturewhich said as clear as day: "In that case I would rather beplain Jack than a prince." And all resumed their labors.In the meanwhile, Monsieur continued his route with an airat once so melancholy and so majestic, that he certainlywould have attracted the attention of spectators, ifspectators there had been; but the good citizens of Bloiscould not pardon Monsieur for having chosen their gay cityfor an abode in which to indulge melancholy at his ease, andas often as they caught a glimpse of the illustrious ennuye,they stole away gaping, or drew back their heads into theinterior of their dwellings, to escape the soporificinfluence of that long pale face, of those watery eyes, andthat languid address; so that the worthy prince was almostcertain to find the streets deserted whenever he chanced topass through them.Now, on the part of the citizens of Blois this was aculpable piece of disrespect, for Monsieur was, after theking -- nay, even, perhaps before the king -- the greatestnoble of the kingdom. In fact, God, who had granted to LouisXIV., then reigning, the honor of being son of Louis XIII.,had granted to Monsieur the honor of being son of Henry IV.It was not then, or, at least it ought not to have been, atrifling source of pride for the city of Blois, that Gastonof Orleans had chosen it as his residence, and he his courtin the ancient castle of its states.But it was the destiny of this great prince to excite theattention and admiration of the public in a very modifieddegree wherever he might be. Monsieur had fallen into thissituation by habit.It was not, perhaps, this which gave him that air oflistlessness. Monsieur had been tolerably busy in the courseof his life. A man cannot allow the heads of a dozen of hisbest friends to be cut off without feeling a littleexcitement, and as, since the accession of Mazarin to power,no heads had been cut off, Monsieurs occupation was gone,and his morale suffered from it.The life of the poor prince was, then, very dull. After hislittle morning hawking-party on the banks of the Beuvion, orin the woods of Chiverny, Monsieur crossed the Loire, wentto breakfast at Chambord, with or without an appetite andthe city of Blois heard no more of its sovereign lord andmaster till the next hawking-day.So much for the ennui extra muros; of the ennui of theinterior we will give the reader an idea if he will with usfollow the cavalcade to the majestic porch of the castle ofthe states.Monsieur rode a little steady-paced horse, equipped with alarge saddle of red Flemish velvet, with stirrups in theshape of buskins; the horse was of a bay color; Monsieurspourpoint of crimson velvet corresponded with the cloak ofthe same shade and the horses equipment, and it was only bythis red appearance of the whole that the prince could beknown from his

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