“But if I were to tell the police I should have to go
"You come at the right time, madame," said he; "an hour since I received this letter from his majesty."
"Has the king named the person to whom I am to confide my secret?" she said, hastily.
"Yes, madame, his majesty has been pleased to appoint me for that purpose."
"Let me see the letter," said Marietta, extending her hand.
The marquis drew back. "Pardon me," said he, "I never allow the king's letters to pass out of my own hands, and no one but myself can see them. But I will read you what the king says in relation to this affair, and you will surely believe my word of honor. Listen, then: 'Soyez, marquis, le depositaire de mes secrets, le confidant des mysteres de Madame Taliazuchi, l'oreille du trone, et le sanctuaire ou s'annonceront les complots de mes ennemis.' [Footnote: "I will give the conclusion of this letter which the polite marquis did not read aloud: 'Pour quitter le style oriental, je vous avertis que vous aurez l'oreille rebattue de miseres et de petites intrigues de prisonniers obscurs et qui ne vaudront pas genre de Madame Taliazuchi--elles envisagent les petites choses comme tres- importantes; elles sont charmees de figurer en politique, de jouer un role, de faire les capables d'etaler avec faste le zele de leur fidelite. J'ai vu souvent que ces beaux secrets reveles n'ont ete que des intrigues pour auirs au tiers ou an quart a des gens auxquelles ces sortes de personnes veulet du mal. Ainsi, quoique cette femme vous puisse dire, gardez-vous bien d'y ajouter foi, et que votre cervelle provencal ne s'echauffe pas an premier bruit de ces recits'"--CEuvres, vol xix., p.92.] Madame, you see that I am fully empowered by the king to receive your confidence, and I am ready to hear what you will have the goodness to relate." He led her to a divan, and seated himself opposite to her.
"Tell the king to be on his guard!" said Marietta, solemnly. "A great and wide-spread conspiracy threatens him. I have been made a tool by false pretences; by lies and treachery my confidence was surreptitiously obtained. Oh, my God!" cried she, suddenly springing up; "now all is clear. I was nothing but an instrument of his intrigues; only the weak means made use of to attain his object. He stole my love, and made of it a comfortable, convenient robe with which to conceal his politics. Alas! alas! I have been his postillion de politique." With a loud, wild cry, she sank back upon the divan, and a torrent of tears gushed from her eyes.
The marquis sprang up in terror, and drew near the door; he was now fully convinced that the woman was mad.
"Madame," said he, "allow me to call for assistance. You appear to be truly suffering, and in a state of great excitement. It will be best for you, without doubt, to forget all these political interests, and attend to your physical condition."