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liberal and magnificent, at their common cost they gave the best-designed and most luxurious entertainments that had ever yet been seen. Play was wonderfully productive at first, and the Chevalier restored by a hundred different ways that which he obtained only by one. The generals, being entertained by turns, admired their magnificence, and were dissatisfied with their own officers for not keeping such good tables and attendance. The Chevalier had the talent of setting off the most indifferent things to advantage ; and his wit was so generally acknowledged, that it was a kind of disgrace not to submit to his taste. To him Mattà resigned the care of furnishing the table and doing its honours; and, charmed with the general applause, persuaded himself that nothing could be more honourable than their way of living, and nothing more easy than to continue it; but he soon perceived that the greatest prosperity is not the most lasting. Good living, bad economy, dishonest servants, and illluck, all uniting together to disconcert their house-keeping, their table was going to be gradually laid aside, when the Chevalier's genius, fertile in resources, undertook to support his former credit by the following expedient.
They had never yet conferred about the state of their finances, although the steward had acquainted each separately, that he must either receive money to continue the expenses, or give in his accounts. One day, when the Chevalier came home sooner than usual, he found Matta fast asleep in an easy chair, and, being unwilling to disturb his rest, be began musing on his project. Matta awoke without his perceiving it; and having, for a short time, observed the deep contemplation he seemed involved in, and the profound silence between two persons, who had never held their tongues for a moment when together before, he broke it by a sudden fit of laughter, which increased in proportion as the other stared at him. “A merry
way of waking, and ludicrous enough," said the Chevalier; " What is the matter, and whom do you laugh at ?” “Faith, Chevalier," said Matta, “I am laughing at a dream I had just now, which is so natural and diverting, that I must make you laugh at it also. I was dreaming that we had dismissed our maître d'hôtel, our cook, and our confectioner, having resolved, for the remainder of the campaign, to live upon others as others have lived upon us ; this was my dream. Now tell me, Chevalier, on what were you musing ?” “Poor fellow !" said the Chevalier, shrugging up his shoulders, “ you are knocked down at once, and thrown into the utmost consternation and despair at some silly stories, which the maître d'hôtel has been telling you as well as me. What! after the figure we have made in the face of the nobility and foreigners in the army, shall we give it up, and like fools and beggars sneak off, upon the first failure of our money! Have you no sentiments of honour ? Where is the dignity of France ?" “ And where is the money ?” said Matta ; “for my men say, the devil may take them, if there be ten crowns in the house; and I believe you have not much more, for it is above a week since I have seen you pull out your purse, or "count your money, an amusement you were very fond of in prosperity.” " I own all this," said the Chevalier, “but yet I will force you to confess, that you are but a mean-spirited fellow upon this occasion. What would have become of you if you had been reduced to the situation I was in at Lyons, four days before I arrived here? I will tell you the story.”
“ Tuis,” said Matta, “ smells strongly of romance, except that it should have been your Squire's part to tell your adventures," " True," said the Chevalier; “ however, I may acquaint you with my first exploits without offending my modesty ; besides, my Squire's style borders too much upon the burlesque for an heroic narrative.
“ You must know, then, that upon my arrival at Lyons” _"Is it thus you begin ? " said Matta,“ pray give us your history a little farther back, the most minute particulars of a life like yours are worthy of relation ; but above all, the manner in which you first paid your respects to Cardinal Richlieu : I have often laughed at it. However, you may pass over the unlucky pranks of your infancy, your genealogy, name and quality of your ancestors, for that is a subject with which you must be utterly unacquainted.”
“ Poh!” said the Chevalier, “ you believe that all the world is as ignorant as yourself ;--you think that I am a stranger to the Mendores and the Corisandes. So, perhaps I don't know, that it was my father's own fault that he was not the son of Henry IV. The king would by all means have acknowledged him for his son, but the traitor would never consent to it. See what the Grammonts would have been now, but for this cross-grained fellow! They would have had precedence of the Cæsars de Vendôme.10 You may laugh, if you like, yet it is as true as the gospel : but let us come to the point.
“ I was sent to the college of Pau," with the intention of being brought up to the church ; but as I had quite different views, I made no manner of improvement: gaming was so much in my head, that both my tutor and the master lost their labour in endeavouring to teach me Latin. Old Brinon, who served me both as valet-de-chambre and governor, in vain threatened to acquaint my mother. I only studied when I pleased, that is to say, seldom or never: however, they treated me as is customary with scholars of my quality ; I was raised to all the dignities of the forms, without having merited them, and left college nearly in the same state in which I entered it; nevertheless I was thought to have more knowledge than was requisite for the abbacy, which my brother had solicited for me. He had just married the niece of a minister, to whom every one cringed : he was desirous to present me to him. I felt but little regret to quit the country, and great impatience to see Paris. My brother having kept me some time with him, in order to polish me, let me loose upon the town to shake off my rustic air, and learn the manners of the world. I so thoroughly gained them, that I could not be persuaded to lay them aside when I was introduced at court in the character of an Abbé. You know what kind of dress was then the fashion. All that they could obtain of me was to put a cassock over my other clothes, and my brother, ready to die with laughing at my ecclesiastical habit, made others laugh too. I had the finest head of hair in the world, well curled and powdered, above my cassock, and below were white buskins and gilt spurs. The Cardinal, who had a quick discernment, could not help laughing. This elevation of sentiment gave him umbrage; and he foresaw what might be expected from a genius that already laughed at the shaven crown and cowl.
“When my brother had taken me home; “Well, my little parson,' said he, 'you have acted your part to admiration, and
your party-coloured dress of the ecclesiastic and soldier bas greatly diverted the court; but this is not all ; you must now choose, my little knight. Consider then, whether, by sticking to the church, you will possess great revenues, and have nothing to do; or with a small portion, you will risk the loss of a leg or arm, and be the fructus belli of an insensible court, to arrive in your old age at the dignity of a major-general, with a glass eye and a wooden leg. “I know,' said I, that there is no comparison between these two situations, with regard to the conveniences of life ; but, as a man ought to secure his future state in preference to all other considerations, I am resolved to renounce the church for the salvation of my soul, upon condition, however, that I keep my abbacy.' Neither the remonstrances nor authority of my brother could induce me to change my resolution; and he was forced to agree to this last article in order to keep me at the academy. You know that I am the most adroit man in France, so that I soon learned all that is taught at such places, and, at the same time, I also learnt that which gives the finishing stroke to a young fellow's education, and makes him a gentleman, viz., all sorts of games, both at cards and dice; but the truth is, I thought, at first, that I had more skill in them than I really had, as experience proved. When my mother knew the choice I had made, she was inconsolable ; for she reckoned, that had I been a clergyman I should have been a saint; but now she was certain that I should either be a devil in the world, or be killed in the wars. And indeed I burned with impatience to be a soldier ; but being yet, too young, I was forced to make a campaign at Bidache 12 before I made one in the army. When I returned to my mother's house, I had so much the air of a courtier, and a man of the world, that she began to respect me, instead of chiding me for my infatuation towards the army. I became her favourite, and finding me