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The men had used his permission to the full. They had brought in some gipsies to make sport for them, a treble allowance of wine was on draught, and 长沙桑拿最好场子推荐 the hour that saw des Ageaux beating in impotent fury on his door saw the license and uproar of which he had marked the beginning grown to a head. In the great hall the higher officers, their banquet finished, were deep in their cups. In the cavernous kitchens drunken cooks probed cauldrons for the stray capon that still floated amid the spume; or half-naked scullions thrust a forgotten duck or widgeon on the spit at the request of a hungry friend. About the fires in the courtyard were dancing and singing and some romping; for there were women within the walls, and others had come in with the gipsies. Here a crowd surrounded the bear, and laid furious bets for

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or against; while yelps and growls and fierce barkings deafened all within hearing. There a girl, the centre of a leering ring, danced to the music of her tambour; and 长沙桑拿spa会所 there again a lad tumbled, and climbed a pole at risk of his limbs. Everywhere, save in the dark garden under the “demoiselle’s” windows, where a sentry walked, and at the great gates, where were some sober men picked for the purpose, wantonness and jollity held reign, and the noise of brawling and riot cast fear on the town that listened and quaked below.

A stranger entering the castle would have judged the reins quite fallen, all discipline fled, all control lost. But he had been wrong. Not only did a sentry walk the garden path–and soberly and shrewdly too–but no man in his wildest and tipsiest moment ventured a foot within the railing that fenced the lime avenue, or even approached the gates that led to it without lowering his voice and returning to something like his normal state. For in the rooms looking over the garden M. de Vlaye entertained his bride of two days–and he had relaxed, not loosed, the reins.

They sat supping in the room in which they had been wedded, and, unmoved by the sounds of uproar that came fitfully to their ears, discussed their plans; she, glowing and handsome, animated by present love and future hope; he, content, if not enraptured, conquered by her wit, and almost persuaded that all was for the best–that her charms and beauty would secure him more than the dowry of her rival. Their brief honeymoon over, they were to part on the morrow; she to pursue her plans for the Duke’s detachment, he to take the field and strike such a blow as should scatter the peasants and dissipate what strength remained in them. They were to part; and some shadow of the coming separation had been natural. But her nerves as well as his were strong, and the gloom of parting had not yet fallen on them. The lights that filled the room were not brighter than her eyes; the snowy linen that covered the round table at which they sat was not whiter than her uncovered shoulders. He had given her jewels, the spoils of many an enterprise; and they glittered on her queenly neck and in her ears, gleamed through the thin lace of her dress, and on her round and beautiful arms. He called her his Abbess and his nun in fond derision; and she, in answering badinage, rallied him on his passion for the Countess and his skill in abduction. So cleverly had she wrought on him, so well managed him, that she dared even that.

The room had been hung for her with tapestries brought from another part of the house; the windows more richly curtained; and a door, long closed, had been opened, through which and an ante-room the chambers connected with M. de Vlaye’s apartments. Where the wedding robes had lain on the window-seat a ribboned lute and a gay music-book lay on rich draperies, and elbowed a gilded head-piece of Milanese work surmounted by M. de Vlaye’s crest, which had been brought in for his lady’s approval. A mighty jar of Provence roses scented the apartment; and intoxicated by their perfume or their meaning, she presently seized the lute, and gaily, between jest and earnest, broke into the old Angoumois song:–

“Si je suis renfermée.
Ah, c’est bien sans raison;
Ma plus belle journée,
Se pass’ra-z-en prison.
Mais mon amant sans peine
Pourra m’y venir voir,
Son c?ur sait bien qu’il m’aime,
Il viendra’-z-au parloir!”

And he answered her–

“Oh, Madame l’Abbesse,
Qu’on tire les verrous,
Qu’on sorte ma ma?tresse
Le plus beau des bijoux;
Car je suis capitaine,
Je suis son cher amant,
J’enfoncerai sans peine
Les portes du couvent!”

As he finished, disturbed by some noise, he turned 长沙桑拿休闲场所推荐 his head. “I told your wench to go,” he said, rising. “I suppose she took herself off?” With a frown, he strode to the screen that masked the door, and made sure by looking behind it that they had no listeners.

She smiled as she laid aside the lute. “I thought that your people obeyed at a word?” she said.

“They do, or they suffer,” he answered.

“And is that to apply to me?” with a mocking grimace.

“When we come to have two wills, sweet, yes!” he retorted. “It will not be yet awhile. In the meantime I would this enterprise of yours were over. I doubt your success, though all looks well.”

“If I had been half as sure of you two days ago as I am of him to-morrow!”

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she retorted.