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“I wont desert you, monseigneur,” replied Bimbelot; " but there's no fear of disturbing the household, for all the servants are gone."
« Gone !” exclaimed Guiscard.
“ Yes, monseigneur,” replied Bimbelot; “like rats, I suppose, they smelt a falling house. They all quitted this evening, and I fancy, not empty-handed. Mrs. Charlotte, after attiring her lady for the masquerade, dressed herself, packed up her things, and drove off with them in a coach."
“A curse go with her!” cried the marquis.
“I alone have remained behind, because,” whimpered the hypocritical valet—“ because, my dear and noble master, I would not desert you in your extremity. ”
“You shall not regret your fidelity, if brighter days shine upon me, Bimbelot,” replied Guiscard, touched by his devotion.
“ There is one way in which you can readily repair your fortune, monseigneur,” replied Bimbelot. “ Being on the spot, you can exercise a vigilant espionage over the English court. Our monarch, the great Louis, will pay well for any secrets of importance.”
* The secrets may be obtained,” replied Guiscard, “but to convey them is the difficulty. Everything is easy with money at command, but without it
“ Monseigneur was not wont to shrink before difficulties," said Bimbelot.
“ Nor do I shrink now," replied the marquis. “I will take any means, however desperate, to repair my fortunes. To-morrow, I will make an appeal to Harley and Saint-John to assist me in my emergency, and if they refuse me, I will frighten them into compliance."
“Spoken like yourself, monseigneur,” replied the valet.
“I shall try to get a few hours' repose," replied the marquis, throwing himself upon the bed; "and I will then seek a hidingplace with you. Call me at daybreak.”
“Without fail, monseigneur,” replied the valet. “If Madame la Maréchale should chance to return, what is to be done with her?"
“ It will be time enough to think of her when she arrives," said Guiscard, drowsily. “ Shew her to her room.”
“Monseigneur will use no violence ?" supplicated the valet.
“ Fear nothing," replied Guiscard ; “ and now leave me. I shall be calmer when I have had a little sleep.”
On going down stairs, Bimbelot repaired to a back room, in which Sauvageon was comfortably seated, with a bottle of claret before him.
“ I was just in time," observed the valet; "he was going out of the world in a desperate hurry, and that wouldn't suit our purpose."
“ Not in the least,” replied Sauvageon, emptying his glass. 66 What's he about now?"
Taking a little repose,” returned Bimbelot,“ prior to quitting the house. I threw out a hint about renewing his correspondence with the French court, and he snapped greedily at the bait.”
“ Ha! ha!" laughed Sauvageon. “We shall have him, then.”
“ Safe enough,” replied Bimbelot. " The reward promised us by Mr. Harley for the discovery of his secret practices, will not be lost. We shall be able to bring them home to him ere long."
As the words were uttered, a loud knocking was heard at the outer door.
“ Sarpedieu !” exclaimed Bimbelot, “ Madame la Maréchale has returned before her time. This is unlucky.”
So saying, he hurried to the door, and finding it was the marchioness, ushered her in with as much respect as if nothing had happened, and lighted her up stairs, taking the precaution, however, to desire the porters to wait. Entering a chamber at the head of the stairs, Angelica threw down her mask, and divesting herself of a pink silk domino, disclosed a magnificent dress of white brocade. On her head she wore a fancy Spanish hat, looped with diamonds, and adorned with ostrich feathers. She was considerably fatter than before, and her features were coarser, but she still looked excessively handsome.
“ Send Charlotte to me,” she cried, sinking into a chair. “Mrs. Charlotte is not returned, madame,” replied Bimbelot.
“ Not returned !" exclaimed Angelica. “How dared she go out without leave. I shall discharge her in the morning. Send Dawson, then.”
" Mrs. Dawson is gone out too,” replied Bimbelot. “In fact, all the women have gone out; but I shall be very happy to assist madame, if I can be of any service.”
“ Assist me !" cried Angelica, starting up. Marry come up! here's assurance with a vengeance. A valet offer to be a lady's maid! Leave the room instantly, fellow. I shall acquaint the marquis with your presumption.
" Le voici, madame," replied Bimbelot, grinning malignantly. And he retired, to make way for Guiscard, who entered the room at the moment.
“What is the meaning of this, marquis ?” cried Angelica. “Have you been discharging the servants ?"
They have discharged themselves," replied Guiscard, coldly. “ Having discovered that I am a ruined man-that nothing more is to be got from me—they have taken themselves off.”
“Ruined ! oh, gracious ?” cried Angelica. 66 Give me the salts, or I shall faint."
“No you wont,” he replied, drily. “Now listen to me. Our ruin may be averted for a time, perhaps altogether, by the sale of the jewels you brought with you when I took you from SaintJohn. Let me have them-quick!"
“I can't give them to you,” sobbed Angelica.
«Why not ?" demanded Guiscard, fiercely.
“ Because—because I've pledged them to Mr. Solomons, the Jew, for a hundred pounds,” she answered.
“ Not a tithe of what they're worth,” cried Guiscard, gnashing his teeth, “but it matters not, since they're gone. Have you any other trinkets left ?”
“ Nothing but this diamond buckle, and I shan't part with it,” replied Angelica “You wont ?” cried the marquis. “ I wont,” she answered, firmly.
“We'll see that,” he replied, snatching the hat from her, and tearing out the buckle.
“I am glad you've done it, marquis,” said Angelica. "Your brutality justifies me in leaving you."
“Don't trouble yourself to find an excuse for going, I pray, madame,” said the marquis, bitterly. “It is sufficient that i am ruined. I neither expected you to remain with me, nor desired it. I have no doubt you will find some one ready to receive you."
“That's my concern, marquis,” she rejoined. “Provided I I don't trouble you, you need not inquire where I go.” “Undoubtedly not,” said Guiscard, bowing. "We part, then,
“ for ever. And remember, in case you should feel inclined for another union, that a Fleet marriage is as easily dissolved as contracted.”
“ I shan't forget it,” she replied ; “ but I've had enough of marriage for the present. And now, good night, marquis
. I shall before you are up to-morrow morning. I would
go now, but
“ Madame la Maréchale's chair still waits," said Bimbelot, entering the room.
“ How purely fortunate!” exclaimed Angelica. “ In that case I shall go at once. Tell the men to take me to Mr. Solomons' in Threadneedle-street. It's a long distance; but they will be well paid.”
“ Give my compliments to Mr. Solomons, madame," said the marquis, with a sneer; "and tell him that as he has become possessed of all my valuables- yourself the chief of them - I hope he will shew me more consideration than he has done.”
* With great pleasure,” replied Angelica. “Adieu, marquis!" And she tripped down stairs, followed by Bimbelot.
CHAPTER THE TENTH.
OF THE MARQUIS DE GUISCARD'S ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE HARLEY. An hour before daybreak, a coach was brought by Bimbelot, into which such things were put as the marquis thought fit to remove. He then drove to the Red Lion, in Wardour Street, a smal tavern, where he hoped to remain unmolested. That same day at the hazard of arrest, he attended Mr. Harley's levée, but was refused admittance, and exasperated at the affront, he returned to the inn, and wrote a long letter to the minister, threatening, if assistance were not given him, to reveal all that had passed between them to the Duchess of Marlborough.
On the following morning, he waited upon Mr. Saint-John, with whom he had better success. He was kindly received by the secretary, who seemed much touched by the account he gave of his circumstances, and blaming Harley for his indifference, promised to represent Guiscard's condition to the queen.
queen. SaintJohn was as good as his word, and spoke so warmly in the marquis's favour, that her majesty graciously ordered a pension of five hundred a-year to be granted him. This order being notified to the commissioners of treasury, Harley struck off a hundred a-year from the grant, alleging, in excuse, that the funds of the exchequer were exhausted. For this ill turn, as he conceived it, Guiscard vowed revenge, and sought to obtain an audience of the queen, for the purpose of making disclosures to her, but was unable to effect his object.
Some degree of credit being restored to him, he again ventured forth publicly; took lodgings in Rider-street; and began to frequent the coffee-houses as before. He still played, but with greater caution than heretofore, and often came off a winner of small sums. Thus encouraged, he proceeded to greater lengths, and in one night was once more beggared by a run of ill luck. In this desperate extremity, he had recourse to Saint-John, who, moved to compassion by his tale, and having, moreover, a liking for loose characters, gave him out of his own purse a sum sufficient for his immediate necessities, recommending him caution in the use of it; but so far from acting up to the advice, the marquis on that very day, as if drawn irresistibly to destruction, lost it all to the faro table.
Shame having by this time utterly forsaken him, he again applied to Saint-John, but met with a peremptory refusal, and ever after this the secretary was denied to him. Driven to the most desperate straits, he now subsisted on such small sums as he could borrow — for he had anticipated the first instalment of his pension, and was frequently reduced to positive
He lodged in Maggot's-court, an obscure passage leading out of Little Swallow-street, where he occupied a single room, miserably furnished. He still continued, however, to keep up a decent exterior, and daily haunted the purlieus of the palace, in the hope of picking up information. .
Bimbelot had long since quitted his service, but frequently visited him, under the plea of offering him assistance, though in reality to ascertain whether he was carrying on a correspondence with °France. While freely confessing that he was so engaged, the marquis was too cautious to adınit Bimbelot into his plans, until, one day, the latter found him in the act of sealing a packet, when, as if unable to constrain himself, he broke forth thus
“ Ere many days, Bimbelot, you will see the whole of this capital—nay, the whole of this country convulsed. A great blow will be struck, and mine will be the hand to strike it!
“ What mean you, monseigneur ?” said the valet, trembling with eager curiosity.
“ I have just written to the Court of France,” pursued Guiscard, with increasing excitement, “ that a coup-d'etat may be expected, which will cause a wonderful alteration in the affairs of this country; and I have added that this is the most favourable conjuncture for the prince, whom they here wrongfully style the Pretender, to make a descent upon England, where he will find great numbers disposed to join him, and amongst the rest, three parts of the clergy.”
“But the blow you mean to strike—the blow, monseigneur ?" demanded the valet.
“ Will be aimed at the highest person in the realm," replied Guiscard, smiling savagely. "The prince will find the throne vacant !"
“ Ha indeed,” ejaculated Bimbelot, with a look of irrepressible horror.
“ Villain !" cried Guiscard, seizing him by the throat. "I have trusted you too far. Swear never to betray a word I have uttered, or you are a dead man!"
“I swear it !” replied Bimbelot. “I have no intention of betraying you."
Reassured by the valet's manner, Guiscard released him, and as soon as he could venture to do so with safety, Bimbelot quitted the house. He did not, however, go far, but entered an adjoining tavern, whence he could play the spy on the marquis's movements. Shortly afterwards, Guiscard came forth, and was followed by Bimbelot, but at such a distance as not to attract his notice.
Shaping his course to Golden-square, the marquis stopped at the Earl of Portmore's residence, and delivered a packet to one of the servants. As soon as the coast was clear, Bimbelot came up, and learnt that the packet was addressed to the Earl of Portmore, (then commander-in-chief in Portugal,) and was to be forwarded to his lordship, with his other letters, by his wife, the Countess of Dorchester. Somewhat puzzled by the information, Bimbelot resolved to lay it before Harley, and he accordingly proceeded to Saint James's-square for that purpose. He was quickly admitted to an audience, and the intelligence appeared so important that a queen's messenger was instantly despatched for the packet, and in a short time returned with it.
On breaking the cover, its contents proved to be a letter addressed to a merchant at Lisbon, and within that was another cover, directed to M. Moreau, a banker in Paris, which being unsealed, the whole of the marquis's atrocious projects were developed.
Having perused these documents, Harley ordered Bimbelot to