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- Vautrin - 6/27 -

and was banished by King Ferdinand. He probably took part in the Mexican revolution.

The Duke Madame de Christoval and her daughter have made the acquaintance of a certain adventurer, named--

Saint-Charles Raoul de Frescas.

The Duke Is there nothing I can tell you that you do not know?

Saint-Charles If your grace desires it, I will know nothing.

The Duke On the contrary, I should like you to speak out, so that I may know what secrets you will permit us to keep.

Saint-Charles Let us make one stipulation; whenever my frankness displeases your grace, call me chevalier, and I will sink once more into my humble role of paid detective.

The Duke Go on, my friend. (Aside) These people are very amusing.

Saint-Charles M. de Frescas will not be an adventurer so long as he lives in the style of a man who has an income of a hundred thousand francs.

The Duke Whoever he is you must pierce through the mystery which surrounds him.

Saint-Charles Your grace requires a very difficult thing. We are obliged to use circumspection in dealing with foreigners. They are our masters; they have turned Paris upside down.

The Duke That's the trouble!

Saint-Charles Does your grace belong to the opposition?

The Duke I should like to have brought back the king without his following-- that is my position.

Saint-Charles The departure of the king resulted from the disorganization of the magnificent Asiatic police created by Bonaparte. An effort is being made nowadays to form a police of respectable people, a procedure which disbands the old police. Hemmed in by the military police of the invasion, we dare not arrest any one, for fear we might lay hands on some prince on his way to keep an assignation, or some margrave who had dined too well. But for your grace a man will attempt the impossible. Has this young man any vices? Does he play?

The Duke Yes, in a social way.

Saint-Charles Does he cheat?

The Duke Chevalier!

Saint-Charles This young man must be very rich.

The Duke Inquire for yourself.

Saint-Charles I ask pardon of your grace; but people without passions cannot know much. Would you have the goodness to tell me whether this young man is sincerely attached to Mademoiselle de Christoval?

The Duke What! That princess! That heiress! You alarm me, my friend.

Saint-Charles Has not your grace told me that he is a young man? Now, pretended love is more perfect than genuine love; that is the reason why so many women are deceived! Undoubtedly he has thrown over many mistresses, and heart-free, tongue-free, you know--

The Duke Take care! Your mission is peculiar, and you had best not meddle with the women; an indiscretion on your part may forfeit my good will, for all that relates to Monsieur Frescas must go no further than you and myself. I demand absolute secrecy, both from those you employ, and those who employ you. In fact, you will be a ruined man, if Madame de Montsorel has any suspicion of your designs.

Saint-Charles Is Madame de Montsorel then interested in this young man? I must keep an eye on her, for this girl is her chambermaid.

The Duke Chevalier de Saint-Charles, to order you to do this would be unworthy of me, and to ask for such an order is quite unworthy of you.

Saint-Charles Your grace and I perfectly understand each other. But what is to be the main object of my investigations?

The Duke You must find out whether Raoul de Frescas is the real name of this young man; find out where he was born, ransack his whole life, and consider all you learn about him a secret of state.

Saint-Charles You must wait until to-morrow for this information, my lord.

The Duke That is a short time.

Saint-Charles But it involves a good deal of money.

The Duke Do not suppose that I wish to hear of evil things; it is the method of you people to pander to depraved passions. Instead of showing them up, you prefer to invent rather than to reveal occurrences. I should be delighted to learn that this young man has a family--

(The marquis enters, sees his father engaged, and turns to go out; the duke asks him to remain.)

SCENE FIFTH. The preceding and the Marquis de Montsorel.

The Duke (continuing) If Monsieur de Frescas is a gentleman, and the Princesse d'Arjos decidedly prefers him to my son, the marquis must withdraw his suit.

The Marquis But, father, I am in love with Inez.

The Duke (to Saint-Charles) You may go, sir.

Saint-Charles (aside) He takes no interest in the proposed marriage of his son. He is incapable of feeling jealous of his wife. There is something very serious in these circumstances; I am either a ruined man or my fortune is made. (Exit.)

SCENE SIXTH. The Duke and the Marquis.

The Duke To marry a woman who does not love you is a mistake which I shall never allow you to commit, Albert.

The Marquis But there is nothing that indicates that Inez will reject me; and, in any case once she is my wife, it will be my object to win her love, and I believe, without vanity, that I shall succeed.

The Duke Allow me to tell you, my son, that your barrack-room ideas are quite out of place here.

The Marquis On any other subject your words would be law to me; but every era has a different art of love--I beg of you to hasten my marriage. Inez has all the pliability of an only daughter, and the readiness with which she accepts the advances of a mere adventurer ought to rouse your anxiety. Really, the coldness with which you receive me this morning amazes me. Putting aside my love for Inez, could I do better? I shall be, like you, a Spanish grandee, and, more than that, a prince. Would that annoy you, father?

The Duke (aside) The blood of his mother shows itself all the time! Oh! Louise has known well my tender spot! (Aloud) Recollect, sir, that there is no rank higher than the glorious title, Duc de Montsorel.

The Marquis How have I offended you?

The Duke Enough! You forget that I arranged this marriage after my residence in Spain. You are moreover aware that Inez cannot be married without her father's consent. Mexico has recently declared its independence, and the occurrence of this revolution explains the delay of his answer.

The Marquis But, my dear father, your plans are in danger of being defeated. You surely did not see what happened yesterday at the Spanish ambassador's? My mother took particular notice there of this Raoul de Frescas, and Inez was immensely pleased with him. Do you know that I have long felt, and now at last admit to myself, that my mother hates me? And that I myself feel, what I would only say to you father, whom

Vautrin - 6/27

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