You! O heaven, you! cried the queen; but look me in the face. I am betrayed on all sides. Can I trust in you?
O madame! cried the young woman, falling on her knees, upon my soul, I am ready to die for your Majesty.
This expression came from the very bottom of the heart, and, like the first, there was no mistaking it.
Yes, continued Madame Bonacieuxyes, there are traitors here; but by the holy name of the Virgin, I swear that none is more devoted to your Majesty than I am. Those studs which the king speaks of, you gave them to the Duke of Buckingham, did you not? Those studs were in a little rosewood box, which he held under his arm? Am I mistaken? Is it not so, madame?
Well, those studs, continued Madame Bonacieux, we must have them back again.
Yes, without doubt, it is necessary, cried the queen. But what can be done? How can it be effected?
Some one must be sent to the duke.
But who, who? In whom can I trust?
Place confidence in me, madame. Do me that honour, my queen, and I will find a messenger.
But I must write.
Oh yes; that is indispensable. Two words from the hand of your Majesty and your own private seal.
The queen ran to a little table, upon which were pens, ink, and paper. She wrote two lines, sealed the letter with her private seal, and gave it to Madame Bonacieux.
And now, said the queen, we are forgetting one very necessary thing.
What is that, madame?
Madame Bonacieux blushed.
Anne of Austria ran to her jewel-case.
Here, said shehere is a ring of great value, as I have been told. It came from my brother, the king of Spain. It is mine, and I am at liberty to dispose of it. Take this ring, and turn it into money.
In an hour you shall be obeyed, madame.
You see the address, said the queen, speaking so low that Madame Bonacieux could hardly hear what she saidTo my Lord Duke of Buckingham, London.
The letter shall be given to him.
Generous girl! cried Anne of Austria.
Madame Bonacieux kissed the queens hands, concealed the paper in the bosom of her dress, and disappeared with the lightness of a bird.
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