"Very well," Henry said. "Then let us go."
But I declined to be present; partly on the ground that if I were there the queen might suspect me of inspiring the man, and partly because I thought that the rogue would entertain a more confident hope of pardon, and be more likely to confess, if he saw the King alone. I contrived to keep Sillery also; and Henry giving the word, as he mounted the steps, that he should be back presently, the whole Court remained in a state of suspense, aware that something was in progress but in doubt what, and unable to decide whether I were again in favour or now on my trial.
Sillery remained talking to me, principally on English matters, until the dinner hour; which came and went, neglected by all. At length, when the curiosity of the mass of courtiers, who did not dare to interrupt us, had been raised by delay to an almost intolerable pitch, the King returned, with signs of disorder in his bearing; and, crossing the terrace in half a dozen strides, drew me hastily, along with Sillery, into the grove of white mulberry trees. There we were no sooner hidden in part, though not completely, than he threw his arms about me and embraced me with the warmest expressions. "Ah, my friend," he said, putting me from him at last, "what shall I say to you?"
"The queen is satisfied, sire?"
"Perfectly; and desires to be commended to you."
Henry nodded, with a look in his face that I did not understand. "Yes," he said, "fully. It was as you thought, my friend. God have mercy upon him!"
I started. "What?" I said. "Has he--"
The King nodded, and could not repress a shudder. "Yes," he said; "but not, thank Heaven, until he had left the closet. He had something about him."
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