"I know that his father and you are--well, that you take opposite sides," I said smiling.
"That is pretty well known," he answered coldly. "Anyway, this lad is to fight St. Germain to-morrow; and now I hear that M. de Clan, St. Germain's father, is for shutting him up. Getting a LETTRE DE CACHET or anything else you please, and away with him."
"No!" M. de Saintonge answered, prolonging the sound to the utmost. "St. Mesmin!"
"Yes," the Marquis retorted pettishly, "but I don't. I don't see. And I beg to remind you, M. de Rosny, that this lad is my wife's second cousin through her step-father, and that I shall resent any interference with him. I have spent enough and done enough in the King's service to have my wishes respected in a small matter such as this; and I shall regard any severity exercised towards my kinsman as a direct offence to myself. Whereas M. de Clan, who will doubtless be here in a few minutes, is--"
"But stop," I said, interrupting him, "I heard you speaking of this young fellow the other day. You did not tell me then that he was your kinsman."
"Nevertheless he is; my wife's second cousin," he answered with heat.
"Be let alone!" he replied interrupting me in his turn more harshly than I approved. "I wish him to be let alone. If he will fight St. Germain, and kill or be killed, is that the King's affair that he need interfere? I ask for no interference," M. de Saintonge continued bitterly, "only for fair play and no favour. And for M. de Clan who is a Republican at heart, and a Bironist, and has never done anything but thwart the King, for him to come now, and--faugh! it makes me sick."
"Very well," he replied haughtily--he had gradually wrought himself into a passion; "be good enough to bear my request in mind then; and my services also. I ask no more, M. de Rosny, than is due to me and to the King's honour."
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