"This," said the kindly old gentleman, "is the best way possible of gaining the friendship of your rival. Do you think you can manage it?"
"I am not positive of success."
"Perhaps I have gone a little too far; but I told him that by means of your acquaintance with the Duchesse de Grammont you could do anything with the minister."
"I must make you a true prophet; I will do all I can."
The consequence was that M.---- informed me of the facts in the ambassador's presence, and brought me all the papers relative to the case.
I spent the night in writing to the Duchesse de Grammont. I made my letter as pathetic as possible, with a view to touching her heart, and then her father's; and I then wrote to the worthy Madame d'Urfe telling her that the well-being of the sublime order of the Rosy Cross was concerned in the pardon of a Swiss officer, who had been obliged to leave the kingdom on account of a duel in which the order was highly concerned.
In the morning, after resting for an hour, I went to the ambassador, and shewed him the letter I had written to the duchess. He thought it excellently expressed, and advised me to skew it to M.---- I found him with his night-cap on; he was extremely grateful for the interest I took in a matter which was so near to his heart. He told me that his wife had not yet risen, and asked me to wait and take breakfast with her. I should have much liked to accept the invitation, but I begged him to make my excuses to his lady for my absence, on the pretence that I had to finish my letters, and hand them to the courier who was just leaving. I hoped in this way to scatter any jealousy that might be hovering in his brain, by the slight importance I attached to a meeting with his wife.
I went to dine with M. de Chavigni, who thought my conduct had been very politic, and said that he was certain that henceforth M.---- would be my best friend. He then skewed me a letter from Voltaire thanking him for playing Montrose in his Ecossaise; and another from the Marquis de Chauvelin, who was then at Delices with the philosopher of Ferney. He promised to come and see him after he had been to Turin, where he had been appointed ambassador.
My Country House--Madame Dubois--Malicious Trick Played on Me by My Lame Enemy--My Vexation
There was a reception and a supper at the Court, as they styled the hotel of M. de Chavigni, or rather of the ambassador of the King of France in Switzerland. As I came in I saw my charmer sitting apart reading a letter. I accosted her, apologizing for not having stayed to breakfast, but she said I had done quite right, adding that if I had not chosen a country house she hoped I would take one her husband would probably mention to me that evening. She could not say any more, as she was called away to a game at quadrille. For my part I did not play, but wandered from one table to another.
At supper everybody talked to me about my health, and my approaching stay in the country. This gave M.---- an opportunity to mention a delightful house near the Aar; "but," he added, "it is not to be let for less than six months."
"If I like it," I replied, "and am free to leave it when I please, I will willingly pay the six months' rent in advance."
"There is a fine hall in it."
"All the better; I will give a ball as evidence of my gratitude to the people of Soleure for the kind welcome I have received from them."
"Would you like to come and see it to-morrow?"
"Very good, then I will call for you at eight o'clock, if that hour will suit you."
"I shall expect you."
When I got back to my lodging I ordered a travelling carriage and four, and the next morning, before eight o'clock, I called for M. who was ready, and seemed flattered at my anticipating him.
"I made my wife promise to come with us; but she is a sluggard, who prefers her bed to the fresh air."
In less than an hour we reached our journey's end, and I found the house a beautiful one and large enough to lodge the whole court of a prince of the Holy Roman Empire.