Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, son of him who played so conspicuous a part in the early chapters of this history, -- Villiers of Buckingham, a handsome cavalier, melancholy with women, a jester with men, -- and Wilmot, Lord Rochester, a jester with both sexes, were standing at this moment before the Lady Henrietta, disputing the privilege of making her smile.
"Ah, madam," said Buckingham, "we are very unfortunate!
Buckingham bit his lips with anger, for he was truly in love with Lady Henrietta, and, in that case, took everything in a serious light.
"Because, madam," replied Buckingham, piqued, "because the faithful Parry, the wandering Parry, the eternal Parry, is not, I believe, of much consequence."
If Wettin lived you would be well treated, but Buckingham has taken me now, and is king.
The fact that Buckingham stood within a pace of us and was an interested listener appeared not to temper her expressions in the slightest.
"I will set you free, and then you may come and slay Buckingham."
"We must hurry," she went on, as she fumbled with the hard knots in the stiffened rawhide, "for Buckingham will be after you soon.
In fact, in crossing the city two or three accidents of this kind happened; but Buckingham did not even turn his head to see what became of those he had knocked down.
On entering the court of his hotel, Buckingham sprang from his horse, and without thinking what became of the animal, threw the bridle on his neck, and sprang toward the vestibule.
With discretion D'Artagnan remained behind; but at the moment when Buckingham crossed the threshold, he turned round, and seeing the hesitation of the young man, "Come in!" cried he, "and if you have the good fortune to be admitted to her Majesty's presence, tell her what you have seen."
"All is lost!" cried Buckingham, becoming as pale as a corpse; "two of the studs are wanting, there are only ten."