The health of the King, meanwhile, visibly declining, Madame des Ursins feared lest she should entirely fall into the clutches of M. d'Orleans. She fully resolved, therefore, to make off, without knowing, however, where to fix herself; and asked permission of the King to come and take leave of him at Marly.
Some have sunk into a deplorable state of utter languishment, from the circumstance of being deprived of the means of pursuing their beloved study, as in the case of the chemist BERGMAN. His friends, to gain him over to the more lucrative professions, deprived him of his books of natural history; a plan which nearly proved fatal to the youth, who with declining health quitted the university.
From this counsel he foresaw many advantages: upon himself would depend all access to the Emperor; all letters and expresses would, as the soldiers were the carriers, be in great measure under his direction; in a little time, the Prince, now in declining age, and then softened by recess, would more easily transfer upon him the whole charge of the Empire: he should be removed from the multitude of such as to make their court, attended him at Rome; and thence one source of envy would be stopped.
For it is the sacred city of study, of learning, and of faith; and the declining beam is resting on the dome of the Radcliffe, lingering on the towers of Christchurch and Magdalen, sanctifying the spires and pinnacles of holy St. Mary's.
"I hope and believe that if a peaceful home could be secured for his declining years, he would live the rest of his life like a gentleman and a Christian; and that, the bitter struggle for existence being ended, he would be sorry for the past.
In declining these proposals I think I was no less eloquent than he in making them.
A world of strange fancies came over us as we mused on England's poets. And we dined with several Dukes and a great many more Earls, declining no end of invitations of commoners. Very well! we reply, adding a sigh. And on your return to your home, that you may not be behind the fashion, you compare disparagingly everything that meets your eye. Nothing comes up to what you saw in Europe.
M. Necker saw that his credit at Court was declining, and fearing lest that circumstance should injure his financial operations, he requested the King to grant him some favour which might show the public that he had not lost the confidence of his sovereign.
He stood on the terrace wiping his forehead and, without the least struggle, finally and irretrievably admitting that he would never see Claire Boltwood or any of her friends again. Not never! He had received from Mrs. Gilson a note inviting him to share their box at the first night of a three-night Opera Season. He had spent half a day in trying to think of a courteously rude way of declining.
The day was thus passed alternately in activity and rest, in pursuit and meditation, until the declining sun warned him to take again the road to Paris, where he would arrive, his feet torn and dusty, but his mind invigorated for a whole week.