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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 102, June 25, 1892   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 102

June 25, 1892

"VERSAILLES" IN LEICESTER SQUARE.

(OR, THE NEW BALLET AT THE EMPIRE, AS IT APPEARS THROUGH MR. PUNCH'S PINCE NEZ.)

TABLEAU I. The Park at Versailles. " Gardeners ," according to the "Argument" supplied with programmes, " are seen busily preparing for the arrival of King Louis the Fourteenth and his Court. " If tickling the gravel gently with brooms, and depositing one petal a piece in large baskets is "busily preparing," they are . The Gardeners, feeling that they have done a very fair afternoon's work, dance a farandole in sabots , after which Ladies and Cavaliers arrive and prepare to dance too; the Cavaliers select their partners by chasing them on tiptoe, the Ladies run backwards, and coyly slap their favourites' faces with bouquets. Here, according to Argument, " refreshments are served by Pages ." Don't see any; these particular Pages seem to have been cut. Dance follows: the Vicomte Raoul de Bragelonne arrives, but stands apart, taking no part in the dance, and looking melancholy. Fancy he is wishing he had learnt dancing in his boyhood, or else waiting for the refreshments to be served. On referring to Argument, however, discover that " his mind is occupied by thoughts of Louise de Lavallière, who was betrothed to him in her childhood. " Stupid not to see this for oneself. So obvious. Enter Louise . Think Raoul informs her in pantomime that one of the bows on her dress has "come undone;" she rewards him for this act of politeness by taking the bow off and pinning it on his breast. Raoul not satisfied, pleads for another, to put on his hat. Louise refuses, can't ruin her new frock like that for him . Find I'm wrong again. Argument says, " he implores her to fulfil the wish of his own and their parents' hearts by naming the nuptial day. Louise is confused, and bids him wait. " He retires brokenhearted, in search of the refreshments, and the Cavaliers, with whom a very little dancing on gravel and a warm afternoon goes a long way, retire with him. The ladies, left alone, " now freely express their opinions on the merits of their late companions ," which seems natural enough. Louise dissents; doesn't see anything particularly rude in their conduct, "Cavaliers are like that will rush off for refreshments alone after every dance and leave their partners." At least, that's how I understood her. Missed the point again. Argument informs me she has been answering, " abruptly that the Sun (meaning the King) absorbs her whole soul, and that she has no thoughts to bestow on mere planets ." She said all that in a shake of the head and two shrugs, so "abruptly" is quite the right word. Other ladies annoyed with her, and show it by walking past and waggling their fingers in her face, which appears to depress Louise considerably. Then they go out, after the Cavaliers, or the refreshments. Meanwhile Louis the Fourteenth has entered at the back and overheard all. He knows what the shake and shrugs meant, and smiles and nods knowingly to himself. "Oh, I am an irresistible Monarch, I am!" he seems to be saying. "I'll follow this up." So he struts down with a fixed smile on his face, like the impudent young dog he is, and pats his chest passionately at her. Louise startled. "Don't go away," says Louis in pantomime. "I say, there's an arbour in that shrubbery, let's go and sit in it do !" Louise undecided; tries to excuse herself. "Earwiggy? not a bit of it!" Louis assures her (he wouldn't be so confident about it if he had seen his Gardeners at work); " come along!" Louise still timid; suggests spiders. Louis vows that no spider shall harm her while he lives to protect her, and draws her gently towards the shrubbery; he does this several times, but on each occasion her dread of insects returns, and she recoils shrinking. The King puts his arms round her to give her courage, and at this instant, Raoul de Bragelonne returns, sees the back of someone embracing the maiden who was betrothed to him in childhood, draws his sword and recognises his Sovereign... Continue reading book >>


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