The Poet's Princess

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Love's cruel absurdities

Obviously, Monsieur de La Rochefoucauld is irritated by Madame de Longueville’s love. His satisfaction of being coveted by such a desirable woman is annulled by the excess of her devotion.

‘God Almighty! That silly wench is making me to a laughing stock!’ The Duke gnashes his teeth in an ultimate identity-crisis. How common to love me so much! How debasing! Now I must leave a party that I enjoy! This wench will turn me into a recluse, cloistered in her weird affection. Abiding by her mad and evil design, I’ll lose my very substance! I’ll be ripped off my identity!” Laments the desperate lover.

At last, Anne has succeeded to escape her social obligations. Eluding the sophisticated conversation, which used to be the pleasure of her life, Madame de Longueville alights by La Rochefoucauld’s side. He stands up to part company with her.

“Why are you leaving so early, my beloved? Have I offended you in any way?” She asks imploringly, her eyes welling with tears. “Believe me, dearest, it was impossible to escape those idlers who held me from joining you. You do know, my love, you’re the only one that matters!” Misinterpreting her lover’s aloofness, Anne clasps desperately to his arm.

Incapable of breaking his mistress’ insistence, La Rochefoucauld fumes with rage. As much as he depends on her to take revenge on the Queen, he has to stay free.

Conversation falters. Heads turn towards them. Eyes, avid of scandal, contemplate the discordant couple with rapture. La Rochefoucauld is deadly pale. Feeling ridiculed makes him suffer the pains of the damned. One more second of Anne’s presence will make him lose his manners and hit her. He tears himself free not to yield to his wrath. The cloth of his sleeve rips. A shred of silk dangles miserably from the Princess’s empty hand.

La Rochefoucauld runs for the door. Its bang is a slap in the face of his mistress.

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