"Ah," said the prince, "you are again my naughty, sportive Louise. Well, then, I will explain. Did you not say that you now love so truly, that you have promised to become the wife of the man you love?"
"Yes, I said that, your highness."
"And I," said the prince, seizing both her hands and gazing at her ardently--"I was so short-sighted, so ungrateful, as not to understand you. The many sorrows and vexations I suffer away from you have dimmed my eyes and prevented me from seeing what is written with golden letters upon your smiling lips and beaming eyes. Ah, Louise, I thank you for your precious words, at last you are captured, at last you have resolved to become the wife of him who adores you. I thank you, Louise, I thank you, and I swear that no earthly pomp or power could make me as proud and happy as this assurance of your love."
Louise gazed into his beautiful, smiling face with terror.
"Ah, my prince, my words have not the meaning you imagine. I spoke the simple truth. My heart has made its choice--since yesterday, I am the betrothed wife of Captain du Trouffle."
"That is not true," cried the prince, casting her hands violently from him. "You are very cruel today; you torture me with your fearful jests."
"No, your highness, I speak the truth. I am the betrothed of Captain du Trouffle."
"Since yesterday you are the betrothed of Captain du Trouffle!" repeated the prince, staring at her wildly. "And you say you love him, Louise?"